the dictionary of norse mythology


VALHALLA Hall of the Slain The hall built by the god odin in asgard to receive heroes slain in battle. The warriors, called einherjar, fought all day and feasted all night. They were brought to Valhalla by the valkyries, Odin's warrior maidens, led by the goddess freya. The heroes went to battle at Odin's side at ragnarok, the end of the world, in which all were slain once again. In modern English the word Valhalla means a heavenly place where the deserving dead find eternal happiness, or an esteemed burial place on earth.Valhalla appears in the poetic edda especially in grimnismal and snorri sturluson's prose edda.The Hall of Dead Heroes Odin, the alfodr and warrior god of the aesir, built Valhalla, the Hall of the slain. It was situated in gladsheim, Odin's realm in Asgard. It was splendid indeed, the most beautiful hall there. The roof was tiled with shining shields, the rafters were flashing spears, and on the benches were fine suits of armor, ready for the war-riors to put on. There Odin planned to receive all the brave men who had died as heroes on Earth and give them everlasting life so that they could help the gods fight the giants at Ragnarok, the end of the world.The Valkyries, Odin's splendid warrior maidens some were his daughters, put on their gleaming armor and went down to midgard, or Middle Earth, to choose which warriors were brave enough and strong enough to be rewarded with a new life in Valhalla. They returned with the heroes, or Einher-jar, who had been slain in battle but were now miraculously alive, their wounds healed and their health robust.The maidens donned white robes and poured mead from drinking horns into the soldiers' goblets, the bony skulls of their stricken enemies. The supply of mead never ended, for it came from the enchanted she-goat heidrun, who nibbled on the leaves of laerad, the tree around which the hall was built.The food was abundant, too. It came from another magical creature, the boar saehrimnir. Each night

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