Interest Check- Persephone Myth Reimagining


#21

I am always down for more Greek mythology! This premise is also very promising!


#22

So, I’m another lover of Greek mythology, and seeing this myth reimagined into a not-Stockholm Syndrome story would be awesome.

There is a version of the myth (a more modern interpretation, to be sure) that Hades and Persephone planned the kidnapping due to Demeter’s overprotectiveness and general attitude towards Persephone’s leaving.

That said, the idea of Persephone being a god/goddess of rebirth adds an entire new dynamic to the myth. With a bit of tweaking, this could be taken to mean that Persephone is a necromancer, or something similar. The underworld setting only adds possibilities. :smile:


#23

how will you describe Hades


#24

I am fully stocked, locked and loaded for ALL of this. Yes please. ^^

That said, there is one immediate thing that pops out to me that I feel is worth considering.
That you have Athena be one of the gods “on Persephone’s side” and that “Hades is cool with.”

Now, I’m not saying either of these premises are or even would be false, per se. It’s just that, in the majority of the stories of Greek Myth, and all their alternate versions, Athena is usually pretty consistently depicted as one of, if not the most loyal of Zeus’ children.
And you are NOT going to convince me that Zeus would not firmly be the spearheading ringleader of the “dampen Persephone’s powers to avoid future trouble(read: rebel against me)/find her and bring her back before her power falls into the hands of our (my) enemies” camp.

Now, as you’ve very clearly stated and demonstrated, you are indeed free to and are actively planning to take MANY creative liberties with the material, and I am in full complete support of that.

But having the loyal and, moreover, “hyper-logical” Athena go against Zeus or even just be complicit in Persephone hiding away right under his nose, especially within the realm of his older brother(or sister, as the case may be) that he’s (most likely) convinced is always scheming to take his throne, just strikes me as…slightly off-key? I don’t really know how to describe it but…well, yeah.
Incidentally, this same argument could very well apply to Artemis as well, as she’s the other candidate for Zeus’ most loyal daughter.

Frankly, in pondering about it, the Gods, at least among the Olympus 12, that would actually be both likely and willing to help her would be Hephaestus, yes, Hermes (as both the Trickster God as well as the one who, in the past, persuaded Zeus to not wipe out humanity), and then MAYBE Dionysus.
Apollo might have been another good candidate, since he is both, well, Apollo and her sunny half-brother, but as the God of Truths, he likely wouldn’t be able to keep the secret from the others.

These are just my two cents. Maybe I’m completely off base, but just felt like pitching in to help.

Cheers!


#25

Sounds interesting :slight_smile: (You’re right, that prompt is great.)

I’m actually with @AllForFire though in that Athena would probably be last on my list of people to be championing Persephone’s cause. She’s pretty loyal to Zeus, and isn’t the most symphathetic of people in the world unless it is one of her favourites. (See Medusa vs Perseus for an example of one and the other.) One of the other’s mentioned would probably be more likely to at least consider it. Just a thought on someone a bit different, the Titan Prometheus is locked up in the underworld, and has acted against Zeus’ best interests on a number of occasions in favour of helping humans which eventually got him locked up with an eagle eating his insides every morning. I’d say he’d be plenty willing to lend a hand if she let him out.

Inspiration video for making Hades not as bad as he often seems to be made out to be in popular literature:


#26

Precisely my thought process, my thanks good sir. ^^

I mean, I didn’t explicitly bring up the “can actually be considered one of the most petty and vindictive bitches in all of Greek Myth” because, to be fair, that’s something that can, not incorrectly, be attributed to the values dissonance of Ancient Greece. I mean, for as relatively forward thinking as they were, especially compared to some others, and certainly not, average at least, AVERSE or BLIND to the strength and worth of women (I mean, the very Athena we’re talking about is their Goddess of WARFARE AND WISDOM, for crying out loud), one can’t very fairly say they weren’t still somewhat chauvinistic.

