Sunday, 14 August 2011

Annarr Hrafnsmál

Today I've been listening to Sigur Ros' fantastic Odin's Raven Magic soundscape/song cycle, recorded at the Barbican, London in 2002.  It's been inspiring my current retracing of Norse myth as has an old poem I learned in school, 'The Twa Corbies'.  I've been thinking long and hard about my frustrating issues I have in comprehensively and satisfactorily writing dialogue, so in this conversation I'm attempting to explore character voices and their differing cadences and patterns.  I've utilised my two favourite feathered friends (Huginn and Muninn) outside their usual mythological remit, but I hope they can intercede between the realms of Old Norse, Auld Scots and modern English. This is their Ravensong.

Corwen: I think I’m hungry again.
Bran: I can’t remember a time when you weren’t.
Corwen: Where shall we dine today, then?
Bran: What of the old man? He'll miss us.
Corwen: I think he’ll turn a blind eye. He’ll be anxious about me, but he’ll miss you more anyway...
Bran: As long as we bring him back something juicy...
Corwen: Like an eye?
Bran: No, you grotesque gargoyle, like some gossip.
Corwen: Oh. What, again? If he got off his backside and out of that chair...
Bran: He can’t what with all the trouble with the wife, of late.
Corwen: So, about lunch...
Bran: Hmmm, now, where’s good eating near here? Let me think...
Corwen: You’re no good at thinking...
Bran: I remember when you used to compliment me on my thinking.
Corwen: That was before you had a mind to do all the remembering...
Bran: Well then, do you recall that, um, ‘heated discussion’ betwixt those two chaps we overheard the other day?
Corwen: What, you mean the argument by the bank? The pretty boy and the bearded giant? Whee! That was a good’un, eh?
Bran: Well, it was more of a fight, but yes...
Corwen: I reckon it was that woman wot started it. I think she liked the big, bearded one more.
Bran: There’s no accounting for taste. Sad it didn’t end well for the blonde chap.
Corwen: His dog got in a few good bites, though.
Bran: Yes; shame his horse ran off. Scared by all the blood I expect.
Corwen: Bah, little bit o’ red like that?
Bran: That or all the sword-waving and shouting.
Corwen: Aye, so what of it?
Bran: Well, he’s still there, ain’t he? Behind the wall.
Corwen: Who?
Bran: Who? For Odin’s sake, you dolt! The blonde chap; the loser.
Corwen: What? He hung about all this time? Crying I expect, is he?
Bran: Not exactly. Perhaps I should say ‘beyond the veil’.
Corwen: Crikey! What, he’s... you know, dead?
Bran: No-one could survive a mace to the head like that, so yes - deceased, expired, nevermore. Off to meet the horn-helmed ladies...
Corwen: And he’s just laying there? All this time?
Bran: I expect so.
Corwen: All ripe and bloated and stuff?
Bran: Probably.
Corwen: Cor!
Bran: You know I reckon this’d qualify as news for the old man.
Corwen: You’d think so, wouldn’t you? It’d be wrong of us not to check it out then.
Bran: As long as you don’t make that awful popping sound when you peck his eyes out.
Corwen: I’m offended. It’s traditional. Do you think there’ll be brain?
Bran: Beardy certainly put a lot of swing into the blow; s’probably pretty messy up-top.
Corwen: Top-notch!
Bran: It is indeed...
Corwen: Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go! I get his liver this time, remember?
Bran: I thought you’d say that.

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