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The sudden Viking attack against the castle succeeds partly because the few males we see in its domain appear to live in a genteel and defenseless domestic sphere of handicrafts, poetry, music, and games. The bookish and stoically passive Alwin becomes the only apparent survivor of the Viking raid. Quickly reduced from pampered aristocrat to short-sheared slave, he is gradually forced to recoup his manhood within the violent and heroic world of the Vikings. As a chained thrall grouped among multiracial, multiethnic fellow slaves in a Norwegian way station, Alwin is purchased for three hundred gold pieces by Helga to be her personal property, emasculating him even further.

Norse Columbus: Donald Crisp as Leif Ericsson in The Viking (1928). Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Helluland (most probably Baffin Island), Markland (Labrador), and Vinland (Newfoundland). Long debated as legend, the Vinland sagas (supported by the Ingstads’ archeological finds) finally helped substantiate that Vikings had once reached and lived along the Canadian eastern seaboard nearly a millennium ago. These shifts in thinking about the Nordic are played out in Technicolor’s The Viking.

29 Cofounded by Albert E. 30 According to surviving records, only a handful of prior films racializing vinland 31 about Vikings and Anglo-Saxons were produced during the silent era, and Vitagraph made at least two of them. In 1908 the studio released The Viking’s Daughter: The Story of the Ancient Norsemen starring Florence Lawrence and directed by Blackton himself. While this film appears to be lost, a contemporary plot description of The Viking’s Daughter has interesting parallels to the race/gender/class romantic complications of The Viking twenty years later.

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