Valfǫðr, vǫlur, and valkyrjur: Óðinn as a queer deity mediating the warrior halls of Viking Age Scandinavia

  • Amy Jefford Franks MA degree/University of Winchester

Abstract

Óðinn has long been a highly-debated figure in regard to his gender and sexuality. While some have interpreted him as a strictly masculine being, others have argued him to be queer, with caveats surrounding how this affected his role as a deity. I use a queer theoretical framework to firstly streamline my interpretation of Óðinn’s gender, and set this within both a cultural context and a queer context. I then turn my attention to the context of the warrior hall. I demonstrate that the interpretation that this was a strictly masculine space is based in scholarly bias, primarily argued by Otto Höfler as part of his work for the Nazi Party, and has not since been sufficiently critically challenged. After reassessing the primary material to demonstrate the gender dynamics of the warrior hall, I then demonstrate that, by blurring boundaries and queering his gender, Óðinn acts in a way that mediates between the roles of men and women within the culture of the hall

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Published
2019-09-21
Section
Articles