Wotan (the High German form of Odin) is the ruler of the Gods. To meet his obligations over the construction of Valhalla, he commanders the gold of the Nibelungs to act as payment. Amongst this is a golden ring, which Wotan initially wants to keep for himself. However, he is warned that to keep it will bring about the end of the Gods, and so gives it up. He spends the rest of the cycle trying to prevent the prophecy and save the Gods, but, due to events outside his control, his efforts ultimately come to naught.