Friday, September 21, 2012

Inspiration - The Valkyrie

I've always found it fascinating that Tolkien incorporated pieces of Norse Mythology into the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit. I have a growing love and interest in the Northern Mythologies as well. That's why I created this outfit, modeled after the Valkyrie--the great shield-maiden who gathered the souls of dead warriors, einherjar, in preparation for the final battle, Ragnarok. The Valkyries themselves have been know to appear as lovers to both great heroes and mortals. They're also associated with the strong, fierce horses they often ride into combat. Having had the chance to read Tolkien's works, including The Silmarillion, and watch the films, I've picked up on some of the direct and indirect allusions to the immortal warrior goddesses themselves.

Bear with me, as it's been several years since I worked with this topic. The rest will sound more coherent than the scattered and recompiled scribbled notes from my college Tolkien class back in 2007 : )

Anyway, Éowyn would most likely be the prime example. Headstrong, fearless, temperamental, and loved by all, she is "weary of skulking in the hills, and wishes to face peril and battle." She was eager to accompany Aragorn into the Paths of the Dead, however she was dissuaded and stayed with her people to govern them. Even so, that didn't stop her from disguising herself as a man and participating in the Battle of Pelennor Fields at the side of King Théoden. She was bestowed the title "Lady of the Shield-arm" in recognition of her valor at Pelennor.

There are also a few other noteworthy references in the mythos as well. I don't know how familiar any of you are with the Volsunga Saga, but there are references to immortal women who gave up their immortality to marry mortal men. It's been a long time since I've read any of it, but the tale of the Valkyrie Brynhild and Sigurd comes to mind. In two cases, Tolkien had women relinquish their immortality for men. The more commonly know example would be Arwen. The lesser known would concern Luthien, the elven wife of Beren. There is an interesting parallel between Luthien and Beren and Brynhild and Sigurd. Just like Beren was the only mortal man to have crossed the Girdle of Melian into the realm where Luthien resided, Sigurd was the only one to have passed through the ring of fire to reach Brynhild.

Though there's not much to go on from my old notes, but Galadriel also shared some similar characteristics. She stood tall in the elder days, an eager participant and leader in the Rebellion of the Noldor and the resulting flight from Valinor to Middle-Earth. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel arms the fellowship with weapons and provides other practical supplies in preparation for the upcoming battles. These were instances that had stood out to me, at least somewhat.

And so ends this brief and rapid history lesson. I hope my readers walk away with something to use as small talk at a party!

Would it also hurt to mention that I've been playing Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria lately? Silmeria became a visual base for this particular outfit. I also took my main picture in a place resembling the Weeping Lilly Meadow, an important place for Valkyrie Profile's main character, Lenneth. I wanted to do something to satisfy gamers and Tolkien buffs alike : ) Hello there, you wonderfully nerdy side of me!

And on a side note, I added the Wyrmscale Blademaster's Cloak as a tribute to another figure from Norse Myth; Níðhöggr, the great dragon slowly devouring the roots of the world tree, Yggdrasill. This is most likely the source from which Smaug was derived.

Head: Winged Circlet (Purple, skirm camp cosmetic vendor)
Shoulders: Bladecatcher's Pauldrons (Purple, LOTRO Store)
Back: Wyrnscale Blademaster's Cloak (Purple, T7 crafted tailor)
Chest: Swiftblade's Breastplate (Purple, Echad Andestel Champion class vendor)
Legs: Swiftblade's Leggings (Purple, Echad Andestel Champion class vendor)
Hands: Swiftblade's Gauntlets (Purple, Echad Andestel Champion class vendor)
Feet: Greaves of Growing Light (Purple, Draigoch raid random reward)


  1. Nath, have you read Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun? :)

    "...written while Tolkien was Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford during the 1920s and ‘30s, before he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It makes available for the first time Tolkien’s extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of Sigurd the Völsung and The Fall of the Niflungs."

    1. Yay, more Tolkien related goodness! I'm definitely going to get my hands on that. Consider it added to my book list : ) Thanks for the tip, Jo!


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