RIDE OF THE VALKYRIE
No, that isn’t orthodontic treatment…
One of The Northman’s most striking fantastical elements is a Valkyrie on a flying horse. The Vikings believed that these female figures guided the souls of the dead to the afterlife. As Eggers explains, he and his designers took a fairly liberal approach when looking at the available references.
“The images that Viking historians think are Valkyries tend to be fairly tame – a woman on a horse with a spear or two. Maybe there’s a helmet, but often they just seem to be wearing some kind of loose garment. But there is, in some of the later poetry, talk of swan garments, and in some of the legendary sagas – like the Völsunga saga – Valkyries in armour.
“We decided we need to show that she’s a warrior, so we wanted to put her in armour, and it’s the most technologically advanced version of what they had. So she’s wearing chainmail, but it’s way finer than anything that’s been discovered from the Viking Age. And then she has a cloak with swan feathers.”
They also gave her a rather mysterious body modification… “They’ve found Viking skeletons that have horizontal grooves in their teeth, and no one really knows what it’s about,” Eggers says. “Could it have been a marking of a slave? Maybe. Unlikely. Could it just be something that people thought was cool? Was it like a pirate’s earring – you get it for going on so many raids? But it was a unique thing. There’s some Youtube comments [about the trailer] that have wondered why the Valkyrie has braces though, so maybe we didn’t totally succeed!”