Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

All night lj: Finland, Finland, Finland

Not surprisingly, some of you have asked Finland-related questions. One of you wanted to know why Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen were so interesting. Frankly, they're not. Väinämöinen especially is not the reason I became so enamored of the Kalevala. I think he's kind of a jerk. He's the mode of "hero" that means "main character," not "admirable person" in any way. There's sort of the Rumpelstiltskin thing going: the bad character is bad for wanting to have what the "hero" promised her. I like Ilmarinen a bit better than Väinämöinen, since he's a smith-hero, and there's some affinity there with Edward, my engineer-hero.

So there were a couple of things that caught me about the Kalevala that weren't Väinämöinen or Ilmarinen. One is that some of the passages are very funny indeed, and in a dry way that hits me just right. (I was reiterating on the phone to Daniel a few minutes ago that it's not that my chosen Minneapolis subculture is objectively better than my equivalent San Francisco subculture, it's that it's more suited to me personally. This is a bit like that.) Another is that there are all sorts of loose ends hanging around, many of them to do with women. I have the sense that Lönnrot did not see them as loose ends ("She's turned into a fish, what more do you want?"), but some of the male characters aren't even done when they've been killed by being chopped into teeny bloody pieces, so being a trout for awhile does not look to me like much of a crimp in a girl's style.

(My most-often-triggered Kalevala gripe is about people who want to treat the Kalevala as though it was hanging around whole cloth in Folk Tradition and was merely transcribed by Elias Lönnrot. Nonsense. Lönnrot drew on folk traditions like crazy, to be sure, but he pruned and ordered and edited and commented all over the place. He was, in fact, its author.)

Anyway. The loose bits of the Kalevala snag pretty easily for me. It is crafty. It is filled with magical stuff made by people. The magical stuff isn't just delivered from afar or passed out by spirits. It's forged and sung and painted and all sorts of things. And not in a grandiose work of art sense, where only the author's chosen types of humanity survive and thrive and people make a big stink about how artistic they are. There are magic fishing nets and cooking pots and metal women and who-knows-whats. And I kind of like that kind of magic stuff. It pokes good places in my brain.

(I have hit the punch-drunk stage of The Tired, again. ksumnersmith nearly made me aspirate tortilla by noting that on the drive down to the clinic, one arm could be markgritter's pokin' arm. I also feel cruddy, but I don't care as much as I did half an hour ago.)

Also, not entirely related, I really love "Finlandia." It cracks me up or chokes me up or sometimes both, depending on my mood: "But other lands have sunlight too, and clover, And skies are ev'rywhere as blue as mine." Yah, like that.
Tags: sisu has no bang, stupid vertigo
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