Olympus: Green Screen, Red Corn Syrup, And Blue Feet

Hey, did you know Syfy has a new drama set in mythological Greece? No? Me neither, until my parents texted me while they were watching WWE on Thursday night and said I’d probably like this Olympus show that’s coming on afterward. I’m glad they did, because I had a great time watching the pilot, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

This post’s title is an accurate description of the show’s production value. (As an indie author, I know all too well how much people LOVE sinking money into weird Greek mythology adaptations.) It’s tempting to throw Olympus into the “so bad it’s good” category, where I lovingly store many of my favorites, but the female lead and the villainess make this show unironically fun to watch. olympus The Oracle of Gaia, played by Sonya Cassidy (whom BBC fans may recognize as Clara from The Paradise), has divine visions that don’t always come when she needs them to, so she’s learned to appease her petitioners by becoming a master of deduction. This, imo, should be the entire premise of the show. I have dubbed The Oracle #GreekSherlock. She’s resourceful, rational, dramatic, and prone to complicated schemes that can snowball into something way more complicated than she foresaw (damn uncontrollable visions).

And somehow, #GreekSherlock is not our designated hero. That role falls to our male lead known only as Hero – or Mercenary, or You There, or whatever the other characters decide to call him, since saying his name aloud will turn the speaker to stone. He has an intricate backstory that literally makes him the MacGuffin. He gets his feet painted blue for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear to me. He’s a valiant warrior who can kill people with rope. Ultimately, though, he’s there to be eye candy (a role newcomer Tom York fills quite well) while #GreekSherlock steals the show. So basically he’s a Moffat woman.

But the biggest show-stealer of them all is Olympus‘ Big Bad, Medea (played by Sonita Henry). She’s resourceful, rational, dramatic, and prone to complicated schemes that she’s usually completely on top of unless Fate throws her for a loop. As the evil personality counterpoint to #GreekSherlock, I have dubbed her #GreekMoriarty. (Except Hero is her ostensible nemesis, so I have no idea if she and #GreekSherlock will ever officially acknowledge each other.) Medea’s portrayal goes beyond pure camp, although there’s plenty of that. She comes across as clever, in control, and legitimately dangerous. And (SPOILER?) it looks like she has designs on goddesshood. I sort of want to see that.

I think there were a bunch of other people, too. But as far as I was concerned, it was all about #GreekSherlock and #GreekMoriarty.

So, anyway, if you’re looking for Game of Greek Thrones, you’re not going to find it here, but if you miss Xena and Hercules, you’ll have as much fun with Olympus as I did. Check it out on Syfy on Thursday nights at 10/9 Central, or stream full episodes here.

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Thalia’s Musings 3 is here!

The first chapter of Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings, Volume Three) is online at ThaliasMusingsNovels.com!

Unraveled (Thalia's Musings, Volume Three)
Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings, Volume Three)

I’ll be posting a new chapter every Monday for the next seventeen weeks. This blog will keep the same format and content – weekly posts with geeky pop culture fangirling reviews and the occasional commentary on current events. I’ll also be doing short posts like this one linking to the latest Thalia’s Musings chapter every Friday. That way subscribers to this blog will still get updates on the series, but subscribing to Thalia’s Musings is the only way to get updates as soon as the chapters go online.

Miss my usual media review content? Click here for a review I posted yesterday on Royal, the latest book in Anthea Sharp’s Feyland universe.

I can haz title?

It’s official! The title for the third volume of Thalia’s Musings is….

Unraveled (Thalia's Musings, Volume Three)
Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings, Volume Three)

Cover image coming soon!

First Official Teaser for Thalia’s Musings 3

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, you might already know that I finished the rough draft of Thalia’s Musings 3 on Friday! Now it’s on to the rewrites and beta. Here’s a teaser to tide you over for now:

It’s been two years since Thalia last heard from the Fates. She has a new mission from Athena: keep Beroe, daughter of Adonis and Aphrodite, alive. Poseidon wants to make Beroe his new queen and use her as leverage to gain a seat at Zeus’ court. Dionysus wants to marry Beroe and give her a life of hedonistic bliss in his forest. Beroe wants to battle for her own hand and join Artemis’ hunters. And Zeus wants Beroe out of the way because she holds the memories of the dead and claims she’s seen him kill Hera.

All the more reason for Thalia to keep a secret she’s discovered: Hera’s in love. With the mortal King Ixion. And they may have been set up by Athena.

Can Thalia save the people she cares about from becoming collateral damage in Athena’s revolution? Will the revolution succeed before everything comes unraveled?

