Monday, 21 March 2011

Nibelungenlied, Chapter 8

Chapter seven was actually epically awesome. . .I highly suggest reading the real thing. But then, I have a thing for strong beautiful women. In other news, in doing research on the translator of the version of the Nibelungenlied I am reading, I discovered that he is most likely the father of one of the people I admire most in the world--Mary Needler Hind (now deceased), whose father was indeed a scholar named George Henry Needler. Mary Hind is probably one of the biggest influences on me, and was just an absolutely astounding woman. She was a code breaker in the second world war, went on to become the Dean of Classical Studies at the University of Toronto (something that was, I imagine, almost unheard of for women in her time), she was obviously highly educated, could read and I believe speak latin and greek, and got married for love rather than out of desperation to start a family and be supported at the ripe age of sixty-something. I didn't know her until she was already in her eighties, at which age she was still volunteering at the local school to help children learn to read. She lived to be 98 (the exact age she always said she wanted to live to), and kept her faculties largely about her until the very end. If I can live to be a quarter as impressive as she, I'll have done a damn fine job at life.

But, back to butchering her father's life's work (how's *that* for gratitude?). Hopefully, though, my paraphrase will get at least one person interested enough in this classic German poem to read a chapter or two of the actual translation. Or maybe not. Either way, I am keeping myself entertained, and now have an even bigger reason to slog through the thirty nine chapters myself, hahah.

Chapter 8:

Okay, remember when I said that King Gunther and Brunhild had gotten happily married in chapter seven? I lied. Brunhild's not the sort of gal who will take matrimony lying down. She is, in actuality, calling all of her relatives to come fight Gunther and his men, so she can continue to live free as the kickass amazon that she is.

ONCE AGAIN, its Siegfried to the rescue (he's probably wishing he'd never gone to King Gunther's court at this point). Under his invisible cloak, Siegfried takes Gunther's boat and sails in quest of a ready-made army nearby, with which to defend the king from Brunhild and her clan.

He comes to the isle of the Nibelungen (sound familiar?), and seeing a castle on the hill, and being travel weary, goes to it, knocking upon the door. The door is guarded by a giant.

Giant: "Fee Fie Fo Fum, who goes there?"
Siegfried: "One badass knight, that's who. Now let me in or you will know the true meaning of CHAOS" (cue epic metal theme).

This, of course, pisses off the gigantic doorman, who changes out of his footie pajamas, throws on his armour, and comes at Siegfried with a club.

The fight rages, echoing throughout the castle, and all the lands of the Nibelungen. Siegfried, for once, actually fears for his life (angry Porters are dangerous things indeed), however, eventually he bests the giant -- Only to be set upon by a dwarf named Alberich!

Not wanting to harm the little man (its bad luck to hit a dwarf, you know), Siegfried grabs him by the beard, whereupon Alberich squeals for mercy, and promises to serve Siegfried. Siegfried lets teh dwarf and the giant go, and Alberich runs to the knights of the Nibelungen, telling them to come before Siegfried.

They do. Another feast (dayum the middle ages were good times--you know, apart from feudalism, famine, and the black plague). Siegfried gets the Knights drunk, and they agree to help him fight Brunhild (you need to be drunk to take on a dame of her stature).

Once again Siegfried's plan involves fancy clothes, hoping to awe Brunhild into submission. So he, and one thousand finely dressed knights return to her kingdom. Brunhild is, of course, awed into submission by this display, she hands out treasures all round, and agrees to return with Gunther to his kingdom, as his wife

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