I first became interested in heraldry when I was very young. It started with an interest in history and reading history books for children. I always enjoyed seeing the drawings of knights with their coats-of-arms on their shields. Of course, I didn’t know at the time that heraldry was a thing. I didn’t even know that they were given to represent persons or families, I just knew I liked the knights with their painted shields and tabards.
I first got serious about heraldry when I was studying in England. I wanted to create a coat-of-arms for myself as a self-initiated project at university. But I never became satisfied with the result. A failed project at the time. After returning to Norway I went into service at the Norwegian Armed Forces Media Centre where I was a graphic designer and assistant to the Chief of Defence’s Heraldic Adviser. I learnt, through him and other experts in the field, the details of heraldic study and practise, and they introduced me to the Norwegian Heraldry Society, of which I promptly became a member. This is when I decided it was time to revisit that failed project.
A coat of arms is like a silent name. It goes without saying, then, that a coat-of-arms should mean something to the armiger. My arms are derived from a few different things. The blue field symbolises my family’s maritime past. The meaning of the chevron and the suns are intertwined. My family comes from a part of Norway known for its sunny weather, additionally my great-grandfather had a house built which was named Solbu (Sunhome). It was given that name because of a wrought-iron gate my grandfather made which features a rising sun. The chevron symbolises that house as it looks like a gable roof.
So, in the end, what’s the use of a coat-of-arms? It is not something anyone needs anymore. There are no longer knights fighting each other in tourneys or in great battles. The aristocracy, in most countries, have been abolished long ago. The way I see it, it isn’t about any of these things. It’s about placing a symbol above me. A reminder that whatever I do reflects on that symbol and in turn, on my family. It’s also a fun way to entertain my own vanity.