Ring of the Nibelungs (2004 TV Movie)
Frequently Asked Questions
The "original legened" is a bit hard to determine, since there are four diffrent accounts of the story. The German "Nibelunglieden" is the most famous account, mostly becouse of Wagner's opera, but it's also the second youngest. The youngest is Þiðrekssaga. The Icelandic "Völund Saga" is slightly older and gives a very diffrent account yet this is the account that Wagner drew the most of the story from while he used the names of the Nibelunglieden. The oldest account is from the pagan verses of the Poetic Edda which was written down between then end of the 800's and 1000's (the poems where not composed by one author and likely followed a traditional ministrel tradition). "Völund Saga" lies much closer to this account and both feature heavy referances to Norse Mythology and unlike Nibelunglieden Odin and Loki plays an important role in the story.
*In Völund Saga it is not the Kriemhild character - Gudrun in Völund Saga and the Edda - who puts a love spell on Sigfried - Sigurd in the Norse sources - but her mother Grimhild so Siegfried can marry her daughter instead of Brunnhilde.
*Nibelunglieden does not adress Siegfried's childhood, but in Völund Saga he is born after his father is killed in a battle. Siegfried's father makes the mistake of attacking an one-eyed old man (Odin in his traditional disguise) with a magic sword Odin had granted him earlier in his life. Odin shatters the sword and Siegfried's father is killed. The sword is later reforged as "Gram" (wrath) to be wheilded by Siegfried. Siegfried's mother remarried to king Alf who sent a teenage Siegfried to be raised by his friend Regin the dwarf (Alberitch).
*Odin serves as a protector of Siegfried's clan since he and his wife Frigg - the earth godess - is the ancestral parents of the clan. Odin gives Siegfried advise on how to kill Fafnir and helps Siegfried get a horse that is the offspring of his own legendary horse Sleipnir.
*In Nibelunglied, Brunnhilde is the princess of Iceland whom fights Siegfried. Siegfried defeats her and takes her virginity which robs her of her power. In the Norse sources Brunnhilde (Brynhildr in Norse) is a rebelious valkyrie and princess who disobeys Odin by giving the wrong army victory in battle. Odin punishes her by taking her valkyrie powers away and placing her in a castle on a mountain and to be laid to a Sleeping Beauty-esque sleep until a man awakes her and she is to be married to that man. Brunnhilde asks that it least be a strong champion that is worthy that will be the one to be her husband. Odin thinks this is fair and places a magic fire around the castle that will only let in a worthy man.
*In the Völund Saga and the Edda Regin tells Siegfried of the origin of Fafnir and "his" treasure. Regin had two brothers: Fafnir and Otter. Regin and Fafnir where good swimmers but Otter was better still since he could turn into a Otter through magic (hence his name). One day Otter swimmed in a lake and caught a salmon which he proceeded to eat in otter-form on the beach. But the very same day the Æsir Odin, Hönir and Loki (the creators of mankind) where hunting in the land. Loki, the trickster god who is associated with fish, went to look for prey around the lake. He found Otter and killed him with a stone and took the salmon. Loki and the gods flogged Otter and ate his salmon. Later they went to Hreidmar - father of Otter, Fafnir and Regin - looking for shelter for the night. The gods showed the family Otter's skin and the gods where taken hostage (breaking the Norse custom of sacred hospitality) and demanded payment. Loki went to the lake where the dwarf Andvari (who lived in the shape of a pike) to steal the gold he keept at the bottom of the lake to pay the other dwarfs. Using the net of Ran (the Norse sea godess) the captured Andvari and forced him to give up his treasure. Loki even robbed him of his precious gold ring which Andvari cursed so that it would give grave misfortune to whom ever owned it. The sly Loki delighted in this and gave the gold to Hredimar and his sons. The curse of the ring fell upon them and insane with greed Fafnir killed his own father and took the gold to a cave. There he transformed himself to a dragon to better keep the gold safe. When Siegfried killed Fafnir and took the hoard, the curse fell upon him as well leading to much of his misfortune. So many of the bad events that events in Siegfried's story where the indirect cause of Loki.