Forged by Iron is based on Olaf Trygvason’s saga, which appears in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla, among other sources. Fortunately for modern storytellers, the sagas tend to focus on the big picture, which leaves plenty of room for literary license, and Schumacher’s retelling modifies some aspects of the story for narrative purposes.
This world and its people are rich in culture and history; you can almost taste the ash that continuously falls from the sky. But the true brilliance of the series lies in Jemison’s layered and nuanced portrayal of power. The politics of the Stillness is a deadly game of rock-paper-scissors: every power can defeat at least one other, and no power is indefeasible.