What is Valhalla? Valhalla explained
Credit: Jasin Boland
*This article contains spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder*
After landing on Midgard in 2011, Thor looked like an unlikely candidate to set an MCU record for solo films. Jump forward 11 years, and Thor: Love and Thunder is the fourth outing from the God of Thunder, not to mention his vengeful antics. While his mighty castmates had navigated between genres in their big-screen solo outings, Thor’s MCU journey was determined to bend genres on a cosmic level.
Captain America had the political thriller of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Tony Stark Had 80s Style Friends Movie Iron Man 3. So far, Thor has jumped between mythological monster movie, fantasy, comedic space opera, and romantic comedy.
In the Marvel Universe, we know the idea that gods are not superior beings in the traditional sense, but inhabitants of other worlds, planes, and dimensions. Thor’s MCU journey has embraced the cosmic and mythological aspects of Odinson’s story. As he flourished with his third film Thor: Ragnarok, it seemed the franchise had reached its mythic climax – the long-predicted downfall of the gods who erased Asgard from the universe. But with Avengers: Endgame, Ragnarok was just the start of a new chapter for the god Tony Stark once called “Point Break”.
Thor: Love and Thunder is less steeped in Norse mythology than his other films. Asgard was rebuilt on Earth as the universe expanded to include different myths and almighty gods. Although it features a Viking longboat propelled along the Rainbow Bridge by two giant goats, the plot centers around the crusade of Gorr the Butcher God, taken from the pages of the Marvel comics.
The philosopher Confucius is credited with the telling phrase: “Seek revenge, and you should dig two graves, one for yourself.” Thor love and thunder is essentially a revenge movie, which means some characters have to deal with the consequences. That said, while it opens with Gorr’s motivation for revenge, it ends with a moment of hope.
Love, thunder and goodbye
The relationship between Jane Foster and Thor is the emotional heart of love and thunder. Her connection to Thor gives Jane a chance to defeat her devastating cancer. Thanks to a request her ex-boyfriend made of her precious hammer, Mjölnir, she was given a mighty second life, but no gods in the movie or a journey into eternity can stop Jane’s fate.
Luckily, Norse mythology has a happy ending built in. As Jane reaches her final destination, it’s time for an unexpected return. Asgardian Heimdall greets her in Valhalla, looking much more relaxed in her afterlife. So what is Valhalla, and are these characters dead?
Valhalla is just one part of the complicated life and death structure of Norse mythology – myths that specifically categorize the dead. Northern mythology assigns the deceased to five realms, including Hel, a familiar underground gray space where most souls go after death, and the realm of Rán, which is the resting place of drowned sailors. Valhalla is the most famous destination. This is the Hall of Slain Warriors – a shield-lined palace amidst a paradise where great warriors known as the Einherjar feast on an endless supply of food and drink when not fighting. . It truly is Viking heaven, and it’s no wonder it’s in many Asgardian dreams.
In the post-credits scene of Thor: Love and Thunder, Heimdall shows Jane the great hall of Valhalla, and we can only imagine the feast taking place inside. It must be party time because there is no sound of fighting outside.
One of the ways the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) version of Valhalla deviates from the mythology is in its purpose. In mythology, the greatest warriors of the North await Ragnarok’s call as they step through the 540 gates of their hall to join Odin’s forces at the fall of the gods. When we finally reach Valhalla in the MCU – having been mentioned in previous films – Odin is gone, Ragnarok is over, and Asgard has fallen.
In Marvel Comics, Valhalla first appeared in the pages of Thor in 1968. The kingdom has been revisited and revised over the decades, especially in the ultimate wonder universe. When Thor died in this continuity, he was forced into several high-risk deals with Hela, the ruler of the kingdom in the mangled mythology. In current Marvel Comics continuity, Valhalla has been moved from a remote region of Asgard to a bubble on the vast icy planes of Niflheim.
The MCU relied on the realm’s role as a hidden paradise dimension, where specially chosen ones will remain for eternity. You can never say never in comics – love and thunderThe amusing tale of the many times Thor lost his brother Loki was proof of that. So there’s still a chance of fallen heroes returning to the MCU, including Natalie Portman’s Jane and Idris Elba’s Heimdall.
Earlier in Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor answered a call from Lady Sif, finding her as the sole survivor after a battle with Gorr. The God of Thunder saves Sif’s life by clarifying Valhalla’s entry requirements – a rare chance for Thor to use his wits rather than his might. As he explains, a warrior must die in battle to enter Valhalla, so Sif wouldn’t qualify if she died alone after the battle.
It sounds like the MCU’s equivalent of Valhalla’s random entry requirements in Norse mythology. Valhalla is not full of all heroes killed in battle. Only half of the dead make it – chosen and led from the battlefield to heaven by valkyries.
love and thunder confirms Valhalla’s existence in the MCU – though that doesn’t entirely dispel the idea that it’s part of the Asgardian mythos or who created it. Odin failed to meet the entry requirements despite his wife’s plea and evaporated in a cloud of gold for Thor: Ragnarok. It’s painfully unclear how Jane qualified for the same reason. Neither was in combat when they died. But since Dr. Foster, not Lady Thor, has arrived in the afterlife, perhaps Loki and Thor’s hope for their father to feast in the Great Hall has also come true.
Even though the MCU’s Valhalla is a bit more wishful thinking than the physical realm, it’s an emotional way to leave us with an undeniable sense of goodness What if…?