Queen Consort of Neustria (western Francia)

Born ? - Died 597 CE

Claim to Fame: A brutal and formidable queen, best know for her forty year feud with her sister-in-law, Queen Brunhild of Austrasia.

Background: High-ranking women in Merovingian Gaul could hold substantial wealth and status in the fifth and sixth centuries which enabled them to exercise significant social, political and religious influence.

Born into a low-ranking family, Fredegund was a servant to the first wife of King Chilperic I of Neustria, Audovera. She seduced Chilperic and convinced him to divorce and expel Audovera. Chilperic then married a wealthy second wife, Galsuenda, but she soon died and was swiftly replaced as queen by Fredegund. Stories of Galsuenda’s death vary but it is believed that she spoke out against the immorality of Chilperic’s court so the King and his favourite mistress, Fredegund, had her strangled in bed. The powerful Queen Brunhild of Austrasia was both the sister-in-law of Chilperic (she was married to his brother) and the sister of Galsuenda. Brunhild’s fury at her sister’s death sparked a feud between the once unified houses of Austrasia and Neustria that spanned over forty years. The rivalry between Brunhild and Fredegund was particularly bitter and lead their families through generations of conflict.

Fredegund is represented in primary sources as a particularly violent woman who used her desirability to manipulate and corrupt those around her. She frequently contracted assassins as well as torturing, maiming and killing opponents. Among her many alleged misdeeds, Fredegund was suspected of ordering the assassination of Brunhild’s husband, Sigebert I, and attempting to assassinate Brunhild’s son Childebert II, her brother-in-law Guntram of Burgundy, and even Brunhild herself. In a jealous rage, she even attempted to murder her own daughter, Rigunth, by slamming the lid of a chest down on her neck as she reached for the jewelry inside. However, her violence was not limited to royal family members, and included a number of officials, clergymen and locals. In a classic example, Fredegund attempted to quell a dispute between kinsmen but ‘when she failed to reconcile them with gentle words she tamed them on both sides with the ax’ by inviting them to a feast and having them all murdered. Her formidable reputation served her well and she manipulated all levels of society through the fear of her fury.

When a dysentery epidemic struck her husband and two of her sons in 580 CE, Fredegund was plunged into remorse. Believing the epidemic was punishment for her sins, she burned unfair tax records and donated to the church and the poor after her sons succumbed to the disease.

In 584 CE, her husband, Chilperic, was mysteriously assassinated and Fredegund sought refuge in the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral. She died of natural causes 8 December 597 in Paris and is entombed in Saint Denis Basilica.

Several years after Fredegund’s death, her son Clothar II defeated Brunhild in battle and, despite the Queen being in her late sixties, he had her stretched on the rack for three days and then torn apart by four horses. Such was the bitterness of their familial enmity.

Note: The main source for Fredegund’s life is Gregory of Tours’ History of the Franks. Gregory was patronised by Queen Brunhild so his depictions of her qualities and the evils of her rival, Fredegund, are likely biased. Other sources recognise Fredegund’s brutality but treat her and Brunhild more equitably.

~ Much of this mini-bio is based on an essay of mine, so please PM me for sources.

Renaming swords and stuff

Context: Our group of four, a tiefling cleric, a elven ranger, a gnome druid (me) and a dwarfen warrior/brewer slayed a monster called Nothis and it had a famous sword. Only the dwarf can handle longswords.

Me: So, we’re giving the sword to the dwarf?

Dwarf: I’m gonna name the sword Brunhilde!

Group: Why? It already has a name! (It name is Talon, and it’s inscribed on it)

Dwarf: Stupid humans can’t even name a sword right. And everything that happens between a dwarf and his weapon stays between them.


Photographien nach den im Allerhöchsten Auftrage seiner Majestät König Ludwig II. von Bayern in der Residenz zu München ausgeführten Fresco-Gemälden von Professor Michael Echter, 1876

Die Walküre.

