Friday, February 3, 2017

that's all, folks

Tonight we reached a milestone. Tonight was the night the Alberich Stories ended. (Greta has referred to the stories of the Ring Cycle as "Alberich Stories.")

I've been telling the entire thing, from the first moments, with the magic gold shining in the riverbed of the Rhine, guarded by Rheinmaidens, and stolen by the evil dwarf, right to the end, with Brünnhilde immolating herself on Siegfried's funeral pyre and returning the gold to its rightful place, for nearly a year now at bedtime.

Giants, dragons, birds, blood, greed, love, triumph, disaster, the whole thing. Both girls have been absolutely absorbed. Greta's requested it more than Clara, but whenever Clara joins in to listen, she's more attentive to me than she ever is in any other context.

Greta has often stopped and asked questions and gotten clarification, as well as offered insights of her own. When she first heard about the terms under which Alberich could forge a ring of power from magic gold — namely, that he had to forswear love — she had the same reaction as her cousins Hannah and Trey had had back in the 90s: Complete power and untold riches? "I would give up love for that!" But when it was explained that they could no longer love anyone, whether a mother or father or grandparents or siblings or friends, and could no longer be loved, ever, for the rest of their lives, they (and now Greta) thought long and hard about it.

When we got to the spine-chilling confrontation in which Siegfried and Brünnhilde and Gunther swear to be telling the truth and that the others are lying, all taking a death-oath on Hagen's spear, Greta stopped the story to point out that none of them was lying, going through each character and telling it from his or her point of view. She then circled back around and, since there was a mitigating fact in each case, pointed out that they were all speaking an untruth. When she realized what that meant (the death-oath!) I could see it dawning on her with a shudder.

What fun!! What depth! I love to think past the Wagner version and even past the Elder Edda and other mythological sources, to people gathered around fires and children in beds listening to these stories over and over, thrilling to the tales of love and betrayal and redemption, expressed through magic helmets and speaking birds and rings of power and potions — fire, water, earth, and sky all peopled, playing host to a story for the ages.


Blogger marzish said...

Man! I wish I had a cool story to tell Reese & Tegan! Are you reading it to them or just telling them from your memory?

2/3/17, 10:38 PM  

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