如今，重写古希腊神话以使其更容易被人接受似乎是一个永恒的主题。Right now, the most popular retelling of ancient Greek mythology is Rick Riordan’sPercy Jackson, which was a smash hit in the early 2000s and by all accounts, not a terrible modernization of a convoluted web of ancient stories, made suitable and engaging for a younger audience. I haven’t read them in a while, but I definitely recall that Riordan’s stories drew strongly from Ovid’sMetamorphosis这是可以理解的，因为奥维德的作品是一本单独的书，而不是一堆零散的故事。这并不是对赖尔登故事的批评，更多的是一种观察。毕竟，仅仅考虑到希腊神话的范围和广度，研究这个主题并不是一件简单的事情，但这可能是这本书对讲故事的人如此有吸引力的部分原因，他们不断地回到它。
There are infinite ways that storytellers can rearrange the fragments of Greek mythology we have, and this is exactly what Rachel Smythe did withLore Olympus.
So, About That Persephone
Still, this singular story functionally lampooned Hades’ reputation among modern audiences, which was only further worsened by viewing the Greek pantheon through a Christian lens that crammed Hades into the role of Satan analog. A rather unfair treatment, in my opinion, given that Hades is one of the less “problematic” members of the pantheon.
Suffice to say, Smythe had her work cut out for her with this story alone, but she handled it quite well, all things considered.
Writing a relationship between a god who had canonically existed for millennia and a canonically newer goddess, for one, is a challenge. This fact alone would have had some audiences up in arms if it were a modern story, but Smythe doesn’t leave the considerable age, experience, and power gap between Hades and Persephone unaddressed.
He is a dork, your honor.
最终，考虑到故事的核心是哈迪斯和珀尔塞福涅最终在一起，我们并没有做太多的事情，但很高兴看到年龄和经验的差距在几个章节中被明确指出。此外，哈迪斯试图注意他随身携带的权力和重量，而珀尔塞福涅在更广泛的社会范围内几乎没有。在他们的关系方面——这是一个复杂的混乱的相互渴望的时刻——珀尔塞福涅是一个设定节奏的人，而哈迪斯尽他最大的努力跟随它并尊重她的界限，尽管他自己明显迷恋她。如果这是在最初的故事中设定的(如果他真的是万神殿中的任何其他神)，这将足以让他采取行动。很明显，哈迪斯对珀尔塞福涅的感情非常深，而且这种感情是相互的，但他们的关系非常甜蜜和关心。老实说，只要跟珀尔塞福涅扯上关系，哈迪斯就会变成一个大笨蛋，这真是太可爱了。这个男人显然被迷住了，珀尔塞福涅也被迷住了，但由于她年轻得多，经验也较少，她不知道如何应对这种强烈而突然的感情。 我是认真的，看看他。He’s head over heels and it’sadorable. They look out for each other and for their needs. As mentioned above, they’re also mindful of their positions in society. The primary cause for the “will they/won’t they” for the first part of the story is that a) Persephone is on scholarship from The Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood, which entails that she will eventually take a vow of chastity and become one of the virgin goddesses like Artemis, Athena, and Hestia, and b) there’s the matter of appearances as Persephone is a new-comer and an intern in the Underworld, and being in a committed relationship with Hades–an established and respected god who also happens to be her boss–would paint her as someone who “sleeps her way to the top” and gets special treatment. This second point is already a problem because Hades’ clear fondness for Persephone has embittered some individuals and in some waysis得到了特殊的待遇，她对哈迪斯的喜爱使她成为处女女神的计划成为问题。这可能会让她失去奖学金。 Most of the consequences wouldn’t really affect Hades, but part of what makes his relationship with Persephone so good is that he doesn’t care if it affects him or not; he cares that it affects Persephone because her position is a lot more precarious.
Ultimately, their relationship is the epitome of tender and respectful, and that is the crux of what makes it work.
