More on Max Payne Tattoos

Max Payne Valkyrie wings tattoo

For quite a long time I have been wondering what kind of a book the tattoo artist (Stephen R. Hart) shows to Max (Mark Wahlberg) and Mona (Mila Kunis) in Max Payne movie. Now I have the answer: no such book ever existed. The page to the left is numbered 290, and the page to the right, which has the picture of a winged creature, is numbered 291. The heading to the left reads THE VALKYRIES, and the heading to the right reads THE NORSE GODS AND DEITIES. All this looks quite convincing, but on the page to the left the same text is repeated three times, which, of course, never occurs in real books. They just wanted to make it look like something real, placing a picture to the right and some text to the left. Perhaps, spectators were not supposed to try reading it.
Valkyrie wingsThe text will not be quoted here, since it may be copyright protected. It is not something which went into the public domain long ago, since it refers to a source published in 1964. There are two paragraphs that say general things about valkyries in the Norse mythology. The author gives a rather accurate account of the Viking beliefs related to valkyries. However, the image to the right of the text that features a demonic winged creature with a shield and a sword seems to be far cry from the actual Norse heathen idea of the valkyries. In Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, written in the 13th century, valkyries’ duty “is to serve in Valhalla. They bring drink and see to the table and the ale cups.” As it seems, silver amulets representing women who bear forth drinking horns, are in fact images of valkyries. Such amulets were in use throughout Scandinavia during the Viking Age. In the Eddaic tradition valkyries are helmeted women who fly through the sky (or ride through air and sea) to choose the slain and decide the outcome of battle. Lupino wing tattooThis is their duty assigned to them by Odin. In Helgakviða Hundingsbana I Valkyrie named Sigrún is described as consuming corpses with wolves after battle. Not only wolves, but also ravens are valkyries’ companions: when Odin and his wife Frigg arrived at Baldr’s funeral, they were accompanied by valkyries and Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn. I am aware of only one instance when valkyries are thought of as winged in the Eddas: in Völundarkviða three brothers see three women spinning linen on the shore of the lake Úlfsjár (wolf lake), and “near them were their swan’s garments; they were valkyries.”
In Max Payne valkyrie wings tattoos are an important element of the plot. They are used by people who take the drug invented to improve the morale of the U. S. soldiers. Because of a side effect they have visions of demonic winged creatures, and Norse valkyrie wings tattooed on their hands are intended to protect them. Jack Lupino does not only have wings tattoos on his hands, but also one on his face and a large pair of wings on his back. More on Max Payne movie and Norse Viking mythology in my other article treating Valkyries and Norse myths in Max Payne.

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49 comments… add one
  • carl

    From a person who has actually experienced battle and the demands, not just physical but mental… I just hope that the Valkyries are real, a breath of fresh air for the real soldiers all over the world. I know that it was a hope for me… and maybe those around me that did not come home. May the Valkyries reward them like the mythogy says they did.

    • Viking Rune

      Hello Carl. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Oliver

    Hey, nice drawings! Just wanted to tell you all what I know about the norse Valkyrie wings. That the Vikings took a tattoo of the Valkyrie wings to get protected in battle. And because they would take the warrior from the battlefield into Valhall (I’m Swedish, don’t know what ”valhalla” really is in English!) :S also wondering if I could save some of your pic on my computer for making my own tatt?

    • Viking Rune

      Hi Oliver. You can save the pictures for your own personal use.

  • Chops

    Just wondering are these protection tattoos or just Norse myth?

    • Viking Rune

      Hello Chops. To be sure, it’s a Norse myth. Whether it protects you or not, it’s up to you to decide.

  • David

    Hey, so I was just wondering is that first image straight out of the Max Payne movie?
    I have a Scandinavian background and have been scouring the net for wing tattoos and just can’t find any.

    • Viking Rune

      Hi David. It is my own pencil sketch based on what I’ve seen in the movie.

  • john

    Hi, I am looking to get a tattoo of wings such like the ones above. But I want to learn more about valkyries and Norse mythology. Do you know where I could do so? Or find a book on it?

    • Viking Rune

      Hello John. Look through the articles in the Viking Gods category on this site.

  • Russell

    Did some research on my bloodline and turns out to be Viking. Hence the fact that I’m considering my next tat to be something in that line. Battling to find some good ideas tho. Is there any site/book you can refer me to. Viking designs seem to be somewhat scarce.

  • Kevin

    Just had the Valkyrie wings enlarged and engraved on my back as a tattoo, I beleive it symbolizes power as well as strength, and is obviously great to look at! Thank you so much!

    • Viking Rune

      You are welcome, Kevin.

  • Matt

    I was just wondering if I could use the first wing image as a tattoo design?
    I quite like the drawing of it and thought it might make a cool tatt… is it alright for me to do that?

    • Viking Rune

      Hi Matt. Feel free to do so.

  • Renee

    You know… I might actually want to use the image at the bottom of this article, with the single wing and tribal-looking detail as my next tattoo, which might require some resizing. Would that be acceptable? :D


    • Viking Rune

      Hi Renee. Feel free to do so.

  • TJ

    Thanks for the great summary & drawings.
    I’m watching Max Payne right now for the first time and was curious about the Norse connection :)
    Thanks for these two articles!
    I was born on Shetland and have been considering a Norse/Viking inspired tattoo for a while… now I have lots to consider! xxxx

    • Viking Rune

      Hello TJ. Thanks for the feedback!

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