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* ''The King Must Die'' and ''The Bull From the Sea'', Creator/MaryRenault's novels about Theseus. Successful in that Renault ''does'' make Theseus a complex and compelling character in his own right. She also succeeds in capturing much of the spirit of the myth because her first person narrator, Theseus, believes in the gods and their influence in his life, even if none of the book's events are depicted as blatantly supernatural - modern readers would interpret them quite differently.

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* ''The King Must Die'' ''Literature/TheKingMustDie'' and ''The Bull From the Sea'', Creator/MaryRenault's novels about Theseus. Successful in that Renault ''does'' make Theseus a complex and compelling character in his own right. She also succeeds in capturing much of the spirit of the myth because her first person narrator, Theseus, believes in the gods and their influence in his life, even if none of the book's events are depicted as blatantly supernatural - modern readers would interpret them quite differently.


** The film's version of ExcaliburInTheStone: It was Arthur's father's sword, and it was used as his tombstone by his wife and son. It remained there until a surprise Woad attack forced young Arthur to take it and use it to fight, and he kept it afterwards. In other words, the "spell" keeping the sword in place until retrieved by its rightful owner was actually... just Arthur's ''legal ownership'' of it, never challenged by anyone else.

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** The film's version of ExcaliburInTheStone: It was Arthur's father's sword, and it was used as his tombstone by his wife and son. It remained there until a surprise Woad attack forced young Arthur to take it and use it to fight, and he kept it afterwards. In other words, the "spell" keeping the sword in place until retrieved by its rightful owner was actually... just actually just... Arthur's ''legal ownership'' of it, which was never challenged by anyone else.anyone.


* ''The Gospel according to Jesus Christ'' by Creator/JoseSaramago seems to start in this direction, by having Jesus being born from plain intercourse by Joseph and Mary, presenting the Angel that heralds his birth in an ambiguous manner (for example, he shows up later as one of three shepherds who adore him), having the Massacre of the Innocents limited to the village Jesus is staying in, attributing his ability to produce fish simply to good fishing skills, having him in love with Mary Magdalene, and having John the Baptist (who is unrelated to Jesus, but inspires him) be executed for criticizing Herod's marriage and not for claiming the coming of the Messiah. However, Herod learns of Jesus's birth from a dead prophet appearing to him in a dream (instead of [[AdaptedOut the Magi]]), Jesus works for both the Angel (who seems to be really an Angel) and another shepherd who is clearly the Devil as a teenager, and as an adult, Jesus meets [[RealAfterAll God]]. [[spoiler:[[GodIsEvil Who is evil]]. And tells Jesus he indeed created him, but as [[YouCantFightFate a tool to make all people in the world]] [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly stop praying]] [[FantasyKitchenSink to other gods]] and make them pray only to himself.]]

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* ''The Gospel according to Jesus Christ'' by Creator/JoseSaramago seems to start in this direction, by having Jesus being born from plain intercourse by Joseph and Mary, presenting the Angel that heralds his birth in an ambiguous manner (for example, he shows up later as one of three shepherds who adore him), having the Massacre of the Innocents limited to the village Jesus is staying in, attributing his ability to produce fish simply to good fishing skills, having him in love with Mary Magdalene, and having John the Baptist (who is unrelated to Jesus, but inspires him) be executed for criticizing Herod's marriage and not for claiming the coming of the Messiah. However, Herod learns of Jesus's birth from a dead prophet appearing to him in a dream (instead of [[AdaptedOut the Magi]]), teen Jesus works for both the Angel (who seems to be really an Angel) and another shepherd who is clearly the Devil as a teenager, Devil, and as an adult, Jesus meets [[RealAfterAll God]]. [[spoiler:[[GodIsEvil Who is evil]]. And tells Jesus he indeed created him, but as [[YouCantFightFate a tool to make all people in the world]] [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly stop praying]] [[FantasyKitchenSink to other gods]] and make them pray only to himself.]]


* ''Film/TheLastTemptationOfChrist'' portrays Satan and Jesus' divine origin as real, but offers a down-to-earth version of the latter and the Crucifixion. The... unconventional-looking Creator/WillemDafoe plays Jesus, he is shocked when he pulls off his first miracle, the Last Supper scene avoids a LastSupperSteal by involving a lot more people than the traditional thirteen (including women) and having them seat on the ground, and the Crucifixion scenes skew from traditional religious portrayals in favor of archaeology and non-religious accounts of how Roman crucifixions were.

