The 13th Warrior Essay
The 13th Warrior was written on the bases of a manuscript of Ibn Fadlan, relating to his experiences with the Northsmen in the year of 922 C.E. The story starts out with Ibn Fadlan delivering a message from the Caliph of Baghdad to an elderly wealthy merchant named Ibn-Qarin. When Ibn Fadlan arrives at the house of Ibn-Qarin, the servant answers the door. He tells Ibn Fadlan that the merchant is not home, so he has weat until Ibn-Qarin returns home to give him the message. While Ibn Fadlan is waiting for the return of the wealthy merchant he engages in sexual relations with the merchants young wife. While the two are in the bedroom Ibn-Qarin came home. As they hear him come home, the wife dresses and leaves Ibn-Fadlan to get his stuff together and to get dressed. When Ibn Fadlan was done getting dressed he went down stairs to give the merchant the message from the Caliph. Ibn-Qarin wanted to know why he was inside the house waiting and outside in the courtyard. Ibn Fadlan said that he was thirsty and was feeling ill, however the merchant did not believe his story and know that he slept with his wife. Then Ibn-Qarin went and complained to the Caliph of Baghdad about Ibn Fadlan. Then the ruler of Saqaliba asked for a mission from the Caliph and Ibn-Qarin urged the Caliph to send Ibn Fadlan on the mission and so the Caliph did.
In Ibn Fadlan's caravan was the ambassador of the King of Saqaliba and his name was Abdallah ibn-Bastu al-Hazari, then there was the two guides named Takin al-Turki and Bars al-Saqlabi. They brought gifts for the king and his family and a carton of drugs, which Susan al-Rasi took care of. The group left the city of Baghdad on June 21,921. The caravan made many stops along the way. Their first stop was in Noathrawan for one day, then they stopped in al-Daskara were they stayed for another two days. Next they stopped at Qirmisin for two more days. The next stop was Hamadan for another three days. Then they went to Sawa for two more days. Next they traveled to Gurganiya were they stayed for a few days out of one month of November. They had to stay there because of the cold and bitter weather. By the middle of February 922 the weather began to change so that the caravan could travel again. The next stop that was made was at a Turkish tribe called the Oguz. Ibn Fadlan found the Oguz to be extremely discussing in the custom in which they live. Their ruler is called Yabqu. He found theme discussing because they do not wash themselves. After their stay at the Turkish village they had to cross many rivers. The first river that they crossed was the Bagind River, then they crossed the river Gayin, this was the most dangerous river that Ibn Fadlan and his caravan had to cross. When crossing the river one of the boats overturned and the people that were on it were killed. Along with the members of the caravan a number of their camels and horses also drowned. After making their way from the Gayin River they went across the Gaha, next they came across the Knal, then the Suh River, and finally they crossed the Kiglu River.
After crossing all these rivers they came across the land of the Baskirs. After they left the land of the Baskirs they had to cross more waterways. They came across the Germsan River, then the river Urn next came the river Wtig, and then they came upon the river Nbasnh, then the river Gawsin. Finally they came across the land of the Bulgars at the shore of the river Volga. This is wear Ibn Fadlan meets the Northsmen. Ibn Fadlan found the Northsmen a puling. When Ibn Fadlan arrived the Northsemens principal chieftain named Wyglif was ill. Wyglif was in a house secluded from the rest of the population because they believed that the ill will get better due to there own strength. Many of the Northsmen thought that Wyglif would die. Because they thought that Wyglif would die Builwyf was picked to be the new leader. However, Wyglif did in fact die and they gave him the proper burial according to the Northsmen. They placed him in a boat with all kinds of goods. Then they had one of his slave girl lay down next to him and she was sacrificed by having two men hold down feet and arms and a rope around her neck. Next the angle of death that was an old woman stabbed her as the men pulled the rope until she died. After the sacrificing of the slave girl they set the boat on fire to complete the funeral.
Then there was a storm that lasted for two days, after the storm stopped there was a thick mist all-round and the Northsmen were afraid of the mist. Ibn-Fadlan did not understand why such big grown men would be afraid of just mist. During the same day another boat of Northsmen arrived but they did not embark from the boat they just stood on the boat to let theme know they posed no harm. That night the men from the boat came into the banquet, the one young man spoke to Buliwyf. Ibn Fadlan's interpreter told him what the two were talking about. The young mans name is Wulfgar, and his is the son of King Rothgar and asked Buliwyf for help back at home.
