What is a Valkyrie?

In Norse mythology, Odin, the chief of the gods, selects Valkyrie as celestial being who play a pivotal role on the battlefield. Their divine duty involves choosing and guiding fallen warriors to the afterlife, specifically to Valhalla, Odin’s great hall. There, these chosen heroes prepare for the ultimate battle of Ragnarök.

Physical Description

Valkyries embody striking and formidable figures, blending celestial beauty with martial strength. Their physical presence reflects their divine nature and warrior role. Common characteristics:

Ethereal Beauty: Renowned for beauty beyond mortal comprehension, they radiate an otherworldly aura on the battlefield.

Armor and Weapons: Often seen in divine armor, symbolizing protection and martial prowess. They wield exquisite weapons like swords and spears.

Distinctive Attire: Adorned with helmets featuring wings or divine symbols, highlighting their link to the gods.

Strength and Grace: Exuding strength and grace, they swiftly select fallen heroes on the battlefield.

Horses: Mounted on divine, swift steeds, aiding in collecting fallen warriors’ souls.

Radiant Presence: Shining with divine light, symbolizing their celestial nature and guiding them in gathering souls.

Versatile Appearance: Some interpretations depict them in flowing robes and radiant wings, adding to their ethereal and angelic aspects.


Valkyries epitomize unwavering bravery on the battlefield, fearing neither death nor danger. Their pivotal role involves selecting fallen warriors for Valhalla, Odin’s afterlife hall, a testament to their dedication.

Duty and honor form the core of the Valkyrie ethos. They earnestly choose the bravest warriors, ensuring their place in Valhalla, where they ready for Ragnarök, the apocalyptic clash.

Displaying stoicism amidst battlefield chaos, Valkyries maintain composure in the face of death. This stoicism, a blend of divine nature and necessity, defines their demeanor.

Renowned for wisdom and foresight, Valkyries foresee battle outcomes, aiding the selection of deserving warriors for Valhalla. Odin’s chosen heroes secure their rightful place in the afterlife.

As potent, independent beings, Valkyries act autonomously in their divine mission, making critical battlefield decisions without divine interference, underscoring their significance.

Their multifaceted nature includes empathy and compassion alongside fierce warrior qualities. They honor fallen heroes’ valor, guiding them safely to the afterlife—a testament to their complex roles.

Loyalty to Odin, chief of Norse gods, defines Valkyries. As his devoted handmaidens, they unwaveringly execute his divine will, an intrinsic aspect of their identity.

Valkyries, shrouded in mystery, materialize and vanish from the mortal realm. Their divine nature and ties to the afterlife contribute to their enigmatic presence, adding intrigue to Norse mythology.

Special Abilities

Selection of the Fallen: Valkyrie wield the power to choose the bravest and most heroic warriors from the battlefield, identifying those who have demonstrated valor and honor in combat. Valkyrie ensures that these fallen heroes secure a place in Valhalla, Odin’s hall of the slain.

Flight: Valkyries skillfully ride swift and majestic steeds, traversing realms with great speed. This proficiency enables them to promptly collect the souls of fallen warriors and guide them to the afterlife.

Wisdom and Prophecy: Valkyries possess innate wisdom that grants them the ability to foresee battle outcomes. Their foresight aids in selecting the most deserving warriors, ensuring that only those who meet the criteria find their way to Valhalla.

Protection of Chosen Warriors: Once a Valkyrie selects a warrior, they ensure the chosen heroes’ safety as they journey to Valhalla. Valkyries safeguard these individuals, preparing them for the final battle of Ragnarök.

Immortality: Valkyries are immortal beings, untouched by the constraints of mortal existence. They do not age, and their divine nature grants them longevity beyond mortal comprehension.

Mystical Arts: Valkyries are at times associated with mystical or magical abilities, including healing and protection spells, though these talents may vary in different source materials.

Guide to Valhalla: Serving as guides to chosen warriors, Valkyries ensure that these heroes receive a warm welcome into the great hall and are fully prepared for their eternal existence in the afterlife.

Famous Valkyries

In the “Völsunga Saga,” Brynhildr, a celebrated Valkyrie, plays a central role. Chosen by Odin to select fallen warriors for Valhalla, she was duty-bound to follow Odin’s commands.

Fate intervened when Brynhildr met Sigurd, a courageous mortal hero. Their love blossomed after Sigurd slew the dragon Fafnir on the battlefield, sealing their affection with a ring.

However, Odin discovered Brynhildr’s defiance and punished her by encasing her in a ring of fire atop a mountain, condemning her to an eternal slumber until rescued by a hero.

Driven by love, Sigurd embarked on a perilous journey to free Brynhildr. He overcame formidable challenges, including a wall of flames, with the magical horse Grani and the sword Gram.

