Recap: Cnut and Andrea go to Montana, which is both pretty and has farmers that let their cattle wander across the road. The ISIS ranch has already been overrun by Lucipires, and I’m fairly certain I spell that wrong every time I write it, and Cnut teletransports them back in time a hundred years or so. Then Cnut boner-teletransports them back to the Norselands and a motte and bailey castle that won’t exist for another several hundred years. Then he tells everyone to start cleaning and ships Andrea off to the kitchen. And kisses her. And proclaims her the new mistress of the motte and bailey castle that won’t exist for another several hundred years. And when they kiss it smells like peppermint and coconut.
I hate the smell of coconut.
Epigraph/chapter title: A miracle worker, she was not…
Andrea had apparently Googled the Norselands when she first met Cnut. But not any of the other Viking-related topics he’d brought up and then forgotten he’d mentioned to her.
“He stopped halfway and turned to her. ‘You’re angry.’
‘No shit, Dick Tracy!’ she said, using one of her father’s favorite expressions. She rarely used crudity, but this situation seemed to warrant it.”
That… explains so much about her inability to curse like a human being. Also, what does “No shit, Dick Tracy” even mean? Is it a version of no shit, Sherlock? No shit, Sherlock works because of the sh at the beginning of shit and Sherlock, not because Sherlock is a detective.
We finally, in chapter nine, get an explanation of braies. Which he calls “breeches or long pants.” This still doesn’t explain to me how they have tight versions of those in 850 AD. Andrea did the “It wasn’t even a good kiss!” thing, which I shouldn’t be surprised by, and yet I am.
Apparently she thought when he’d called her mistress that he was saying his mistress. He meant mistress of the household, so she could give orders. Is that how Viking halls work? And he kissed her so everyone would keep their hands off her. ‘Cause she’s comely. (Quick aside: I always get comely and homely confused.)
Oooohhhh girl just called Cnut’s castle a hovel. I’m not sure jarls got castles. According to Skyrim, jarls got castles, and we all know that Skyrim is the true source of historical knowledge about Vikings, so I’ll buy it.
But girl is hysterical that Cnut saved her life, even if that meant getting sent back in time to before there’s proper health care, although that’s not too different from where we are now, so it’ll just be a little bit of a drafty place that doesn’t have proper health care. And the scent of peppermint makes her moan, which has gotta be awkward for a chef.
I don’t know how to introduce this next quote, so I’ll just leave it here. Cnut asked Andrea if she’d rather have stayed in the ranch surrounded by demons. Lucies, actually, which just makes me think they’ll make me watch I Love Lucy reruns, or go to an I Love Lucy con or something.
“Yes.” No. “Send me back.” But I’m so frightened! I don’t want to go alone. Can I go alone? I might have to. For Celie. “Take me back.” Yeah, that’s better. Don’t give him a choice. “Now!”
But Cnut thinks they got sent back in time for a reason. He thinks Celie is already in Syria or Pakistan, which is probably safer than in the hands of Lucipires. He may not be wrong, considering Jasper’s weird BDSM kink—and, hey, if that’s your thing, cool. You do you, boo.
Andrea has now sufficiently insulted Cnut’s home—Hoggstead, named after Hoggson who owned it first—that he looks dejected. I’m feeling for him a little bit. Times were different (sorry not sorry). Moral relativism. You can’t judge him for his time period.
Still unclear if only Vikings are vangels, or if Vikings were the original vangels and they recruited later. I’m thinking it’s the latter, but nobody has clarified this for me. And Andrea is having a tough time believing this, but she’s clearly been transported somewhere. I think once somebody flashes fangs at me and then transports me across time and geography, I start to be a little more open minded about what I’m seeing.
Cnut thinks that there might be Lucipires in 850 AD Hoggstead. Time will tell, but I’m on chapter nine, so probably.
Finngeir (Finn)—Cnut’s steward—is surprised Cnut came back Christian. I would also be surprised, I suppose. Cnut is trying to get her to cook, because a chef can solve a famine. I wasn’t aware Gordon Ramsay could increase the quantity of food he was given simply by cooking it. And she wasn’t aware that there were Norse gods and not everyone was Christian. I barely got her give loaves and two fishes joke, and I was at least nominally Christian for part of my life. Girl, work on the jokes. I don’t even think the Christian audience laughed at that.
Kitchen update: Half the size of a basketball court with two hearths big enough for a person to stand in, ovens built on either side of the hearths. The floor is packed dirt and squishy, with bones on the floor left over from dogs, and the tables were covered with old food. They are not passing a Steritech inspection. Joke for the Target baristas in the crowd. See, I pick my jokes just as well as Andrea.