The mission is a dangerous one, one that all the Northsmens were afraid of. Then the angle of death came in the room and lade some bones on the floor and told Buliwyf that he must take twelve men and then points to Ibn Fadlan and said that he must be the thirteenth warrior because he is a foreign man. He had no choice but to go with the Northsmen on their journey back home. The men that went on the trip back to the north were Buliwyf the leader, Ecthgow his lieutenant, his nobles Higlak, Skeld, Weath, Boneth, Halga; his warriors Helfdane, Edgtho, Rethel, Haltaf, and Herger. The trip back was a long one; Ibn Fadlan began to talk to Herger because he could speak some Arabic.
After their long trip they beached at the town of Yatlam the home of Buliwyf. When they beached at the shore they walked down to the town. When they reached the town they saw dead bodies of men women and children. Some of the bodies were still on fire; some were chopped up by swords. They left the town to finish their trip to the Kingdom of Rothgar. They finally arrived at Rothgars a few days later. Here they all helped to build a defense wall to protect the kingdom. That night after the banquet they were asleep inside the castle and the Wendol attacked theme, they fought back. In the morning after the attack Ibn Fadlan had a deep cut on his face and Roneth, Halga, and Edgtho had died. That morning they finished the defense wall. During the building Herger challenged Rangar a friend of prince Wiglif to death and Herger won. Then that night they had another attack by the Wendol the mist monster. This time Ibn Fadlan got a good look at one that was dead and he was that under neath the bear head was a head of a man. That means the man-eaters were men themselves. After the attack they lost many men. The next day Herger told Ibn Fadlan that they were going to the mist monsters cave to kill the mother Wendol. When they arrived there was no mist monsters in the cave, they went to the tent of one and saw that there were human skeletal reames. Buliwyf made theme leave because it was getting late on the way home they stopped at the cave of the Douarfs the head douarf told Buliwyf that he would die and that they needed to kill the mother wendol. The next day they went back to the cave and killed the mother wendol as Buliwyf stabbed her she impaled him, after she did they left to go back to the kingdom of Rothgar. Once they got back Buliwyf went inside and lad down. That night the mist monsters came to avenge the death of their mother. Buliwyf came out and collapsed from that the men started to attack the mist monsters and the monsters retreated and never had been seen again. At the end Ibn Fadlan said good by to his friend Herger and started his journey back home.
In this quote from the novel it explains the culture shock that Ibn Fadlan is experiencing among the Northsmen.
“Recognizing the honor of the feast, our party made a show of eating, yet the food was vile and the manner of the feast contained much throwing of the food and drink, and great laughing and merriment. It was common in the middle of this rude banquet for an earl to disport with a slave girl in full view of his fellows. Seeing this, I turned away and said, “I beg Gods pardon,” and the Northsmen laughed much at my discomfiture. One of their members translated for me that they believe God looks favorable upon such open pleasures. He said to me, “You Arabs are like old women, you tremble at the sight of life.” I said in answer, “I am a quest among you, and Allah shall lead me to righteousness.”
In the next quote Ibn Fadlan is describing the ignorance of the Northsmen in that they do not understand certain things.
“The North Country is cold and wet and the sun is seldom seen, for the sky is gray with thick clouds all the day. The people of this region are pale as linen, and their hair is very fair. After so many days of travel, I saw no dark people at all, and indeed I was marveled at by the inhabitants of that region on account of my skin and dark hair. Many times a farmer or his wife or daughter would come forth to touch me with a stroking motion; Herger laughed and said that they were trying to brush away the color, thinking it to be painted upon my flesh. They are ignorant people with no knowledge of the wideness of the world. Many times they feared me, and would not approach me close. At one place, I do not know the name, a child cried out in terror and ran to cling to his mother when he saw me.”
In this passage it shows rivalry and jalousie within the group of the Northsmen.