Discussions on the Topic of Sexual Assault
Some pretty art before we get to the heavy stuff. This is Eros, by the way. He is the god of love and a total dork, but has a heart of pure gold. He makes some questionable choices at the start of the story, but he gets better.如果这个主题对读者有吸引力，请随意跳到下一个标题。Smythe还指出，在呈现任何潜在的触发内容之前，都要给它贴上标签，这样就可以避免故事中出现最糟糕的内容，但它永远不会出现在图像中。
It’s an unfortunate reality that sexual assault is part and parcel for Greek mythology. As I mentioned earlier, most inciting incidents and hero origin stories in the mythos involve Zeus putting his dick where he shouldn’t and then suddenly there are consequences (though usually not for him). Of course, it’s not just Zeus that does this. Many of the other gods do it as well and it’s not always consensual.
Gods like Apollo, who inLore Olympus, is cast in a rather unfavorable light that is in no way undeserved.
And most importantly, the severity of his misdeeds to Persephone are in no way minimized by the narrative.
我展示给你们看的这个场景是让厄洛斯成为故事中我最喜欢的角色之一的原因。斯迈思对性侵犯及其影响的描述是令人心痛的真实，呼应了无数人的故事，无论时代或性别，厄洛斯坚定不移地支持珀尔塞福涅，并肯定她没有做错，这是如此重要的一件事说。It would have been easy for Smythe to avoid the topic of sexual assault and rape in her story, but the fact that she not only included it, but made it a central element of Persephone’s story is admirable. It’s an ugly part of the mythos, but unfortunately a central one.
Smythe also doesn’t shy away from the trauma Persephone endures just being reminded of Apollo and what he did to her and the consequences it could have for her. After all, she’s a nobody goddess from the mortal world and Apollo is a respected and beloved Olympian. If she were to talk about it publicly, Persephone would be at a grotesque disadvantage. This dynamic is strongly reminiscent of the reality that was dragged to the light during the height of the publicization of the “Me Too” movement. Powerful men take advantage of those in a lower position than them, and their reputation and wealth shield them from accountability.
Furthermore, the way Apollo is portrayed, especially in his relationships to other characters who have relationships with Persephone is also important. Like the inclusion of the assault in the first place, it would have been easy to cast Apollo as a straight up monster, and a monster he is, but the way Smythe writes him, Apollo is a more human monster. He has a sister, Artemis, who loves him for all that he annoys her as siblings do. He’s friends and roommates with Hermes, who he clearly has a positive relationship with. Both Artemis and Hermes have a close friendship with Persephone and care deeply for her. However, as is an unfortunate reality, they remain largely unaware of just how badly Apollo wronged Persephone. They both can sense something is off, but their own, more favorable experiences with Apollo make it difficult for them to imagine that he would rape someone, let alone a mutual friend.
Subversions and Adaptation of Myth
Turning to lighter topics, for mythology nerds like me, picking out the threads of specific myths is part of the fun of consuming material based on mythology. I won’t claim that I’m an authority on the topic or know every single myth, but a lot of the elements ofLore Olympus虽然有一些不同，但要与原始材料相呼应。以下是我在阅读过程中挑选的一些神话和元素，以及关于斯迈思如何颠覆其中一些神话和元素的讨论。
The Olympian Family Tree
So, Smythe got creative by changing the story. Originally, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia were all siblings and children of Kronos and Rhea.
InLore Olympus, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia were created by Metis:While Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus were the sons of Kronos: Which handily deals with the matter of incest amongst the initial six deities and eliminates any familial relation Hades and Persephone had in the mythos in one stroke. This origin for Hera, Demeter, and Hestia also provides an in-story precedent for Persephone’s inLore Olympus因为她是得墨忒尔没有父亲的女儿，她的创造方法和梅蒂斯在故事中创造得墨忒尔的方法相同。 Of course, Metis and Zeus had a relationship in the mythology; Metis being the brains behind the plan to rescue Zeus’s siblings from Kronos’s stomach. Zeus then ate her while she was pregnant with Athena on Gaea’s warnings in order to subvert the cycle of usurpation, as Gaea prophesized that Metis would one day bear a son by Zeus that would overthrow him as he did to Kronos, and Kronos did to Ouranos. Given how Smythe has established a similar cycle but with fertility goddesses as the catalyst, while Zeus’s motives haven’t been clearly stated yet, I imagine that inLore Olympusthey were similar to the myth due to Metis being a fertility goddess in Smythe’s telling.
