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Twilight of the Aesir II Now Available!
Hardcore History #70 completes the series on the Viking Age Scandinavians
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
-Winston Churchill (allegedly)
Twilight of the Aesir II is now available. Here's a direct link (but of course you can also auto-download it through your regular podcast app):
Show Description: “Pagan Viking Sea Kings spend the 10th and 11th centuries morphing into Christian monarchs. But with rulers like Harald Bluetooth and Svein Forkbeard it's debatable whether things will be any less horrific for Scandinavia's neighbors.”
This show continues (and completes) both the Twilight of the Aesir series, and also finishes up the story we started way back in early 2012 with Thor's Angels.
The latest offering is almost six and a half hours long (!), proving once again that our “podcasts” are often more like audiobooks than podcasts. This makes the Churchill quote seem very apropos to how we feel during the creation of these things. One could probably argue that splitting this show into two-three hour podcasts would have made more sense, but I didn't want to drag out the end date for this series farther into the future, and the dramatic arc of the story didn't seem to lend itself to two more installments. We never really considered having a “Twilight of the Aesir III”.
For those who may not know, we build these shows from the ground up through improvisation.1 There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. The advantage is that they never sound scripted (because they aren't). But I would be lying if I said I wasn't sometimes jealous of the ability to go over scripts in advance with a fine-toothed comb, review scripts from earlier parts of the same series and eliminate the need for endless re-listens on our part. In that sense I feel what we do seems more like a musical artist recording songs. We do a lot of listening to the “music” and after a while we lose the ability to hear it the way a person listening to it for the first time would hear it. When we hit that point I often feel as though we are flying blind. Left to my own devices, I would probably want to keep fiddling with them forever, but at some point one really does need to “fling it to the public” in whatever form you have it in by the time you have reached the maximum tolerance level. For us that is now.
So, as usual, we have no idea anymore what this sounds like to people who haven't heard it many times already. Hopefully you like it. If you don't, or this subject or era wasn't your cup of tea, the good news is the next show we do will be on a completely different subject, from a completely different era and a completely different geographical region.
The other good news is that I should be producing more material (written and recorded) for a while now that this show is done. By the time the production of the big Hardcore History shows (as opposed to the Hardcore History Addendum ones) reaches the last month or two I am basically sequestered in the studio unable to produce much else. So it will be nice for a while to be able to get more content out until the time I am locked back in the cave. So, you can expect multiple HHAs and Substack pieces before that happens.
As usual, thanks for your endless patience and support. We simply couldn't be more grateful.
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This turns out to be a bit like carving a statue, and knowing what you want to make, but having no plans and just starting work with the hammer and chisel and seeing what emerges from the block of marble. Oftentimes we are as surpised as the audience.