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Discussion in 'Research' started by Ireth, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    Does anyone know whether the Valkyries in Norse myth gathered the souls of any beings other than humans? I have a few ljosalfar (light elves of Alfheimr) as supporting protagonists in my latest WIP, and I'm wondering whether the Valkyries would come for the ones who will fall during a battle at some point in the story. On that note, would Valkyries come for the enemy svartalfar (black elves) as well?
  2. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    I doubt it. Nordic elves were Frey and Freya's subjects, as distinct from Odin's-- but then, Nordic myths tended to muddle whether anything but a human was alive or belonged on Midgard or not, so it's hard to say if their souls would be taken away or how.
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  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    In the mythology I think they only take humans.
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  4. The valkyries basically worked directly for Odin, selecting and collecting the einherjar from the battlefields. It was partly a reward for valor in combat and partly being recruited for Odin's personal army.

    Norse mythology doesn't have much to say on the elves and blackelves and telling where they go when they die is tricky. To begin with, they had their own realm in the Yggdrasil cosmology and were, basically, supernatural creatures in their own right. The rules for how death applies to the vaettir appears to be different from how it applies to humans. The gods and giants, etc, obviously can't bring their own dead back.

    About the only thing we have to go by, as far as I know, is the story of Baldr's death. It's specifically said that he goes to Hel after he is killed, since Hel graciously offers to return him to life if the entire universe mourns him. Since the gods are more or less on the top of the spiritual foodchain, that would suggest all vaettir probably go to Hel when they die, as do humans who aren't specifically claimed by Odin's valkyries to be slain in battle. I'm pretty sure he could do that because he was a war god and human battles were dedicated to him.

    I suppose it's not impossible the elves could have a similar deal with Odin, but it seems a bit unlikely. The blackelves at least are probably just dwarves, and the actual elves were probably at least very similar to them. And the dwarves tended to interact with the Aesir more or less like equals - getting hired for tasks, arguing over payment, etc. They might actually be too close to the actual gods for their spirits to turn into einherjar, the same way Odin couldn't just bring Baldr's spirit back. Plus, it's unliely Odin had any authority over their battles either.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
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  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    *nod* I've looked for info on what happens to light-elves and swart-elves when they die, but haven't found anything. In my story, the swart-elves are more like Drow than dwarves -- more or less elflike in physique, but with black skin rather than the fair skin of the light-elves.
  6. Honestly, just from the sound of it I think you've strayed so far from actual Norse mythology with this that you can probably make up whatever you want. Dead elves getting picked up by valkyries? Sure, why not? It's not like anyone is going to single out that part as unauthentic.
  7. Lycan999

    Lycan999 Minstrel

    From what I know, the myths say that Valkyries scoured battlefields after a battle and collected the souls of fallen humans and brought them to Asgard with Odin. Since the light elves have their own world on the same plain of existence as Asgard and the dark elves were never on friendly terms with the gods, I do not believe that Valkyries had anything to do with them.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  8. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    For a blunt answer, absolutely not in the myths.

    For a more nuanced answer, the portion of the dead who were not selected by the Valkyries went to Freyja's hall, Folkvangr. Since she is Vanir (and thus more closely associated with the Alfar), I would assume the Alfar that died in battle would have gone to Freyja or Freyr.
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