(Wagner: Das Rheingold; Siegfried). Bass. A giant. Brother of Fasolt.
Das Rheingold: Fafner and Fasolt have been hired by Wotan to build a castle, Valhalla, as a fortress for the gods. They will receive as payment Freia, Wotan's sister‐in‐law. When the building is finished, Wotan hesitates about the payment and Fafner becomes impatient. Hearing of the hoard of gold stolen by Alberich from the Rhinemaidens, Fafner decides he will settle for the gold instead of Freia, taking her off to their lair as hostage while Wotan thinks about how he will wrest the hoard from Alberich. Wotan steals the gold and agrees to the giants’ bargain. Fafner stands Freia between him and Fasolt and demands that the gold be built up until she is no longer visible. All the gold is used up except the Ring on Wotan's finger, and Fafner insists this be used to close the last gap in the wall of gold. Freia is then freed. Fafner starts to collect the gold, but Fasolt wants the Ring for himself. They fight, and Fafner kills Fasolt—the first manifestation of the curse placed upon the Ring by Alberich. Aria: Hör’, Wotan, der Harrenden Wort! (‘Wotan, hear what we have to say!’).
Siegfried: In his cave in the forest, Fafner changes himself into a dragon (could he possibly have known the magic of the Tarnhelm?) to guard the gold. Wotan warns Fafner that a hero will come and fight him for the Ring. Fafner is awakened by the sound of Siegfried's horn. As Fafner rears up to attack Siegfried, the latter plunges his sword through the dragon's heart. Before Fafner dies, he tells Siegfried that he killed Fasolt, the last of the giant race, and warns him that whoever sent him to the cave is also planning to kill him.
Created (R. 1869) by Kaspar Bausewein; (S. 1876) by Georg Unger.