The Witches of Vardo: THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: 'Powerful, deeply moving' - Sunday Times

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The Witches of Vardo: THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: 'Powerful, deeply moving' - Sunday Times

The Witches of Vardo: THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: 'Powerful, deeply moving' - Sunday Times

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She had partied so that she barely had time to get home to her bed before it was time to get up for church on Christmas morning. Anya Bergman became interested in the Witch Trials of Vardø and the vivid folk tales of the North while living in Norway. I really enjoyed Bergman’s writing style and I found myself reading big sections of the book in one sitting. I liked the alternating chapters told by Anna in the first person, giving background information and her viewpoint of her current situation; and Ingeborg’s perspective and story in the third person.

So yes, hundreds of Saami people and Norwegian (mostly) women were burnt for the greater good by zealous people. And even those that were aware of scientific knowledge and forces were still heavily influenced by the religious and folk beliefs that surrounded them. Anna fills her time with mournful regret, speaking to ‘my king’ in a series of letters through which we share her life. Maren would later give the names of five other women who had been witches, and confess that she, too, had learned witchcraft from her mother and her aunt, both of whom had been executed. What a vibrant, brutal and inspirational read The Witches of Vardø proves to be as Bergman – who based her characters on some of the real women who faced unspeakable suffering in the wilds of northern Norway – gives these forgotten names from the past a powerful and resonant voice in the present.Margaret Stead, publisher said: ‘ The Witches of Vardø is a fierce, feminist look at male power and misogyny at the time of the witch trials of the seventeenth century. Girls learning from their mothers – especially in an age where herbal medicine was common – is nothing new. Another woman interrogated in January, Else Knutsdatter, confirmed that in the Christmas of 1617, the witches had tied a fishing rope three times, spat at it and untied it, after which "the sea rose like ashes and people were killed. Her arc was interesting, but as her whole track was addressed to the King, there were many revelations that didn’t make sense.

Cultural Difference and Development in the Mirror of Witchcraft - The Cultural Policy of Display at Steilneset Memorial". A metal chair with flames projecting through the seat is reflected in seven oval mirrors placed around it. She had broken out of Vardohus Castle with Solvi Nilsdatter, an accused witch, by turning herself into a cat and carwling under the main gate. They painted the Sami as a people of magicians, and disapproved of Norwegian women along the coast being alone at home for months when their husbands were out at sea fishing, suspecting them of committing adultery with demons. Fuelled by a combination of lust for power, religious fanaticism and perverted misogyny, the cruelty and violence of Orning's and Lockhert's efforts to force the women accused of witchcraft to confess would be beyond belief were it not that they are based on historical fact, as the author explains in her fascinating afterword.The Devil picked them up and brought them to Kiberg, where they partied with Maren Olsdatter and Sigri, the wife of Kiberg’s sexton. On 2 September 1662, Dorthe Lauritzdotter [12] [8] [13] was brought in for questioning at the Vardøhus fortress.

But the languid flow, the OTT writing, and the capricious characters ended up making this an average read for me. Witches, women accused of witchcraft and the belief system mixed with rumours that can destroy a community.

Though all of the young girls accused of witchcraft were acquitted, they had all lost their mothers and, in some cases, sisters and aunts, to witchcraft executions.

It is said that at times there were no families in Finnmark who were not affected by the proceedings, either as prosecutors, witnesses or convicts. The Witches of Vardø by Anya Bergman is set in an isolated fishing village in Norway and the story is chilling, sometimes graphic and filled with cruelty and injustice for those women accused of witchcraft. As a sign of their agreement, the Devil left his mark by biting between the two longest fingers of her left hand. Anna has brought her most treasured possession – a medicine chest full of herbs and tinctures – and is already making an oath that she will not be a martyr, ‘accepting, mute or humble. When Zigri, desperate and grieving after the loss of her husband and son, embarks on an affair with the local merchant, it's not long before she is sent to the fortress at Vardø, to be tried and condemned as a witch.

In 1687, a requirement for judgements in witchcraft cases to be heard at parliament before a death sentence could be carried out became law. Three women who know nothing of the other shall be forced into close proximity, all at the behest of a zealous King, unstable guards riddled with paranoia and hatred, and a place which is both gilded for some, yet tarnished for others, they will all finally open their eyes and witness something which many shall talk about for hundreds of years to come. Thanks to the opening of this striking 2011 memorial, many more people are now aware of what took place in Vardø and across Finnmark in the 17th century. Margaret Stead, publisher, acquired world English language and translation rights from Marianne Gunn O’Connor at the MGOC Agency.

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