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Author of the idea of renaming a street after Sith Lord street posed as Darth Vader on Google-Street View

By Magnús Sveinn Helgason

  • Bratthöfði street Soon the sign will be changed to Svarthöfði, the Icelandic name of Dart Vader. The idea was originally proposed by Óli Gneisti Sóleyjarson, pictured. Photo/Ernir Eyjólfsson.

Yesterday the mayor of Reykjavík, Dagur B. Eggertsson, announced that the street of Bratthöfði in the Höfði industrial district would be renamed Svarthöfði, which translates either as Black-cape, or Darth Vader, as Svarthöfði is the Sith Lord‘s name in Icelandic.

The power of the force, and direct democracy
The idea was originally proposed in 2012 on Better Reykjavík, a online forum which allows citizens in Reykjavík to propose projects or ideas for the City, and vote on their prioritization and allocation of city funds. The proposal came out as the most popular proposal in its category and was subsequently referred to the City council. Yesterday the Environmental and Planning commission approved the proposal.

Read more: Reykjavík names a street after Darth Vader from Star Wars

The proposal had been submitted by local man Óli Gneisti Sóleyjarson after a discussion with his brother in law. The two had been discussing funny street names in Reykjavík when the idea came up. Óli Gneisti told local news site visir.is that while he owns a Darth Vader mask, which is a great conversation piece, his nephew is much more of a Star Wars buff. “He takes this stuff far more seriously than I do.”

Posed as Darth Vader for Google Street view
Still, Óli Gneisti has done his bit to bring the Sith Lord to life in Reykjavík. In 2013 when the Google drove around Reykjavík neighbourhoods to take photographs for the Google-street view feature, Óli Gneisti hurried out into the street to pose as Darth Vader. “My family saw the truck approaching, so I ran inside, picked up the mask and posed for posterity on the sidewalk. The goal was just to be funny and make people happy. I hope I succeeded!” 

svarthofdi_eyjabakki.jpg

Darth Vader in Reykjavík Óli Gneisti poses as Darth Vader for the Google truck in front of his home in the Breiðholtið neighbourhood in Reykjavík. Photo/Google Street View

Óli Gneisti tells visir.is that people don‘t necessarily need to see a Star Wars reference in the new street name: “Those who are more traditionally minded can think of Sturlunga saga [one of the longer Sagas] where the name appears on one of the minor characters, Svarthöfði Dufgusson. But of course we were just thinking of Star Wars.”

Star Wars as an Icelandic Saga: Tattúínárdæla Saga
The similarities between the Sagas of Viking Age Iceland, and Star Wars should, of course, be obvious to anyone familiar with the two worlds. Both the Sagas and Star Wars are stories about betrayal and feuds, exile, revenge and complex family trees.

In 2010 Dr. Jackson Crawford, who teaches modern Icelandic and Old Norse at the University of Berkley re-imagined Star Wars as an Icelandic Saga, Tattúínárdæla Saga. The re-imagining begins, appropriately with the words: “A long time ago, in a North Atlantic far far away...”

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