The Valkyries: Journey to Valhalla

The Valkyries in Norse mythology are female divine s hield-maidens, they are known for their incredible strength and power. Valkyries means choosers of the slain. They had reign over the mortal world, by transporting the dead brave warriors to Valhalla Odin’s hall and the other half are transported to Freyja’s hall Fólkvangr.

Warriors on the ground were frightened as these ferocious women on horseback swept down upon the battlefield sporting iron chain-mail, swan feathers, helmets and holding large spears in their hands. They quickly chose the fate of the fallen.

The Ride of the Valkyries (1890) by William T. Maud at Wikimedia Commons
Skuld, Skogul, Gunnr, Gondul, Geirskogul and Hildr are the names bestowed upon the Valkyries in the Old Icelandic Völuspá written in the 13th century the first poem of the Poetic Edda. Another text the Grimnismál is controversial to the Poetic Edda it reveals eleven Valkyries with dissimilar names of the Poetic Edda.
The Valkyries answer to Odin and must do his bidding or they will suffer the consequences such as Brynhildr who gave the victory of one battle to Agnarr instead of Odin. Odin punished her by pricking her with the thorn of sleep protected by several shields encircled by a wall of fire. This legend may be the original Sleeping Beauty tale Brynhildr is awakened by a kiss from Sigurdr.

Sources & References:

  • The Poetic Edda. American-Scandinavian Foundation. Bellows, Henry Adams (1923)
  • Gisli Surgurðsson and Vesteinn Olason. The Manuscripts of Iceland (Arni Magn˙sson Institute: ReykjavÌk, 2004.
  • Featured Art Valkyrien by Peter Nicolai Arbo at Wikimedia Commons
  • “Freya” (1882) by Carl Emil Doepler in Public Domain
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