Sandra Hill on Vikings
Sandra Hill, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 novels, Whether they be historical, time travel, or contemp, Vikings, Cajuns, or Navy SEALs, the common element is humor…and sizzle
Vikings had the greatest senses of humor. It’s evident in their sagas, reports by travelers of that time period, and oral history. And personally, I think there’s nothing sexier than a man who can make a woman smile…oh, not clownish funny, more a subtle teasing of the funny bone.
My first Avon historical romance comes out tomorrow, VIKING IN LOVE. It’s the story of five Viking princesses who kill the abusive husband of one of them and dump him in an unmentionable place (loosely modeled on the Dixie Chicks video of “Goodbye Earl.). And currently, I’m working on my second Avon book, THE VIKING TAKES A KNIGHT, September, 2010.
I’ve always said I could write a doctoral thesis on tenth century Vikings, but surprisingly there is always new material coming up. In particular, I’ve been researching Norse wedding rituals for both those books. And, yep, those Viking men did to have a sense of humor, even in the midst of a solemn wedding.
I especially like the brudh-hlaup or “bride-running.” Once the formal wedding ceremony is completed, the bride and groom make a race for the great hall. Assuming the groom arrives there first, picture him leaning against the door jamb, arms folded over his chest, and a wicked grin on his too-handsome face. His sword lays on the ground of the threshold. If the bride steps over it, she is making that final commitment to be his wife. Rumor is, some Viking men then smacked their brides’ rumps with the flat side of the weapon, just to assert their authority. In my books, the woman might be just as likely to smack the man’s rump.
Once inside, the groom swings his sword, making a cut into the supporting pillar of the house, the roof tree. The deeper the cut, the more virile the man. Can you imagine the teasing that went on?
There are lots of interesting, sometimes colorful, rituals before and after these events, all culminating in a party Viking style. And those Norsemen did like to party!
And did you know that the word honeymoon is supposedly a vulgarization of the Norse word hjunotlsmanathr. It refers to the practice of a man kidnapping a bride and keeping her until she is pregnant or her family stops searching for her, after which the wedding ceremony can be formalized. Romance novel plot, anyone?
Do you know of any unusual wedding rituals? Or have you done some unique things yourself?
Stop by my website at www.sandrahill.net for info about my books, genealogy charts, videos, free novellas, and other good stuff. And please let me know what you think of VIKING IN LOVE and my version of a Viking wedding.
As always, wishing you smiles in your reading.