The "Lordship of the Isles" is an evocative, romantic title. It harks back to a period on the far side of recorded history, where established historical fact begins to fade into legend and sagas. Over the five hundred years from to the place we now call Scotland only slowly established its northern and western boundaries.
The Lords of the Isles
At the start of the period much of the north and west of the mainland, and the northern and western isles and the Isle of Man, were all in the hands of the Norse and, to a greater or lesser degree, owed allegiance to the King of Norway. The result was a ragged, diffuse and constantly varying boundary between the areas under the effective influence of Scottish Monarchs based in Dunfermline or, later, Edinburgh, on the one hand, and the areas under effective influence of the Norse on the other.
This complex situation became still more complex with the arrival on the scene of Somerled, born of mixed Norse and Gaelic parentage in Godfrey proved a heavy handed and deeply unpopular ruler and in Somerled backed a popular uprising against him. Somerled's use of naval power based on the Highland galley, a Viking longboat evolved specifically for use in Hebridean waters, proved decisive and he was able to declare himself King of Man and King of the Isles.
Several points are worth making here. The first is that what Somerled had done was introduce a "third force" into the long-standing conflict between the Kings of Scotland and the Kings of Norway over the ownership of the Hebrides. In contrast, Somerled's Kingdom of the Isles was not a subservient kingdom to the Kingdom of Norway, it was a separate kingdom, independent of both Norway and Scotland.
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It is also worth noting that the title Ri Innse Gall or "King of the Isles" is often held to be origin of the title "Lord of the Isles". It is a mistake to regard them as the same thing.
But it is perhaps fair to regard Somerled as the end of the line of Kings of the Isles, and the originator of the line of the Lords of the Isles, though it would take four more generations to appear in that precise form. Somerled himself came to a sticky end in when confronting Walter Fitzalan and the army of Malcolm IV on a site near today's Glasgow Airport.
Malcolm was as unenthusiastic as the King of Norway about Somerled's "third force", and took direct action to bring his reign to an end. After his death Somerled's Kingdom of the Isles was divided amongst his three sons from his marriage to Ragnhild, and at the same time his unique claim to total independence was lost in the continuing power struggle between Scotland and Norway and between his sons.
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Somerled, King of the Isles
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Discard 1 copy of that card from play. Quantity: 3 Number: 8 Illustrator: Tikos Peter. Each other unique Ironborn character you control gains stealth. Action : Choose a non-event card with printed cost 3 or lower in your discard pile and return it to your hand. A haunting ballad of two dying lovers amidst the Doom of Valyria might have pleased the hall more if Collio had not sung it in High Valyrian, which most of the guests could not speak.
Quantity: 3 Number: 36 Illustrator: Tim Durning. Quantity: 3 Number: 1 Illustrator: Michele Frigo.
Somerled – Rì Innse Gall or King of the Isles
Reaction : After you win a challenge in which Bronze Yohn Royce is defending, kneel a neutral location with printed cost 1 or higher to stand him. Limit twice per phase. Reaction : After Citadel Archivist enters your discard pile, each player shuffles his or her discard pile into his or her deck. Quantity: 3 Number: 41 Illustrator: Aleksander Karcz. Action : Kneel Cohollo and discard 1 card from your hand to have him participate in a challenge on your side.
And old Cohollo--Cohollo who had bound his life to Drogo's on the day of his birth, Cohollo who had always been kind to her--Cohollo spat full in her face.
Quantity: 3 Number: 35 Illustrator: Paolo Puggioni. Reaction : After you win a challenge as the attacking player, choose a different challenge type. You may initiate an additional challenge of the chosen type this phase. Somerled's son, GilleBride, was also killed in the battle. Somerled was buried on Iona or at Saddell Abbey. Following his death, Somerled's domains were divided amongst his three sons by Ragnhild.
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