The Last Viking Returns

Harald Bluetooth

14 Comments

Famous Vikings

and what great names they have.

King Harald Bluetooth, (No, true, that really is his name. Would I lie to you?)  ruled Denmark between 940 and 985 AD. He was the son of King Grom the Old and his wife Thyre Danebold, the daughter of King Ethelred of England. Harald’s grandson, Canute, went on to be the king of all of Denmark and England, and a mighty fine king to, according to all reports.

When still young Harald  developed the usual passion to go a –viking in search of gold, treasure and new lands for Viking settlements , and, like his fellow Vikings, Harald considered it honourable to plunder wherever and whenever he felt like it.

Harald’s sister Gunhild was married to a Norwegian King with the marvellous name of Erik Blood Axe, but when he was killed Harald decided to seize  Norway for himself, making himself king of much of  Scandinavia. (Well, why not.)

Then, for some unlikely reason, especially considering he was a blood- thirsty Viking, Harald decided one day to become a Christian, and had himself baptized by a German priest named Poppo. ( The names just get better and better.) Harald then set about enthusiastically converting his subjects to Christianity as well. One report says he charged believers in the Old Gods twice as much tax as new converts, so the Norse folk were quick to see the benefits of the new religion. Before too long people stopped believing in Odin, Thor, Sigurd and the rest of the Norse gods. They were obviously too busy counting their new found tax cuts.

It seems Harald’s son, Sweyn Forkbeard was a bit of a wild boy, to say the least, so much so that in 987AD Harald and Sweyn went to war and Harald was killed in battle fighting his own son.

Having killed his dad, Sweyn still carried on with his Vikings ways, invading England in 1013AD, with no doubt with the usual amount of burning, plundering, pillaging and un-Christian like behaviour. By the time his grandfather-less son, Canute, came to power he was king of a massive kingdom.

Harald, having been converted to Christianity, was not given a proper fiery Viking funeral as all his ancestors would have been, but was buried in a cold, damp grave at a church he’d had built at Roskilde in Denmark.

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Author: Norman Jorgensen

I'm an Australian writer of books for kids and teenagers. I like traveling and seeing the world, especially through the the lens of my camera. I'm addicted to old movies, red wine and books and decent music.

14 thoughts on “Harald Bluetooth

  1. Norman, I know you would never let the truth get in the way of a good story. So I am not totally convinced of your vikings name. Its like the story of the washing line, or the hill trolley your fantastic imagination takes you on a journey, but wait ; then takes the rest of us on a journey that makes us laugh, cry or even visualise the adventure as you set the scene. Can’t wait for this book launch. x :)

  2. Hi Margie,

    Those stories are all TRUE. History is told by the victors, and I won those battles, even if it was because because I was bigger than than my little brothers. So my version of history is the one we are stuck with; The True History of the Jorgi Gang.

    And the unlikely Viking names in this blog are certainly true. Promise. xN

  3. is this book a story that you use Harald “Bluetooth” as a character

  4. Harald is my 12 reat Grandfather

  5. Amazing Gary. That is incredible. Where are you?
    Skol, Norman

  6. Margie, these names are indeed true. Before last names were officially adopted in order to track one’s lineage, people were given nicknames that related to where they were from, a deed they had committed, or related to some personal characteristic, etc. For example: Leonardo da Vinci (meaning Leonardo from the town of Vinci–people needed a way to distinguish between the various Leonardos of the time); Herald “Bluetooth” Gormsson (bluetooth either refers to his affinity for eating blueberries or was a common reference from the time relating to people who had dark complexions–Herald had very dark hair which was not typical in the region where he lived–also his last name refers to his father, Gorm the Old-he is Gorm’s son); Eric “the Red” (known for his bright red hair and for committing one of the biggest real-estate frauds of all time with the discovery and naming of Greenland in order to get people to move there with him); and Lief Ericsson (the son of Eric the Red).

    Norman, I understand why you are depicting your characters wearing helmets with horns but this is historically inaccurate. Vikings almost never wore helmets, let alone helmets with horns. This image came about when historians were looking through old writings from the early Roman Catholic missionaries who were sent to convert the pagans in and around Great Britain. The Vikings were known for being opportunistic and found these missionaries to be easy prey–they brought great wealth with them to Great Britain (books, gold, etc.) but most of them lacked the physical skill and training to fight back and they were not sent with guards. The Vikings annoyed them greatly (I am sure this is an understatement) by continuously raiding them and stealing their wares. These missionaries subsequently wrote about the Vikings, referring to them as devils that descended upon them in the dark, disappearing almost as quickly as they had appeared in the first place. They even drew pictures of them with horns. When historians were trying to figure out the horns, which they thought were literal depictions, they decided that the Vikings must have worn helmets with horns upon them. These drawings are the only ones ever found depicting Vikings with horns. The Vikings wrote long histories of their own culture and conquests, not to mention their numerous laws. All of these books and histories never once mention wearing helmets with horns when describing what they wore to battle and what they wore when they went on raids (known as going a-viking). Many Viking artifacts have been found over the years and not one helmet with horns has ever been found. In fact only a few helmets have ever been found at all and these are plain and do not show any evidence that anything had ever been attached, such as horns. It appears that Vikings did not have much use for clunky, heavy objects that would only serve to slow them down. It’s interesting that popular culture has picked up upon the incorrect idea that the Vikings wore helmets with horns–all because some historians thought that the pictures drawn by beleaguered missionaries were literal.

  7. Most interesting, but history is like that. Trying to dustringuish fiction from fact, must be quite a challenge!!! Vivian Swedishgirl.

  8. Sweyn forkbeard is my 13th great grandfather on my maw maws side her maiden name was cornett the cornett name was spelled canute they came over from denmark. Also my family are all from ky where they settled. :)

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