Why Hakon?

Hakon consults with Jarl Sigurd

Hakon consults with Jarl Sigurd

A number of people have asked me over the years why I chose Hakon Haraldsson (or "Hakon the Good" as the sagas call him) as the protagonist in the GOD'S HAMMER series (yes - it'll be a series. I promise). While we don't know all of the facts of Hakon's life, we do know that even if marginally true, Hakon's story takes many of the norms of Viking literature and turns them on their head. In many ways, Hakon is the anti-Viking, yet a memorable hero nonetheless. And that's precisely what drew me to him.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

The sagas and literature are bursting with tales of strong, fearsome Viking warriors. Yet Hakon returns from England at a young age to fight for the High Seat. We presume, though don't know for sure, he's approximately fourteen. In other words, his body is not fully developed. While he may have been strong or large for his age (we have no way of knowing), he is anything but the Beowulf-esque champion we think of when he think of a challenger to the throne of Norway.

What Hakon lacked in physical strength, he must surely have made up for with internal strength. During his time, the Norse worshiped the "old gods", and many stories speak of Viking raids on Christian realms and churches. Yet along comes the story of Hakon, a lone Christian boy fighting for the throne of his "pagan" homeland. The pagans look at him askance and urge him to convert, yet Hakon holds fast to his beliefs. That type of courage, to me, is a fascinating spin on the traditional Viking yarn.

But lest we forget, Hakon is a Northman and they liked their battles. His ambition to rule his father's realm is no different than the ambition of the brother he seeks to dethrone. Only I saw Hakon as fighting two battles, one against his brother and one against himself. His strength in many ways is his greatest weakness. How easy it could have been for him to shed his beliefs and earn the favor of his countrymen. But in GOD'S HAMMER, he didn't, and it plagues him.

All of this conflict and internal strife grabbed me, so much so that I wrote GOD'S HAMMER and continue to work on Hakon's tale. I hope you enjoy it.