In a tavern on the outskirts of Marmoragard, Brunnhilde encountered Amora the Enchantress , who offered her a life of adventure. For several weeks Brunnhilde accompanied the Enchantress on her conquests. Brunnhilde soon discovered Amora's immoral nature and tried to end their partnership. In response the Enchantress trapped Brunnhilde within a mystic crystal of souls. Over the centuries the Enchantress used Brunnhilde's spiritual essence to give the Valkyrie's powers to herself or to her pawns. Specific instances of Amora's exploitation of the Valkyrie before recent years are not yet known.
The first time the Enchantress assumed the Valkyrie's physical aspect in recent years was in a plot to lead a handful of female superhumans against the male Avengers as the Lady Liberators. Months later, the Enchantress bestowed the Valkyrie's power upon a socialite named Samantha Parrington in an attempt to get revenge on the Hulk. Finally, a woman driven mad by being trapped in another mystical dimension, Barbara Norris, was given the Valkyrie's power and consciousness by the Enchantress to help her then-allies, the group of superhumans called the Defenders , escape from the clutches of the sorceress Casiolena.
Amora did not undo her spell on Norris after Casiolena's defeat. Aware that she was an immortal essence in a mortal woman's body, the Valkyrie briefly left the Defenders in an attempt to discover Barbara Norris' past. It was not until a minor Asgardian warrior named Ollerus attempted to take over Valhalla that the Valkyrie's two mixed aspects met for the first time. For reasons yet unknown, Brunnhilde was not concerned at this time about reuniting her mind with her true body.
Back in her real body, Brunnhilde regained her full memory and normal warrior personality as well. Brunnhilde then battled Amora and banished her to the crystal of souls. Feeling estranged from Asgard in general and Odin in particular for their neglect of her centuries-long plight, Brunnhilde chose to return to Earth with the Defenders.
Odin placed the dangerously powerful self-styled goddess Moondragon into Brunnhilde's charge. Brunnhilde was to take action against Moondragon should she again become a menace. Eventually Moondragon reformed, but later she fell once again under the malevolent influence of the alien entity called the Dragon of the Moon.
Moondragon attacked the Defenders, but Brunnhilde, given temporary additional powers by Odin for this occasion, including the power to grow to gigantic stature, opposed her. Brunnhilde summoned other Valkyries to her aid and together with two other Defenders, the Angel and Cloud , they defeated Moondragon but failed to capture her. Months later Moondragon returned to attack the Defenders. During this encounter, her power was vastly augmented by the alien Beyonder. In order to defeat the Dragon, Brunnhilde and the Eternal called Interloper projected their immortal life forces against it.
They were joined by Defenders member Andromeda and the Defenders' former foe Manslaughter , for it was necessary that Brunnhilde's and Interloper's life forces pass through "mortal instruments" in order that Moondragon be defeated as well. Joining hands, the four allies hurled the tremendous power of their combined life forces at the Dragon, Moondragon, and the Gargoyle II, whose body was now under the Dragon's control.
Three other Defenders went to rescue endangered innocents, and when they returned, Brunnhilde, Interloper, Andromeda, Manslaughter, Moondragon, and Gargoyle had all seemingly been transformed into statues of ashes and dust, and the Dragon of the Moon was apparently gone. Brunnhilde was restored to life by Doctor Strange, now in the host body of a woman known as Sian Bowen.
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The other Defenders, Interloper, Andromeda, and Manslaughter were restored to life as well and they formed the Dragon Circle to battle the Dragon of the Moon. After the Dragon of the Moon was defeated, Brunnhilde returned to Asgard. With the return of the Asgardians to Earth, Brunnhilde was next seen as a member of the Secret Avengers. After the storyline " Fear Itself ", Brunhilde seemingly defects from the Secret Avengers, embarking in a mission to steal and recover for herself the hammers used by the "Worthy", Cul's servants.
She later reveals to have stopped consuming the Apples of Idunn, thus lessening her stamina and resilience and reverting to a mortal form, and as a Valkyrior she is able to seal within herself the hammers. She plans to die after the deed is over, so as to banish the worthy from the human plane of existence for the rest of eternity. Only this time the new Valkyries are to be all women from Earth. During this time, Valkyrie develops a brief romance with Riggs, who later becomes host to Valkyrie's spirit after Riggs sacrifices herself to save the team.
