Book Review – Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell

PrimitiveMythology

Primitive Mythology is the first volume of The Masks of God, a four volume work by Joseph Campbell. Campbell is well known for his other works in the field of mythology The Hero with a Thousand Faces and the PBS series The Power of Myth. He was the creator of the concept of the monomyth (one myth) — a word he borrowed from James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake — which essentially refers to a theory that all mythic stories are variations of a single great narrative, which is made evident by themes, tropes, and other elements common among numerous great myths around the world, regardless of place and time. While The Hero with a Thousand Faces — which I understand to be his most renowned written work — approaches this idea from the perspective of psychology, The Masks of God approaches it more through anthropology and history.Read More »

Movie Review – Hercules (2014)

A couple of weeks ago, among the rush of summer movies, I watched Brett Ratner’s Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The film is based on the comic book Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore and Chris Bolsin. The story follows Hercules — famous for completing his twelve labours and supposedly a demigod son of Zeus — and his mercenary comrades who are hired by Lord Cotys to train the armies of Thrace to defend the kingdom from the bloodthirsty warlord Rheseus.Read More »

Experiencing God of War Part 2

NOTICE: This post contains spoilers for the God of War Series

Characters and Monsters

While I’ve stated that I love how the God of War series adapted and utilized traditional Greek Mythology into its story and world, what has always particularly wowed me about the series is how it has represented the gods, heroes, and monsters.

When compared to other representations of the gods I have seen or caught glimpses of in popular culture, there is something that has just felt right about how God of War has represented them. Though the series does still have some glaring flaws in that department — such as the unexplained absence of Apollo — their representation of the Olympians and Titans is something I’ve admired.Read More »

Experiencing God of War Part 1

NOTICE: This post contains spoilers for the God of War series.

Very recently I was able to play through God of War 3, finally finishing the main trilogy of the franchise. God of War has been a series of games I’ve long had a deep fascination with. I’ve always been interested in mythology, as well as over-the-top fantasy violence. That being the case, God of War was a series I knew would be right up my alley.

The funny thing about this is that while I grew up with video games I never owned a PlayStation. I had an NES, a Genesis, a Nintendo 64, a Gamecube, a Wii, and then an Xbox 360. I never got to play any entry in the series until I was an adult. Despite coming late to the series, I couldn’t be happier with how my experience with it turned out.
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All About Stories

Quite simply, this blog is going to be a place where I will write.

What I write about will vary depending on what has captured my interest. In my academic life I spent a lot of time reading literature, but my focus will extend beyond that. I am absolutely in love with almost all storytelling mediums. To list them more specifically: literature, comic books, films, animation, live action TV, and video games. I try to absorb as much content across all these mediums as I possibly can.

I consider myself quite open-minded, so there are few genres I will outright dismiss instead of giving a chance. Two genres I am particularly fond of, however, are fantasy and science fiction. Although I have much love for more realistic, dramatic stories, it is the extraordinary elements of these genres that particularly captivate me. Perhaps not surprisingly, I have a considerable love for mythology as well. Although at the moment this is limited to classical mythology (Ancient Greece) I intend to expand my knowledge as much as possible to learn more about the world’s different mythologies.

The reason for the broad spectrum of mediums I want to cover is that I have a deep reverence for stories, and I try to enjoy them in all the forms they inhabit. Though I have never truly been a spiritual man, having grown up in an environment where religious practice was absent, I firmly believe in the power of story. All of us believe in a myth of origin, for example, and use this as a means to help understand who we are by using this origin as a foundation. This could be Creation in the Bible, Evolution from the scientific perspective, or anywhere else on the vast spectrum of belief.

Challenge a person’s myth of origin and it is likely to be met with negativity. You may be thinking to yourself, for instance, that your belief is not “just a story.” This is a line of thinking that fails to appreciate the power of story. A story can make you happy, excited, or even miserable over something that never happened. Stories can make you fall in love with or hate someone who has never existed. People fight, die, and/or kill each other over stories every day. People seek each other out, become connected, and/or fall in love because of stories. To paraphrase Thomas King, stories are powerful and flexible, like water. Sometimes the same story can be used to help or it can be used to hurt.

We are affected by stories each day of our lives, even when we don’t realize it, because they are not simply the explicit constructs that populate our books, televisions, and theatres. Stories are the truths and lies we tell to ourselves and others. To perceive, even in some small way, is to tell a story.

Be kind; I am a scholar, but not a philosopher. I hope the above has provided an interesting glimpse into how I perceive the world and the stories around us, and did not come across as rambling. With this blog I hope to analyze, criticize, and review works from different storytelling mediums as I consider and/or experience them. This could be anything from merely sharing my feelings about a work, providing deeper criticism, or digging deep and analyzing its subtext and sharing anything meaningful I might find there.

I also intend to post some of my own creative writing, though this will be less frequent. I idolize writers like Neil Gaiman —I would love nothing more than to experience success across numerous mediums such as he has — but for the most part I envision my creative work will consist of short stories for the time being.

I look forward to embarking further upon this writing odyssey of mine. We must all start somewhere, and it is time I stopped merely absorbing content and began creating some of my own. Come along and muse with me, and let’s see what we can learn.