Wotan craves the ring, but, bound by his own laws, he can’t retrieve it himself. With a mortal woman he has twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde. He hopes Siegmund will become the free agent he needs to take the ring. Separated at birth, the twins meet as adults and fall in love.
Wotan’s wife Fricka points out that Siegmund can never be independent while he enjoys Wotan’s protection. Wotan bitterly concedes, and Siegmund dies in battle – but the Valkyrie Brünnhilde rescues the pregnant Sieglinde. In punishment for her defiance, Wotan incarcerates Brünnhilde on a rock, surrounded by a ring of fire.