Hild’s bynames #2: Butcher-bird

The taxonomic name for the great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor, is Latin for butcher sentinel. Sentinel because of the way shrikes stand tall on top of a post, as both a warning and declaration of territory: they practically shriek vigilance and eagerness to tangle. (They remind me of new bouncers at a club: overready to get into it.) And butcher because they spike their prey—smaller birds, mice, lizards, bees, crickets—on thorns and barbed wire fencing, like feathery little Neroes playing with Christians.

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Making my own Hild art

While writing both Hild and Menewood I drew dozens of maps to help work out everything from travel routes to weather events to Hild’s thinking to battle tactics. These sketch maps are full of private code and wouldn’t make sense to most readers. But every now and again I like to post one to illustrate a point. So I started […]

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IONA Vancouver

Last week I spent five days at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, to attend IONA: Early medieval studies on the islands of the North Atlantic—transformative networks, skills, theories, and methods for the future of the field. If you are an early medievalist, you should go the next one at King’s College London, November 2021.

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Dancing Reindeer

Usually at this time of year I blow up the Christmas tree with FX (one of my favourites so far: a dragon flaming the tree to ash). But 2017 has been a year of too much destruction, so here’s something entirely fun. It makes me grin, anyway.

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