Friday, March 19, 2010

More on the "Age of Bronze"

I tried to make that more clever but nothing was really working for me today. Back at the library I returned the graphic novel adaptation of the Trojan War part 1 and picked up part 2. Which is nice because it means that I might actually be able to get the whole thing…or it did until today’s visit spawned a third trip to the comic section and I realized that part three was not on the shelf. Something tells me that it won’t be in the system either, I guess I’ll figure it out when I go back to return 2.

The second part of the series is called: Sacrifice. Sacrifice was obviously a huge part of the ancient Greek society, being that their polytheism demanded a sacrifice if a person wanted to do anything. The only pantheism that tops the Greeks were the Romans. The Romans had assimilated so many cultures during their expansion that the numbers of gods just kept growing and growing. It didn’t end until Christianity took over, and even then it continued only instead of using the gods they just assimilated holidays, concepts, symbolism, and canonized instead of deified.

The story of the Trojan war is fraught with sacrifice. High king Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter in order make the trip to Troy. The gods were quite demanding in those days, not like the softer gods that seem to populate the earth now. My main issue with the series remains: there are no gods.

The gods play such an important role in the story, given that it was them who got the whole ball of wax rolling in the first place, that taking them out of it completely neuters some of the characters. For instance, Achilles is un-killable in the story until a certain point. His mother is a goddess and he’s been granted immunity from physical harm by being dunked in the river Styx. In the first book his mother, Thetis, is clearly not just a normal person in her demeanor but given the world in which the story is being told she is either delusional or dishonest. The centaur Karon, Achilles’ tutor, is now just some hairy guy who lives in the forest that Thetis sent her only son to live with and be taught by. Sounds like some real bang up parenting there. Why not just drop him entirely?

The book is trying to toe the line between being faithful to the source materials but sticking on the modern interpretation that makes the Greek religions false. However it can’t have it both ways, and in order to be a consistent story it really needs to pick a side and run with it.

For as much as I have objections to the series I do find that it is very difficult for me to not read it. Perhaps it is because this is one of my favorite stories but I don’t think this series would be a gateway into getting people to read the original source material.


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