During the reprieve from the fighting, the Burgundians carry 7,000 bodies to the door of the hall and throw them down the stairs. Outside the palace, Hagen taunts Etzel to join in battle—he and Siegfried have a very distant relationship, he jeers, since Siegfried had his pleasure with Kriemhild long before she met him; what does Etzel have against him? Kriemhild is incensed anew by these words and offers to give castles, lands, and a shield-full of gold to anyone who kills Hagen.
The image of thousands of bodies littering the court is no doubt intended to get a reaction from an increasingly horrified audience. The contrast between splendor and carnage is arresting. Hagen’s jibe at Etzel shows his capacity for gratuitous cruelty and only serves to deepen Kriemhild’s rage.