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* ''Film/TheLastTemptationOfChrist'' portrays Satan and Jesus' divine origin as real, but offers a down-to-earth version of the latter and the Crucifixion. The... The unconventional-looking Creator/WillemDafoe plays Jesus, he is shocked when he pulls off his first miracle, the Last Supper scene avoids a LastSupperSteal by involving a lot more people than the traditional thirteen (including women) and having them seat on the ground, and the Crucifixion scenes skew from traditional religious portrayals in favor of archaeology and non-religious accounts of how Roman crucifixions were.happened (for example, Jesus only carries the horizontal section to Golgotha, he is nailed by the wrists and also tied, and the two thiefs are nailed to dead trees). Jesus' cross looks like a traditional Latin cross by sheer accident, due to the wooden sign reading "Jesus Nazarene King of the Jews" being placed on top of it; if not for that, it would look like a 'T'.

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* ''Film/TheLastTemptationOfChrist'' portrays Satan and Jesus' divine origin as real, but offers a down-to-earth version of the latter and the Crucifixion. The... unconventional-looking Creator/WillemDafoe plays Jesus, he is shocked when he pulls off his first miracle, the Last Supper scene avoids a LastSupperSteal by involving a lot more people than the traditional thirteen (including women) and having them seat on the ground, and the Crucifixion scenes skew from traditional religious portrayals in favor of archaeology and non-religious accounts of how Roman crucifixions were.


* The second season of ''Series/CriminalMindsBeyondBorders'' has non-supernatural versions of a StringyHairedGhostGirl [[note]]a WomanScorned turned reclusive and addicted to plastic surgery[[/note]], a [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Caribbean zombie]] [[note]]a brain-damaged hitman who survived his execution[[/note]] and [[BigFootSasquatchAndYeti a yeti]] [[note]]a brain-damaged mountaineer that was lost in the Himalayas after surviving an avalanche and turned [[IAmAHumanitarian cannibalistic]][[/note]].

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* The second season of ''Series/CriminalMindsBeyondBorders'' has non-supernatural versions of a StringyHairedGhostGirl [[note]]a WomanScorned turned reclusive and addicted to plastic surgery[[/note]], a [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Caribbean zombie]] [[note]]a brain-damaged hitman who survived clawed his way out of a shallow grave after surviving his execution[[/note]] and [[BigFootSasquatchAndYeti a yeti]] [[note]]a brain-damaged mountaineer that who was lost in the Himalayas after surviving an avalanche and turned [[IAmAHumanitarian cannibalistic]][[/note]].

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** One of the earliest Spanish accounts on Inca religion does something similar: portraying Viracocha as a conman who claimed to be a god in order to be worshipped and made king.


** Most translations of the Book of Exodus heavily imply that the Pharaoh's [[CourtMage court magicians]] possessed some degree of genuine magical abilities, which allowed them to replicate all of Moses' miracles until the Ten Plagues [[VillainousBSOD left them too weak to do magic]]. For the story's original audience, the intended message was likely that [[AllMythsAreTrue there were many forms of magic in the world]], but none of them were as powerful as God's divine miracles [[note]]This makes sense considering that earlier Judaism is henotheist, not monotheist, so the other powers are real, but Yahweh's the only one worthy of worship[[/note]]. In the movie, Ramses' court magicians [[BumblingHenchmenDuo Hotep and Huy]] are shown to be simple illusionists who use sleight of hand and stagecraft to make people ''think'' they can perform miracles, while Moses' miracles are the real deal.

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** Most translations of the Book of Exodus heavily imply that the Pharaoh's [[CourtMage court magicians]] possessed some degree of genuine magical abilities, which allowed them to replicate all of Moses' miracles until the Ten Plagues [[VillainousBSOD left them too weak to do magic]]. For the story's original audience, the intended message was likely that [[AllMythsAreTrue there were many forms of magic in the world]], but none of them were as powerful as God's divine miracles [[note]]This makes sense considering that earlier Judaism is henotheist, not monotheist, so the other powers are real, but Yahweh's the only one worthy of worship[[/note]]. In the movie, Ramses' court magicians [[BumblingHenchmenDuo Hotep and Huy]] are shown to be simple illusionists who use sleight of hand and stagecraft to make people ''think'' they can perform miracles, while Moses' miracles are the real deal. Case in point: Moses very clearly transforms his staff into a snake and this is done in front of the audience both in- and out-of-universe, whereas Hotep and Huy disguise them transforming theirs with a blinding flash of light, obviously insinuating that they switched their staves for snakes when no one could see; Moses also turns his snake back into a staff after the VillainSong while Hotep and Huy don't--[[RuleOfSymbolism Moses' staff-turned-snake devoured the two fake ones]].


