How Norway became a country is shrouded in mystery and folklore. The most well known tale is of Harald Hårfagre who gathered the small kingdoms of the north into a unified nation in 872AD – and of course, this story is about love.
The legend has it that Harald’s marriage proposal was mocked by Gyda, a Viking princess from the south. Instead of directly refusing Harald, she said she would not marry him until he became king over all of Norway.
Rising to the challenge Harald vowed never to cut or comb his hair until he was king and he set out to conquer the land. He became known as ‘Shockhead’ or ‘Tanglehair’ because of his unkempt appearance.
One by one he claimed each village and after ten years he stood at the borders of Hafrsfjord in Stavanger to battle against Erik the King of Hordaland, Gyda’s father. After the victorious Battle of Hafrsfjord, Harald became the first king of Norway, married Gyda and could now cut and comb his hair which earnt him the name Harald Hårfagre (Harald Fairhair).
King Harald lived a ripe old age (about 83 years) and passed his crown to his bloodthirsty son Eirik Blodøks (Eric Bloodaxe).