One of the most exciting things about Thor: Ragnarok has been looking forward to see Tessa Thompson absolutely dominate the screen as Valkyrie – the Asgardian warrior. She goes from a mysterious supportive role to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) to a woman in white armor riding on a winged horse at the head of a horde of warriors facing off against Hela (Cate Blanchett) in the span of a trailer. We’re absolutely in love with her. She’s funny and she’s fighting with a sword, kicking ass and taking names – but she looks complex too. Her behavior towards Thor (Chris Hemsworth) clearly indicates she’s got secrets but that it’ll all come out in the end.
One way or another, Thompson’s Valkyrie is dynamic as hell. Who is she? What role does she have to play in the MCU at large? What can we expect from the “Valkyries” and do they connect to anything we’ll see in Thor: Ragnarok? Let’s break down Valkyrie and see just where she’s coming from in time for Thor: Ragnarok.
Valkyrie in Mythology
Historically there are two stories about Brunhilde, the Nordic and the Icelandic version of the Valkyrie’s story. In the Norse story, she’s an immortal condemned to live the life of a mortal woman after failing to decide a contest between two kings in favor of Odin’s champion. Imprisoned in a castle and put into an endless sleep surrounded by a wall of flame. A champion breaks through the wall and rescues her but they fall out of love when his enemies trick him into drinking a potion that forgets their love so that her champion will marry another woman. He remembers her too late, dying – and she kills herself by throwing herself on his funeral pyre.
In the Icelandic version of the tale, she is the queen of Iceland and the hero Gunther tries to win her hand. First, Valkyrie throws a spear that only 3 men can lift, but his friend diverts it. Then she throws a boulder at him that would take 12 men to lift, but his friend again diverts it. She leaps over the boulder and attempts to stop him. His friend Siegfried helps Gunther defeat her and she agrees to be his wife. Valkyrie refuses Gunther on their wedding night, however, tying him up and suspending him from the ceiling. Siegfried once again helps him subdue her. Eventually, she makes her escape and lives out the rest of her life with her brothers.
Valkyrie in the MCU
In the Marvel Universe, Valkyrie was selected by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to lead the Valkyrior, a group of warrior goddesses who would appear over battle scenes and choose who would enter into Valhalla. She disobeyed Odin’s instructions and attempted to protect Thor. This cost her her immortality and Odin cast her from Asgard. In the comics, she met and fell in love with Siegfried, in this case, a son of Thor. Her background matches up with the poetic canon here as she originally cast herself into his funeral pyre after he was killed (he was killed for betraying her but that’s another story).
Valkyrie collected more warrior goddesses for Odin until Odin ordered all of Asgard’s interactions with earth to stop thanks to a pact he and the other earthly pantheons had made with the Celestials – beings who had created the universe. Bitter that she could no longer collect the souls of earthly warriors for the Valkyrior, Valkyrie allied with the Enchantress who tricked her and temporarily stole her abilities. She got them back, completing several more tasks for Odin in the process.
POWERS AND ABILITIES
Valkyrie has the strength of an Asgardian and her body is several times denser than a normal human beings. She can see death in the form of a death glow, reading a person’s aura to know if they’re about to die. (It’s important to note she doesn’t know how the person will die. Only that they will). She can also transport a dead or dying body into the realm of the dead with a sheer force of will. She has extensive training in sword fighting and hand-to-hand combat.
She carries 2 weapons:
DragonFang: carved from an extra-dimensional dragon’s tooth by the wizard Kahji-Da. The sword passed into the possession of the ancient one who gave it to Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange returned it to the Valkyrie.
A spear: Her spear has no name.
She rides a winged horse named Aragon in the comics, and as seen in the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. If Funko is looking for a great “ride” for Valkyrie we highly recommend making Aragon available to own.
Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok
With the introduction of Hela in the MCU, more gods and mythic figures seems poised to explain the structure of the universe- not just with heroes but how things like heaven and hell work. Will Valkyrie have her same abilities that she does in the comics? Did she choose her own warriors just like she did in the comics? How did Valkyrie end up working for the Grandmaster? Did she cross paths with Odin and was it really Odin? Will we see her battle beside Thor? There are lot of questions that need answers!
If you have questions about Valkyrie, or if you’re looking forward to seeing Tessa Thompson shine, sound off and share your thoughts and feelings in the comments below.
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters November 3rd, 2017.