|Sigurd sees Brynhild from afar by H. J. Ford / Lancelot Speed (1890)|
|Brynhild by Arthur Rackham (1911)|
|Brynhild & Sigurd by Willy Pogany (1920)|
|Odin and Brynhild by Konrad Dielitz (1892)|
If Brynhild is a valkyrie, her involvement with Sigurd continues the line of couplings between valkyries and heroes of the Volsung clan. They are preceded by Hljód and Volsung, Sigrún and Helgi, Hjördís and Sigmund. This leads to the question: Were Odin’s virgin priestesses married to important leaders when they left godly service? Sigurd obviously values the knowledge Brynhild has learned, possibly in service to the wisdom-seeking god – either as priestess or warrior goddess. His response to her tale is, “Teach me the ways of mighty things.”
|Sigurd & Brynhild by Harry G. Theaker (1916)|
The mythic image of the mystic valkyrie that derived from the actual of the "chooser of the slain" in ancient Germanic societies was, by the time of the sagas, well-established. These warrior-goddesses flew through the skies and over the seas on their magic horses, collecting fallen heroes and bringing them to Valhalla ("hall of the slain"). Once in the hall, the valkyries shed their armor and brought horns of ale to the einherjar ("lone fighters"), the chosen slain who feasted and battled in Asgard throughout the ages, waiting and preparing for the final battle at Ragnarök.
|The Wild Hunt by Emil Doepler (1905)|