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Posted by on Aug 11, 2021 in TellMeWhy |

What Were the Valkyries’ Decisions in Norse Myth?

What Were the Valkyries’ Decisions in Norse Myth?

In Norse (Scandinavian) and Germanic myth, Valkyries were Odin’s attendants and were described as being stunning young women. They judged who would prevail in a conflict, who would pass away, and who would be welcomed into Valhalla. Some of them had mortal husbands or lovers, and occasionally they participated in the conflict directly.

They were shown as either girls flying through the skies in swan feathers or as goddesses with helmets and fiery spears. Richard Wagner drew inspiration for his opera “The Ring of the Nibelung” from the tales of the Valkyries found in the Nibelun-genlied, a mediaeval German epic.

The beauty of the ladies who served as valkyries was one of their defining characteristics, at least in later representations. They were great fighters and had at least some ability to change their shape. They could also fly.

Most frequently, the Valkyries would carry a spear. They could ride horses, and Brynhildr was supposedly depicted riding a winged horse resembling Pegasus, but it was also usual to see Valkyries riding wolves or boars.

It is not easy to determine exactly who or what the Valkyries are. Depending on the poem or story, their precise nature could change throughout Norse literature.

According to tradition, valkyries are feminine spirits that were made by Odin; they are neither gods nor humans. The Valkyries, however, appear to be classified as j├Âtunn in certain representations and as the biological daughters of Odin in others.

However, they are frequently described as human women who acquire supernatural abilities when they assume this significant role, particularly in later stories.

No Valkyrie, however, stands out as much as Brynhildr (or Brunhilda), whose tale (the Germanic version) is still well known today thanks to Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen. Not only did her narrative serve as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty, but it is also possibly the most detailed myth about a specific Valkyrie.

Content for this question contributed by Celia Dobias, resident of Round Rock, Texas, USA