What is the Meaning of Flight of Valkyries?(Norse Mythology)

Flight of Valkyries in Norse Mythology has many popular meanings and if you are looking for them then you are the right page.

The theme of Flight of Valkyries is also popular in the the popular Opera of Richard Wagner as Ride of Valkyries.

But this definitely has some background theme that finds its way back to old Norse religion of Vikings and has significant importance in the Norse Mythology.

According to Norse Mythology, those men who were slaughtered in the battlefield went to two different places after their death. Some of them go to “Folkvangr”. Folkvangr is the heavenly realm of Goddess Freyja.

While the others go to ‘Valhalla’, to join Odin. Here comes the Valkyries. Valkyries choose whom they will carry to Valhalla.

The important point to note here is, that all the Valkyries are females. There are no accounts of any male Valkyrie. The leader of all the Valkyries is Brynhildr.

flight of valkyries

The word Valkyrie is derived from old Nordic language word ‘valkyrja’. Valkyrja is a combination of two words; “valr” which means ‘the slain on the battlefield’ and the verb “kjosa” which means to choose’.

In this way the combined word Valkyrie literally means “chooser of the slain”.

It is still unknown that how Valkyries originated. Historian are unclear about the point of their origin that either the Valkyries are the part of original Norseman mythology or are a later addition.

What Does Flight of Valkyries Means?

Valkyries have many powers, including, they can sense when a soldier is going to die. Some Valkyries are also shape shifters which means they have the ability to change into other forms.

In some myths, they have the power to cause the death of those warriors to whom they don’t favor. But their most important power is the ability to fly through sea and air.

During the Flight of Valkyries, they carry the dead warriors with them and take them to the Valhalla.

In Norse Mythology and also in modern times the flight of Valkyries is depicted in two ways.

  1. With the help of their own Wings
  2. On winged Horses (Aragorn)

Flight of Valkyries with their own wings:

Flight of Valkyries with wings

In original myths, the Valkyries themselves have wings. These wings are attached to their arms. In this way, they become very related to birds. That’s why the black ravens are often associated with Valkyries.

According to the Legends, these black ravens fly with Valkyries after the battle ends. Here, Valkyries carry the dead warriors to Odin with the help of these winged arms.

These warriors then join the army of Odin for the final apocalyptic war also known as Ragnarok.

The remaining dead bodies of those warriors who are not chosen by the Valkyries are then eaten by those black ravens after the flight of Valkyries.

Flight of Valkyries on Winged horses:

Flight of Valkyries on Aragorn

In modern depictions, the Valkyries ride on winged horses called Aragorn. These winged horses are not the part of original mythology but are later on added by Wagner in his opera composed in 1851.

This is shown many times in cinema. For example, in the Movie Thor Ragnarök released in 2017, the Valkyries are shown riding the winged horses Aragorn. In the flight of Valkyries on winged horses they carry an enchanted weapon called Dragonfang.

Tattoos of Valkyrie Wings (Flight of Valkyries as a symbol):

flight of valkyries tattoo meaning

Although Norse Mythology is not as popular as Greek Mythology, but due to modern cinema like MCU, mainstream media, and social media, it is getting the appreciation it deserved.

The Valkyrie wings symbol is now one of the most famous symbols in modern times. People from all over the world who are interested in Norse Mythology are getting this symbol on their T-shirts and as tattoos on their body parts.

This Valkyrie wings symbol which depicts the flight of Valkyries in action, symbolizes many core virtues and values that are aspired by the Vikings. These core values include;

  • Honour
  • Destiny
  • Courage
  • Physical Power
  • Feminism
  • Free-spiritedness

The origins of these Valkyrie symbols showing the flight of Valkyries are unknown. But it is assumed that these wings primarily represent the speed with the Valkyries fly on the sea and through the air.

 Depiction of Flight of Valkyries in Opera:

Opera ride of valkyries

The Ride of the Valkyries also known as the flight of Valkyries is the prelude to Act 3 of an opera. This opera is the second part of a cycle of four operas known as Ring of the Nibelungs.

These operas were composed by famous German Romantic musician Richard Wagner in 1850s and were performed in 1876.

These operas that act as plays are loosely based on Norse Mythology. It was the first time when instead of their winged arms the Valkyries were shown riding the winged horses or Aragorn during their flight.  

Brief Overview of Flight of Valkyries (Opera):

Ride of Valkyries Opera meaning

The story of the Ride of the Valkyries or flight of Valkyries is about two siblings which are also twins; Siegmund and Sieglind. These twins were separated at their birth and when they met they fell in love with each other.

The gods decided that the brother Siegmund has to die for his shameful act. But a Valkyrie named Brunnhilde tries to save them. She carries the pregnant Sieglinde instead of a warrior on her flying horse.

As a punishment of this act, she was casted out from his community by his father Wotan. The other Valkyries put her into a magical sleep and took her on a mountain surrounded by fire with the permission that she will be available to the first brave man who finds her.

The Flight of Valkyries ends, as the father Wotan kisses his daughter’s eyes and then ordered the fire god Loge to fire around the mountain where his daughter lies.

Musical Use of the Opera Flight of Valkyries:

Musical use of flight of valkyries

This opera the flight of Valkyries is used many times in screen music. Birth of a Nation 1915 is the first example of it. These were the starting days of silent cinema but the flight of Valkyries did its job well.

But the best use of this opera as music was done by sound editor Walter Murch and director Coppola in their classic movie Apocalypse Now which was released in 1978. This movie again gave the life to epic flight of Valkyries.


Valkyries are not just the servants of the supreme god Odin, but are more than that.

The flight of Valkyries is not only a symbol of speed and fate, but also symbolize courage, bravery, free spirit, honour and specially feminism. That’s why people feel deep attraction towards it. 

The warriors had great affection with these Valkyries and their utmost desire was to be carried by the Flight of Valkyries to the great hall of Odin.

This gave them the courage and bravery for their fights and this was also the reason why they were one of the greatest soldiers history has ever witnessed.

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