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.
The 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. This 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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