Brunhild

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Brunhild

(bro͞on`hĭld),

Brünnehilde

(brün'əhĭld`ə), or

Brynhild

(brĭn`hĭld), mighty female warrior of Germanic mythology and literature. In the Nibelungenlied, a medieval German epic poem (see under NibelungenNibelungen
or Nibelungs,
in Germanic myth and literature, an evil family possessing a magic hoard of gold. The hoard is accursed. The Nibelungenlied [song of the Nibelungen] is a long Middle High German epic by a south German poet of the early 13th cent.
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), she is the warlike queen of Iceland, whom Siegfried defeats in combat and wins for his brother-in-law, Gunther. Hating Siegfried, Brunhild contrives his death at the hands of Gunther's henchman, Hagen. In the Icelandic version of the story, the Volsungasaga, as Brynhild, she is the chief of the Valkyries. Sigurd (Siegfried) saves her from an enchanted stronghold, and the two fall in love. Later, Gudrun makes him forget Brynhild by means of a magic potion and takes him as her husband; Sigurd then wins Brynhild for Gunnar (Gunther). After bringing about Sigurd's death, Brynhild destroys herself on his funeral pyre. Wagner in his opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelungs, in which she is Brünnehilde, makes her a Valkyrie who defies her father, the god Wotan (see WodenWoden
, Norse Odin
, in Germanic religion and mythology, the supreme god. His cult, although widespread among the Germanic tribes, was sometimes subordinated to that of his son Thor.
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), to help the lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde. Wotan places her sleeping on a mountaintop surrounded by fire, from which she is rescued by Siegfried. He is made by magic to forget her, and for his unfaithfulness she brings about his death, her own death on his pyre, and the burning of Valhalla.

Brunhild

furiously vengeful concerning Kriemhild’s accusations of promiscuity. [Ger. Lit.: Nibelungenlied]
See: Anger

Brunhild

outdone in athletic competition by Gunther with invisible assistance. [Ger. Myth.: Nibelungenlied]
See: Deceit

Brunhild

disobeys father’s order to let Siegmund die. [Ger. Opera: Wagner, Valkyrie, Westerman, 237]