Aug 23: This space left intentionally blank.
Yeah, not much going on today. I stayed in the house, hiding from the heat and trying to finish my reading for the first day of class.
About the only thing I actually accomplished was to re-write the death of Troilos. Though at this point I shouldn’t still be re-writing stuff, it’s just that if I’m going to say in the Author’s Notes that the death of Troilos is like the entire war in miniature, then I can’t have Achilles kill him as a reflex action; it has to be purposeful. Technically, it should also be vicious, like in the artistic representations, but…I don’t think I could come up with a reason for Achilles to be so brutal that wouldn’t then make the reader want to see him die a horrible death very promptly. And Troilos dies at the beginning of the war, not the end, meaning there’s a ton more of Achilles before his death, so the death of Troilos had to be a lot softer than the artistic representations. (But I didn’t want to go the “foiled seduction” route, because…well, for one thing, that’s a little creepy as a reason for a man to kill a boy. For another, I’m trying to leave all the same-sex relationships at the subtext level. And most importantly, that would tarnish the love between Patroclos and Achilles.)
I did have a really intriguing thought just a few minutes ago, though. It occurred to me (though I have no idea when, where or how I could ever use this) that Apollo can be seen as a very needy god, romantically speaking. He’s famous for his pursuits and his conquests, right? But his most famous chosen lovers (Daphne and Cassandra) both reject him, and there are others (Chione and Hyacinthos, for example) who have so many other suitors that he either has to share them or compete for their affections, and ultimately he has but little time with them, either way. The one female figure he’s most strongly associated with is his twin sister, the virgin goddess Artemis, and he can’t ever score with her, because of her perpetual virgin status. (The fact that they’re twins is unlikely to stop a Greek god, but the virgin thing, that would stop him.) And yet he has countless children, children whose mothers are rarely mentioned, and certainly don’t represent a strong romantic tie for him.
Most of the other gods either have wives (even Dionysos, the youngest god, has a wife) or a perpetual lover (as Ares has Aphrodite, even in versions where she’s married to Hephaistos). Now, Hermes, too, has neither wife nor habitual lover, but being a trickster god (and namesake of the perpetually aroused “herm” trail-markers) he seems like someone who wouldn’t even want one, and his conquests are usually described as just that: conquests for a single evening of pleasure. But Apollo is usually described as falling in love with those he woos, yet he never manages to have a steady relationship with any of them.
I want to find a good project where I can work that into his character, and make him desperately needy, but…that’s a tall order. I mean, I guess that’s kind of reflected in my semi-Young Adult series, considering the way his brief interactions with the heroine end up going across the series, but there it’s described as being the result of a curse on the heroine’s blood, not an aspect of Apollo’s personality. (All the more so since Dionysos also reacts to her the same way, though to a lesser degree.) I guess if I write that off-shoot, semi-sequel, kinda-follow-up series, I could put it in there…?
Maybe it’s best left as a weird theoretical discussion (diatribe?) than worked into a piece of fiction…