The Norse Mythology Behind Valkyrie Profile

By Uncle Pervy

uncleprvy@hotmail.com

Table of Contents

Introduction

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo

Names

-Name Chart

Races, Places, and Events

-The Aesir and the Vanir

-The Giants

-The Elves

-The Dwarves

-The Nine Worlds

-Yggdrasil

-Ragnarok

The Gods

-Odin

-Loki

-Freya

-Frei and Idun

-Thor

-Vidar

-Tyr

-Ull

-Eir

-Hodur

-Hermod

-Mimir

Mortals and Lesser Powers

-Lenneth, Hrist, and Silmeria; Valkyries and the Norns

-Arngrim

Monsters and Enemies of the Gods

-Surt

-Hel

-Fenrir

-Bloodbane

-Fafnir

Artifacts and Magic

-Dainslef

-Levatine

-Gungnir

-Brisingal

-Nibelungen Ring

-Gram

-Runes

Conclusion

Introduction

As the title has most likely informed you, this is a guide to the Norse mythology in and behind Valkyrie Profile. Note that it does not delve into other mythologies touched upon in the game. As joyous and educational as Valkyrie Profile can be, the game contains some mythological errors. Many are minor and understandable, but some are so glaring that it makes one wonder how much research they really did. This guide will enlighten the reader to the mythology behind the game, expanding upon what was done well, and correcting the errors.

I must warn the reader that I often delve beyond the scope of the game, going into myths and ideas that Valkyrie Profile didnít even touch. This is partially because such myths bear some relation to myths and references in the game, but mostly because I hope to educate readers and I donít know when to shut up.

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo

Valkyrie Profile and all attendant what-nots are property of Enix. This guide is my property. Any desiring to use it on their sites must inquire with me beforehand for permission. I will almost certainly give said permission, as I am an egomaniac. Ask and ye shall receive. Those failing to ask are stealing, and you will face my wrath. I will summon a horde of lawyers upon ye, and it will not be pretty. Heaven forbid that you live within driving distance of me, as then I will bury a katana in your midsection, repeatedly.

Names

Many of the errors found in Valkyrie Profile relate to names. Because of this, it is sometime hard to refer to some things. The best examples are the Vanir of Valkyrie Profile. The Vanir of the game are by no means the actual Vanir. The real Vanir were a separate pantheon of deities whom the Aesir once fought with. The actual enemies the Aesir faced at Ragnarok, and in Valkyrie Profile, were the Giants. Thus, whenever referring to those enemies, I will call them the Giants or the Vanir of Valkyrie Profile if comparing them to the Giants.

This is a special case of blatant error on the gameís part. My standard way of dealing with differing names is to use the Valkyrie Profile name when referring to game characters, and the mythological name when referring to the mythological characters.

Below is a little guide to the differing names found in game. Names with question marks are character whom may have a mythological counterpart, but cannot be proven without a doubt.

 

Name Guide

Valkyrie Profile - Mythology

Vanir - Giants

Nifleheim - Niflheim

Drow - Dark Elves

Frei - Frey, Freyr

Idun - Idunn

Ull - Uller

Bloodbane - Jormungand? Nidhogg?

Hrist - Rist?

Silmeria - Sinmora?

Dainslaf - Dainslef

Levatine - Laevateinn or Lavaten

Brisingal - Brisingamen

Races, Places, and Events

The Aesir and the Vanir: The Aesir were the principle deities of the Norse world. The Vanir were a different pantheon of gods, whose concerns and members are mostly unknown. Despite everything the game tells you, the Vanir were not, I repeat not the Aesirís enemies at Ragnarok. That honor falls to the Giants, Jotuns in the Norse language.

There is very little known about the Vanir themselves. They remain aloof from the concerns of the universe, not even participating in Ragnarok. Only a few deities of their number are known, and they live among the Aesir, a consequence of an early war (see below). The origins of this separate pantheon are completely unknown, but I theorize they might be the children of Odinís brothers, Vili and Ve. Vili and Ve fall out of mention soon after the creation of the universe, so it is possible they secluded themselves in Vanaheim and lived there with their children much like Odin did with the Aesir.

The Vanir and the Aesir did fight at one time. Not long after the creation of the world was finished and the rest of the Aesir were born and reached adulthood, an old crone named Gullvieg came to the godsí home and began to make a nuisance of herself. She was so insufferable that Loki eventually suggested that they kill her. They did, tying her to a stake and burning her. She simply arose from the ashes like a phoenix, stronger than before. Twice more they tried to burn her, and twice more she revived, before they gave up. Gullvieg, after her reincarnations, became the giantess Angrboda, and later gave birth to three terrors that would destroy the gods at Ragnarok.

The Vanir were outraged by this, though the reason why is not clear. It may have been because the old crone was a distant relation of theirs, or because the Aesir had commented the first murder outside of war. It could have been because the Aesir had violated the relationship between guest and host. Whatever the reason, the Vanir demanded redress, and things went downhill from there. Finally, after meeting with the Vanir, Odin became so frustrated the he tossed his spear over the heads of the assembled Vanir and declared war on them.

At first, the Vanir had the advantage in the war, managing to severely damage the walls of Asgard. Then the Aesir rallied and beat them back into a stalemate. The stalemate lasted for an unsaid number of years, before the gods decided that talking was preferable to fighting. They met again, but could not remember who was really at fault for the war. So, they decided to declare both sides at fault, and exchange hostages so that both pantheons could live peacefully with each other forevermore. To seal this pact, all of the Aesir and the Vanir spit into a jar; the Vanir Ksavir, deity of poetry , was born from that jar.

The Vanir sent the sea god Njord, the poet Ksavir, and the twin fertility deities Frey and Freya to live with the Aesir. Odin in turn sent the gods Mimir and Honir to the Vanir. Honir was a handsome god of commanding presence, fit to lead armies, while Mimir was almost infinitely wise and Odinís personal advisor. The Vanir were happy with the exchange, until they learned that Honir refused to make a decision on his own, always deferring to Mimirís judgement. When Mimir was not around, Honir would not do anything. In anger, the Vanir beheaded Mimir in hopes of forcing Honir to think on his own. It failed, and Honir became useless to them.

In anger, the Vanir sent Mimirís head back to Odin, but could do no more as they had agreed to the trade. Odin took Mimirís head and preserved it, then inscribed runes into it that reanimated the head. This gave Odin back his most trusted advisor, and he had gained the services of four Vanir.

In an alternate version of the myth, the Vanir and the Aesir both lived in the same world, and the Aesir agreed to leave at the end of the war. After leaving, they built Asgard.

The Giants: The Giants were offspring of an immense humanoid elemental creature, born from the mixing of primordial flames and ice, called Ymir. The Aesir; consisting of Odin and his two brothers at the time; swiftly began to disagree with the Giantsí selfish ways, and a feud ensured. It ended when Odin and his two brothers slew Ymir, and the rest of the Giant race drowned in Ymirís spilt blood, all save two. Odin and his brothers then created the cosmos from Ymirís remains.

The Giants rebuilt their numbers as time passed, and made their home in the icy mountains of Jotunheim. There have been several lords among the Giants, but only one king; a wily illusionist named Utgard - often called Utgard-Loki. Utgard is the only giant to ever escape Thorís wrath, for his illusions were too powerful even for Thor to pierce. The game replaces Utgard with Surt, but that will be explained in Surtís entry.

