List of valkyrie names

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A painting of three women on horses riding on white clouds in a blue sky with two black birds flying nearby. "Walkyrien" is written at the center of the bottom.
"Walkyrien" (1905) by Emil Doepler

In Norse mythology, a valkyrie (from Old Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is one of a host of female figures who decide who will die in battle. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja's afterlife field Fólkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. There, when the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear them mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans.

The Old Norse poems Völuspá, Grímnismál, Darraðarljóð, and the Nafnaþulur section of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál provide lists of valkyrie names. Other valkyrie names appear solely outside these lists, such as Sigrún (who is attested in the poems Helgakviða Hundingsbana I and Helgakviða Hundingsbana II). Valkyrie names commonly emphasize associations with battle and, in many cases, with the spear—a weapon heavily associated with the god Odin.[1] Scholars such as Hilda Ellis Davidson and Rudolf Simek propose that the names of the valkyries themselves contain no individuality, but are rather descriptive of the traits and nature of war-goddesses, and are possibly the descriptive creations of skalds, a type of traditional Scandinavian poet.[2]

Some valkyrie names may be descriptive of the roles and abilities of the valkyries. The valkyrie name Herja may point to an etymological connection to Hariasa, a Germanic goddess attested on a stone from 187 CE.[3] The name Herfjötur has been theorized as pointing to the ability of the valkyries to place fetters, which would connect the valkyries to the earlier Idisi.[4] The name Svipul may be descriptive of the influence the valkyries have over wyrd or ørlog—a Germanic concept of fate.[5]

Valkyrie names[edit]

Name Name meaning Referred to as a valkyrie in
Brynhildr "Armor battle" or "bright battle"[6] Skáldskaparmál
Eir "Peace, clemency"[7] or "help, mercy"[8] Nafnaþulur
Geirahöð Connected to the Old Norse words geirr ("spear") and höð ("battle").[9] GrímnismálAppears in some manuscripts of Grímnismál in place of the valkyrie name Geirölul[9]
Geiravör "Spear-vör"[9] Nafnaþulur
Geirdriful "Spear-flinger"[9] Nafnaþulur
Geirönul, Geirrönul, Geirömul, Geirölul (various spellings) Uncertain; possibly connected to the Odinic name Geirölnir and the dwarf name Ölnir.[10] Possibly meaning "the one charging forth with the spear".[10] The form Geirölul may be connected to the runic charm word alu.[10] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Geirskögul "Spear-skögul"[11] (see Skögul entry below) Hákonarmál, Völuspá, Nafnaþulur
Göll "Tumult"[12] or "noise, battle"[13] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Göndul "Wand-wielder"[12] Völuspá, Nafnaþulur
Guðr or Gunnr "War"[12] or "battle"[14] Völuspá, Darraðarljóð, Gylfaginning, Nafnaþulur
Herfjötur "Host-fetter"[12] or "fetter of the army"[4] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Herja Related to the Old Norse herja and Old High German herjón (meaning "devastate")[15] Nafnaþulur
Hlaðguðr svanhvít "Hlaðguðr swan-white"[16] Völundarkviða
Hildr "Battle"[17] Völuspá, Grímnismál, Darraðarljóð, Nafnaþulur
Hjalmþrimul Possibly "Helmet clatterer" or "female warrior"[18] Nafnaþulur
Hervör alvitr Alvitr possibly means "all-wise" or "strange creature"[19] Völundarkviða
Hjörþrimul "The sword warrioress," derived from Old Norse hjörr ("sword") and þrima ("battle, noise")[18] Darraðarljóð, Nafnaþulur
Hlökk "Noise, battle"[12] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Hrist Related to Old Norse hrista (meaning "shake, quake") and therefore meaning "the quaking one"[20] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Hrund "Pricker"[12] Nafnaþulur
Kára Either "the wild, stormy one" (based on Old Norse afkárr, meaning "wild") or "curl" or "the curly one"[21] Helgakviða Hundingsbana II
Mist "Cloud" or "Mist"[22] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Ölrún Possibly "ale-rune"[23] Völundarkviða
Randgríðr, Randgrid "Shield-truce"[12] or possibly "shield-destroyer"[24] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Ráðgríðr "Council-truce"[12] or possibly "the bossy"[25] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Reginleif "Power-trace"[12] or "daughter of the gods"[26] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Róta Possibly connected to the Old Norse noun róta (meaning "sleet and storm")[27] Gylfaginning
Sanngriðr "Very violent, very cruel"[28] Darraðarljóð
Sigrdrífa "Victory-urger"[12] or "inciter to victory"[29] Sigrdrífumál
Sigrún "Victory rune"[12] Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, Helgakviða Hundingsbana II
Skalmöld "Sword-time"[30] Nafnaþulur
Skeggöld or Skeggjöld "Axe-age"[12] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Skögul "Shaker"[12] or possibly "high-towering"[1] Hákonarmál, Völuspá, Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur
Skuld Possibly "debt" or "future"[31] Völuspá, Gylfaginning, Nafnaþulur
Sveið Unclear; possibly "vibration" or "noise"[32] Nafnaþulur
Svipul "Changeable"[5] Darraðarljóð, Nafnaþulur
Þögn "Silence"[33] Nafnaþulur
Þrima "Fight"[34] Nafnaþulur
Þrúðr "Strength"[35] or "power"[36] Grímnismál, Nafnaþulur

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Davidson (1988:96).
  2. ^ Examples include Davidson (1988:96–97) and Simek (2007:349).
  3. ^ Simek (2007:143). For Hariasa, Simek (2007:131).
  4. ^ a b Simek (2007:142).
  5. ^ a b Simek (2007:308).
  6. ^ For "armor battle", see Haymes (2010:27). For "bright battle", see Orchard (1997:193).
  7. ^ Lindow (2001:105).
  8. ^ Orchard (1997:36).
  9. ^ a b c d Simek (2007:102).
  10. ^ a b c Simek (2007:102–103).
  11. ^ Orchard (1997:193).
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Orchard (1997:194).
  13. ^ Simek (2007:115).
  14. ^ Simek (2007:125).
  15. ^ Simek (2007:143).
  16. ^ Simek (2007:151).
  17. ^ Orchard (1997:192).
  18. ^ a b Simek (2007:150).
  19. ^ Orchard (1997:83).
  20. ^ Simek (2007:160).
  21. ^ Simek (2007:182).
  22. ^ Orchard (1997:194) and Simek (2007:218).
  23. ^ Ochard (1997:278).
  24. ^ Simek (2007:261).
  25. ^ Simek (2007:258).
  26. ^ Simek (2007:262).
  27. ^ Vigfusson (1874:503).
  28. ^ Simek (2007:275).
  29. ^ Simek (2007:284).
  30. ^ Simek (2007:288).
  31. ^ Orchard (1997:151).
  32. ^ Simek (2007:306).
  33. ^ Simek (2007:316).
  34. ^ Simek (2007:328).
  35. ^ Lindow (2001:291).
  36. ^ Orchard (1997:195).

References[edit]