Fafnir - in Art and Music

In Art and Music

Fafnir appears — as "Fafner" — in Richard Wagner's epic opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (1848-1874), although he began life as a giant rather than a dwarf. In the first opera, Das Rheingold (1869), Fafner and his brother Fasolt win a massive hoard of treasure from Wotan, the king of the gods, in exchange for building the castle Valhalla. The treasure includes the magic helmet Tarnhelm and a magic Ring. As they divide the treasure, Fafner kills Fasolt and takes the Ring for himself. Escaping to earth, he uses the Tarnhelm to transform himself into a dragon and guards the treasure in a cave for many years before being ultimately killed by Wotan's mortal grandson Siegfried, as depicted in the opera of the same name.

The 2007 adaptation of Beowulf features Fafnir as the dragon. In this adaptation Fafnir is depicted as being the son of Beowulf and the Water Demon (Grendel's mother), not unlike how Grendel was the son of Hrothgar and the same demon.

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