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						148                            The Valkyries in the Heroic Literature
Irpa in the battle of Hjörungavágr.60 Lathgertha's country was Gauladal in the
region of Trondheim - a region where the original Þorgerðr must have had
adherents. If so, then there are still more reasons to think of Lathgertha as a
valkyrie. At the end she shows still more independence of spirit: she governs her
country all by herself without a husband at her side!
Neither the Ragnars saga nor Saxo (of course not!) call Ragnarr/Regnerus an
Óðinn-adherent, but Ragnar's last wife Áslaug/Kráka utters her firm conviction
in the Krákumál, that there will lie a glorious future ahead for her husband in
Valhöll. Therefore he was probably originally an Óðinn devotee, and as such he
could put forward a claim to have a valkyrie!
10. Hjördís (Vólsunga Saga, FAN I, pp. 135-40). Although there are no super-
natural traits found in her, there are some reasons to include her in our survey.
Hjördís ("Sword goddess") is Sigmundr's last wife and the mother of his post-
humous son Sigurðr. Her husband is a typical Öðinn hero and we will find her
on the battlefield. During Sigmundr's fight with his rival, the sea-king Lyngvi,
she watches unobserved for the outcome of the battle in a nearby thicket. Surely
she is also aware of the arrival of Óðinn, when he arrives to break Sigmundr's
sword with his spear. Later on she goes to her dying husband, who prophesies to
her that the son she is carrying in her womb will be the greatest hero of all. After
his death a new warrior arrives on the scene, the young Viking-king Alfr, who
takes her away on his ship and marries her after she has given birth to her son
Sigurðr.
Some features in this story are due to the coming motherhood of Hjördís and
to the link between Sigurðr and Sigmundr. However, here we meet again with a
pattern that has by now become familiar, in which one lover, aided by the woman's
family, opposes his rival. The difference with the other stories is, of course, that
she prefers her aged husband, who is also favoured by her father. Or so the saga
has it.
The outcome of the battle is that the woman's father is killed on the battlefield,
and her husband is killed by Óðinn himself. The last might be a very special way
of honouring the Óðinn hero Sigmundr. Apart from that here we find the same
situation as in the case of the Helgi Lays with only this difference, that the
favoured man is slain at the side of the woman's family. The unwanted suitor is
not much better off. He looks for her in her father's house and cannot find her.
And then the new hero arrives on the scene, the one who is going to marry
Hjördís.
Without the link with the next generation (Sigurðr), the story might have been
more simple. Its theme might have been the choice between the old and the young
hero, between Sigmundr and Alfr. It is even possible that Hjördís chose the young
60 N.K. Chadwick(1950).
					
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