Depiction of one scene from Hrómundar saga, Hrómundur tending to his wounds after killing Helgi, drawing by Inga María Brynjarsdóttir, The Reykjavik Grapevine 2017.

Contemporary Performance

Performance of Kvæði af Hrómundi Greipssyni

Kvæði af Hrómundi Greipssyni is an early modern Icelandic poem related to the story of Hrómundur, with its earliest attestation from the seventeenth century. In 2011 the kvæði was performed at the annual meeting of the Kvæðamannafélagið Iðunn ('Poets’ Society Iðunn'), when Icelandic singer Rósa Jóhannesdóttir sung the kvæði to the melody written by Arnþór Helgason.  

Traditional folk songs and poems are an important part of Icelandic national heritage even today. Kvæðamannafélagið Iðunn, established in 1929, has as its main objective to cultivate and disseminate knowledge of this heritage (read more about the society in Icelandic here). The name of the society itself evokes associations with Old Norse mythology: Iðunn is a goddess of youth and wife of Bragi, god of poetry. Her name was also used to name one of the Venusian mountains, Idunn Mons (read more about the use of Old Norse names in space in the Writing Futures exhibition).

Early modern Icelandic poem about Hrómundur, Kvæði af Hrómundi Gripssyni, performed by Rósa Jóhannesdóttir.

Performance of the Viking Metal adaptation

The most recent performance of the material related to Hrómundar saga took place in February 2020, when the Faroese Viking Metal band Týr performed "Ramund hin unge" together with the Symphony Orchestra of the Faroe Islands in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands.  "Ramund hin unge" is a metal adaptation of the traditional Danish ballad of Hrómundur.

The lyrics of the song are based on the abbreviated version of the early modern Danish ballad "Ramund". The song “Ramund hin unge” first appeared on Týr's second full-length album entitled Eric the Red from 2003. Alongside “Ramund hin unge” the album included two other adaptations of Faroese traditional ballads: “Ólavur Riddararós” and “Regin Smiður.” While “Regin Smiður” draws on the traditional Old Norse motifs known from, for instance, Völsunga saga, “Ólavur Riddararós” represents the Elveskud-type ballad in which an elf maid causes a man's sickness and death. 

By creating "Ramund hin unge" Týr’s repertoire became part of the long, almost 1000-year-old transmission and adaptation history of materials related to Hrómundur, the Norwegian hero and great-grandfather of the first settlers of Iceland.

Contemporary Retelling

There are countless examples of various Old Norse stories resonating in contemporary culture and many of us remain oblivious to some of them. Did you know that there is an entire world in our solar system where names are derived from Old Norse myths? You can learn more about it in the Writing Futures Exhibition. In our Paired Objects exhibition you can explore selected aspects of broadly conceived reception across the collections from the National Museum of Iceland and the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle.