Renegades by Marissa Meyer review

“The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.”

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I absolutely love everything Marissa Meyer has written. I was so happy to get back to her books. I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started this and that is ok. I like it that way most of the time. Nothing disappointed me.

Characters:

So lets start with some of the Renegades characters I like….ALL OF THEM! Well the entire Sketch team anyway! There are a few other Renegades that I won’t shed a tear when they die. But out of the team I like Oscar “Smokescreen” Silva the best! Of course Adrian “Sketch” Everhart is good too. Seems a little over-confident and maybe needs to be taken down a few notches. I didn’t get to know Danna too much cause of what happened towards the beginning of the book. So I am hoping to see more of her in the next book. And Ruby seems like a total doll and someone I’d love to hang out with.

Now we had the Renegade Council. Man oh man! I really HATE all of them at the moment in superhero mode. I do like Hugh and Simon when they are just regular husband/husband (no it’s not a spoiler) form taking care of their family. They are adorable together.

Ok now we go to the Anarchists. Nova “Nightmare” Artina. She came seem a bit annoying but she has been through hell since she was like 6 years old. So I am ignoring of some the “tough girl” attitude because I know she is going to change eventually. I am very curious about Phobia. Real name is unknown. Very mysterious guy. Honey is cute and adorable but not someone you want to piss off. Leroy seems like a pretty cool dude. Winston is creepy as hell in a could be serial killer way and Ingrid….well I can’t talk about Ingrid right now…..

And last but certainty not least is Max…not a whole is known about Max. I adore the kid and feel sorry for him. It took a while to get the back story on Max but I was totally blown away and love him.

Plot:

Ok so let’s get to the actually story. Marissa had me going. It was so hard to tell who really was the superheros and who was the villains. It’s not as easy to decide as you would think. Renegades are the supposed superheroes and the anarchists are supposed to be the villians. But I don’t know. It’s tricky for sure.

I’m interested to see how to brings it all to an end in the next book. Since I heard its a duology. I have a crap ton of questions.

That ending blew me away. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor for sure. I had no idea that was coming at all and it’s going to make book 2 even more interesting!

Rating:

5stars

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First wrap of 2018 in the books!

I’d say it was a good start to 2018! 5 books managed while starting 2 pre-Nursing classes (Medical Terminology and Anatomy & Physiology). And it was a damn good reading month too! Just one book I didn’t like. So let’s get to it!

🕷 Arachnophobia by Nicholas Edwards (there will be a full book/movie review post going up next wed) 3/5 🌟

👩🏾‍🔬 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 5/5 🌟 Review

☠️ The Dead Zone by Stephen King 2/5 🌟 Review

👸🏻 Katherine Of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir 5/5 🌟 Review

🕴🏻 Renegades by Marissa Meyer 5/5 🌟 (be on the lookout for this book review in Feb!)

Currently reading:

I’m almost halfway done. Totally loving it! I’ll rewatch the movie and it will be a February book/movie review blog! So be on the lookoutfor that as well!!!

Katherine of Aragon By Alison Weir review (Tera & Cat)

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“A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage – and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.”

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Katherine’s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine’s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.

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Where do I even begin! This book was amazing. I did not know a whole lot about Katherine. Only what I knew from watching The Tudors on HBO. They did not do a very good job. I know the show centers around King Henry VIII but we were able to see and learn about his wives, minus Katherine. We come into the show late in his 24 year marriage to Katherine. They show her dark-haired, dark eyes, evil-looking women. Well she isn’t. She was red-haired, light eyes and a very loving and devout wife. I hated her from what I saw in the show. But now that I know her full story, I love her. She had every reason to be so hateful there at the end. All the hell she went through. GAH!

Alison did such an amazing job with this book. She made you feel like you were right there with Katherine, yet you could understand the story. She modernized the language so make it enjoyable.

We are able to see Katherine’s journey from the moment she steps on English land. From her first meeting with King Henry VII and Prince Arthur (Henry VIII’s older brother), to the moment she first laid eyes on Henry VIII. She was treated like royalty and then treated like a servant to becoming the true Queen of England. Not many people could have dealt with what she had to deal with. I sure would have run back home to Spain.

