Kaleva Men Picture

Nordic mythology.

Tl;dr follows.

Lemminkäinen/Logi you've seen before. Oldtimer's his brother Väinämöinen, known in the Norse sagas as Ægir, Hlér or Gymir. While I attempted to retain some characteristics of Gallen-Kallela's representation of him (f.ex. [link] and [link]), I wanted to give him some of the Jotun fierceness and stateliness as the king of the sea. He has his kantele made from the jawbone of the monsterfish and the sword forged by his brother Ilmarinen (Kári in the Norse myths), whilst the frame is yoinked again from my stereotypical monstermen. I'll settle for 10-12 feet with these guys.

I often use the 'empty eyes' with wizards or ghosts. Väinämöinen's one of the previous, a powerful one, who uses his mightful voice to sing incantations (magic singing is an essential part of Finnish myths/shamanism). It seems both Tolkien's Gandalf and Saruman have traits borrowed from him. Tolkien was a great fan of Finnish mythology, and often took direct influences from it.

Along with being the king of the (Baltic) sea, Väinämöinen's the god of poetry and songs. He's known in the Estonian giant legend Kalevipoeg as Vanemuine. There's also an interesting connection to Beowulf. The hero's father Ecgþeow belongs to the clan of the Wægmundings. The name is astonishingly close to Väinämöinen (g is spelled like the English 'y' ), and chronicles handling the pseudo-mythology of Finno-Scandia (like Gesta Danorum) know a character called Egther the Finn, king of Bjarmaland. I'm not the only one who's been wondering whether Beowulf as a pseudo-mythological character might've come from the clan of Väinämöinen. = P These names are so widely known in the old chronicles and mythology that there is likely a real basis to them, even if they hardly were gods or giants living for hundreds of years in their time. = P

Meh, Lemminkäinen's always a tricky case. How are you supposed to design someone who's the god of love, fire, and magic, and a randy giant at the same time?
Continue Reading: The Myths