Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! Friday marked the onset of winter and the turning of the year. And although this is the darkest, deadest time of year, it is also the beginning of the new year.
Not entirely coincidentally, I have recently become obsessed with a genre that I’ll call “Viking Rock,” for want of a better term. Who knew it was a thing? But apparently it is.
Although my books in The Zemnian Series are set in a “Russian” world, there’s also a Nordic strain running through them. In The Dreaming Land mini-series, some of the slave-children that my heroine Valya wants to rescue are from Tansko (Denmark), Ruotsi (Sweden), and Seumi (Finland). In The Dreaming Land II one of the characters even speaks a little Finnish.
My original plan in fact was to make the series much more Nordic-focused, which is something that I may go on to develop at a later date (if, that is, I can fit it around my burgeoning interest in the South Caucasus). The original short stories and novellas I wrote about the world that eventually became Zem’ were set as much in the Nordic world as they were in the Slavic world, something you can see remnants of in the collection Winter of the Gods and Other Stories.
You can find Winter of the Gods along with dozens of other books, all for free, in the Myths, Gods, & Ancient Worlds Giveaway.
I also worked “Vikings” into The Breathing Sea mini-series, the middle mini-series in the whole Zemnian Series trilogy of series, if that makes sense. In fact, Vikings and Nordic sorts of people are a constant if peripheral presence in the entire Zemnian Series.
Now seems like a good time to mention that I’m doing another giveaway of the first book in The Breathing Sea duology this month! The first three people to respond to this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a request for a copy will get a signed paperback.
So now, at the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I thought I’d share some Viking-esque music about death, dying, and the changing of the seasons.
Einar Selvik, lead singer of Wardruna and one of the composers for the TV show Vikings, explains the meaning of Ragnarok, winter, and the death and birth of the year in his adaptation of these Eddic verses.
Faroese artist Eivor has a very different sound, but still draws upon traditional Nordic music and mythology. Here’s her haunting story about a young woman who falls in love with Death.
The band Skald (Skalds were Nordic bards) are recreating and reinterpreting Skaldic poetry.
Wardruna again, this time performing “Helvegen,” or “The Way to Hel.”
I hope you enjoy these modern reinterpretations of Skaldic and Viking music as much I do. The start of winter seems the perfect time to do a deep dive into it. Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, and may winter treat you kindly.
And don’t forget to enter my giveaway of a signed copy of The Breathing Sea I by emailing me at email@example.com!