On Viga-Glúm's Saga and Being an Odinsman
n Viga-Glúm’s Saga, one of the Icelandic family sagas, young Glúm
travels to his kin in Norway. He obtains three family heirlooms (a cloak, a
spear, and a sword), the apparent blessings of his family spirits, and the
patronage of Odin. Upon his return to Iceland, he wrests power from his
neighboring relatives, who have oppressed his side of the family, and who are
connected to the rival cult of Frey. Glúm eventually rises to the status of
local leader though his canny use of feud, violence, trickery and the law.
His ascendancy, however, proves unstable, and in his later years, he is
forced out of the district. What interpretation should we give this saga, and
what are its implications for our understanding of heathen metaphysics and
the nature of Odinic chieftaincy?