After more than a week of sailing, Gunther dispatches Siegfried to the Rhine to give Kriemhild and the rest of the Burgundian court news of what has taken place in Iceland. At first, seeing Siegfried arriving alone, the ladies are afraid that Gunther has been slain in Iceland, but Siegfried quickly reassures them. He passes along Gunther’s wish that the newcomers be given a noble welcome, so the vassals duly prepare for a lavish festivity. A massive entourage of finely arrayed ladies-in-waiting and warriors prepares to receive Brunhild’s party.
The Burgundians are eager to celebrate Gunther’s apparent triumph and also to demonstrate their ability to throw an excellent party and offer lavish hospitality. It’s customary for such an important newcomer to be greeted by a huge party of the kingdom’s finest.