Characters Discussed

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Siegfried

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Siegfried (ZEEG-freed), a prince of Niderland whose heroic achievements include the winning of the great treasure hoard of the Nibelung. Having bathed in the blood of a dragon he slew, Siegfried is invulnerable except for a spot between his shoulders where a linden leaf had fallen. He goes to Burgundy and there wins Kriemhild as his wife. Later, he is treacherously killed by a Burgundian knight.

Kriemhild

Kriemhild (KREEM-hihlt), the beautiful sister of the king of Burgundy. She marries Siegfried and is subsequently tricked into revealing the secret of his vulnerability. After a long period of widowhood and mourning, she becomes the wife of the king of the Huns. Still seeking vengeance for Siegfried’s death, she invites the whole Burgundian court to Hunland. In the final bloody combat, all the Burgundians are killed, and Kriemhild herself is slain by her husband’s order.

Gunther

Gunther (GEWN-tehr), king of Burgundy. He promises that Siegfried shall marry Kriemhild in return for aiding him in winning Brunhild. With Siegfried’s aid, Gunther overcomes Brunhild in her required feats of skill and strength. After the double wedding, Siegfried is again needed to impersonate Gunther in subduing Brunhild, who has determined never to let Gunther share her bed. Gunther is killed in the final bloodbath in Hunland.

Brunhild

Brunhild (BREWN-hihlt), the daughter of Wotan, won by Gunther with Siegfried’s help. Wishing to see Siegfried again, she plans a hunting party to which he and Kriemhild are invited. A great rivalry develops between the women; Kriemhild takes revenge by telling Brunhild the true story of her wedding night. Though Gunther and Siegfried settle the quarrel to their own satisfaction, it becomes a source of trouble among Gunther’s brothers.

Hagen

Hagen (HAH-gehn), a retainer of the Burgundians and a crafty and troublemaking knight. It is he who slays Siegfried. Hoping to get the Nibelungen treasure, now Kriemhild’s, for himself, he orders it dropped into the Rhine. He is slain by Kriemhild herself, and with him dies the secret of the treasure’s hiding place.

Gernot

Gernot (GEHR-noht) and

Giselher

Giselher (GEE-seh-lehr), brothers of Kriemhild and Gunther. Convinced by Hagen that Siegfried has stained the honor of their house, they plot with Hagen to kill him. Later, they fall victim to Brunhild’s revenge.

Etzel

Etzel (EHT-tsehl), also known as Attila, king of the Huns, Kriemhild’s second husband.

Ortlieb

Ortlieb (OHRT-leeb), Kriemhild’s small son. Etzel gives him to the Burgundians as a hostage, and he is killed by Hagen when the fighting begins.

Dankwart

Dankwart (DHANK-vahrt), the brother of Hagen. He too is killed in Hunland.

Sir Dietrich

Sir Dietrich (DEE-trihkh), a knight who warns the Burgundians that Kriemhild still plots vengeance. As a result, they refuse to give up their weapons.

Sir Bloedel

Sir Bloedel (BLEW-dehl), a knight who comes to Dankwart’s quarters demanding vengeance for Kriemhild. He is killed by Dankwart, and thus the final bloody combat begins.

Iring

Iring (IH-rihng), one of Kriemhild’s heroes.

Hildebrand

Hildebrand (HEEL-deh-brahnd), a retainer of Etzel. At a sign from Etzel, he ends Kriemhild’s life.

Hunold

Hunold (HEW-nohlt), a Burgundian hero.

Queen Uta

Queen Uta (EW-tah), the mother of Kriemhild.

King Siegmund

King Siegmund (ZEEG-mewnt), the father of Siegfried.

Queen Sieglind

Queen Sieglind (ZEEG-lihnt, the mother of Siegfried.

Ludger

Ludger (LEWT-gehr), king of the Saxons. After spending a year in the Burgundian court, Siegfried aids Gunther in overcoming the Saxons. In the celebrations that follow, Ludger sees Kriemhild for the first time.

Gelfrat

Gelfrat (GEHL-fraht), a Burgundian slain by Dankwart in a quarrel at the start of the journey to Hunland. This and other evil omens are ignored.

Albric

Albric (AHL -brihk), a dwarf from...

(The entire section contains 2542 words.)

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