I’ve mentioned before, Gate of Myth and Power is my loose interpretation of the Hades and Persephone myth. (If you want to hear my sarcasm infused summary of the myth, check out this blog post!) So today I thought we could go over some similarities!
To start it out, we have some characters who were inspired by Greek mythology figures frequently associated with Hades and Persephone. Ker is short for Kerberos, the three headed hound of Hades. (As I stated in her character profile, I thought I was sooooooo funny when I decided to make a werewolf Kerberos.) Charon is the name of the ferryman of Hades, which is why he is the group’s designated driver and uses the alias of “Mr. Ferryman”. And then across the street you’ve got the three uncles who were my wink-and-you’ll-miss-it tip of the hat to the three fates.
On Chloe’s side, Ms. Booker was my take on the Greek goddess Hecate, who served as Persephone’s companion once her time-share lifestyle between Demeter and Hades was figured out. Hecate also knew that Persephone had been kidnapped, which was perfect because I wanted Chloe to get support from someone outside of Noctus’s inner circle.
Pat and Joy are my answer to Demeter. I decided to split the familial role into two people and make them siblings instead of her parents because I haven’t had a chance to show a good sibling relationship yet in the Magiford world, and I felt like Leila’s books already covered great parental relationships. I also decided siblings would be better because they could be pushy and bossy, but they’d more easily back down when Chloe grew as a person, whereas a parent as domineering as Demeter was, wouldn’t have. I already knew I had plenty of other tension in the book, so I didn’t want to launch a war between Chloe and her adopted family, so Pat and Joy were the perfect solution.
Chloe and Noctus’s roles are a little more self explanatory. Noctus kidnaps an unwilling Chloe just like Hades snatched Persephone, however, because Noctus believes Chloe is a cat, the relationship starts with a healthier foundation, even though Chloe is still horrified with her unintentional captive-hood like Persephone was, and Noctus is absolutely chuffed much the same way Hades was. (Yes, Noctus was happy about his new pet, not his captive wife, but, hey, same feelings, less toxic relationship!)
Noctus, of course, is a king, and I made him a king over a domain, much the same way Hades was. There are other elven royal families as we now know–CoughSHILOHcough–but Noctus rules over Calor Villa, and his family used their powers in a way that made other elves consider their magic to be a sort of death magic. Moreover, the required secrecy for Calor Villa’s survival was able to give my story the same “trapped” feel as Hades’ underworld kingdom, since it had a strict “no return” policy.
Instead of using food to cement Chloe to Noctus’s side–something that would have been a bit harder considering Chloe, unlike Persephone, HAD to eat–I decided to use the cat collar. Chloe’s collar with its three pomegranate red jewels is my ode to the pomegranate seeds Persephone ate. But making the tie be a physical thing that could be removed had the added bonus of making Chloe’s and Noctus’s relationship truly mutual–something that I think Persephone and Hades also had as the chance that Persephone didn’t know what consuming the pomegranates would do was really, really low.
Jumping ahead in the story, King’s Shadow is also where you really see Pat and Joy’s roles as “Demeter” move front and center. They are the reason why Chloe has to leave, just as Demeter is why Persephone leaves. Though I swapped it from “Demeter refuses to let things grow and people are dying unless Persephone comes back” to “Pat and Joy are in mortal peril, and Chloe cares too much about them to wait any longer.” This was admittedly done just for my personal satisfaction. I like good family relationships, so I didn’t want this issue to fracture Chloe’s relationship with her siblings.
So if King’s Captive follows the story arc of Persephone’s kidnapping, and King’s Shadow represents the part of the myth where Persephone’s feelings for Hades change before she is forced to leave because of Demeter, then that leaves us with King’s Queen representing Persephone’s return to Hades and his kingdom as his queen, which is mostly played out through Noctus’s arc with his people where he learns they want him to be happy, and they’re willing to go public for his sake.
Chloe’s arc is the frosting on the cake where she comes to trust in her own abilities, and learns to act despite her fear. She is rewarded for this growth with Destruction, who doesn’t have a tie to the original myth, but I did want to note that I decided to go with a scythe for Destruction as homage to the western idea of the grim reaper, since the Mors elves are considered to be the elves of death.
Whew, that was a lot to cover! What are your favorite parts about the Hades and Persephone myth that you like to see in retellings? Share in the comments down below! Until next time, thanks for reading!
I love all the details!!! Such a great series!!! And all these little bits that you add just make the rereading even better! I love when his people make the choice for him!
I love that Ker is all about winning friends … which is a very “doggish” thing! She might as well be wagging three tails, forget about puppy eyes on three heads. Not that she doesn’t have plenty of werewolf cunning to go with that! Or maybe Aristide is rubbing off on her…
Also, I liked your version of the pomegranates. For as much food as was involved in this trilogy, having the gems stand in for the pomegranate arils was more tasteful (pun intended). Especially when Noctus didn’t know she was more than just a cat.
Thanks for making this retelling into something so much more fun than the original, Kitty!