Gísli Súrsson
Gisle med Aud och Gudrid
Gísli, with his wife Auð and foster-daughter Guðríð.
Character in Gísla saga
Born Stokkar, Surnadal, Norway
Died Einhamar, Geirthjofsfjord, Iceland
Spouse Auð Vésteinsdottir
Parents Þòrbjörn Súr, Þóra Rauðsdóttir
Siblings Þórdís, Þorkell, Ari
Children Guðríðr (foster-daughter)

Gísli Súrsson (real name Þòrbjörnsson) is the eponymous protagonist of Gísli's Saga. He was a farmer and outlaw, drawn into a feud with his brother-in-law's family after he avenged the murder of his best friend, Vésteinn, by killing his brother-in-law, Þorgrím. As an outlaw, he successfully fended off and escaped from multiple attacks by his enemy's families before finally making a last stand at Einhamar, near Geirthjofsfjord. Beset by Eyjólf Þórðarson's men, he managed to kill eight before himself dying of his horrific injuries.

A tragic hero, Gísli was honor-bound to avenge his best friend's death, and in so doing played a role in continuing a feud that was splitting apart his family. As a result, he was outlawed by his own sister and spent thirteen years on the run, haunted by recurring dreams of women bearing ill omens. Despite all this, Gísli faced his fate bravely and met an heroic end. He was not only a strong and able warrior but also an excellent poet.



Martin S. Regal, trans., "Gisli Sursson's Saga," in The Sagas of the Icelanders, ed. Örnólfur Thorsson (New York: Penguin Books, 2000,) 496-557.

Wikipedia contributors, "Gísla saga," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 24, 2012).