If you thought Stubbles was a jerk before, well, now you know he’s also an ass.
Viking funerals are a hard thing to pin down, because they, like anything else involving religious beliefs, varied region by region. The sagas talk about Balder’s funeral, where his ship was sent out into the ocean, then shot with a flaming arrow so it all burned. It’s suspected that the burning of ships and their inhabitants released their souls so they could go to the afterlife. There’s also been evidence of stabbed helmets and folded swords in some graves, as if damaging them did the same thing. But there’s also many burials where the ship and its contents were not burned or destroyed, such as Oseberg, Gokstad, and Sutton Hoo. These were buried under great burial mounds, much like Coal’s mother’s grave. Until someone can invent a time machine, we’ll just never know for sure what they believed.
There’s an abundance of evidence supporting the idea that these vikings did not go to the afterlife alone. Aside from the horses and dogs that might accompany their master, slaves were also ritually killed to support their master in the afterlife. I can’t imagine the slave always volunteered, given the evidence of decapitation and bludgeoning in some cases, but sometimes they did. An Arabic traveler named Ibn Fadlan wrote a lot about the vikings living along the Volga River in present day Russia. He gives a rather graphic account of a thrall girl who volunteered to go with her master into the afterlife, and the ritual she went through. Her death involved rape, strangulation, and stabbing. While undoubtedly the Rus vikings had a different way of doing things than Norwegian vikings, I used this account as something of a stepping stone when it came to the burial ritual in this chapter. Luckily we only got as far as Hedda drinking something that dulled her senses.
Okay, on to better and brighter things! You can vote for TWC this week and see the sketch for next week’s page. It isn’t enough Hedda’s being chased by a couple guys who want to kill her (or at least one who wants to and one who has to), but now she has Mother Nature’s fjords to deal with. Stupid fjords.
Also, the other day I joined a site called InkOutbreak. It’s a pretty neat site where you can tell it what sort of webcomics you like to read, and it’ll give you other suggestions based on what you like or dislike. On the sidebar, below the voting stone, you can see my little “Follow” button. I think if you click that, it’ll give you other ideas for stories you might enjoy, and it also lets other people know that they might like to read TMK too.
Thanks for reading my lengthy post today. See you next week! This chapter’s almost done, and Coal will be along soon. :3