During the " War of the Realms " storyline, Valkyrie and the rest of the Valkrior are massacred by Malekith and his forces invading New York where Valkyrie is beheaded by Malekith. Valkyrie is the strongest of all Valkyrior. Like all her people, her body is several times denser than that of humans. She is not immortal, but she ages far more slowly than humans. Valkyrie is immune to all earthly diseases and is difficult to injure.
Her Asgardian physiology grants her enhanced levels of stamina. Valkyrie can perceive the approach of death, in the form of a "deathglow" surrounding a person's body. She does not know how death will come but she can tell that it is imminent. Valkyrie can transport herself and a dying or dead body to and from the realm of the dead by willing it.
Valkyrie has had extensive training in sword fighting as well as unarmed combat and horseback riding. Her natural fighting ability is among the best of all Asgardians, matched only by Sif. Valkyrie rides a winged horse named Aragorn. Aragorn was given to her by the current Black Knight.
The Enchantress first transformed Samantha Parrington into the Valkyrie temporarily to gain revenge against the Hulk. Pluto tricked Lorelei though, erasing her memory, draining her powers, and turning her into a duplicate of Valkyrie. While Samantha was used by Pluto to turn Earth into a realm of the dead, Lorelei was found by the Defender Nighthawk , who believed she was the real Valkyrie and made her a Defender, though she never spoke.
When Thor went insane with warrior madness, his insanity manifested as a woman, also called the Valkyrie. This Valkyrie had no relation to the regular Valkyries and had a different appearance. Ultimate Valkyrie is a year-old girl named Barbara Norris who aspires to play the public role of superhero, despite, at first, having no actual powers or skills. She describes herself as a female Thor , only without the hammer, strength, or weather-powers. When Hank Pym was dismissed from the Ultimates, he decided to join the Defenders , a group of good hearted, but delusional, somewhat farcical individuals enamored with superheroes but without powers or exceptional abilities.
This is how he met Barbara, who called herself "Thor-Girl", telling Pym during introductions that while she doesn't have any powers, she is extensively proficient in martial arts. Valkyrie next appears in The Ultimates 3 1,  now apparently super-powered, riding a black Pegasus and wielding a large, supposedly mystical sword that she uses to cleave Venom nearly in two, but seems to have no idea where these powers or weapons came from.
At that point, she has been in a romantic live-in relationship with Thor for weeks and despite cultural differences, they are very close and allude to being in love.
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Since her last appearance, she appears to have been granted super strength and limited invulnerability; other superhuman attributes and abilities remain unknown. She speaks with a distinct valley girl accent , and while she does not seem to be the most intelligent of her teammates, she makes up for it with her loyalty, especially to Thor, and her big heart, along with being very powerful. At several points, she makes references to having lived a quiet, normal human life before becoming superhuman.
She suggests she is more akin to Thor than it may seem, possibly meaning they may have some sort of shared Asgardian heritage.
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Her deepest fear is returning to the powerless, poor, and somewhat comically ordinary existence she had before. When confronted with this fear by the illusion-casting Mastermind , just before her two captors decide to assault her sexually, she is broken free of the illusion by a shadowy figure who claims to be the source of her new powers; she then retaliates by killing Mastermind and dismembering his partner Pyro , taking both his hands off at the wrists with her sword.
During the " Ultimatum " storyline it is revealed that Valkyrie was killed and transported to Valhalla, the Asgardian afterlife for fallen warriors run by Hela , an Asgardian goddess, who is presented as above most other Asgardian gods in power and station. Thor learns of this and transports himself to Hela's dimension, demanding he let Valkyrie live again. Hela, then states that if he is able to overcome the challenge presented to him, he may bring Valkyrie back to the land of the living.
In the middle of the ensuing battle, Thor finds that Captain America 's soul is also there, having been killed in the real world as well. Thor and Capt.
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America win the challenge and Hela grants Thor's request, but with the catch that once a soul has entered Hela's realm, it cannot leave without being substituted, so Thor gives up his soul so that Valkyrie may live and Hela returns her to Earth, whole and unharmed Capt. America is given a reprieve on his soul as well and is returned to the land of the living, but how this worked with the "Soul Quota" stipulation is not addressed , while Thor's soul remains in the afterlife.
Valkyrie, enraged and heart broken at the loss and sacrifice of her love, joins the battle once more and attacks Magneto while trying to receive Thor's hammer and severs his arm. Magneto then uses his powers to slit her throat. She is then briefly shown, still alive, until Magneto collapses the ceiling on her. She loses it in battle with the Defenders who now have superpowers due to Loki's intervention.