In the origin story of Medusa, who was one of her loyal and devout priestesses, she catches her and Poseidon (her rival) fornicating in her temple, and yet Poseidon essentially gets off scott free for the most part. And this is ESPECIALLY worse in the versions that say that Poseidon was RAPING her.
So, essentially, the “Goddess of Wisdom”, instead of comforting her friend and supporting her through the trauma, is more affected by how insulting it was to her personally, and curses the rape victim rather than the rapist.

Essentially the Ur Example of Slut-Shaming and Victim-Blaming.

The implication being that she is so prideful she’s incapable of true genuine empathy, that it’s because she is literally impotent to do anything to Poseidon on account of him being one of the Big Three, but still feels like SOMEONE has to pay, damn the context, or that she really is that much of an overreacting drama-queen. Or All of the Above.

Then the myth of Arachne, where not only does she get unjustifiably mad at a woman beating her fair and square in a weaving contest (and in some versions she’s just mad that someone even had the GALL to challenge her at all), and once again, like Medusa once again, instead of just smiting her and being done with it all, she curses them into hideous monsters/other forms.

Tellingly, both of Athena’s biggest Bitch Moments are against other women for either absolutely backwards or entirely petty reasons.

Then there’s the time she blinded a man who accidentally peeked on her bathing, and rather than simply return his sight, she makes him a Seer. Like, kuddos for reacting better than her Sister Artemis EVER does, but…why? Supposedly she couldn’t restore his sight, but why would that be? Possible answer: undoing it would be admitting to her mistake, which she is too proud to ever do.

Overall, they might have “glorified” Athena, but the Greeks were still very much stepped in an inclination towards Patriarchy and the blamelessness of “good” men and kings, and they thought up their gods to reflect that.

Which is pretty much why any “good” version of Athena these days either omits these elements entirely or rewrites them.
See the Athenas from Saint Seiya, SMITE and Percy Jackson, just to name a few.

I mean, would YOU ever wish to work with/for Canon!Athena or associate with her in any way? I wouldn’t.


#27

This kind of highlights some of the reasons behind a potential uprising and a few points on who might be willing to betray who. (They’ve left out Ares which is interesting, but I don’t think any of the Olympians particularly like him anyway.)

Language warning: https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-13-biggest-assholes-in-greek-mythology-1454132475

(The blinded seer is Tiresias. I’ve got him in my story, he seems to turn up quite a bit. Hera turned him into a woman for a few years because she didn’t like him hitting some snakes with a stick. Hera could be pretty vendictive as well, although in her case I guess she’s kind of got a legit reason to be in a permanently touchy mood.)


#28

Actually in the original ancient Greek version of Medusa she was already a monster with her gorgon sisters. The story was changed by the Romans when it was written by Ovid in 43 BC and AD 17. Also Poseidon did alot of fucked up shit like when he forced Pasiphae to fall in love with the white bull, ironically again written by Ovid.


#29

A succinct list, but one that, for a few entries, I would dispute the extended contexts, but again, said context themselves often shift between different versions anyway, so I digress.

And yes, Hera does at least have some cause. That does NOT excuse taking out her frustration on the mothers and children, but again, Goddess-railroading Greek Patriarchal Values Dissonance.


#30

Oh, is THAT how it goes?

I’d read that it was that the Athena version happened first, with some versions even having her two sisters actually having helped Medusa and Poseidon sneak into the temple, and then her two sisters joined her in her curse so she wouldn’t be abandoned. Then going on to cause all sort of mayhem and death in vengeful rage, leading to Perseus being sent to kill her armed with favors from practically the entire Pantheon.


#31

At first Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale were all children of the marine gods Phorcys and his sister Ceto. They were born monsters then the whole Perseus thing happened. Then Ovid changed it to the whole Athena situation till Perseus beheaded her.


#32

Oooh I see. That WOULD explain why indeed, Stheno and Euryale are strictly Greek characters, with us seeing neither hide nor hair of them in Roman myth.

