Norway end of X century. Jarl Hakon, who has conquered his country, dreams of royalty: he wants to turn from a jarl-a free and eminent military leader-into a king whose power is sanctified by a dynastic tradition and a people’s habit, that is, indisputable. But on the way to the yarl – Olaf, great-grandson of the first king and unifier of Norway Harald the Beautiful-haired. And although Olaf lives far away – he rules over the Vikings conquered by Ireland, – while he is alive, the power of Hakon is under threat: this is understood by both old and young, all Norwegians.
The hakon has already ordered a crown. True, during the fitting, it turns out to be great and literally “catches” his eyes – the blacksmith Bergtor made it after the model of
The case makes Hakon act. He learns that Olaf – in Norway, the ruler of Ireland went to his homeland with a small squad. He goes to Gardarica, where he rushes to the son of the deceased Prince Valdemar, to help him establish himself in the principality. The hakon acts subtly and cautiously: he sends to Olaf a small embassy – his young cousins and his closest assistant merchant Claque. The latter, catching the unspoken desire of the master, provokes Olaf – in Norway it is troubled, the people of Khacone are unhappy and at any moment is ready to rise. A worthy descendant of his glorious ancestors, Olaf could regain the crown of Norway.
Previously, not thinking about the Troubles, Olaf offers to incline himself to a speech against Hakon. Finally, he strengthens the decision of the call of the priest Tagenbrand – to baptize Norway, and then the whole North!
As always, the Hakon acts swiftly and vigorously and very soon lands on the island, where it stands with part of the Olaf’s squad. Like him, the yarl
There is an unexpected, but logical – to Olaf with a guilty are his cousins, they report: their deception turned into truth, the country rebelled. From the very beginning, having achieved power, the Jarl Hakon ruled rationally and fairly, but over time, the tyrant more and more conquered him, and the arbitrariness and unceremonious love of his wife drove the subjects to despair. The last straw was the kidnapping of the blacksmith’s daughter, who was attracted by the yarl, right from her wedding feast. If people find out that Olaf arrived in the country, they will undoubtedly join him. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Hakon will act against Olaf openly, he prepared for him a trap: the merchant Klake promised the yarl to lure Olaf into the forest, to deprive him of life, and then secretly bring a basket to the forest hut to Hakon with the severed head of the king. Fortunately, Klake’s plan gave the brothers the smart slave merchant Mushroom, and they, who previously served as the ruler of Norway by faith and truth, are outraged by such perfidy and do not believe the yarl more. And they ask Olaf to punish them for trying to find out his plans, and also because, after lying, they told him the pure truth!
With truly royal magnanimity, Olaf forgives his brothers. Clacke’s plans are destroyed, and he himself was slaughtered by the slave Grib, for which Olaf rewards that freedom and a new name Grief. Wrapped in a cloak and putting his hat over his eyes, Olaf is in the hut with a basket, Pretending to be a slave-killer, Olaf asks Hakon if he wants to see the head of his enemy? He refuses and orders him to bury her in the ground as soon as possible. The slave insists. He praises his head and reproaches the jarl for cowardice. For convenience, he declares further, he brought his head on his shoulders – Olaf opens his cloak and takes off his hat. The resistance of the Hakon is useless, the hut is surrounded, but the noble king does not want to use a too obvious advantage. He offers Hakon a choice: either complete submission, or death in the next battle, if they happen to come together again.
Hakon chooses the second. On the day of the decisive battle near Trondheim, the messenger informs him of the death of the eldest son – he was hacked by Olaf, mistakenly mistaking his son for his father. Hakon is shocked by the news. What does the death of a beloved son mean? The weakness and decay of the gods or the punishment of Hakon for lack of faith? Jarl asks the gods of war to forgive him, and just at that moment they bring him a gold horn knocked off from his squadron with the runes knocked out on him: “If you have sinned / / Happiness turned away – / Best Sacrifice / And Himself Almighty.” The best that is left for Hakon – his second young son Erling. He also sacrifices him, having learned about which Hakona leaves even the most faithful and valorous of his warriors Einar.
We are overwhelmed by doubts and victorious Olaf. On the night before the battle he talks in the forest with his one-eyed elder Auden, who visited him. The old man defends paganism. Christianity, perhaps, is good for the pampered and fertile South, which frees itself from the struggle for existence and encourages the arts. But in the severe North paganism is necessary, it fosters courage, honor and an active beginning. Olaf does not accept the teachings of Auden, but treats his words with respect: on the riddles in his speech he recognizes in the elder the supreme Odin god of Scandinavians, though the priest Tagenbrand assures him that Auden is just a pagan priest sent to them by Hacon. As for the connection between paganism and the nature of the North, the priest continues, it is also not so. Faith in Odin came to these parts from the East.
The army of Jarl Haqon is broken, but he does not perish in battle. After killing a horse and leaving blood spattered on the battlefield, he hides in the former concubine of the Torah. The hakon is doubly guilty before her: in his time he abandoned her, being seduced by the daughter of a blacksmith, now, in addition, he killed two of her brothers in the battle. And yet the Torah forgives the Hakon – she pities him: before her, the shadow of the former yarla, and, if she refuses to help him, he will only have to throw a breast on the sword. Jarl follows the Torah into the shelter he has prepared, and he himself thinks that this is his ghost follows the queen of the underworld of Hel in her possession.
Jarl sits in the subfield with his servant – the slave Karker. From above come the screams of people searching for Hakon. The Jarl is exhausted, but he is afraid to fall asleep: the slave may well extradite his master or slaughter him. The slave tells Hakon his last dream: he and the jarl float in the boat, which is controlled by Carker. The hakon interprets the dream: Carker rules the fate of the jarl. Then, in a dream from the rock, “a black man grows up,” he notifies the oarsmen that “all the bays are closed” for them. Hakon’s verdict – they do not live long for both, Jarl is forgotten in a slumber, and the slave sneaks to him. Suddenly, remembering his terrible victim, Jarl wakes up, jumps up and, unable to endure the torment for longer, puts the knife in Karker’s hand, and he kills him.
The slave goes to the people searching for yarla: it is necessary to find the Hakon – he can cause further confusion in the country. But the murderer does not receive the promised reward. Olaf orders him to hang it. The body of the Hakon is given to the Torah. In the dungeon, she says the last word over his coffin: “Powerful soul / In the pursuit of good was a victim of rock / And the delusions of time.”