Wagner and Brünnhilde make their entrance about an hour into the film. Brünnhilde, “daughter of Wotan, god of all the gods,” arouses the anger of her father, Schultz recounts. In his wrath, Wotan placed her in a ring of fire, and young Siegfried scales the mountain, slays the dragon, crosses the “ring of hellfire” because “he is not afraid.” Django takes place in 1859. Schultz is supposed to be relating the story of the Nibelungenlied, a thirteenth-century epic poem that nineteenth-century Germans often considered their “national epic.”
But that isn’t what he does. He skips across different versions of the story, and mixes them in a rather peculiar way. The story details he provides, about Wotan’s wrath and a ring of fire, and the sequence in which he arrays the events of the legend do not come from the epic. Instead, King Schultz seems to be drawing on his fellow Forty-Eighter Richard Wagner’s version of the story—the peculiarities in his telling of the saga coincide almost entirely with the rather idiosyncratic shape Wagner gave these ancient stories while crafting his cycle in his exile.