In Norse* mythology, Valhalla—which means hall of the dead—was the great hall of the god Odin*. It was located in Asgard, the home of the gods of war and the sky. According to legend, the heroic warriors slain in battle gathered in Valhalla. There they enjoyed a glorious afterlife and awaited Ragnarok, a time of great destruction when they would join the gods to wage a final battle against the forces of evil. Valhalla had more than 640 doors, each wide enough to allow hundreds of warriors to leave at the first sign of threat. Filled with shields and armor, the enormous hall was also the haunt of wolves, ravens, a boar that could be eaten and brought back to life, and a goat that provided an unlimited supply of an alcoholic drink called mead.

The Valkyries, the battle maidens of Odin, selected the warriors worthy enough to live in Valhalla. When these warriors died, they entered the palace and their wounds were healed miraculously. They spent their days feasting and improving their battle skills in preparation for Ragnarok. Those warriors who were killed during practice each day were brought back to life and healed each evening.

See also Heroes ; Norse Mythology ; Odin ; Ragnarok ; Valkyries .

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