“Now, in the middle portion of the festivities, Rothgar sent his herald to the doors of Hurot Hall, and this herald reported that the mist would not descend that night. There was so much happiness and celebration over this announcement that the night was clear; all were pleased save Wiglif. At a particular time, the son Wiglif rose to his feet and said, “I drink honor to our guests, and especially Buliwyf, a brave and true warrior who has come to aid us in our plight-although it may prove too great an obstacle for him to over come.” Herger whispered these words to me, and I caught that it was praise and insult in one breath. All eyes turned to Buliwyf for his response. Buliwyf stood, and looked to Wiglif, and then said, “I have no fear of any thing, even the callow fiend that creeps at night to murder men in their sleep.” This I took to refer to the “Wendol,” but Wiglif turned pale and gripped the chair in which he sat. “Do you speak of me?” Wiglif said, in a trembling tongue. Buliwyf made this response: “No, but I do not fear you any more than the monsters in the mist.” The young man Wiglif persisted, although Rothgar the king called for him to be seated. Wiglif said to all the assembled nobles: “This Buliwyf, arrived from foreign shores, has by appearance great pride and great strength. Yet have I arranged to test his mettle, for pride may cover any man's eyes.” Now I saw this thing happen: a strong warrior, seated at a table near the door, behind Buliwyf, rose with speed, plucked up a spear, and charged at the back of Buliwyf. All this happened in less time than it takes a man to suck in his breath. Yet also Buliwyf turned, plucked up a spear, and with this he caught the warrior full in the chest, and lifted him by the shaft of the spear high over his head and flung him against a wall. Thus was this warrior skewered on the spear, his feet dangling above the floor, kicking; the shaft of the spear was buried into the wall of the hall of Hurot. The warrior died with a sound.”
In this passage shows how Ibn Fadlan becomes a warrior.
“Now I also this: a rider swept into the compound, bent low on his galloping black horse, and he caught up the body of the monster Ecthgow had slain, swung it over his horse's neck, and rode off, for as I have said, these mist monsters leave no dead to be found in the morning light. The battle ranged on a goodly period of time by the light of the blazing fire through the mist. I saw Herger in mortal combat with one of the demons; taking up fresh lance, I drove it deep into the creature's back. Herger, dripping blood, raised an arm in thanks and plunged back into the combat. Here I felt great pride. Now I tried to withdraw my lance, and whilst so doing, was knocked aside by some passing horsemen, from that time in truth I remember little.”
In The 13th Warrior the author wrote the book based on a manuscript that was found written by Ibn Fadlan. However it was only part of the manuscript so the story of Ibn Fadlan was never complete because they never found the rest of the manuscript
There are several main themes and or ideas in the novel. One main idea is that you can over come your fears. This was illustrated with the Northsmen because they were terrified of the mist monsters and at the end they defected theme because they but aside there fear. Ibn Fadlan also illustrated this theme because he was afraid of heights and he over came his fear when Herger made him clime down a high cliff in the Wendols cave. Another theme is bravery the men in the story were brave to go up against the evil that struck the Northsmen. A third theme had to do with the two cultures. The Islamic culture and the culture of the north. Ibn Fadlan thought that the Northsmen were barbaric because they hardly ever took a breath and had sexual relations in front of each other and they did not believe in Allah. The Northsmen thought that Ibn Fadlan was strange in his beliefs.
The descriptions of the battle scenes in the book were every good it gave really good detail of what was going on in the scene. The author gave everything from who was killed to who was just injured, and described how much blood there was and how the people were killed. The characters descriptions were just ok and that is because the author does not go into any detail about the other characters except for Ibn Fadlan.
The characters in the book could have been realistic if this way of living was steel practiced in today's society but it is not. However, the characters are realistic because back in the 900's this is how people lived because they had to defend their land and families from invasion. So most of the Northsmen were worriers to protect the land and the family. Ibn Fadlan was realistic because he acted just like an Arabic person would act when coming across people like the Northsmen. In the narrative part Ibn Fadlan was a real person who wrote the manus rip that this book is about and the people in the book are supposedly real as for the mist monsters to being human is a controvestity to many scholars but for me I do think that the mist monsters were human cannibals.
This book as increased my knowledge of this time period because the people of the north were normal people for their time and not really barbarians. They lived this way because it was the only was they new to live.
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