“Shows how Finnish mythology and folk tales were instrumental to how Tolkien created his own legendarium.”— Boston Globe Kullervo, son of Kalervo, is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. “Hapless Kullervo,” as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny. Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and tried three times to kill him when he was still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanōna, and the magical powers of the black dog Musti, who guards him. 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 cruelest of fates. Tolkien himself said that The Story of Kullervo was “the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own,” and was “a major matter in the legends of the First Age.” Tolkien’s Kullervo is the clear ancestor of Túrin Turambar, the tragic incestuous hero of The Silmarillion. Published with the author’s drafts, notes, and lecture essays on its source work, the Kalevala, The Story of Kullervo is a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien’s invented world. “A fascinating read.”—NPR
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
Date of Birth:January 3, 1892
Date of Death:September 2, 1973
Place of Birth:Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)
Place of Death:Oxford, England
Education:B.A., Exeter College, Oxford University, 1915; M.A., 1919
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you are looking for a read similar to 'The Hobbit' or 'The Lord of the Rings', this is not the story for you. That said, 'The Story of Kullervo' is interesting if you can ignore the sometimes confusing edits and multiple names for single characters. 'The Story of Kullervo' is one of Tolkien's earliest works...and you can tell. The editors' note in the beginning suggests that Kullervo is intended to fit inside the epic of Middle-Earth, but it really seams that Tolkien was writing this story without fulling forming the idea of Middle-Earth. However, the great thing about this read is that you can tell that some of the greatest elements of Tolkien's work are about to be born. The thick forests, strange elvish names, dark sorcery, unique creatures and fantasy themes all add up to still thrilling and epic story. Unlike any of Tolkien's other works, 'The Story of Kullervo', reaches new themes that would never be addressed in 'The Hobbit' or others. Kullervo is a tragic and precise example of the long term effects of child abuse. Without giving away too much, Kullervo carries out some despicable things, but as a reader it is hard to not still be rooting for him. All in all, 'The Story of Kullervo' is worth reading AS LONG as you don't worry to much about how the story fits into Middle-Earth and you aren't expecting a carbon copy of 'The Hobbit', 'Lord of the Rings', or 'The Silmarillion.'
I treasure every Tolkien book I own, but not this one. After having it five minutes in my hands, I noticed that of the 168 pages, only 35 were "The Story of Kullervo". I was slightly disappointed, but having even a short Tolkien story was exciting. But it turned out not to be a complete story, just an unfinished one with some notes about how it shall end. I loved Tolkien's "Unfinished Tales", but this was just an adaptation that Tolkien made of a Finnish epic poem. And what's more the character was not "complex" as told in the foreword of the book, but was simply cruel and mean. The book is hard to read as the names change all the time, and looks like a draft that Tolkien did not revise. So, to sum up, this is a book written by Verlyn Flieger with the analysis and comments of the unfinished Story of Kullervo, a draft of Tolkien's adaptation of a Finnish epic poem. I feel cheated.
As with his other works, Tolkien has a way with words. You can see how this poem inspired some of his characters