Rob's Reviews > The Nibelungenlied

The Nibelungenlied by Unknown
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's review
May 13, 2012

bookshelves: read-in-2012, everyone-dies, literature
Read from June 07 to 14, 2012

** spoiler alert ** (too old to rate) As any number of oh-so-clever reversals of fairy tales and legends should prove, our idea of who is a hero and who is a villain in a story is largely up to the telling. This speaks less to moral relativity and more to the deceptive powers of narrative. But this idea certainly wasn't invented by Wicked or its ilk -- a possibly unintentional demonstration lies in this hard-to-spell medieval German romance.

The Nibelungenlied is a story in two parts: first off, a legend praising the larger-than-life king of the Nibelungs, followed by a war story defending the man who assassinated the king. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of moral cohesion, other than a general misogyny, but this shift does suggest the importance of perspective and a strange respect for the enemy.

Other than that, it's got all the usual romance goodness -- awesome mythological heroism, over-the-top characters, an eloquent if a bit overbearing narrator, and long strangely dull stretches. It's not the best of this genre, but it's certainly an interesting part of it, and (from what I gather) quite important to German literature, if you care about that. Reccomended for medieval nuts or people who want to get headfucked by a story from a millenium ago.

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