As usual, there are spoilers for Death Bringer in this post. You have been warned. This will probably be the last Skulduggery post because June is almost over and Harry Potter's next on the agenda, but if there's anything you want me to discuss, comment below. In this post I'll be talking about Valkyrie's character arc and how she's changed through the series. Of course, that's a good thing - imagine how boring a book/series would be if there was no character development - but it's important to notice her progress through the series.
In the first book Stephanie is presented as a fairly normal teenage girl although she is said to be different from her classmates. She faints when she discovers that Skulduggery is a skeleton and is moderately innocent - but wouldn't you faint if you were talking to a living skeleton? She is described as being like Gordon and is adventurous. In China's apartment she makes the big decision to fully become part of the magical world and takes the name Valkyrie Cain, which was a pivotal moment in her life. Would you have made that choice? I like to think I would have but I can't be sure - I'm a very bad liar. She is shown to be stubborn and determined by her refusal to stop looking for Gordon's murderer.
In Playing With Fire we see her wishing she was more powerful. At the start of the book there is also a laugh-out-loud dialogue between her and Skulduggery after Vaurien Scapegrace tries in vain to kill her, during which Valkyrie wonders if Skulduggery hung back to 'test the rookie'. He replies that no, the reason she was almost killed was because he was tying his shoelace. On a different note entirely, wasn't the chapter, ''The Terrifying Brain-Sucker of London'' hilarious? Probably my favourite chapter of the whole series except for anything to do with Darquesse. two books.
The Faceless Ones gives us a scene where Valkyrie was able to kill two gods with the Sceptre because they were confused by her Ancient blood. We see that she hasn't become entirely cynical yet because she trusts Paddy/Batu. Yet again, she shows no respect for authority and goes out to fight anyway. Near the end Wreath throws her his cane and she is shown to have a natural aptitude for Necromancy. This lets her help fight a third Faceless One and drive it back into the portal.We get a look at the benefits of Valkyrie's Ancient blood when she is able to touch a black crystal without being turned to dust. This was to prove useful in the next book. Her talent leads Wreath to offer her Necromancer training at the end of the book. He says she will need more power if she is to rescue Skulduggery from the world of the Faceless Ones.
In Dark Days we are shown just how taken in she is by Skulduggery and how big a part of her life he is. China even thinks about telling Fletcher why he doesn't have a hope because Valkyrie is stuck in Skulduggery's orbit when the latter are in the alternate dimension. Disappointingly for Valkyrie she doesn't even get a hug at first despite her efforts. She does get one later though in a very cute moment. I have a question for all of you. How long does it take to become an Infected? Because Valkyrie was bitten by Dusk and I know she was treated by Kenspeckle but shouldn't she have become Dusk's slave before that? We also hear in this book the rumours about a mysterious being called Darquesse who is going to destroy the world. Hmm, I wonder who that could be?
Mortal Coil gives us our first real look at Valkyrie as Darquesse. A Remnant tries to possess her but is unable to do it properly - instead it just knocks down a 'wall' between Valkyrie and her true name and lets Darquesse emerge. We see that she is indiscriminate about who she kills and has no fondness for any of her followers. ('She wondered how long he [Tesseract] would be saying that when she started pulling out his spine'). Skulduggery and Tanith calm her down and Valkyrie re-asserts herself. Unlike most people who are possessed by a Remnant she remembers everything.
In Death Bringer Valkyrie is very competent and quite powerful in herself, without Darquesse. But in this book we also see the mean side of her. not just the evil side - we see the mean aspects of her pesrsonality as told by Fletcher in the break-up.She is selfish and self-absorbed, as well as thinking that she can do wrong. The evil witch-queen of Dublin puts in an appearance at the start of the book and the end. We learn more about what makes Darquesse come out - when the Jitter Girl has her hand in Valkyrie's brain and when Valkyrie gets Melancholia to try to kill her. Valkyrie has changed a lot from the girl we saw at the start of the book. I saw an interesting opinion on http://www.skulduggeryforums.net/ - that the books are slowly becoming villain-protagonist centred. Anyone have any Valkyrie-> Darquesse theories? Comment below. While I don't think it's that extreme, Valkyrie and Skulduggery are certainly no saints.