[[caption-width-right:350:Left: A traditional depiction of the Cyclops. Right: A hypothetical "real world" interpretation for the Cyclops myth.]]

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[[caption-width-right:350:Left: [[Myth/ClassicalMythology A traditional depiction of the Cyclops. Cyclops]]. Right: [[VideoGame/ATotalWarSagaTroy A hypothetical "real world" interpretation for the Cyclops myth.myth]].]]



* ''VideoGame/TroyATotalWarSaga'' breathes this trope as part of its "truth behind the myth" approach to the Trojan War. All throughout the game are references to Greek Mythology conveyed through more realistic and plausible explanations that could have inspired them.
** The game depicts various mythical creatures in more mundane forms that could possibly be distorted by future audiences into their more recognizable fantastical forms. The [[ALoadOfBull Minotaur]] is a Cretan outlaw with a bull skull headdress and [[AnAxeToGrind labrys]] harkening back to the old Minoan culture, the Cyclops is a muscular feral shepherd or pirate (the latter referencing how some Cyclopes, including Polyphemus, were sons of Poseidon) wearing a dwarf elephant skull (commonly believed to be an inspiration for the myth), the [[OurCentaursAreDifferent Centaurs]] are equestrian tribesmen in an era where mounted warfare was almost unheard of, the [[HarpingOnAboutHarpies Harpies]] are marauding bands of bandit women wearing feathered cloaks, and the [[AmazonBrigade Amazons]] are Scythian warrior women.

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* ''VideoGame/TroyATotalWarSaga'' ''VideoGame/ATotalWarSagaTroy'' breathes this trope as part of its "truth behind the myth" approach to the Trojan War. All throughout the game are references to Greek Mythology conveyed through more realistic and plausible explanations that could have inspired them.
** The game depicts various mythical creatures in more mundane forms that could possibly be distorted by future audiences into their more recognizable fantastical forms. The [[ALoadOfBull Minotaur]] is a Cretan outlaw with a bull skull headdress and [[AnAxeToGrind labrys]] harkening back to the old Minoan culture, the Cyclops is a muscular feral shepherd or pirate (the latter referencing how some Cyclopes, including Polyphemus, were sons of Poseidon) wearing a dwarf elephant skull (commonly (it is believed to be an inspiration for that said skulls were misinterpreted by the myth), Greeks as belonging to one-eyed giants), the [[OurCentaursAreDifferent Centaurs]] are [[BornInTheSaddle equestrian tribesmen tribesmen]] who would have among the first instances of horsemen encountered in an era where mounted warfare was almost unheard of, the Greek world, the [[HarpingOnAboutHarpies Harpies]] are marauding bands of bandit women wearing feathered cloaks, and the [[AmazonBrigade Amazons]] are Scythian warrior women.women (excavations of Scythian kurgans have uncovered skeletons of warrior women).


[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cyclops_00.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Left: A traditional depiction of the Cyclops. Right: A hypothetical "real world" interpretation for the Cyclops myth.]]



** The game depicts various mythical creatures in more mundane forms that could possibly be distorted by future audiences into their more recognizable fantastical forms. The [[ALoadOfBull Minotaur]] is a Cretan outlaw with a bull skull headdress and labrys harkening back to the old Minoan culture, the Cyclops is a muscular feral shepherd or pirate wearing a dwarf elephant skull (commonly believed to be an inspiration for the myth), the [[OurCentaursAreDifferent Centaurs]] are equestrian tribesmen in an era where mounted warfare was almost unheard of, and the [[HarpingOnAboutHarpies Harpies]] are marauding bands of bandit women wearing feathered cloaks.
** Several of the heroes in the game have subtle design influences that call back to their mythological inspirations. Achilles (and his Myrmidons) wears a helmet with cheek-guards resembling ant mandibles, a reference to the mythical origin of the Myrmidons being transformed from ants. Aeneas has several costume elements that call back to his supposed Roman descendants, such as his cheek guards resembling a legionary's galea, his sash and cingulum, and his sword and shield resembling the iconic gladius and scutum.
** The iconic TrojanHorse is given three possible interpretations in game. The first are mundane siege towers with sail crests that resemble a horse's mane. The second is a horse-prowed covered boat that can be used to sneak troops into the city, which requires the services of Odysseus much like how he devised the plan for the original Trojan Horse. The third are earthquakes, which reference how Poseidon was the God of both Horses and Earthquakes; a symbolic horse rather than a physical construct.

