The saga was written around 1200 AD by an unknown Icelandic author and, as was generally the case with Icelandic language writing of this period, the saga is as much a fictional story as an historic document. It is thought to have been compiled from a number of sources, combining oral legends with historical facts. The saga begins with the semi-mythical capture of the islands by the King of Norway before moving on to more factual matters.
Throughout the story, a number of mythical characters are introduced: Sigurd the Powerful, Haakon Paulsson, Sigurd the Stout, Earl Rognvald and St Earl Magnus the Martyr. All these characters are still a part of Orcadian folklore today.