you're reading...

Warriors: Past to Present – A writer’s reference, and a writing challenge – Part 1 – Huscarl 1066

Huscarl Battle of Hastings 1066

Huscarl Battle of Hastings 1066

The amazing photographer, Thom Atkinson has recently published what he calls ‘Soldiers Inventories’ on his website. It’s annoyingly close to a book/documentary that I was putting a pitch together for (although I still shall!) and the photography is gorgeous.

This is a fabulous resource for budding authors who want to write either historical fiction, historical fantasy or fantasy of any sort. As such, I thought I would share a photograph a week, with the added challenge that you also get to write a story about the man (or woman if fantasy) who got to wear the gear and use it in anger.

The challenge today, is to write about a Huscarl in King Harold’s army of 1066. What you have to remember is that the Anglo-Saxons had already marched North to fight a Viking army at Stamford Bridge against Harald Hardrada.

Not only did they have to march 185 miles, they had to do so in four days. FOUR. DAYS.

Three days after a pretty horrific  battle, in which the Vikings had their arses well and truly kicked (only 27 ships out of the original 300 were needed to return the survivors), the Normans invaded in the south and the Saxons had to turn about and hurry down.

The battle at Stamford and Hastings cause so many casualties in the ruling class of the Anglo-Saxons that it was difficult for the Anglo-Saxons to resist their new Norman lords; there were literally no leaders with standing to rally around.

So, how about writing a story about a Huscarl or Thegn having to march north in what were pretty awful conditions (September, in England, on mud roads), fight a full-on battle and then return south to fight the Normans (who were also a branch of Vikings). Or, if you want to write a fantasy, how about they don’t have to fight the Vikings and so are fresh to fight the Normans. If the Vikings hadn’t attacked, then Edwin of Mercia’s army would also be intact.

Suitable character names can be found here – http://www.behindthename.com/names/usage/anglo-saxon

Have a lot of fun.


About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Matthew Sylvester on WordPress.com



%d bloggers like this: