Myth Talk! JP's picks, part 1

In case you didn't know, those three things up in the title are in different myths than each other, though all are cross-linked in one way: they all have to do with water-fare.

Recently JP (for more on him you can read the first episode of George O'Connor's segment Fan Art Forum) sent me word about his three favorite myths (among other things having to do with my book LEGENDARY) which happened to be: (in order of mythological timelining) The Second Labour of Herakles, The Adventure of Iason and Talos, and the Odyssey (JP's picture of Odysseus is on the earlier-mentioned episode on George O'Connor's blog).

So to start off this three-in-one segment, I'm going to tell you about the interview I had with the Hydra...

Me: So Mr... Hydra? is it?

Hydra: Rooaarr.

Me: Oh you're a missus... honest mistake... no! Bad Hydra! No eating the camera-man.

Hydra. Roah-Rooaar? Roaarr!

Me: Okay... so... who were you're parents? Typhon and Ekhidna? And who exactly were they? Oh, okay... so lemme get this straight, your daddy, Typhon, he was 600 km high, breathed lava, had 100 heads, some of which were animal-like, had wings, had six monstrously gigantic snakes for legs and snake heads for fingers, and was able to lift Mt. Aitna in Sicilia without breaking a sweat. Eh, I've seen worse. And then you're mother, Ekhidna, was a beautiful nymph with a snake-tail instead of legs. [the correct name for that is "drakaina" (pronounced dray-keh-na)] Oh really, so you have the ability to grow two heads for every one head that is injured or destroyed. Fascinating.


Me: No, you cannot eat me. Oh no! Not again! (dives behind chair as Hydra breathes acidic gasses)

Now, back to the story. You know Herakles? That ultra-strong guy with a thing for lionskins? Yeah, remember how he was driven insane by his stepmother Hera so that he killed his wife and kids and that when he came to he went to the Oracle of Delphi, correctly reffered to as the Pythia, and asked what he needed to do to gain back the gods' favor but thew Pythia didn't answer so Herakles tried to force her but Apollon appeared and told him what to do in person and Herakles had to go to his evil cousin King Eurystheus of Tiryns to apply for a 10-year job to reconcile but Eurystheus had other plans and made him do 10 (give-or-take a couple) labours, the second of which was to kill the Hydra. Oh, you didn't remember that... Well now you do!

So Herakles gets his nephew Iolaus, and they ride down to Lerna, the swamp-home of the Hydra. Herakles had Iolaus tie a thin sheet of tissue around his nose (the first gas-mask!) in order that Iolaus doesn't die if the aforementioned poison-breath of the Hydra is breathed in. Herakles is strong enough to handle it, though. As Iolaus sets up a campfire, Herakles begins shooting arrows into the swamp to coax out our scaly friend. As the Hydra rises from the swamp, the battle begins. The fighting is hard to do, because of the whole two-heads-grow-back rule, until Iolaus gets an idea. Fetching a torch, he follows Heracles carefully, and every time Herakles bashes a head, Iolaus (get ready for this!) sets the neck aflame so that the growing Hydra heads are charred and killed. This is repeated until an angry Hera sends the Hydra's sidekick into action. Who's the Hydra's sidekick? Oh just you're typical, run-o'-the-mill, 4 FOOT, MAN-EATING CRAB!!! The crab scuttles up to Herakles and in a (one-millesecond-long) bloodthirsty battle to the death!: Herakles steps on the crab and kills it. Yep. Just that easy. He just jumps onto the crab and squishes it like a cockroach. It must be fun being a demigod.
So this whole bash-n-char method keeps going until finally there's only one head left. The middle one. No big deal, right? Wrong. Because the middle head just happens to be IMMORTAL AND INVINCIBLE!! So in another (millesecond-long) bloody battle to the death: Herakles topples a mountain onto the Hydra and burys it, head and all, alive. To this day though, you can apparently still see venomous vapor pour out from under the rock. Herakles dipped his arrows in the Hydra's blood, which just-so-happened to be incredibly poisonous. He went back with Iolaus, and later joined the Argonauts, a band of heroes led by the hero Iason to find the Golden Fleece.
Now Iason had to get the Golden Fleece, but you'll never guess why... No not for his mother's freedom, like Perseus... no, not as punishment, like with Herakles... Give up? Okay: he did it for the heck of it. I know, I know, modern versions say he got for his uncle Pelias because Pelias said he'd make him king of Iolkos if he did, but no... ancient sources do agree that he got it for Pelias, but they mention absolutely NOTHING about Pelias promising to make him king. In fact, all sources agree the real reasons behind Pelias sending him there was because he hoped Iason would die on the way. But ancient sources don't say anything about Pelias coaxing him into it with a false promise. No, sirree. Iason did it for pretty much the heck of it. And no offense but I like that! Most heroes in mythology have a reason to go off and save damsels and slay dragons, like they have to for their parents or they have to as punishment... but not Iason. He became a hero FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER. I like that.
But back to the whole Talos-story: Talos, just so you know, was a ginormous bronze statue created by the god Hephaistos to guard the island of Krete. Talos stood up on a large rock near Krete, looking out to the horixon like a giant security guard. What was so special about Talos. Oh, just that he was an automaton. As in, he was a bronze statue THAT WAS ALIVE. Now when I say alive bronze statue I don't mean those cheap looking robots you see in movies and one TV that only look similar to a person. Now, I mean a real, living, humanoid, 1000 foot person made of bronze. As in he looked exactly like a normal, everyday, 1000-ft-tall human would, but he was shiny. Oh yes, and did I mention he was psychopathic?

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