Njáls Saga or Burnt Njáll
Njáls saga, also called Njála, or Burnt Njáll, has to be one of the longest and certainly finest 13th-century Icelandic’ sagas. It presents a clear picture of Icelandic life in a heroic and battle-torn age. The Saga has two heroes—Gunnar (Gunther) and Njáll.
Gunnar is a brave, guileless, generous youth like Sigurd (Siegfried) of the heroic legends. Njáll is a wise and prudent man endowed with prophetic gifts. Both are men of peace, but in a society in which the ties of blood impose inescapable obligations, neither Gunnar’s goodwill nor Njáll’s wisdom can save them from their fate.
The characters of the Njáls saga are vivid and true to life, ranging from the comic to the sinister. The high tide of Icelandic life can be seen in the meetings of the heroes at the Alþingi (Parliament) in times of peace and good fortune. However, the high price for their unique lifestyles is always hanging heavy over them.
To discover more about the complexities of the events that take place within the Njáls saga, pay a visit to the Saga Centre in Hvolsvöllur. Here is a unique exhibition with information about Njáls Saga in several languages. The exhibition gives an overview of the world of the Sagas, the Viking age and the age of the settlement.
History Outside Our Doorstep
In fact, it is here in the Hvolsvöllur region that Njáls Saga actually took place one thousand years ago. While visiting the Saga Centre, stop and discover the the Njáls Saga tapestry. This is a beautiful work of art that completed by community members and guests 2019. The tapestry is around 90 m long with images from Njáls Saga using the Bayeux stitch (laid couching work). This is a special type of stitch dating back to the Viking age.