Onto our second book of my Greek pickings and here we travel to Troy and the tale of Helen of Troy and the wooden horse…
“If this story, the story of Troy, has a meaning or a moral it is the old, simple lesson that actions have consequences. What Tantalus did, exacerbated by what Pelops did…the actions of these two caused a doom to be laid on what was to be the most important royal house of Greece.”
This story isn’t lots of little stories. This is a gradual, organised build up to the main plot line – the Trojan War.
Troy, a great kingdom. The Jewel of the Aegean. The city that rose and fell, not once but twice. The tale of Troy is one many of us know, the kidnapping of the beautiful Helen, the Greeks launching an onslaught against the great city and a war that will last for 10 years.
“Hades could not care less who wins: it is enough that the conflict will fill his underworld with new dead souls. He hopes the war will be a long and bloody one.”
But how did it all begin? Well you can thank Zeus, king of the Gods for that. I won’t divulge too much as I don’t want to spoil it for those who are about to read it for its an integral part of the story that many of us don’t know.
“We achieve immortality not through ambrosia and ichor but through history and reputation. Through statues and epic song.”
The first half of the book, if not more, introduces the key players and their back stories. From Achilles to Odysseus, from Helen to Paris, Agamemnon and Menelaus and even the gods and goddesses interfering – the likes of Aphrodite, Apollo and Zeus all make appearances, along with may others.
“I cannot offer you wisdom or power…My name is Aphrodite…my offer to you is this…Her name is Helen…if the apple is mine, she will be yours.”
Troy is a tale full of heroism and hatred, love and loss, revenge and regret. It’s a passionate tale of every action having a consequence. Of love and lust. And of course, the old story of one man wanting everything and ending up with nothing.
“But the fox was not one ever to forget or forgive.”
There are no happy endings. It’s impossible to pick a side and everywhere you look, every decision to be made is a lose-lose situation.
There will be two more Stephen Fry reads coming up in my Greek reads – Mythos and Heroes, so keep an eye out for those!
You can find this book on Amazon
Until next time,