Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to do any Greek stuff, but…I wasn’t really feeling most of the other “P” choices. Besides, I have a…well, I’m not sure a “funny story” is quite the right way to put it…a “minor anecdote that I happen to find amusing because I’m anal like that” is probably the more accurate way to describe it. (Really, I ought to do Pele for this. But…I just wasn’t feeling it.)
Yup, that dino skull with a snake-like cloud of smoke behind it is how they usually depict Python in these games. Though I’ll have another image for you in a minute. But first, here’s the game text describing Python in Shin Megami Tensei IV/IV Apocalypse:
A gigantic, black snake god born from the Greek goddess Gaea with no father.
He has unparalleled prophetic abilities and has protected oracular shrines since days of old. Python is said to have been the guardian of Delphi, site of Delphic oracles. He is sometimes called “the king of deceitful spirits” and gave prophecies that would only be in his favor, but he never gave prophecies that went against Gaea’s will.
The same text was also used in the two Devil Survivor games, except without the word “deceitful.” Which is a pretty freakin’ big change, I must say! Those of you with some knowledge of who Python is in Greek myths may be agog at the massive omissions there. But before I address those, let me show you the other version of Python I promised. This is what you see in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment when you face Python as an enemy. (This, of course, being the way I first saw him in a MegaTen game.)
A bit more like it, except for the, y’know, wings and legs. (Though as I posted once already, it’s hard for us to know what exactly the ancient Greeks had in mind when they used words that get translated to English words like “serpent” and “dragon,” so maybe this isn’t as far off as it might be.) Python’s inclusion in Eternal Punishment has stuck with me all these years for a very specific reason: Eternal Punishment was the first game (translated into English) to include a compendium giving the player access to little summaries of what the original myths/folktales/etc. were. I can’t quote you specifically what it said, because goodness only knows where the heck my memory card is, but I can paraphrase it for you. It said that Python was a monstrous snake sent by Hera to kill Ret.
It took me way too long to realize that “Ret” was a translation error made by people who didn’t know Greek mythology, and that it was supposed to say “Leto.”
But let’s set the games aside now and talk about the real Python. (Not the one with the Flying Circus…) Read the rest of this entry →