Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Ghosts of Scandinavian Kings and Valkyrie Names

Well I am sorry to say that since my sudden and quite suprising 1k splurge of words on Chapter 8 - The Omens in the Ash I haven't done any more but that's not to say I haven't been doing anything involved with Soul Chaser. Oh no!

In fact I've been busy plotting away the major plot twists further ahead in the novel and reading up on my Penguin Book of Norse Myth.

Firstly my novel plot has become entangled in the ghosts of four famous Scandinavian Kings who sadly all have viking heritage but were either brought up Christian or converted for one reason another. Their appearance is a quirky idea I had about the Christian God and the Norse Gods safeguarding each others sacred objects - so I imagined Odin drinking from the Holy Grail, Heimdall practicing with the spear that pierced Christ and Hel, Queen of the Underworld being given Jesus's Crown of Thorns. On the other holy side God and his saints or more note worthy followers would guard secretly Sleipnnir Odin's steed, Thor's hammer Mjollnir and a rather uknown pagan treasure - Ravenslandeye, a greatly feared Raven battle flag that Odin will ride under at Ragnarok.
The reason for this spiritual trade off is the truce between the faiths now that Christianity has dominated most of the souls in the world and the poor Aesir are left with the souls unclaimed for by any particular faith and so theu 'supposedly' pose no threat (well we shall see how that pans out in Soul Chaser).
These Scandinavian Kings are involved because they are the eternal ghostly guardians of one particular holy pagan object (and no I'm not going to tell you which one it is!).
Anyway the 4 Scandinavian Kings I intend to introduce to my novel are:

Eric Bloodaxe - who was crowned King of Northumbria (effecively the entire north of England) for a few years on and off.
King Cnut - The ruler of not just Denmark and Norway but also England for a good 20 years.
Guthrum aka Athelstan - the great viking raider that eventually converted to Christianity by Alfred the Great's own blessing and ruled in East Anglia for a short while a relatively minor king.
Harald Hardrada - the final kind of viking heritage to raid and plunder England before the domesticated Vikings i.e. The Normans, came over in 1066 and finally conquered all of England.

These four kings hold the secrets that unlock a puzzle which locks away the special Aesir artefact.

I don't know yet when they will feature in Soul Chaser, I still have so much planned for Jenny to face, learn and experience just up to chapter 11 let alone beyond that but after discovering more about her past life and the history and cause of her death it will all tie up eventually. Kind of like the Jelling style engravings of entwines animals, there's lots of twists and turns but it will all join up seemlessly together when you reach the final corner.

In other valkyrie related news, in my Penguin book of Norse Myths I read a myth/legend I haven't before, 'The Lay Of Grimnir' involving Odin and Frigg setting a challenge towards two particular kings they both watch over. Odin of course travels down to Midgard in disguise and causes some trouble by not saying a word untill one prince shows him kindness and from which he goes into a long description of everything there is in Norse Mythology. He even mentions his 13 Valkyries, not by their norse name, but their name meaning:

Here are the norse Valkyrie names and meanings according to my Dictionary of Norse Mythology:
Geirolul = Spear Waver/Bearer
Goll = Tumult 
Herfjotur = Host Fetter
Hildr = Battle
Hlokk = Noise/Battle
Hrist = Shaker
Mist = Cloud
Reginleif = Power-trace
Radgrid = Counsel-truce
Randgrid = Shield-truce
The 8 above are marked as Valkyries in the Index the following are actually named in the section on Valkyries:
First in reference to the Grimnismal (the myth mentioned above)

"  I want Hrist and Mist to bring me a horn
Skeggjold* and Skogul*,
Hild and Thrud*, Hlokk and Herfjotur,
Goll and Geirolul,
Randgrid and Radgrid and Reginleif:
they bring the Einherjar ale."

So if I were to look up each individual name mentioned above of those that are not highlighted as belonging to a Valkyrie I get the following meanings:

Skeggjold = Axe Age
Skogul = Shaker
Thrud = not mentioned in the Index of Valkyrie names

Having tried to discover the means of each of the 13 Valkyrie names from a different source to the 'Lay of Grimnir' I'm now going to attempt to translate their names into the extract taken from the Prose translation in the Penguin Book of Norse Myths:

" In Valhalla, Shaker (*Skogul) and Mist (*actual name given), Axe Time/Age (*Skegjold) and Raging (*Goll-Tumult) take it in turns to bring me my brimming horn. And nine other Valkyries bring ale to the slain warriors. Their names are Warrior (*Thrud???) and Might (*Hrist-shaker???), Shrieking (*Hlokk-Noise/Battle), Host fetter (*Herfjotur) and Screaming (*Hrist-shaker), Spear Bearer (*Geirolul), Shield Bearer (*Randgrid), Wrecker of Plans (*Radgrid-Council-truce) and Kin of the Gods (*Reginleif-Power-trace) ."  

This of course has been my own interpretation - if any readers think they have more knowledge of Valkyrie names and meanings please do feel free to share them with me. I would be very much interested.
The meaning of these Valkyrie names features strongly in Chapter 5 Rise and Fall when Jenny is whisked away for her ascension ceremony and has to acknowledge each Elder Valkyrie in a very formal chant procession.  Although I only take 9 names from mythology. Below is how I embelleshed upon their brief meanings given in the Dictionary of Norse Mythology:

Hrist, shaker of battle grounds and of cowards’ bones.
Hlökk, the sound of berserk warriors and a cowards dying scream.
Mist, the natural shield that enables the cunning killer and misleads those unworthy blindly to their deaths in your embrace.
Skögull, shaker of shield walls and of enemies will.
Skeggjöld, who is the beautiful killing blow of the axe and feller of unworthy souls.
Göll, you are the sword song and drums of shields meeting in the dance of battle.
Hildr, you are what drives men berserk in battle or drive them mad with fear.
Geirölul, you bless spear warriors with aim and skill to perform the perfect hunting kill.
Herfjötur, you bind courage around warriors’ hearts and shackle fear into their souls.

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