Yes, but did they SPEND as much on their weddings as we do on ours?

Yes, but did they SPEND as much on their weddings as we do on ours?

OK, peeps –

As you know, in Odin’s End, our Viking hero Rorik captures Adele’s ship, killing the crew and taking her and her monk buddies captive. Obviously, not the most successful of blind dates.

Needless to say, these actions present some serious challenges to Rorik’s and Adele’s later romantic relationship. But there’s also another big challenge. OOPS – Rorik is betrothed. (He must have forgotten to mention it.)

So in researching betrothals, weddings, etc., I came across more wicked cool factoids about marriage in Viking society. Here you go:

  • The potential suitor had to start the negotiations; the father of the girl could never initiate his daughter’s marriage.
  • The woman was totally absent from the negotiations; in fact, frequently marriages were negotiated without the woman’s knowledge. Rarely did the couple meet before the wedding. And as for her approval? Irrelevant.
  • There were two levels of engagement, where the woman was either an “engaged woman” (festarkona) or a “promised woman” (heitkona). The promised woman had to wait for the suitor for 3 years, but after that she’d be available for other suitors.
  • A father couldn’t force his daughter to marry if she wanted to become a nun (OK – so if she can’t stand the guy, she can either marry him or become a nun. That’s one helluva choice!)
  • The marriage was considered legal if 6 witnesses saw the husband go to bed with the wife. (Think of all the weddings you’ve been to – is this something you’d REALLY want to see?)
  • However, this was preceded (thankfully) by a lavish banquet, and the partying lasted for days.
  • Divorce was easy to obtain, and this, combined with men being killed at sea or in battle, and women dying in childbirth, meant that a whole lot of weddings took place. (Wow – the Lifetime Channel could have a whole lot of those “Platinum Wedding” shows.)
  • Another little bit of trivia? The last Catholic bishop in Iceland, Jon Arason, had 6 known children with his acknowledge mistress. (I won’t bother to comment on this one.)

So yeah, Rorik has a problem. He’s betrothed. There are some real consequences if he breaks the engagement. (My, my. He’s offended a family’s honor. And what’re the consequences for that, in Viking culture?) And he’s considering it because of Adele, our heroine who really can’t stand him.

Hmmm….. what’s your average Viking guy going to do?

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