While the Giants were usually enemies of the gods, such was not universally the case. When the Giant shapeshifter Geirrod extracted a vow from Loki to bring Thor to his hall without Mjollnir, a Giantess named Grid gave Thor the weapons that allowed him to survive. Grid later became Odinís concubine. Many of the Aesir had affairs with Giants; Frey fell hopelessly in love with one and gave away his most treasured artifact to have her. A Giantess, Skaldi, married into the Aesir and was accepted as a deity of the ice and snow, as well as hunting. (However, see the entry for Ull below.)

The Elves: The elves were the inhabitants of Alfheim. They are seldom mentioned in Norse Mythology, and they actually appear only once or twice. They were probably created directly by their master Frey, as opposed to humans who were created from driftwood, and dwarves who were made from maggots found on Ymirís corpse. The elves were a forest dwelling people and seemed to enjoy the favor of the Aesir. They appear in the myth where Loki is banished from Asgard and bound in Niflheim. The gods were holding a feast, and elves were attending to the gods. Loki slays one named Fimafeng, who the gods were heaping lavish praise upon.

The Dark Elves, called Drow within Valkyrie Profile, are even more mysterious. Of them, nothing is known, save that one of the Nine Worlds, Svartalfheim, is their home. No other mention is made of them. However, the difference between Dark Elves and the dwarves may have been blurred every now and again.

The Dwarves: Unlike the elves, dwarves are mentioned prominently in several myths. They are a short people who dwell in the subterranean world of the Nidavellir, though some, like Andvari from the tale of the Volsungs, live in other worlds. The dwarves are renowned through the Nine Worlds as excellent craftsmen, and for their greed. Odinís spear Gungnir, Thorís hammer Mjollnir, Freyaís Brisingamen, and many other divine toys are works of the finest dwarven craftsmen. Many dwarven works carry curses, as dwarves didnít care for people begging them for weapons and jewelry incessantly.

However, not all dwarves were helpful craftsmen. Some were as dark-hearted and greedy as any Giant. The Vanir deity Ksavir learned this when he was invited to the home of Fjalar and Galar for a feast. After the feast, they invited him into a side room for a private chat, and promptly knifed him in the chest. They then caught his blood in two urns, and mixed the blood with honey to create the Mead of Poetry. The mead would inspire any that drank it, and grant them talent at poetry. Unfortunately, the dwarves made the mistake of showing the mead to a brash young giant, who promptly took both dwarves under his arms and drug them to the sea. He stranded them on a rock and prepared to leave them until they gave him the mead. Later, Odin stole the mead from the giant and seduced his daughter, who was guarding the treasure.

The dwarves had one real weakness: sunlight. Exposure to the sun causes a dwarf to turn to stone. Thor once took care of a dwarven suitor after his daughter by questioning the dwarf through the night, until the sun rose and petrified him. There is a theory, stemming from this, that the word dwarf doesnít mean little person, but lesser person. In other words, dwarves may not have been little people. They may have been creatures with less developed souls than humanity. Hence their vulnerability to sunlight.

The Nine Worlds: The Norse believed that the universe consisted of nine worlds. The nine worlds were Asgard, Vanaheim, Jotunheim, Alfheim, Nidavellir, Svartalfheim, Midgard, Muspellheim, and Niflheim. The Asgard and Vanaheim were paradises where the Aesir and Vanir dwelt, respectively. Jotunheim was a mountainous frozen wasteland that may have originally been a part of Niflheim. Niflheim was also a barren icy waste that was home to those who died ignobly; it also predated the creation of most of the universe. Muspellheim was a land of endless flame, the opposite of Niflheim; it too predated the rest of creation. Alfheim is home to the elves, and Svartalfheim home of the dark elves. Nidavellir was the subterranean world of the dwarves, and Midgard was our world.

These worlds were held together by the Yggdrasil, the World Ash. Its roots bind the worlds together, though in some versions Asgard and Vanaheim are set in its branches. A rainbow bridge called Bifrost connects Asgard to Midgard, and seems to connect to Jotunheim and Vanaheim as well as it is used to reach both in a few myths.

Yggdrasil: The World Ash, whose roots and sometimes branches supported the universe and held it together. The roots of Yggdrasil anchor together all of the worlds, though in some versions Vanaheim and Asgard are located in its branches. At the base of the tree, in Niflheim, an ancient dragon named Nidhogg gnaws away at the treeís roots, working to destroy the tree and hasten the end of the universe. An eagle perches at the top of Yggdrasil, as does a rooster named Vidofnir, while four stags chew at its bark and four goats devour its new shoots. A squirrel named Ratatosk runs up and down the trunk of Yggdrasil, delivering insults between Nidhogg and the eagle.

Yggdrasil predates the universe. It has always been, and always will be. It originally connected Niflheim and Muspellheim; the chasm between the two worlds was the Ginnungagap. The fires of Muspellheim and the ice of Niflheim overflowed and combined to create Ymir, a massive humanoid elemental and father of Gaintkind.

Ragnarok: The Aesirís final battle against the Giants and the undead legions of Niflheim. It is to take place on the field of Vigrid, which is either just past Bifrost or just outside of Asgard, depending on what version of the myth you read. Two events precede its coming. First is the death of Baldur, God of Light and Beauty. The other is the casting out of Loki from Asgard and his binding to Niflheim (See Loki for both).

Fenrir will break free of his bonds on that day, as will Loki. Jormungand will rise from the sea and the wolves that have chased the sun and moon throughout eternity will finally catch their prey. The unworthy dead will rise from Niflheim, led by Hel, and the giants will gather and march on Asgard.

When the giants and undead gather, Heimdall, the watchman of Bifrost, will sound a horn named Gjall and summon the Aesir to war. This will call nine hundred sixty Einherjar from each of Valhallaís six hundred forty doors. The Aesir host will assemble, and the chaos will begin.

During the course of the fight, Loki and Heimdall will slay each other. Fenrir will swallow Odin, and Thor will die from Jormungandís venom soon after slaying the Midgard Serpent. Garm, the hound that watches the gates of Helís palace, will tear out Tyrís throat. In revenge for his fatherís death, Vidar will rip Fenrir in half. Then Surt will take the field. Frey will try to fight off Surt, but will fall without his enchanted blade. Finally, at the base of Yggdrasil, Nidhogg will finally sever the Ashís roots. (See individual listings below for more information on each of these events.)

As the battle winds down, the fire giant will institute the destruction of the universe. Standing over the fallen and the wounded, Surt will whirl his flaming sword over his head, sending sparks flying all over the Nine Worlds, igniting all, even himself, and bringing the universe to an end. According to the Saga of the Volsungs, this will not take place on Vigrid; it will happen on the isle of Oskapt. But this comes from the mouth of a dying dragon talking to his slayer with his final breaths, so it may not be trustworthy.

However, in many versions, this is not the end. Not everything will be consumed. Vidar survives, as does his brother Vali, and rises to take the place of Odin. Thorís two sons, Magni and Modi, live and take up Thorís duties and wield his hammer, Mjollnir. Honir also survives. Baldur and his brother Hodur will be allowed to return from the dead. Yggdrasil endures, its roots regrow stronger than ever and it will be free of Nidhoggís assaults; in some versions, however, Nidhogg survives as well. Two humans, Lif and Lifthrasir, took shelter in Yggdrasil, and managed to survive. The daughter of the sun, born just before the wolves devoured her mother, will take up the work of her predecessor. The sons of Vili and Ve will also live (If they are the Vanir, it would explain why the Vanir ignored the fighting.)

