Ideas about the character Ingrid inc. excerpts from fiction
|Stoick groaned; today had been trying. Stoick had a headache by midday, and simply wanted to rest from the decisions for now. He sighed, asking, “So, what do they want from me, Gobber? I know this isn’t your idea.”
“I—,” Stoick glowered, “alright, they think all of them could do the same thing, if they knew what it was. Even if it’s not how they’d do it for their own youngsters, everyone would be able to do it for Hiccup.” Gobber took a swallow of mead.
The women trusted Gobber to deliver this message to Stoick, but insisted Gobber tell this part to the Chief last. “As Chief, that’s all they want from you. But they have another message for Hiccup’s father. Sigrid Hofferson said, ‘ “We care for Hiccup, Stoick. He’s a good lad, and we don’t want him hurt. But he needs rules to follow, or he will be lost later. Let us show him right behavior.” ‘’
“ Just come by the forge and see Sigrid. She can speak for all of them, and you can sort it out between you. I’m sure they have ideas of their own; they’re shrewd about children, y’know.”
“ Tell Sigrid to meet me there midafternoon tomorrow. I’ll hear her out.” Stoick had some time then and could fit Ingrid into it.
“Stoick, I can ask her if she can meet with you then, but I’m not telling her anything. Sigrid wants ta help, and she wants to talk to Hiccup’s father, not the Chief.” Time to become persuasive. “ She’s reasonable and will probably be there, but you need to talk and listen, or you won’t get anywhere with her.”
“Fine, Gobber, ask then. But she’s getting both her Chief and Hiccup’s father. She is not going to make demands, but I will negotiate with her.” Stoick massaged his temple. “I cannot have the people on Berk trying to manage me.”
Sigrid recognized the responsibility in running a home and tending a family. Her life revolved around these twin axises. She and the other women understood much men never would. Few women disputed Stoick’s impressive ability as Chief; and fewer still his dismal skill as a father.
With no wife to watch over their son, or smooth the path between boy and man, Stoick would have an unruly child to manage. Valka’s death dealt a blow not just to Stoick—Hiccup was too small to remember her—but to the foundation of his family. No woman in the House meant no proper anchor for everyone else there.
That ignorance was dangerous; problems in the chief’s home meant trouble for the villagers. Sigrid refused to let Stoick’s shortcomings as a father damage the tribe.
She reached the plaza, striding toward the smithy to intercept Gobber. This discussion would take as long as they needed to formulate a plan for the Haddocks, man and boy. Openly, they desired a discipline system for Stoicks’s son, and Gobber broached the subject last evening. The tacit plan meant directing Stoick himself. Gobber’s service in addressing Stoick meant an easier time convincing Stoick. Good.
“Gobber, the boy needs discipline.” Aggrieved, Sigrid continued, “Does he think we’d...”
Gobber cut her tirade short. “I didnae finish. Stoick asked for a meeting here this afternoon. He trusts ye, but wants to know exactly what will happen. He’s willing to be Hiccup’s father for that, but Stoick never stops being Chief, and ye’re getting both.” Gobber was blunt. “He’s no fool, Sigrid, and knows the womenfolk are looking to manage him. He willnae tolerate that, good intentions or not. It’s disrespectful. Stick to agreeing over Hiccup, then, and set aside any other schemes ye have for Stoick the Vast. Ta be honest,” Gobber added, “Close as Stoick and I are, I never forget he’s the Chief. Nor should you.”
“I don’t forget, Gobber. None of us do. We want to help Stoick and Hiccup, before Hiccup starts getting into trouble. That family needs us.”
“Get that idea out of yer head, Sigrid. To make progress, remember he is Chief, Hiccup is his Heir, and ye need to help the tribe. Not Stoick, and Hiccup, and their family. “
She looked as if she’d swallowed vinegar. “What do you suggest, Gobber?”
Alright, he’d given her the hatchet; now for the honey. “You’re a smart woman, Sigrid. I know ye care and so does Stoick. That counts for a lot. But you might not have many chances to convince the man. Address him as a Chief. Tell him what the problem is, what will happen with Hiccup if he doesnae have rules ta follow. Don’t have one plan set in place. Give him ideas of what ye might do. Ask if he wants Hiccup to sit still, or not talk, or do something dull. Explain to him what ye all do to school them. Offer lots of choices. Let him know why ye use these tactics.”
Gobber attached his hammer hand, and struck it hard on the anvil. He wanted Ingrid Hofferson’s full attention. This next part only seemed to occur to Gobber, and it needed to be brought up.
“Are the men aware of yer plans for Hiccup?”
“The men?” Ingrid considered the question. “ I don’t know—I haven’t kept it a secret.”
“Have all the women in the tribe told their menfolk?”
“No, I’m sure some haven’t said anything.” Sigrid’s bewilderment showed in her voice.
“Now listen to me. If the women are offering to care for Hiccup, only they can do anything to discipline him. No man may step in, or lay a hand on the boy. Guarantee this to Stoick, and he’ll know for certain Hiccup’s safe with you.”