Believe it or not, Beroe (whose name rhymes with Carraway) is not a popular subject in the art world, at least according to my internet searches. I’d think more people would want to draw, paint, or sculpt Aphrodite and Adonis’ daughter. Anyway, here’s an image of how I’ve cast Beroe and her parents in my head.

Aphrodite, Adonis, and Beroe, played by Christina Hendricks, Chord Overstreet, and Katee Sackhoff in my delusional mind

 

I’ll be announcing an official title by the end of the month, so keep watching for more updates!

[Cross-posted from ThaliasMusingsNovels.com]

Thug Notes Be All Up In Y’alls Librizzle. Word.

Yo. This here Sparky Sweets, PhD. Join me as I drop some of da illest classical literature summary and analysis that yo ass ever heard. Educate yo self, son.

~ Thug Notes Facebook Page

Gentle readers, this week it is my pleasure to introduce to you a charming and insightful program devoted to bringing classic literature to the masses, aptly entitled Thug Notes.

Promo for review of The Hobbit. Image via Facebook.

Each episode of this webseries opens with a stately, elegant theme reminiscent of Masterpiece Theater. We join Sparky Sweets, PhD (played by co-writer Greg Edwards) in an elegant library filled with timeless literary classics. In the first half of the episode, Dr. Sweets summarizes the selected volume for his gentle viewers. In the second half, he delivers a brief yet impressively thorough analysis of the book’s themes and literary background, highlighting key quotes from the book and sometimes its literary influences onscreen. All of this is accompanied by delightful stick figure composite animated illustrations. The highlight, of course, is that with the exception of verbatim quotes, Dr, Sweets’ reviews are conducted entirely in the vernacular commonly associated with organized crime in urban America, i.e. “gangsta.”

Selected volumes may include  classic fantasy like The Hobbit, in which dwarves enlist the aid of Bilbo Baggins because “some dragon be shackin’ on their turf,”

Greek epics like Homer’s Odyssey, in which “[Bleep] be gettin’ real up in the kingdom of Ithica,”

Or even romances like Pride and Prejudice, in which Dr. Sweets says of Mrs. Bennet, “I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but Bingley sure as hell ain’t no broke [bleep].”

You may recall me mentioning that the stereotyping of persons of Latin American ancestry as “thug” or “ghetto” is a cause of exceeding great displeasure to me. Such stereotyping is no less displeasing when applied to Americans of African ancestry. However, when a negative stereotype is satirized and subverted by a skilled comedian, that is quite another matter. Edwards and his co-writers are evidently people of excellent intellect, education, and refinement, a fact made all the more prominent by Sweets’ exaggerated thuggish persona. While the language and at times the subject matter of these reviews are unsuited for the workplace, Thug Notes are a worthy pursuit if one wishes to combine education with entertainment. Click here to peruse them at your leisure.

Adonis Is Risen

So, it’s Easter week, or Holy Week as it’s called in many Christian denominations. Some variation of “Christ is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” is a common greeting throughout the Christian world around this time of year. But did you know celebrating the death and resurrection of a young deity killed in his prime is a spring custom that predates Christianity? Centuries before Jesus was born, people were celebrating this time of year by proclaiming, “The lord is risen!”

Or, if you skip translating the deity’s name, “Adonis is risen.”

In his 1922 volume The Golden Bough, Sir James George Frazer writes:

When we reflect how often the Church has skilfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis, which, as we have seen reason to believe, was celebrated in Syria at the same season. The type, created by Greek artists, of the sorrowful goddess with her dying lover in her arms, resembles and may have been the model of the Pietà of Christian art, the Virgin with the dead body of her divine Son in her lap, of which the most celebrated example is the one by Michael Angelo in St. Peters. That noble group, in which the living sorrow of the mother contrasts so wonderfully with the languor of death in the son, is one of the finest compositions in marble. Ancient Greek art has bequeathed to us few works so beautiful, and none so pathetic.

Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Image via Wikipedia.

