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  1. Hi Nicholas,

    I just got back from reading your project introduction. First off, I love your website design, the presentation is very good and makes me want to keep reading. Also, the video at the end was a nice touch!

    I think using your introduction to your website as a kick off story was a good choice. It serves as an origin story to Ragnar and I assume the rest of the storybook.

    I understood why people would want to "increase their holdings and power to the detriment of young Ragnar" as you put it, but then you go on to describe his interactions with his soon to be wife. Maybe if you add in some of the things people tried to do to him, since you say that they were successful in doing so. Maybe adding some examples in will help explain his later failure. It also might help to explicitly state whether or not Thora dies, because as a reader I assume she does since he moves on from her, but I'm not entirely sure.

    Overall, great introduction!

  2. After reading the introduction to the storybook, here are my comments:
    First of all, I liked the video and the artwork that goes along with it. They were great inclusions and I think seeing the outfits/setting in the video even helped me to imagine other parts of the story. I appreciated having this kind of imagery.
    If I had to suggest one thing it would probably be to include a more detailed author's note. I don't know about others, but I rely on the author's note a lot and sometimes even read it before reading the story so I have an idea of what I'm getting into. When I started this storybook, I wasn't entirely sure if you were coming up with your own twist to a story or retelling an existing one. But I think I caught on pretty quickly that it was a retelling of Norse legends.

  3. Hi Nicholas!

    I like the idea of using a story as an introduction to your storybook. It gives readers an idea what you will be writing about. The video you included at the end added to the feelings and emotions of the story. I am have not seen the television show Vikings, but the story makes me want to watch it. Did King Aella know that Ragnar was coming? Were he and his army warned of the incoming invasion? It seems like they were highly prepared for battle.
    One suggestion I have is to include details in your author's note. It can give your readers a sense of of your story and the characters you are writing about. I am excited to read your storybook. I look forward to the ideas you will be coming up with.

  4. Hey Nicholas!
    I really appreciated the amount of detail in your first story --- the imagery was truly vivid, and you have a keen eye for what's essential for the purposes storytelling, what helps move the plot along and discerning which details help your reader relate to the tale.
    The main thing I'm uncertain of is how this story serves as an introduction; perhaps this will be made clear over time, but it feels like a cleanly wrapped episode rather than an introduction to the series. As the others have said, perhaps explaining more in your author's note will make this clear to the reader! Or, maybe it is meant to be a chapter in and of itself rather than serving as an introduction. Either way, I can't wait to see how the rest unfolds!

  5. HI Nicholas, I think you did an excellent job of introducing your storybook. It is evident that you have a lot of passion and interest in the subject and I am so excited to hear more about your topic and story. I think it is so impressive that you have already written a story to start your storybook out. I can tell you have a commitment to this class for sure! I think it is really interesting that you chose to use a video rather than a photograph to illustrate this story. I wonder is this clip part of your inspiration to choose this topic? You have an amazing grasp of your characters and it seems as though you are very well set off on this project, congrats because it looks really good so far!

  6. Hi Nicholas!
    I love your websites design! I think the blues of the ocean on your introduction page really capture the brutal character of Ragnar. I also love that you added a clip from Vikings. I watched until he (spoilers) died, and then I just lost interest. Because of that, I'm really excited to continue reading you storybook! I only know about Norse myths from Vikings and God of War, so I'm interested in learning more.Your project looks great so far, keep it up!

  7. Hey Nicholas,
    First off, when clicking on your comment wall the picture from Tokyo drift is a nice touch. After reading your introduction and first story I have a few comments. I think you did a really good job of setting the stage with your introduction. Your introduction did a good job of keeping me engaged as well as wanting to learn more about the sons of Ragnar. I have seen the show vikings and the final quote was a nice touch. In regard to your story 'Greatest Conquest' it was really intense and I really enjoy this style of story. One question I had was why did Ivar not participate in the first battle but you cleared that up in your author's notes. Will Ivar and his brother come to face stronger enemies ? Will you continue with this theme or will you try something different for the next story?Overall, your project is coming along nice, keep up the great work!

  8. Hi DKNK,
    I feel myself drawn to this storybook, and I'll explain why. I am a reconstructionist Heathen. That means I worship the gods of the Norse pantheon in a way that attempts to reconstruct the faith that was lost to the Christianization of that region (feel free to ask me anything on that). As such, I have studied the historical heathenry quite a bit, so I have some notes that could add to the historical authenticity if you'd like to incorporate them. For one thing, names like "Odin" and "Valhalla" are anglicized from the original names, which are Othinn and Valhol. Another thing you might want to incorporate is that the Old Norse were fond of kennings and epithets to refer to the gods. Odin in particular is known for going by many names (Allfather, Masked One/Grimnir, Yggr/Terrible One to name a few). In fact, there is debate among historians on whether Yggdrasil refers to the world tree or to Sleipnir because the name is a kenning meaning "the terrible one's horse" referring either literally to his horse or referring to the tree he hanged himself on. The Old Man happens to be my patron, so I know a little bit about him. I am excited to see if he makes an appearance in your stories. Maybe there will be ravens over the battlefield, or a mysterious old man in a cloak wielding a spear. Hail to you, and hail to your storybook, and may the writing come easily to you.

