Tag Archive | Heroic Journey

Spasms of geekiness

I blame it on the Heros of Olympus books. I don’t know what everybody else thinks it has going for it, but I definately love the way the Greek God’s were handled in it. Rather than your typical urban fantasy about contemporary life with vampires or fair folk thrown in, these books take the archetypal approach that I really like- and there’s the idea that the Greek Gods travleled with Western Civilization, adapting to those various cultures. Which is why you get those fun mixes of contemporary america mixed in with myth and the culture of ancient empires. Long story short, it was really great that I read these books after my Humanities classes about Western Civilization. And I way prefer that aspect of the books to the whole ‘save the world’ sceanario.

So last night, I was thinking about my Fates. I told you that I created them sort of to be like the Greek Gods. I learned about the Greek Gods when I was in fifth grade. It’s one of the things I most distinctly remember learning in fifth grade. I thought it was so facinating. That fuled a great deal of my love of myths. And of course my mind, that great melting pot, collected other myths over the years, and stories and fairy tales. Archetypal characters were something I enjoy, I’ve always had a soft spot for tricksters. I also had a love of anthropormorphic personifications. This probably stemmed from my love of fairies and nature spirits as a kid, I’m also pretty sure Discworld had a lot to do with that. But at anyrate, over the years all this cooked in my mind, and what I decided I needed were my own set of immortal beings that meddled with the destinies of their mortal wards. So I called them the Fates.

Anyway, I was thinking about these Fates, and I thought about Origin Myths, something we covered in my Heroic Journey class. Some origin myths show similarities to eachother, they call it patternism. There was often ‘order coming out of chaos,’ or it may include a flood or a lot of water, there would aslo many times be a ‘breath of life’ sort of thing- breathing into a clay figure and giving it life. This stood out in my mind particularly, I think it’s because maybe the myth I looked up for a homework assignment included this. But I thought about that, and then about some of my Fates, and I started working out how the Fates helped create worlds.

I wondered if  maybe Fates are not as immortal as their mortal wards think. Perhaps the Fates merely live longer than the worlds they have stewardship over. So Fates have the opportunity to be stewards over many worlds before they die, or their essence is recycled into a different being- like the way archetypes are treated differently in different cultures. Same sort of idea, different take. And so the essence of the Fates changes, giving the idea of immortality.

So then I had to figure out which of the Fates were around at the start of this new fantasy world, and which Fates came later- either born to the First Fates or created from the world itself- from the ideas, thoughts, dreams, desires, fears, and so on from that particular realm and it’s inahbitants.

Unfortunatly, I fell asleep by trying to think it all out, and trying to add in what I had learned from Humanities classes and such, trying to have it all make sense.

Maybe it doesn’t have to all make sense. It’s not like a lot of the Origin Myths really do. A lot of mythology doesn’t make sense. But it is so much fun to play with.

The Hobbit- Kiddo’s book report, and my rant

So my younger brother (he’s a teenager, but I dubbed him ‘Kiddo’ years ago) is doing a book report on The Hobbit. He told us last week that his plan was to do a diorama, but he had no specific idea in mind. So I started throwing out suggestions. The great thing about The Hobbit is that it has plenty of things that are perfect for dioramas. In fact, we got so many ideas that… well… we decided, why pick just one? We kinda got excited (‘we’ meaning myself, the brother in question, and a few of my sisters). So currently, we  have it worked so that we have a mulit-scened diorama. We have three boxes back to back (as close as you can get to ‘back-to-back’ with three boxes), for Bilbo’s house, Gollum’s cave, and Smaug’s treasure hoarde. If we’re really on top of things, we’ll figure out how to set up a sort of forrest on top of the boxes, for some of the important scenes above ground. We’ve already collected a toy bear, and a couple of those plastic spider rings, just in case we find out a way to stick them in. We also have a toy barrel to set somewhere for Bilbo. It’s been a fun project. Why have none of my book reports been this awesome?

 

 

I’ve read The Hobbit twice. The first time I read it… I wasn’t so into it. I mean, it was all well and good, I suppose, but not quite what I wanted. Now that I think about it, maybe it was the lack of girls. I like my books to have at least a little bit of romance in them, and I always enjoy witty banter if I can get it. I’m generally very character oriented. But there was something else. I remember reading the killing of Smaug, and going “Wait, that’s it?!” And then there were still all those pages afterwards. It felt so incredibly… anti-climatic. You would think that killing the dragon would be the big finish! Well, it wasn’t, and it threw me for a loop.

Then I read it for my Homer to Tolkien class, and I liked it much better the second time through. I knew what to expect for the end, so that didn’t throw me off, and I was reading it while we were learning about the Heroic Journey. That was one of the things I especially loved about my first Humanities class, learning about Joseph Campbell’s Heoric Journey Monomyth. It’s so wonderful, because you can see it in your average entertainment, it’s not some obscure concept that only literary gurus can see and decipher. Shakespeare can challenge some, but if it’s taught right then everybody can see elements of the Heroic Journey whatever movie they choose to watch that Saturday night.

But that was a side note. The point is that when I read it, I remembered that one of the things that I liked about Bilbo is that he really wasn’t the adventuring type. He loved all the comforts in life; a chair, a fire, and regular meals. I could connect with that. It made Bilbo seem more real to me. So, if we thought about this from the perspective of the Heoroic Journey, we could say that Bilbo was tempted to refuse the call because he liked to be comfortable. And if he had chosen to stay within the lines of what was comfortable, he never would have gone on the journey. My Humanties teacher once said, “The Heroic Journey is not the journey the hero makes, it is the journey a person makes to become a hero.” And then there is of course what everybody says, growth doesn’t come in one’s comfort zone. That, for me, was the ‘insight’ that I gained from reading The Hobbit again (see, that particular Humanities teacher was really big into the idea of rereading a piece of literature, or relistening to a peice of music, and to gain insight, so that you can become truely educated instead of merely ‘schooled. He was a great teacher, very animated, and he truely loved what he was teaching).