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Inspiration behind Turin

Gloer

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Is not often mentioned nor known amongst anglo-saxon readers.., That cursed character is found in the ancient finnish poems the national epic "Kalevala".

Turin's tragic story of cursed life of a great man is told in Kalevala. It is a side story in the finnish epic that tells of a man called Kullervo. He is raised without love and parents in neglect by his father's enemy Untamo. He tries everything but somehow all turns to evil. Then he escapes and find back to home - but un awere of this.
Then he unknowingly marries her sister. Disfames his father, sister and family. He is desparate but lauches a war agaist his fathers enemy Untamo to revenge. Only his mother still mourns if he is slain.
So he goes to war, but he receives message by message bad news from home: his father, brother, sister and mother die because of him and his war. He then calls for Ukko (the high god of thunder) and gets a sword to conquer Untamo. He succeeds but there is nothing left to live for. He commits a suicide.

The last lines of the poems are from Väinämöinen (Gandalf type of wise-old-man who is leader, a great singer and a wizard.

He gives us the lesson: bring up your children with care and love - if not they turn up bad regardless what they themselves might want.

Here is the translation. Although it describes Kullervo as wizard here, or evil - he is more an ordinary man and a warrior suffering from a cursed life.

links:
KULLERWOINEN SON OF EVIL
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune31.htm
KULLERVO AS A SHEPERD.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune32.htm
KULLERVO AND THE CHEAT-CAKE
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune33.htm
KULLERVO FINDS HIS TRIBE-FOLK
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune34.htm
KULLERVO'S EVIL DEEDS
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune35.htm
KULLERWOINEN'S VICTORY AND DEATH
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune36.htm


Of course Tolkien used the greek mythos of Orfeus. But Turin is even described as if he was a man from the Finnish woodlands. Turin's cursed life resembles Kullervo's: Vain attempts to find glory and fight evil to achieve good. ANd in the end Turin as Kullervo can only revenge.
But Tolkien had studied finnish language and was very familiar with Kalevala. I am personally annoyed that there is a book around in the book stores that supposedly covers "real" mythos that inspired Tolkien but it does not mention Kalevala. This book (forgot it's name and also the maker) is very shallow only quoting the obvious ones: Greek myths, Beowulf, Sagas from the norse, Bible, Arthurian legends (blaah), Roland, but not the not so main stream Kalevala.

And the finns a descibed by the vikings as withces and elves of the woods that have magical abilities. The vikings feared to go deeply in finnish forrests because of ambush tactics. They got whacked and this is in one of the Swedish sagas.

I really believe Kalevala had influence in Tolkiens myths. For exmple when christianity arrives, Väinämöinen - the great leader and a wizard sails away. A new age has come he is not needed. What about the elves sailing away or gandalf?
 

Tuor

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I always thought it was based on Seigfreid....... it even has him sleeping with his sister. heh.
 

Gloer

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The dragon slying is

from Beowulf. I mean the way it is ultimately slain from underneath. The way Glaurung speaks with Turin is from Siegfried's Fafner-dragon.

But the character is from Kalevala. Turin is in spirit the same fellow. he tries to pursue good but allways somehow manages only to get things worse. Everyone who love him get ill rewarded.

Some things are from Kalevala: sleeping with sister, mothers love and suicide by own sword that replies when asked if it will drink it's masters blood: gladly. Those theme's Tolkien introduced.

But there is a lot of Oidipus' bad fate and Siegfried. These theme's are universal.
 

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