Thorolf Kveldulfsson

Thorolf Kveldulfsson

Thorolf Kveldulfsson was the oldest son of Kveldulf Bjalfasson and the brother of the Norwegian/Icelandic goði and skald Skalla-Grimr. Thorolf is a hero of the early part of "Egils saga". According to that work, he served as a retainer of Harald I of Norway and fought on the latter's own ship at the Battle of Hafrsfjord. After Harald's conquest of Norway Thorolf became his governor over the northern region of Norway and was responsible for collecting tribute from the Saami to the north. In this capacity he took part in an expedition by King Faravid of Kvenland against the Karelians.

Thorolf became involved in an inheritance dispute with the brothers Hraerek and Harek, who were distant kinsmen of his wife Sigrid. The brothers slandered him to King Harald, who grew increasingly suspicious of Thorolf (the situation was exacerbated by the refusal of Thorolf's father Kveldulf to swear allegiance to the king.) Ultimately, fearful of Thorolf's growing power, King Harald had him surrounded in his hall at Sandness and killed.

Skalla Grimr went with Olvir Hnufa, his maternal uncle, to King Harald after Thorolf's murder. HE demanded compensation, which resulted in his being chased out of the king's court. Together with his father Kveldulf, and their kinsman Ketil Trout, Skalla-Grimr took revenge by killing those of Harald's servants who took part in Thorolf's killing before fleeing to Iceland.


*Thorsson, Örnólfur, et al. "Egil's Saga." "The Sagas of the Icelanders." trans: Bernard Scudder (Penguin Classics, 2000).

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