Brutal Watch: The Northman @TheNorthmanFilm @bjork @neilhimself #GoodWatch #mythology #folklore #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

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A few of weeks ago, I saw The Northman. I loved it but understand that it isn’t for everyone. It’s a Norse tale, which means it doesn’t fit the formula for what sells in Peoria.

This character was loosely based on me.

The cast was great, but this post isn’t a review. The movie, like several others before it, got me thinking.

I didn’t study mythology because of my interest in 1st Edition D&D (“1e”); it was the other way around. Mythology (and dinosaurs) got me into 1e in the 1970s. I thought, “Wow! I can tell my own stories within these settings and characters?!” However, whether it’s D&D, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, or Bulfinch’s Mythology, western literature tends to sanitize the characters and their stories. The “good-aligned” deities are often presented as noble, loving, and helpful. There are certainly some exceptions — Zeus was an asshole — but the sense of right and wrong have been aligned at least to some extent to what the modern audience thinks as “good.” We really do make the gods in our own image. The Northman reminds us that the “good guy” is not someone you’d want to marry your daughter. Life was brutal and uncaring back then, and being that way yourself was an effective survival strategy.

That said, there’s a reasonableness to garnering lessons from these myths. In a very narrow, personal way, I relate rather strongly to the protagonist’s backstory (appropriately discussed today). I would never handle our similar predicament in the same way, but the character’s backstory loosely parallels my own. If you dig through the primitive details of the specific culture at hand, you can find some universal truths, or at least something to which you can relate (no more than vaguely, I hope). After all, people take from stories whatever message they want to hear. We tend to cut out the brutality from these stories, and thus also ignore how those that wrote them applied them to real life.

So no, you wouldn’t want to invite any of these ancient people to dinner.

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Gods of Death #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Egypt #Greece #MCU

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D&D didn’t get me into mythology; mythology got me into D&D. I loved mythology as a kid (still do), so I loved the idea of playing a game that allowed me to write stories within those worlds. The MCU is now getting deeper into the mix with Egyptian gods in Moon Knight, Greek and Egyptian gods (and maybe others) in Thor: Love and Thunder, and perhaps more in Black Panther 2 and others further down the pike.

So, continuing with the death theme of past few days, I give you a couple videos of death gods. First up, Anubis from the Egyptian pantheon.

Next, Thanatos from ancient Greece.

From Haiti, we get Baron Semedi.

The Japanese give us a host of death gods called the Shingami.

And then there’s the goddess of death from my favorite pantheon.

No, not her.

Depressed yet?

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Mythic Watch: Moon Knight @moonknight @MarvelStudios #MoonKnight #MCU #GoodWatch

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So, Moon Knight. Today’s the season finale.

As always, I got up early to watch it.

This isn’t a traditional review that implicitly claims that a show is good or bad based on some make-believe objective standard. I hate that pretentious nonsense. Whether or not you like a movie, song, TV show, or food is purely subjective. Instead, my approach to reviews is to explain why I like what I like and hate what I hate. If what makes me like/hate it applies to you, then maybe you’ll like/hate it too. I say, “maybe,” because there are other factors beyond what I can possibly express, but at least you have a better chance of predicting your reaction.

So, here is the context to understand the place from which my feelings arise:

  1. I grew up reading about dinosaurs and mythology, so anything involving either one of them has an advantage in gaining me as an audience, but are still not all winners.
  2. I’m not a fan of the comic book genre. However, when I was in elementary school, I’d sometimes hang out with my cousin. When it was too hot or cold to play outside, we’d read his comics. I remember them oddly well, but there were very few that grabbed me.
  3. I’m an apologist for comic book movies.

So, what do I think of Moon Knight? I love it. Considering the context given above, I don’t think I need to say much beyond that, as the explanation has already been given. However, I don’t want any of you asking for your money back, so here’s a little more. As with Shang-Chi before it, Moon Knight is opening the door to folklore, legends, and myths of a culture rarely addressed in western media. I’m sure most (non-bot) readers of this blog get that, but for our society as a whole, these other cultures are untapped resources. Disney is just scratching the surface with Egyptian and Chinese cultures. Give me Quetzalcoatl! Give me Shango! Give me Raijin! But please keep Chris Hemsworth as Thor. 😊

I suspect the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder is going to have me lose my shit for the same reason.

