"No blaze can you light, burning in darkness, that your funeral fires should with fear daunt me; unmoved shall remain the maiden's spirit, though she gaze on a ghost in the grave-door standing."
— Hervor, The Waking of Angantýr

Hervor is a female human viking who once possessed the cursed sword Tyrfing. She is great great great granddaughter of Odin.

History[edit | edit source]

Hervor was born to Svava, wife of Angantyr son of Arngrim, shortly after his death in a duel with Hjalmar the Fearless. Angantyr's sword Tyrfing was buried with him.[1]

Abandoning the traditional roles for women in her society, Hervor became a viking and took the male alias Hervard. On one viking raid she happened upon the burial mound of her father and his eleven brothers, surrounded by flames.

Hervor fearlessly entered the burial mound, and raised her father and uncles with magic, demanding the sword Tyrfing, saying "I would rather possess Tyrfing than hold say over all Norway."

Hervor married Hofund, king of Glaesisvoll, and had two sons, Angantyr and Heidrek. She gave the sword Tyrfing to her favorite son Heidrek.

Creative origins[edit | edit source]

The story of Hervor is told the 13th century Icelandic saga Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks (The Saga of Hervör and Heidrek), translated into English in 1960 by Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R Tolkien.[2]

In this saga, Hervor is raised as the foster-daughter of a noble jarl, who forbids his servants from telling her the identity of her father. Discovering that she is descended from a berserker, Hervor takes on the male name Hervard and runs away to become a viking. She sets out to find her father's burial mound, and recovers the sword Tyrfing, though the ghost of her father warns it will be the doom of her and her family. She eventually settles down to marry Hofund, son of King Gudmund.[3]

The male name Hervor takes, Hervard, is the name of one of her father Anganytr's eleven brothers.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Giants in the Earth, Dragon #42 (Oct 1980), p.35.
  2. The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise (1960), Christopher Tolkien.
  3. The Shieldmaiden Hervor (2017). Jackson Crawford, Youtube.
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