Like many stuck at home, I’ve been binge-watching lately. One of my favorites is this series on Greek myths produced and written by François Busnel (Les Grands Mythes – 2014). The Amazon version is narrated in English (masterfully!). It uses striking and dramatic animation to tell the many stories of Greek heroes, gods, and goddesses.
While I feel I’m pretty up on my Greek Mythology, it was an engrossing series to watch and time slipped away. This isn’t your Disney Hercules which mangled that classic story to bits to make it fun for the kiddies. Nope, this is brutal tragedy, sacrifice, murder, and betrayal only on the scale that the Greeks could imagine.
The animation (shown here with some screenshots) is so striking. I wasn’t sure how it would work as it is so different than what you would traditionally see but I ended up loving it! My college kids who wandered in to watch some of it with me were also drawn in by the striking monochromatic imagery and blank faces.
While I was deep-diving into this series, a book mention came through my email – The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. The first person narrative is from the perspective of Briseis, a Trojan queen who becomes a slave captive of Achilles. This book blew me away – the author brings you right into the action that is almost frightening in its realism. A fresh view of an old subject, I was entrance by the historical detail Barker put into her book that makes it feel you are right there experiencing these events.
From the description I wasn’t thinking this would be a more soppy romantic version of the fall of Troy. Nope. This book is filled with historical accuracy from the carnage, the dehumanizing aspect of brutal war, and the relationships. This leans more into the history of the period while the people and their lives become real under Barker’s prose.
The taste of god-magic aligns it with the legend but not so much you are reading an outright fantasy. Just the right touch there.
Even if you don’t have a lot of knowledge of the Greek story you will want to know more after reading The Silence of the Girls. I loved it!