Literary Genius: Mythos


In this series Stephen Fry makes Greek mythology feel accessible to the average human. He does this with the use of pop culture references and lots of comedy.. As a fan of Greek myths I have read more than one dry, analytical, account of these classics. These books were refreshing in that they were not textbooks. Fry states in the afterward of “Mythos” Book 1 of the series, that “I can not repeat too often that it has never been my aim to interpret or explain the myths, only to tell them.” P.318 For example, Fry brings the myths to life by inserting the reader’s modern day personality into the stories. This makes them relatable, especially to our generation.

There are three volumes in this series. Mythos is about the rise of the Greek gods and the interactions between mortals and those gods. It is exciting stuff and Fry brings to the forefront how fickle humans are. He shows how we can go from loving each other one minute to hating each other the next. If we are created in the image of god one has to wonder if the gods aren’t even more fickle than us. Fry enjoys using stories to add evidence to this conundrum.

The second book in the series “Heroes” goes beyond the gods and chronicles the special accomplishments of a handful of mortals. Their adventures seem to allow them to be on the same level as the gods and sometimes even join them. I was struck by how willing the heroes are to risk their lives and everything. Sometimes it is for glory, sometimes for repentance. 

In the third volume, “Troy” Fry tells the story of the famous Trojan War and one of the last moments, to date, where gods interfered with mortal affairs. This epic tale contains deception and greed, ego and love. It shows that humans and gods can want very different things but even more importantly, what each one is willing to do to stand up for their belief. Many mortals sacrificed their lives for their beliefs. 

I love the way Fry portrays the Greek gods as having all the messy traits that we find in mere mortals.

They are full of love, hate and just plain desire. Gods can also be destructive, funny, kind, and straight up foolish. I would give these books as a whole, four out five rainbows. This rating is based on personal preference. Some of the myths covered by Fry are not my favorites but you will have to read and find out if they are yours. I am glad Stephen Fry wrote these books for new and old fans alike.