Nearby is Valhalla, vast and gold-bright. And every day, Odin chooses slain men to join him. They arm themselves and fight in the courtyard. They kill one another; but every night they rise again, and ride back to the hall, and feast. The roof is made out of shields. The rafters are spears. Coats of mail litter the benches. A wolf stands at the Western door and an eagle hovers above it. It has five hundred and forty doors, and when Ragnarok comes, eight hundred warriors will march out of each door, shoulder to shoulder.
Lagertha was a Viking shieldmaiden and ruler from what is now Norway, and the onetime wife of the famous Viking Ragnar Lothbrok. Lagertha’s career as a warrior began when Frø, king of Sweden, invaded Norway and killed the Norwegian king Siward. Frø put the women of the dead king’s family into a brothel for public humiliation. Hearing of this, Ragnar Lodbrok came with an army to avenge his grandfather Siward. Many of the women Frø had ordered abused dressed themselves in men’s clothing and fought on Ragnar’s side. Chief among them, and key to Ragnar’s victory, was Lagertha. Impressed with her courage, Ragnar courted her from afar. Lagertha feigned interest and Ragnar arrived to seek her hand, bidding his companions wait in the Gaular valley. He was set upon by a bear and a great hound which Lagertha had guarding her home, but killed the bear with his spear and choked the hound to death. Thus he won the hand of Lagertha in marriage. According to Saxo, Ragnar had a son with her, Fridleif, as well as two daughters, whose names are not recorded.