Following more than a month of crafting, we finally boarded a flight from Sweden to Ireland with the mission of getting a drinking horn and some bottles of mead to the set of Vikings and into the hands of none other than Clive Standen who portrays Rollo in the TV-series.
Some of you may know that we were given the honour of forging an axe for Clive Standen who portrays Rollo in History Channel’s TV-series Vikings. With us being huge fans of the show, and especially Clive’s portrayal of Rollo, it was obviously an amazing opportunity. You can read more about that process here: Forging an axe for Rollo. We were still to gift him with a drinking horn, which was something we all really looked forward to. At the same time it was a real challenge, since we were very pleased with the axe and the horn had to match it in design and craftsmanship.
The concept of the horn: We decided that the concept of the horn would be the “Conscience of Rollo” which is explained more in detail further down. The first step was coming up with an idea and a theme that’d fit the depth of the character and the extreme choices he is compelled to make in order to forge his destiny. A dark horn was chosen for the process, since that seemed fitting considering the overall atmosphere we were after with the design. Rollo also seems to wear a lot of black and dark brown. The horn was given a custom design with the wolves Hati and Sköll that were first designed on paper and then carved into the horn, after which the rest of the patterns were free-handed to fit the shape of the horn. These wolves, called Hate and Treachery in English, are fathered by Fenris and they will devour the moon and the sun come Ragnarök (you might have noticed that Rollo has them tattooed on his upper arms). We see Hate as a powerful emotion that fuels Rollo – the hate of living in the shadow of his brother, the hate of not having everything he thinks he is entitled to, and perhaps even hate directed at himself for his actions. Treachery, on the other hand, is one of the consequences of his hate and he has chosen to go down that dark path more than once. Rollo’s name in the tongue of his kin (Old Norse: Hrolfr) is written in runes on the horn as a reminder of his roots, his past and his true self – exposing him even further to his conscience.
The spirit of the horn: This isn’t a horn Rollo would bring forth during festivities. Hati and Sköll on the horn aren’t for public display and they haven’t got the intimidating, “I don’t care if I live or die”, purpose of his Hati and Sköll tattoos that cover his upper arms. We see Rollo sitting with the horn in solitude in his chambers, whilst in deep thought, pending between self-loathing and proudly embracing his accomplishments propelled forth by the tabooed elements of Hati and Sköll. Drinking from a horn symbolizes joining or becoming one with the spirit of the horn, and in Rollo’s case it would be reconciling with his feelings and actions…almost as staring into a mirror while soul searching and facing one’s innermost feelings. Some might consider it torture – but Rollo is not one to sway away from conflict….not even with himself as the opponent. The horn is also sized so that if filled to the brim with the right stuff it’d put even Rollo on his arse – thus serving its purpose and turning the lights off so that the night won’t last too long.
Clive with Arve and Hegg of Grimfrost
The horn was finally given to Rollo (Clive was still in his costume) and we made sure to give a few bottles of our mead as well so it could be baptised in proper manner. We also happened to reach 200 000 likes on Facebook while in Ireland, and we decided to make a small film from the set of Vikings to thank for all the support. It can be seen further down.