Worldbuilding: Norse saga fantasy world and plot point

I decided to put both these questions in the same thread to avoid spamming this forum. One of them is related to my main project (sci-fi novel based on Oliver Twist – yes the idea I mentioned in my story ideas thread is not my main project, it’s a side project I’m working on in addition to my Oliver Twist retelling)

My side project is set in a parallel world based on the world depicted in the förnaldasogur of medieval Iceland; a world where berserks, trolls, giants, Finnish/Sámi seers, shieldmaidens, all kinds of supernatural and magical happenings, and mythical creatures are common. In these sagas the hero often comes into contact with the gods. Although the setting is based on Iceland and Norway in the medieval period and the world has Norse values, there is a Dickensian element and the plot hinges on a young orphaned hero, Bjarki who has suspected of being hall-troll who has been raised as a thief by a dwarvish fence, Thórinn (the conception of dwarves here owes a bit to Tolkien’s Khazad as medieval Jewish analogues) and later in the plot Bjarki is changed into a bear for protection.

I have a vague idea of where I want the plot to go but any tips on worldbuilding and combining Norse with Victorian aspects?

Also (main project) what could a blackmailer blackmail an accomplice with? (For context the blackmailer character is my version of Monks/Edward Leeford, Oliver’s half-brother).

Medieval Iceland was part of the broader Germanic milieu that also included England and there were really and truly-o Vikings in England in addition to Anglo-Saxons and Celts. One interesting thing you could do is try some sort of London setting for part of the story and make in-joke parallels between the London of the Middle Ages and stereotypically Victorian London.

One of the big ones of its time (and which is still fairly potent today) is adultery. Maybe the blackmailer has obtained evidence that the accomplice has been seeing a lady on the side/has patronized a prostitute/whatever. In those days, adultery not only caused marital and social problems but it could be a serious legal issue too - you could get the death penalty for it in some areas at some times.

So the blackmail target is married? Or does ‘adultery’ include any ‘unapproved’ sex?

Moving to CS.

@Suspace: No he isn’t married. I suppose you could consider sex outside of an established relationship adultery…

@robert_columbia: Did medieval London as such have slums? The first mention I can find is from the Tudor period.


could anyone help me come up with fantasy reasons for dwarven religious modesty?

(BTW just in case anyone is interested dwarven women in my world don’t have beards.)