Episode 58: Workers of Death: Valkyries
The folklore of valkyries in a nutshell, how I reimagined them for my writing, and these fae translated into Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2023 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about valkyries in folklore here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
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We’re continuing our exploration of the workers of death.
Today’s Faery: Valkyries
Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel
Valkyries are one of the few groups of women from ancient lore known to have power over the mortal realm. Mention is made in Old Norse literature of purely supernatural valkyries and of human valkyries with supernatural powers. They are blessed by Odin to find warriors to serve during Ragnarök. Eerily similar to the Norns, they decide the fate of those who fall in battle. Their name means “choosers of the slain”, which in ancient times even meant them using their magic to choose who lives and who dies, and not simply deciding who goes to Valhalla. As female spirits of carnage, they are much like the Celtic Morrígan.
In some cases they sat atop winged horses, armed with swords, protected by armour and helmets – in others they were true swan maidens, coming to earth in the form of swans. In yet others they descended to earth on the back of ethereal horses, clad in chainmail, helmets protecting their faces, spears at the ready and coated in the feathers of swans. Any way you look at it, they are fierce female warriors whose role is to determine the fate of fallen warriors – despite the fear of those on the battlefield. It is also said that they served the fallen warriors in the banquet hall of Valhalla.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an Origin of the Fae: Valkyries
Valkyries choose warriors to fight at the end of time – when good and evil will battle until only one side survives.
New Valkyries are chosen during battle the same way warriors are chosen for the final battle: some see it as a blessing while others see it as a curse. Warriors are treated like they’re something special, Valkyries have to work and serve until the end of time.
They train mercilessly. They are true warriors adept at all types of fighting.
There are different types of Valkyries: those who prefer to fight in ancient skirt armour, those who prefer medieval armour and others who like full-body leather outfits fitted with matching armour. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses – those who prefer leather aren’t all that into being subservient and are usually a lot stronger (mentally, physically, emotionally, magically) than the others.
They have a commander and they follow her orders to the letter – Valkyries aren’t supposed to have opinions of their own (which is why those who prefer leather – and have the strength that goes with it – are so rare).
Valkyries are all women. They were brave in their mortal lives and are even braver as immortals. They fight the Furies for possession of human souls to fight at the final battle (Ragnarok).
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
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