This is not going to end well

April 9th, 2018 at 9:29:03 AM permalink
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 344
Posts: 12488
My latest hare-brained idea is alternate mythology.

It's simple, in principle. You take a well-known legend (yes, I know what I said), and introduce changes so the outcome is completely different.

So take the Trojan War.

In the "real" timeline, after ten years of siege, the Trojans are at the breaking point, so they try to break the siege. Hector, the Trojan prince, comes up with a brilliant scheme. He gathers all the portable wealth he can find, and goes out under a flag of truce to talk to the leader of the Greeks, Agamemnon. He proposes to settle the conflict with single combat. Each side chooses a champion, they fight, and whoever wins decides the winner of the war. If the Greeks win, hector proposes, they can take Helen back (remember her?) plus the treasure Hector has gathered. They don't get to sack Troy or kill everyone, and they go home.

I don't recall what would happen if the Trojans won, but under Hector's scheme, they couldn't win. See, he proposes as champion on the Greek side Menelaus, Helen's husband and the party most affected, and on the Trojan side Paris, Helen's abductor and also the party most affected. Menelaus isn't the best fighter on the Greek side, but Paris is the worst one on any side. Hector is throwing him under the bus (and if anyone ever deserved it, Paris did).

Agamemnon agrees (why wouldn't he?), and the scheme is on.

Predictably Paris does poorly even though he strikes first, but as he's about to get killed, Aphrodite interferes and removes him to the safety of Helen's bedroom inside the city's walls. This makes the fight inconclusive, to grossly oversimplify what happens, and the war is back on. A series of events, involving complicated internal Greek politics, result in Achilles' BFF Patrochlus getting killed by Hector a few days later, and Achilles vowing, literally, epic revenge.

Hector eventually finds himself trapped outside the city with Achilles, who isn't amenable to even engaging in single combat by the rules, and he kills Hector with the help of Athena. He then desecrates Hector's body and drags it back to his tent, where he plans to do even worse things and kill more people.

At this point the alternate legend kicks in. This arose when i was listening to the Trojan War Podcast, and I thought it was too bad the Trojans didn't have Wonder Woman to call upon.

What if they did?

Well, then, I'd be looking at a copyright infringement lawsuit of epic proportions.

So instead I came up with a character called Antiope of Troy (the name appears in other legends as an Amazonian queen; it was also the name of Diana's teacher in the WW movie). I wont' tell you what she is, exactly. She was eight years old when the war started, so taking the legend literally she's now 18. She's the adopted daughter of a peasant family, who happened to be inside the city walls when the war started.

Antiope is very strong, much stronger than any man or woman should be. She can also see the gods when they make themselves invisible (which they do a lot during the Trojan war; Aphrodite is never seen spiriting Paris away from his losing fight, for example). And, as we learn later, she is immune from many actions by the gods, such as being able to understand and believe Cassandra when she speaks a prophecy.

Antiope happened to be helping out at the gate when Hector was trapped outside. She rushed to the battlements, way up high, along with others to see what happened. When she sees Hector in trouble, she jumps down and engages Achilles in combat, rather badly. She's not trained and has little skill with spears, swords, shields or fists. But she couldn't possibly lose to Achilles.

She spares his life, when she finally pins him down, because his mother, the water nymph Thetis, is right there watching invisibly.

Then, along with Hector, tries to broker a peace right then and there, seeing as how rattled the Greeks are that the mightiest warrior ever, Achilles, has been soundly trounced by a woman.

That's when Athena attacks Antiope. And where we learn some more about her might. For all his skill, strength, etc. Achilles was mortal. Athena is a god, and she's good at fighting. She's a god of war, inf act. The fight goes on long enough, but in the end Athena cannot defeat Antiope, or even hurt her badly.

If the Greeks were rattled by the defeat of Achilles, the defeat of Athena simply blows them away. They're ready to talk peace, on Troy's terms.
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April 9th, 2018 at 3:10:54 PM permalink
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 344
Posts: 12488
I have two problems with this idea.

1) The mythology has to be taken seriously. This means we assume that the Olympian gods exist and can do the things they do in the legend. Also that we don't try to explain things away using science. Science exists, yes, but magic/god powers do also. This is hard epistemologically.

2) Secondary characters. Given the numerous cast in the Trojan War legend, one has to use them. I know what to do with Hector, Priam, Odysseus, Menelaus, Agamemnon and many others. But what about Helen and Cassandra?

On the one hand, Helen is due some free agency. So in the peace settlement she gets to decide whether to return to Sparta, stay in Troy, or go elsewhere. One idea is she joins Antiope in her work. I wont' say what that is, but it involves visiting the Underworld. Along the way, Helen begins to develop the rudiments of science. that would be great, right?

But then there's Cassandra. In the legend she has the gift of prophecy, but also a curse imposed on her by Apollo. She can see the future, but when she warns people they either don't believe her or don't understand her; the sources are ambiguous (to me it makes more sense if they don't understand her). In any case, Antiope is not affected, so she can understand Cassandra.

Now imagine if she works out the rudiments of science. She has the gift of prophecy. Therefore she could set up an experiment, and find the result without running it! If you're going to be bound by mythological metaphysics, you may as well take advantage of them, too.

Of course, they could work together, but that can be cumbersome.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
April 24th, 2018 at 2:51:23 PM permalink
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 344
Posts: 12488
Antiope: No! That would be horrible!

Prometheus: Why?

Antiope: The gods, they're vain, shallow and capricious. They don't care for anyone.

Prometheus: Does Demeter not make the plants grow? Does Artemis not keep game plentiful?

Antiope: They live in our world. They must take care of it. But we are nothing to them. We're an afterthought at best, a prop to stroke their vanity. They have such potential, and they waste it in petty squabbles and mindless cruelty.

Prometheus: You know who you are talking to, yes?

Antiope: Oh, you're not like that.

Prometheus: Maybe you aren't, either.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.