Do you suppose this had anything to do with the apparent irreverence/disrespect the Romans apparently had for Neptune/Poseidon?


#33

@AllForFire and @Jacic, that weird half-baked theory (plotline?) was something that I came up with on the spot and yeah, it needs to be refined a lot more if it is actually going to develop into a plausible scene. I was typing out a reply and an idea popped up in my mind, and I just ran with it. In a story like this, it’s pivotal that Persephone reaches the Underworld, but I hadn’t really thought of any concrete reasons behind that course of action. The only idea that I had was that the underworld was a sole escape route, and that theory can lead itself to many problematic interpretations and multiple plot holes. At the time of writing the reply, I hadn’t really properly thought about how the Pantheon divides itself behind Persephone.

I guess modern retellings have softened me to Athena. She’s mostly portrayed as the calm, collected, level-headed one within the riot that is the Pantheon. Canon Athena with her colossal hubris is anything but. That Athena would never secretly guide, and would definitely never mentor, someone whose powers have the potential to pose a threat to the King of the Gods (and by association, to herself).


#34

Exactly.
Hence my raising my point and I hope, contributing helpful and constructive feedback. o7


#35

Very interesting take on Greek mythology. I quite like it! You should continue this :smiley::+1: I think I will enjoy reading it


#36

Anyways, I was curious, which members of the Pantheon do you think would support Persephone?

In my mind, Persephone is whisked off to the Underworld pretty early. She’s seen as a pretty minor goddess, and no one even considers that she could be something more. According to my wildly distorted, considerably unfaithful-to-the-original storyline, Olympus is attacked, and there are scenes where Persephone has the opportunity to fight. Again, I intend for her powers to develop in multiple varied ways which could either be constructive or destructive depending on the readers’ choices. The gods watch her fight, and a few perceptive ones realize that Persephone may not have manifested the full extent of her powers. But I don’t think anyone is fully aware of the true extent of her potential.

Again, this contradicts my earlier idea where the Pantheon actually determines the full potential of her latent power. If Persephone’s understanding of her power comes to her slowly during the course of the story, then she isn’t really seen as a threat from the get-go. I guess her journey to the underworld is a combination of multiple factors. There’s an overarching desire to escape the constraints that Demeter expects Persephone to surrender herself to. There’s the need to escape a battle where her fledgling powers make her a liability more than an asset.

Maybe the other gods recognize that Persephone still has untapped power, the sort of power that, when realized, can prove very advantageous to the gods. They may not realize the full extent of it, so P-sephone may never register as a ‘threat’, and unless Persephone engages in a gargantuan display of power, their egos would never allow them to consider Persephone as someone who can upstage them.

So maybe initially some of them would be somewhat helpful? Those perceptive enough will recognize Persephone’s potential as a tool in the battle against humanity. They need to give her a place where they can monitor and maybe even control how her powers develop, and Persephone leaps at the chance to become more than what she is and to escape Demeter’s control. Maybe she promises her compliance in exchange for the other gods’ silence in front of Demeter, and she goes to the Underworld.

Plus, if there really is a man vs. god battle happening, then it would make sense if Demeter makes the land barren.


#37

I’m well aware of that modern reinterpretation :smiley: and I do want to incorporate that specific reason.

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring, Rebirth, and the Underworld, and I really do want to explore those latter two aspects. Many see Persephone as having many cutesy floral powers, but honestly there is SO much potential to develop her beyond that. She’s canonically the Goddess of Rebirth and of the Underworld, and there is so much scope to experiment with that.

It would be interesting to write about her different powers. In-game Persephone can develop typical, expected powers, but with the right choices you can explore many unconventional ones as well. :wink:


#38

All very good idea branches and certainly solidifies my confidence in this definitely being one for the drawing board. ^^

As to whom would help her.

