I always loved Greek mythology, having read it when I run out of fairy tales and just before reaching for J.R.R. Tolkien. My first version was a pretty conservative, run-of-the-mill thing, but already then I was fascinated by the imperfect gods that succumbed to rage and passion so easily.
Later I discovered a richer and a lot more layered version by Zygmunt Kubiak. This is still my favourite version, exploring not only the superficial adventures of the gods but also what do they tell us about the world and how ancient Greeks perceived it.
I bought Mythos during my bookshop crawl in October in Atlantis. It’s been a while since I read Greek mythology and I was hoping that it may be a better retelling than the Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.
It was way better. Where Gaiman is a good storyteller Fry is a brilliant one, using his wit and erudition in equal measures to keep the stories flowing without dumbing them down. Fry is clearly in love with Greek myths and has studied them for years, he feels comfortable in this world. At the same time, he has no problem with slightly changing the story or adding a humorous coda where it’s needed.
Fry’s gods are as capricious as always, they’ll do anything out of lust, they will mercilessly punish any true or perceived slight against them. They also try their best to somehow keep the world in order.
This version may not be as deeply layered as my favourite one, but it still carries a lot of weight and authority. Fry’s affair with mythology is a joyful one, he dives into its depths head-first. It is best summed up by this sentence from the foreword:
There is absolutely nothing academic or intellectual about Greek mythology; it is addictive, entertaining, approachable and astonishingly human.
What better recommendation can one want to get immersed in this fantastic world.
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska @vkphotospace.com
6 thoughts on “Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold – Stephen Fry”
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