Saturday, September 5, 2015

Story Saturday: Exploring the Dietrich cycle III. - DWARFS RULE

If you thought you got all your Dwarven Epicness needs fulfilled by The Hobbit - think again.
This is where Tolkien went to school.

"It should be known for what reason God created the great giants and the little dwarfs, and subsequently the heroes. First, he produced the dwarfs, because the mountains lay waste and useless, and valuable stores of silver and gold, with gems and pearls, were consealed in them. Therefore God made the dwarfs right wise and crafty, that they could distinguish good and bad, and to what use all things should be applied. They knew the use of gems - that some of gave strength to the wearer, others made them invisible, which they called fog-caps. Therefore God gave art and wisdom to them, that they built them hollow hills; he gave them nobility, so that they, as well as the heroes, were kings and lords; and he gave them great riches. And the reason why God created the giants, was that they should slay the wild beasts and worms (dragons, serpents) and thus enable the dwarfs to cultivate the mountains in safety. But after some time it happened that the giants became wicked and unfaithful, and did much harm to the dwarfs. Then God created the heroes, who were a middle rank between the dwarfs and giants. And it should be known that the heroes were worthy and faithful for many years, and that they were created to come to the assistance of the dwarfs, against the unfaithful giants, the beasts, and the worms... Among the dwarfs were many kings, who had giants for their servants; for they possessed rough countries, waste forests, and mountains near their dwellings."

This is a quote from one of the Heldenbücher, the Books of Heroes of German tradition (I got it from this source). And boy does it contain a lot to talk about.

There are a number of important Dwarf characters that play a part in the Dietrich Cycle. First and foremost, of course, is King Laurin, who rules over (or, rather, under) the mountains of Tyrol - more specifically, the group of the Dolomites in Northern Italy known as the Rose Garden. His realm is named after the garden his daughter planted on the mountains, in the open air (since roses don't grow in the Dwarfs' underground kingdom). The Rose Garden becomes the center (and the name) of one of Dietrich's most famous adventures.

Another Dwarven king we encounter is King Walberan, Laurin's uncle, who rules an immense realm ranging from the Caucasus to the Sinai. When Laurin is captured by Dietrich, and dragged to Bern (Verona), Walberan shows up with a Dwarf army to take revenge on Dietrich. The bloodshed is narrowly avoided by King Laurin's diplomatic skills, and the fact that he is in love with one of the knights' sisters, Künhilde. The story ends in reconciliation, and Dwarf-Human inter-species marital bliss.

The third person I want to mention is Queen Virginal. I know I have been all about her before, but I am circling back now. Here is the thing: She is not a Dwarf, but she should be. She is Queen of the Mountains, rules over Dwarves, wears a crown with a magic gemstone in it, and holds off an invasion of evil giants and DRAGONS. The stories call her an Elf maiden, but let's be real here, people: That's never gonna happen. Not on my watch.
POLLING TIME! Cast your votes in an orderly fashion:
Would you rather hear a story about
1. An Elf maiden queen who rules over a mountain kingdom, and only manages to hold off the evil powers gathering against her by the power of the stone in her crown, until she is rescued by Dietrich, whom she marries, giving up her kingdom without a second thought, 
2. A Dwarven queen who defends her lands with the unexpected last minute help of human knights, fights an epic battle, and ends up in an even more unexpected relationship with said human knight, eventually marrying him and maybe still ruling over her own kingdom?...

I am asking this for research purposes. Because one way or another, the Rose Garden and Virginal might end up being a full-hour show I work on. 


  1. Well, I'm putting in my vote for option 2. Though, I don't mind an Elf ruling a mountain kingdom (blasphemy!), but other than that, option 2 sounds better on all counts. That's a story I'd like to read/ hear. :)

  2. Could you not make her Queen over the Dwarves and not make her one of them.? I'm afraid I have an image of a beautiful queen that a dwarf does not fit.