Choosers of the Slain


(permanent link) added: 2009-08-24 12:25:49 sponsor: Warlock (last reply: 2009-08-24 12:25:49)

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Launch is scheduled for Monday afternoon, under the name Valkyries, unless there are any objections.

Rolling Updates in effect.

The Valkyries are a group of figures from Norse Mythology, fierce women who served the Norse gods. They were sometimes depicted as Psychopomps, derived from their name which means Chooser of the Slain. What sets them apart is that their classical depiction has become so ingrained that it is copied, parodied, and even outright inverted.

Sometimes seen as related to the Irish Morrigan. Not to be confused with the Tom Cruise historical drama Valkyrie, which takes its name from these figures.

  • The Ur Example is of course the Norse Mythology reference. Oftentimes depicted with wings, or riding winged horses. (The kenning (poetic title) used to describe their steeds was mistranslated, as they may have instead ridden wolves.) Their role was to choose those who died a worthy death in battle and take them to Valhalla, making them Einherjar (lone fighters) who battle in the afterlife, are slain again, but ride every night to feast in the great hall. These warriors prepare for the final battle, Ragnarok.
  • Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung was composed of four operas, one of which was called Die Walkure (The Valkyrie), which contains the famous snippet Ride of the Valkyries. He mostly uses the straight version from myth, except here is where the (likely incorrect) winged horse depiction was ingrained. This is also where the stereotypical depiction of an opera singer was born, as well as the phrase 'the fat lady sings', which referred to the final solo by one of the characters in this piece.
  • In World of Warcraft, the giant-like Vrykul represent an evil Fantasy Counterpart Culture for norse culture and mythology. The Lich King used undead female vrykul, called Val'Kyr, who have been given glowing feathery wings of energy, to choose the worthy, turning them into Ymirjar, (loosely translates from old Norse as 'giant fighter'), while the unworthy are turned into undead called Vargul.
  • Valkyrie Profile has the main character as a valkyrie.
  • On the other hand, UFO Princess Valkyrie has nothing whatsoever to do with this trope.
  • The Amazon in Diablo2 can summon a Valkyrie.
  • Marvel has a character named Valkyrie. She is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Like every other mythological character, Valkyries appear in the Shin Megami Tensei games. In Nocturne they have the neat "soul recruit" ability (said ability only works when used by them) where they recruit foes for your team with amazing success rates (even higher with brute race demons)
  • Max Payne follows the titular detective's investigation of the designer drug "Valkyr". The symbolism of the name becomes apparent near the end of the game when we learn that Valkyr was originally a part of Government Conspiracy to produce super-strong soldiers. As Max put it: "Valkyr was meant to be a white-winged maiden that would lift you up to a warrior's heaven. Instead, it had turned out to be a one-way demon ride to hell."
  • The Charmed episode "Valhalley of the Dolls" featured Valkyries.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons supplement ''Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia" had Valkyries as servants of the Norse deities.
    • The later supplement Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords reworked Valkyries to make use of that book's new system of martial maneuvers and stances.
  • This is how Warhammer 40,000's Space Wolves are recruited - their Rune Priests often wander amongst the primitive human tribes of Fenris, observing young warriors in battle. Those that perform well but are mortally-wounded are rescued on the brink of death and ferried away to the Space Wolves' fortress-monastery, where they are healed and subjected to the crucible that is a Space Marine's initiation process. The Rune Priests even get psyber-linked raven familiars to act as their eyes, specifically called "Choosers of the Slain."

Needs a Better Title. I was going to use Valkyrie at first, then Ride of the Valkyries, but they were both taken. (Looks like we might shuffle Valkyrie off to Film/, and let this take the main namespace.)
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