And all of them really.
And all of them really.
Volume one of the CIRCO DEL HERRERO series is free.
Caught up on all the “episodes” that are out and so far there’s no mention of the “Gods need prayer badly” trope. It’s about to be turned into a Netflix animated series.
Can’t wait to see how Hephaestus is drawn in this one, if at all. Give me some sexbots too.
‘The poet strummed and sang a charming song
about the love of fair-crowned Aphrodite
for Ares, who gave lavish gifts to her
and shamed the bed of Lord Hephaestus, where
they secretly had sex. The Sun God saw them,
and told Hephaestus–bitter news for him.
He marched into his forge to get revenge,
and set the might anvil on its block,
and hammered chains so strong that they could never
be broken or undone. He was so angry
at Ares. When his trap was made, he went
inside the room of his beloved bed,
and twined the mass of cables all around
the bedposts, and then hung them from the ceiling,
like slender spiderwebs, so finely made
that nobody could see them, even gods:
the craftsmanship was so ingenious.
When he had set the trap across the bed,
he traveled to the cultured town of Lemnos,
which was his favorite place in all the world.
Ares the golden rider had kept watch.
He saw Hephaestus, famous wonder-worker,
leaving his house, and went inside himself;
he wanted to make love with Aphrodite.
She had returned from visiting her father,
the mighty son of Cronus; there she sat.
Then Ares took her hand and said to her,
“My darling, let us go to bed. Hephaestus
is out of town; he must have gone to Lemnos
to see the Sintians whose speech is strange.”
She was exited to lie down with him;
they went to bed together. But the chains
ingenious Hephaestus had created
wrapped tight around them, so they could not move
or get up. Then they knew that they were trapped.
The limping god drew near–before he reached
the land of Lemnos, he had turned back home.
Troubled at heart, he came towards his house.
Standing there in the doorway, he was seized
by savage rage. He gave a mighty shout,
calling to all the gods,
“O Father Zeus,
and all you blessed gods who live forever,
look! You may laugh, but it is hard to bear.
See how my Aphrodite, child of Zeus,
is disrespecting me for being lame.
She loves destructive Ares, who is strong
and handsome. I am weak. I blame my parents.
If only I had not been born! But come,
see where those two are sleeping in my bed,
as lovers. I am horrified to see it.
But I predict they will not want to lie
longer like that, however great their love.
Soon they will want to wake up, but my rap
and chains will hold them fast, until her father
pays back the price I gave him for his daughter.
Her eyes stare at me like a dog. She is
so beautiful, but lacking self-control.”
The gods assembled at his house: Poseidon,
Earth-Shaker, helpful Hermes, and Apollo.
The goddesses stayed home, from modesty.
The blessed gods who give good things were standing
inside the doorway, and they burst out laughing,
at what a clever trap Hephaestus set.
And as they looked, they said to one another,
“Crime does not pay! The slow can beat the quick,
as no Hephaestus, who is lame and slow,
has used his skill to catch the fastest sprinter
of all those on Olympus. Ares owes
the price for his adultery.” They gossiped.
Apollo, son of Zeus, then said to Hermes,
“Hermes my brother, would you like to sleep
with golden Aphrodite, in her bed,
even weighed down by might chains?”
the sharp-eyed messenger replied, “Ah, brother,
Apollo lord of archery: if only!
I would be bound three times as tight or more
and let you gods and all your wives look on,
if only I could sleep with Aphrodite.”
Then laughter rose among the deathless gods.
Only Poseidon did not laugh. He begged
and pleaded with Hephaestus to release
Ares. He told the wonder-working god,
“No let him go! I promise he will pay
the penalty in full among the gods,
just as you ask.”
The famous liming god
replied, “Poseidon, do not ask me this.
It is disgusting, bailing scoundrels out.
How could I bind you, while the gods look on,
if Ares should escape his bond and debts?”
Poseidon, Lord of Earthquakes, answered him,
“Hephaestus, if he tried to dodge this debt,
I promise I will pay.”
The limping god
said, “Then, in courtesy to you, I must
do as you ask.” So using all his strength,
Hephaestus loosed the chains. The pair of lovers
were free from their constraints, and both jumped up.
Ares went off to Thrace, while Aphrodite
smiled as she went to Cyprus, to the island
of Paphos, where she had a fragrant altar
and sanctuary. The Graces washed her there,
and rubbed her with the magic oil that glows
upon immortals, and they dressed her up
in gorgeous clothes. She looked astonishing.’
There is something even more narcissistic than post-apocalyptic literature. It’s modern takes on mythology.
In Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, the gods need more believers. They are shadows of their once-selves. And new gods are forming—gods of the Media and the Internet—simply because humans pay more attention to them. This puts a lot of power in the unknowing hands (or heads) of mortal humans.
This plot point is what’s called “The gods need prayer badly” and it occurs so often in mythology stories that it’s become a trope on TVtropes.
In the 2010 reboot of Clash of the Titans, humans need to be reminded of “the order of things” because the gods can “feel their power draining”—as if their existence depends on humans in the first place (never mind that the gods created THEM). See deleted scene:
TVtropes even comments on the sequel:
“In the sequel Wrath of the Titans, prayers have dwindled so much that the gods have all lost their immortality and many have died before the movie even started. They still have most of their powers, but they are fading. Thus, the Titans are breaking free. On a Fridge Logic note, why are the Titans still around? The gods fuel their immortality with worship, what do the Titans use? And before there were humans to empower them, the gods took down the Titans, didn’t they?”
I could continue to list where else this lazy trope shows up, but I think you get the point. It simply doesn’t make sense and it cheats the audience out of an honest look at why myths exist. I’ll explore the following reasons:
“Gods need prayer badly” is wearing thin—to the point of ignoring entire historical cultures and tradition. Not only is it a lazy excuse for why the gods don’t get involved in our affairs anymore (i.e. because they’re dead or weak), but it assumes that these “old gods” have lost their inspirational powers. Which isn’t so. Otherwise, we’d stop talking about them in our stories so much.
[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]
Post updated on 4/30/17