A Short Course in Old Norse Cursing

Old Norse sagas and poetry offer a rich insight into various magical practices. These range from helpful runes and charms to darker spells meant to harm or control others. This lecture delves into the more shadowy side of Norse magic. A recurring theme in many tales is the blend of insulting words with magic, invoking a surprising variety of supernatural forces against the victim. Attendees will meet a sorceress fond of young men, an Icelandic poet in need of anger management, a menacing ghost, a grieving lady full of danger, and a messenger from an ancient deity, as well as their unfortunate victims. Through these tales, we’ll gain a better understanding of how the Old Norse saw the balance between individuals and society at a cosmological scale, and their strong belief in the power of spoken words.


Bernt Ø. Thorvaldsen (b. 1976) is a professor of Norwegian at the University of South-Eastern Norway, where he teaches language and literature. Thorvaldsen is an expert on Old Norse culture, with Old Norse mythology and Edda poetry as his speciality.

Curated and Hosted By:

Lena Schattenherz Heide-Brennand is a Norwegian lecturer with a master degree in language, culture and literature from the University of Oslo and Linnaeus University. She has been lecturing and teaching various subjects since 1998. Her field of interest and main focus has always been topics that others have considered strange, eccentric and eerie, and she has specialised in a variety of dark subjects linked to folklore, mythology and Victorian traditions and medicine. Her students often point out her thorough knowledge about the subjects she is teaching, in addition to her charismatic appearance. She refers to herself as a performance lecturer and always gives her audience an outstanding experience

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Apr 16 2024 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

£6 - £10 & By Donation

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