|Played by Julian Sands|
|Movie Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King|
Similar Gudrun, Sigurd, Alberich, Sigmund, Brynhildr
Hagen (German form) or Högni (Old Norse Hǫgni, often anglicized as Hogni) is a Burgundian warrior in tales about the Burgundian kingdom at Worms. Hagen is often identified as a brother or half-brother of King Gunther (Old Norse Gunnarr). In the Nibelungenlied he is nicknamed "from Tronje".
Etymology of the epithet "Tronje"
Of the main manuscripts of the Nibelungenlied, the chief representatives of versions B and C use the spelling "Tronege": "from Tronege Hagene", "Hagen of Tronege", "geborn of Tronege", "helt of Tronege". The A version usually writes "Trony" (also "Troni" and "Tronie"). "Tronje" is the appropriate modern German form. In the B and C versions, the name is in the dative case, with the nominative being "Troneg"; "Tronje", although common, is therefore a mistake.
All attempts to interpret Hagen's name or home are highly speculative. Although the Nibelungenlied has a historic center, it was written down only centuries later, in 1200, and therefore incorporated the author's Medieval knowledge and intentions. There are suggestions that the epithet refers to more or less similar-sounding place names. However, names that have only a phonetic similarity but no meaningful link with the legend are rejected by scholars, since it is very likely that such connections are random and add nothing to the interpretation of the character. It is believed that the poet of the Nibelungenlied accepted Tronje as a real place name in the Burgundian kingdom; but it is questionable that he himself knew its exact location, since the story's many geographical mistakes suggest that his knowledge of the area around Worms was not particularly good.
Nevertheless, a link to Hagen has been discussed regarding the following places:
In the Nibelungenlied, he is called Hagen of Tronje.
Some versions indicate he is the 'Oheim' of the three kings, i.e. their mother Ute's brother (or brother-in-law, following an now outdated German dual model of indicating and differing between matrilineal and patrilineal kinship). Some count him as Gunter's, Gernot's and Giselher's 'uncle' (originally a father's brother or brother in law, as opposed to 'Oheim'), so this may more likely hint to an old custom - nearly, but not yet completely outdated - where people close to a family take over the role of a fatherly / motherly friend and acquire the 'honorary title' of an uncle or aunt (see the German expression 'Nennonkel/-tante' - 'termed uncle / -aunt'). In German tradition, Hagen is especially grim, implacable, and violent and in two accounts one-eyed.
According to the Thidreks saga, Hagen was Gunnar's (senior?) half-brother. Not fully human, though, as being fathered by an elf on the king's wife while the king was away.
In these forementioned accounts, it is Hagen who kills the hero Siegfried during a hunt, wounding him on the only part of his body which was not invulnerable. This version of the character appears in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. In Norse tradition, Hagen's counterpart Högni is less extreme and the actual slayer of Sigurd (the Norse counterpart to Siegfried) is Gutthorm, a younger brother of Gunnar and Högni. But Gutthorm does so when egged on by his elder brothers.
In German accounts, Gunther and Hagen are the final casualties of the fall of the Nibelungs. Hagen refuses to reveal the hiding place of the Nibelung treasure to Kriemhild as long as his king Gunther lives. When Gunther is slain, the mortally-wounded Hagen continues his refusal with sure knowledge that Gunther cannot now weaken and betray the secret.
In Norse accounts, however, it is Gunnar who refuses to tell the secret to Attila the Hun as long as Högni lives, and so brings about Högni's death, as his heart is cut out.
In Atlamál, Hniflung a son of Hagen/Högni avenges his father's death and the deaths of his kin together with his aunt Guðrún. This work also states that Hogni had a wife named Kostbera and two other sons: Solar and Snævar. The Drap Niflunga mentions a fourth son named Gjuki (named after Hogni's father).
In the opera Götterdämmerung, part of The Ring Cycle, Hagen is portrayed as the half-brother of Gunther and Gutrune, illegitimately fathered by the dwarf Alberich (and so by extension Siegfried's step-cousin). He is similarly depicted as evil and cunning, acting under the influence of his father but for his own interests. He convinces Gunther and Brünnhilde that by marrying Gutrune, Siegfried has committed an act of perjury that justifies his murder, allowing Hagen to claim the ring. When Gunther objects to this claim Hagen kills him (and their sister dies in grief) but is too frightened to take the ring when Siegfried's corpse makes a threatening gesture. Brünnhilde takes the ring and returns it to the Rhinemaidens and Hagen is drowned in the river trying to reclaim it.