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Temporal Deities @MythsExplained #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Egypt

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Due to my one year streak of posts soon coming to an end, the theme of the weekend has been time, so here are a couple of videos on time deities, starting with Chronos, the Greek god of time. This one also discusses how mythology often resembles fan fiction. Some gods were worshipped over centuries, and some over millennia. Some stories passed orally, while others were changed as the political winds shifted. Ancient peoples believed what they wanted to believe, and that changed.

Next up is the closest thing we have to a time deity in Egyptian mythology, Shai, a goddess of destiny. Like time, the story told has no ending. It was . . . lost to time. Get it?

Time is almost up.

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Dionysus @MythsExplained #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #actor #theater

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Continuing my current theme of acting, I provide a video of Dionysus. One of the lesser known (if unsurprising) domains of Dionysus is the theater. But don’t worry; this video just talks about getting drunk.

Well, no. It speaks a lot about his story generally. Something, something, grapes, something. Maybe I’m the one that’s been drinking.

Raise a glass!

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Vampires! @MythsExplained @jakelikesonions #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

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As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I provide a video talking about the history of vampires. Sure, I should have posted this last Monday, as I had just seen Morbius the day before, but I’m weeks ahead of schedule in my writing, and I’m too lazy to shuffle around the posts and rewrite them so their new order of publication jives with the text within.

My 1st Edition AD&D (“1e“) players’ characters are still in their adventuring infancy, so it’s too early to throw a vampire at them, but I look forward to it. Maybe I could create a more level-appropriate 1e Dhampir myself.

No, really. They can be a lot scarier than this.

Ctenmiir, anyone?

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Atlas in D&D #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

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The image below revived a memory from my elementary/middle school days, which is when I last played 1st Edition D&D (“1e“).

This image alone could be the subject of another post . . . on another blog.

Being a mythophile – mythology brought me to 1e, not the other way around – I loved perusing Deities & Demigods and finding ways to incorporate the material in my games. The results were ridiculous, but that’s not today’s point.

Intelligence and Wisdom of 12. That checks out.

I recall seeing Jim Roslof’s (RIP) drawing above of Atlas from Greek mythology and thought, “Wait a second. Why even stat the guy? He’s not going to be able to put up a fight if he’s got the sky on his shoulders.”

This wasn’t me at my most creative moment. Mythology itself had precedent for Atlas not always shouldering the sky. Hercules relieved him for a bit. The better question would be, “Why would you want to kill a guy who’s tasked with this burden? Who’s going to take over if you kill him? Will the sky just . . . fall?”

Perhaps a better question should be, “Shouldn’t shouldering the sky be metaphorical considering that the game contemplates the possibility of multiple, coexisting pantheons? Are Indra, Shang-Ti, Ra, and Odin also relying on Atlas to hold up the sky?”

Fortunately for my current group, these aren’t difficult questions to answer, but I was a kid.

Mythophile is too a word!

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Dagon @MythsExplained #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Dagon #Lovecraft #CthulhuMythos #ADnD #DnD #RPG #1e #TTRPG

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Yesterday, I gave you a silly idea for a pufferfish lich. Today, I give you a video on Dagon, a member of the “artificial” pantheon care of H. P. Lovecraft.

I’m clearly obsessed with aquatic encounters in D&D, and two days ago was the first session of my official return to 1st Edition D&D, so I plan to break out the 3D map as soon as possible.

1e is going to be fun.

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Piltzintecuhtli, the God of Mushrooms #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Piltzintecuhtli

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It’s day 2 of my 3 days of mushroom-related posts.

Here’s a short video on the elusive Aztec god, Piltzintecuhtli. When I say “elusive,” I refer to the fact that Google didn’t provide any more information than appeared in this 1 minute and 45 second video (most of which is just imagery). You may as well go to his Wikipedia page.

So, if there’s so little information to be found on him, why post about him? Short answer: I’m twisted. I have a ridiculous question to ask of you all. Tomorrow.

Tune in tomorrow.

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