Arnórr jarlaskáld and the Jarls of Orkney
This chapter examines the work of Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson. Although Arnórr composed highly competent erfidrápur for the kings of Norway, Haraldr Sigurðarson and Magnús Óláfsson, his stanzas commemorating the Orkney jarls, to whom he was related by marriage, are particularly striking in their descriptions of grief and loss. The chapter briefly considers Arnórr’s poem for Jarl Rǫgnvaldr, before turning to the sequence he composed in honour of Rǫgnvaldr’s brother, Þorfinnr. In Þorfinnsdrápa, Arnórr laments the death of his patrons and describes his highly emotional reaction to their conflict with each other. The obligation to praise a man who was also responsible for the death of his own kinsman forces Arnórr to question his ability to fulfil the role of skald.
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