Remember the scene in Snarled Threads where (SPOILERS!) Persephone is cradling Adonis on the barge? Michelangelo’s Pieta was the image in my head when I wrote it. Though hopefully it goes without saying that Thalia’s Musings isn’t a Gospel allegory, and that my Adonis is not Jesus. 😛

But it is fascinating to me how Christianity co-opted so much of the Adonis story and rites into the Easter story and rites when, other than being killed at a young age, Jesus and Adonis didn’t have that much in common. Well, that and geography. Frazer continues:

In this connexion a well-known statement of Jerome may not be without significance. He tells us that Bethlehem, the traditionary birthplace of the Lord, was shaded by a grove of that still older Syrian Lord, Adonis, and that where the infant Jesus had wept, the lover of Venus was bewailed. Though he does not expressly say so, Jerome seems to have thought that the grove of Adonis had been planted by the heathen after the birth of Christ for the purpose of defiling the sacred spot. In this he may have been mistaken. If Adonis was indeed, as I have argued, the spirit of the corn, a more suitable name for his dwelling-place could hardly be found than Bethlehem, “the House of Bread,” and he may well have been worshipped there at his House of Bread long ages before the birth of Him who said, “I am the bread of life.”

And then there’s the heralded by a star in the East thing:

But the star which the people of Antioch saluted at the festival was seen in the East; therefore, if it was indeed Venus, it can only have been the Morning Star. At Aphaca in Syria, where there was a famous temple of Astarte, the signal for the celebration of the rites was apparently given by the flashing of a meteor, which on a certain day fell like a star from the top of Mount Lebanon into the river Adonis. The meteor was thought to be Astarte herself, and its flight through the air might naturally be interpreted as the descent of the amorous goddess to the arms of her lover. At Antioch and elsewhere the appearance of the Morning Star on the day of the festival may in like manner have been hailed as the coming of the goddess of love to wake her dead leman from his earthy bed. If that were so, we may surmise that it was the Morning Star which guided the wise men of the East to Bethlehem, the hallowed spot which heard, in the language of Jerome, the weeping of the infant Christ and the lament for Adonis. 

Astarte is an early Mesopotamian fertility goddess. Aphrodite is thought to be her Greek counterpart, with Venus, of course, as the Roman reboot. Other variations on Astarte’s archetype include Ishtar and Eostre. Can you guess which major Christian holiday derives its name from theirs?

Halloween. Duh. (Image by deviantART user Steph-Laberis)

My intent here isn’t to ruin Easter for anyone. And I’m certainly not trying to make the point that the Gospel is BS because it’s one more retelling of stories humans have been telling as long as we’ve existed. On the contrary, I think the fact that every civilization has basically told their own variation of the same stories makes those stories that much more significant and that much more real. Whether or not they’re derived from events that literally, historically happened, they’re about True things. Solstices, equinoxes, plantings, harvests, the phases of the moon, the path of the stars; there’s an innate beauty and power to these cycles. That’s what Myth is, not a mere synonym for “fallacy”. Myth is taking the beauty and power of these cycles and turning it into Story.

Whatever stories you’re celebrating this week, may your celebration be a good one!

 

A Thalia’s Musings Christmas Carol

“Why did I have to take a stupid sleeping potion before the most annoying dream ever?” I groaned.

“The night is only beginning,” said Adonis. “Tonight, you will be visited by the Three Fates.”

“Of course I will,” I said. “Haven’t heard from them in a few months, so I’m sure they’re getting bored.”

“Heed their warnings,” said Adonis. “It will serve you well in the future.”

“I feel an ad hominem attack coming on,” I said.

~ A Cronia Carol (Thalia’s Musings)

Merry Christmas! Click here to read the all-new Thalia’s Musings bonus chapter, set a few months after the end of Snarled Threads. Fates bless us, every one!

thalias_musings_logo

Goodbye, Persephone; hello, blog

The Autumnal Equinox has passed, summer is gone, and I owe my readers a few updates.

“Persephone” ©2008-2013 ~freethinker86

Remember that webseries I write? The one that has two published volumes and that I said would eventually have four? Well, believe it or not, I am still working on Volume 3 and have been all year. Right now my sandpaper draft (the roughest of the rough) is five chapters long and has about eleven to go. I don’t blog much about my health and probably never will, but suffice it to say, the last year has been insane in that respect. Crossing my fingers for a better season ahead and more energy to write.

I have managed to expand my social media presence a bit over the summer. In addition to Twitter, FacebookDeviantART, and Goodreads, I now have accounts on Tumblr and Google+, and a Pinterest board for Thalia’s Musings. The pinboard has a few teasers for Volume 3. No, I won’t tell you which ones they are or what they mean.

Thalia’s Musings is slowly gaining visibility in the blogosphere. Marie Erving, who’s reviewed the series before, has it listed in her blog’s very selective Recommendation tab. Last week, Cover Host, a blog dedicated to showcasing noteworthy indie book covers, included A Snag in the Tapestry in its “Thank Gods it’s Friday” roundup.

And that’s all the news I can think of for now. Happy Fall!