On The Shelf: The Story of Kullervo an unfinished story by J.R.R. Tolkien set to be released in 2015

Kullervo is an ill-fated character from the Finnish Kalevala epic. Kullervo is the only tragic character in Finnish mythology. Kullervo was the son of Kalervo. He survived a massacre of his tribe and was raised by his enemy Untamo’s tribe. Kullervo grew up thinking his family was dead, amongst people who hated him and whom he did not trust, knowing that they were his people’s murderers.

Tolkien began writing the story in 1914 while studying English Language and Literature at Exeter College, Oxford, but was not completed, but Tolkien himself stated that it was this story that helped him arrive at Middle Earth.

In Tolkien’s view Kullervo is that he is “brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates.”

The incomplete manuscript will be published, alongside additional notes by Tolkien and other material placing it into historical context in the U.K. Aug. 27, 2015 ahead of a U.S. release of Oct. 27, 2015.

Tolkein & Kullervo

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