You can totally see the amazing love between Katherine and Henry from the beginning. I honestly think Henry VIII loved Katherine until his last breath of life. I think all that happened in this book was due to outside influences and the need for a son.

Anne! Oh little miss Anne. I actually like her, a little, in the show. I actually liked her more than Katherine. But that has now been changed. (We will be reading the Anne story for a buddy read this year also). I do feel like Anne should not had ended the way she did (won’t go into details in case you don’t know what happened to her) but she was a ruthless bitch in this book. As she was in the show. She despised Katherine and her daughter Mary. She was a HUGE influence with the actions Henry VIII took. I do think her father and brother were also a big influence not only on the King but also on Anne. I almost wonder if her brother and father were not around would she have been the way she was?

Also Wolsey and Cromwell. Oh man I can’t stand them either. Never have and never will. GAH! Such assholes! Wosley was totally doing everything just to gain for himself. Cromwell is the same.

I highly recommend this book if you love history. It is an amazing depiction. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series (there is one book for each wife) and read all of Alison Weir’s books in general.

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I am so happy I finally got to read this book. It has been sitting on my shelf for a while now, begging me to pick it up. Thank goodness, I waited so I can read it with Tera for our history blog.

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Alison Weir is an amazing author, the way she captures you into the story, not being able to or wanting to leave. It’s also easy to read, but also not making you feel like you aren’t in that time period. Hopefully that all made sense, I’m unfortunately not as good as describing things as Alison Weir.

Since this is spoiler free, I’m going to try and not give too much away. If you don’t know anything about Katherine of Aragon, or Henry VIII, then I’ll give you a brief summary. Katherine is Henry’s first wife. She was first married to his brother, Arthur… That should be enough backstory I think.

I didn’t know much about Katherine’s early life, most TV shows or movies (even books), have shown the last few years of her life. It was so refreshing to read about Katherine and see her in a new light. Also, everyone has it wrong, even the cover of my edition. She has red hair!!

Since knowing the “ending”, I was shocked to find out how much at the beginning Henry VIII actually loved Katherine. Of course, there must’ve been something at the beginning, I just didn’t know how much of their marriage was from his choosing, or for political reasons.

Since arriving in England at an early age, I don’t believe she was treated kindly. There were times where she was treated with respect, as a princess then queen, but it must’ve been frustrating to be a woman in this time period and not really have a say. I’m not talking just about her marriage, it was basically everyday life. She was to produce an heir, a male heir, in a time period where medical knowledge isn’t that great (putting that mildly). The second part of the book broke my heart for her. Being a mother myself, it must’ve been so painful and hard. I’m not going to say anymore, read the book for yourself.

Saying all that, this next part is going to shock you, and I’m hoping it’s not a spoiler, even though I don’t feel it is.

I actually got really frustrated with Katherine at the end. Henry wants a divorce, maybe because he actually wants sons and Katherine can’t get pregnant anymore. Or he fell in love with someone else, whatever the reason is, does she really think by refusing a divorce from him, things are going to go back to the way it was. I think the more she refused, the more he started to hate her.

I’m sorry, if it was me and a guy didn’t love me anymore, I’ll just leave. I don’t want to stay with someone who doesn’t want me. Of course, in that time period she had the chance to graciously go into a convent, or live the high life she was still living, but no, she would not get a divorce. Maybe because she was headstrong, and good on her for that, but it did get annoying for me.

I’m also not going to call Anne names like Katherine and her ladies did, going on about a woman with a married man, yet they don’t go on about all the other affairs he had. Okay, I’m getting worked up, but I’m starting to think maybe I should’ve stopped at part two, so now I don’t find Katherine frustrating. I just don’t understand, did she really think by not getting a divorce, Henry is going to be like, “Okay, after all these years trying to get a divorce, you refusing, everything is going to go back to the way it was”. No, it isn’t!! If it’s not Anne, guess what, it would just be someone else. Anne was just smart enough not to sleep with him like other women. She didn’t want to be another of his whores.

