Classification: Magic sword;
    in use somewhere between 1- 1000 AD

Creator: Wulf (Odin Borson)

User/PossessorsMime, Siegfried, Sieglinda, Siegmund;
    it was embedded for a time in a tree within
Hunding's house, and he and the rest of the Neiding clan tried fruitlessly to remove it.

Aliases: See comments

First Appearance: (Gram) Völsunga Saga (13th century) or possibly earlier as Sigurd is used in the Edda and before, dating back to the 11th century;
    (Wagner's Nothung) Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), the second of four parts in the "Der Ring Des Nibelung" (The Ring of the Nibelung) opera (August 14, 1876);
    (Marvel's Needful) Thor I#296 (June, 1980)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: Needful was virtually indestructible.

    As Needful's creator, Odin could neutralize its power and shatter it with his mystic spear Gungnir.

    However, wielded by Siegfried, Needful instead shattered Gungnir.

    It could only be reforged to its full strength by one lacking in fear.



(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#13: Thor entry) - Hoping to retrieve the Ring of Power, forged from the Rhinegold from the dragon Fafnir, which Odin could not perform directly due to an oath, Odin cast Thor into the mortal guise of Siegmund.

 (Thor I#296 (fb) - BTS) - Wulf (an aspect of Odin) told his son, Siegmund, that he would find a sword in his time of greatest need.

(Thor I#296 (fb)) - At the wedding feast of Sieglinda (the daughter of Wulf and the twin-sister of Siegmund, Sieglinda had been stolen as a young woman by Hunding's Neiding clan, and she was a forced participant in the wedding) and Hunding, a grey-clad stranger (Wulf, although Sieglinda did not recognize him, presumably due some magic spell) suddenly arrived, holding a gleaming sword, which he drove deep into the ash tree that grew within Hunding's house, before he wordlessly departed.

    The Neidings tried -- to no avail -- to pull out the sword.

(Thor I#296 (fb) - BTS) - An undetermined time period later, a wounded Siegmund -- who had earlier fought other members of the Neiding clan -- unwittingly came to Sieglinda and Hunding's house. needful-sieg-sword-neidings.jpg

    After learning Siegmund's recent past, Hunding vowed they would fight to the death the next day. needful-sieg-sword-ash.jpg

(Thor I#296 (fb)) - As Hunding slept, Sieglinda showed Siegmund the sword embedded in the house's tree. She related its origins and that she had sensed it would one day be the method of her revenge if anyone could pull it from the tree.

    Recalling his father's prophecy, Siegmund calling the blade Needful as he pulled it free, after which he and Sieglinda revealed their names and realized their relationship.

(Thor I#296 (fb) - BTS) - Rationalizing that, as their father, Wulf, was more than human -- that they were godlings and beyond kinship, Siegmund and Sieglinda had relations.

(Thor I#296 (fb) - BTS) - Odin's wife, Frigga, confronted Odin, demanding Siegmund's death for his transgression of wedding vows (see comments).

    Accepting Frigga's demand, Odin agreed to take back the sword Needful and not protect his son. Odin commanded Brunnhilde the Valkyrie to slay Siegmund. 

(Thor I#296 (fb)) - Siegmund took Sieglinda and relocated to a cave where he planned to make his stand and take vengeance for Sieglinda's rough treatment at Hunding's hands.

    That evening, Brunnhilde appeared before Siegmund, telling him he would die by Hunding's hand and that Needful's power would be stripped away by its creator.

    Moved by Siegmund's love and his consideration of killing Sieglinda to spare her further violence at Hunding's hand, Brunnhilde swore that both Siegmund would slay Hunding. 


needful-sieg-shattered.jpg    Hunding then arrived and challenged Siegmund, but -- as Siegmund retained Needful and shattered Hunding's shield and sword -- Hunding soon called out to Frigga to help her avenger.

    Upon Frigga's urging, Odin invisibly backed Hunding's spear with his own, shattering Needful and then impaling the shocked Siegmund through the chest.

    After Brunnhilde fled atop her winged steed with Sieglinda (who carried the fragments of Needful), Odin vowed punishment beyond all imagining for Brunnhilde. 

