Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Guest Today... Mairi Norris, Viking Romance Author

My guest today is author of Viking romance, Màiri Norris. 

Màiri is a USN vet who lives in Virginia with her USCG retiree husband and three cats (though her heart belongs to the Highlands of Scotland). When she's not busy writing, Màiri loves to travel and make dollhouse miniatures. She also adores reading, and discovered, at age six, a whole new universe to explore through books – and made up her own stories, too. It was always a ‘back-of-the-mind’ dream to put those stories on paper. Now she’s living her dream. 

She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, Chesapeake Romance Writers, Beau Monde and Clan Donald, USA.

Do comment on Màiri's post and leave an email as one lucky commenter will will her book, Viking Sword.

Viking Warrior Women? By Màiri Noris

From the Valkyrie Brunhild to Hevor the Shield-Maiden, myth, legend and history give homage to ‘female warriors’ of Viking culture. Who were they, then, these militant women who found their way into the sagas, whose names have survived the ages, and were they the norm? Those few about whom we know were called haughty, wise, valiant and vengeful, but were Viking ladies all that dissimilar to women today?

Not really.

The prevailing viewpoint of Norsemen is that of ruthless warriors who lived only by savagery and warfare. It is true the world of that day was a brutal place, but if one takes a close look at the societies of those Northern cultures, one discovers they were no more savage than their counterparts in the rest of the world.

Sigrid the Haughty and Olaf Tryggvason
The attitude of the men toward women, in particular, was noteworthy for its nonviolence. The Vikings cared about their women and treated them exceptionally well. The rights of females in society were, in many ways, equal to that of the men. A Viking lady was actually safer among her people than the modern woman.

To abuse a woman physically was considered so low, so craven, a man who struck a woman lost his “manhood” in the minds of other men (the worst thing that could happen to the Viking male). Adultery was illegal because it was seen as a mistreatment of the wife. A male family member or friend could legally seek the death of any man to sought to force his attentions on a woman. Even verbal abuse was frowned upon and women were allowed to respond in kind without fear of retribution.

This prohibition against striking or hurting a female was so strong even the Sagas mention it, recounting the tale of a man insulted and castigated by a passing group of other men for hitting his wife with snowballs, and this while the couple were merely at play!

Though both girls and boys were given basic training in self-defense, only a handful of women ever became ‘shield-maidens’ and these were considered aberrations by their contemporaries. Viking women did not need to be warriors, because it was a man’s responsibility to protect the women in his life. If he failed, he had better make sure he died trying!

Death of the shieldmaiden Hevor
While this careful treatment of females did not always extend to foreign women, especially slaves, it was not typical for males to mistreat any female. Rapes and beatings did happen, but not to the extent depicted in books and movies today.

Viking women were caregivers and homemakers - rarely involving themselves in battle or trade - and were greatly honored as such. They were esteemed as being as strong, smart, honorable and courageous as any of their menfolk. The very security of their place in society assured their right to live much as they saw fit. Truly, if one had to live in that difficult and dangerous time, it was no bad thing to be born a Viking woman!

How about you? Would you want to be a Viking lady? One lucky commenter will win Viking Sword: A Fall of Yellow Fire (reviewed in a separate post below).

He killed her beloved husband.

Or did he?

When former Saxon rebel Cynric of Wulfsinraed meets Ysabeau Maci, he knows he has found the woman of his dreams. But even as he begins his determined pursuit of the lovely Norman widow, his past abruptly returns to haunt him.

Two years earlier, in a raid by Saxon rebels, Ysabeau’s husband was killed by a warrior with hate-filled emerald eyes. Cynric’s moss-green gaze reminds her of that awful day. As she comes to know him, she cannot resist his gentle smile or the thrill of his touch, but the feelings he arouses are increasingly tinged with fear he may be the green-eyed warrior who destroyed her life.

Their uneasy relationship is further tested when Cynric’s best friend, Brunwulf of Blackbridge, who shares Cynric’s rebel past, flees to him for sanctuary with his betrothed, Heagyth of Jorvick. Hard on their heels is a troop of Norman warriors intent on capturing them to face the judgment of King William.

Ysabeau’s suspicions, Heagyth’s flight from Norman justice and Brunwulf’s involvement in the assassination of a powerful Norman bishop force Cynric’s hidden past into the open. The resulting conflict threatens to rip their world apart before they can build the new lives they covet.

Keep up with Màiri Norris on her Website, Facebook, Pinterest and on Amazon.


  1. Thanks so much, Regan, for featuring me on your blogspot today. It's great to be here to talk a little about Viking women, for whom I have much respect.

    1. You are most welcome, Mairi. Glad to have you here! Fascinating post.

  2. Thank you, Regan, for the introduction to Mairi and her writing about Vikings. And thank you, Mairi, for your research which gave me information I didn't have before, that women were not mistreated by Viking men. I am very interested in reading a Viking romance that reflects this new information and have put your book on my wish list at Amazon. Thank you both for this post!

    1. Hi, Janice! I think it depends on which women we are talking about. If you were a captive and a slave, your treatment might be different that a wife, right? But like everything, it is hard to generalize and be right.


    2. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Janice. One of the things most writers love the most about writing is the research that goes into it. We learn the most fascinating things! I, also, loved learning about the Viking attitude toward women. It will certainly play a part in my Viking series.

  3. I don't think I'm viking lady material and I like my modern conveniences.
    Nice post!

    1. To be honest, Lori, those old days are a lot of fun to write and read about, but I wouldn’t really want to live then, either. It's really true, though, that if I had to be a woman living in that time, I'd rather be a Viking woman than any other. Those folks didn't live as long as we do, and life was very hard, but somehow, as a people, they seem to have 'lived' it with more joy, curiosity and intensity than most.

  4. "If you were a captive and a slave, your treatment might be different that a wife, right?"

    Also on raids, the rape and pillage did not exclude women I think! This special treatment of wives presumably has something to do with the desire for strong sons?

    Checking for audio books on Audible UK there are very few Viking sagas available. Any chance that you could improve this Màiri?

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    3. Thanks for checking out the post, Quantum. Yes, there was a difference between the way Viking women and female thralls (slaves) were treated, but the prohibition against a man using his strength against a woman was so deeply ingrained in the Viking male psyche even thralls were not so mistreated as is commonly thought.
      Thralls were valuable commodities, and abusing them lessened that worth and made it difficult for them to do the job for which they were enslaved. Many thralls, both male and female, actually became valued members of the ‘family community’ and were treated as such. It was possible for a thrall to gain their freedom because they earned the respect of their owner, or even for a Viking man to take a female thrall as wife (and in a few cases, as a highly esteemed and well cared for concubine, despite that adultery was illegal under Viking law).

      Also, those who were taken for sale in the slave markets could only bring the best value if they were in ‘prime condition’. For that reason, the men who took them also took reasonable care of them. It is true though, that if a Viking raid was purely for the purpose of gaining material riches and slaves were not intended as part of the booty, or if the raiders wanted to strike fear into the hearts of those they attacked, they did indeed “rape, pillage and murder” in the manner in which the (sometimes, highly exaggerated) reports indicated. In this, however, they were no more brutal than any other people of their time.

      As for putting my books on Audio, I haven’t gone there - yet - but it is something I’ve been considering for the future.

  5. I appreciate your comment about the treatment of women, Regan, and agree. I should have said something more particular like the treatment of wives as opposed to slave women.

    1. Well, Janice, as we both know, how a woman is treated depends a lot on a man, even today.