"Brynhild" (1897) by Gaston Bussière
Fictional Character
First Appearance: Norse/German mythology
Turtledove Appearance: "The Catcher in the Rhine"
Race: Valkyrie
Religion: Norse polytheism
Cause of Death: Self-immolation in the myth;
Alive at end of Turtledove story
Spouse: Siegfried

Brynhildr is a shieldmaiden and a valkyrie in Norse and German mythology, where she appears as a main character in the Völsunga saga and some Eddic poems treating the same events. Under the name Brünnhilde she appears in the Nibelungenlied and in Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, where she loves Siegfried.

Brunhild in "The Catcher in the Rhine"Edit

Brunhild was a shield-maiden and a valkyrie. She was cursed to slumber in a castle surrounded by flame until some brave soul entered the castle and awoke her with a kiss. It was Brunhild's hope that her true love Siegfried would be that brave soul. Instead, it was a time-displaced young American tourist whom she believed was named "Hagen Kriemheld". Brunhild was surprised by that, as a woman named Kriemheld was Brunhild's rival for Siegfried's affections.[1]

When the young man explained to Brunhild that Regin Fafnirsbruder had ordered him to enter the castle and kiss her, Brunhild understood what was happening. She went forth and tried to kill Regin, but he dodged her sword strokes and then teleported away before her blade could strike home. Brunhild then acknowledged that, regardless of Regin's trickery, she would marry "Hagen" since he'd braved the fire and wakened her. The young man realized that Brunhild's heart belonged to Siegfried, and so refused to marry her. She kissed him on the tip of his nose and returned to the castle. The young man wished he'd made an effort to kiss her more passionately.[2]


  1. See, e.g., Atlantis and Other Places, pgs. 132-136, HC.
  2. Ibid., 136-141.

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