Brunnhilde (Valkyrie)

The second character spotted in the new official images from Thor: Ragnarok is another female lead, this time one of the good guys: Valkyrie, portrayed by Tessa Thompson. In the movie, Thor somehow ends up on the gladiatorial planet Sakaar, and in here he finds, among others, also another Asgardian, the Valkyrie, who apprently has been there for quite a long time. The two become allies, and possibly Valkyrie will also replace Jane Foster as Thor’s love interest, but that’s as far as we know for now. Marvel Studios obviously took some major estetical liberties from the original material, as the Norse goddess somehow turns out to be an African-American…but that’s something we’ve been through with Heimdall already, and it’s useless to keep complaining about the continuous and not always reasonable race-swaps. Thompson is a good actress nevertheless, and she’ll surely deliver a good Valkyrie to the big screen. Waiting to see what she’ll do with the character, let’s take a look at the original one.

There are many different tales about the story of how Brunnhilde became the Valkyrie, with the truth being possibly lost in myth. According to many, Brunnhilde was born on Asgard, and she became one of the few female warriors there, besting many men. For both her skills with the sword and her crush on prince Thor, Brunnhilde became a rival of Lady Sif, who with time became a friend of hers. When she matured to be one of the finest warriors in Asgard, Odin selected her to lead the Valkyrior (the Choosers of the Slain), warrior goddesses whose task was to visit the battlefields to collect the souls of the ones who had died as heroes and to lead them to Valhalla, where they courage and honor would have been chanted for eternity. According to another version of the story, Brunnhilde was born on Aesheim (the ancient Asgardian name of Earth), princess of the Wrlstead Arms. In her youth, she fell in love with Sigmund, her father’s best warrior and her own trainer in the arts of the sword; the two became lovers and comrades in arms. When Cul Borson, the Serpent Old, tainted mortals with his evil influence, Odin decided to slain them all, and attacked the Wrlstead Arms: Sigmund was among the first ones who fell under his blade. Brunnhilde stood over her lover’s body, refusing to let Odin advance. Impressed by the maiden’s courage, Odin rewarded her by turning her into the Valkyrie, a goddess with the task of bringing valiant souls to Valhalla; the first soul Valkyrie ever escorted to the warriors’ paradise was Sigmund’s one. According to yet another story, Brunnhilde was a goddess that witnessed Odin banishing Thor on Earth in the guise of the hero Sigmund; when Odin decided to end the life of Sigmund, Brunnhilde intervened to protect him, and the Alfather punished her defiance by stripping her of her powers and her divine condition, exiling her on Earth. Here, she met Siegfried, Sigmund’s son and human reincarnation of Thor. The two fell in love, and when Siegfried was killed in battle, Brunnhilde jumped into his pyre wanting to join him in death. Odin, moved by their bond, restored both their lives as Valkyrie and Thor, giving them back their divinity, but erasing all their memories regarding the time spent together on Earth.

In all this confusion regarding her origins, one thing is for sure: Valkyrie was a loyal servant to Odin, and she guided countless honorable warriors to the halls of Valhalla. When Odin made a deal with the Celestials and interrupted the millennial connection with Midgard (Earth), Valkyrie was ordered to stop bringing mortals’ souls to Valhalla, chosing only among Asgardian heroes. With her task enormously reduced, Valkyrie started travelling Asgard, looking for a purpose; in a tavern near Marmoragard she found something similar to it, a friend. Amora the Enchantress approached her, and told her about the life of adventures she was leading…and she was willing to share. Valkyrie accepted to accompany her, and the two travelled along the entire realm…until Brunnhilde realised that her “friend” was actually an immoral and villainous sorceress, and that she was using her skills. Valkyrie tried to break the partnership with Amora, but the Enchantress didn’t want to lose such a valuable tool, and she casted a spell, trapping Valkyrie into a Crystal of Souls. Valkyrie’s body remained in suspended animation for centuries, while Amora used her soul for a variety of purposes: she usually “rented” her superior physical prowess to empower herself or her lackeys, and once she even borrowed her physical appearance, using it to gather some Earth female heroes (Black WidowWasp, Madame Medusa and Scarlet Witch) and to form the Lady Liberators, later leading them in a quest against the male Avengers. Valkyrie finally knew freedom again when Amora switched her soul with one of a dimensional displaced mortal, Barbera Norriss: while Barbera’s consciousness was trapped in Valkyrie’s body in Asgard, Brunnhilde’s one inhabited Barbera’s body, without any knowledge of being in a stranger body thanks to Amora messing with her memory. Valkyrie helped her captor and the Defenders in a battle against another sorceress, Casiolena, and when the foe was defeated, Amora let her go with the heroes. Valkyrie lived a lot of adventures with the Defenders, still unaware of her true condition, but Jack Norriss, Barbera’s husband, kept following her wherever she went, still claiming she was his wife: Jack’s constance did indeed unlock something in Valkyrie’s mind, and she finally started questioning her memories…

Brunnhilde is a brave and honorable warrior, forged by the fire of thousands of battles. Proud on the verge of arrogance, she lives for the battlefield, and always seeks new challenges to test her ability. As the Valkyrie, she possesses the usual Asgardian features, such as superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility and durability, slowed aging and accelerated healing; she also has the ability to see the Death-Glow, a special aura that surrounds the ones whose death is imminent, and she can instantly teleport herself and the souls of the dead to Valhalla; she’s also one of the finest warriors in Asgard, expert in both armed and unarmed combat, with her weapons of choice being the enchanted sword Dragonfang and the spear Geirr. Accompanied by her winged horse Aragorn, Valkyrie flies from a battlefield to another, collecting the souls of the ones worthy of the Valhalla…and joining as many fights as she can.



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  4. […] Black Knight, Bruce Banner and Barbara Norriss (who at the time was possessed by the spirit of Valkyrie), Skurge defeated in battle Dr. Strange and Namor…but Amora manipulated them all, and […]

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