So french_teacher pointed me to the proceedings of a conference on the sagas, and in skimming them, I came across this fascinating side note in a paper by one Torfi H. Tulinius, describing Hallgerður and Gunnar’s marriage: Hrútr calls it a “girndarráð” (87: “decision based on lust”) and this seems to be the opinion of the author of the saga.
Having a word for (roughly) “a decision based on lust” strikes me as rather useful.
I dug up the original passage:
Hrútur mælti: “Veit eg að svo mun vera að ykkur er báðum girndarráð. Hættið þið og mestu til hversu fer.”
Lee M. Hollander translates this as: Hrút said: “Yes, I realize that both of you are foolishly in love. To be sure, It is you two who risk the most [if you take such a leap into the dark].
“Foolishly in love” versus “making a decision based on lust.” They’re not unrelated, yet the shadings are very different. (hildigunnur? What’s your take on nearest English meaning?)
Robert Cook goes with something between the two: “I see that you’re both eager for this match, and you’re the ones who take the greatest risk as to how it works out.”
How one translates Hrútur’s statement affects, a little, how one sees Hallgerður and Gunnar’s relationship, of course, which makes this interesting to me. (So does how much one trusts Hrútur, something I’ve been thinking about given that he’s the one who says Hallgerður has the eyes of a thief.) Whether they loved each other, were merely in lust, were in lust and came to love each other, or were in it all for the money and the status is a question I went around with while writing Thief Eyes. (It’s not one I claim to answer at all definitively, given how much else I changed to get to the story I told–based on my own limited knowledge, I think one can argue for all these things.)
Oh, and so of course before posting this I had to go look up Dasent, who already bowdlerizes the entire cause of Hrútur’s marital problems in his translation. Dasent goes with: Hrut says, “I know that you have both set your hearts on this match; and, besides, ye two are those who run the most risk as to how it turns out.”
“Set your hearts on.” Uh huh. Sure.