She is killed in the battle which allows Thor to resurrect and face Loki. During the battle, Loki is suddenly killed by a spear thrown by Valkyrie. Although apparently alive again, she reveals that she is now a servant of Hela and departs with Loki's body but not before asking Thor to defend the Earth to which she once belonged.
In January , Marvel announced that a version of Valkyrie inspired by Tessa Thompson 's portrayal of the character in Thor: Ragnarok would join the Exiles in a series by writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Javier Rodriguez. Ahmed said, "Though she's not technically from the Marvel Cinematic Universe reality, she's basically the literalization of the larger-than-her-physical-frame swagger that Tessa Thompson displayed in Thor: Ragnarok , turned up to Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.
Home FAQ Contact. Valkyrie Marvel Comics Wikipedia open wikipedia design. For other uses of Valkyrie in comics, see Valkyrie comics. Marvel Comics superhero. Roy Thomas writer John Buscema artist. Valkyrior Avengers Secret Avengers Defenders. Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia 2. Shieldmaiden and Madonna - two contrasting ideals? This view, which has greatly inluenced modern women studies, is, however, highly questionable since it lacks support in other sources. Furthermore, the very concepts 'shieldmaiden' and 'madonna' create problems since they are not univocal entydiga?
Sometimes the word 'shieldmaiden' is used only about female warriors, sometimes in a figurative sense about all strong-willed and independent women. Of these two the Virgin ideal was most highly valued; in ecclesiastical literature it is the chaste woman - apart from the virgin, also the widow - who is honoured, but in profane literature the valuation is quite different.
I will return to the shieldmaiden-motif at the end of my lecture and now concentrate on their equally strong and independent, but less war-like sisters in Viking-age Scandinavia. The saga evidence It is obvious that conversion to Christianity changed conditions for women as well as men, but it must be seriously doubted whether the effect of Christianity was so sudden and complete as the twelfth- and thirteenth- century authors make it appear.
Instead of taking the contrasting depictions of dominant pagan and submissive Christian women at its face value, we ought to ask ourselves what special purposes the authors had with their descriptions of women. In the Middle Ages history writing was didactic, i.
Therefore, 5 Strand , pp.
Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia when Saxo places almost all independent and active women in the pagan past, this serves his purpose of demonstrating that such female behaviour belongs to bygone, pagan, and thus impefect times. It is clear that from this kind of history writing we cannot draw any conclusions about either contemporary or earlier reality. In the Icelandic sagas the descriptions of women are also subordinated to the special purposes and literary motifs of their authors.
Here we often meet women as inciters, dangerous opponents and skilled in magic, and far from expressing a woman ideal, such women illustrate the ecclesiastical image of woman as a threat and danger to men. Both Saxo and his Icelandic colleagues were strongly influenced by Roman history writing, and as models for their descriptions of all the strong, courageous and man-like women they might as well have used examples from Antiquity as from their own past.
Another consideration is the fact that a similar kind of contrast can be seen in English descriptions of women before and after the Norman Conquest of When describing women who had leading roles in public affairs, pre-conquest authors did not express any astonishment, while twelfth-century historians thought it was extraordinary.
This change of attitude has been interpreted as a result of the actual shrinking of opportunities for women to play a political role as war and government left the home area to become genuinely public activities. The fact that in 6 English literature the contrasting attitudes before and after has nothing to do with the role of Christian influence should serve as a reminder when dealing with the attitudes in contemporary Scandinavian literature.
Could the contrasting depictions that the Scandinavian authors give of past and contemporary women have the same cause as in England? As far as attitudes are concerned, it is highly likely that Scandinavian authors were influenced by literary modes and conventions in other parts of contemporary Europe, but it is less likely that the contrast they presented between past and present actually reflects any shrinking of opportunities for women to take active part in public life. In twelfth-century Scandinavia the social and political developments were not yet that advanced; here war and government had not yet left 'the home area'.
Other evidence 6 Bandel , p. Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia Since the literary sources from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are so coloured by their authors' views and purposes, we will now turn to other sources: archaeological remains, poetry, and the only written material we have from the Viking Age itself, i. The evidence of graves, from the third or fourth centuries to the tenth or eleventh, when pagan burial customs ended in most parts of Scandinavia, show that some women, especially older ones, were treated with great respect.
