Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Deconstructing Valhalla

I need to remember to take the Juno soundtrack off my hard drive. Every time something like Ellen Page performing "Zub Zub" comes on in my randomised playlist I want to shish kabob my parietal lobes. It's that ironic saccharine that goes so far back to hard saccharine it's like a sugar quarry. My stomach was actually turned less by the song that came next on my playlist, Monty Python's "Medical Love Song".

Mostly to-day I've been listening to the last part of Gotterdammerung again after having watched the production I have again last night. Thinking about Der Ring des Nibelungen in terms of Nietzsche's idea of tragedy beginning with the Apollonian so that we can have the intensely pleasurable reaffirmation of the Dionysian at the end, one can see how Wotan comes close to actually being the Apollo of the opera cycle and his absence from Gotterdammerung is such a fundamental part of that opera. No-one directly mentions how Hagen starts to act as a surrogate Wotan, having people swear on his spear, which makes its impact stronger. And then there's that great, surprisingly scary moment when those ravens show up out of nowhere in the middle of Hagen yelling at Siegfried (HAGEN: Errätst du auch dieser Raben Geraun'?) and he uses the distraction to drive his spear into Siegfried's back. It all happens so quickly, your brain's barely processing the introduction of ravens when Siegfried's struck.

I sort of wonder how Siegfried would have handled things if he lived, and it seems to me that it's the suddenly complex problem besetting him that killed him as much as Hagen's spear. He's a simple guy, Siegfried, all he knows is killing dragons and making love to women. He never even has a moment where he says, "Oh wait, I helped Gunther abduct Brunnhilde and married Gutrune." He just starts reliving the ending of Siegfried before he dies, he never really starts to bring the two realities together. How could he, when he is, as Brunnhilde calls him, the purest of men? How could he handle this mess? And here we see that even though Siegfried was the agent of destruction for the Apollonian element by shattering Wotan's spear, he is himself the last gasp of the Apollonian before it all goes down into Dionysian flames.

Tags: brunnhilde, ellen page, gotterdammerung, hagen, juno, monty python, music, opera, siegfried, wotan
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