Monday, March 27, 2017

Mythical Monday #71 - Valkyries

Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitter

It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.



Valkyries.

Growing up, I played a lot of RPG games; both pen and paper and video games. I remember my earliest exposure to Norse mythology, Vikings and Valkyries was in a Dungeons and Dragons manual called Deities and Demigods published in 1980 by TSR Games.

I was very young at the time, but I had a friend who was a couple years older and he liked to give me these D&D books as gifts. This one held my attention for hours and hours, days and days…all the way through high school.

The art was simple pen and ink drawings, but the pictures depicted gods and goddesses from different belief systems and cultures. My favorite back then was the Greek and Norse gods. Oddly enough, still is now.

On the page that listed Valkyrie “Choosers of the Slain” there was a big piece of art. It showed a bunch of women on winged horses carrying dead soldiers. I was intrigued. Where could I find more?

Sadly, I never read much more about them. I don’t think I had seen any movies about or with valkyries in them either. I had only heard a few stories from my friend who was well-read and educated.

It wasn’t until I was a few years older that I was given a Boris Vallejo calendar. It was then that I truly started to fall in love with fantasy art, and started to see more examples of valkyries.

To this day, I have only a fuzzy recollection of mention of valkyries in a few movies. Can’t really recall if I saw them in any films or cartoons. Weird.

So when I decided to write a new Dark Fantasy - Horror novel a few years ago, I came up with the idea of using valkyries as one of the themes. I wanted to write a story about a warrior woman who was abducted from battle. But by who, why, how?

I like to research. But I like to research facts. Then, when writing fiction, decide which facts to add and which facts to alter. I could shape my world into the Viking Age…make few changes to history here and there. No problem. But as I began to research Valkyries, I kept falling into that same Google trap over and over…Operation Valkyrie…not what I was looking for…but what always popped up. So eventually I decided to create my own myth around what little I knew.

They were strong, yep! They had classic Viking-opera armor, yep! They were beautiful, and they flew…in some capacity they flew. Great!

I ordered and skimmed through a Norse Mythology book, it linked valkyries to the goddess Freyja. Perfect. That was all I needed to know.

I sat down one afternoon and sketched out my ideas. I tried to blend all the fantasy art I had seen growing up into an amalgamated vision of a valkyrie. What I came up with was a warrior women who was not only a “chooser of the slain” but a protector of the innocent. Tall and strong. With large magical wings that when summoned appeared out of her back. A being who could traverse the world of the living and dead as well as the realm of the gods, yet only when called by their master, the Goddess Freyja. I considered what other powers would this mythical being have—well, akin to an angel, I figured the ability to heal and the ability to calm, or sway a man’s mind.

Of course, my vision of a valkyrie could fight. So she needed arms and amour, all of which I imagined as bestowed upon her by Freyja. The valkyrie would have magical armor that the woman could grow or shrink—wear or hide. As well as a kind of “holy spear” weapon that could be summoned when needed. Again, I saw my valkyrie as very angel-like.

Would she be invulnerable? Would she actually carry the bodies of men to Valhalla? Would this be a blessing or a curse for her? Who would be her natural enemies if she had them?

I don’t want to spoil too much. See, the main character of THE LIFEBLOOD OF ILL-FATED WOMEN, Astrid, is struggling to figure what is real and what is not. Is she alive? Is she dead? What happened to her when she vanished from the battlefield? And why is she so far from home now?

The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women is set in the Viking Age and filled with Norse Mythology. It is a Dark Fantasy novel with elements of Horror and Romance. I hope you check it out. Thanks

About Kevin James Breaux:
Kevin James Breaux has written seven books and devoted the past eight years of his life to crafting short stories and novels. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Breaux is always enthusiastic about the challenge writing presents. He lives by the motto “Write Makes Might!”© and sees each new page as an opportunity to improve and advance.

Find Kevin James Breaux:
www.kevinbreaux.com
www.lbifw.com
Twitter:  @kevinbreauxhttps://twitter.com/kevinbreaux

The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women
For Astrid, there is no greater honor than dying as a true Viking warrior and ascending to Valhalla. She anticipates it in every battle and is always eager for the next fight. When she hears the sounds of war outside her father’s stronghold of Birka, she answers the call. But a golden light envelops her, and she is suddenly gone.

If that light had taken her to Valhalla, she would have been at peace.

Instead, this golden light dumps her into a snowy, awful, godforsaken land. Astrid has no idea where she is or how she got here. She begins to suspect that she is in Hel, the underworld of Norse mythology. As Astrid searches for her home and family, a farmer, Warren, comes to her aid. Astrid doesn’t trust him at first, but she will have to rely on Warren and other companions when her destiny reveals itself.


Purchase the book:


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2 comments:

  1. Going to add this to my TBR, I'm always game for a valkyrie book. Sad that I haven't seen too many of them!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Right? Exactly what I said above. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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