A new world will be created, in which the descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir will live, where their food will be the morning dew. Then the cycle will begin anew, as new evils rise to challenge the world.

The Gods

Odin: Odin was the ruler of the Norse Gods, presiding over Warfare, Knowledge, and Wisdom. He was the grandson of one of the first beings in existence and a frost Giantess. He and his brothers Vili and Ve created the world from the corpse of the first Giant, Ymir, an elemental creature created from the mixing of the flames of Muspellheim and the ice of Niflheim. Afterwards, they created humanity from driftwood.

One of Odinís chief concerns was presiding over the Einherjar. He created war on Midgard so that he could claim the souls of the bravest warriors to aid the Aesir in Ragnarok. He also gave writing in the form of runes to the world, after hanging himself from the highest boughs of Yggdrasil to learn their meanings and the magic behind them (See Runes Below). Also, he sacrificed his right eye to gain a drink from the Well of Mimir, gaining boundless wisdom in return; the act was symbolic of exchanging one viewpoint for a greater one.

Odin was chiefly revered by the Vikings. Their warlike ways and berserk frenzies in combat would ensure them a place in Valhalla. Human sacrifices were occasionally made to him in the form of hangings. It was said that Odin would visit those who were hung and draw a rune upon them, causing the sacrifices to divulge all of their secrets. The worship of Thor was more widespread than Odin, as the All-father had little to offer those who were not warriors.

In Valkyrie Profile, Odin seems to be very bored throughout most of his appearances. This is quite accurate; Odin generally knew what the future held, and knew that it seldom changed from the course he foresaw. He drank constantly as a result; wine was the only substance he took in. Lezard Valeth claims that Odin was a half-elf, but this is not true. Odin was a half giant. However, he was not very powerful at the beginning of time, much of his strength came from the wisdom he gained at Mimirís Well, the runes he gained by hanging himself, and from receiving Gungnir from Loki.

Loki: Of all the personalities in Norse mythology, Loki is often the most misunderstood. Usually, he is categorized as the evil trickster, but this is not always true. He was a god of chaos, to be sure, but not evil until the end.

Loki is Odinís half-brother, the son of a giant and one of Odinís forefathers, though which one is not clear. Therefore, Loki may be either a full-blood giant, or a half-giant like Odin. In any event, Loki was considered an Aesir. In the earlier ages, he was generally respected and did much good for the Aesir. He was the mother of Odinís eight-legged horse, Sleipnir; he assumed the form of a mare to lure away the horse of Giant working on Asgardís walls, and came back months later with Sleipnir in tow.

He did indulge in a relatively minor prank every now and again, and these usually got him in trouble. One of the most infamous tricks he pulled was when he shaved off all of Sifís hair, Sif being Thorís wife. He then was ordered to do something about it. So he went to a pair of dwarven smiths and asked them to make a golden wig for Sif, a wig so realistic that it actually grew like hair. As the forge was already stoked after making this, the dwarves offered to craft a few more gifts for the gods. Loki agreed to this, and they set to work making a golden ship called Skipbladnir, which could sail in the sky and be folded into a handkerchief. Then they forged a spear called Gungnir that would never miss its mark.

Loaded down with these treasures, Loki happily started back to Asgard, then thought about it and went to visit another smithy. He displayed the treasures he had gotten and dared the dwarven brothers there to make something better, staking his head that they could not. The brothers set to work immediately. First, they forged a golden boar with shining bristles from pigskin. Next, they made a ring called Draupnir that could create eight copies of itself every nine days. Finally, despite interference from Loki; who had turned into a gadfly and stung the dwarf at the bellows in the eye; they created Mjollnir, a hammer that always hit its mark when thrown and would return to the wielderís hand.

Now incredibly nervous and with the smiths in tow, Loki returned home to present the treasures to the rest of the Aesir. Sif got her wig. Frey received the ship and the boar. Odin was given Gungnir and Draupnir, and Thor received Mjollnir. It was judged that the second set of treasures was superior, and the dwarves received custody of Lokiís head. However, they could not harm his neck, which they had no custody over. They sewed his lips shut, to the great amusement of the Aesir.

Loki never forgot that humiliation. After that, he tried to assuage his pride with other pranks, but the Aesir always made him give some kind of reparations for them. He also tended to act a little rashly, and often landed in circumstances beyond his control. Several times, he had to agree to aid a Giant in stealing something valuable or setting up an ambush in order to save his life. However, he always worked to correct what he had done - though a few threats from Thor or Odin were sometimes required to start him along.

Loki often accompanied Thor on trips to Jotunheim, where he would serve as a guide and a negotiator. He also had contacts among the Giants, which aided him when he was searching for Mjollnir after the Giant Thrym stole it. Of all the gods, Loki seemed to have stayed in Thorís company the most. At times, they hated one another; at other times, they seemed to be good friends.

However, Loki felt that the Aesir were too quick to blame him, and that they conveniently forgot all the good that he did them. He felt especially jealous towards Baldur, the god of Light and Beauty. The Aesir all loved Baldur, yet Baldur had never rendered to them any services like Loki. So, when Baldur became plagued with nightmares of death, Loki had a chance at revenge against the god who did nothing to garner Lokiís hate.

Odinís wife, Frigga, went to extract vows not to hurt Baldur fom all things in existence. Once this was done, Baldur was practically invincible, and the Aesir began amuse themselves by tossing knives, stones, and anything else they could pick up at him. Nothing could hurt him save one thing; a single sprig of mistletoe. Loki assumed the form of an old woman and convinced Frigga to tell him about the mistletoe. Frigga did so, and Loki went out to find this mistletoe. Once he did, Loki fashioned an arrow from it.

He gave this arrow to Hodur, Baldurís blind brother, and guided Hodurís hand in firing it. Baldur died instantly from the wound, and Loki could claim to be innocent; how could he have known that Frigga had overlooked a single sprig of mistletoe? Odin swiftly dispatched one of his sons, Hermod, to Niflheim. There, Hermod had to convince Hel to return Baldur to the living. She agreed to do so only if every object in the world would shed a tear of the fallen deity.

The Aesir set to the task of requesting everything, from stones to plants to dark elves, to shed a tear for Baldur. All went well until they found an old giantess named Thokk. Thokk refused to shed any tears over Baldur, and the deity was forced to remain in the home of the unworthy dead. Loki was nowhere to be found when the gods were trying to convince Thokk to shed a tear.

The Aesir knew that Loki was responsible for Baldurís death, but they could not prove it. Instead of gaining the attention and recognition he desired, Loki was shunned. As a result he finally lost control at a feast, slaying an elven servant named Fimafeng, whom the Aesir were loading with praises. The Aesir promptly ejected Loki from the feast, but Loki stormed back in and demanded that he be allowed a seat, calling upon his bond of blood with Odin.

Odin allowed it, commanding Vidar to make room for Loki, and the Aesir seemed ready to forgive him for killing Fimafeng. However, Loki had enough of them, and began to insult Bragi, the god of poetry. When Bragiís wife, Idunn, stood up for him, Loki began to insult her as well.

