Legendary Journeys
The Abyss | Episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess | The Ring

This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the object of the same name.

The Rheingold
Xena finds Odin, The Rheingold.jpg
Xena first meets Odin
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 6
Antagonist Grindl, Odin
Setting Norseland
In-Universe Date Year 30/Year 31
(with flashbacks to Year ?)
Production # V1408
Filming Dates July 2000
Original Air-Date 13 November 2000
Written By R.J. Stewart
Directed By John Fawcett
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 119 of 134
Order in Season 7 of 22
Order in Franchise 288 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "The Abyss"
Next Episode in Series "The Ring"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Abyss"
Next Episode in Franchise "The Ring"
Title Image

Xena is once again haunted by her past, as she is forced to put a right something that happened a long time ago, during her days as one of Odin's Valkyrie. She leaves Gabrielle when the Norse warrior Beowulf approaches her for help and travels north to Norseland on a suicide mission, but Gabrielle follows.


Xena, 35 years ago with the Rheingold Ring.

In a flashback 35 years ago of Xena crafting a ring and fighting a monster. Wearing the ring, Xena claims she is invincible but just as Xena pushes the monster into a cage, it succeeds in biting the ring off of Xena's finger. Xena locks the cage with a lock with two ravens crafted into it and leaves confident that the monster will never get out.

A man from the Norselands, Beowulf, brings Xena a broken lock.

In the present time, as Gabrielle and Xena eat in a tavern in the north, Xena's past comes back to haunt her when a man from the Norselands, Beowulf, brings to her a broken lock with the depiction of two ravens in it. Xena's face becomes serious, and walks off to go talk to Beowulf, leaving Gabrielle looking at the lock, and puzzled. 

Still keeping secrets from me after all these years.

Troubled, Xena keeps quiet to Gabrielle when she returns from speaking to Beowulf. At the tavern later that night Gabrielle gets into her bed as does Xena, and Gabrielle is unhappy that Xena continues to keep secrets from her after all these years. Xena tells her it is something she did a long time ago, and she isn't interested in talking about it right now.

This mission is so dangerous, I'm afraid I won't survive and I can't ask you to die with me once again. Whatever happens, know that my love for you is endless. Xena.

Xena keeps quiet to Gabrielle and sneaks away in the morning leaving Gabrielle behind. Gabrielle discovers a note from Xena. In the note, Xena implies she is on a suicide mission, admonishes Gabrielle to stay behind and ends with a heartfelt farewell. But, despite Xena's wishes, Gabrielle sets out to follow her friend. Gabrielle refuses to just stay behind, and starts her journey to find Xena. 

Gabrielle journeys to find Xena far north for weeks

Gabrielle writes in her scrolls revealing that she knows Xena wouldn't have done what she did, if she didn't have a reason. Gabrielle couldn't respect her wishes and not follow her. Gabrielle continues to write in her scrolls revealing she has been following Xena for weeks, and her trail has taken her the north and the farthest she has ever been.  

Gabrielle learns about the story about Xena in the Norselands.

As Gabrielle enters the land of the Asgardian gods, she discovers a woman who knows Xena and can share the legends of Xena from the Norselands with Gabrielle. The history is that on her way back from Chin, Xena came to the Norselands and met Odin. Lusting for power, she became a Valkyrie in his service but went on to trick Odin into disclosing the location of the Rheingold much to the dismay of Grinhilda, the once leader of the Valkyries before Xena came along. It is here that we discover the meaning behind the opening flashback. The Rheingold is a mystical gold that Xena crafts into a ring which makes her invincible.

Gabrielle learns about Xena's Norse past from Brunnhilda.

Upon hearing that Xena is moving up the Rhein River in search of the Rhein Maidens and the Rheingold, Grinhilda angrily confronts Odin and takes off with her brigade to stop Xena. A battle ensues, in which Xena kicks Grinhilda unconscious. Back in the present, when Gabrielle mentions Beowulf and the lock, Brunnhilda declares that Xena has embarked on a "suicide mission."

In the past, Xena steals the ring from the three Rhein Maidens.

Meanwhile, Xena, hiking along the Rhein River with Beowulf, lapses into a series of flashbacks of her swimming with three Rhein Maidens. Convincing the First Rhein Maiden to take her to the Rheingold, she's led to an underwater cavern where the Maiden points out a box concealing the infamous gold. When the Maiden warns her not to touch it, Xena cruelly tosses her aside, declaring that the Rheingold can do her no harm since she's already forsaken love. Xena melts the gold and molds a powerful ring from it.

Grindl attacks Xena and mercilessly.

Xena and Beowulf approach a house with bloody limbs strewn about the yard. Bravely the two enter and wait for the beast to emerge. Meanwhile, Brunnhilda briefs Gabrielle on Grindl, the creature Xena locked up more than three decades earlier in the mine. Brunnhilda explains that legend has it that Grindl was once a loving creature, but finally gave up love after such lengthy imprisonment and was then able to use the power of the ring to escape. Inside the house, Grindl attacks Xena and Beowulf mercilessly.

Gabrielle finds Xena's breastplate and her fate is uncertain...

When Gabrielle and Brunnhilda finally arrive, they find a bloody Beowulf, who sadly tells them that Xena was hauled off by the monster. Gabrielle finds a bloody breastplate of Xena's.....


No flying horses were harmed during the making of this motion picture, although several villages were bombarded with aerial manure.

Background Information[]


  • The Rheingold and Brunhilda are taken from the Ring Cycle, a collection of Norse legends surrounding the Ring of the Nibelungs and the associated treasure. The Ring Cycle was adapted into the 19th century German opera Der Ring Des Nibelungen and is rumored to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings.
  • Beowulf, Grindl, Grinhilda and their storyline are taken from the Old English epic peom Beowulf.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Tsianina Joelson was up for the part of Brunhilda, but they decided that she wasn't right for it. They loved her so much though that they created the part of Varia with her in mind.
  • Joseph LoDuca was nominated for the 2001 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore)" for this episode.
  • Lucy Lawless made the "sealed with a kiss" mark on the note Xena left for Gabrielle as a joke.
  • The Ring Trilogy was supposed to have been a part of the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Norse duo of episodes, but there was no way to easily reconcile the Ring Cycle with the Ragnarok storyline, so they reused the idea for Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • This episode takes its main plot elements from Wagner's opera cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen", which contains four parts: Das Rheingold (The Rheingold), Die Walkuere (The Valkyrie), Siegfried, as well as Goetterdaemmerung (Twilight of the Gods). The opera is based loosely on Norse mythology and folklore. The story tells of:
    • A magic ring that grants the power to rule the world, which was forged by Alberich the Nibelung (a night-dwarf).
    • Alberich had stolen the gold from the Rhine maidens, after renouncing love.
    • Odin fights him for possession of the ring.
    • The hero Siegfried wins the ring with Odin's help, but is eventually betrayed and slain.
    • Finally, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, Siegfried's lover and Odin's estranged daughter, returns the Ring to the Rhine. In the process, the gods are destroyed.
  • This episode borrows from the old English epic "Beowulf". This story takes place in Denmark and Sweden, as well as tells the tale of the hero Beowulf fighting and killing three evil monsters:

Grendel, who has been attacking a mead hall and those inside, Grendel's mother, as well as finally a dragon.

Key Events[]


  • Mud splatters on the camera lens when Xena rides away, after beating Grinhilda.


  • Chakram count: 1
  1. To harm Grindl.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]






Season Navigation[]