Eros & Psyche
The story of Eros and Psyche is a fairly well known one. I can’t really think of specific pieces of media that adapted the story, but I do see it referenced at the very least. Smythe included this myth in a way that I really enjoyed.In the story that I’m most familiar with, Psyche is a fairly passive character, constantly shuttled from one plot point to another and frequently pitied by those who witness her woes. Having Aphrodite disguise Psyche as a nymph rather than send her on a bunch of impossible tasks worked really well with this narrative. While Psyche still is passive in her own situation, in this way, she’s still included in the story proper and have her interact with the other characters without diverting too much narrative attention the way her mythological trials would have.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that in the story of Eros and Psyche—or at least the one that I’m familiar with—Persephone as Queen of the Underworld was an element of one of Psyche’s tasks. This wouldn’t work in this case because it would have needed Persephone to already be Queen of the Underworld and this story centers around how Persephone rose to that role.
Some Famous Nymphs
首先，有一个关于达芙妮的神话，她是一个水仙，不幸地引起了阿波罗的注意，当她不同意与阿波罗发展关系时，阿波罗一直追着她，直到她请求她的父亲，河神佩尼斯，把她变成一棵树，只是为了摆脱他。InLore Olympus, Psyche ended up feeding into by inadvertently revealing Apollo’s true nature to Daphne with one of Eros’s arrows of hate, causing the chase–which is canonical in some tellings as Apollo did garner Eros’s ire at some point prior. Another main difference in Smythe’s rendition is that Daphne didn’t die, she just went dormant for a while.
Sidebar, but, I’m really liking the budding romance between her and Thanatos that’s developing. I doubt that it’s myth-accurate, but it definitely fits for the story as they help to bring out the best in each other and actually seem to like each other. InLore Olympus, Apollo only shows interest in Daphne because she looks a lot like Persephone, and Thanatos ends up falling in with a bad crowd that only encourages his worse traits and doesn’t treat him well.
Honestly, as soon as Daphne was introduced, I knew she was going to get trouble from Apollo. Really, anyone familiar with the mythology would know that too, and I really like the direction Smythe took this otherwise flat character in by giving her depth and letting her grow as a person, and you know, actually have a personality. And she’s really freaking fun.Next is Echo, who is most famous for her pining crush on Narcissus, the man so vain he fell in love with his own reflection. In some stories, Echo also was an ally of Zeus’s, aiding him by distracting Hera so that he could go be horny in peace. When Hera found out about this ploy that Echo was party to, she cursed Echo to…well…echo. This made it that she could only repeat things that she had just heard, which made confessing her feelings to Narcissus pretty hard. Eventually, she wasted away to nothing but her voice and her curse, serving as the mythical explanation for echoes. As of writing this article, Echo hasn’t had much of a role yet, though she was assigned to Hera as an assistant by Zeus. Notably, she has a very keen eye and has presently endeared herself to Hera for her competence. I’m eager to see what will happen to her. Smythe has managed to subvert the tragic fates of nymphs somewhat–Daphne being a prime example of that–or take them in interesting directions, so I’m excited to see what direction she takes Echo’s story in.
Next, there’s Thetis, and boy, is she a character inLore Olympus.
在神话中，忒提斯最著名的是一个关于她的预言，她的儿子将比他的父亲更伟大。这导致她嫁给了凡人国王珀琉斯，生下了阿喀琉斯。她还负责将阿喀琉斯浸在冥河中，在一些传说中，这使他无懈可击，除了他脚跟被忒提斯抓住的地方，后来证明是他的致命伤。Smythe has Thetis as Zeus’s personal assistant and his most frequent extra-marital hook-up. It seems that the prophecy concerning Thetis has yet to be revealed as Zeus willingly and frequently consorts with her. Something he immediately avoided in the myth in order to once again avoid the threat of being overthrown as his father and grandfather were.