He went on to rain verbal abuse upon all of the Aesir, calling them whores, thieves, liars, practitioners of incest, weaklings, and more. Finally, Thor walked into the hall, having returned from a hunting trip in Jotunheim. Loki took the time to insult Thor to his face before running away.

The gods chased after him, eventually finding his hiding place in a cavern. Loki tried to escape by taking the form of a salmon and swimming downstream, but they caught him in a fishing net. They took him to Niflheim, along with his two sons. The Aesir held Loki on a rock in a twilit cave and made him watch as they changed one of his sons, Vali (not to be confused with Odinís son Vali), into a wolf. The wolf was then set upon Lokiís other son, Narvi. They then took Narviís intestines and bound Loki to the rock, casting a spell on the bindings to make them nearly unbreakable. As a final touch, Skaldi, the Giantess wife of Njord and deity of ice and snow, placed a venomous snake over Lokiís head to drip poison into his eyes.

Lokiís loyal wife, Sigyn, remained behind to stay with her husband and catch the serpentís venom in a bowl. However, when she has to empty the bowl, the venom causes Loki such agony that the earth shakes and can be felt in Midgard.

At Ragnarok, Loki is destined to rip free of his bindings and storm Asgard along with the forces of Hel. He would face Heimdall, the watchman of the gods, on Bifrost. Heimdall had never approved of Lokiís pranks and chaotic ways, and had despised him long before the death of Baldur. Loki, in turn, hated Heimdallís strait-laced devotion to duty and his lack of humor. They are destined to slay each other on Bifrost, spilling each otherís blood amid the chaos around them in a dramatic showdown.

The Loki of Valkyrie Profile reflects the Tricksterís situation beautifully. If one pursues the A Ending, Loki steals the Dragon Orb that Odin had previously claimed from Midgard. He starts by convincing Lucian to visit the Water Mirror in order to speak to Lenneth, and is able to frame him for steal the Orb. He then kills Lucian in a way very reminiscent of the death of Baldur; killing an innocent in hopes of correcting the wrongs he perceived against himself.

He takes the Orb to Surt, offering that and the services of Fenrir and Bloodbane to the Giant. The reason Loki claims his actions is for justice; justice against the Aesir who failed to appreciate his labors for them. After offering all this to those that he also shares blood with, Surt turns him down. Once again, Loki sees himself as betrayed, and concludes that all he can do is have vengeance.

After he destroys those who failed to respect him, all that is left for him is to destroy everything else. If the Aesir could not appreciate the things he did for them, if Surt could not appreciate the sacrifice Loki made for him, how could the mortals appreciate the leadership that Loki would provide in the Aesirís place?

Freya: Freya was a goddess of beauty, love, and fertility; twin sister of Frey. While Frey was also a fertility god, Freyaís domain was humanity, while her brother ruled over nature. She was a Vanir, but she came to live with the Aesir after the end of the war between the two pantheons.

Freya was originally a peaceful deity, but the acts she committed to obtain her treasured Brisingamen earned her Odinís wrath (See Brisingal). As a punishment, he bade her to lessen the love between the kingdoms of Midgard, and allow war into the world. He then sent the Valkyries to collect the souls of those who fought bravely and make them into Einherjar. As compensation for this, Freya was made head of the Valkyries and allowed possession of half the souls harvested from the battlefield.

In the game Freya is very active, setting Lenneth on her course, delivering both artifacts and MP to Valkyrie at each Sacred Phase, and giving her new orders. All act in concordance with her role as head of the Valkyries.

Frei and Idun: I talk of these to deities together for a special reason. The game got both their sexes wrong, but there may a reason for it. Frei, correctly called Frey or Freyr, was the god of fertility in natureís domain and king of the elves. He was Freyaís twin brother, and once a member of the Vanir. He once possessed a sword that could fight without being held, but he traded this to a Giant in exchange for the hand of the Giantís daughter, Gerd. He was a brave warrior, even after he gave away his sword. However, without this blade, he will fall before Surt during Ragnarok. With it, he could have defeated the Fire Giant and saved existence.

Idun, more commonly known as Idunn, was the goddess of youth, and tended to a tree that grew golden apples. The apples kept those who ate them young, and restored youth to the aged. She gave these to he gods every morning, so the Aesir were able to stay young and vital until Ragnarok. Once, a giant managed to kidnap her and the gods began to age, becoming senile and incontinent until Loki was able to get her back; Loki had earlier arranged for her to be kidnapped in exchange for his own life.

Valkyrie Profile makes Frey a woman and Idunn a man. At first, I thought this was nothing more than a foolish oversight, but I thought about it a little and came up with a theory. It may be that Frei and Idun knew that Ragnarok was coming, and knew that it was their fate to perish. As both are gods of life, they are going to be the last people who will accept death. However, they knew that they could not escape fate. So, they switched bodies and hoped that they could escape the deaths they were destined by being different people. Idun is essentially Frey in all ways but name, and Frei is Idunn in all ways but name and lineage.

Thor: Thor was the warrior of the Aesir, lord of storms, and protector of Asgard. He was Odinís son, the second eldest I believe. While Odin stirred up war, Thor protected the world from the giants and the other horrors of existence. The Vikings revered Odin above all other deities, but the Scandinavian farmers revered Thor primarily for his protection. Thus, Thor was much more widely worshipped than the All-Father.

Thor was thoroughly a warrior. He had little patience for most kinds of magic, nor could he stand those who lived by their wits. As a result, he and Loki had a love-hate relationship. One moment, Thor would be angry with Loki for his latest prank. The next moment, both are slogging through the snowy valleys of Jotunheim. Thor was probably the best friend that Loki ever had. However, after Loki killed Baldur, Thor never forgave the trickster and cut off all relations with him. This certainly did much to push Loki over the edge in the end.

Thor possessed three artifacts. One was a belt that doubled his strength, making him a match for any Giant. He also had a pair of iron gauntlets that allowed him to handle red-hot objects. Finally, there was his treasured hammer, Mjollnir. Its power was equal to that of a lightning bolt, which fit his identity as the god of storms. Mjollnir could restore as well as destroy; Thor often slaughtered and feasted upon the goats that pulled his chariot, then used Mjollnir to restore then to life.

Once, the Giant Thrym stole Mjollnir, and demanded Freyaís hand in marriage for its return. In order to get it back, Thor had to disguise himself as Freya, while Loki disguised himself as Freyaís handmaiden. Thor was not a very good imposter of Freya. However, Loki was able to explain away the thunder god eating a whole ox, drinking several kegs of liquor, and glaring so angrily a too-curious Giant that the she was sent flying across the room. Thor hated the disguise, but he felt better after he got the hammer back and laid waste to Thrymís entire hall.

In Ragnarok, Thor will lead Asgardís forces against the assembled powers of darkness, and will battle the greatest monster himself. He will fight the infamous Midgard Serpent, Jormungand. After a protracted battle with the legendary sea serpent, Thor will emerge victorious, but will succumb to Jormungandís venom soon after.

Vidar: Vidar is one of Odinís sons. Vidar was a deity of endurance and greatly respected by the Norse. He could endure any kind of punishment with grim and silent stoicism, allowing him to survive even Ragnarok. Before Ragnarok, Vidar devotes his time to collecting the cast-off bits of leather left behind by cobblers all over the Nine Worlds, and sewing them together into a single boot. At Ragnarok, after Fenrir swallows Odin, Vidar will face the dread wolf. Using that boot, Vidar will place one foot on Fenrirís lower jaw, and push against his upper jaw. The boot will protect Vidar long enough for him to rip Fenrir in two.

