Finnish Epic

unbelievably funny scandinavians
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Finnish mythology series: Louhi and the Daughters of the North

Louhi is the witch queen of the land called Pohjola (pohjoinen: Finnish word for ‘north’) in Finnish mythology. She’s a shapeshifter who has tremendous magical powers. Louhi is the main antagonist in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. Her kingdom Pohjola is described to be a cold and cruel place, and it’s believed to be the source of monsters, illnessess and other evil things.

Louhi’s children, the Daughters of the North, are despite of their heritage said to be incredibly beutiful. In folk tales many heroes come to propose them, but Louhi doesn’t give away her daughters very easily. She makes the heroes perform difficult tasks so they can prove themselves worthy for her daughters. She intentionally designs the tasks impossible to accomplish, and the suitors get killed instead.

Wildass crackpot headcanon theory: the Clone-Wars-era New Mandalorians are anomalously into neutrality and pacifism, and are weirdly ethnically homogenous possibly because they are (or are descended from) the Space Helots who would’ve been necessary to let Mandos be a culture 100% comprised of permanently-mobilized military. 

19. A folktale: Kalevala 

Ah the Finnish national epic, collected (and in some parts written) by Elian Lönnrot. I had not read the whole thing before this, which probably makes me a horrible folklorist. When I was smaller I was somewhat turned off by the fact that it’s soooo long and completely in poetry (50 poems, 22 795 lines, take that other shorter national epics).

I liked it. The Kalevala meter works very well, and it’s a nice show off of Finnish language’s variety. And the plots are cool too. You got murder and weddings and incest and people singing other people into swamps or singing themselves into animals.

Honestly, though, I really couldn’t blame Louhi (the “villain”) for the things she did. All the main guys are assholes. Ilmarinen was nice up until his wife (Louhi’s daughter) died because she baked a stone into Kullervo’s bread which broke Kullervo’s knife so Kullervo transformed wolves and bears into cattle which killed the wife when she tried to milk them. Well actually I was sympathetic to Ilmarinen at this point, cos hey his wife died and he was sad. But then he had to go to steal away Louhi’s other daughter as a replacement wife and when she was unhappy he turned her into a seagull? Dick move, bro. Still better dude than Väinämöinen.

The action was often broken up by things such as explaining how various things were born. I liked most of them (the creation of iron was my fave). But goddamnit the wedding-thing took forever to get through. Could have done with like half less of that.

Honestly if you’re interested I’d definitely recommend it, though I can’t vouch on how good any given translation would be, because of the very strict poetry meter. But the plot’s pretty nice either way.

My version had both Russian and Finnish versions, which was nice, cos I could polish up my Russian while I read.

“The Old Kalevala and certain antecedants” compiled by Elias Lonnrot
One of my best friends from college was Finnish so when I saw this book on our poetry display I lauded my colleague who included Finnish Folk Epic poetry and also I knew what it was! (I am all together too proud to say). It is true that most Americans barely know geography - much less Scandinavian folklore so I wouldn’t blame myself for NOT knowing. It’s just an extra bonus fact. The Kalevala tells the story of the search for/fight over the ‘Sampo’ - a magical device that Emmi (my friend) could never quite explain to us. I did, for a time in college, have a beautiful old fashioned Arthur Rackham-style Illustration of a creature attacking the boat with the Sampo on it. Oh the things we entwine in our lives, right?
**Auto-correct doesn’t highlight “Kalevala”….**
On to this book. For those of you interested in the Kalevala (first of all look up how to pronounce it - do not use a long A like “Kale”) it is the Finnish National Epic. I do so wish we had a National Epic. Next I will research Native American epics. This book has map end-papers (of the region) which, I have probably mentioned and, if not I think every time I see this, ALWAYS make me more interested in a book. Tolkein’s books and Winnie the Pooh have the most engaging end-papers. You almost don’t need the contents!
The Kalevala is long and complex. I would be interested to know what percent of the Finnish population know all these characters and happenings or if it’s a more “This story is one of the more famous parts” situation. There is a list of contents at the beginning that summarizes the stories individually in sentences. Some of which are…
2. Vainamoinen and Louhi of North farm ; his promise of the Sampo11. Vainamoinen and Ilmarinen sue for the Maiden of North Farm (What? Litigious chapter)25. Pregnant from the wind, Loviatar, mistress of North Farm bears nine sons who plague the Kaleva District ; Vainamoinen exorcizes the pains with healer’s and protective charms
In the Proto Kalevala some highlights include….
4. Ilmarinen forges the Sampu (Yeah it says 'Sampu’)9. Lemminkainen intrudes upon the wedding at North Farm ; snake charms (the part I am most interested in) ; the duel at North Farm; Lemminkainen’s hasty return from North Farm and his self-exile on an island
One thing I learned just from reading these exciting plot guides are that the Proto Kalevala and Kalevala tell the same story but with slight differences (probably due to time and storytelling altering the tale.) Typing these Finnish names is a task and a half - and I did not even put the accents on!
I haven’t even gotten into the poetry! If you enjoy Folklore, reminiscent of the Ring Cycle and Elves in Lord of the Rings I recommend the Kalevala and reading about it’s history and legacy (because then you will have context and knowledge to prove or disprove those two comparisons I just threw out.)
“I used to be able to forge a Sampo, to decorate a lid of many colors fromthe feather of a swan, from the side of one fleece, from a single varley corn, from the bits of one distaff when I was going to forge the heavens, tap out the firmament withoutany ground plan, without benefit of a piece of string.” (pg. 23)

NIHILISTINEN BARBAARISUUS: New Album - Based On Finnish National Epic The Kalevala - Out Now And Streaming

NIHILISTINEN BARBAARISUUS: New Album – Based On Finnish National Epic The Kalevala – Out Now And Streaming

U.S. Black Metallers NIHILISTINEN BARBAARISUUS have released The Child Must Die on Infernal Kommando Records. Stream the album in its entirety, courtesy of Gunshy Assassin, at this location.

The band has also released a video for the title track, which can be viewed here:

The music and art of The Child Must Die are based on the Finnish national epic The Kalevala…

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Pennsylvania black metal act Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus have released a new music video for the track “The Child Must Die.” The song is the title track from the band’s new release, which was last week via Infernal Kommando Records.

The music and artwork of the release are based off the Finnish national epic The Kalevala, with most songs adapted d… Read More/Discuss on Metal