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Elric and Turin... and Kullervo?

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  • Elric and Turin... and Kullervo?

    This came up in the Epic Pooh discussion over on Enworld, so I thought I'd raise it here.

    Mike, have you read the Silmarillion by Tolkien at all? There is a character called Turin who is a doomed hero with a seemingly sentient black sword, who inadvertently kills close friends. At the end of his life, Turin asks the sword to take his life and the blade replies that it would do so gladly - at which Turin promptly impales himself upon it.

    The Silmarillion didn't come out until 11 years after Stormbringer, but the parallels are nevertheless interesting. A note on the oh-so-reliable Wikipedia suggests that both characters might have been inspired by Kullervo of Finnish myth (possibly through Poul Anderson's Broken Sword). What do you make of this? Were you drawing on the Kullervo myth at all when devising the Elric saga, or is it a case of parallel development, as so often happens?

    Edit: I found another thread about this from a couple of years ago: http://www.multiverse.org/fora/showthread.php?t=1102. Looks like most of the questions have been answered there already. Note to self: search before posting...
    Last edited by Kamelion; 09-21-2006, 03:22 AM.
    The name that can be named is not the true name.

  • #2
    It's good to be reminded about Kullervo. I looked into it a bit some years back, after reading a previous thread, and read The Broken Sword (highly recommended).

    But I never did read any actual Kullervo story, so I may dig around some more now.

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    • #3
      In addition to The Broken Sword, I can also recommend Poul Anderson's Hrolf Kraki's Saga. I bought it back in the 70's so don't know if it's still in print.
      Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

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      • #4
        Thanks for the tip Silverhand. Also did you know of a saga called Styrbjorn the Strong by E R Eddison?

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        • #5
          Sorry I came to answer this late. As many know, my email's been out of commission since I changed addresses in France and I've had very little opportunity to visit this site.
          No, I wasn't familiar with either The Silmarillion or the Kullervo myth, but I do believe that writers (myth makers) often do come up with the same ideas, that there's a resonance in us all which finds expression in certain ideas and images. Of course, I hadn't read Lord of the Rings when I started writing fantasy, either, but I had read some of the same myths and legends and, for that matter, some of the same fiction as Tolkien. I'd also seen The Wizard of Oz, which I believe to be a fairly important influence on LOTR!

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          • #6
            Insteresting question

            Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
            (snip)
            No, I wasn't familiar with either The Silmarillion or the Kullervo myth, but I do believe that writers (myth makers) often do come up with the same ideas, that there's a resonance in us all which finds expression in certain ideas and images. Of course, I hadn't read Lord of the Rings when I started writing fantasy, either, but I had read some of the same myths and legends and, for that matter, some of the same fiction as Tolkien. I'd also seen The Wizard of Oz, which I believe to be a fairly important influence on LOTR!
            I was under the impression that the word "eldren" in "The Eternal Champion" was a quasi-copy, a calque if you like, into the world of the Multiverse, of Tolkien's "eldar", referring to the same style of entity - an "eldritch" race dimly/distantly related to humanity and capable of interbreeding with it - or at least of sexually interacting with it -, with "powers" of unknown potency.

            So I've been wrong all along. What is the origin of the word "eldren"?
            sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

            Gold is the power of a man with a man
            And incense the power of man with God
            But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
            And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

            Nativity,
            by Peter Cape

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            • #7
              Eldren appears to me to be an amalgam of elder and children. Regardless, it's a wonderful sounding word.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by spaceranger View Post
                Eldren appears to me to be an amalgam of elder and children. Regardless, it's a wonderful sounding word.
                While a nice thought, I'd likely go with the simpler explanation of Elder pluralised using 'en', which used to be the thing to do (and still is in German): 'Oxen' and 'Children' being two examples still in common English usage.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rothgo View Post
                  While a nice thought, I'd likely go with the simpler explanation of Elder pluralised using 'en', which used to be the thing to do (and still is in German): 'Oxen' and 'Children' being two examples still in common English usage.
                  Aha! That makes sense. So can we then blame the Welsh for goose/geese?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by spaceranger View Post
                    Aha! That makes sense. So can we then blame the Welsh for goose/geese?
                    The Welsh?
                    (Or do they get blamed for too much already?)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nathaniel View Post
                      The Welsh?
                      (Or do they get blamed for too much already?)
                      I have no idea about that, I just know that using lenition to pluralize a singular word is a part of Welsh grammar. I wasn't sure if the lenition in English came from Welsh or from another of the languages influencing modern English. I had meant for the comment to be something of a joke, anyway, as it's really not on-topic (apologies to the OP).

                      Back on topic, or at least a step that way, it's fascinating to realize that there were umpteen variations on the "important-person-discovered-as-baby-in-some-basket-or-somesuch-tossed-about-by-the-water" myth, and any number of other significant mythological tropes, all around the world, in cultures that should have never, ever had any contact at all.

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                      • #12
                        Back on topic, or at least a step that way, it's fascinating to realize that there were umpteen variations on the "important-person-discovered-as-baby-in-some-basket-or-somesuch-tossed-about-by-the-water" myth, and any number of other significant mythological tropes, all around the world, in cultures that should have never, ever had any contact at all.
                        This is something I find fascinating as well. Of course there is the theory that we share a greater collective body of folklore and myth that transcends the younger cultural based folklore and myth that we're more familiar with. Some believe that many of the concepts date well into prehistoric, shamanistic times.

                        I'm sure most here are aware of this but I still find it intriguing.

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