Brunhild

Norse - Chief of the Valkyrie. Daughter of Budli or, some say, of Odin. Sister of Atli and Baenkhild. Mother of Siegfried by Gunther, in some accounts. Mother of Aslaug by Sigurd, in some accounts. She was the daughter either of Odin or of a mortal king, raised to be a Valkyrie. She was ordered by Odin to ensure that the hunter, some say Hialmgunnar, who had abducted Siegmund's lover won the duel with Siegmund, but she disobeyed his order and Odin had to intervene. He punished her by putting her into a long, deep sleep in a castle surrounded by fire that only the bravest hero would attempt to break through. Some say that she was so punished for rejecting Odin's amorous advances. Sigurd rode through the flames to claim her but then left her. In some stories she married Sigurd and they had a daughter, Aslaug, but the more usual story says that Sigurd left her after a while to seek further adventures. He became a friend of Gunnar, king ofthe Niblung, who wanted Brunhild as a wife but was unable to face the wall of flame. Sigurd, this time in the guise of Gunnar, rode through the flames once more and wooed Brunhild for Gunnar. When she married Gunnar, she realised how she had been deceived and was very bitter. She quarrelled with Sigurd's wife, Gudrun, Gunnar's sister, and tried to persuade Gunnar to kill Sigurd. He refused but his younger brother Guttorn speared Sigurd in the back and killed him. Brunhild, who still loved Sigurd, died with him. In some versions she stabbed herself and was burned on the same pyre as Sigurd; in others she rode her horse through the flames of his pyre and immolated herself. As she rode into the flames of the funeral pyre, she threw the Ring of Power into the Rhine. The Rhinedaughters rose to claim it and a huge wave swept Brunhild and the funeral pyre into oblivion. The Nibelungenlied has Brunhild as a queen of Iceland, who would marry only the man who could defeat her in a trial of strength. She was promised to Siegfried but he put on the Helmet of Invisibility and defeated her in a contest. Gunther (Gunnar) claimed that he was the invisible victor and married her. At the same time, Siegfried married Gunther's sister Krimhild, and later the young couple visited Gunther and Brunhild at their court where the two ladies had a furious quarrel. Hagen plotted to avenge the insult to Brunhild and induced Gunther to ask for Siegfried's help to repel an alleged invasion. Hagen then took advantage of Siegfried's visit to kill him. On occassion, known as Brunhild, Brunhilda, Brunhilda, Brunhilde, Brunhilde, Brynhild, Brynhild, Brynhildr, Brynhildr, Victory-wafter, Victory-wafter, Bruhilda, Bruhilda, Brynhild(r), Brynhild(r), Victorywafter, Victorywafter, Siegdrifa, Siegdrifa, Sigdrifa or Sigrdrifa.

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