Have you had your 13th Warrior Moment yet?


If you’ve not yet watched it, The 13th Warrior is a cool historical film based on the late Michael Crichton’s novel, Eaters of the Dead. Although it was made in 1999, it’s one of those movies you can watch today and not notice that it is over a decade old – because it was so well made.

Granted, it did not do as well in theaters as expected, although grossing $60 million, even in today’s numbers is nothing to sneeze at.

The movie/book take place in 922 AD (922 years After Death of Christ, aye), and is about an Arab dude who is banished from his home country because he lacked wisdom (something to do with a woman – aghast!). He ends up hanging with a band of over-the-top violent Norse warriors who force him to become their 13th warrior in a fight against an even more violent group of “Wendol” mist monsters. Of course, the Arab dude learns how to fight like a Norse warrior (he has to toss his scimitar).

And don’t let my sarcastic tone fool you: It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever watched – it might even come in second behind The Edge.

The best part about the movie, though, is that it is a multiplier - but you have to pay attention to details in the movie.

  • For example, if you’re a language person and have had your “13th Warrior Moment” – you know what I’m talking about. My “13th Warrior Moment” occurred in Budapest, after being told that when the Dutch language is spoken, it sounds like drunken English sailor trying to speak German. We were on a Danube River cruise ship restaurant, and there just so happened to be Hollanders in the restaurant speaking Dutch (thank you America for winning the Cold War, otherwise I would probably have not been in Hungary, and there probably would not have been many Hollanders, if any; maybe lots of East Germans, and a very small number of West Germans). Anyway, as soon as she told me that - I could understand Dutch – because I had learned German in the 1980s, and both languages - Dutch and Deutsch (German) – are Germanic languages. I realize that the above may sound like a lot of blah blah blah – however, in the movie, while sitting around a campfire, Antonio Banderas (as Ahmad ibn Fadlan) has his “13th Warrior Moment” while listening to Vladimir Kulich (as Buliwyf, otherwise known as Beowulf) the other Norse warriors speak a most likely very old version of Swedish – and old Antonio, I mean, Ahmad - can suddenly understand the langue, surprising his guests - after having listened to the language for weeks or months.
  • Next example of how history can multiply learning is the very obvious Neanderthal-like monsters in the movie, because historical notes such as these can raise questions about all kinds of things from dragon-versus-knight-in-shining-armor battles – to bigfoot – to the Lochness monster (no theories in the comments section, please - OK, but only if absolutely necessary).
  • The next multiplier example is that the aforementioned language, Swedish, is also a Germanic language – and I could also understand the Vikings in the movie when they spoke (on the thirteenth watching, yeah right).

Most Valuable Actor award goes to Norse warrior, Herger the Joyous (Dennis Storhøi), who fakes out another farmer/warrior dude, cutting his head off. Like I said: Over the top violence, although when set in history, not so bad.

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Comments 2 comments

starbright profile image

starbright 4 years ago from Scandinavia

Sounds like something I should see. Great write up. Thanks for sharing your views.

sean kinn profile image

sean kinn 4 years ago from Key West and Budapest Author

Starbright, You're welcome. I think I've literally watched it 13 times, a really interesting movie. :-)

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