(Thor I#297 (fb)) - Brunnhilde gave Sieglinda (pregnant with Siegmund's son) the pieces of Needful, telling her that who ever swung the sword once it was forged anew would be named "Siegfried the Victor" and be even better than his sire.

    Brunnhilde transported Sieglinda back to Earth.

(Thor I#297 (fb) - BTS) - In labor, Sieglinda was found and cared for by Mime (the brother of Alberich, who had stolen the Rhinegold and thus precipitated the formation of Siegmund and Siegfried). 

(Thor I#297 (fb) - BTS) -  Dying in childbirth, Sieglinda told Mime to name the baby Siegfried, and she also gave Mime Siegmund's shattered sword, telling him its name was Needful, that it had been shattered by a god, and that when Siegfried grew up Mime should give it to him; no mortal would be able to defeat Needful once it had been welded together again. siegfried-thor-finishing_needful

(Thor I#297 (fb)) - At some point, Odin appeared before Mime, telling him only a man who had never known fear could forge needful anew. needful-siegfried-fafnir_death.jpg

(Thor I#297 (fb)) - Mime delivered Needful's fragments to the now adult Siegfried and told him its origins. 

    Siegfried insisted Mime forge the sword immediately, accusing him of keeping it from him all these years.

    After Mime shattered the sword anew in the process of forging it, Siegfried next forged it under Mime's instruction, finally considering it complete when he cleaved an anvil and podium in twain.

    To prevent Siegfried from departing, Mime told him he would never be the perfect warrior until he learned fear, and he took Siegfried to Fafnir (a giant turned into a dragon via Tarnhelm and the Ring of the Nibelung)

(Thor I#298 (fb)) - Siegfried used Needful against Fafnir, slashing first his tail, then his head, and then stabbed and blinded his right eye before finally shoving Needful into Fafnir's chest, mortally wounding the dragon.needful-sieg-shatters_gungnir.jpg

(Thor I#298 (fb)) - Seeking out Brunnhilde, Siegfried encountered "Wulf." Heedless and defiant (and ignorant of Wulf's name and nature as his "grandfather" or true nature as Odin), Siegfried used Needful to shatter the staff of Wulf's spear; with Siegfried having proven his courage and power, Wulf departed.

(Thor I#299 (fb)) - Siegfried stopped at Gibichung Lord Gunther's castle where guards barred his trespass verbally and physcially, Siegfried, armed with Needful, easily overwhelmed the lot of them (at least 5).

    His mind ensorceled by Hagen's potion, Siegfried was manipulated into marrying Gunther's sister, Gutruna, but his past relationship with Brunnhilde, whom Gunther sought to marry, led to another conflict.

    Gunther tried to salvage some of his dignity by ordering his guards to slay Siegfried. Via Needful, Siegfried swiftly overpowered Gunther's forty-some guards, after which Gunther called a truce.

(Thor I#300 (fb)) - Hagen impaled Siegfried from behind; Siegfried did not even have time to draw Needful before perishing.

CommentsThe original sword used to slay Fafnir was named Gram (or Gramr, meaning "wrath"; alternate translations name it at Balmung) in the Volsunga Saga (13th century), created by unknown Icelandic parties;
Ring of the Nibelung sword was named Nothung and created by Richard Wagner;
    the Marvel sword Needful was an adaptation of Wagner's Nothung, adapted by
Roy Thomas, Keith Pollard, and Chic Stone.

    Needful was still in its scabbard when Siegfried fell to his death, and it was not clearly seen thereafter when Siegfried was brought back to Gunther's castle, nor when Siegfried was set aflame in his funeral pyre, nor when Siegfried was brought to Asgard and transformed/restored into we don't know the fate of the sword...maybe it's still on Earth somewhere waiting to be found.

    Apparently it was Siegfried's greater power that allowed him to use Needful to shatter Odin's spear, Gungnir, while previously Odin had used Gungnir to shatter Needful when it was wielded by Siegmund. However, it is quite possible Odin had made Needful more powerful when it was reforged, or he allowed Gungnir to be shattered to make Siegfried more confident...or something.

