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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Valkyrie Brynhildr



The Valkyrie named Brynhildr or Brynhilda, is more famously recognised as Brunnhild. She appears as two characters in Wagner's "Ring Cycle" operas, as Sigdrifa and then Brunnhild, queen of Iceland. This romaticised the valkyrie and put her in the same league as Titannia, Atalanta, Dornicka, Isolde and Princess Ida as opera Diva characters. It resurrected the stories of the entire valkyries into the modern age. Brynhildr is based upon myths from Germanic mythology.

In the Volsunga Saga, Brynhildr is a "shield maiden" valkyrie. She was said to have been immortal, but displeased the All Father god Odin for choosing to help a young king defeat a wiser, older king. This angered Him and He removed the valkyrie's powers, so that Brynhildr was reduced to little more than a delicate frame. She was put under a coma, locked inside the top room of an isolated castle on a mountain, and her bed chamber was surrounded by a ring of perpetual (controlled) fire. The only way for her to be rescued was for a man to break the spell and wed her.

Then a hero named Sigurd Sigmundson stopped nearby. He had already killed a dragon and got inside the castle. The man was strong and feared nothing. He passed through the fires and was unharmed. He was able to reach the lovely valkyrie, and he removed her helmet and gave her a kiss. The spell was broken. Brynhildr woke up as a mortal woman, but gifted with psychic powers. She fell in love with the man who saved her and he loved her.

The story continues and changed unfolding different dramas and a tragic love story but the Volsunga Saga mentions that Brynhildr and Sigurd had a daughter named Aslaug. This girl later grew up and married Ragnar Lodbrok. According to other versions, Sigurd betrayed Brunhildr by marrying a princess, daughter of a sorceress. There was magical herbs involved, making Sigurd forget his love for Brynhildr. It sparked fury with Brynhildr who went about seeking punishment on Sigurd. The tale resulted in both the loss of Sigurd's and Brynhildr's lives.

Links:

Valkyries on Timeless Myths
Volsunga Saga
Brunnhilda in Wagner Characters


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