Okay, enough of that, because it starting to sound like I don’t love the book, and I absolutely love it. So well written and told, and I am happy I finally got to read a book in Katherine’s point of view. I was just frustrated with the characters, not the book, at the end.

I cannot wait to read Anne’s book later on this year. What does Alison have to say about Anne.

This can also be found on our blog we do together: Discover & Conquer Blog

This Heart Of Mine Was Made To Travel This World

Find a place from each continent that you can’t wait to visit. Explain why.

North America

For this continent I picked Montreal, Canada. Why you ask? Well not only is it beautiful year round but it has some great history and beautiful buildings. Plus my Parabatai, Sarah, lives there. I have been wanting to visit for a long time. I am trying to plan a trip there in October 2018 so I can partake in the Halloween fun they have there. Haunted Houses, Six Flags Halloween! It will be so much fun.

South America

For South American I chose the, Galapagos Islands. When I was a sophomore in college my earth science professor went to the islands during spring break. He showed us pictures from his trip and oh my it was so beautiful. I have known about the islands even before than. Reading about Darwin’s journeys there was the first time learning about the islands. It would be so much fun getting to experience the same places he visited.

Europe

I cheated a little for this continent. I could not pick just one single town/city. I picked a whole country. But its ok. I can make up my own rules. I chose, Scotland. There are tons of places throughout Europe I want to visit but Scotland in my number one stop! Everything about Scotland is breathtakingly beautiful. This history, the castles, the views. All so amazing. I have a slight obsession with Mary, Queen of Scots so I would love to visit all the places she was known to have lived at and been to.

Asia

Funny thing about Asia. I have never really thought about where I would want to visit. So I did some googling on the best destinations in Asia. I ran across a place called Pai, Thailand. WOW it was so beautiful in the pictures. It sounded like it had a lot of cool things to see and do. If you have been to parts of Asia that you feel are good places to visit with rich history let me know in the comments below.

Australia

So there are a couple of places I would like to visit in Australia but my first stop would be Perth, Australia. My sister from another misses lives there. She is my partner in crime. I would love to experience a Christmas in Australia. It would be strange since it is summer time down there instead of winter like in the USA. I always want to visit the beaches, go snorkeling, learn to speak Australian lingo and much much more!

Africa

This was a hard pick as well. There are so many places I want to see and experience in Africa. But my number one stop would probably be Egypt. I am a lover of all things history and getting to see the pyramids and experience the Egyptian culture would be a once in a lifetime adventure.

Antarctica

I know what you are thinking! Who in their right mind wants to visit that place? Well I actually do! For REAL! NO JOKE! I think it would be such an amazing experience to visit Antarctica. There are two places in Antarctica that are sometimes regarded as civilian “towns”. The one I chose to visit is the Argentinian Esperanza base in Hope Bay at the very tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. They both have facilities such as a school, medical facilities, gym etc. though are more accurately regarded as associations of the military and scientific operations. I think it would be great to experience both a winter and summer there. Who wants to join me?? I mean come on they have penguins!

 

What places on each continent would you pick to visit? Let me know below in the comments!

 

 

 

The Dead Zone by Stephen King review

“Johnny, the small boy who skated at breakneck speed into an accident that for one horrifying moment plunged him into The Dead Zone.

Johnny Smith, the small-town schoolteacher who spun the wheel of fortune and won a four-and-a-half-year trip into The Dead Zone.

John Smith, who awakened from an interminable coma with an accursed power—the power to see the future and the terrible fate awaiting mankind in The Dead Zone.”

Ok well….hmmmm….yea this is a no from me. It had potential to be a cool psychic story. The first 70ish pages were good but then it just fell flat.

The characters were dull, flat, bland. Ended up not caring for any of them. There was so much going on with the plot but it just didn’t flow right for me. King would switch to a different story line and then jump back to Johnny and then 50ish pages later he’d jump back and I had a hard time remember what they had to do with the story.

