Richard Wagner’s Das Ring Des Nibelungen – Part 2


Here’s what happened. Once upon a time there were these, like, gods. Note that Wagner’s gods are not quite the same as the gods in the Norse or Greek mythology. They’re not really Gods in the modern sense of the word. They’re just very powerful beings, that’s all.

Anyway, once upon a time there was a bunch of gods who lived pretty well and had no reason to complain. Suddenly one of them, called Wotan, had the idea that it wouldn’t hurt to have the kind of living quarters consistent with one’s might and power and riches and what not. Let us note in passing that Wotan was married to a woman called Frika, who was one of the goddesses. Back when they started going out, he had to sacrifice one of his eyes in exchange for, well, the equivalent of a marriage license. Now he wears a patch. He also carries a lance in his right hand. You get the picture. Anyway, one day he up and decides to build himself a palace.

Well. It’s one thing to decide to build it. It’s quite another to actually put it together. He’s not a builder type. Construction is beneath him. So he asks another god, called Loge, to come over and give him some advice.

Loge is the god of fire. This is very important. Loge differs from all other gods in that he has no body. He’s, like, pure energy. Wotan can slap around the others when they get on his nerves, but he’s powerless to do anything to Loge. Nevertheless, Loge always makes like he recognizes Wotan’s authority and all.

So, anyway, Loge is always happy when someone asks him for advice. He’s generally a very humorous god. Anyway, Loge says to Wotan, listen, where’s the problem? Like, you have those two giants living just around the corner, why don’t you hire them. They’ll build you a palace in no time. It’s going to be great. Just draw some kind of plans for them. They’re very dillient.

So Wotan asks the giants to please come over. And they do. And they go, “So?” To which Wotan says, look, here are my drafts and designs and what not. Why don’t you slap together a palace for me. The giants go over the designs, scratch their noggins, and go, sure, no problem, only we’re not going to do anything for free. How would you like to be paid, Wotan says, politely. So they go, look, herr Wotan, you’ve got this girl, right? She’s very pretty. She’s a goddess. She’s in charge of whatever. Not your wife, the other one. She’s pretty young. So you just hand her over to us when we’re done building your digs for you. Wotan goes, well, yeah, okay, but … hhh … what do you want with her, anyway? The giants become very embarrassed at that point, they blush and mumble and whatever, and then they go, well … we’ll figure it out once we have the gal … we’ll see.

Let us note that the girl is not just an ordinary goddess. She’s the goddess of youth. And she’s in charge of these special, like, apples that keep you young and stuff. Whatever the genetic makeup of those apples was, I have no idea. Let’s just say that they made your cells regenerate without losing any of the potential. (By the way, Wagner deviates from mythology by combining two goddesses into one at this point, but we’re going to let it slide).

Wagner was one of the few opera composers who wrote his own libretti. He wouldn’t trust anyone with them. He was in charge of his own story and its dramatic effects and whatever. He was right. Not every composer can do it. Wagner could. He’s cool. I like him.

Anyway, Wotan turns to Loge and goes, well? What do you make of that? Can we really give up the girl to these grunts, or what? Cause if we do, we’ll grow old very quickly and die. That can’t be good. To which Loge goes, listen, the main thing is to get them to build your mansion. Once that’s done, I’ll think of something. Wotan goes, like what? Loge goes, I’ll find something to pick on. Like, I could tell them – the facade is not quite right. Like, it’s not what the designer had in mind. Or the plumbing is poorly planned. Or whatever. And that will constitute, like, a breach of contract. And we’ll just show the morons the door and live happily ever after in the palace. The main thing is to come up with a good name for the residence. Wotan goes, Walhalla. How’s that? Loge goes, good. It has a ring to it. All right, go finalize the deal with the giants.

Wotan does. So these, like, menial workers, these dumb giants, they start building this Walhalla place.

 

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