I'm very happy to be hosting teen author Elisabeth Wheatley today as part of her blog tour for the release of The Secrets of the Vanmars, the second book in her Argetallam Saga. Here she is:
Elisabeth Wheatley on Mythology
I have a fondness for anthropology, history, and, of course, fantasy. All these things are rolled into the wonderful lore of mythology.
You know you’re way too into mythology when you’re asked to name the Nordic countries and you list “Geatland.” (I’ve done that.) You know you’re way to into mythology when you get mad while watching The Immortals because you just found out the storyline isn’t “accurate.” (Also done that.)
So what? I may be a little too into it, but I love mythology. Folklore, fairytales, legends—particularly European and Middle-Eastern—you name it, I’ll probably adore it. I skim through my small collection of mythology encyclopedias—legend after legend, myth after myth accumulating in my brain in an ever-growing stockpile of useless information. Some of the stories are so ridiculous (particularly the ones involving reasons for suicide: i.e. Dido, Ajax, etc.) I admit that I laugh at them, but others I find fascinating.
The study of different mythologies is also intriguing. (WARNING: This may be a little reminiscent of a college lecture, stay with me!) Comparing Roman and Greek mythology is a good example. They have many similarities (the Greeks could have easily sued the Romans for plagiarism in many cases), but a few differences that were also reflected in their cultures. For instance, Roman mythology tends to highlight selfless acts of bravery for one’s country, while the Greeks seemed to be more concerned with looking out for Number One. Roman mythology was also more misogynistic than Greek, often casting domestic violence as acceptable. Hmm..... That last part sounded less heavy in my head. Anyway...
I have a fascination for female warrior figures in mythology (I’m sure I’m not the only one). From Durga the Demon Slayer of Hindu origin, to Anat of Ugarit (a city in modern-day Syria), and, the one everyone knows, Athena—the Greek goddess of wisdom and a few other things, they’re all pretty cool.
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about Slavic mythology. Slavic mythology is fascinatingly matriarchal, often casting the woman as the one who saves the man instead of the other way around. For instance, the story of the warrior queen Márya Morévna involves her single-handedly defeating an immortal ogre and his army of thousands. Then later, when her young, handsome, brave, kind, idiotic boyfriend accidentally releases the ogre from where Márya had chained him, she gets to go on a quest to save said boyfriend.
And I have to say something about Arthurian Legend. Oh, Arthurian Legend! The tales of chivalry, honor, nobility, and undying love *sigh* I’m a sucker for that, too. In fact, I took the name “Amatahns” from Arthurian lore. “Amytans” was a wise man who rebuked Merlin. (I had to change the spelling because everyone thought I was naming my character after “Amy Tan,” writer of The Joy Luck Club. Sorry, I had no idea who she was.)
So...now you know I am an aficionado for the tales of storytellers who’ve been dead for hundreds or even thousands of years. People always talk about studying the roots of something. Well, the legends in mythology are the forerunners of the fantasy novel and just for that we should be thankful for them! Besides, you never know what you’ll learn about the culture and the history of a people from their legends.
After her adventures with the Key of Amatahns, sixteen-year-old Janir Caersynn Argetallam returns home to find Brevia on the brink of war with a neighboring country, Stlaven. Her foster-father and even Saoven—a brave young elf warrior—think it will be safe at the castle where Janir grew up. However, while trying to unravel a looming mystery, Karile—self-taught wizard and Janir’s self-appointed best friend—becomes certain that there is danger in the mountains surrounding Janir’s childhood home and that it has something to do with Stlaven’s most powerful family, the Vanmars…