That's Not Me
Greek Myths have existed for thousands of years, so I don't think there's a one person who can claim to own them. I've always been fascinated with Greek Mythology, but recently I've become irritated with how popular culture is depicting the myths. More so, that Hades is always an antagonist. It's really hard for me to understand why, when compared to his brothers, sisters, and kinfolk he was actually quite noble. So here's a take on how Hades might react to seeing himself as the villain in modern culture.
As a warning, this story has spoilers for the animated movie Hercules, Clash of the Titans remake, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
The land of the dead, Hades. It was inescapable for any living mortal. This was their destiny when they died, as it had been since before the Titans were sealed.
Hades himself resided alone in his chambers. Persephone had once again gone back to Demeter, her mother, and so again he found himself very much alone. It wasn't a pleasant feeling that was certain.
A DVD case was meekly placed in front of him. He eyed the object suspiciously for a moment before he looked at the gnarled underling beside him. "Clash of the Titans?" He shook his head in disgust. "I have seen this already, and I did not like it. Why do you bring this before me again?"
"This…" the underling tapped the cover slightly. "This is a new one…and you are in it."
"A new one? They made another?" Hades picked up the DVD. "And I'm in it?"
"Hehehehehe…yes."The underling hissed with quiet laughter. "But…you may not like it."
Hades narrowed his eyes. "If I may not like it, why bring it before me?"
"Hehehehe…" the underling giggled for a few moments before he continued. "Lady Demeter told me to."
"Demeter." Hades felt a profound headache come to him and he rubbed at his forehead. "Wonderful. I shall watch it then, and satisfy whatever folly she is trying to pull on me."
Hades proceeded to watch the movie, and was pleased with the first several minutes. "Ah…the Titan Wars! That takes me back!"
However…as the movie progressed, Hades became increasingly confused. And then…irritated. "…What? I am pitted against Perseus?" he looked at his underling. "It has been many centuries since Perseus began his quest, but I don't recall any of this."
The underling only giggled.
The movie continued on, and Hades became more and more irritated. "Wait…wait, WAIT!" he finally shouted, jumping to his seat. "I am certain now! None of this happened! I never once took a stand against Perseus! I-I mean, what would be the point? He was just another bastard offspring of Zeus on some heroic quest! It…" he roared with rage and shook his fists towards the dark ceiling. "This realm was my reward! My reward! If I didn't want it, I sure wouldn't have bided my time for eons! I would've told him straight to his face that I didn't want it!"
"They are…humans," the underling said. "T-They undoubtedly fear you because you rule the land of the dead, for they are fond of always making you a villain—"
"Always? Always?" Hades rounded upon the underling, his mind filled with rage. If Persephone had been there she would've been able to quell him, but he was alone, and the thought of humans distorting him was too much. "There is MORE than this?"
"Yes." He didn't show fear, but the underling's knobby hands trembled as he produced another DVD. "H-Here is another example."
Hades snatched the DVD from him and glared at the cartoon cover. "Hercules? Who in all of damnation is Hercules?"
"They refer to Heracles. Hercules is the Romanization of his name."
"And what am I doing in this one? As I recall, my only interaction with this other child of Zeus is when he came to my realm to capture the Cerberus as part of Hera's first task! And I LET HIM DO IT!"
Five minutes into the movie, Hades barked with laughter. "Heracles, the son of Zeus AND Hera? Can't the humans get that right at least?"
But again, he became irritated.
"Th-This…this is the same plot!" Hades shouted. "Again, they accuse me of wanting Mt. Olympus to myself! But this time I'm banished? ME? A hero over the Titans? Banished?" Hades scrubbed a hand over his face. "Just because I do not live on Mt. Olympus doesn't mean I can't go there! Poseidon doesn't live there, either! But has anyone made a movie about HIM? And since when do I look so hideous?"
The underling hissed with laughter, but Hades was too angry to notice. "And since when do I keep lovers apart? I can't help it if people die! Those stupid humans know the favor I did for Orpheus and Eurydice! That poor fool made me cry! Nobody makes me cry!"
The underling hissed even louder with laughter.
"This is all some trick by Dionysus, isn't it?" Hades fumed to himself. "That foolhardy god…he loved to stir up trouble! Or Zeus! His antics…humans frown upon such things! Maybe he wants to distract them! No…" he shook his head. "I mustn't think that. That will only give the humans what they want!"
The underling presented him with another DVD. Hades snatched it from his hand. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Allow me to hazard a guess that I will not like this one, either?"
The underling only giggled.
Hades watched the movie regardless. He could find many things wrong with the fact that a child of Poseidon was named after a child of Zeus, but he didn't really care. After watching the Clash of the Titans remake and seeing himself as the villain, Hades didn't want to bother with Perseus.
Then he saw himself in the movie. "At least I'm helping Zeus!" he fumed to himself. "But why do I still look like a villain?"
Then the movie-Persephone attacked the movie-Hades with the lightning bolt and that really set Hades off. "Blasphemy! Garbage! Persephone would never attack me! She would have no reason to! She is my wife—my true love—and I love and cherish her! WHY would she attack me?"
