Bungie is a company that has never been shy about taking references from Mythological and Legendary sources and putting them in various aspects of their games. The Master Chief sported Mjolnir armor, named after the hammer of Thor. The A.I/ characters of Bungie’s Marathon share names with Arthurian and Charlemagne legends.
In Destiny alone, the references abound with Osiris and his Trials taking influence from Egypt, and the Vex with names such as Harpies and Minotaurs borrowing from the Greek. Even the Grimoire references and parallels Hindu tales. However, with Rise of Iron just around the corner, we figured it was about time we looked into the Norse Mythological references in Destiny to see how Bungie weaves it into the core of the game – and trust us, there’s a lot of it.
The Ghosts, Guardians, Valkyries and Einherjahr
Many players will have at least some idea of what the Valkyries of Norse Mythology are, but for clarity, Valkyries are the chosen handmaidens of Odin and the “Choosers of the Slain.” What exactly does that mean, you might wonder? It means that the Valkyries are responsible for picking fallen warriors from the battlefield and carrying their spirits to Valhalla in order to continue fighting, preparing for Ragnarok, the final battle of Norse mythology.
Those warriors are known as the Einherjahr, who continually battle each other and are resurrected each day as training for Ragnarok. For some people this might start to sound familiar. Do you remember the opening scene in Destiny? We’re suddenly resurrected by our Ghost and thrust into battle, only to later find out that we’re a Guardian, eternal warriors fighting again and again in humanity’s last stand, our own apocalyptic Ragnarok, the end of the world. In this case, it’s easy to see that we have become the Einherjahr, eternally resurrected warriors, and the Ghosts are our Valkyries, the ones who revive us and who then convey us to the Tower (hold onto that, it’ll be important later).
The fit is definitely there; as we said, the Einherjahr fight each other as training, but can never die, and continue on at Valhalla to feast and drink together. Think of our own Crucible, created by Lord Shaxx and others in order to prepare Guardians for combat, but the stakes mean very little in our competitions, as we can simply be revived with impunity. On top of this, we’re the force that is sent out to fight on the Tower’s behalf when unrest appears, much as the Einherjahr are. At this point, the evidence is pretty clear. It isn’t the first time Bungie has dug deep for Norse mythology as an inspiration, so it’s no short leap to assume that the link here is intentional by Bungie.