  9. Hey Nicholas!
    As someone of Russian and Scandinavian decent, I really liked your theme with Vikings! They were pretty brutal to their enemies huh? In 9th grade history class we watched a documentary about an English king getting a bloody eagle from Vikings. When you described that scene at the end, I knew exactly what was going on to that man. Yikes! I love how you didn't hold back to show the true strength and brutality of the Vikings. I cannot wait to read more!

  10. Hi Nicholas,
    I have always been interested in learning more about Vikings and this story has rekindled that thought. I watched the show Vikings that is on Hulu for a few episodes and really enjoyed it, but I never had a chance to finish it. Perhaps I will consider going back and finishing it because it is entertaining and provides some insight on Viking culture. I wanted to let you know your introduction does a great job at setting the audience up for what is in store next. I did not really know a lot of information on Ragnar or anything else so great job building that foundation. You write well and I thought you did a good job on your depictions of visuals. Especially when talking about the blood eagle, it can be hard to describe something as brutal as that in an appropriate way. I am looking forward to reading more of your work!

  11. Hey Nicholas,

    Just read your introduction and first story. Wow! Pretty vivid stuff. I love it! I like how you took a historical approach to the Vikings and weren't shy about talking about some of the debated parts of Viking history. The introduction did a great job of setting the stage for the first story, and it was fun to watch the embedded video! I actually went and checked Netflix and History channel to see if "Vikings" was available. I need to watch it sometime! It's crazy to see the lengths people went to for revenge back then.
    I agree that it seems there is quite a debate over whether the blood eagle was used or not. I think it's possible, as we have evidence of equally gruesome tortures for the time. I mean, the idea had to come from somewhere, right? Looking forward to more stories!

  12. Hi Nicholas!
    As soon as I read the quote at the end of your first story, as Ragnar is dying, I knew that it was from Vikings! I love that show! Your stories were very vivid. You are missing a few commas here and there, which makes it a little confusing to read. You kind of start off with a story, which is fine, but it is labeled as an introduction. I think including more of an author’s note would help make this clear. Are you going to tell the stories of Ragnar’s sons, so you started with Ragnar’s stories? The second story was great as well! I had no idea that Ivar the Boneless had tricked the King of Northumbria into giving him a parcel of land. Him eventually getting the King’s men to swear loyalty to him instead fits what I know of him as well. Great story overall! I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  13. Hi Nicholas! Reading through your writing just showed me the skills you have in creating a captivating yet fleshed out story. I do think your introduction could have been condensed and/or written better, as it is only an introduction and there is no need to have so much exposition on the history of the main characters. I have never seen the show the Vikings, so I don't understand any references to them. Line breaks could have been used more throughout the stories, making it easier to digest the story being told, rather than leaving it all together. The dialogue and choice of words were extremely well-written, showcasing the history of the Vikings in a little story. I think you did a great job transitioning between every story. Your story read like it was an actual tale too, and I could not tell at first that it was your own writing from scratch.

  14. Hi Nicholas!
    I loved your first story. Your imagery and detail are wonderful, and you keep the story very interesting to the reader by providing a means to escape into the world. For example, when you stated that "Waves reached higher than mast, and the sea mist sprayed fiercely. A great beast rumbled through the waters below, barely breaching the water’s surface," I felt like I was on the ship with them! Also, using terms like "a fortnight" helped to kind of get into that world even more.
    I think it would be really helpful for the purpose of your storybook and also for the reader to include a small paragraph about how The Sacking of Paris will relate to the rest of your storybook. Is this the beginning of his adventures? Or is this the cumulation of his career as a raiding viking? Your story is great, and I'm excited to read more!

  15. Hey Nicholas,
    I think that I commented out of order - oops. This is about your introduction.
    I love how it was a story! It was really fun to read the background, and you still told it like a good story - with Ragnar warming by a fire and beginning to see his purpose and destiny take shape. I like how it wasn't just random details or facts about history. You merged it all to make it interesting. Also, the video was a really unique and great touch to help the reader picture Ragnar and get more excited to see into your storybook!
    You finished it out wonderfully and showed what was to come by adding "This story sets the stage for the the sage of Ragnar Lothbrok and his many sons. It follows his rise to power and his death, along with his close admiration to and from the gods." I would have loved to see a little bit more of a cliff-hanger or attention getter - maybe allude to what happens with his sons, or if their story is similar to their fathers? Great job!

  16. Hi there!
    Your name has popped up in the randomizer just about every time for me, haha.. but it is really cool because I have become very accustomed with your page and your stories, so it's fun to keep track and know what to expect now!
    Your writing style is very strong and I love the descriptions that you add into your writing. For example, "the others continued on their lust for conquest".. how cool! That is such a great mental image to describe what you are portraying with the story. There is a really cool Biblical allusion going on here.. if you meant to do that, awesome! I saw it in the "The King realized his demise and shouted out, "God, why have you forsaken me! Why has thou brought death to my doorstep!" It sounds like Jesus's last words. Especially when they "ripped apart the skin exposing his ribs and various organs" before he "screamed until his spirit receded." If you didn't mean to make these allusions, maybe it would be cool to do some research and see if these stories were ever connected to occurrences from the Bible.


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