Thetis和Minthe也是朋友，但这并不是一段很好的友谊。他们的动态是相当有毒的，当Thetis开始觉得Minthe做得比她好时，Thetis经常鼓励Minthe的自我毁灭倾向。她阴险狡诈，在幕后操纵事情，让人们相互对立，只是试图让自己处于尽可能有利的位置。不管她是否要在这条路上击垮别人。或者，这样她就能击垮别人。Since the prophecy around Thetis and her future son is such a central part of her story in the mythos, it’s almost a guarantee that it will come up eventually. So, I’m very interested to see what Smythe does with that part and how–or if–she knocks this Queen of Mean off her throne.
Considering that in the mythology proper, it’s Themis, the titaness of justice who delivers the prophecy, needless to say, the payoff will besweet.
The Goddess of Discord
Thetis may be a pro at sowing discord, but Eris is not meant to be out-shined in her own domain.
Eris makes an appearance inLore Olympusafter being snubbed from a major gathering, which mirrors her most famous appearance in mythology in the story of Peleus and Thetis’s wedding. In that story, Eris hadn’t been invited for the reasoning that having the goddess of discord at a wedding would be a bad omen, but in retribution, Eris set off a chain of events that led to the onset of the Trojan War. Maleficent only wishes she had what Eris has.Smythe’s design for Eris is also really cool.
The Wrath of Demeter
The consequences of this transgression are somewhat predictable and expected, but the way Smythe translates this to have Persephone be the offended goddess and the consequences of it, is quite incredible as she foreshadows this critical moment from the very start of the story.
Zeus, King of the Gods (and One-Night Stands)
There’s also the matter of some of Zeus’s lovers. At this point, it’s unclear if Zeus fathered Hermes as he did in the myth, but with the brief appearance of Semele and the introduction of Leto, there’s still plenty of Zeus’s affair children rattling around regardless.For those who are unfamiliar, Semele, she is a mortal who in most tellings, is the mother of Dionysus. Aside from that, her only other claim to fame is being tricked by Hera into getting Zeus to reveal his true, godly form to her to prove his identity, which vaporized her instantly. She was already pregnant at the time, so Zeus saved Dionysus by sewing him into his…”leg” to finish growing. I put scare quotes there because “leg” often meant genitals, but that’s often how it’s told.
And then there’s Leto, who is a Titaness and as such is immortal, unlike poor Semele. She is the mother of Artemis and Apollo, the twin gods of the moon and sun. In the mythology, while she was pregnant with the twins, she was forbade by Hera to give birth on Olympus or any land under the sun. So, functionally, anywhere. Leto found a loophole in Delos, a patch of ground that wasn’t attached to the seafloor and thus didn’t count as land. It’s also said that Hera tried to prevent Leto from giving birth by keeping the goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia, on Olympus until Hera was persuaded or tricked into releasing her.
Lore Olympus, on the other hand, hasn’t necessarily mentioned anything like this as it actually is revealed that no one other than Leto herself knew that Artemis and Apollo were Zeus’s kids. Regardless, Hera cast Leto into a social exile after she discovered Leto’s affair with Zeus.
I’m definitely interested to see how many other affairs of Zeus’s feature inLore Olympus因为宙斯有很多这样的英雄，并衍生出了几个古典英雄的血统。现在，斯迈思似乎专注于宙斯的事务，那些产生虔诚后代的事务，但我很感兴趣的是，她是否会包括任何宙斯的凡人孩子。
An Older Myth Has Made an Appearance!
There’s even a reference to an older Persephone myth from Mycenean Greece—which is functionally the ancient Greece before ancient Greece—that has Poseidon and Demeter having a horse son. In the version of the myth that I know, at the time, Poseidon filled the role of head god and was a major chthonic deity—meaning that he dealt with a lot of underworld stuff—and shenanigans happened that resulted in Poseidon and Demeter having a horse child because both parties were horse-shaped at the time. Supposedly, this happened while Demeter was looking for Persephone.
According to some tellings, this intercourse between Poseidon and Demeter resulted in Arion, the fastest horse in the world.
It’s weird.But it was cool seeing this story referenced.
