Study Guide

Midwinterblood Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

  • "The Lay of Hakon" (6.4.31): Leif Longfoot's song celebrating the victories of the Viking ships is based on this Old Norse poem. (Source.)
  • "The Unquiet Grave" (5.7.22, 5.8.11): Merle recites one half of this poem about a lost lover and Erik(a) finishes it from beyond the grave. (Source.)
  • "Hans Carvel" by Matthew Prior (1.7.21): Merle quotes from this 18th-century English poem when she sees Tor—"Forthwith the devil did appear for name him and he's always near." (Source.)
  • Genesis 3:1-6  (4.12.20-13)

Historical References

  • Domalde (7.4.4): King Eirikr's sacrifice is based on the old Norse legend of Domalde, the Swedish king who allowed himself to be killed to save his people after three years of famine.
  • Vikings (6.2.27)
  • Midvinterblot by Carl Larsson (4.8.30-47): The painting that Eric Carlsson creates is based on a real-life painting that hangs in the Swedish National Museum to this day.
  • Supermarine Spitfire (3.1.4): David's shot-down plane was an actual single-seat fighter aircraft used during WWII.

Pop Culture References

  • Six Degrees of Separation (1.1.16): The OneDegree app is named for a simplified version of the theory of six degrees of separation.
  • "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake (1.3.63)
  • "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin (7.5.42): Eric Seven gives a little shout-out to this song as he's about to die on the stone table—"Merle. My spirit is crying for leaving."
  • The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky: The chapter titles in Part 7 happen to correspond to some of the dances from this 1913 ballet. It's fitting since this orchestral work is also about sacrifice.

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