The cook is a short, fat woman yelling at a spit boy. I think spit boys probably weren’t actually boys, despite the name. A nine year old isn’t gonna have the strength to turn spits all day.
Fashion update: Most women wear something similar to a blue dress with a belt at the waist, “covered in a full-length, white, open-sided, apron-type garment attached at the shoulder straps with crude brooches,” and a kerchief on her head. That is a lot of hyphenated adjectives.
Cook’s name is Girda, and she immediately starts yelling at Cnut. I like her.
We’re slut shaming the women again. I like Girda less. The only thing Freydis knows how to do is “spread her thighs fer the menfolks.”
Food store update: Five barrels of flour, and some barley and raw oats. Weevils got into the rest. There are 110 people in Hoggstead. There’s also some shriveled apples, cabbages, and… neeps? Apparently in Sweden they’re called by the mythical name of turnip and only Scotland calls them neeps. So… we’re geographically confused. But if I’d read a sentence down, Andrea would have known they were turnips. She can’t tell the difference between a man in furs and a bear, but she knows a neep is a turnip. And some fish and stuff. I got bored with the list, tbh.
They’ve got a week before they starve. But a chef’s gonna fix it, don’t worry!
A Viking’s work is never done…
We’re getting Cnut self-flagellation. But he inherited Hoggstead from his mother, which makes sense, considering his father was too busy fathering bastards to have any property to give anyone except probably Vikar.
So Cnut has gathered all of the men together in the hall and they’re all concerned about the fact that Cnut was too fat for a warhorse a month ago and now he’s hot. Actually, that is a lot of weight loss in a month. I’d be worried too. “Mostly they were burly, hardened warriors who’d as soon split an enemy’s head with a battle-axe as show any softer emotions, but they were Vikings, and Viking men valued their good looks.”
Is there a gif that has the proper level of groaning I need for this? I’m not getting back into it for the sixth time, but where is the evidence that Vikings were vain.
Apparently Igor has been raping village women “sometimes in exchange for food, sometimes with threats that they will kill their husbands if they tell.” First of all, rape for food isn’t an exchange. It’s rape and then theft. Let’s be clear on that. Also Igor smells like lemon. So lots of sins. Also also Igor is a Russian version of a Scandinavian name.
This whole section is really confusing. So basically it’s people asking Cnut questions about why he’s skinny, why he has his hair weird, and why he’s clean, but it keeps cutting back and forth in time. At first I thought that Cnut had just smelled lemons on Igor earlier and asked Finn about it, but now maybe not. Because now that he’s been asked about bathing, he later asks Finn what’s wrong with the bathhouse, and there’s a clog that’s preventing dirty water from leaving. Not sure why nobody stuck a stick where the clog is to get that cleared, but there we go.
This is just a lot of back and forth of people asking him questions. Zippers are new to them, understandably. You all are gonna have to read the book if you want this part. It actually wasn’t offensive and was kind of entertaining, but I’m not giving you a play by play of it.
Part of Cnut’s gluttony as hoarding money, apparently, and nobody raided his secret money stores while he was gone. How long do you trust that your jarl, who disappeared in the middle of the night, is coming back?
We’re hunting and buying extra food off places. Good. Plan in place. Cnut’s not so bad when he’s thinking with his upstairs brain.
Cnut is hearing voices, apparently. Possibly Cnut is hearing Michael’s voice in his head. We’re not sure yet.
But he’s still starving, so this is going to be a thing we deal with.
Andrea is sleeping in his bed, so that’s a thing. Oh my god. He isn’t going to have sex with her (which is good because she’s sleeping) but he is going to… ahem… take care of business… while watching her. I’m so disturbed right now. Dude. Dude, no. Go somewhere else.
At some point in the night Andrea decided to cuddle with him. So Cnut woke up and actual reading double take: “Couldn’t she tell that her coconut essence was becoming a sex trigger to him?” I hope he never went into Starbucks during the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew era. But now he can smell his own mint. I’m confused. Are they going to become that awful candle Andrea mentioned earlier?
Andrea woke up all irate that they were cuddling. Girl, you were sleeping in his bed. Obviously someone told you that when they brought you here. Ya need to chill. But Cnut is still talking (out loud) to the voices in his head, which should probably worry Andrea more than it inspires salty snark back.
She threatens to squash him into a “big, old, flat-as-a-pancake Peppermint Pattie.” To which he responds: “Good. At least I’ll be food to stave off someone’s hunger.” He paused. “Will you eat me?” He didn’t mean that the way it sounded. Really.
I actually laughed.