The men of Tovaldsland are great men, they are tall, strong and raised in such a way that only the toughest, strongest survive to serve their Jarls on their ships. Their youth is spent on learning to survive in the harshest of situations and to be a true Torvaldslander is to in fact be able to push oneself beyond what is endurable. We will later see quotes on The Fury, a condition known to the man of Torvaldsland only. This condition is a form of enragement that is uncontrollable and fierce, it gives them a strange kind of bravado that is exceptional and horrid.
Towards the front of the temple, behind the rail, and even at the two doors of the temple, by the great beams which closed them, stood the men of Forkbeard. Many of them were giants, huge men, inured to cold, accustomed to war and the labor of the oar, raised from boyhood on steep, isolated farms near the sea, grown strong and hard on work and meat and cereals. Such men, from boyhood in harsh games had learned to run, to leap, to swim, to throw the spear, to wield the sword, to wield the ax, to stand against steel, even bloodied, unflinching. Such men, these, would be the hardest of the hard, for only the largest, the swiftest and finest might win for themselves a bench on the ship of a captain, and the man great enough to command such as they must be first and mightiest among them, for the men of Torvaldsland will obey no other and that man had been Ivar Forkbeard. Marauders of Gor, page 38
It is noticeable in this quote that not all Torvaldslanders look the same, here they speak of the epicanthic fold and other physical differences.
There was probably not one man at the thing-fair who took him truly to be of Ax Glacier; most obviously he did not have the epicanthic fold, which helps to protect the eyes of the men of Ax Glacier against extreme cold; further, he was much too large to be taken easily as a man of Ax Glacier; their diet does not produce, on the whole, large bodies; further, their climate tends to select for short, fat bodies, for such, physiologically, are easiest to maintain in the therostatic equilibrium in great cold; long, thin bodies, of course, are easiest to maintain therostatic equilibrium in great heat, providing more exposure for cooling. Lastly, his coloring, though his hair was dark, was surely not that of the far north, but, though swarthy, more akin to that of Torvaldsland, particularly western Torvaldsland. Only a madman, or a fool, might have taken seriously his claim to be of the Ax Glacier country. Much speculation had coursed among the contest fields as to the true identity of the smooth-shaven Thorgeir. Marauders of Gor, page 139
The Torvaldsland Salute
I looked to the man behind me, and to the others. They lifted their axes in their right hand. It was the salute of Torvaldsland. I heard their cheers. Marauders of Gor, page 43
Men were now running from the palisade and the fields down to the dock. There were bare-headed, and wore shaggy jackets. Some wore trousers of skin, others tunics of dyed wool. Marauders of Gor, page 81
I saw people running down the sloping green land, toward the water. Several came from within the palisade. Among them, white kirtled, collared, excited, ran bond-maids. These, upon the arrival of their master, are permitted to greet him. The men of the north enjoy the bright eyes, the leaping bodies, the squealing, the greetings of their bond-maids. In the fields I saw an overseer, clad in scarlet, with a gesture of his hand, releasing the thralls. Then, they, too, ran down towards the water. Marauders of Gor, page 82
Every year, at The Thing or any other occasion deeming such dress, Jarls and free men and women will dress in their finest clothing.
We saw, too, many chieftains, and captains, and minor Jarls, in the crowd, each with his retinue. These high men were sumptuously garbed, richly cloaked and helmeted, often with great axes, inlaid with gold. Their cloaks were usually scarlet or purple, long and swirling, and held with golden clasps. They wore them, always, as is common in Torvaldsland, in such a way that the right arm, the sword arm, is free.Their men, too, often wore cloaks, and, about their arms, spiral rings of gold and silver, and , on their wrists, jewel-studded bands.
Blue Tooth was a large man, bearded, with a broad, heavy face. He had blue eyes, and was blond haired. His hair came to his shoulders; there was a knife scar under his left eye. He seemed a shrewd, highly intelligent, competent, avaricious man. I thought him probably an effective jarl. He wore a collar of fur, dyed scarlet, and a long cloak, over the left shoulder, of purple-dyed fur of the sea sleen. He wore beneath his cloak yellow wool, and a great belt of glistening black, with a gold buckle, to which was attached a scabbard of oiled, black leather; in this scabbard was a sword, a sword of Torvaldsland, a long sword, with a jeweled pommel, with double guard. Marauders of Gor, page 172
“How many gather?” pressed Blue Tooth.
About his neck, from a fine, golden chain, pierced, hung the tooth of a Hunjer whale, dyed blue. Marauders of Gor, page 172
Duelling seems to be an accepted part of Tovaldsland, but it seems to have gone wrong for Forkbeard.
“I am an outlaw,” said Ivar. “In a duel I killed Finn Broadbelt.”
“It was a duel,” I said.” Finn Broadbelt was the cousin of Jarl Svein Blue Tooth.
“Ah,” I said. Svein Blue Tooth was the high jarl of Torvaldsland, in the sense that he was generally regarded as the most powerful. In his hall, it was said he fed a thousand men. Beyond this his heralds could carry the war arrow, it was said, to ten thousand farms. Ten ships he had at his own wharves, and, it was said, he could summon a hundred more. Marauders of Gor, page 93
For more on duels, please go to: Duels in Torvaldsland
Men of Torvaldsland are simply always armed, from the moment they wake to the when they go to bed.
The Forkbeard, too, and his men, were armed. Blows are not to be struck at the thing, but not even the law of the thing, with all its might, would have the temerity to advise the man of Torvaldsland to arrive or move about unarmed. The man of Torvaldsland never leaves his house unless he is armed; and, within his house, his weapons are always near at hand, usually hung on the wall behind his couch, at least a foot beyond the reach of a bond-maid whose ankle is chained. Should she, lying on her back, look back and up she sees, on the wall, the shield, the helmet, the spear and ax, the sword, in its sheath, of her master. They are visible symbols of the force by which she is kept in bondage, by which she is kept only a girl, whose belly is beneath his sword. Marauders of Gor, page 141-142
Kirtle their shame......or not
This quote is indeed interesting, it shows two things, first then men are willing humor free women's wishes to an extent, but I feel moreso in this quote because the woman is his High Jarl's companion, and let us keep in mind this women is enslaved having become unbarably righteous in her freedom. The second thing is, Forkbeard doesn't pull his punches when he mentions that he feels the woman should be enslaved, in other words, we strongly get the impression that she is humored and thats it.
She lifted the hem of her kirtle of scarlet wool about the ankles of her black shoes and turned away. She looked back, briefly, once. She indicated the kneeling slaves. “Kirtle their shame,” she said. Then strode away, followed by several men-at-arms.
“Kirtle your shame!” cried the Forkbeard.
His girls, quickly, frightened, tears in their eyes, drew about them as well as they could their kirtles. They covered, as well as they could, their bodies, having been shamed by the free woman. It is a common practice of free women, for some reason, to attempt to make female slave ashamed of her body.
“Who was that?” I asked.
“Bera,” said he, “companion of Svein Blue Tooth.”
My heart sank.
“He should put her in a collar,” said the Forkbeard. I was scandalized at the very thought.
“She needs the whip,” he said. Then he looked at his girls. “What have you done?” he asked. “Drop your kirtles, and hitch them up!”
Laughing, once more proud of their bodies, the girls of the Forkbeard insolently slung their kirtles low on their hips, and hitched them high over their calves, even half way up their delightful thighs. Marauders of Gor, page 157
|The People of Torvaldsland|
|This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor