The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún by J.R.R. TolkienMany years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version, now published for the first time, of the great legend of Northern antiquity, in two closely related poems to which he gave the titles The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún.
In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fáfnir most celebrated of dragons, whose treasure he took for his own; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild, who slept surrounded by a wall of fire, and of their betrothal; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang great love but also great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, of shape-changing and potions of forgetfulness.
In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy, and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, of Gunnar the Niflung and Gudrún his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd at the hands of his blood-brothers, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrún. In the Lay of Gudrún her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers the Niflung lords, and her hideous revenge.
Deriving his version primarily from his close study of the ancient poetry of Norway and Iceland known as the Poetic Edda (and where no old poetry exists, from the later prose work Völsunga Saga), J.R.R. Tolkien employed a verse-form of short stanzas whose lines embody in English the exacting alliterative rhythms and the concentrated energy of the poems of the Edda.
The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún
Peter Jackson has a lot to answer for. This is no less than the 12th work by J. Tolkien to be published after his death in However, such moments of magic are few and far between. It is some kind of achievement to bulk up the equivalent of Twitter messages to pages but there is no disguising the fact that everyone involved is simply flogging a dead Norse. Tolkien fans await latest book. Available from Telegraph Books
The work also includes two shorter, related poems in Old English and an "Introduction to the 'Elder Edda'" based on lecture manuscripts by J. The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J. Tolkien, which tells the epic story of the Norse hero, Sigurd, the dragon-slayer, the revenge of his wife, Gudrun, and the Fall of the Nibelungs. Many years ago, J. Tolkien composed his own version, now published for the first time, of the great legend of Northern antiquity, in two closely related poems to which he gave the titles The New Lay of the Volsungs and The New Lay of Gudrun.
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The two poems that make up most of the book were probably written during the s, and were inspired by the legend of Sigurd and the fall of the Niflungs in Norse mythology. Christopher Tolkien has added copious notes and commentary on his father's work. However, there are new perils to come. There is but one chance for the doom of the nine worlds to be averted. If on the day of battle a mortal warrior, a slayer of serpents and descendant of Odin, fights alongside the gods, the forces of evil shall be defeated and the world shall be reborn. In response, Odin scatters his seed among mortals in hopes of birthing "the world's chosen".
These carvings, illustrating the story of Sigurd, adorn the doors of the 12th century stavechurch of Hylestad, in Norway. They represent Sigurd's horse Grani, bearing the treasure of the dragon. The doors are exhibited at the Kulturhistorisk Museum of Oslo. Because of the ancient style and metrical form adopted by the author, we hope that this synopsis of the story written by Christopher Tolkien will be of use in following the poems for the reader who is unfamiliar with either the legend or the poetic form. It takes no account of other versions where they differ. At the falls they saw an otter that had caught a salmon; but Loki hurled a stone at it and killed it.