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A brief guide of Norse mythology: The Valkyries

The Ride of the Valkyrs (1909) by John Charles Dollman
The Ride of the Valkyrs (1909) by John Charles Dollman
John Charles Dollman/Wikimedia Commons

Classical music fans or really any music listeners probably have heard of Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries." It's the Act III of Wagner's "Die Walkure." Wagner based this opera off of Norse mythology and of course the Valkyrie myth. Which this article is going to briefly look at the role Valkyries, and how it played in Norse Mythology.

  • Valkyries are mythological female warriors that are armed with helmets and spears. They are also seen mounted on horses riding into battle.
  • They are the ones who decide who will die in battle.
  • They also decide where the deceased go, the Valkyries either take the bodies to Valhalla, or to the goddess Freya's afterlife, Falkvanger.
  • Falkvanger is portrayed as being a meadow or field, where half of the chosen by the Valkyries go.
  • Valkyries in some myths can turn themselves in swans.
  • Odin's rule is if a human sees a Valkyrie without her swan disguise, then she will become mortal, and can't ever step in Valhalla.
  • The name Valkyrie means chooser of the slain, since like stated before, they pick who dies, and where the deceased goes.
  • They are not only associated with swans, but also with ravens.
  • In some myths they are known as messengers for Odin.
  • Brynhildra means "armor battle," she was referred as a Valkyrie in the second part of the "Prose Edda."
  • Hildra, another Valkyrie from mythology, her name meant battle.
  • Kara was known as the wild stormy one.
  • Mist, was a name associated with Valkyries, like her name she's associated with mist, but also with the word cloud.
  • Sanngrior, was a Valkyrie with a name meaning of very violent and cruel.
  • Prudor, is a name for power and strength.
  • To know more names of Valkyries check out this link: List of Valkyrie names

So that was a brief guide on the mythological warriors, the Valkyries. It's an interesting look at Norse mythology, and their beliefs of the afterlife.