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Tag Archives: The Lords of the North

The Warrior and his Sword

Thorin’s got one

Uhtred’s got one

Even temperamental Guy’s got one.

And I endeavour to examine why all the hard boys seem to be so attached to it.

The truth is, the closer we get to the Hobbit premier, and to seeing 3D Thorin, the worse my ‘his sword is his p*nis’ jokes will be.

I’ve already noticed it’s happening, so I decided to get it out of my system, as much as possible, and hope  I grow tired of the topic…

Freud believed the mighty sword that appears in our dreams is a phallic symbol.

The sword shares many similarities to the male organ as well as masculinity and all its manifestations.

 It is long and straight and directly related to its wielder’s sense of power.

The word power is key, as it’s attached to reputation, wealth, and position in society.

Freud isn’t the only one who recognized male gender issues in sword symbolism.

Excalibur is meant to represent the male principles and its insertion into the stone – the stone being symbolic of the female principle.

Both dwarf and Saxon took great ride in their weapons, polishing them and giving them a rub down with a whetstone.

A female would count herself lucky if she got such tender love and care from her man.

It would seem women are expendable, a good sword is not.

It’s not all bad news.

A Sword as a phallic symbol has a female element.

There’s the sheath in which the sword is housed is considered the feminine principle.

Luckily nowadays, men don’t run around with weapons, therefore something else must have taken over the phallic symbol.

I dismiss guns, as in most (I hope) parts of the world, men don’t carry firearms.

There are still those who have a vast collection of light sabers, but now it’s more a symbol of being immature and a bit daft.

If you or your man has one, I didn’t mean you.

You’re super cool 😉

What do you think is the modern-day phallic symbol, the one that embodies masculinity?

What do men posses that gives them a testosterone rush when they feel a little…errr… flat?

I’m going with cars.

Does a car really need to be washed and polished every other week?

Thorin’s sword is called Orcist, Uhtred has Serpent-Breath.

My question is, did we ever learn the name of Guy’s sword?

Was there just one he was particularly attached to?

One he would grasp firmly, polish regularly?

He’d hold it and all the village wenches would whisper: My, what a big sword you have there!

Knowing his luck, Marian would have just stolen his beloved weapon and given it to Robin.

I’m also questioning Gizzy’s love for the noose.

If we treat that as a phallic symbol, what does that say about Gisborne as a man?

A shudder to think!

Armitage takes on the Saxons

I’m currently reading the Saxon Stories.

It’s a continuing historical novel series written by Bernard Cornwell about 9th century Britain, and you may have heard of because our own Mr Armitage was kind enough to provide his voice (and acting talent) to the audiobook version of the third novel, The Lords of the North.

If there was any justice in the world, he would have recorded all 5 books, but I presume the chances of that now are slim to none.

 I wrote a post on the audiobook when I was first listening it, but I’ll just repeat myself by saying this is a must for any Armitage fan.

I’ve heard comments that the CD set is hard to come by and/or very expensive, so I hope most of you will get your hands on it, one way or another.

The series contains the following books:

Before I move on, let me make one thing clear.

I wasn’t sure about all that Saxon, Viking, Dane blood-spilling, vengence-seeking malarkey.

It seemed very far removed from what I usually enjoy, but I’m so happy I took the chance.

It is well worth it!

Just as the Spinners weave the fate or mere mortals, Cornwell creates a tapesty of wonderful characters and events.

I have a controversial suggestion, though.

Before you read the first book of the series, start with the RA audiobook.

I know it may seem like a foolish idea, seeing that this is all one long saga, with characters intertwined, and with extensive backstories, but there’s one reason why I suggest it.

When reading the books, I hear Richard Armitage.

His voice is Uhtred’s voice.

That’s enough of a reason to start from the middle.

Uhtred of Bebbanburg

Although he’s described as a very tall strong man, wide in the shoulder and chest, with long blonde hair and a bushy beard, I can’t help but see him like this:

Uhtred, for me, is Guy of Gisborne, season 3.

Torn between loyalties, haunted by past actions, a victim of cruel fate.

He’s brash and arrogant, rude and offensive.

He switches sides like a flag in the wind.

He fights, and smirks, is ruthless, but deep inside has a kind heart.

He’s described as smelling as bad as a wild boar, but that’s another thing I choose to ignore.

By the way, I know my timeline is very off, but the heart wants Uhtred to resemble Guy, so what can I do?

Anyway, what’s a century (or three) among friends 😉

There are some parallels to be draw between Guy’s relationship with Sheriff Vasey, and Uhtred’s with King Alfred, but I don’t want to spoil the story.

Uhtred, just like Guy, seems to favour ladies that are untamed, like soaring eagles.

There are many other parallels, but I’ll shut up now 🙂

I hope I’ve encouraged you to give the Cornwell books a try, but now I’m off to finish The Pale Horseman.

I can’t wait to see what happens to Uhtred, although mid book 3 there’s a twist in the plot that left me sobbing.

I literally mean a grown woman, listening to an audiobook, bawling her eyes out because something terrible happens to a fictional character.

Oh dear, not sure what that says about me…

Almost forgot to add a little sample of Armitage reading The Lords of the North!

In need of MORE Armitage Voice!

I do believe we are in dire need of some more Armitage Voice!

Some photographs I can like more, some less.

Some roles are more attractive, some leave us wanting more (poor Kruger)

But the voice is the one constant.

I’ve limited myself to the amount of RA audiobooks I listen to.

The simple truth is I stay up late, miss sleep just ploughing through the 12 or so hours of delicious velvet voice.

Believe me, I learnt that listening to Armitage audiobooks can be unhealthy when I was in the grips of The Lords of the North.

This is an absolute favorite of mine.

Ted Hughes ‘Song’.

He had me at ‘Oh Lady’!

In 2007 Richard Armitage read from the letters of the poet Ted Hughes in BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Play

Last, but not least, it’s only fitting to include ‘Yours’ by Leo Marks.

I can only urge, request and… well… beg for some more Armitage audiobooks, narrations, TV commercials!

Armitage goes North

After listening to Georgette Heyer’s novels Sylvester and The Convenient Marriage, read by RA, I was a little adamant to tackle The Lords of the North. This Bernard Cornwell novel, part of the Saxon Stories, didn’t sound like anything I would be interested it. Third in the series, it is based in the 9th Century Anglo-Saxon kingdoms Wessex and Northumbria.

You see my point- Saxon, Danish, Vikings and battle, guts and such.

It turned out there were 2 things I didn’t take into account:

Bernard Cornwell weaves stories in such a wonderful picaresque manner, his sense of humour balances out the gore of battle.

Richard Armitage can read a story like no other and create a reality that is extremely appealing. As I have seen with his other audiobooks, he is able to create a multum of characters with hybrid accents, that perfectly fit the era. As always you end up forgetting all the characters are read by one man. Truth be told, it doesn’t seem read at all.

The combination is simply magical. I regret that RA recorded only one of the books of the series, however I shall have a clear image of Uhtred when I read the remaining. And what an attractive image it is!

Image: Allthingsarmitage

With 12 hours, do yourself a favour, grab Serpentbreath and get to it!

Image: Allthingsarmitage

The protagonist, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, makes his way back to his native Northumbria seeking revenge against his uncle Ælfric and childhood enemies Sven the One-Eyed and Kjartan the Cruel. He is upset because of King Alfred’s snub and wishes to cut all ties with him.

I know history buffs will be upset at me, but throughout the recording, I imagined Uhtred as a Saxon version Guy of Gisborne.

My imagination, my right 🙂

Ok, so there aren’t any bows and arrows, but you get the point…

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