In Denmark the quantity and quality of the furnishing in men's graves decreased with the age of the dead man, but some of the richest burials were of women who were 50 years old or more. This contrast shows that the elaborateness of a burial was not determined by the status of the dead person's family. What ist does suggest is that respect for women increased with age and was perhaps earned by the experience gained during a long life.
In other parts of Scandinavia too many of the richest burials were of women. One of the richest Norwegian graves, the ninth-century ship burial at Oseberg, was also of a woman. In Norway in this period it was women above all who were buried in large and richly furnished long-barrows. Eddic poetry shows that in Nordic mythology knowledge of the past and the unknown, especially the future, was associated with female beings, as were the arts of writing, poetry and magic. The name given to this collection of poetry, Edda, may itself originally have meant 'great-grandmother'.
If so, it underlines the role of women as transmitters of tradition, as do many of the poems. In 8 Sigrdrifumal, for example, when Sigurd asks the valkyrie Sigerdriva to teach him wisdom she does so by instructing him about victory runes, healing runes and runes to protect the unborn. The poem is clearly influenced by Christian ideas and its date if it has 7 Farbregd Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia one is uncertain, but it is a vivid reminder of close association of women with wisdom and prophesy.
That word had extremely offensive implications and was used for men who took a passive, i. To accuse a man of being argr was a grave insult not so much because of the homosexuality, but because submission to another man implied submissiveness in other ways, cowardice and loss of honour; it amounted to declaring that a man was no longer a worthy member of society. It has been suggested that such insults were considered 9 exceptionally serious in Iceland because, in the absence of a superior authority, social stability depended on the integrity of men.
The emphasis on masculine qualities is also reflected in heroic poetry and tales by the common theme of women who were not only beautiful and accomplished, but also warriors. Heroes had to overcome such women in their manly role in order to win and deserve them as partners; the proper destiny of 'shield-maidens' was marriage.
Another aspect of this literature is that proud and confident women were specially attractive and highly valued as wives, not only because of the prestige of winning them but also because their sons could be expected to inherit the qualities of their mothers as well as their fathers. In Icelandic law her duties were entirely confined to the farm, where she had great authority, symbolised by the keys on her belt for family, household, kinship and inheritance, see 'Scandinavia in the Viking Age' in this volume.
She could not represent the farm externally and was excluded from public life, but was involved in all family business. It was in her interest to see that the honour of the family was upheld, and the common theme in sagas about early Iceland of women urging their menfolk to take revenge probably had some basis in reality.
In poetry revenge appears to have been above all the concern of women. Skalds who feared that their reputation had been damaged because they had not taken revenge as they should have done, turned to women. Most examples of skalds addressing women are in the family sagas.
Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia meter of court poetry. In general it was when a skald was most concerned about himself that he turned to a woman and spoke of his dreams and fears, or his wounds and impending death. The good opinion of women was valued. As Roberta Frank has but it : 'What, after all, was the point of the institutionalized male violence celebrated by the skalds, those excessive vendettas and duels, that piracy and harrying, if women were not watching you, constantly comparing you to little Alf the Stout or to Snorre Gore- Fang?
The fact that the proportion of early medieval farms named after women was ten times greater in Iceland than in Norway may indicate that women had a higher status in the newly colonized land. It may also be significant that the most active volcanoes in Iceland all have female names. Archaeological 12 evidence and runic inscriptions, however, suggest that women had much the same roles in other parts of Scandinavia as in Iceland and that at least some were highly regarded. One way of showing concern for the honour and reputation of a family in the late tenth and eleventh centuries was to erect a rune-stone, and it is significant that almost a quarter of them were sponsored by widows.
One woman in Uppland erected a stone in memory of a kinsman and named his killer, apparently to keep the memory of this shameful act alive and perhaps even as an incitement to revenge. These can be compared with Icelandic laments in which widows mourn and sometimes demand revenge. Carol Clover has drawn attention to other cultures with the 14 custom of blood feud in which women had a leading role in commemorating the dead and maintaining feud.
The fact that lamentation 11 Frank , p. The runic inscriptions are referred to according to their number in the standard editions. Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia by women, often in poetic form, is a widespread feature of funeral rituals suggests that in Iceland women did so in real life as well as in literature. Some women were clearly highly regarded, whether as respresentatives of powerful families, of for their age and wisdom.
