Saturday, 7 March 2015

Waltraute's Marriage Afterword

Afterword

To those familiar with all this: welcome back. To those new to all this: welcome.

This is Kamachi Kazuma.

Here is yet another new series. This story was put together to be serialized in a magazine. While Index has both science and magic and Heavy Object has just the science, Waltraute is completely on the fantasy side of things.

The theme is enjoyably learning about Norse mythology! At first glance, it looks like a ridiculous story trying to give actual meaning to the idea of marrying a Valkyrie after defeating her in a competition. However, I had to change quite a few things to make it work as a novel, so I hope you simply view it as an introduction to the mythology.

If you want see what is different from the actual Norse mythology and what was added in for the novel, you will have to do further research.

The construction of this novel could be a bit of a pain since it has the reader looking down on the Valkyrie who in turn is looking down at the human world. I suppose the target demographic could change a lot depending on whether you view Waltraute or the boy as the heroine(?).

Which way did you all see it at first?


Regarding Chapter 1:

As the title suggests, the motif of this chapter was Jack and the Beanstalk. Did you know it was based on Norse mythology? This is the only time the boy’s name is mentioned. It’s a bit of a ridiculous story, but stories of men coming up with challenges to win a goddess, Valkyrie, or princess’s hand in marriage (without asking the girl what they think) are fairly common in Norse mythology.

(The target is usually Freyja and the male gods of the Æsir all try to stop the man.)

It is reminiscent of the impossible tasks of Princess Kaguya, but Norse mythology really does seem focused on war as befits the war god Odin being the ruler. For example, the male gods wanted to smash the head of a giant who pissed them off by proposing to Freyja and they actually did it.

There are also stories of getting to marry a Valkyrie if you caught one or getting a mysterious item or knowledge of runes if you were kind to a Valkyrie, so it seems Valkyries have always been treated as unattainable prizes rather than normal gods.

It was an extremely liberal interpretation of the innocent myths of a human getting to marry a captured Valkyrie that led to the competition-obsessed Valkyries seen here.


Regarding Chapter 2:

Chapter 1 was a journey up into the sky and this one heads down underground. This story involves the dwarves that show up in fantasy all the time.

“Now that we’re married, I’ll strip you naked!!” is the easy to understand theme of this chapter. But since this is the armor and clothing of a Valkyrie, stripping it off holds a certain sort of symbolism. This might be seen the most when Waltraute comments “If I lose these, I will have no idea who I even am!” when she bets the feather decorations on her head. One of the symbols of the Valkyrie is the swan, so losing those feathers is losing one of the major symbols of her character.

So as you can see, all this talk of stripping is not just simple fanservice.

The Super Rune Duel Cards were of course a gag, but if the human war dead go up to the heavenly world, it seems to me the technology and culture of the human world would flow up with them.

The dwarves’ curse was just me thinking they would probably do something like that if they always either were forced to work at knifepoint or had the bill left unpaid.

When I found out Freyja, the most beautiful goddess in Norse mythology, was also known as the “sow”, I knew I had to use it. But that’s a secret.


Regarding the Chapter 3:

Since I was using Norse mythology, I wanted to use Ragnarök somewhere. And so I came up with this story.

As Waltraute mentioned in the chapter, this story is nothing more than a love comedy. Even if amazing things happen, I will do my very best to omit the actual battle scenes.

The trump card Waltraute used to defeat the other eight Valkyries may have looked like a one-shot gag in the previous chapter, but it is an item on the same level as Gungnir and Mjölnir. I felt it would only be proper for it to have that much destructive power.

It may seem the boy put up an unusually great effort in this chapter, but he is always risking his life to head to some other world. He might be even more courageous than Kamijou from Index or Quenser from Heavy Object. Plus, this boy is actually married. Similar to the motif of the first chapter, this chapter’s theme was using hard work to acquire that which you desire. I hope you felt that within the hard work the boy put in even if it was hidden beneath the gags and love comedy aspects.


Regarding A.E. 01:

The magazine serialization only went up to the third chapter, so this chapter is completely original to the novel.

It is clearly a side story, so I decided to give it an irregular numbering.

This was a swimsuit chapter!! Featuring a threat greater than Ragnarök!! …I wanted this one to have a very simple theme.

As for the characters, I put in Brynhildr and Siegfried since I had been holding back on using them before.

In a story of love between a Valkyrie and a human, those characters have to be in there somewhere.

I used Siegfried rather than Sigurd and Nothung rather than Gram in an intentional effort to mix together the names and settings of actual Norse mythology and the Wagner version, so be careful.

In this novel, the pair is a brokenhearted couple, but they may have been too heroic to be summed up with just that phrase. In the novel, Brynhildr is the type to be literally holding onto Siegfried’s shadow while Siegfried is the type to smile as he talks about that love that has ended.

I cut most of the battle scenes as they do not fit into this kind of novel, but the conclusion of this chapter was quite severe. That was also because this was a side story. Everything is resolved through combat in Norse mythology, so that kind of conclusion is closer to the standard. However, I made it so Siegfried lost his life because he was unable to escape that cycle.

And because of the distortion of fate, I had the boy head full force in the wrong direction for once.

Basically, if the novel switched to a different set of rails, it could become that kind of story.

The boy lives on the love comedy side while Siegfried lives on the battle side.

The idea of not even the head god Odin being able to overturn fate is fairly well known. Even though it is predicted he will be devoured by Fenrir during Ragnarök, he cannot avoid it. Also, Odin respects both the Norns and the spirits of human sorceresses. I find the image of the head god descending to Niflheim in order to consult the ghosts of beautiful sorceresses to be quite humorous, but that might show just how serious Odin takes fates. (And maybe that he sees those who deal with it as a threat?)

So when I needed a final stage for the novel chapter that overcame even Ragnarök, I thought fate would be a good candidate. What did you think?


I give my thanks to my illustrator Nagiryo-san, my editor Miki-san, and the readers.

I will end this here.

I hope it brought you momentary laughter and functioned as an entrance to Norse mythology.


Waltraute’s swimsuit will have to wait until some other time.


-Kamachi Kazuma


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