I’m back this time and a little sooner than I was last time! Speaking of last time, remember Mythos? Well this is all about Greek Heroes specifically and how they got to their legendary status.
“The days of the gods were numbered too.”
Stephen Fry brings us stories of the heroics of some ancient Greeks we may well recognise; Heracles – possibly the bravest of heroes, the epitome of bravery and strength, Perseus – son of Zeus, he was a legendary Demi-God who stayed Medusa and Jason and his hunt for the Golden Fleece.
“Some will make it but many do not.”
We also learn about less famous characters like Atalanta who was the only female amongst these heroes and a story I didn’t know at all. I also enjoyed learning more about the mythical creatures our heroes face including the Minotaur of Crete and Medusa. One of my favourite tales was definitely the Minotaur and learning about the humanity within. The ending is sadder than you may realise.
“…story begins with a glorious and majestic roar but ends with a sharp serpent’s bite.”
This book felt more organised than Mythos because each hero had their own section which told their story from start to finish, covering all the highlights (and lowlights).
“It is the fate of the young never to learn…I suppose it is arrogance and unwavering self-belief that propels them to their triumphs, just as surely as it is arrogance and unwavering self-belief that unseats them and sends them plummeting to their ends.”
Just like in Mythos, Stephen Fry’s wit and humour comes across and adds to the enjoyment I feel when reading this book. He delivers each story with the amount of respect each is due but with an accessible format with explanations to make it all less confusing.
“Fate, doom, necessity, destiny. These are real. But so are your mind, will and spirit…You can walk away from it all….You are free.”
There are funny tales, tragic tales, scary tales but one thing they all have in common is they are all timeless. Each tale is brought to life and is magical in its retelling. Heroes is the story of what we mortals are truly capable of, both at our worst and at our very best. There’s bravery, puzzles, murder, self-sacrifice and of course battles.
“Myth is not history…There are those who like to think that many myths are pearls built up around grains of fact. In the past, even in antiquity, mythographers regularly attempted to trace almost all mythic stories back to some actual, historical truth.”
That concludes my Greek reading for now but never fear, there’s always more Ancient Greek to be had.
“The Muses whisper in my ear and tell me I am done.”
You can find Heroes on Amazon
Until next time,