Valkyrie, Chooser Of The Slain
Have you watched the movie, Thor? You may have encountered the Valkyries in the story and may have wondered who these mighty women warriors are and if they did exist in this world? According to Brittanica.com, Valkyrie, or Walkyrie in Old Norse, means "Chooser of the Slain." They are a group of maidens who served their god, Odin, the all-father, by going to the battlefields and selecting which Vikings were worthy to be sent to Valhalla or the realm of Goddess Frejya in Folkvangr.
Valkyries are mighty, and not only do they get to select where the Vikings will go after their death but also have the power to cause death or protect the lives of whom they choose.
On the Old Norse word, Valkyrja, (plural Valkyrjur) or "choosers of the fallen or slain." There are several interpretations of the image of the Valkyries. In modern times, they are noble maidens fighting for justice and protection of Odin and all of Asgard, the gods' home, but in Old Norse literature, it is different and far darker. According to Norse-mythology.org, they were more sinister in heathen times and used their powers maliciously to ensure that their selected and preferred warriors die in battle to bring them to Valhalla. No, they are not only "Choosers of the Slain," but they are responsible for causing death and destruction to the chosen ones.
In the Norse mythologies, the Valkyries are the helping spirit and hand of the Norse god, Odin. They are maidens who wore armors, helmets and brought shields while riding their horses to the battlefields, but in other accounts, they also flew and had majestic wings attached to their bodies like what an angel or pegasus would have. The Valkyries used the loom, weaving tragic fates for different Vikings and warriors.
Power and Responsibility
They are in charge of selecting the slain warriors who have fallen during battles and bring them to Valhalla to fight by Odin's side when the Ragnarök, meaning "fate of the gods" or the catastrophic destruction of the universe, including the gods. It is a prophecy of carnage and will come at an unspecified and unknown time in the future. This prophecy is why the work of the Valkyries is vital in making sure that Odin's army for the Ragnarok is secured and is great warriors of their time.
The Valhalla is the place where the Valkyries bring the chosen Vikings. This place is the Vikings' considered afterlife that they aspire to carried after their demise. Valhalla or Valhöll means "hall of the battle-slain." but not everyone will go to the Valhalla as only the fallen warriors who have shown great virtue and courage in their lifetimes can enter the hall. The chosen Viking warrior was then called "einherjar" or "lone-fighters" that were now part of Odin's army. The Valhalla will welcome you with all the great Viking warriors' spirits, where you will find everyone feasting and celebrating for the rest of the time or until the Ragnarok comes. When that new time comes, all Lone-Fighters will be prepared to go to war beside the Valkyries and Odin in fighting the destruction of everything.
Not all are welcomed to the Valhalla to be part of Odin's army in Valhalla, the noble female warriors will then go to the Folkvangr, to Goddess Frejya. Most of the dead Viking warriors will arrive in Hel; it is a world beneath the ground but will let the warriors live as how they have lived on earth. In Old Norse culture, there was no salvation or damnation afterlife. Still, some account says that If a Viking warrior were not noble, they would arrive in Nastrond, a haunting and daunting place where the ceilings are dripping with poison, with a snake-covered floor.
If you'd like to learn the in-depth mythological lore of Old Norse literature, check out Yggdrasil's true meaning for Vikings or get to know more about the most famous wolf in Norse mythology, Fenrir.