Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Legend Of Sigurd and Gudrun

J. R. R. Tolkien composed his own version of The Saga Of The Volsungs and the Poetic Edda. He splits these legends into two poems. In the Legend Of Sigurd, Sigurd's ancestry is given. It also tells of his defeating the dragon Fafnir. Sigurd takes Fafnir's cursed treasure for his own, which causes problems for him. He awakens the Valkyrie Brynhild, and is betrothed to her. In the Legend of Gudrun, we learn of Gudrun's fate after Sigurd dies.

Along with Tolkien's poems, we are given pieces of his lectures that he wrote down for classes he would teach on Norse mythology. It was interesting to learn what Tolkien thought about this topic. The notes provided help the reader put the poems in context. His notes also give details about parts of the myths that were left out or only partially included in his poems, making it easier for the reader to understand what was going on.

I found his poetic versions of these sagas to be very moving. Parts of the stories were condensed, but I really enjoyed reading it. There was a lot of intense emotions and action in these poems. I read most of it aloud, and this really helped me feel the power of these poems. This is a book I cannot wait to reread. It is easy to feel Tolkien's passion for these Sagas, and to see what inspired him from these tales in his own work. I liked this book so much, it made it onto My Favorite Books list.

I highly recommend this to fans of Tolkien or the Sagas. 

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