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Burning Godzilla
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I've been noticing how frequent a fantasy trope it is that the hero gets empowered with some kind of magical or legendary artifact which he is given unearned, or just because of his birth. It ain't just the likes of today's Harry Potter clones -- it's just as evident in the stories of King Arthur, or Perseus. The latter got no less than five empowering artifacts to aid his quests, though to be fair they were only loaned to him temporarily.

It's fun to identify with the hero who gets superpowers or magical privileges, but it's pretty galling in real life. I mean, look at who's being presented with the Enchanted Sword of Destiny right now, while the rest of us get short-handled shovels... Jared Kushner.

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Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:55 pm
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And doesn't Perseus just get free stuff (which he almost immediately loses) because of who his dad is? Greek myths may not have been bothered much by morality, but I guess there's a certain honesty to that.


Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:16 pm
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It would seem that the ancients were much more into Fate as a blind force. The great American myth, of course, is that you deserve what happens to you. Not much truth to either view.

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Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:25 pm
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Yeah, people both ancient and modern seem to have trouble with the idea that you do have control over your own life, but people also have control over each other's lives, so the outcome is never foreseeable.

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Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:14 pm
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Marlowe wrote:
And doesn't Perseus just get free stuff (which he almost immediately loses) because of who his dad is? Greek myths may not have been bothered much by morality, but I guess there's a certain honesty to that.



Connections. It's always connections.

But there are many, many other objects of power passed on that get you where you want to go. Has anyone but me read My Father's Dragon?

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Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:20 pm
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supersonic man wrote:
Perseus. The latter got no less than five empowering artifacts to aid his quests, though to be fair they were only loaned to him temporarily.


If one takes the Harryhausen movie into account, Perseus not only gets - and almost immediately loses - all of the super-artifacts save for the golden owl, but he also benefits from divine second wind when he crawls into the arena on the eve of Kraken day, then collapses, only to be instantly revived by Zeus. Whose gonna lose with that kind of support?

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Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:04 pm
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Victoria Silverwolf wrote:
It would seem that the ancients were much more into Fate as a blind force. The great American myth, of course, is that you deserve what happens to you. Not much truth to either view.


I'm not sure that they see Fate as blind. I know in the Iliad there's a real undercurrent of "People who look powerful, beautiful and important are" and the one guy who objects to their rule and decisions is literally deformed. Of course, Odysseus is the one exception, he's not much to look at, but then he is (outside of the Odyssey) often a villain or at least not a very nice guy. There's also a fair amount of sins coming home to roost in various myths.

The "your dad was secretly X god" story was certainly very popular. I wonder if in a world with hereditary nobility such stories are more important because they allow the occasionally peasant who makes good to have a place based on imagined heritage.

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Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:11 pm
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Bergerjacques wrote:
supersonic man wrote:
Perseus. The latter got no less than five empowering artifacts to aid his quests, though to be fair they were only loaned to him temporarily.


If one takes the Harryhausen movie into account, Perseus not only gets - and almost immediately loses - all of the super-artifacts save for the golden owl, but he also benefits from divine second wind when he crawls into the arena on the eve of Kraken day, then collapses, only to be instantly revived by Zeus. Whose gonna lose with that kind of support?


Should we really be taking into account the account of Greek myth that includes a much later Norse monster?

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Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:17 pm
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ProfessorMortis wrote:
Victoria Silverwolf wrote:
It would seem that the ancients were much more into Fate as a blind force. The great American myth, of course, is that you deserve what happens to you. Not much truth to either view.


I'm not sure that they see Fate as blind. I know in the Iliad there's a real undercurrent of "People who look powerful, beautiful and important are" and the one guy who objects to their rule and decisions is literally deformed. Of course, Odysseus is the one exception, he's not much to look at, but then he is (outside of the Odyssey) often a villain or at least not a very nice guy. There's also a fair amount of sins coming home to roost in various myths.


I'm not sure how far back it goes, but the 'wheel of fortune' mindset was prevalent in 11th-12th century, the period in which the Carmina Burana was written. You can glean a lot of this mentality from the translation of 'O Fortuna:'

Quote:
O Fortune, like the moon you are changeable, ever waxing and waning;
hateful life first oppresses and then soothes as fancy takes it;
poverty and power it melts them like ice.

Fate – monstrous and empty, you whirling wheel, you are malevolent,
well-being is vain and always fades to nothing, shadowed and veiled you plague me too;
now through the game I bring my bare back to your villainy.

Fate is against me in health and virtue, driven on and weighted down, always enslaved.
So at this hour without delay pluck the vibrating strings;
since Fate strikes down the strong man, everyone weep with me!

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Last edited by Charnelhouse on Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:05 pm
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supersonic man wrote:
I mean, look at who's being presented with the Enchanted Sword of Destiny right now, while the rest of us get short-handled shovels... Jared Kushner.


But isn't the acquisition of magical weapons supposed to help right wrongs and overthrow the wicked despot? Now would be the time for one of the worthy to rise up from amongst us, discover the enchanted Morningstar of Wrath, and take ol' Jared right out.

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Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:10 pm
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Failing that, twenty wielders of short-handled shovels can probably beat any one swordsman.

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Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:55 pm
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supersonic man wrote:
Failing that, twenty wielders of short-handled shovels can probably beat any one swordsman.


The 20 Shovelers of Napa Valley Meet The Shogun's Samurai

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Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:37 pm
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Many years ago, I worked for a gardening/landscaping outfit, and once when a customer was impressed by how large a pile of dirt I managed to move in an hour, I said "That's why they had to call in a master shovelist."

Of course, in that case, I had a long handle.

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Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:40 pm
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I like a gardener with a short shovel and a loooooong handle.

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Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:30 pm
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