As previously mentionned, Hephaestus. He would certainly know a thing or two about being used as a tool, feeling isolated, alone, etc.
And moreover, is actually legitimately, in practically any version of him that I am familiar with (unless there are counter-examples I just don’t know about), one of the most chill of the entire pantheon, if not the most.
And this depsite having the most ACTUALLY legitimate reasons to blow up (literally, as the God of Volcanoes lol).

Between Hera throwing him off Olympus (incidentally proving Hera a petty Hypocrite WAY before Heracles or any of Zeus escapades entered the picture, seeing as she’s SUPPOSED to be the Goddess of Family and Motherhood), Aphrodite constantly cheating on him and yet never even giving him the time of day (except in one version where he and Aphrodite actually had a daughter. Like, wow.) and Hera never even considering allowing him a divorce out of her own hubristic pride as the Goddess of Marriage, barely anyone showing him any due respect despite him practically being the reason any of his family can still fight…the list goes on and on and on.
So yes, definitely in the sympathetic camp. And he’d more than likely be one of the ones to notice the details and potential of Persephone’s power. He IS THE Craftsman after all. Sharp eyes and mind. And sharp everything else. Had to be.

Next, Hermes. As mentionned, he was the one to advocate for the rest of humanity when a few bad eggs had almost all but convinced Zeus to obliterate them all entirely, so we know he has some empathy, both in general and for humans in particular.
And as the Trickster God, he might view his aiding Persephone as his latest and greatest “prank”.
Or, as the God of Merchants, he might view it as him “getting in on the ground floor” in “investing” in what his keen eyes and mind can undoubtedly suss out will be “the next big thing that’s going to happen.”
Or as the God of Travelers, maybe he’s just dastardly curious and set of seeing where Persephone’s self-chosen path will lead, and is bent on giving her that chance.

I mentionned Dionysus before. I just figured that, as someone who practically almost died at the whims of “higher beings” before he was even finished growing in his mother’s womb, was used as an assault weapon set loose on a warpath across Asia, and who’s situation eventually came to a head that would have likely resulted in his execution had Hestia not stepped down and left him her throne…well, he’d likely know a thing or two about wanting to be “more” without the whims or yoke of people “higher up” than you.

And of course, Hestia herself. Do I even need to remind why she of all people would be on Persephone’s side?
Granted, I have my own personal reasons as to why, if one digs deep and thinks enough, even she isn’t perfect, but at least, again as far as I’m ultimately aware, Hestia is pretty much the ONLY God or Goddess, or at least the only “main” one, who at NO point in the ENTIRETY of Greek Myth neither
A) Proves herself a petty vindictive hypocrite.
B) Screws anyone over or causes anyone even the smallest bit of harm or even anoyance
Or C) Has anyone else, be they God or Mortal, seek to do so to her. Hell, EVERYONE likes her. Including Hades!
Makes sense though, as she is both the Eldest of the Original Olympian Six, as well as the (Real, in my mind) Goddess of Family, Home and the Hearth.

There may be others, especially non-Olympians, but these are the ones that immediately jump to mind. The other major one would have been Hecate, but since she’s already in, and as an RO no less…^^
Cheers, hope this helps!


#39

Yes! You don’t know how excited I was to see this title. I did a double-take, haha.

I actually am writing a Persephone/Hades game too (about half way done), where the player takes the role of Persephone and develops her personality/path, but am considering turning it into a visual novel instead. I think Greek re-tellings are absolutely wonderful premises full of so much potential (I have another one planned even) and I would adore seeing how another mind chooses to re-imagine this one in particular and in an interactive format. Plus, Hades is definitely my favorite Greek god and I’d also be so eager to see how you portray him and his relationship to one of my favorite Goddesses with your own spin.

You have my full support and interest! :triumph:


#40

I am really liking the idea of this Olympian misfit team up! Also, Prometheus needs to show up. As someone who probably despises Zeus at this point, and loves humans, I have no doubt he would want to get involved in this whole uprising thing.