Monday, 28 February 2011

Memories of Valhalla - My favourite moments of Jorvik Viking Festival 2011

For those who follow my humble haven of all things vikingy and norse then you will have noted a week ago that I departed the blog and twitter realms for a long pilgrimage in the amazing real world for the annual and awesome Jorvik Viking Festival in the city of my birth YORK aka Jorvik :)

Well I have returned and although I didn't take as many pictures as I did last year I still have many a saga to tell of my adventures and encounters.

First off I attended a fascinating event on the last true Viking King of Jorvik - Eric Bloodaxe as Gareth Williams of the British Museum has released very interesting biography on this great character of legend and history which suprisingly little is known about for sure.
 I learnt a lot considering all I knew was that he was betrayed and was a true Viking King of Northumbria, York beings it capital back in the day before England was actually England. For instance did you know that he's meant to have killed for one reason or another 5-6 of his brothers? In some Sagas he is one of 16-20 sons by Harald Finehair of Norway. The one thing that really caught my imagination was that his wife Gunnhild is not only meant to be cruel and manipulative of her husband Eirik but also is meant to practice Seidr - the female magic which suprisingly enough my Valkyires use. So I was more than eager and happy to not only snap up this book but also get it signed by Gareth himself. Being my first big author meeting with a guy who definitely knows his dark age history I was bit tooo shy to ask for a photograph, even more so as I was the youngest member of his audience, second youngest was middle aged people.

The second experience was the true highlight of my day and of my Jorvik Festival 2011 - meeting and chatting with my favourite viking author GILES KRISTIAN! But I didn't just meet him, I happily chatted to his wife and his lovely baby girl and his VIKING BRETHREN! As these photos demonstrate.
This below is the cherry on the cake as I kindly asked him to sign my festival programme, not only did he put it was nice to see me again but he also mentioned my hand designed and decorated norse cloak. HE LOVED IT!

Next part of the Festival was the Finale Battle and as my camera is rubbish at taking pictures at night I had to resort to using it as a video camera. So please watch the follow video clips and emerse yourself with me in this amazing experience of battle and entertainment.
The Vikings March into Battle
The Vikings vs Anglo-Norse of Jorvik

And that is about it for this year - next big date of viking madness - THE FESTIVAL OF HISTORY! Where not only will there be re-enactors from any time period imaginable but also GILES KRISTIAN (swoooon) and another favourite viking author of mine, he wrote the Oathsworn series, ROBERT LOW (THE ONE VIKING AUTHOR I HAVE YET TO MEET AND GET BOOKS SIGNED!)

And Yes I am already saving for it as it will be one expensive but soooooo worthwhile weekend spent travelling down to Northampton.

On a slightly different note, whilst I was away I planned out the events that I intend to occur in Soul Chaser Chap 8, 9 and 10! Looks like I've set myself up to do some writing perhaps *touches wood, waves at magpie and crosses fingers and wishes on a star*

Who knows what may happen after such an inspirational weekend of viking madness!

Friday, 18 February 2011

"Sorry - but this Viking Mad Maiden is away on her Annual Viking Pilgrimage to the Jorvik Viking Fest. - please leave a message at the runestone..."

YAY! It's my favourite time of year again - can you guess what it is?
No not Christmas.
No it's not my birthday.
NO not Easter although I do like chocolate a bit too much.
You guessed what it is yet?

Held in York annually (this year being its 26th) It is a great melting pot of history buffs, history authors, archeologists, history enthusiasts and of course a whole lord of the rings cast size of men and women wearing traditional middle age viking clothing and armour and walking in the footsteps of the ancestors of this great city of the north when it was under Norse Rule and formerly known as Jorvik. It just so happens to be the place of my birth hehehe.
There will be important historic conferences, guest history authors from the realms of fiction and non-fiction, birds of prey displays, medieval markets, viking contests (including one for the best beard) and the cherry on the top is of course the many displays of viking warfare and combat. Which reaches its peak at the Finale Battle, fireworks and boat burning display on Saturday 26th.

I've been attending for five years now and I have loved every single moment of it. I have met my favourite authors, made some great friends and had unforgettable experiences. The pictures beneath will show it.