There is no hint that women's abilities were doubted in the pagan period, and their association with wisdom and magic is notable. Their links with both nature and the supernatural were a source of power. Conversion to Christianity meant that many earlier beliefs and customs were condemned, and this gradually affected the attitude to women and their role in society. Christian authors regarded much magic as an evil to be eradicated with the result that they tended to depict women of the pagan past in the mould of Eve, the root of all evil.
Women's role in the Christianization process There are, however, many indications that women women were among the first and most eager converts; most of the early Christian graves at Birka were of women, and runic inscriptions show that the cult of Mary developed early in Svealand and was favoured by women. Further, most of the runic monuments commemorating men who were converted in their last days and 'died in white clothing' were erected by women.
It is 16 not surprising, if women were especially attracted by the new faith; much Christian teaching must have been welcomed by them, a point obscured by the misogyny that colours so much medieval literature. They must have found the prospect of the Christian Paradise far more attractive than the gloomy realm of Hel to which they had previously been consigned. Many of them must also have been glad to believe that in the sight of God they were men's equals and that their worth did not depend on their fertility, family or social status; the community of Christians had room for all, including women who were barren or unmarried, as well as orphans and the poor.
Christian teaching that all had an obligation to help those in need was especially welcome to women without near kinsfolk, for they had far more limited opportunities to support themselves than men in a similar situation. It may also be supposed that many mothers were 15 Clover b, pp. Sawyer , p. Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia gladdened by the attempts of the Chruch to prohibit, or at least severely restrict, the custom of infanticide, despite the increased burden that this must often have imposed.
The Valkyries and the Furies (Erinyes)
It is no accident that one of the chapters in Rimbert's Life of St Anskar was devoted to the piety and steadfast devotion of Frideborg, a rich widow in Birka, and the care she took to ensure that her wealth would be distributed as alms in a suitable manner for the sake of her soul. She is said to have lived to a great age and always been a generous almsgiver. As death approached she enjoined her daughter Catla to distribute all that she possessed to the poor. According to Rimbert she said 'because there are here but few poor, at the first opportunity after my death, sell all that has not been given away and go with the money to Dorestad.
There are there many churches, priests and clergy and a multitude of poor people. On your arival seek out faithful persons who may teach you how to distribute this, and give away everything as alms for the benefit of my soul'. Catla did so. She seems to have included among the poor the pauperes Christi, the servants of Christ who were vowed to poverty, and at the time of Frideborg's death there was only one priest in Birka.
Another consideration was almost certainly that Frideborg feared that, after her death, Catla would be vulnerable to pressure from relatives who did not share her enthusiasm for the new religion and were, more likely, hostile to it.
By going abroad Catla could fulfil her mother's wish without interference. It can safely be assumed that in Scandinavia, as in other parts of Europe, women were not only among the earliest converts but were also generous donors to the infant church and were also active in the work of evangelism, encouraging their husbands to convert and teaching the new faith to their children. A rune-stone at Enberga in Uppland, erected by two brothers in memory of their parents, implies that only their mother was Christian. May God now help her soul well'. The 17 Rimbert: VA It is significant that Mary is never invoked as a virgin but always as a mother; this may have been due to the high esteem in which fertility had been held in pagan Scandinavia and facilitated the acceptance of the new faith.
Some features of the old religion survived if in modified forms. This was partly because Scandinavian beliefs had been long influenced by Christianity. The Church condemned many rituals and practices but it had to accomodate some. The survival of magic in Christian form is well illustrated by the inscription on a Norwegian rune-stick:'Mary gave birth to Christ, Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist, Be delivered in their names.
Come ourt child. The Lord is calling you into light!
The inscriptions that refer to bridge building confirm the leading role of women in the Christianization period. Missionaries taught that it was a meritorious act to build a bridge or causeway 'over deep waters and foul ways for the love of God'. A surprisingly large proportion of these 'bridge-inscriptions' were commissioned by, or erected in memory of, women. There is also one eleventh-century inscription commemorating a 22 woman who planned to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Sawyer , pp. Sawyer: Women in Viking-age Scandinavia that their father, Tore, had had a seluhus soul-house built after his wife Ingetora. It is therefore significant that almost a quarter of all inscriptions involved women as property owners. Most of them were widows who could expect support from churchmen who urged them not to remarry, presumably in the hope that at least part of their property would be given to them as an endowment for their churches.
The runic inscriptions offer many examples of sole heiresses, and obviously their number increased during the eleventh century, partly because of women's higher longevity see ch.