Bogles are a type of Scots and Northumbrian fay. I've drawn from Katharine Briggs' description of them.
Izzy uses three exclamations: Ragnarok, North and down, and gods and ancestors. In the Heathen mythology, Ragnarok is the end of the world, while
'gods and ancestors' are focuses of reverence.
In Hermod's ride to Hel, in the Prose Edda Gyfaginning 49 Hermod is told the road to Hel lies down and to the north.
Geas (plural geasa) is from Irish and Welsh folklore. It's a taboo or an obligation or prohibition magically imposed on a person.
Lawspeaker was the title of the top legal office in
Scandinavian countries, from around the 10th
century until the 13th
centuries. It derives from the need for this person to memorise and recite the law. In Iceland, the Lawspeaker was also an arbiter. I’ve
changed the role to that of a judge.
I stole 'birthright' from the Society of Friends, as a concept for someone born into something.
Following the defeat of Cromwell's Roundheads, royalty was reinstated in England in the shape of Charles II who changed many things in the country.
A canine nose really is that sharp.
In Anglo Saxon England, a thane (thegn in Anglo Saxon) was a noble below the rank of ealdorman.
Brownie is the Scots name for popular type of fay that crops up widely in European folklore - the house dweller that tidies the house, milks the
cows and mends clothes or shoes. Hobbits are from this group. They are generally below normal human height.
Selkies are a Scots/Icelandic/Faroese/Irish type of fay, very like the Scandinavian swan maiden in that they need their skin to transform into a seal.
The Daoine Sidhe are the Irish equivalent of elves.
In the pre-Christian Germanic/Scandinavian/English religion (the modern version is called Heathenry), there were nine worlds - the main ones being
for gods, elves, ettins and humans.
In popular culture, silver is regarded as harmful to Weres.
Mara is the Old Norse for malevolent night spirits. The Anglo Saxon 'mare' gives us our modern English 'nightmare'. I've tweaked that to produce
In the Lokasenna
in the Poetic Edda, Loki taunts Tyr (the Norse equivalent of the English god Tiw) with the claim that he
fathered a son on Tiw's wife. The wife is not named and there is no mention of werewolves
The Old Norse word for fetch and a type of female
guardian spirit was the same as the word for the placenta. I’ve played with
this to produce the founding myth of wyrdwolves.
A fetch (ON fylgja/Anglo Saxon fæcce) is an ancient
Heathen concept. It forms a part of the person though it’s also separate. They
generally took the shape of an animal.
Seelie and Unseelie is a Scots concept of splitting the fay into good and bad.
In Anglo Saxon, a moot was a place people met to arbitrate and conduct local business.
The representation of AWE is based on real trade union work.
(British slang) = idiot.
Droit du seigneur refers to a supposed legal right in
medieval Europe of feudal lords to deflower maidens on their wedding night.
There is a legal concept of 'reasonable belief'
in UK employment law, which has the effect described.
Golems are from Jewish folklore.
The representation of tribunal procedure and pre-hearing negotiations is accurate to English practice in 1999.
Saywife is my modernisation of the pre-Christian Heathen role of seiðkona. It's play on the pronunciation of the word.
However, I've changed it from an enchanter/seeress to healer.
It is possible for solicitors to become barristers in the English legal system. However, it's rare.
I updated several features of Anglo Saxon social
organisation for Izzy’s world. The original for Eldormen was ealdormen – high
nobility in 9th
century England. A Thing was an assembly. An Althing was
a primary governmental assembly of the state in pagan Iceland. Witan or
Witenagemot was an assembly of the ruling class in Anglo Saxon England from
before the 7th
century until the 11th
century. Its function was to advise the
York was the capital of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.
It was an important city in the Danelaw – a Viking kingdom that roughly lay to
the north of a line drawn between London and Chester, during most of 9th
Ambrose was one of the names of Merlin.
(Anglo Saxon) = creature. In modern Heathenry,
the word is applied to nature spirits.
In Heathen mythology, Muspelheim (Firehome is a direct
translation) is one of the Nine Worlds.
In the Heathen religion, Winter Nights was one of the
"three greatest blessings of the year" mentioned in the Ynglinga
saga. The historical festival marked the beginning of winter and involved
sacrifices to the elves and the dísir.
Ulfhednar/ulfhedinn (Old Norse: plural/singular) are from Heathen mythology. They were berserkers who changed into wolves, rather than bears.
Disir (Old Norse) are female ancestors. They have nothing to do with Wish Hounds in folklore.
Wish Hounds are a variant of the common folklore motif of black dogs, from Devon & Cornwall.
In Heathen mythology, Yggdrasil is the tree that houses
the nine worlds.
Tír na nÓg is one of the names of the otherworld in Irish mythology.
Gabriel’s Hounds/Ratchets are from northern English
The Wild Hunt appears in folklore in various European countries with various leaders, including Herne the Hunter (England), Frau Holda (Germany)
and Odhin. Herne is regarded by many modern pagans as an avatar of Cernunnos.
The Cŵn Annwn are the hounds of the underworld, in
Welsh mythology. Their cries were said to grow softer the closer they came.
A normal lynx can leap two metres straight upwards. I've scaled that up for Sam.
The Indian Scout 101 is a motorcycle built in the first
half of the 20th
century. It was popular for Wall of Death stunt
There is a place called Ellwood in the Forest of Dean. The name may mean old wood or elder wood.
Fennel is one of the herbs in the 10th century Anglo Saxon Nine Herbs Charm
Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his runaway (and very unreliable) bestseller Historia Regum Britanniae
gives Merlin's name as Merlinus Ambrosius.