Ugh I don’t know. I don’t even know how to review this properly. I just didn’t like it. I’ve been finding that a lot with King books lately. There are still ones I love but I think my taste is changing. Maybe 🤷🏻‍♀️

2/5 🌟 (and that’s being nice)

When Passion Meets Inspiration, An Obsession Is Born

Write about an obsession or obsessions

 

I have a lot of obsessions. But I narrowed it down to three. I am a lover of all things history. I love watching documentaries on just about everything. From dinosaurs, to Vikings, from the Ice Age to cavemen. Wars, falling of kingdoms to the building of new kingdoms. And also true crime. I feel like those are just as much a part of history as anything else is. I will start with what was my very first obsession as a kid.

World War II

My great-grandfather, Borislav (Bora) Cvetkovich, was born in Yugoslavia. He was a part of the Serbian Army. He served during World War II. I don’t remember the exact dates, but during the war him and some other solders were captured by the Nazis and put into a POW camp. He was there for about 2-3 years during the war before him and a handful of other guys managed to escape the camp and fled with their families to the USA. I use to listen to him talk about his time in the military, during the war and while a prisoner. I was immediately hooked and wanted to know everything I could about World War II. I was around the age of 10ish or so. After that I got my hands on anything I could that was related to World War II. I first read Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. I was amazed at what had happened during the war. I was both fascinated and heartbroken. It is a dream of mine to go visit the Holocaust camps and find out which POW camp my great grandpa was in and see that are as well.

True Crime/Serial Killers

When I was about 14 years old I read Zodiac by Robert Graysmith. It was about the infamous serial killer. I was hooked! I guess you could say I developed an unhealthy obsession with anything true crime related. I was more intrigued by Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Edmund Kemper. I have slowly moved to many many more. I run another blog with my sister called Discover and Conquer (Blog) where we talk history and I do a lot of true crime related blogs. I do NOT in any way think their crimes are ok. They are not. I am just interested in how their mind work. What makes them so much different from non-criminals? I also watch a lot of true crime documentaries, tv shows, movies and so one.

Monarchies

My obsession with monarchies (royals) didn’t develope until my later years. I have always liked them, I was a huge Princess Di fan, but my love of royals has grown and expanded over the years. It all starts with King Henry VIII. Probably the most well-known King from the 1500s. I mean he did have a lot of wives and stirred up a lot of religious commotion. It then expanded to Mary, Queen of Scots. She is my number one queen. I have been trying to learn all I can about her. I also love Queen Mary I of England. Well known as Bloody Mary. She was the first daughter of King Henry VIII with his first wife Queen Katherine of Aragon. She was ruthless and sometimes a bit nasty. Then we have one of the most beloved queens of that time, Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Virgin Queen and also the daughter of King Henry VIII with his second wife, Queen Anne. My sister, Cat, and I are completely obsessed and do a lot of blogging, talking, watching and reading of royals. We are actually dedicating the entire month of June to blogs about King Henry VIII and his six wives. It is our dream to live in Scotland but also to travel all of Europe visiting places of Kings and Queens of long, long ago. One day we will make that dream come true.

What are some of your obsessions??

The Flibbertigibbet Friday that got forgotten 🤦🏻‍♀️

Well I knew it would happen one day. Just didn’t think it would be the 3rd week in January. Oh well. Shit happens. I thought about Flibbertigibbet Friday yesterday. Thinking about what I would tell you guys. Then the kids got home from school and Antony had homework and Taylor was bugging me because she was hungry (that kid is always hungry) so it got forgotten about. Plus there was the freaking out of the government shutdown too. Which effects my family.

So not a whole lot happened this last week. Just taking Kids to school, cleaning house, working on my Medical Terminology class. My Anatomy and Physiology class starts Monday. I’m also starting my new workout program Monday. I got the Shaun T-25 workout from my friend Sherrill to try. I also will be putting in applications next week for work. Yay! I like being busy.

