When I am feeling in need of reason, wanting for some belief beyond daily trouble and toil, I am inclined to retreat with much affection, to ‘The 13th Warrior’, directed by John Mctiernan and Michael Crichton, released in nineteen hundred and ninety-nine on the cusp of the new millennium. A retelling of Michel Crichton’s novel, ‘Eaters of the Dead’, a tale based upon the chronicles of Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, an Arabian ambassador to the Volga Vikings. No full copy of Ibn Fadlan’s work exists but part references to the legend of Beowulf deliver the books main narrative.
A stirring tale by itself, but my true fascination comes from the two separate prayers that appear within the dialogue. Neither of the stirring renditions are accurate or indeed tied to the events. A Muslim would never ever address his God as Father in prayer, a blasphemy, and the Viking words are the murmurings of a brave Norse girl just before being burnt alive as a pagan.
That two incongruous religions texts are the soul of the tale is undeniably true, merging most aptly into one overwhelming life lesson.