Rhinegold Hardcover – 1984
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Swords, dragon and stolen gold.
Top Customer Reviews
When I first bought the book, I remember thinking, "I hope this is good, because it's a long read if it's rubbish !" Suffice to say I read it in less than three weeks and found the experience not only interesting, but in places inspirational as well. We have to remember that this book is telling the tale of one of the greatest Germanic / Norse myths. How easy it would have been to just turn it into another fantasy novel. The author didn't fall into this trap however, and has succeeded in blending supreme story telling with a writing style that actually retains the mythic element of the tale. For me it was not just a good read, but an experience which I won't forget in a hurry. Wagner told this story in his Ring cycle, but this is not very accessible for the man in the street who neither likes opera or speaks German. In this regard, "Rhinegold" is very much THE book to access one of the greatest stories of European culture, and I was surprised to find out just how much of it is based on actual events and people in history. (The author provides a brief historical note at the end). Of necessity in retaining the mythical element of the writing, many ancient words are used, however the author has provided a comprehensive glossary at the back of the book for those who might need it, although it is surprising how many of these words continue in use today either in the same spelling or something similar.Read more ›
Each part of the whole is given full weight, the characters are drawn from the legends, but given life and humanity by the author. Starting with Wals, it follows in full the story of the discord at the marriage of Sigilind and its grim aftermath, of the escape of Sigimund and his life as a warg, of the conception of Sinfjotli, their vengeance, their return to Germany and their fortunes leading up to the conception of Sigifried.
He then follows Sigifried as the tool of vengeance wrought by Regin the dwarf and the slaying of Fafnir the dragon. This part ends with his meeting with Sigrdrifa the Valkyrie, who here is also Sigilind reborn. They declare their undying love and she tells him that he will find her again as Brunichild.
The final part tells of the betrayal of Sigifrith's love by magic and how he instead falls in love with Gudrun, sister of Gundahari. This in itself would be a minor tragedy except that Gundahari seeks to marry Brunichild, but needs Sigifrith's help to overcome the magic preventing lesser mortals from reaching her. Sigifrith keeps faith with Gundahari by lying with Gram between himself and Brunichild for the three nights they are together. However, this is not enough and things go from bad to worse as the two wives meet, leading to the embitterment of Brunichild and the death of Sigifrith. Gudrun is then married to Attila and the brothers are left to face their fate.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
True, Grundy will probably never be as good a writer as Wagner was a musician. But Wagner's christianized, Romanticized, bowdlerized wanna-be Ring Cycle plot is far flatter than the mythic awe Grundy compells. (I love HEARING the Ring Cycle, but the libretto is egregious.) What Wagner treated with sublimated condescention, Grundy exposes and reverently handles. That alone is worth the ticket for those who see the greater truths in the stories.
If one is looking for a "sword and sorcery" romp, "Rheingold" is bound to be a disappointment. Many historical novel types will probably be neutral on it's metaphysical emphasis as well. It's a specific and special audience that will understand "Rheingold"'s importance.
You may also be intererrested to know that this author has writen other books about Asatru(norse religion) under another penname.....the books are Teutonic Religion and Teutonic Magic. I reccomend both of those although his style is a bit flowery on the rituals for my taste.
The hardback edition is a beautiful book, worth searching for.