"Because…" the underling giggled. "You DID kidnap her from Demeter. And then you tricked her into eating the pomegranate seeds…"
"Technicalities!" Hades snapped. "I do not imprison her down here! I shower her with affection and love! And how is what I did to her any different than what Zeus did to his lovers—both MALE AND FEMALE? Or Poseidon? And yet those two are constantly the heroes, the champions of mankind! I guess nobody remembers Prometheus, eh?"
"But…you do rule the Land of the Dead. And people fear death."
Hades only scoffed, continuing to pace the chamber as his fury mounted. "I never manipulated anyone, or started wars for my own gain and amusement! I stay out of such matters! This doesn't make sense! I'm the most nonpartisan god of ANY of my brethren! AND!" he jabbed a finger at the underling. "And I'm monogamous! A feat that NEITHER Zeus nor Poseidon can claim!"
The underling continued to giggle as Hades went on. "I've had no other than Persephone! I've never wanted anyone else! But Zeus has slept with mortals and gods of both genders and has produced numerous bastards from them! Hera's brooding didn't just appear out of thin air!"
"…Persephone is one such child," the underling said quietly to himself.
"And Poseidon is the same!" Hades continued, not hearing the underling. "He's married to Amphitrite and yet he's mated with many women! He even raped a woman, who was so shamed by what he did that she asked to be turned into a MAN! So why me? Why am I folly to the humans? I believe my traits are admirable compared to my brothers! At least I can look at one woman and be satisfied! I know of only a few other gods who can do this!"
"He he he…"
"Eros is one—though he is the bastard offspring of Aphrodite and Ares! But even that mischievous little troll could be happy being tied to one woman! And Dionysus! God of wine and pleasure and someone who's slept with half of Mt. Olympus! Once he got married he settled down! Ironic, considering his FATHER Zeus could never do the same! And he even came down here to get his wife back after Perseus killed her!"
Hades sighed after a long moment, his anger starting to ebb. "Zeus would be most amused if he saw me like this…" he sat back down. "I will not care for this anymore."
"…Really?" the underling said, not sounding entirely convinced.
"Yes. My anger is running amuck of me because Persephone is gone. I refuse to care what these foolish mortals think of me. I know the truth, and so does Persephone. I can imagine that Demeter might have her watch this movie." He jabbed a finger at the Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief DVD case. "In order to give her ideas. But I will trust in her."
"And what if she DOES shock you with Zeus's lightning bolt?" the underling asked.
"My brother may be foolish, but he is also egotistical. He would never allow something as important as his lightning bolt to end up in other people's hands. He likes his own power too much for that to happen." Hades shrugged and stood. "I won't care about these things anymore. They can think what they want of me. After all…" he smiled thinly. "They don't consider where they will end up when they die."
"…You sound like a villain now, he," the underling giggled.
Here are some minor notes about things Hades brought up:
- Hades was indeed a hero of the Titan Wars, and with Poseidon they helped Zeus overthrow their father Cronos. His reward for helping Zeus was dominion over the Land of the Dead, also called Hades, while Poseidon got dominion over the seas.
- The tragic story of Orpheus and Eurydice involved two lovers who loved each other deeply. When Eurydice died, Orpheus traveled to Hades to get her back. He was a bard, and he played a sad love song for both Hades and Persephone, and the song made them both cry. It moved Hades enough to release Eurydice from the Land of the Dead, but he warned Orpheus that he had to lead her out and not look at her until they were past Hades's gate. Unfortunately, Orpheus looked back right at the gate, and so Eurydice was forced to remain there.
- According to Greek mythology, at the dawn of man Zeus didn't care much for mortals. He was very content to watch them till away and live in suffering. The god Prometheus stole Zeus's fire and gave it to the mortals, thus allowing them to advance in civilization and live more comfortably. Zeus was angry that Prometheus did this and he chained him naked to a rock, and everyday a giant eagle would swoop upon him to eat out his liver. As a god Prometheus's liver would grow back every day and so he lived for eons in agony. Finally, Heracles killed the eagle and freed him from his prison.
- Philandering was commonplace with the gods. Heracles, Perseus, Helen of Troy, Persephone, Aphrodite, Dionysus, etc, etc…are all illegitimate offspring's of Zeus. Poseidon had plenty of illegitimate offspring as well, including the famed hero Theseus. The woman he raped who asked to be turned into a man was Caeneus.
- Hades's only known consort was Persephone, whom he did kidnap from her mother. Eros, aka Cupid, was another god who was known to only have one consort, being the mortal princess Psyche. Dionysus had quite a few conquests, most noticeably Aphrodite from which many children were produced, but then he married the mortal princess Ariadne, who was abandoned on an island by the aforementioned Theseus, and made a crown constellation in the sky just for her.
So…it just seems to me that Hollywood needs to pay more attention to these myths before the run off and make movies based off them.
Thanks for reading!