Teaching Students About Valkyries

Valkyries are mythological figures found in Norse mythology. They were female warriors who were in charge of selecting which warriors would die in battle and which ones would live. They then took the souls of the brave soldiers who died in battle to Valhalla, the hall of the slain. Teaching students about Valkyries can be a fun way to introduce them to the world of Norse mythology and the cultural beliefs of the Vikings.

Norse Mythology is Rich in Legends about Valkyries

Norse mythology is full of accounts of Valkyries, and these accounts are a great way to teach students about the Viking belief system and customs. Try to focus on tales where Valkyries appear to be incredibly powerful, skilled, and wise battle maidens. Discuss their role as warriors, death goddesses, and female agents of fate. Pay attention to the different aspects of the myths, such as the things warriors need to do to be recognized by the Valkyries and be deemed worthy of entry into Valhalla.

Here are a few examples of popular Valkyrie tales that can be used to teach students about Norse mythology:

1. The Valkyrie who fell in love with a human. A human hero named Helgi fought a group of Jötunn (giants) and was rescued by the Valkyrie Sigrún, who fell in love with him. The two had many adventures together, fighting for king and country, and ultimately, after Helgi died, Sigrún carried him to Valhalla.

2. The Valkyrie who refused to do her job. A brave king who had only daughters was determined to have a son. One day, a Valkyrie asked him to let her look after the boy, promising that he would become the most powerful warrior ever born. The king agreed, but the boy grew up to be a peace-loving Buddhist. The Valkyrie refused to take the boy because he had never fought in battle.

3. The Valkyrie who falls from the sky. According to Norse mythology, the skies above the frozen world of Niflheim were home to the Valkyries. One day, a Valkyrie named Hilde fell from the sky and landed on earth. She was found by a dragon that had once served one of the king’s ancestors and the dragon recognized her as a Valkyrie. The dragon taught Hilde the ways of survival and how to kill her enemies.

Teaching about Valkyries as a way of learning about Norse mythology can open up students’ imaginations and creativity, encouraging them to explore their own conceptual possibilities. References to Valkyries abound in literature and pop culture, so teaching about them will allow students to connect with popular novels and movies more easily.

Whether you want to include Norse mythology as a stand-alone unit or incorporate it into your broader Social Studies curriculum, teaching your students about Valkyries is a sure way to make the subject matter more fun and engaging.

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