The Valkyrie was originally a Norse myth, caught up in their stories of the gods. Valkyries soared over battle fields, taking particularly fine warriors to the afterlife hall of Odin.
Choosers of the Slain
If a warrior was graced with the attention of a Valkyrie, he was borne away to Valhalla, the Norse afterlife which was home to Odin’s ghostly army. The goal of every warrior was to do enough brave deeds to be chosen for Valhalla. The men there prepare for Ragnarök, the Norse version of the Apocalypse, and drink mead brought to them by the lovely Valkyries.
The first version of the valkyrie was a corpse-goddess and fierce warrior. Time dulled her into the Shield-Maiden of Odin, still a fighter but a little less scary. Although this version is much more beautiful, she is always depicted with a weapon, usually a spear and shield, and often with mead. Eventually tales of the valkyrie waned into the Swan-Maiden, a beautiful girl who often fell in love with mortal men and could be captured if she lost her plumage, or swan feathered cloak, and would grant a wish to get it back.
Originally, as a corpse-goddess, the valkyrie was represented by a raven. But in later myths as Odin’s Shield-Maidens, the valkyrie is a beautiful maiden with pale skin, golden hair, and mead. That version was represented by swans, in which form they swoop over the battlefield.
As we know, Odin plays a big part in valkyrie myth. But the goddess Freyja was also said to be the leader of the valkyries. She is the Norse goddess of love, fertility, and beauty, sometimes identified as the goddess of battle and death. Of course, she’s blond, blue-eyed, and beautiful, like a proper Norse woman should be. Half the deceased went to Odin and Valhalla, while the other half came to Freyja. Possessing a magical falcon-feathered cloak allowing her to shape shift, she may have inspired some of the swan-maiden stories.
Writing Her In
There’s a lot of awesome legends about the valkyrie, in whichever manifestation you choose to use! I’ve personally got an awesome idea about a warrior woman with a shapeshifting feather cloak. Sounds interesting to me! What’s your idea?
As always, if you love the kick-butt, Valhalla-bearing woman of this post, share with your friends and dream up your own blue-eyed blond Shield-Maiden by posting to your favorite social media.