Monday, October 06, 2008


Unlucky: Lucky

In Icelandic Saga Terms McCain is to Obama as Skarp-Hedin, the berserker, is to Kari, the brave.


Skarp-Hedin demonstrates the contrast between a hero and a rogue through his long fall from grace. His early positive characteristics are equal to his latter evil ones. Strength, courage, cunning, wisdom, luck, and good looks are traded for disrespect, sarcasm, impulsiveness, lucklessness, and evil continence.

From the Wiki:


Kari possesses tremendous good luck, the best of any in the Saga. Only a man of luck could have escaped from the Burning, and Njal comments that no one will be able to defeat that luck. Kari is also prescient, indicated by such statements as "Kari was so accurate in his guessing that he left there just as the others gave up the search"(338). When he escapes, up the smoldering beam, he turns to Skarp-Hedin and says, "this parting means that we shall never see each other again"(268).

Kari never speaks badly of his enemies, and never utters threats against them (278). He never breaks an oath, and is a generous, faithful friend. He proves himself to be wise and considerate, sparing those enemies which he considers honorable, like Flosi and Ketil (337). He stands by his friends and his brothers, even when they are making bad decisions. His fighting ability is equal to Gunnar's, and his strategies clever. When he does cease fighting, he does so in an honorable way. All of his qualities are outstanding, and he comes exceedingly close to being the perfect hero, and is the only one who survives to become an elderly man.