V is for Valkyrie.
Valkyries, women warriors, have always captured the imagination.
The extract below, is from encyclopaedia Britannica.
Alternative titles: Valkyrja; Walkyrie
Valkyrie, also spelled Walkyrie, Old Norse Valkyrja (“Chooser of the Slain”), in Norse mythology, any of a group of maidens who served the god Odin and were sent by him to the battlefields to choose the slain who were worthy of a place in Valhalla. These foreboders of war rode to the battlefield on horses, wearing helmets and shields; in some accounts, they flew through the air and sea. Some Valkyries had the power to cause the death of the warriors they did not favour; others, especially heroine Valkyries, guarded the lives and ships of those dear to them. Old Norse literature made references to purely supernatural Valkyries and also to human Valkyries with certain supernatural powers. Both types of beings were associated with fairness, brightness, and gold, as well as bloodshed.
A valkyrie (pronounced “VAL-ker-ee”; Old Norse valkyrja, plural valkyrjur, “choosers of the fallen”) is a female helping spirit of the god Odin. The modern image of the valkyries as elegant, noble maidens bearing dead heroes to Valhalla is largely accurate for what it is, but a highly selective portrayal that exaggerates their pleasant qualities. To some extent, this tendency toward sanitization is present even in the later Old Norse sources, which focus on their love affairs with human men and their assisting Odin in transporting his favorites among those slain in battle to Valhalla, where they will fight by his side during Ragnarok.
Obviously, they are scary.
In the new book from Rick Riordan – Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer – the hero’s new best friend is a Valkyrie. She’s the one who chose him for Valhalla. And then she lost her position as a Valkyrie for lots of reasons, including the fact that the others don’t trust her because she’s Loki’s daughter.
I really enjoyed this book. It has a lot of new twists on old mythology (the way that Rick Riordan does best) and yet I can still see the fondly remembered parts of Norse mythology I’ve known since forever.
After I read the book, I had a nightmare about Valkyries. Being a writer, I turned it into a proper story. I’ve since written it (and rewritten it and edited it) and sent it off to horror magazines to see if they’ll publish it. Maybe I’m the only one who got terrified by these scary swan maidens/ Amazonian warriors… But perhaps the story will scare someone else too.
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” – Charles Swindoll
How do you feel about Valkyries? Have you read the first book in the Magnus Chase series? Do you get nightmares from things you’ve read? How do you deal with nightmares?