In doing some research for this article, I found that Minthe is actually a mythological figure, which I didn’t know. She’s a Naiad nymph of the Cocytus river—the River of Wailing in the Underworld—who consorted with Hades. Later, Persephone turned her into a mint plant because Hades was cheating on her with Minthe. InLore Olympus事实上，珀尔塞福涅确实把敏西变成了一株薄荷植物，因为他们分手后，敏西对哈迪斯说了一些真正可怕的事情，尽管珀尔塞福涅是无意的，而不是有意的，然后又撤消了它。
I know that Minthe should probably fall under the “Some Famous Nymphs” subheader, but she’s prominent enough inLore Olympus’s story that I felt that she deserved her own subheader.InLore Olympus, Minthe is Hades’s on-again-off-again toxic girlfriend. Like in the mythology itself, a lot of her character is tied up in her relationship with Hades. This, in ancient mythology results in a very flat character, but in a more modern medium translates to codependence and self-destructive mindsets. Persephone’s presence and Hades’s attraction to her threatens what has inadvertently become a huge part of Minthe’s identity and sense of stability, so she does what she always does when she feels threatened: she lashes out.
This ends up kicking off a major plot point that drags a lot of secrets to light, though she misconstrued them to something way worse than it was in truth.
Minthe is a pretty complicated character who seems to be stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle of self-hate that she takes out on herself and on those around her. One minute, she’s riding high and the next, she’s at rock bottom. The company she keeps certainly doesn’t help and her relationship with Hades was anything but healthy. Honestly, I’m rooting for her to turn her life around, but with how often she self-sabotages and sometimes is actually sabotaged, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
What’s Waiting in the Wings
And of course, there’s also the matter of the pomegranate.在写这篇文章的时候，珀尔塞福涅还没有吃过石榴，这种石榴可以把她和冥界联系起来，巩固她作为女王的地位，但它被介绍为契诃夫之枪。据记载，到目前为止，只有哈迪斯在打败克罗诺斯后为了声称统治冥界的权利而吃了石榴，他说，后来，他在很长一段时间内都不能离开冥界。
Honestly, I could go on for ages about the references to ancient Greek mythos that Smythe worked intoLore Olympus，但我认为这涵盖了很多更重要的问题。这些细节的深度展现了斯迈思对她的研究的热爱和投入，至少对我来说，这是阅读的乐趣所在。
Ancient Greece, Modern Olympus
One of the most genius things aboutLore Olympusis that while the Mortal Realm is set in the ambiguously ancient time that the myths took place, Olympus and the Underworld are completely modern. Apollo’s Sun Chariot is a gold sports car, everyone has smartphones and laptops, the Underworld is functionally a corporate city, there’s newspapers and gossip journals with paparazzi, and everyone on Olympus dresses in modern clothing.
It’s a wonderful blend of modern that still acknowledges the ancient aesthetics.
I also think that it’s quite clever that Smythe made Olympus and the Underworld alien to the Mortal Realm by keeping the Mortal Realm more in line with the original mythological timeline while the divine realms were modern.
这确实让她两全其美。她可以选择用古典服装来画人物，同时也可以自由地用各种现代服装和现代装置来画人物。很明显，斯迈思真的很喜欢设计不同发型和服装的角色，从斯迈思最喜欢画的珀尔塞福涅就可以看出。Not that I’m complaining, of course, because I too enjoy seeing characters in fun, fancy clothes. I also adore it when writers adapt ancient mythos to a modern setting and we as readers get to spot the references.
Honestly, there’s so much to love aboutLore Olympusfrom its simple but impactful art style to its themes and writing. What I personally love most about it, however, is how it reimagines millennia-old stories that have been told over and over but still stays true to the source material as possible; warts and all. It’s a brave thing to take on controversial material, let alone one as internally inconsistent as ancient Greek mythos, but it can be incredible when done well and I think Smythe accomplished that.
Lore Olympusis even going to physical print, so if you want to read a physical copy of this incredible story, you can order the first two volumes covering episodes one to forty-nine onAmazon. The third hardcopy volume will be published in October of 2022. I highly recommend checking this incredible story out, even if you aren’t a mythology nerd like me. The story is perfectly enjoyable even without deep knowledge of the mythos, but it definitely does add a fun element to reading it.
I will leave it here, so enjoy some pictures of Hades and his various doggos: