Thor Ragnarok: Who Is Valkyrie?

Her history is convoluted, but we slimmed it down.

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The final Marvel movie of the year, Thor: Ragnarok, comes to a theater near you within a matter of days. The latest installment in the Thor franchise features numerous other heroes from the Marvel Comics including newcomer Valkyrie. Who is this character and where did she come from? We're taking a look at this character's origins and summing up everything you need to know.

While the character is loosely based on Norse mythology, she made her first appearance in Defenders #4 back in 1973. The Marvel incarnation of the character was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. In that issue, a young woman named Barbara Norriss is rescued by Hulk, Namor, and Doctor Strange--The Defenders--and Enchantress shows up and uses her powers to turn Barbara into Valkyrie, in order to gain a tactical advantage on the evil Executioner. Soon after, Valkyrie joins the Defenders full time.

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Norriss' body wasn't the only host of Valkyrie. There was also Sian Brown and Samantha Parrington. Without getting too far into that because it's incredibly convoluted and crazy, the Asgardian warrior's true name is Brunnhilde, as Valkyrie is the title she holds as a warrior. When she was young, she and Sif were the two female Asgardians who began training to become warriors. She eventually ascended to the title of Valkyrie, excelling at combat, and has held the title since then.

Primarily, Valkyrie has been a member of the Defenders both in life and in death. Yes, she's died on more than one occasion. The first time came when she and a few other Defenders joined forces to defeat the Dragon of the Moon. She sacrificed her life to save the world. Later, she was resurrected by the Vishanti after helping Doctor Strange.

She also met her demise during the Avengers Disassembled story "Ragnarok," taking place in the pages of Thor. Valkyrie was killed by Durok the Demolisher in an epic battle featuring all the Asgardian characters. She was once again resurrected, this time by Thor, but that wasn't revealed until much later. When she came back for a second time, she was working at a hotel in New York City with no clue of who she actually was. A patron of the hotel had her come to his room, and he attempted to assault her, which resulted in her getting thrown out of a balcony and dying. However, she awoke perfectly fine with sword in hand. Her memories slowly started returning afterwards.

Much like other Asgardians, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie has enhanced strength, reflexes, injury resistance, and longevity. What sets her apart from the rest of the Asgardians is her deathglow sense. With this power, she can sense when people nearby are close to death. In addition, at times, she's been able to sense danger, particularly of the magical variety.

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Looking for some reading material involving Valkyrie? Check out these storylines.

  • Death of Valkyrie: In order to defeat the Dragon of the Moon, Valkyrie must sacrifice herself. Takes place in Defenders #151-152.
  • Rebirth: Valkyrie is reborn after her body is killed in Midgard. Takes place in the Valkyrie one-shot.
  • Secret Avengers: Valkyrie chooses to lead the US Army into battle during the storyline Fear Itself. Takes place in Secret Avengers #12.1-15.
  • Fearless Defenders: Valkyrie is tasked with reforming the Valkyrior, but her failure to do so leads to the rise of the Doom Maidens. Takes place in Fearless Defenders #1-12.

If you want to know more about the upcoming film, check out our Thor: Ragnarok review. In it, GameSpot's Mike Rougeau said, "Thor: Ragnarok shines when it's allowed to stray from the formula set by a decade of predecessors in the MCU, and it seems Waititi is to thank for most of what feels fresh and new here. By the movie's end, Thor and co. have left much of their past behind, ensuring the future is exciting in its potential, especially as we approach the Infinity War storyline."

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