Vidar is destined to take Odinís place after Ragnarok, when the universe is reborn and the children of the Aesir will inherit the cosmos.

Tyr: Tyr once held a place similar to Thorís but he stepped down when Thor came. Though a deity of war, Tyr is also concerned with honor and possibly justice. His parentage questionable, as one myth it states that Odin is his father, while another states that the Giant Hymir is his father. Tyrís most famous act was when he sacrificed his hand to bind Fenrir.

After Fenrir was born, the gods decided to allow the wolf to live in Asgard. Tyr took it upon himself to throw Fenrir a haunch of meat every evening, so Fenrir came to trust Tyr a little more than the rest of the Aesir. As Fenrir aged and grew, the gods became alarmed, and decided to bind him. They tried to bind him twice, but the wolf shattered both chains easily. Aesir then received a cord called Gleipnir from a dwarven smith, and challenged Fenrir to break it. The wolf was suspicious, as the last two chains were massive, and demanded that Tyr place his hand in Fenrirís mouth in case the Aesir were trying to trick him. When he could not break free of Gleipnir, he bit off Tyrís hand. Tyr had refused to remove his hand, as he had given Fenrir his word of honor to keep it in the wolfís mouth.

At Ragnarok, Tyrís luck with canines only worsens, for he destined to have his throat torn out Garm, the hound that watches over the gates of Helís domain. However, his final act will be to slay Garm, avenging himself with his final breaths.

Ull: Ull, sometimes called Uller, is a deity seldom mentioned in Norse mythology. It seems that he was one of the Vanir, but how he came to be an Aesir is not entirely clear. In some sources, he is said to be the son of Sif and the stepson of Thor. It is not clear who Ullís true father is, nor are Sifís origins known. Ullís sphere of influence is as shadowy as his place. He was the god of ice and snow, as well as hunters and archery. His following seems to have been overshadowed only by Thor and Odin, as all he had to offer his followers was blizzards and cold. Still, the Norse lived in a subarctic climate, so they tried to placate him instead of follow him.

However, the Giantess Skaldi, who married the Vanir sea god Njord, was also a deity of ice, archery, and hunting. It may have been that one came to overtake the otherís place over the centuries. I am not sure, little is written of Ull to begin with.

Eir: Eir was the healer of the gods. She is seldom mentioned throughout the myths, only as background and in comparison to Freya. Her role in Valkyrie profile reflects the well; a healer seldom seen.

Hodur: The brother of Baldur, Hodur was the god of ignorance and in some versions darkness. Being blind, he tended to stay to himself and was mostly ignored by the Aesir. Loki used to his advantage when the Aesir made a game of flinging things at the nearly invincible Baldur. Loki convinced Hodur to join in; giving him an arrow made from Baldurís one weakness, a sprig of mistletoe. Loki guided Hodurís hands in firing the arrow, which killed Baldur instantly (See Loki above).

One of Odinís sons, Vali, slew Hodur in revenge for Baldurís death. Vali vowed to bring Loki to justice for the crime, but was never able to do it, unless there is a myth about it that has been lost.

In Valkyrie Profile, Hodur makes an appearance before Lenneth storms Jotunheim, and one more in the B Ending.

Hermod: Hermod was one of Odinís numerous sons. He served as a messenger for his father, wearing a helmet and breastplate crafted especially for him. His most celebrated task was when he went to the underworld after the death of Baldur (See Loki above) to beg Hel to allow Baldur to return to life. So vital was the task that Odin allowed Hermod to ride Sleipnir.

Unfortunately, while Hermod persuaded Hel to consider allowing Baldur to return to life, the agreement could not be fulfilled. The only other mention of Hermod is that he sometimes greets the souls of the dead at the gates of Valhalla.

In Valkyrie Profile, Hermod makes a brief appearance right before Lenneth storms Jotunheim. He may also make one during the B Ending, I am not sure.

Mimir: Mimir was a Giant of exceeding wisdom who joined the Aesir not long after the formation of the Nine Worlds. He guarded a well bearing his name by the roots of Yggdrasil. Unmatched wisdom was contained in its waters; Odin had to give his right eye to Mimir for a sip of it.

After the war between the Aesir and the Vanir, Mimir was sent to live in Vanaheim along with Honir. Honir became completely dependent on Mimirís advice and refused to act without him. The Vanir slew Mimir in frustration, hoping to encourage Honir to think on his own. Mimirís head was sent back to Odin. Odin preserved he head with special runes, then reanimated it. Mimirís head was then able to give Odin advice, and the All-Father spoke with it very morning.

In Valkyrie Profile, Odin mentions that the head of Mimir has warned him of the coming of Ragnarok in the beginning of the game.

Mortals and Lesser Powers

Lenneth, Hrist, and Silmeria; Valkyries and the Norns: The Valkyries were the agents of Odin and Freya who collected the souls of those who died bravely and took them to Valhalla. In the earlier centuries, the Valkyries were almost demonic in nature. They rode over battlefields and forcibly collected the souls of the dead, finishing off those who hand not quite died yet. As time wore on, they became less fearsome, and took on the role of Odinís shield maidens. Later yet, they were portrayed as serving the Einherjar during the feasts of Valhalla.

The Valkyries of the Valkyrie Profile fall into the first two categories. Lenneth is clearly a less fearsome Valkyrie, while Hrist is virtually an embodiment of divine wrath. The game claims that Lenneth is one of the three Goddesses of Fate, correctly called the Norns. Her sisters Hrist and Silmeria would be the other two Norns.

The actual Norns were Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld. They presided over the past, the present, and the future respectively. It is said that Skuld rode with the Valkyries, which would justify Lennethís description as both a Norn and a Valkyrie.

Lenneth seems to be based off the Valkyrie Brynhild from the Saga of the Volsungs. Odin placed Brynhild into a deep sleep after she refused to claim a soul destined for Valhalla, and took one that was destined for Niflheim instead. He further cursed her to fall in love with a mortal; she convinced him to mitigate the curse so that she would fall in love with the greatest of mortal heroes. He then placed her inside a cave in Midgard, and surrounded her with a circle of fire.

Not long after slaying Fafnir (See entry below), Sigurd learned of Brynhild and vowed to claim her. He discovered the location of her cave and rode his horse through the ring of fire. He found the sleeping Valkyrie lying on a bier, and cut away her armor. Brynhild awoke, and instantly fell in love with Sigurd. They agreed to marry, and Sigurd rode away to announce their betrothal, Brynhild following soon after. To signify this, Sigurd gave her a ring he had claimed from Fafnir. He was unaware that it was the ring of Andvari. This ring was cursed to bring tragedy upon its wearer.

Sigurd went to the hall of Heimir and stayed for a time, resting to return home. This hall happened to the home of Brynhildís foster father, Brynhild returned there soon after, prompting Sigurd to follow up on his betrothal. Brynhild told him that he would marry another woman, no matter how much they loved each other. Sigurd refused to believe that, and set out soon after to return home and announce their betrothal and vowed to return for her.