With new comprehension, Ingrid Hofferson nodded. “I’ll need to speak to the others. Men don’t always leave punishment to us, not even of small children. I don’t think there’s a risk, but having the men know only we correct the boy is best.”
The Hairy Hooligan tribe harbored harsh and unforgiving men, those who thought blows and strappings suitable discipline. Gobber knew boys beaten harshly who beat their own children. Ingrid shivered at the notion Hiccup be treated to that type of abuse. Stoick’s boy was three now, and some considered that old enough for a boy to receive criticism, humiliation, even being struck. Then there was Hiccup, who crumpled at a simple scolding. No, Hiccup’s protection was crucial; neither Gobber nor Ingrid would agree to anything until resolving this with the others.
“Take the time ye need to speak to everyone. Meeting Stoick today isnae crucial. When everyone asks, tell them ye’re wanting Stoick to write it all out and sign it. A piece of paper signed by Stoick the Vast, Sigrid Hofferson, and whoever else ye need.” Gobber thought a moment. “Have a witness there. Gothi might agree to witness that. No one’s foolish enough to fight that.”
So, Sigrid Hofferson, as currently written, is a representative of the women on Berk. Not in everything, but she is a natural leader amongst the women of her generation and respected among other women. She is not loved or even well liked—she can be too sure of herself and her beliefs to think outside of her comfort zone. Her friends are only a few women. She is admired, but too sure of herself.
Sigrid believes in the soft power of women. Her realm is the world of women, and she moves easily within that realm. She is skilled in domestic matters—sewing, cooking, raising children, and tending to her husband—and believes that women are the real source of power in all things. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
While she accepts that men are important and valuable, she lacks respect for them. She believes women should guide men in many matters and orders her life around that attitude. She manipulates people and situations when possible, and the shrewder members of the tribe see this. It may be well meant, but she has no clear delineation of where to stop.
Her concerns about disciplining Hiccup are valid and need addressing. Her desire to represent the women simplifies meeting with Stoick. She will be the voice for all of them. Part of her thinks she is the best pick for this task. And, as much as she considers women more important, more powerful, than men, she regards many of them less capable, less wise, than herself. The women know this, even though she thinks they don’t. Some of them are waiting for Sigrid to receive her comeuppance; a good number of them let her take charge to give her a rope to hang herself with.
A few of the older women are waiting to see what happens between her and Stoick. He is the Chief, an intelligent man aware of the people in the Hairy Hooligan tribe. He will not be ignorant of Sigrid Hofferson. He will listen to her, but is not a man to manipulate or disrespect. The Haddocks are not hers to control, and Stoick will refuse any attempts of hers to do this. This will become interesting.
Her methods are sound—using Gobber to reach Stoick, explain the problem, and offer reassurances through him. She is anticipating a meeting between herself and the Chief. She believes Gobber is on her side, and subconsciously thinks Gobber will serve her desires against the Chief’s. Sigrid likes to believe she’s working not just for Hiccup and Stoick, but for the good of the tribe. But again, the plan is hers, and she thinks she knows better what the tribe needs.
She expects to deal with Hiccup’s father. Stoick is a man who doesn’t know what to do with his son and she will steer him in the direction she thinks best. His Chieftainship is an abstract to her; yeah, yeah, he’s the Chief, but he needs to be guided as a lost and confused father. Stoick is willing to meet with her, but he will not stop being Chief just because she wants it. Stoick is a more flexible thinker. He agrees to “negotiate;” she would be wise to not waste his time.
Her attitude toward Gobber is one of superiority. She shows up at his stall first thing in the morning, expecting answers. She is belligerent, impatient, and aggrieved. She cuts Gobber short.
Gobber stops her, and reveals how obvious and short sighted her thinking is. Gobber instructs her. She is the one who does not know what’s going on. All her schemes are exposed, and Gobber tells her Stoick knows what they’re trying to do. He tells her she’s disrespectful.
Gobber is canny and accustomed to paying attention to what goes on around him. Working with hot metal and sharp edges makes a man concentrate. He’s observed a lot from the smithy window, and knows the personalities of numerous villagers. Gobber has Sigrid’s number, her modus operandi. He’s helping Stoick and Hiccup by assisting Sigrid; she doesn’t control him. She has limited self-awareness. Her thinking is too rigid to succeed with Stoick, unless she takes Gobber’s advice seriously. Gobber suspects she won’t bend enough to get anywhere with Stoick. To succeed after that will require a greater willingness to accommodate the Chief and a new representative. Possibly one of the more seasoned and respectful women coupled with Afi Hofferson. Afi, Sigrid’s Father-in-law, and a well respected elder. Gobber believes the village women will provide a concerted effort to teach Sigrid humility. She needs to acquire some to function on Berk.
Sigrid has no concept of the man’s sphere. She didn’t believe Stoick would resist manipulation, or that a contract would serve her purpose, or that the Chief deserved options. She never considered the risk of abuse. It didn’t occur to her to present both herself and another man to Stoick. Her arrogance and short sightedness guaranteed a bad result. Even if Stoick agreed, he’d lose patience with her and respect for her. He may expect to meet with a different woman in future to discuss anything related to Hiccup.