Friday, 27 July 2012

Stories: Gryla, the Icelandic Monster

In my sketchbook, I wrote briefly about Gryla and Leppaludi.

This research started off with a tale I heard from a character say in 'Criminal Minds'. 'Dr Spencer Reid' mentions of an 'evil santa being' that basically climbs down chimneys and eats children, rather than bestowing gifts.
I've tried to find this tale that he mentions of, but was unable to find a shred. Instead I kept coming across B moveies about evil santas.
Eventually, after strolling through google, I finally came across something that sounded equally interesting:

Gryla and Leppaludi:
The story of these characters originates from Iceland, however, it is said it derived from Norway, as settlers from there made homage in Iceland:

[The following quote/s have been translated from Icelandic to English with Google translate.]
'No one knows what Bugatti is originated, but it is first mentioned in the Prose Edda, 13 century, indicating that because it came with settlers from Norway to Iceland.' [link]

Gryla and Leppaludi are depicted as a pair/couple, that steal and eat children who have been naughty at Christmas.

'Without a doubt, the most hideous ogres that ever existed in Iceland are the Yule Lads' parents – particularly their mother, Grýla. Not only are they descended from trolls, they also present an overwhelming threat to children.'
'To this day they are used to frighten children, and those children know as well as they ever did that Grýla likes nothing better than feasting on naughty children.'  [link]


The two are described as humanoid-like beings, that descend from ogers/trolls.
Some of the tales about the two vary in difference:

'Grýla has three heads and three eyes in each head ... Horribly long, curved fingernails, icy blue eyes at the back of the head and horns like a goat, her ears dangle down to her shoulders and are attached to the nose in front. She has a beard on her chin that is like knotted yarn on a weave with tangles hanging from it, while her teeth are like burnt rocks in a grate.' [link]

[The following quote/s have been translated from Icelandic to English with Google translate.]
'Bugatti has the old stories either three or hausa hausa three hundred and three eyes in each head. It has also been said that it is a fifteen-tail and tail every hundred balloons, and each made twenty naughty children. It is disgusting claws, horns like a goat hooves on their feet, six ears and teeth as Ovenbaked rocks!'
'Bugatti was one old witch; she tvígift. First her husband was bull.'
'Bugatti is ævagömul. It is mentioned among the trolls of women in the mantra Prose Edda.'
She is gray and Gugga, with claws and hooves, Hornos, large mouth and teeth. All her senses are things too wonderful, she has eyes in the back of the head and ears into the shoulders, the nose is hlykkjótt far. Their eyes glow from the fire and know it is helblá steam. [link]

I think the quote saying 'a fifteen-tail and tail every hundred balloons' means that Gryla had 15 tails and on each tail, there was a 100 bags, all of which had children inside, as this quote will also say:

'In a verse from Sturlunga saga, Grýla is described as a monster with 15 tails. A similar description may be found in a poem from the 16th Century; however, that version takes the description further by claiming that each tail contains 100 sacks, and each of those sacks 20  children.' [link]

Although I imagine Gryla's depiction in text monstrously rich, when you see the illustrations  of her, she doesn't appear to look more than an evil witch or old granny. Mostly, she is just depicted as a giant with a bag, hauling in her 'dinner'.
What I also find a little odd, is that for a tale this rich and well known in Iceland, how is it that it is not commonly known elsewhere? It sounds brilliant! - Like something from the BFG [Big Friendly Giant, Ronald Dahl].

Gryla is often referred to by two other names: Bugatti and Godzilla.

Above: Images of Gryla, chasing and snatching naughty children.

[The following quote/s have been translated from Icelandic to English with Google translate.]
'Among other local Christmas moisture is the most famous Bugatti flagðið it is mentioned in the Prose Edda and Sturlunga. Bugatti has traditionally played an important role in child rearing, as her favorite food is meat of wicked children.'

'Bugatti and Leppalúði are old Folklore and much folklore associated with Christmas in Iceland.'
'She appears around Christmas and ate naughty children with the best appetite, though, is not known what she did to the livelihood of other seasons. Bugatti had done nothing with the children if they were good and docile.' [link]

Yule Cat:
It is also said that they have a cat called 'The Yule Cat'. The belief of this story was that if you did not receive any clothes near christmas, the Yule Cat would come to eat you.

'The Yule Cat is yet another Icelandic Christmas fiend. Some say it is the house cat of Grýla and Leppalúði and that it lives with them in their cave.'
'The Icelanders also refer to it as að fara í Jólaköttinn, literally “to end up in the Yule Cat”, the common interpretation being that the Yule Cat will eat those who do not receive any new clothing at Christmas.' [link]

[The following quote/s have been translated from Icelandic to English with Google translate.]
'Cat lived with Godzilla and Leppalúði and had the lead a habit to eat those not receiving new clothes for Christmas.' [link]

'Gryla og Leppaludi'

This video appears to be a school Christmas play, most likely held in Iceland. It shows what I believe to be Gryla, Leppaludi and the Yule cat, coming to visit the children and check 'who's been naughty or nice'.
Overall, I really like this tale! I would like to do something with this visually, like retell the story perhaps in an animatic, like in Katy Towell's style a little.
There are many descriptions of the characters, so it makes this widely open for individual visual interpretation.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Summer Brief: What should my research be about?

A month ago, I went back into my college to get my summer brief. I was told it could be based on anything as long as I could generate a fair amount of research from it. I've thought it over for a while and have decided to base it on stories, myths and legends.

Starting Point:

Now for the hard work to begin. 
The screen shot above is about a fairy tale article from Deviant Art (this is posted on my second blog).
I think it is something I can use or at least look through as a start for my sketchbook research.
It's like an article/debate about the authors of fabled tales of old and how they've influenced, effected the imagination of the generations, etc.

Monster High

About a week ago, I messaged someone called Wendy Sullivan on Deviant Art. 
When she is not generating freelance work, she works on 'Monster High' episodes like this below: 

For me 2D animation and Halloween-ish things are some of my favorite things. So when I saw this I wanted to know how it was created.
Messaging her, I asked if there was any 'making of's or animatics I could find to see any of the processes the episodes undergo. 
A few days later, Wendy wrote back to me. Unfortunately, she said there wasn't anything like that available on the web, but she told me some of the other things they do with the episodes: