In Norse mythology, a valkyrie (from Old Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja's afterlife field Fólkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar (Old Norse "single (or once) fighters"). When the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear them mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens and sometimes connected to swans or horses.
Valkyries are attested in the 13th-century Eddas, and several other works of the same century, based on earlier oral sources.
The most prominent valkyrie in literature is Brunhild.
Valkyrie in "The Catcher in the Rhine"
Brunhild the valkyrie was cursed to slumber in a castle surrounded by flame until some brave soul entered the castle and awoke her with a kiss. The man who came to do this turned out to be less than ideal.
Valkyrie in "The Old Grind"
The valkyries descended onto the field of the Siege of Chartres, to gather the souls of dead vikings to bring home to Valhalla. Their father King Odin accompanied them on this mission. Due to his bad eyesight, the king gathered a living giantess, Fenia of Orkney, mistaking her for another valkyrie.