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A shieldmaiden is a female warrior from Norse mythology. For instance, the Valkyries were shieldmaidens that brought the souls of dead Viking warriors to the afterlife known as Valhalla.

During the Viking expansion, a number of shieldmaidens fought within the Great Heathen Army, such as Eivor Varinsdottir, Soma, Valdis, and Halfdan Ragnarsson's mother Lagertha.[1]

In the 10th century, Thyra Haraldsdottir, the daughter of King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark and Norway - and wife of Styrbjörn the Strong - was also a shieldmaiden.[2]

Behind the scenes

From a historical standpoint, many scholars are split on the concept of shieldmaidens. Some believe they only existed in story, while others believe there is a historical basis for the idea.