8. Sieglinde bietet in Hundings Hütte dem müden Siegmund das Horn.

9. Siegmund überreicht an Sieglinde das aus dem Baume gezogene Schwert.

10. Brünhild sucht Wotan zu trösten; im Hintergrunde fährt Fricka mit dem Widdergespann.

11. Brünhilde kündet Siegmunden den Tod.

12. Siegmund von Hunding erschlagen, im Vordergrunde liegt die trostlose Sieglinde.

13. Brünhilde rettet Sieglinden und übergiebt ihr die Trümmer des Schwertes.

14. Wotan schliesst Brünhilde in die wabernde Lohe.

Die Walküre

Hey folks, Paul here for MOTION MONDAY! I had fun making today’s GIFs… but this post might have killed my laptop. (Lots of quirks and crashes in the last 24 hours… always back up your work!)

Today’s focus is timing, specifically hang-time, and how it gives airborne objects a sense of gravity. I’m not gonna type much, so hopefully these GIFs speak for themselves. Enjoy!

With hang-time:

Without hang-time:

[Expressions: you know this is wrong, why are you doing this Paul]

Hang-time is the main focus here, but there are also other factors to consider…

  • Follow-through: notice in the top example, big baby Thundercluck has extra fluidity because his body changes direction first, then his wings and tail change direction afterwards. This can add a lot of life to characters with hair, tails, scarves, etc.

  • Squash-and-stretch: again in the top example, Thundercluck stretches when he’s moving fast, and squashes when he slows down (mostly when Brunhilde catches him). This is often used on bouncing ball animations, but it can add life to characters, too!

  • Arc motion: this isn’t showcased by either example because Thundercluck’s only moving vertically. If he were also moving side to side, though, it’d be crucial for his path to follow an arc. (Think upside-down “U,” not right-side-up “A.”)

These are among Disney’s “12 Basic Principles of Animation.” I’m planning to demonstrate another principle next week, likely one of the three “other factors” listed right above. If anyone has a request, let me know!

Thanks for watching, and be sure to check back… on the next exciting episode of Chicken Ball Z MOTION MONDAY!

“Brunhild Watching Gunther Suspended from the Ceiling on their Wedding Night”

John Henry Fuseli


Excerpt from The Nibelungenlied (c.1200) translated by A.T. Hatto:

“His attendants, both man and woman had left him. The chamber was quickly barred, and he imagined that he was soon to enjoy her lovely body: but the time when Brunhild would become his wife was certainly not at hand! She went to the bed in a shift of fine white linen, and the noble knight thought to himself: “Now I have everything here that I ever wished for’. And indeed there was great cause why her beauty should gratify him deeply. He dimmed the lights one after another with his own royal hands, and then, dauntless warrior, he went to the lady. He laid himself close beside her, and with a great rush of joy took the adorable woman in his arms.

He would have lavished caresses and endearments, had the Queen suffered him to do so, but she flew into a rage that deeply shocked him – he had hoped to meet with ‘friend’, yet what he met was ‘foe’!

‘Sir,’ she said, ‘you must give up the thing you have set your hopes on, for it will not come to pass. Take good note of this: I intend to stay a maiden till I have learned the truth about Siegfried.’

Gunther grew very angry with her. He tried to win her by force, and tumbled her shift for her, at which the haughty girl reached for the girdle of stout silk cord that she wore about her waist, and subjected him to great suffering and shames for in return for being baulked of her sleep, she bound him hand and foot, carried him to a nail, and hung him on the wall. She had put a stop to his love-making! As to him, he had all but died, such strength had she exerted.

And now he who had thought to be master began to entreat her, ‘Loose my bonds, most noble Queen. I do not fancy I shall ever subdue you, lovely woman, and I shall never again lie too close to you.’

She did not care at all how he fared, since she was lying very snug. He had to stay hanging there the whole night through to dawn, when the bright morning shone through the windows. If Gunther had ever possessed of any strength, it had dwindled to nothing now.

Hey folks, Paul here for MOTION MONDAY!

Today’s topic is anticipation, another one of Disney’s 12 Principles. Whenever a character takes an action, believability goes up if there’s a slight movement in the opposite direction beforehand.

These GIFs are adapted from previous Motion Mondays. Here they are with and without anticipation…

Brunhilde and Baby Thundercluck:
(Originally part of this post on timing)

Big Ol’ Thundercluck Hop:
(Originally part of this post for the Fourth of July)

It’s a simple touch that adds a lot of life, but I see a lot of animators leave it out. If you work on animation of your own, be sure to keep anticipation in mind!

Thanks for watching, and be sure to join us again… for the next MOTION MONDAY!