Right now I am at the laundry mat drying clothes as I write this blog. It’s a warm 59f (15c) outside and going to get warmer. We are having a bit of a heatwave this weekend in Oklahoma. So I’m taking advantage of it. Open windows, airing out the house, wash all dog beds and blankets, scrub the kitchen floors (with 3 dogs, 2 cats and 2 Kids my kitchen is a disaster area).

The rest of my time will be watching football (American! I’m a Packers fan but since they are not in the playoffs I’m rooting for the Jaguars and Vikings to go to the Super Bowl), working on homework, hanging with my kids and reading.

I’m currently reading 2 books right now:

This one is a true crime. So far it’s interesting but a little slow. Hopefully it picks up soon.

And I am buddy reading this one with my friend Sophia. We both want to read the Castle Rock books in publication order. I read them all up to Needful Things almost 20 years ago. So most is a reread but I’m sure I have forgotten most parts anyway. I’m so excited for the new Castle Rock Hulu Show coming soon and of course King’s new book set to be released May 22, 2018!

Well that’s all I got for this week. Not a whole lot to bitch about but the year is just getting started. Give me time 🤣🤣. Hope everyone has a great weekend and fantastic week! See you next Friday!!!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo — to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family — past and present — is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African-Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?”

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This book was so amazing. It was a beautiful and heartbreaking story. It is a story that needs to be told over and over again and put into the history and science books. Henrietta Lacks. What do you even say about her? She may have grown up poor and had a rough life during these times of inequality in America but she was a strong and extraordinary women. She battled through so much, yet it always seemed like she had a smile on her face.

It was hard to read about how she grew up. Makes you feel like an ass when you bitch about the little things and take things for granted. Even in 2018 there is still hurt, poor, and racism yet it is easier to not see it in todays time. It is something we need to start seeing and talking about more. And it has started to happen. Thank goodness. I feel fortunate for never having to deal with racism. While I did not grow up rich what so ever, I did have a lot more advantages and things than even some people have now. It breaks my heart. I know what needs to be done but how to get it done is where I struggle. As of now I just try to lend my voice to those who may need a voice.

Ok so now that we got totally off track let’s get back to Henrietta. She tried to make the best of what she had. She was an amazing mother to her kids, an amazing wife to her husband and an amazing friend as well. Despite being diagnosed with an ugly disease at such a young age she never once let it stop her from taking care of her family. While in pain you would not have known it. Sadly that disease won out in the end. She was in her early 30’s. Most her kids were so young they didn’t remember their mother. When Henrietta died everyone just stopped talking about her, including her husband.

During a routine biopsy some cells were taken without her permission and used in a science lap. What happened next was nothing but extraordinary. I know if Henrietta had known what her cells were doing and how they could help millions of people she would be thrilled. She was all about helping others when she was alive. But this was during Jim Crow law times. There was major segregation and Blacks were treated was differently than whites. The doctors and scientist never told her family that they took the cells. They tricked them into an autopsy after she died saying they wanted to help his children in the future but they were really taking more cells from her.

Henrietta was gone and just became known as HeLa. It took over 20 years after her death before her family even knew what was going on. That a part of their mother was still living and helping millions of people survive. It took an emotional toll on her kids, specially her daughter, Deborah. I adored Deborah in the book.

What is so sad is that while biotech and pharmaceutical companies were making millions of dollars from Henrietta’s cells, her family was dirt poor, most lacked an education and could not even afford health insurance. How sad is that. And to Deborah it wasn’t even about the money. She just wanted to know who her mother was. She didn’t know anything about her. She had a hard time dealing with all this.

You also get a good look into how disabled blacks were dealt with in mental hospitals. Henrietta’s one daughter ended up in one. Rebecca and Deborah went to find out all they could about her and it made me sick to hear about the things that happened there to blacks.

Rebecca did an amazing job telling Henrietta’s story. She did get scientific but she made it easy for non-science people to understand what was going on. The ending shattered my heart into a million pieces. I cried so hard at the end.

