The Final Battle of Gísli Súrsson

DVD cover The Final Battle of Gisli Sursson

The brutal reality of Viking-age fighting brought to life.

This DVD shows you the Viking-age battle in which the saga hero Gísli Súrsson single-handedly faced 15 armed men. Not a re-enactment, nor a dramatization, this DVD brings the battle to life in the actual place where the historical battle occurred, standing in the footsteps of the men and women who fought there over 1000 years ago. The fighting moves depicted are taken directly from the pages of the sagas.

Without context, the battle would be incomprehensible, and so we've gathered a group of experts to analyze and discuss what led up to the battle. Numerous special-feature chapters make up the bulk of the DVD and discuss Vikings, their weapons, beliefs, mindset, ships, weapons, blacksmithing, poetry, clothing, houses, and others.

Regardless of your interests, whether they be Vikings, Norse mythology, medieval literature, history, or martial arts, you'll find something new and interesting on this DVD.

• widescreen video • 93 minute run time
• English-language stereo audio • region-free

Available Now
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US$24.95 plus shipping

Watch a preview on YouTube.

Topics covered include:

Introduction: An Overview of the Material on the DVD

What's on this DVD?


Gísli's society: People of the Viking Age

Was Gísli a Viking? Well, no. And yes.


Gísli's saga: Introduction to the Sagas of Icelanders

These stories are perhaps our most important source of information about Viking-age people, their culture and society, and importantly about their mindset, the unwritten rules that guided their behavior. Without a knowledge of the sagas, it will be hard to understand the Vikings.

Sagas of Icelanders

Gísli's beliefs: The Mindset of the Viking-Age People

What beliefs guided the behavior of Viking-age people in battle, and in everyday life?

Viking mindset

Gísli's worldview: Supernatural Forces in the Viking Age

Other powerful forces were thought to shape peoples' lives in the Viking age.

supernatural forces

Gísli's story: A Synopsis of Gísla saga

This chapter summarizes the story of Gísli's life to give you a sense for how fate, luck, magic, and honor drove Gísli to his doom, fighting against overwhelming odds to the death.


Gísli's footsteps: The Landscape at Geirþjófsfjörður
with Þórir Örn Guðmundsson

The features of the landscape depicted in the saga are still easily visible, despite more than 1000 years having passed since the battle took place. The important sites in the valley are pointed out by Þórir, who has walked in Gísli's footsteps countless times.

in the footsteps of Gísli

Gísli's final battle: The Fight at Geirþjófsfjörður

with Arni Þórarinsson
Atli Freyr Guðmundsson
Birkir Örvarsson
Matthew Card
Mike Cicale
Robin Cooper

Rhonda Cooper
John Davis
Hinrik Stefnir Ævarsson
Hjörtur Reynir Hinriksson
Kristine Krakowski
Lýður Valgeir Jóhannesson

Matthew Nachtrieb
Reynir A.
William R. Short
Barbara Wechter
Þorgrímur Kolbeinsson
Þórir Örn Guðmundsson

Gísli's fight to the death against Eyjólfur and 14 of his men is brought to life on the screen, shot on location where the fight took place and in the footsteps of the men and women who fought there. While the saga describes only some of the fighting moves in detail, all of the moves shown in this chapter represent realistic Viking-age fighting moves taken from the pages of the sagas.

Gísli's final battle

Gísli's voyages: Ships in the Viking Age
with Valdimar Elíasson

What might Gísli's sea voyages have been like? Valdimar expresses his opinion, based on his experiences building and sailing the replica Viking ship Vésteinn.

Viking ships

Gísli's verses: Poetry in the Viking Age
with sr Geir Waage

In the Viking age, poetry was considered one of the highest of the arts, a gift from Óðinn, the highest of the gods. Gísli composed and recited many verses in the saga, and Geir helps us undertand the complexities of Viking-age poetry.

Gísli's verses

Gísli's weapons: The Weapons of the Viking Age
with Lee Jones

Weapons played a central role in Viking culture. Lee, an expert on Viking weapons, uses historical Viking-age examples to show us the kinds of weapons used by Gísli, Eyjólfur, and his men in their battle.

weapons of the Viking age

Gísli's forge: Working Iron in the Viking Age
with Birkir Örvarsson

The broken sword Grásíða was reforged into a spear and used by Gísli to kill Þorgrímur. Birkir tells us how that work might have been accomplished in a Viking-age smithy.

Viking-age ironworking

Auður's house: Houses in Viking-Age Iceland
with Arena Huld Steinarsdóttir

What might Gísli and Auður's home in Geirþjófsfjörður have looked like, and what was life like in the house? Arena tells us about life in a Viking-age longhouse.

Viking-age houses

Auður's clothing: Women's Clothing in the Viking Age
with Borgný Gunnarsdóttir

Auður’s long clothing left a track in the frost that Eyjólfur followed to find Gísli. Borgný tells us about women’s clothing in the Viking age, and how those clothes might have left a track that revealed the path to their hideout.

Viking-age clothing

Gísli's appeal: Performing Gísla saga today
with Elfar Logi Hannesson

Elfar has performed his one-man show based on Gísla saga many hundreds of times for Icelanders and foreigners alike. Why does this saga have such universal and enduring appeal?

Elfar performs Gísla saga

Gísli's legacy: Studying Gísla saga today
with Peter Weiss

Students come each summer to the University Centre of the Westfjords in order to study Gísla saga, as well as both modern and classical Icelandic languages. Why do students have so much interest in these topics that they would travel here from around the globe to study?

studying Gísla saga today

Gísli's fighting: Hurstwic's Research of Viking Combat
with William R. Short

The Viking people left little behind to teach us how they fought and used their weapons. How does Hurstwic do their research in this field and form their conclusions about how Gísli, Eyjólfur, and his men fought?

Hurstwic Viking Combat Research

Concluding Remarks: Where to learn more

In this final chapter, we tell you how you can learm more about the topics discussed in this DVD: more about the sagas, about Gísla saga, and about how Vikings fought and used their weapons.

concluding remarks

Check out our behind-the-scenes photo album while we were on location in Iceland to shoot the DVD.


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