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We’re extremely proud to have made an axe for none other than Clive Standen, who portrays Rollo in the TV-series Vikings. It was the first axe project we undertook after the Linnormr Edition of the Genja had been sold out and it also marks the new direction we’re taking with unique, single-piece Genjas, rather than whole editions.
We at Grimfrost love the TV-series Vikings, and especially Clive Standen’s portrayal of Rollo. The complexity of the character adds tons to the show. Rollo is a vulnerable soul with an indestructible physical prowess. He has a terrifying dark side where he is prepared to go to great lengths to further his own agendas, while he is a sympathetic character who deep inside really seems to care for his closest kin. Clive himself has described Rollo fittingly through citing the Swedish author Hjalmar Söderberg from his novel Doktor Glas published in 1905:

One wants to be loved, in lack thereof admired, in lack thereof feared, in lack thereof loathed and despised. One wants to instill some sort of emotion in people. The soul trembles before emptiness and desires contact at any price.”

Needless to say, we were blown away by the opportunity to craft a Genja-axe for him. The process began as always with finding a fitting concept for the design, and what would have fitted better than Jörmungandr, the Midgard Serpent. Not only does Rollo have this monstrosity tattooed on his torso, but the symbolism is quite fitting as well. The Midgard Serpent lies hidden beneath the seas of the world, coiling around the entire world and biting onto its own tail. Even the slightest movement from it will make the earth shake, and when Jörmungandr finally lets go of his tail it will launch the end of the world. The same can be said about Rollo – he keeps his plans (and perhaps even his true feelings) well hidden, and a lot of his actions have world-shaking consequences.

With the design decided upon and drawn on paper it was time to get down to physcial labour. The axe head finally emerged from the forge of our smith who has more than 25 years of experience in accurate historic forging to museums and collectors, and who has been awarded the Swedish Master’s certificate – a rare qualification that entitles him to the rank of Master smith. The shaft was then shaped from Swedish ash and the head was secured to it.

This was followed up by the tedious process of carving the designs into the Genja’s blade, shaft and leather protector. Jörmungandr can be seen coiled on the blade and leather protector, as well as snaking its way up along the shaft. The head was finally treated with a mixture of linseed oil, beeswax, birch tar and charcoal, whilst the shaft was treated with linseed oil.

The axe eventually found its way home, which can be seen in the video below that Clive was so kind enough to make. A video showing the crafting process of a Genja-axe is found further down.

 Clive’s Genja-axe, the Jörmungandr


 Clive with his axe

 Closeup of the blade

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