 All taken from the Festivals in 2008, 2009 and last year 2010! Can't wait to add even more for 2011!

The first event I am attending is Eirik Bloodaxe with Gareth Williams  - this man is from the British Museum and is the latest to write a biography on this famous yet little known about Jorvik King who met a bloody death through betrayal. Can't wait to get my hands and imagination into it to feed my viking passion and maybe influence events and characters in Soul Chaser (here's a secret - I was thinking of having Eirik and Cnut be guardians of Odin's Raven Flag which is buring in a hogstone grave beneath York Minister).

The next time I'll be around good old Jorvik is the peak of the festival Saturday 26th - I'll be around from early morning to late evening enjoying all the activities to offer such as Tenth Century Traders market and this year  will buy something from the marvels on show as for once it's pay day! I'll stop by Coppergate Camp to see the traders and discoveries there - may yet even go to Jorvik Centre as I haven't been since the revamped the entrance to show the true archeology beneath your feet! Visit the Guild Hall for its medieval market and Living History activities and then I'll be trooping aroud Museum Gardens with the might norse warriors as they march to battle and maybe getting my hair braided viking style in my own preparation. Then I'm trekking in a taxi to the Race course for the Battle Finale Show!!
BUT the BEST BIT I think will have to be meeting up with my new favourite historical Viking author Giles Kristian at his encampment in Waterstones from 2pm.
If you like anything about Vikings then RAVEN: BLOODEYE and SONS OF  THUNDER are MUST READS! Why not pop along, meet the fantastically cool and friendly author and get your book signed in anticpation! I'll be there garaunteed as I'm Gile's unofficial slightly mad friendly stalking fan :P

SO basically Wednesday's trip out is a starter to the Viking FEAST I will enjoy on Saturday.

Now because I'll be at home (where we have no access to internet because our old laptop broke and brother wont share his so he hogs the www to himself basically) and signal is a bit dodgy out in the north yorkshire countryside I won't be tweeting as much or blogging until I'm back at Huddersfield the following week basically. I will tweet occasionally (@valkyrie1008) when I do get signal just to let you know i'm alive in the twitter verse, what I'm up to and how excited I'm getting hehehe but unless you tweet me directly or DM me I won't be following Twitter as above explains so I won't be seeing what the rest of you are up to or if you around the festival too unless you tweet me. Of course when I'm in York with plenty of signal I'll be tweeting with each new jolt of viking madness I get hehehe.

Ultimately this is me signing off for a brief time from twitter and blogger until I return from my annual viking pilgrimage to Jorvik. So until I make it back on an all time high take care, stay safe and have fun! My half term starts here! YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Age of Odin by James Lovegrove

Age of OdinAge of Odin by James Lovegrove

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is the most gripping, thrilling, action packed, storytelling genius with a big dollop of fantastic norse mythology I have ever come across.
Set in an ice-age pending modern world, in the northern part of england, you follow the trials and tribulations of ex-soldier Gid and his unusual friend Abortion as they follow a tip off of a group wanting such soldiers no questions asked on past military history for a few weeks of extremely well paid work. For Gid this could provide him with a chance to repair his life with his ex wife and distant son or so he hopes, until Abortion high on drugs gets behind the wheel during a blizzard and crashes the car - badly.
What happens from that incident is the start of a true epic saga-porportion tale that brings modern warfare and technology beutifully together with the strength, support, mystery and magic of the Asier Gods as they fight the changing times and impeding Ragnarok.
Each chapter is short, punchy and enchants you through once adventure and encounter to another, the Gods themselves and the mortal soldiers under their employment make an excellent cast and the storytelling is of such brilliant quality that you can't help but let your imagination portray the words into a million dollar movie in your mind. Boy it does make excellent material for one and who knows if the Thor movie makes a good impression perhaps more of mankind will look to these heroic gods with human hearts for more tales of strength, love, passion, loyalty, cunning and most importantly survival.
This is a definite must read for any fan of norse mythology and for those who dabble in a bit of sci-fi - this is the one book that blends sci-fi and fantasy as beautifully as the horizon of sky meets the vast expanse of the sea.

View all my reviews

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