Something fun to get you started

Check out this YouTube video:

It’s an adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon poem The Battle of Maldon, done entirely in animated LEGO. Here you may see the overweening pride of Byrhtnoth, an Anglian commander who makes a tactical blunder fighting the Vikings that costs him his life. See the conflict between ancient heroic values and the gritty contemporary reality of 991 CE England, plagued by Viking armies and desperately trying to mount some kind of valiant resistance. You can almost imagine Byrhtnoth thinking to himself, “If we can beat them here, we can beat them anywhere!” — envisioning himself grandiosely as the first of his generation to successfully battle the Viking invaders, an example to spark an entire nation’s military resistance to the encroachers, and preserve their way of life. Too bad it doesn’t work out for the English during this battle (sorry, a spoiler).

If you are curious about the poem you can find a translation on page 103 of your Broadview anthology. There’s also my translation on my website: http://anglosaxonpoetry.camden.rutgers.edu/battle-of-maldon/

Either way, enjoy the tiny plastic carnage!

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2 thoughts on “Something fun to get you started

  1. This is awesome! There’s something about LEGOs that makes them perfect for battle scenes. It might be the uniformity of their look that almost makes them faceless. Because you can’t tell them apart, it makes you think more critically about the real cost of wars and battles. This also adds to our caricature of the Vikings and their funny mannerisms, speech and looks. I also love the English nationality that is felt in this. Obviously, there’s pride (too much sometimes), but that’s what makes a new nation special. That’s kind of where the US is. We rose to power as quickly as England, but we still haven’t found an identity. Which is scary and exciting.

    But also, the red round pegs that are used as blood are awesome.

    Like

  2. I just wanted to mention that my 6 year old son was a huge fan of this video even though he made me fast forward to the “real fighting” and he swore that the narrator was not speaking English.

    Like

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