As he rode toward his next stop, the hall of King Gjuki, Gjukiís daughter, Gudrun, began to have dreams of a golden hawk. She visited Brynhild at Heimirís hall to have them interpreted. Brynhild told Gudrun quite bluntly that she would come between the Valkyrie and Sigurd. At the same time, Sigurd reached Gjuki's hall, and freely shared Fafnirís treasure with them.

Gjukiís wife Grimhild, a sorceress, decided that Sigurd should marry Gudrun. She had heard Sigurd speak of Brynhild, but she knew how to circumvent Sigurdís previous commitment. She convinced King Gjuki to allow this, and he agreed. Grimhild drew some ale for Sigurd, and mixed in a potion of forgetfulness. Sigurd drank this, and forgot all about Brynhild. Gudrun returned home soon after, and both fell madly in love, despite Gudrunís vow not to do so.

Brynhild went back to her bier within the circle of flames in sorrow, and returned to her cursed sleep. However, King Gjuki decided that his son, Gunnar, should wed the Valkyrie. However, Gunnar was not brave enough to walk through the wall of flames, so Queen Grimhild cast a spell to let Sigurd and Gunnar change bodies. Sigurd went, and convinced Brynhild to marry Gunnar. When Brynhild was asleep, Sigurd took Andvariís ring from her and gave her Gunnarís ring.

Both weddings progressed, and Brynhild came to Gjuki's castle, where she encountered Sigurd again. He did not remember their earlier betrothal at all, much to Brynhildís dismay. Later, she learned from Gudrun that Sigurd had switched bodies with Gunnar when Gunnar had come to ask the Valkyrieís hand. Brynhild could not accept that Sigurd had caused her to betray her original vow to marry him, and resolved to avenge this.

She convinced Gunnar to murder Sigurd, saying that Sigurd would betray him. Gunnar did not want to betray his friend, so he got his brother Hogni to attack Sigurd in his sleep. At Sigurdís funereal pyre, Brynhild threw herself onto the fire and perished.

Aside from the dark end to the tale, Lenneth and Brynhild have much in common. Both were cursed by Odin, Brynhild was cast down from Asgard while Lenneth lost her memory after the demise of her mortal form. Both fell in love with mortals. Both love affairs met with tragedy, but the lovers were reunited in the end. Both spent time in mortal form.

Hrist may have a counterpart in Norse mythology as well. One source names a number of Valkyries, and the name Rist is among them. Hristís name was probably taken from Rist, but no other information seems to exist about Rist.

As two of the Valkyries had a counterpart, I searched for corresponding figure for Silmeria. The closest I could find was Sinmora, the wife of Surt. Very little is said of Sinmora, aside from the fact that she guards the Laevateinn (see Levatine). It may be that they just took Sinmoraís name and changed it a bit for Silmeria.

Arngrim: Arngrim was the name of a powerful and infamous Viking berserker that lived on the Isle of Bolm from the legend of Tyrfing. He was invading the holdings of Svafrlami, Odinís grandson, when he came face to face with King Svafrlami himself. Svafrlami wielded the sword Tyrfing (See Dainslef), which was very powerful but severely cursed. Part of the curse was that the sword would one day end the wielderís life. This came true when Svafrlami tried to strike Arngrim, but Tyrfing missed and got stuck in the ground. Arngrim cleaved Svafrlami in two from head to foot, then claimed Svafrlamiís daughter as his wife and took possession of Tyrfing.

There are two other versions of Tyrfingís tale, each with a different Arngrim. In one version, he is the highest-ranking captain of the king of Russia, and married to the princess. He inherits Tyrfing when the king dies. In the other version, he fights the Finns to gain the friendship of King Frodi of Denmark and win the hand of the kingís daughter. I am not sure if he ever gained possession of Tyrfing in this version.

Arngrim avoided the curse of the sword by never wielding Tyrfing in battle. He and Svafrlamiís daughter had nine children, and the eldest inherited the weapon. From there on, Tyrfing went to have a very bloody and tragic history.

In Valkyrie Profile, Arngrim is a mercenary and a very powerful warrior; about as close as one can come to a Viking in the game. He also kept in his bedroom a sword designed to inflict unholy amounts of damage on dragons. He also fights the barbarian hordes, much as one of his alternate counterparts fought the Finns. Aside from this, there is no real resemblance to the mythical Arngrims.

Monsters and Enemies of the Gods

Surt: Surt existed before the creation of the universe, and he will be the one to end it. He dwells in Muspellheim, living only with his wife, Sinmora. At Ragnarok, Surt will be the one who spread the destruction of the final battle to all corners of the universe. As the battle come to a close, Surt will defeat Frey in combat, then twirl his flaming sword over his head and spread sparks flying throughout existence. These sparks will ignite and consume all, even Surt himself.

Until that time, he lived quietly in Muspellheim, left alone by the rest of existence, save one creature. At the top of Yggdrasil dwells a rooster named Vidofnir, whose crowing aggravates Surt and Sinmora to no end.

Valkyrie Profileís portrayal of Surt was interesting. He had been put in the place of the Giantsí actual ruler, the illusionist Utgard, as Utgard had no real role in Ragnarok that the stories mention. Surt had to be there to destroy the universe, but the Giants needed a ruler to serve as a driving force. Thus, Surt replace Utgard to make fighting the Giants seem worthwhile. Otherwise, one might ponder the validity of fighting the Giants when Surt was the true threat.

When Loki offered him two of the four treasures and the aid of himself and two powerful monsters, Surt refused him. He turned down Lokiís aid quite flatly, saying that he had no interest in working with demons. This brings an interesting facet to Surtís character, for the Fire Giant did come to Ragnarok alone in the myths. Perhaps he desired not so much to destroy the universe as to purify itÖ

Hel: The only daughter of Loki and the Giantess Angrboda. She was described as being a living woman from the waste up and a corpse from the waste down. The Aesir, when they learned of her existence, tossed her into the depths of Niflheim. There, she became the goddess of the unworthy dead, those souls who were not worthy to be Einherjar. Her court has not only the souls of those mortals who were unworthy, but also the souls of the Vanir deity Ksavir and the Aesir deity Baldur. Souls in Helís realm are completely under her power, not even Odin can restore a spirit to life if Hel does not allow it, and Hel seldom allows it.

Helís realm is a torturous place guarded by a hound named Garm. There, the fallen souls live a wretched existence; dining upon rotten food and drinking poison, while acid drips down from the ceiling.

At Ragnarok, Hel will rise from Niflheim with Garm at her side and the legions of the unworthy dead behind her. She will play no especial role in the war, but her legions of the dead will certainly give the Einherjar a lot of trouble, if nothing else.

Fenrir: The eldest son of Loki and Angrboda, Fenrir was a wolf huge enough to swallow a god whole. He was also strong enough to shatter the thickest chains, and capable of human speech.

The Aesir had no idea what to do with Fenrir after they took him from Angrboda. As he was just a wolf cub at the time, the Aesir were content to let him live in Asgard. Most of the Aesir ignored Fenrir, but Tyr fed him every night. However, as Fenrir grew and became more vicious, the gods became concerned. They consulted the Norns, and learned that Fenrir was destined to slay one of their number. They could not slay Fenrir, for his blood would befoul wherever it fell.

All they could do is bind him. At first, they tried using chains, asking Fenrir to test them. However, after he shattered two of the thickest chains they could find, the gods went to a dwarven colony in Svartalfheim and requested a fetter that could bind Fenrir. The dwarves agreed and made the fetter from six materials: the roots of a mountain, the breath of a fish, the beard of a woman, the footfall of a cat, the saliva of a bird, and the sinews of a bear. The binding was named Gleipnir, and given to the Aesir.

