Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fáfnir guards the gold hoard in this illustration by Arthur Rackham to Richard Wagner's Siegfried.

In Norse mythology, a dragon guardian of gold, son of Hreidmar and brother of Regin and Otter. He was slain by the hero Sigurd, who then bathed in his blood, making himself invulnerable, except for one spot between his shoulders, where a linden leaf, sticking fast, prevented the blood from touching.

In the Volsunga Saga Fafnir, in his lust for gold, slays his father, Hreidmar, and steals the skin of his dead brother, Otter, which contains a gold treasure. To guard his treasure Fafnir transforms himself into a dragon. Sigurd comes to slay the dragon Fafnir and obtain the treasure. He kills Fafnir by a ruse. 

According to the Volsunga Saga, Fafnir engages in a long discussion with Sigurd to discover who his murderer is, then dies. In Der Ring des Nibelungen Richard Wagner makes Fafner (Fafnir) one of the giants who built Valhalla for Wotan (Odin). Fafner and his brother Fasolt accept Alberich's ring in place of the beautiful goddess Freyja, the price originally agreed on. Fafner kills Fasolt and changes himself into a dragon to guard his gold hoard. He is eventually killed by Siegfried (Sigurd). 


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