Upon awakening, Brynhildr recognized Sigurd but was heartbroken by his marriage to Gudrun due to a forgetfulness-inducing potion.

Tragedy struck when Sigurd was treacherously slain, leaving Brynhildr grief-stricken. In despair, she took her own life, and they were reunited in death.

This tale showcases the intricate interplay between divine fate and mortal choices, where love transcends mortal and divine boundaries, ultimately culminating in heartbreak and tragedy.


In the “Poetic Edda,” another noteworthy Valkyrie named Svava emerges as a central figure. Her role is closely entwined with that of the hero Helgi Hundingsbane, and her presence underscores the invaluable support that Valkyries offer to warriors in their quests for glory.

Svava, like other Valkyries, possesses a divine beauty and martial prowess that distinguish her as a celestial being. Her radiant presence on the battlefield is both awe-inspiring and reassuring to the warriors she aids.

Helgi Hundingsbane, a renowned hero, faced numerous adversaries in his quest for glory and vengeance. It was during these perilous battles that Svava played a pivotal role. As a Valkyrie, she had the power to identify the most valiant and deserving warriors, and she chose to support Helgi in his endeavors.

Guided by her wisdom and insight, Svava provided Helgi with divine protection and guidance. She aided him in strategic decisions, ensuring that he faced his foes with the advantage of foresight and divine favor. Her presence on the battlefield elevated Helgi’s prowess and bolstered his courage.

Svava’s role extended beyond the physical realm. She served as an inspiration to Helgi, motivating him to achieve feats of heroism and valor. Her belief in his destiny as a great warrior fueled his determination and fueled his pursuit of glory.

The partnership between Helgi Hundingsbane and Svava is a testament to the symbiotic relationship between mortal heroes and Valkyries. While Valkyries select and support the bravest warriors, these warriors, in turn, draw strength and inspiration from their celestial allies.

Svava’s story in the “Poetic Edda” serves as a vivid illustration of the indispensable role that Valkyries play in the destinies of heroes, ensuring that their valor is acknowledged, and their quests for glory are aided by divine intervention.

Cultural Representation

Valkyries are deeply ingrained in Norse and Scandinavian culture, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s heritage:

  • In ancient Norse sagas and poems, Valkyries appear as pivotal figures, influencing the destinies of heroes and the outcomes of battles.
  • Their symbolic presence in Viking art and artifacts underscores their importance in the warrior ethos.

Valkyries possess an intrinsic connection with Odin, serving as his handmaidens. Odin issues commands to them for a pivotal battlefield duty, which entails the selection of the bravest and most heroic warriors who have perished in combat. These chosen warriors are then under the guidance of Valkyries as they journey to Valhalla, Odin’s grand hall in the afterlife.

In essence, Valkyries lack a traditional birth or creation story, unlike mortal beings. In essence, Valkyries lack a traditional birth or creation story as mortal beings do. Instead, Odin personally appoints them as divine entities to carry out their unique role in Norse mythology. Their existence intimately ties to their function as choosers of the slain and their service to Odin, constituting a central aspect of their identity in Norse mythology.

Modern Appearances

Valkyrie continue to captivate modern audiences, making appearances in various forms of media and literature:

  • Richard Wagner’s opera cycle, “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” prominently features Valkyries in the renowned “Ride of the Valkyries.”
  • In modern fantasy literature, Valkyries inspire powerful, independent female characters, showcasing their enduring influence on storytelling.

In conclusion, the Valkyries remain captivating and multifaceted figures, embodying bravery, honor, and the enigmatic ties between life and death in Norse mythology. Their presence in ancient lore and enduring representation in contemporary culture testify to their enduring legacy as divine maidens of the battlefield.


Valhalla is Odin's great hall in the afterlife, where chosen warriors prepare for Ragnarök, the apocalyptic battle. Valkyries guide them there as part of their divine duty.

Valkyries are known for bravery, fearlessness, wisdom, autonomy, loyalty to Odin, and an enigmatic presence.

Valkyries choose the bravest and most heroic warriors from the battlefield, ensuring their place in Valhalla.

While fierce warriors, Valkyries honor fallen heroes' valor and act as guides to ensure their safe passage to the afterlife.

Valkyries can appear and disappear from the mortal realm, adding an intriguing and mysterious aspect to their character.

Famous Valkyries include Brynhildr and Svava, each with unique roles and stories in Norse mythology.

Valkyries act autonomously in carrying out their divine mission, making critical battlefield decisions while remaining loyal to Odin.

Valkyries play a vital role in the selection of warriors for Valhalla and embody key virtues and qualities in Norse mythology.