I really need to catch up on posting my book reviews…I’ve got 14 already written up that I just haven’t put up yet because I’ve been doing stupid challenge posts and nonsense where nobody knows what I’m talking about.
And while I’m at it: has anyone (besides shining_garnet) read anything good lately that they’d like me to take a look at?
Translated by A.T. Hatto
Prince Siegfried of the Netherlands has decided that he has no plans of sitting quietly at home and waiting to succeed his elderly father—he would rather ride out to fight dragons and win a princess while he’s still young.
Siegfried’s adventures soon bring him into contact with King Gunther of Burgundy, and through their friendship, Siegfried wins even greater renown as a knight, and eventually marries Gunther’s sister, Kriemhild. Unfortunately, he also meets the deceitful Sir Hagan, and the Amazonian Queen Brunhilde who bring about his death and transform Kriemhild from a sweet young woman into an obsessive, bloodthirsty monster.
I was disappointed with this book.
I know the story about Siegfried/Sigurd from the Poetic Edda, and I liked that version because he fights evil dwarves and slays Fafnir the dragon, rescues a swan maiden from an enchanted ring of fire and all kinds of fun stuff.
None of that happened in this version. Like, the dragon gets referenced a few times, but we don’t ever get to see Fafnir and the ring of fire is left out completely…I was so, so disappointed. There was a space of about two paragraphs where Siegfried fights a dwarf and wins from him a cloak of invisibility…but the Siegfried ends up using the cloak for questionable purposes, so I’m not sure that this bit of magic in the story really made up for what was in the other version I read.
Primarily, this book is about Kriemhild and her constant attempts to get Hagan killed after he kills Siegfried…and at the very end, she gets what she wants, but by then she’s not a character you can sympathize with at all. I was glad she died at the end too. And I don’t feel bad about spoiling it for you and telling you that basically EVERYONE is dead when the story ends…because I really doubt that you will read this. 😛
Now, there were some interesting things that I noted when I was reading and thought I would include so that I can feel less like I wasted my time on this book…but yeah…
He doesn’t figure into the story a whole lot, except to occasionally step in and give advice…but there is a character named Rumold, Lord of The Kitchen. I can only assume he was a cook, but the story was pretty ambiguous about his title. It made me laugh a little.
There was also a part that amused me because Kriemhild remarries after Siegfried dies…and she invites her brothers and Hagan and the other knights to a feast in her new country, where she intends to have her own knights attack and kill them…but they have an idea that Kriemhild’s planning something like that, so they do everything they can to get along with her people, up until they’re in the middle of a joust-like competition and Hagan, the evil knight, sees this young knight who was “decked out in his finery like a young wife of the nobility.” And of course Hagan’s manly sensibilities are unforgivably offended, so he kills the girly knight in the middle of the joust, and the whole last third of the story winds up being a bloodbath.
Out of all the reasons for battles in books and movies, I thought that was probably one of the goofiest that I’ve ever seen. 😛
There was also a character named Volker the Minstrel, who I mention because he was pretty much the embodiment of Viking-themed metal…he went into battles and alternately played “rough tunes” on a fiddle, and then killed people with the bowstring. It was pretty awesome.
But yeah…the majority of the book was deeply boring and disappointing, and I think that when I get the notion to read myths and legends, I will have to do better and pick the shorter and more interesting versions. : /
As for things that might offend…mmm…well, there is all sorts of violence, and misogyny towards both Kriemhild and Brunhilde, but everything is told in really vague terms (minus one line where Kriemhild actually says, “Siegfried gave me a beating”), so it’s not as offensive as it might be in a more modern story.
And that’s all I’ve got for these Nibelungs.