Tag Archives: mythology

The Super Secret Origin of the Azor Ahai Myth in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is a sprawling fantasy epic that carefully blends grounded medieval realpolitik with magic and supernatural elements. George RR Martin has gone on record about his inspiration for the politics of the series: the real-world dynastic battles of the War of the Roses, with Starks and Lannisters being analogues for ye olde Englande’s northern Yorks and rich Lancasters.

But what is the origin of the supernatural mono-myth that seems to dominate the story? I’m talking about the story of Azor Ahai and related myths that are so prevalent in Westeros and Essos.

RedSunset

Born under a bleeding star.

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The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

I have found that just currently where I am in my life audio books have become an amazing way to enjoy books. One of the books that I recently listened to was The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. This is a series that contains a bunch of myths and legends all blended together.

The basic idea is that there was a time when all the big scary things that we consider myth were what ruled the world. Then one of their own created a book that could destroy them and little did they know it also contained the secret to immortality for humans. Nicholas Flamel ended up with the book and has been able to live for hundreds of years. The book starts out with a former protege of Flamel’s coming for the book because he wants to help the dark elders rise again. This begins us on an adventure where part of the book is lost and a couple of seemingly regular pair of brother and sister twins get pulled in to the crazy world of magic and mythology. Continue reading

Verdict – Emerald City

If you didn’t know, NBC has created a new show called Emerald City, which is a reinterpretation of the Wizard of Oz. When I first heard about this show I was curious because the world of Oz is definitely a familiar and interesting place for stories. The 2 part pilot episode caught my interest, but felt a little rushed. Now that I am on episode 5 I can definitely say that I am hooked.

The first couple of episodes definitely felt like they were trying to move past the pieces of the story that everyone knows and just dive deep into the craziness that is Oz. They change the story in fairly interesting ways and make the story much deeper than expected. The other piece that makes for an expanded universe is that the story is not just about Dorothy, but about an ensemble cast of characters all with different flaws and motivations. There is just one mystery after another to unfold.

Getting Past the Obvious

Now the first two part episode definitely felt a little rushed, but after getting past it the rush makes some sense. They were trying to move past the standard checks to get to Oz and start the adventure.

So we meet Dorothy who was abandoned as a girl with the Gale’s, which definitely feels suspicious. When she tries to go visit her estranged mother of course is when the tornado hits and suddenly she is in Oz, riding in a police car with a dog (so Toto). The Witch of the East gets hit by the car and assumed dead. Now instead of being praised Dorothy is tortured because apparently only a witch can kill a witch in Oz. By the end of the episode we have met the “Scarecrow” – a soldier who was left for dead and doesn’t remember who he is – and are on the way down the Yellow Brick Road. We have also met Glinda, the Witch of the West, and the Wizard all in the 2 part episode and it moves quickly.

Interesting Twists on Characters

The different twists and the different characters from Oz is actually fascinating. Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West are actually sisters, apparently all the witches in Oz are considered to come from the same mother. The mythology that they present is very deep, but the interesting part is that magic is now forbidden in Oz. There is an odd balance between the Wizard, who banned magic, but saved the Emerald City, and the witches. The “Tin Man” is a boy who almost died and was saved by replacing the majority of his body with metal. An interesting thing in Oz is that they believe in magic, but not science, so when presented with science they read it as magic. It makes for some interesting moments with Dorothy – who knows science.

Growing Mysteries

I feel like for every reveal the show introduces another mystery. I mean the original mystery is who was Dorothy’s mom and why was she abandoned. Then there are many different characters who appear to be more than they seem. The three biggest power players all seems to have plans within plans and so far I am not sure what those plans are. In the most recent episode there was a predictable reveal, but it does open up a whole other line of intrigue to explore. The nice part is even with the ever-growing mysteries they also do keep answering some of the questions along the way. At the same time it will be interesting to see where they end up on the show.

Trollhunters on NetFlix

Netflix is on a roll for shows that David and I like. Recently I started watching one of their new shows Trollhunters and so far I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is great because instead of taking human lore they turn it on its head a little bit and the lore is actually about the trolls. The troll hunter is actually traditionally a troll who hunts bad trolls. Then through a series of events it ends up being a human teenager, Jim Lake Jr. (played by Anton Yelchin), who happened to find the troll hunter amulet. Then we get to dive with him into this secret hidden underground world where trolls, gnomes, shapeshifters and more exist. At the same time he is also figuring out how to get through high school and not let his mom and others find out about the whole other life. It is a fun time and I highly recommend the show.

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Science Fiction Today – Yetis

YOkay, so maybe it looks like we’re stretching here. Just going for a word that starts with Y. And yes, that’s partially true. Still, I mean it. I want to talk about Yetis, and Big Foot, and the Loch Ness Monster. I want to talk about Dragons and Unicorns. And the future.

As the world grows smaller, as our ability to travel over it, and map and document it grows, as we dig into it and find the fossils and the past and the history of it… is there still room for these mythical creatures? These possibilities, these mysteries. Creatures of wonder. Is it okay for us to lose wonder in the name of exploration?

We Lose Wonder

On the one hand, we might lose wonder. As we explore the depths of the sea, all the lands, as we explore the far reaches of space with telescopes and probes. As we find the answers. And if we find the answers to the questions, to the mysteries, will we find new and more mysteries, new and more questions? Maybe not. We may instead start to think that we know everything, that we have all the answers. The End of Science.

Like in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, where scientists were little more than historians, reading the works of the great thinkers. Deciding validity between your sources. Nothing against history, I love history. But by not doing the science themselves, by just accepting all is known and nothing else needs to be done, we can miss things – and thus the plot to Foundation as a galactic human civilization collapses. Because no one was looking for signs of change – they already knew everything.

Endless Wonder

It’s the tagline from Warehouse 13, and maybe that makes sense, as that was a show devoted to the thought that there was more to this world than we see or know. But I think the better example is really Star Trek. A series all about exploration. About having new mysteries to find, new expanses to explore. The Final Frontier.

We need to think like that, though. That there are always new frontiers, that there are things we don’t know yet. That maybe there are still things out there, things worth finding. Maybe there are monsters, maybe there are friends. They tend to find both in most exploration science fiction. Mythical creatures are much the same way – at times helpful, at times awful. Some don’t seem to want to be found. Those are the things to keep us looking, the idea of them. The idea of the as-yet unfound, unproven or disproven Yeti. The thing to keep us searching.

Want more on Monsters? Check out the A to Z Theme “Lady Monsters” over on Part-Time Monster!

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!