Updated: Nov 13, 2019
By B. Hope
Vala Mal Doran. This character is best described with one of my favorite phrases from Manassett's Cendrellion: " a Queen of celestial mystery." I must admit to being slightly obsessed by this strong, beautiful powerhouse.
I ran into Vala in the oddest of places-- in an old collection of Norse myths, called the Eddas. Vala makes two grand entrances in this two book set. In the Elder Edda, Vala has a poem that, well, had her name on it: "Voluspa: Vala's Prophecy." This poem is the story of a woman who recollects the creation of the nine realms.
In the Younger Edda, Vala is a tad more subtle. She surfaces as the name of one of Odin's halls: Valaskjalf. Valaskjalf is a hall made out of silver shields so fine you could nearly see through them. In this hall was a throne called Hlidskalf, from which one could see the entire universe.
This made me curious as to what Vala's name meant. I had always assumed that the writers had simply made it up, but I dug around a bit, and here's what I found:
"Vala" means "Chosen" in Norse.
"Mal" means "Star of the Sea" in old English.
"Doran" is an old Gaelic name that roughly translates to "the exiled stranger with a fist".
So, what we have is " The Chosen Star of the Sea who is an exiled Stranger with a fist."
That's rather accurate.
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