    More images of Needful are present in the profiles on Siegfried, Siegmund, and Fafnir.

    For this and all profiles related to the Ring of the Nibelung, you should open up another page in your browser and load Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyrie"
    Something like this: (if/when this link becomes defective, just search for it)
    Yes, this is Elmer Fudd's "Kill the Wabbit" song...

    Per Wikipedia:

    The Ring of the Nibelung comes, in a very general way, from the old Norse/Germanic legend of the Nibelungenlied ("The Song of the Dwarves"). Wagner created the story of the Ring by fusing elements from many German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales. The Old Norse Edda supplied much of the material for Das Rheingold, while Die Walküre was largely based on the Völsunga saga.

Elements of the plot of Siegfried come from a variety of sources.

In a letter to Uhlig, Wagner recounted The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was, based on a fairy-tale of the Brothers Grimm. It concerns a boy so stupid he had never learned to be afraid. Wagner wrote that the boy and Siegfried are the same character. The boy is taught to fear by his wife, and Siegfried learns it when he discovers the sleeping Brünnhilde.

Siegfried's ability in Act Two to see through Mime's deceitful words seems to have been derived from a 19th-century street theatre version of the story of Faust.

Some elements of the story are derived from legends of Sigurd, notably the Völsunga saga and the Thidrekssaga. Scene 1 of Act 3 (between The Wanderer and Erda) has a parallel in the Eddic poem Baldrs draumar, in which Odin questions a völva about the future of the gods

The sword was named Nothung (as he was prophesized to receive it in his time of greatest need, it has sometimes been translated as "Needful")

The involvement of Nothung spans Die Walkure and the third opera, Siegfried. It isn't mentioned in the Wikipedia discussion of the fourth opera, Gotterdammerung, but it is in the Marvel stories covering that story.

The Marvel version of Needful doesn't differ too much from Wagner's Nothung:


   Another notable difference in the Volsunga saga is that the offspring of Sigmund and Signy was the powerful Sinflotji, while Sigmund's later wife, Hjordis, was the mother of Sigurd. After Sigmund had been mortally wounded by a suitor Hjordis had rejected, Sigmund gave the fragments of his sword to Hjordis so that they might one day be reforged for their yet unborn son (Sigurd). Wagner's Sieglinde combined aspects of both Signy and Hjordis.

Die Walkure

    Needful was based on the sword Nothung from Richard Wagner's Die Walkure (The Valkyrie) and "Siegried"(The second and third parts of The Ring of the Nibelung opera. You can Google it for more information. More below:

Eye of Odin

    These stories were among those told to Thor by the Eye of Odin, and the events therein, particularly the origins of the current Odin incarnation, have been called into question. 

Profile by Snood.

Needful should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Thor I#296, 
        pg. 9, panel 2 (hilt; embedded in ash);
            panel 4 (Wulf arriving with sword);
            panel 5 (Wulf embedding in ash);
            panel 6 (Neidings trying to remove)
            panel 8 (Siegmund grasps Needful's hilt) - see Siegmund's profile;
        pg. 10, panel 1 (full, standing by Siegmund after he pulled out Needful) - see Siegmund's profile;
        pg. 13, panel 3 (shattering stone);
        pg. 16, panel 2 (dropping Hunding);
        pg. 17, panel 1 (rushing at the fallen Hunding);
            panel 2 (Shattering against Hunding's spear, backed by Odin's Gungnir);
    #297, pg. 14, panel 1 (cleaving anvil);
            panel 2 (Siegfried holding aloft);
    #298, pg. 8, panel 3 (Siegfried slaying Fafnir);
        pg. 14, panel 2 (Siegfriedshattering Gungnir's staff);

Thor I#296 (June, 1980) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Keith Pollard (penciler), Chic Stone (inker), Jim Shooter (consulting editor)
Thor I#297 (July, 1980) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Keith Pollard (penciler), Chic Stone (inker), Mark Gruenwald (assistant editor)
Thor I#298 (August, 1980) - Ralph Macchio (writer), Keith Pollard (penciler), Chic Stone (inker), Jim Salicrup (editor)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First posted: 09/05/2018
Last updated: 09/05/2018

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