Valkyrie (pronounced “VAL-ker-ee”; Old Norse valkyrja, plural valkyrjur, “choosers of the fallen”) is a female helping spirit of the god Odin. The modern image of the valkyries as elegant, noble maidens bearing dead heroes to Valhalla is largely accurate for what it is, but a highly selective portrayal that exaggerates their pleasant qualities. To some extent, this tendency toward sanitization is present even in the later Old Norse sources, which focus on their love affairs with human men and their assisting Odin in transporting his favorites among those slain in battle to Valhalla, where they will fight by his side during Ragnarok.
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