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Gisli Sursson's Saga and the Saga of the People of Eyri

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  128 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
These sagas recount fierce feuds in which honour is fought for, sacrifice is demanded, and blood is shed. The fate of the characters at the centre of each saga, however, is very different. Gisli is a traditional Viking-age hero who is determined to exact revenge at any cost and whose death is tragic when it comes. In contrast his nephew, Snorri, represents a new generation ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1200)
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Apr 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
These two sagas tell of a period of the better part of a century in the Northwest of Iceland, concentrating on an uncle (Gisli Sursson) and his nephew (Snorri the Godi). Iceland was first settled by the Norse around 780 A.D., and for about sixty years, anarchy prevailed. It was in 930 that the Althing was established, and with it, the beginnings of the rule of law.

We see this in Gisli Sursson's Saga, as the eponymous hero is more or less forced into a series of honor killings, knowing that he w
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: norse, epic
Fascinating look into the Icelandic world of blood oaths, feuds, and betrayal. Everything revolves around Gisli's attempt to forge a four way oath of brotherhood to keep peace in his region; when one man swears with two of the others but not the third, he sets in motion the sequence of events leading to the doom of all four men. This was my first exposure to the Sagas, and I now see just how much Tolkien owed to them in terms of mood and background. Though Middle Earth is its own thing, the work ...more
Mar 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Interesting to read Gisli for the first time and Eyri in a new translation. I think I prefer the older Palsson translation (Eyrbyggja Saga) but this one had some interesting wrinkles and idiom choices that enriched the telling. Gisli's saga is really an essential complement to the longer Eryi saga as well.
Kailey Curless
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-school
I love the Icelandic Sagas. It is full of complicated loyalties and full of violence. I was lucky to have read this for school. So I had access to a professor who explained some of the more obscure reverences in the tale. Gisili is admirable in that he fights for his beliefs, but is also a convicted outlaw for murder. I had a great time reading this.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Gisli Sursson's Saga is an outlaw saga, and a very interesting one. I would like to read the Saga of Grettir the Strong to compare the two but I don't have access to it currently.

6/10. I still think Egil's, Njal, and Laxardal (in that order) are my favorite sagas I've read.
Apr 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sagas
Gisli is my favorite Saga hero, just after Njal and Gunnar. He's very human, and a classic icelandic tragic-hero - outlawed due to no real fault of his own, loved yet harried to his death, which comes after a dramatic, outnumbered showdown.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another Icelandic winner. I especially like the Penguin Edition because it contains so many notes, maps, and a long interesting introduction.
Linda Gould
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great read! I love the spare writing of these sagas- Lots of action, little explanation of inward process though sometimes there are clues. You can see why Hemingway read these writings!
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I just found it boring......... couldn't get into it. And the family relations were confused
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