1. To what genre or type of story does this tale seem to belong? Does it remind you of other literature you have read?
2. What seem to be the location and time period of the tale? What might have been Victorian reactions to the social world it portrays?
3. What values does the story seem to espouse, e. g. toward politics, war, family relations, and friendship and love? Is there anything especially unconventional about these values from a mid-Victorian point of view?
4. What are features of the tale's language? Its metaphors? Its sequence of events? What are ways in which the narrative conveys deep emotion?
5. What do we know about Gertha? Olaf? Leuchnar? Would any of these names have historical resonance?
6. What seem to be idealized traits of the good hero?
7. Does this tale resemble any other stories we have read? If so, how?
8. What are features of the description of Olaf's death? Why do his warriors decide to make a strategic retreat?
9. How do you interpret the choice of Gertha as queen? How might have Victorian readers responded to this element of the plot? Do you think it is realistic (both in a medieval and Victorian context)?
10. What attitude do Olaf's warriors and Leuchnar have toward their queen? How does she fulfill her obligation to the dead and to her people?
11. What incidents of the battle-scenes are emphasized? What functions are served by the introduction of the characters Richard and King Borrace?
12. How do you interpret the supernatural elements of the story?
13. What gender assumption seem important to the emotions of the story?
14. Do you think the battle scenes would have been considered relatively realistic by Victorian readers?
15. What seem to be the psychological themes of this tale? How would you describe its tone?
16. Does the final scene provide effective closure? What is added by the fact that it is narrated by Gertha's handmaiden?
For an account of Morris's life during this early period, see morrisbio.htm.