To start with, I know I promised an introduction to Balin, the Knight of the Two Swords. It's forthcoming, I'm working on it, I swear. In the meantime, however, I stumbled across something interesting in the course of my research. I thought I'd share.
Genetic studies of remains found in Viking burial sites is at odds with the homogeneous blond hair blue-eyed beserker trope. The studies prove that the Viking cultural identity was comprised of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Have to say, considering the pre-historic and late-Roman era migration patterns, this makes a lot of sense. And it puts into perspective many of the parallels concerning folklore and culture amongst early eastern and western cultures. Many would have been refugee populations, including nomads, who would have needed to form rapid, makeshift alliances with the adjacent populations. Forced assimilation and acculturation created syncretic mythologies that spread rapidly with the development and distribution of innovative technologies. Transmitted east to west, in all likelihood along the original routes of migration, via whatever social contacts had been maintained. Obviously, much of this is conjecture. Nevertheless, having studied this myself and since then taking an amateur interest in such things, I think it's a reasonable hypothesis.
On a side note, I think it's wonderful that White supremacists are losing another chunk of their wretched mythology. Their notion of racial purity is a sad, pathetically tragic joke. Moreover, right now we have more reason than ever to burst their fantasies and laugh them from existence. Did you hear Trump's shtick about "genes" in Minnesota? All I can say is: "Huzzah for science!"