I highly recommend this book. I also watched the HBO movie that Oprah stared in based off the book. I did miss that they cut out the part where Rebecca goes to Clover before even getting to meet up with any of the Lacks family members. But overall they did a great job with the movie. I cried, laughed, smiled and once again my heart broke at the ending. There was one particular part of the movie that made me choke up. When Deborah and her younger brother got to go to the lab and see their mother’s cells. Gah! Go read and watch!!!!

5/5 stars

One Woman’s Legacy Rebecca Skloot’s account of the immortal Henrietta Lacks raises tough questions.Henrietta Lacks and her husband, Day.

25a13854ae8825234132e9f441f6368f--henrietta-lacks-abandoned-asylumsHenrietta’s daughter, Elsie.

deborah age 4Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, age 4

‘No better burden can a man carry on the road than a store of common sense.’ (stanza 10)

What ancient culture do you feel most curious about? Imagine you live in that time.

Man there are so many different ancient cultures I would love to experience. After thinking it over I went with the Vikings. I have been hooked on a couple different Viking shows lately. I want to read all I can on them. If you can recommend any non-fiction or closely accurate historical fiction on Vikings I would appreciate it.

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From the little I have researched so far it seems like women in the Viking era were pretty bad ass. Life was obviously rough between 800 AD – 1066.

Men did the hunting, fighting, trading and farming, while women’s lives centered around cooking, caring for the home and raising children. The majority of Viking burials found by archaeologists reflect these traditional gender roles: Men were generally buried with their weapons and tools, and women with household items, needlework and jewelry.

But women in Viking Age Scandinavia did enjoy an unusual degree of freedom for their day. They could own property, request a divorce and reclaim their dowries if their marriages ended. Women tended to marry between the ages of 12 and 15, and families negotiated to arrange those marriages, but the woman usually had a say in the arrangement. If a woman wanted a divorce, she had to call witnesses to her home and marriage bed, and declare in front of them that she had divorced her husband. The marriage contract usually stated how family property would be divided up in case of a divorce.

Though the man was the “ruler” of the house, the woman played an active role in managing her husband, as well as the household. Norse women had full authority in the domestic sphere, especially when their husbands were absent. If the man of the household died, his wife would adopt his role on a permanent basis, singlehandedly running the family farm or trading business. Many women in Viking Age Scandinavia were buried with rings of keys, which symbolized their roles and power as household managers.

Some women rose to a particularly high status. One of the grandest burials ever found in Scandinavia from that period belonged to the Oseberg “queen,” a woman who was buried in a sumptuously decorated ship along with many valuable grave goods in A.D. 834. Later in the ninth century, Aud the Deep-Minded, the daughter of a Norwegian chieftain in the Hebrides (islands off northern Scotland) married a Viking king based in Dublin. When her husband and son died, Aud uprooted her household and organized a ship voyage for herself and her grandchildren to Iceland, where she became one of the colony’s most important settlers.

Were there female warriors in Viking Age society? Though relatively few historical records mention the role of women in Viking warfare, the Byzantine-era historian Johannes Skylitzes did record women fighting with the Varangian Vikings in a battle against the Bulgarians in A.D. 971. In addition, the 12th-century Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus wrote that communities of “shieldmaidens” dressed like men and devoted themselves to learning swordplay and other warlike skills, and that some 300 of these shieldmaidens held the field in the Battle of Brávellir in the mid-eighth century. In his famous work Gesta Danorum, Saxo wrote of a shieldmaiden named Lagertha, who fought alongside the famous Viking Ragnar Lothbrok in a battle against the Swedes, and so impressed Ragnar with her courage that he sought and won her hand in marriage.

Most of what we know about women warriors in the Viking Age comes from literary works, including the romantic sagas Saxo called upon as some of his sources. Female warriors known as “Valkyries,” who may have been based on shieldmaidens, are certainly an important part of Old Norse literature. Given the prevalence of these legends, along with the greater rights, status and power they enjoyed, it certainly seems likely that women in Viking society did occasionally take up arms and fight, especially when someone threatened them, their families or their property.

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