A REGULAR VAMERS FEATURE THAT STRIVES TO DETERMINE THE KIND OF MUSIC POPULAR CHARACTERS FROM THE GEEKOSPHERE WOULD LISTEN TO.
The Vamers Crew has wonderfully diverse ways of thinking. The one thing that keeps us all together, however, is our burning love for music. Thus Playlist was born and it has inspired some incredibles sets, like Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)’s Peter Parker, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s Sekiro, and even Tim Burton’s Batman’s Cat Woman. There are still so many characters in the geekosphere left untouched, so be sure to ear mark our site and social media for whenever we release a new entry. As always, Playlist serves as a feature where we strive to determine the music our favourite characters from the geekosphere would listen to. Our latest entry takes a look at Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is the latest instalment in a long lineup of stealth-action adventure titles. In Valhalla, players take on the role of Eivor (via Layla), to explore the Dark Ages of England and the Great Viking Expansion. Eivor is a battle-hardened Drengr (Viking Warrior) who wants to find the perfect place for their clan to settle down. Eivor has affectionately earned the title “wolf-kissed” after surviving a fatal wolf attack at a young age. The events surrounding the attack define Eivor’s very character: being brave and not easily tempered; smart, and not easily swayed; brutal, yet methodological and peaceful if need be – almost godly.
This edition of Playlist channels the best of the Northern Realms as Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor explores Norway and England. Norse song and dance have resounded throughout Norway and the rest of the world in blazing glory in recent years. Music based on, and adapted from Norse legends, are both loud and soft; ranging from classic orchestral folk to drumming beats and songs best suited for war. It is a very distinct and unforgettable sounding version of World Music. Much like the music featured in this Playlist, Eivor is also a character who is not easily forgotten.
A Playlist inspired by Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor
1. Berserkir – Danheim
Vikings from Norse legends are known for their brutal nature. So much so, they have even developed a misconstrued fiction where the entire Viking people are portrayed as blood-hungry warriors and not much else. Well, there is some truth to that fiction! Vikings came from a time when “kill or be killed” reigned true. While vikings were known as a peaceful group, the world surrounding Norway and its traditions were bloody and quick. Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor portrays one such facet of this world: the bloodied warrior.
Fittingly, Eivor pillages and raids the very first settlement players come across, showcasing just how brutal vikings can be. This follows a lengthy excursion where rescuing crew mates from certain death took centre stage. Raiding and getting back at the enemy who bit you is a decent way to get rid of some steam, right? Eivor seems to think so! Danheim’s most popular song is also the one that resounds the most with Eivor. It is a song that would most definitely be on their playlist – with its drums and steady beat, no warrior worth their blood and salt can go without it.
2. Ódinn – SKÁLD
Odin, also known as the allfather, king of crows, the hanged man, and more, is the king of kings in Norse mythology. While his son, Thor, is widely regarded as a wargod, it is commonly Odin who the ancient Scandinavian warriors called on for assistance on the battlefield. Ódinn, from popular Pagan-folk group, SKÁLD, is one such calling and, in essence, a praising.
The song largely entails the story of Odin sacrificing his one eye to the giant Mimir, who promises a wealth of information to the allfather. Odin was not known as the all-knowing for nothing, after all. In much this same way, Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor finds themselves in a predicament quite early on in the game. Being the follower of Odin they are, I am certain they would easily give their left eye for a drop of Mimir’s spring in exchange for some clarity toward the issue at hand.
3. Valravn – Gealdýr
The Viking people may live in the present as much as humanly possible. However, tales of old warriors resound through longhouses and halls whenever the moment calls for it. As you might expect, these tales all recount some hero of old, who either beat a thousand draugr (risen dead) with their bare hands, or who managed to do something great for the greater good of the viking people. Valravn (meaning raven of the dead/slain) beautifully captures what it must feel like when these stories become personal.
In the opening minutes of the game, players are introduced to Varin and Rost, Eivor’s parents and rulers of a clan of their own. During these moments, players are shown how Viking politics work, and how quickly things can take a turn for the worst. Varin and Rost both sacrifice themselves for the good of their people, effectively cementing themselves as fallen heroes of old. Valravn is a song Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor would return to regularly as these memories play through their mind.
4. Deyja – Munknörr
The concept of rebirth is not foreign to Norse mythology. It is widely believed that spirits, whether heroic or otherwise, are escorted to the realm of the beyond (Hellheim) where they are judged for eternity. In many tales, these spirits would oftentimes return to the lands of the living. Similarly, shamans are known to go through the process of dying before returning as healers and/or soothsayers.
Much like how Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor got their title of “wolf-kissed”, so too do they believe in the concept of death and rebirth and how life-threatening experiences can make you “reborn” into something greater… or worse. Regardless of the nature of how it works, it is said to be a dark path walked by few. In their journey, Eivor has had a number of events where these dark paths prevailed. The only question remains: will they give in to beckoning death only to be reborn?
5. Kvitravn – Wardruna
Mysticism is a popular concept in Norse mythology. From shaman, through to pagan witchcraft and other spiritual concepts, “magic” is as attached to the tales themselves, as Odin and his ravens. Animal-guides, in fact, are so popular throughout Norse mythology that animals like the Raven, the Bear, Moose, Lion, and even Wolf, have become icons throughout Scandinavian and Icelandic history.
Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor may be called the wolf-kissed by their fellow Drengr, but they also nurture a special place in their hearts for a raven called Synin. Synin’s name directly translates to “sight”, and gives Eivor a literal birds-eye view of their surroundings at the mere mention of its name. In much the same way Norse heroes of old relied on animal-guides, Eivor now-too relies on their Raven to scout ahead, or distract enemies and afford them an easier go-ahead through enemy encampments unseen.
6. Yule – Sowulo
As all things have a beginning and an end, so too celebrations shall cycle forever through. One such celebration is none other than Yule, which is an old pagan celebration of The Wild Hunt. It is an other-worldy ghostly procession in the winter sky and an increased supernatural state of the world. At around the time of Yule, Draugr start to roam the earth.
While the risen dead is a very strange concept to celebrate, Christmas Eve really is not. Yule is said to have been celebrated around the same time, with feasting and drinking and even sacrifice happening in this celebration. It only stands to reason that Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor would celebrate their victories over rival clans, winning more land, or crushing more oathbreakers in a fierce manner.
7. Fólkvangr – Peter Gundry
Whether it be by echoing howls of ghostly spirits bent on vengeance, or via stories told from excitable warriors after raiding months at sea; the actions of heroes resound through the halls and longhouses for an eternity. It is especially true for the echoes of battles between larger clans and their Jals, who clashed on battlefields scattered across the northern lands.
Fólkvangr (which directly translates to People Catcher), is a field where half the spirits of those who fell during battlefield would rest, while the other half go to Odin in Valhalla. From here, they are processed by the goddess Freyja, who decides their ultimate fates. Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor often contemplates what life would be like had their father not sacrificed himself all those years before. They often wonder whether their parents had gone to Fólkvangr after their death, whether they were banished to Helheim for all eternity, or joined Odin in Valhalla.
8. The Wolf Song – Jonna Jinton
The Wolf Song is a beautiful lullaby and chant from YouTuber and musician Jonna Jinton. It is an adaptation of a much more popular song featured in Ronia Robber’s Daughter, an old Swedish movie. The song tells the tale of the wolf, who prowls the night and stalks little children. It is sung by a mother, who wants to keep the wolf from eating her child by offering the wolf a pig’s tail instead.
Much like the mother in this song, Eivor blood mother, Rost, faught valiantly to keep her child safe. In this same way, Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor regards their brother, Sigurd, very highly and essentially attempts to defy fate in this regard. This battle within Eivor’s body and mind rips and tears at them until a decision has to be made: feed the wolf the pigtail, or give in to its desires?
9. Herr Mannelig – Garmarna
There are many traditional folk songs based on old Nordish tales. Her Mannelig is by far one of the most prominent and for good reason: it tells the tale of unrequited love that is not reciprocated. Trolls and men who fall in love with them are not a foreign concept in Norse tales, but this Germanic chant goes into detail about how this troll would do anything for their lover of a man, who keeps rejecting her over and over again.
While she is far removed from a troll, Randvi is a good friend of Eivor’s, and also Sigurd’s desperate wife. At the onset of the game, Randvi has been married to Sigurd for three years, of which they have spent only the first year together. Thereafter, Sigurd left on a two-year mission to explore eastern seaboards and bring back as many treasures as humanly possible. Naturally, Randvu become more hopeless as time moved on, resulting in a marriage that hearkens back to Herr Mannelig and the she-troll’s struggles to get the man to love her like he once did.
10. Hey You – London Grammar
While not exactly Nordic, London Grammar’s lead singer, Hannah Reid, features awe-inspiring vocals. Hey Now, in particular, features haunting vocals and artistry unlike any of their other works — it is unique in the sense that it sounds removed from anything else they do, a common facet of Nordic folk song as well. While instrumentation and beats generally sound the same, no tale told by the same narrator will repeat the same phrase or share the same ideology. The song has never been explained in its entirety, but its lyrics seem to focus on struggle and a lack of dialogue. Something that is both frightening, and exciting.
Much like how Hannah Read is a vocalist conveying a song, Layla Hassan is a pilot commandeering and viewing memories from ancient heroes. After discovering how her ancestry led to the founding of the Assassin’s Creed, she continued to delve into memories of other prominent assassins, Kassanda & Alexios; as well as Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor, while going through a very thrilling adventure of her own in the present. Hey You embodies an internal struggle. Layla is very much going through a similar situation in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – one she would love to talk about, but is otherwise incredibly afraid of at the same time.
While I was going to exclude this from the list at first (since the story the song tells simply does not fit), I figured it would serve best as a bonus. Eivør Pálsdóttir is an incredible musician and vocalist known for her acoustic takes on popular tracks. She is also a huge fan of Norse mythology and the beautiful tales it inspires. This performance of Tròdlabùndin, for instance, showcases Eivør’s incredible vocal range while also showing off her live performance guns. Also, she shares a name with the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, so there is that.
That is it for this edition of Playlist! What did you think? Norse and Viking music have always been my go-to style of music when studying and working. Thinking critically about it, however, is an entirely other beast, and the journey was incredible.
Do you agree with our picks on this Assassin’s Creed’s Eivor Playlist? If not, what would you have changed? We hope you enjoyed it. See you again soon!
Junior Editor at Vamers. From Superman to Ironman; Bill Rizer to Sam Fisher and everything in-between, Edward loves it all. He is a Bachelor of Arts student and English Major specialising in Language and Literature. He is an avid writer and casual social networker with a flare for all things tech related.