I’m never going to fool experts in a few areas.
The best I can do, I hope is flatter them in the things I do try to get right, and fool anyone who isn’t an expert into thinking I know what I’m talking about.
To that end, part of Akiniwazi is to accept the fact that I don’t have to have doctoral level understanding of historical facts, but get the general points right to flavor the whole. (This is a bit more than just decorating a home with furniture from Ikea and saying it’s Swedish… but some might buy it) Plus, when dealing with alternate history, particularly in an area that does have some nice gray areas and outright blank spaces of the map… you can have a little fun and add plausible things to the mix.
To that end though, I wanted to give a thank you for the guys at Hurstwic for being a wonderful resource to pick through. Their website has been a great resource for those who have a bit of a fan crush on all things Viking, and have taught me lots of terms and understanding on more common life during the Viking period.
Now I know I start going astray from true Viking history rather rapidly because, yes, firstly this is still a fantasy setting, and I have my own agenda here. But secondly, it still must originate from truth if you are to assume (as I have with the setting) that it is ‘history as normal’ till about 800ad or so. That’s why I created an imaginary Viking discovering Akiniwazi, and not relying on actual historical events on the discovery of Vinland… because in my setting, Vinland doesn’t exist. Akiniwazi does. So there’s your first major variance. Well… major in the terms of the novel, not necessarily world events.
As for why eliminate the pagan aspects of the Vikings? Simple. It is based on the historical events similar to that of the Pilgrims, just… twisted a whole bunch. Instead of being religious outcasts, it became instead a method for a set of Christian Kings to create a loyal power base abroad that was providing great wealth. Since I considered it probable that the pagan kings and Jarls would be a problem and try to wrest control from the dominant infant royal culture, they just cut that problem off by forbidding them. You wanted to go to the new world, you had to be of the same faith as the king.