Kalevala means "Land of Heroes", but the heroes in it are a funny bunch. Vainamoinen was born 30 years old and wise and bearded. Lemminkainen is a Don Juan type. Ilmarinen is a smith. All of them are very powerful and work magic by song. Unfortunately they are all sex-starved, and go up North to Pohjola to try to get themself a wife from the witch Louhi. After deliberately marrying and accidentally killing all of Louhi's daughters, she gets a bit miffed and steals the sun in revenge. Then (because Elias Lönnrot is a Christian of course), Jesus turns up, the old heroes fade away, and everyone lives happily ever after (apart from having to live in Finland of course).

Recent studies of Finnish and Scandinavian history and linguistics are suggesting that the legends of Kalevala might be true (to some point at least) and Väinämöinen has been the king of Finland and Scandinavia.

And the history that has been taught so far is due to the lame Swedes who were the ruling class in Finland back a century or two ago. They rewrote history so that it would favour them and Finns would feel dumb and wouldn't rise against them.

See http://home.talkcity.com/LibraryDr/jumala/ENGLISH.HTM for more info.

The recently released National Geographic DVD special on the movie Fellowship of the Ring shows evidence that the Kalevala greatly influenced J.R.R. Tolkien's writtings about Middle-Earth. It seems Tolkien was fascinated by the Kalevala during university and many of the finnish myths have significant equivalence on Tolkien's ficcional myths.

On the DVD, they show the last elder who remembers most of the Kalevala by heart and the village that kept the legend alive for centuries. It quite interesting, as it seems the finnish tales were greatly responsible for the elvish culture, looks and songs. The DVD comes in the killer set of the extended version of the movie (and before anyone asks, I'm not in any way financially involved with New Line Cinema nor Peter Jackson).

Much more info on this @ The Mythological Origins of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.