“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.

  • Me: *is reading an actual legit Norse myth*
  • Book: and so the prince, after he had slain the dragon and ridden through the flames on his noble steed, came to the highest tower of the castle where the princess lay in an enchanted sleep. She was clothed all in chain-mail,
  • Me: wait
  • Book: and as soon as he lifted the helmet off her head she woke immediately
  • Me: wait
  • Book: and said, "well done. I am the warrior maid Brunhilde, and I swore never to marry lest I should find a man brave enough to stand beside me in battle."
  • Me: WAIT

So Thor and Valkyrie totally have an open relationship where they both have Midgarian girlfriends rigt? Jane & Annabel totally meet up and have chats about their Asgardian partners & trade tips on how to deal with lightning burn on the porch or what to do when they make cultural missteps a la the mug cracking incident.

“Once I loved a man, who I thought the gods themselves had sent me. I loved the whole world because he was in it. Long we were parted but I could bear it because I knew he would return one day. But when he came again it was as if his heart had been wiped clean. I loved him as I had but he did not love me. We were strangers as before we had met.” —
Brunhild, Ring of the Nibelungs