A Valkyrie is a character from Scandanavian or Norse mythology depicted as a woman of battle on horseback, a boar or wolf, and fitted with a spear. She is who decides the fate of combatants and carries her victims to Odin’s Valhalla. Valkyrie in Scandanavian mythology means "chooser of the slain", and those chosen will fight accompanying Odin at Ragnarök.
Valhalla is Odin’s Chamber of Heroes where the souls of deceased warriors battle one another all day, return to life and health in the evening and spend the night drinking. It is one of five potential afterlife final destinations in Scandanavian belief, the others being:
- The Realm of Ran
- The Burial Mound
The Scandanavian goddess Freyja led over Fólkvangr and picked out half of the dead on the battleground for her monarchy; Valkyries select the remaining half for Odin. The Realm of Ran was for the ones who drowned, especially at sea while, the realm of Hel, lead over by the jötunn Hel, was predominantly for individuals who died of old age or sickness. The Burial Mound was a grave or tomb, which was believed to be the final resting place of the dead, no matter how they fell, at different times in Scandinavian history.
Valhalla "Chamber of the Slain" may have been founded to be simply another name for the state of the dead and was pictured as a desolate battleground but evolved into a Chamber of Heroes who are not only guided there after death by the Valkyries but are then served by Valkyries once they have become einherjar (a hero who can handle any circumstance). The Valkyries, then, don’t only play the role in deciding who lives and who dies in combat but also of the psychopomp – the guide in the afterlife of the fallen – who provides and cares for the spirits upon their arrival in Odin’s Hall, even engaging in romantic affairs with some of them as well as having affairs with living mortals. The Valkyries are Odin’s loyal subordinates who most likely die in combat with him, Thor, the heroes of Valhalla, and many others at Ragnarök, this it the Twilight of the Gods.
During most sagas, individual Valkyries are commonly given a name. Most of the names given to Valkyries are related to battles and wars. Some examples are:
Skögul – Shaker
Gunnr – War
Partnered, these female combatants held the name Valkyries, or Valkyrja in Old Norse, which meant they are the choosers of the slain.
The main purpose of the Valkyrie is to be servants of Odin, the name Valkyrie is believed to be more than appropriate.
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