Monday, September 2, 2013

Gothic to the core: Hades & Persephone

As summer draws to an end, I'm thinking of the Greek tragedies still. Hades and Persephone come to mind.

If you aren't familiar with these two, let me refresh your memory. Hades, in Greek Mythology, is the God of the Underworld.
Pretty much as Gothic as you can get for a male lead character in a potential romance.

Hades was one of three brothers who ruled the earth. His two brothers, Zeus and Posedion, tricked him, as brothers will do. They divvied up the earth and the water among themselves, leaving Hades with only the underworld left to rule. This means he lives down under the earth, near the core. His subjects are the dead.

Steve Coogan as Hades
Not so great. You can imagine he wasn't happy about this.  Would you be?

So, Poor old Hades is stuck in the underworld, as it's ruler. He's not the god of the dead, however. The god of the dead is Thantos.

According to the Greek Legends, Hades is a brooding sort, a dark lord of the realm. A perfect gothic romance hero, perhaps.  You see him on the left as he was portrayed in Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, as sort of an aging Rock Star persona. It's kind of cute, in my humble opinion. The story in the movie is that he assumes this more appealing shape for the benefit of his lady love, Persephone, who doesn't care for his, . . . .um,  natural form.Well, at least he was concerned with how she perceived him, which is more than you get from most guys in a relationship these days.

And to be honest, he's not so attractive as a demonic looking creature.

So Kudos to Hades in this movie rendition of the dark god, for at least trying to please his beloved by caring about his looks.
Legend tells us Hades spends most of his time in his castle, in the underworld. He doesn't go out much. Typical gothic hero, reclusive, brooding, full of dark moods and old wounds. He's mad at his brothers for leaving him only the dead to rule. He's also very greedy, and favors anyone who adds to his subjects, the dead, so those who are engaged in enterprises that bring him more ...... bodies ..... or souls ..... whichever you believe is the human essence, you're on his good side.

Another thing about this broody dude, he's the god of wealth. Hmmmm.   Now we have a rich ruling lord, sort of dark and moody, a Gothic tale of a tortured, angsty heart that is lonely.

Enter Persephone ...... rather unwillingly, you understand

Rosario Dawson as Persephone
Persephone was a forest nymph. She was known as Kore, the goddess of spring growth.
She was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and Zeus, god of the earth.
While she was playing in the fields one day as a young woman, the lonely god Hades abducted her and took her to the underworld.

Her mother, Demeter, searched the earth for her, and wept bitterly over the loss of her daughter. Finally, she found her beloved daughter in Hade's lair. She went to Zeus and demanded that Persephone be freed. Zeus relented, and decreed that Persepone must be allowed to return to the world of the living.

However, there was just one small catch. Apparetly Hades offered the girl food, which she ate. A pommegranite.  This cast a pall over escape, as it meant she would have to spend half of the year in Hades's realm as his wife, and half of it above ground, among the living.  So, when Persephone is with Hades in the underworld kingdom, it is the time when vegetation is dormant, in other words--fall and winter. Spring comes when she returns to her mother's world, and the lush vegetation returns to the earth.

The most recent portrayal of this pair was in the movie, Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, 2010.  In this rendition, Persephone is looking for a way to be free of her rather dark, brooding husband. She's not digging the queen of the underworld gig so much and wants to escape the dark castle once and for all.

So there you have it, in a nut shell, a tragic 'love' story of the ages. Lonely gothic prince of unbelievable wealth kidnaps himself a bride. The bride is allowed to roam the earth for six months out of every year in their odd marriage arrangement. She must return to the world of darkness for six months and be Hades'  Gothic Queen.   Does she love him? Does she learn to love him as the ages pass and they are trapped together?  Would you????? Every relationship has it's issues and compromises. What would you do if this hot, brooding princeling who was wealth itself wanted you to be his Underworld Bride?

This is a twisted love story from the Ancient Greek Myths, a tortured brooding, lonely man kidnaps a sweet little floral nynph and takes her home to his dark castle. He keeps her six months out of the year and gives her back her freedom for six months, where she can go off with her friends and have a good time. As I'm appreciative of the traditional Gothic romances of old, I couldn't help sharing this little tidbit of a love story, cleverly hidden in the old Greek myths.   

Lily Silver, Author of Dark Hero, A Gothic Romance

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