The Aesir took Gleipnir and challenged Fenrir to break it. Fenrir realized that something was awry, and initially refused to try on the fetter. It was not until Tyr agreed to place his hand in Fenrirís mouth that the wolf agreed to try to break Gleipnir. The gods bound Fenrir, and the wolf strained and tried to bring the cord, yet it only constricted him ever more tightly. In anger, be bit off Tyrís hand, but this did nothing to satisfy his rage or endear him to the Aesir.

The Aesir took him to Niflheim, and left him there. At Ragnarok, he will break free of Gleipnir and join the battle. He will fight Odin, and swallow the deity in a single gulp. That victory will be short-lived, as Vidar, one of Odinís sons, will place his foot on Fenrirís lower jaw and push against it until the wolf is ripped in two.

In Valkyrie Profile, Fenrir is given a number of ice-related powers. While the myths never state that Fenrir has any elemental affinities, it is not unreasonable to assume that the wolf would have some sort of affinity for the cold, given the Scandinavian climate.

Bloodbane: I believe that Bloodbane is supposed to be the other son of Loki and Angrboda, the Midgard serpent Jormungand. The only other dragon that Bloodbane could be is Nidhogg, the wyrm who dwells at the base of Yggdrasil. Jormungand makes more sense, as he is Fenrirís brother and participated in Ragnarok.

Soon after Jormungand was born, the Aesir tossed him into the oceans of Midgard. There, Jormungand grew until he encircled the entire world, and bit onto his tail. There he will remain until Ragnarok. At the final battle, he will rise from the seas and face Thor in combat on the plain of Vigrid. After an epic conflict, Thor will strike Jormungand dead with a powerful blow from Mjollnir. Soon afterwards, Thor will perish from the Midgard Serpentís venom.

If Bloodbane truly is supposed to be Jormungand, then it is obvious that he is somewhat smaller than he should be. However, Bloodbane can poison your characters with his roar, and he was certainly powerful enough to give Thor a run for his money of the best of days! Not even the Iseria Queen gave me as much trouble as Bloodbane.

Fafnir: Fafnir was a shapeshifter who was slain by Sigurd in the Volsung Saga. He was the son of a man named Hreidmar. His older brother, Otr, was also a shapeshifter; Otr favored the form of an otter. Fafnirís younger brother, Regin, had no talent in sorcery. However, Regin was an excellent smith whose skill exceeded most dwarves. They all lived together in a home by a river. Otr loved to fish in that river wearing his favored form.

One day, Odin, Loki, and Honir (see Entry for the Vanir) were walking along the river, and spied Otr eating a salmon on the banks, half asleep. They admired his pelt, so Loki took a rock, killed the otter, and skinned him. Later, they stopped for the night at Hreidmarís home and proudly displayed the pelt.

Hreidmar and his two remaining sons assaulted the three Aesir instantly, taking the gods by surprise. They bound the Aesir and told them to truth about Otr, then Hreidmar demanded enough gold to cover the pelt as compensation; threatening to slay all three if they did not comply. In all likelihood, the gods were probably playing along by this point, feeling guilty about slaying his son. No matter how strong Hreidmar and his sons might have been, no matter how off guard the Aesir were, Hreidmar could not have slain them unless they wanted him to.

Loki was sent out to collect the ransom, after being informed about a hoard of treasure kept by a dwarf named Andvari at a nearby waterfall. Learning that the dwarf was also a shapeshifter and favored the form of a pike, Loki visited the goddess of sea disasters, Ran, and borrowed a net that could snare anything in the water unerringly. Using this, Loki easily caught Andvari and forced the dwarf to hand over all his treasure. Andvari did so, but tried to hide a single ring; Loki caught him and took especial joy in claiming that ring. Andvari placed a curse on it, but Loki ignored him.

At first, Loki thought he would have more than enough to pay the ransom, but Hreidmar used a little magic to make the pelt stretch out until the entire hoard was required to cover it, including the ring. The gods were allowed to go free, and Hreidmar was reasonably pleased with his treasure hoard.

Regin soon left the family home, and Fafnir murdered Hreidmar for the hoard. Fafnir quickly became obsessed with it. He started to wear the form of a dragon all the time, protecting his hoard day and night. He apparently devoured several adventurers, enough to gain a reputation for being unbeatable.

Fafnirís brother also coveted the dwarfís treasure. He had claimed the post of royal smith for Hjalprek, king of Denmark. Hjalprek made Regin the foster father of a child named Sigurd. Sigurd grew to be a fine warrior under Reginís care, and Regin was able to convince Sigurd soon after coming of age to slay Fafnir.

Sigurd agreed, after hearing tales of Fafnirís hoard and the fame that he would achieve after slaying the shapeshifter. Hjalprek gave Sigurd a horse descended from Sleipnir, and Regin reforged Gram, the sword of Sigurdís father that was shattered in his final battle.

Thus equipped, the two rode out to slay Fafnir. Regin advised Sigurd to dig a trench along the path that Fafnir used to reach the river from his lair. Sigurd did this, and waited for Fafnir to walk over it, then stabbed the wyrm in the heart. Leaping from the trench before it filled with Fafnirís blood and avoid the worst of the dragonís death throes, Sigurd spoke with Fafnir. The two traded taunts before Fafnir died, and the wyrm expressed happiness that the treasure hoard would be Sigurdís death.

In Valkyrie Profile, Fafnir was a dragon who lived in Muspellheim and guarded the Accursed Flame Gem. Aside from the choice of residence, this is relatively accurate. Fafnir is occasionally referred to as being a dragon, instead of a shapeshifter, by sources that ignore that his father and brothers were human. Fafnir also jealously guarded his hoard, which contained two powerful artifacts; Andvariís cursed ring and the Helm of Terror. The Accused Flame Gem was probably just a permutation of Andvariís Ring (However, see Nibelungen Ring below).

Artifacts and Magic

Dainslef: The Dainslef, often spelled Dainsleif, was a sword forged by the dwarves. It is comparable to the Tyrfing (See Arngrim above) in power, but its curse is much less severe. Unlike Tyrfing, which will eventually take its wielderís life, will draw blood every time it is unsheathed, and will be the cause of three atrocities, Dainsleif only requires its user to draw blood every time it is unsheathed, and guarantees victory in battle every time. However, this can be quite a curse in and of itself. The sword can cleave through armor with ease, making it possible to fell numerous enemies in a single battle.

The blade was used by a king caught in an endless battle on the isle of Haey. This monarch, Lord Hogni, had left his kingdom to attend a meeting of kings. After he left, Hogniís trusted friend, Hedin, sacked his holdings and escaped with his daughter, to whom he was already betrothed. Hogni returned home, and gave chase to Hedin.

Hogni chased Hedin to the Orkney Islands, when Hild, Hogniís own daughter, approached him and made overtures for a peaceful settlement in Hedinís name. The king refused, and trapped Hedin on the Isle of Haey. Hedin himself came to the field and offered Hogni a mountain of gold for recompense, but the king refused this as well, and drew Dainslef.

