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My research deals with Anglo-Saxon and Norse, but more specifically Icelandic mythology. The focus is on different types of monsters or other types of fantasy creatures, and how they function or perform in Icelandic mythology or legends. Through this, I did extensive reading on creatures like Trolls and Draugur, who are both popular and important to Icelandic sagas. Through my research into monsters and other fantasy creatures in Icelandic mythology, I found a troupe in their sagas which I identified and titled, “hero contamination,” where, heroic figures would become contaminated from experiences with monsters like the Draugur. This would either happen from combat wounds, and act like a vampire bite, or from extensive time spent fighting the monsters. The monster's behavior would essentially “rub off” on the hero, and they would lose a sense of their humanity from the experience.
Through a creative project, namely, a young adult novel I am working on titled Birthright, I plan on bringing my research to light in the form of a fantasy novel. The plot revolves around the main character, Princess Gwyneth, saving her brother when he fails his birthright mission to become King. Through her journey, she experiences the different kinds of monsters I found in my research, while also having a run-in with hero contamination when her close-friend and journey companion, Fen, is wounded fighting to defend them from Draugur. My thesis presents two chapters, one which showcases my research on monsters, and the other exemplifying my creative ideas on hero-contamination and the religious anxiety prevalent in Anglo-Saxon literature.