Nixie or neck is the Germanic name for an undine or water spirit.
The history of the Forest of Dean is true.
Myrddin Emrys is the Welsh equivalent of Merlinus Ambrosius. What Sam says about the history and names of Merlin is real. Including the reason why
Geoffrey of Monmouth changed the name to Merlin.
Breton folklore places Broceliande in Brittany. Legend
has it that Merlin stood on a rock in Broceliande to make rain.
Elizabeth I had a court magician called Dr Dee.
Landwight is a modern Heathen term for nature spirits tied to the land. Wight is a rendition of an Anglo Saxon word for creature
that modern Heathens tend to use only to refer to the fay.
Dog pawprints aren't individually identifiable in the way fingerprints are.
The tale about Loki can be found in the Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal
Wyrd is a Heathen concept related to fate.
(British slang) = lawyer, especially a
“But, as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can
neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and
self-preservation in the other.” (Thomas Jefferson, 1820)
Revenons à nos moutons as 'let us return to the matter under discussion' is a French idiom that migrated into popular English.
Thomas Paine wrote a popular pamphlet called Common
(1776) proclaiming the United States’ role as an asylum for liberty.
Orlog is a concept from the Heathen religion and ancient texts, related to wyrd. It can be expressed as the sum total of everything that has
made someone the person they are.
At the time this book was written, Hereford Police Station was actually in Gaol Street, Hereford.
WPC = woman police officer (British police forces until 1998).
The Chase Hotel in Ross on Wye exists, though I've enhanced parts of it.
In 1999, all-region DVD players were either not available
or else well out of the price range of most consumers.
In Heathen mythology, Fimbulwinter is a three-year winter
that precedes the coming of Ragnarok. See the Prose Edda Gylfaginning
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 made hate crime illegal
in England, Wales, and Scotland.
The ram-headed snake is part of Celtic iconography. It
appears with various gods though is most closely associated with Cernunnos. It
seems to be a symbol of regeneration and fertility.
Silvanus is a Roman god associated with the borders
between domesticated and wild land. In some ways he resembles Cernunnos.
Loki sired Fenris, who bit off Tyr’s hand in response to
betrayal. The story is in the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning
Sessrumnir is recorded as the name of Freya’s hall in the
Finbheara is variously described as king of the Connacht fairies, king of the Daoine Sidhe or King of the Dead. He and his wife lived in
Cnoc Meadha (also spelled Knockmagha, Knockma, or Knock Ma), a hill west of Tuam, County Galway, in Ireland. He had a reputation for kidnapping human women.
The therapeutic index exists. All descriptions in the book of the process of developing a new drug in 1999 is true.
Aconbury - like other places mentioned in the book - exists.
Modern Herefordshire is roughly the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Magonsætan.
A variety of Heathen myths are mentioned in the description of the chair. Hel is the name of a kingdom and also its ruler: the goddess Hel,
a daughter of Loki. Ettins, or jotun, are powerful beings who are either fighting the gods in Asgard or marrying them. Muspelheim (Firehome is a
direct translation) is one of the Nine Worlds. Norns are older than the gods and tend the world tree, Yggdrasil.
According to folklore, the fay are averse to iron.
What is now Herefordshire and part of Worcestershire was
the Anglo Saxon sub-kingdom of Magonset and Hwicce. As place names corrupt over
time, I’ve rendered this as Manston and Wich.
Brisingamen is a famous piece of jewellery that Freya wears.
Anglo Saxon England and Scandinavia removed the protection of the law from someone for particular offences. Without protection, they could be
killed with impunity. In Scandinavia, there were two different types of outlawry, one temporary and the other permanent.
The Tuatha De Danann are the ancient gods of Ireland.
The Mothers (Latin: Roman: Matronae) were female
deities venerated in Northwestern Europe from the first to the fifth century.
Bede (a 9th
century monk) recorded that the eve of Yule was
celebrated in the UK as “Mothers’ Night”
Nether Hel is my rendition of Niflhel
= Foggy Hel. It is mentioned in both the Poetic and the Prose Eddas. In Gylfaginning
3 it is described as a realm beyond Hel to which the wicked are sent.
In Heathen mythology, the gods tried to prevent Ragnarok
by binding the great wolf, Fenris. Tiw/Tyr was the only god willing to place
his hand in Fenris’ mouth, as a pledge of honour. He lost the hand. The story
is in the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning
‘halefast and frithgiven’ is my mashup of Anglo Saxon and
modern English. Hale means whole or healthy, fast is joined together (as in
fastened) and frith conveys peace and security.
The Midgard (Midearth) serpent was another child of
Loki’s – a massive serpent that spanned the earth.
There is a lost tale in Heathen mythology about Loki taking the shape of a seal to fight with another of the gods. The story is alluded to in the
Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal
Unusually among the gods of Heathen mythology, Loki doesn't seem to bear arms. Although included in Asgard among the gods, his parents were ettins.
Michael's memories are all drawn from the British & French myths about Merlin. The references are to the tales of Vortigern,
Vivienne/Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, the Old North tales of Myrddin Wyllt and Lailoken, Merlin's imprisonment and Arthurian tales of Camelot.
Weregold is my rendition of wergild: the price of
restitution for harm to people or property in Heathen societies. This was
embodied in early English law.
There are plastic guns. The firearms mentioned by Declan exist.
What Michael says about sheep badgers in the Forest of
Dean is true.
The Gundestrup Cauldron is an ancient artefact famous for
its image of Cernunnos.