A terrible battle commenced, in which every last man was slaughtered. As night fell, the kingís daughter emerged and tended to every man, refusing to let more die for her than absolutely necessary. Miraculously, every soldier was restored to health, and the war began anew. The next night, she emerged and healed them all again, setting a cycle that will continue until Ragnarok. It was not until years later that Hogni learned the truth. Hedin had fallen under the spell of a dark spirit, and went mad with envy and lust for power. Hild had managed to break the spiritís hold over him, but the king had refused to listen to her before. However, the battle could not end, for Dainslef had been drawn and victory must be won.

Levatine: In Valkyrie Profile, the Levatine is a sword swallowed by Bloodbane. It is quite powerful, and was able to counteract the power of Lokiís Dragon Orb.

I believe it is based off the sword Laevateinn, sometimes spelled Lavaten, from the Ballad of Svipdag. It is a weapon kept in Muspellheim, in a chest with nine locks and watched over by Sinmora, the wife of Surt. Loki, using the runes at the gates of Niflheim forged the weapon. It is the only blade that can slay Vidofnir, the rooster that perches at the top of Yggdrasil. It may also be the very sword that Surt will use at Ragnarok, which will spread its flames to the corners of the universe and consume all.

Gungnir: Gungnir is the spear of Odin. It was enchanted to never miss its mark, no matter how far away that target may be. The sons of Dvalin, two dwarven brothers whom Loki also contracted to make a golden wig for Thorís wife, forged the spear (See Loki).

Brisingal: Brisingal is the name Valkyrie Profile gives to the Brisingamen, Freyaís treasured necklace. Its jewels were cut and set by four dwarves called the Brisings, and is the most beautiful piece of jewelry in existence. When Freya first beheld it, she desired it more than anything else in the world. She tried to buy it, but the Brisings claimed that they had more than enough silver and gold. Finally, after much pleading on Freyaís part, they decided on a price; Freya had to sleep with each of them.

She balked at first, but the dwarves refused any other offer. Soon, her desire for the Brisingamen overrode her disgust, and she agreed to the price. She slept with each dwarf, and got the Brisingamen in return.

Loki soon caught word of this, and informed Odin. Odin was disgusted, and ordered Loki to steal the necklace. The trickster did so, breaking into Freyaís hall that night. When Freya awoke and found the gem missing, she went straight to Odin, and found Brisingamen glittering in his palm. He told Freya that he was very displeased with her actions, and threatened to keep the necklace unless she did him a favor. Odin requested that she lessen the love between two kings. She did this, and war came to Midgard for the first time, as did the Valkyries. From that war came the first Einherjar.

The game claims that the Brisingal was a cursed jewel that brought misfortune upon the wearer, until Freya supplemented its negative energy with her own. The description matches that of the Ring of Andvari (See Nibelungen Ring below). It would take the power of a deity to shatter the curse of that ring.

Nibelungen Ring: The Nibelungen Ring came from the operas of Richard Wagner. These operas were based on the German version of the Saga of the Volsungs; focusing on Siegfried, the German name for Sigurd. The Nibelungen Ring is Wagnerís version of the Ring of Andvari.

Andvariís ring was a beautiful little ring that happened to be, like most dwarven artifacts, cursed. It would bring tragedy to whoever wore it, or to those who possessed it too long. Andvari, the original owner, lost all his treasure at the hands of Loki. Loki went mad with jealously and caused his own downfall. Hreidmar received it next and died at the hands of Fafnir. Fafnir claimed it, and was killed by Sigurd. Sigurd kept it until he gave it Brynhild; he was later betrayed and killed by his best friend. Brynhild lost the man she loved, betrayed him, and committed suicide. Sigurdís wife Gudrun received it next. She lost her entire family to Attila the Hun, and betrayed him. Later, she lost her daughter to a foreign king, and her two of her sons slew their brother.

The Nibelungen Ring added to the cycle of tragedy by promising control of the universe to anyone who could completely renounce love of all forms. If I recall correctly, I think Odin claims the ring at the end of Wagnerís operas. Presumably, he undoes the curse on it.

Ironically, in Valkyrie Profile Odin gives the ring to the woman most likely to unlock its powers! This may explain how Lenneth is able to undo Ragnarok in the course of events that lead to the A Ending. Perhaps her utter devotion to duty and denial of emotion in the beginning allows Lenneth to draw upon the ringís power later, after she receives a form able to handle more power.

Gram: Gram was the sword of Sigurd and his father Sigmund. It seems that Odin crafted it, as the origins of the massive two-handed blade are not known. During a wedding feast at the Hall of Volsung, Sigmundís father, Odin thrust Gram into a tree growing the middle of the Hall. He then proclaimed anyone who could draw it would never wield a finer blade in their lives.

Sigmund was the only one able to claim Gram. The King who had just married Volsung's daughter became intensely jealous. After Sigmund refused to sell the weapon, the king invited Volsung's entire family to a feast, then killed Volsung and left his children to die in the wild. Only Sigmund survived, due to the aid of his sister. He lived in the wild for years before he was able to murder the King and reclaim Gram. He then returned home to claim his throne, and won a number of wars before the Vikings invaded his kingdom.

Among the Vikings was a warrior missing an eye and carrying a spear. When Sigmund attacked him, the man parried and the sword was snapped in half. Sigmund died seconds later. It is believed that the man was none other than Odin.

Sigmundís pregnant wife claimed both halves of the sword and fled to the realm of King Hjalprek. There, she gave birth to Sigurd, who was given to Regin the smith to care for. When Sigurd came of age, Regin reforged Gram. Sigurd tested it by slashing it against an anvil, breaking it. Regin reforged it again, and Sigurd shattered it again. The third time, Gram cleaved through the anvil and Sigurd proclaimed the weapon acceptable.

Valkyrie Profile describes Gram as being cursed, but this is not true. The tragedies that befell the wielders of the blade came from the Ring of Andvari (See Nibelungen Ring). There was no curse on Gram, which leads me to believe that Odin made it, not the dwarves.

Runes: The runes were symbols that held magical power. Odin learned them when he hung himself from the boughs of Yggdrasil. He gave them to humanity in the form of writing, but those who were born with the gift could learn to unlock their hidden meaning. There are eighteen runes in all:

According to Mystina, Lezard inscribed the fourth and fourteen runes on the lower reaches of his tower, as well as a non-existent twenty-second. If he intended to shift his tower outside of Midgard, Knowledge and Freedom runes would most likely be involved.

Conclusion

I hope that you found this little mythology guide to be useful, or at least a decent read. If there is anything more that you could possibly want to know, or if I neglected to mention something, please contact me at uncleprvy@hotmail.com.

Sources:

Byock, Jesse L. The Saga of the Volsungs. Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1990.

Coolidge, Olivia E. Legends of the Norse. Houghton, 1951.

Cotterell, Arthur. Norse Mythology. Singapore, Lorenz Books, 2000.

Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Norse Myths. New York, Pantheon Books, 1980.

Magnusson, Magnus. Viking; Hammer of the North. New York, Galahad Books, 1980.

Munch, Peter Andreas. Norse Mythology. New York, Ams Press, 1970.

Roberts, Morgan J. Norse Gods and Legends. New York, Metrobooks, 1995.

Sugiyanto Yusup. Valkyrie Profile FAQ Ver.1.9. 26, Nov 2000. http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/file/valkyrie_profile_c.txt

Titchenwell, Elisa-Brita. The Masks of Odin. Pasadena, Theosophical University Press, 1998.