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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Valkyries: Goddesses of the Battlefield

Note: I'm switching my blogging day to Thursdays. I'm off of work and have time to get it done. Now on to the meat.

This is going to be the first in a series called Supernatural Warriors. You can thank @jessfortunato for this idea. The first in the segment will be:

Valkyries

So, the word Valkyrie means "chooser of the slain." They were these goddesses that worked for Odin in Norse Mythology. (For those that don't know: Odin was the king of the Norse gods. He is the good of war and death as well as poetry and wisdom.) They choose certain men who die in battle to become einherjar and fight for Odin at Ragnarok (the Norse end of the world). When the einherjar weren't preparing for Rgnakrok, they were served mead by the Valkyries in the great hall of Valhalla.

Most of the time, Valkyries are depicted as beautiful women with blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. They wear scarlet corsets and carried shields and spears. They sometimes ride winged horses as in the picture above.



One of the most noted Valkyries is Brynhidr or Brunhilde. In the Volsunga Saga she was a shield maiden who had to choose between to kings, Hjalmgunnar and Agnar, to fight for. Odin favored Hjalmgunnar but she chose Agnar. So Odin turned her into a mortal and imprisoned her in a tower where she had to sleep in a ring of fire until a man rescued and married her. This turned out to be Sigour Sigmundson. They go on to have their trials and tribulations. Another version is told in "The Song of the Nibelungs," which I have been told was inspiration for some of J.R.R. Tolkein's work.

Anyway, Valkyries appear throughout various 13th century Norse poems and stories. If you haven't yet, you should check out Norse Mythology. It is full of Epic. What about you dear readers. Do you have any Supernatural Warriors you want me to blog about? Let me know!

3 comments:

  1. Loved this post, Noree! Volsunga Saga is a great tale, really mixing the historical and the mythical. And thanks to regular reading of Peter Madsen's Valhalla books to my five-year-old, she cheerfully explains to everyone that the Valkyries pick up the dead people and bring them to Valhalla.

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  2. Love this post Noree!

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