to:

** The game depicts various mythical creatures in more mundane forms that could possibly be distorted by future audiences into their more recognizable fantastical forms. The [[ALoadOfBull Minotaur]] is a Cretan outlaw with a bull skull headdress and labrys [[AnAxeToGrind labrys]] harkening back to the old Minoan culture, the Cyclops is a muscular feral shepherd or pirate (the latter referencing how some Cyclopes, including Polyphemus, were sons of Poseidon) wearing a dwarf elephant skull (commonly believed to be an inspiration for the myth), the [[OurCentaursAreDifferent Centaurs]] are equestrian tribesmen in an era where mounted warfare was almost unheard of, and the [[HarpingOnAboutHarpies Harpies]] are marauding bands of bandit women wearing feathered cloaks.
cloaks, and the [[AmazonBrigade Amazons]] are Scythian warrior women.
** Several of the heroes in the game have subtle design influences that call back to their mythological inspirations. Achilles (and his Myrmidons) wears a helmet with cheek-guards resembling ant mandibles, a reference to the mythical origin of the Myrmidons being transformed from ants. Aeneas [[Literature/TheAeneid Aeneas]] has several costume elements that call back to harken toward his supposed Roman descendants, such as his cheek guards resembling a legionary's galea, his sash and cingulum, and his sword and shield resembling the iconic gladius and scutum.
** The iconic TrojanHorse is given three possible interpretations in game. The first are mundane siege towers with sail crests that resemble a horse's mane. The second is a horse-prowed covered boat that can be used to sneak troops into the city, which requires the services of Odysseus [[Literature/TheOdyssey Odysseus]] much like how he devised the plan for the original Trojan Horse. The third are earthquakes, which reference how Poseidon was the God of both Horses and Earthquakes; a symbolic horse rather than a physical construct.

Added DiffLines:

* ''VideoGame/TroyATotalWarSaga'' breathes this trope as part of its "truth behind the myth" approach to the Trojan War. All throughout the game are references to Greek Mythology conveyed through more realistic and plausible explanations that could have inspired them.
**The game depicts various mythical creatures in more mundane forms that could possibly be distorted by future audiences into their more recognizable fantastical forms. The [[ALoadOfBull Minotaur]] is a Cretan outlaw with a bull skull headdress and labrys harkening back to the old Minoan culture, the Cyclops is a muscular feral shepherd or pirate wearing a dwarf elephant skull (commonly believed to be an inspiration for the myth), the [[OurCentaursAreDifferent Centaurs]] are equestrian tribesmen in an era where mounted warfare was almost unheard of, and the [[HarpingOnAboutHarpies Harpies]] are marauding bands of bandit women wearing feathered cloaks.
** Several of the heroes in the game have subtle design influences that call back to their mythological inspirations. Achilles (and his Myrmidons) wears a helmet with cheek-guards resembling ant mandibles, a reference to the mythical origin of the Myrmidons being transformed from ants. Aeneas has several costume elements that call back to his supposed Roman descendants, such as his cheek guards resembling a legionary's galea, his sash and cingulum, and his sword and shield resembling the iconic gladius and scutum.
** The iconic TrojanHorse is given three possible interpretations in game. The first are mundane siege towers with sail crests that resemble a horse's mane. The second is a horse-prowed covered boat that can be used to sneak troops into the city, which requires the services of Odysseus much like how he devised the plan for the original Trojan Horse. The third are earthquakes, which reference how Poseidon was the God of both Horses and Earthquakes; a symbolic horse rather than a physical construct.


* ''Film/HelenOfTroy'' (1956) has shades of this too, but compared to the later ''Troy'' it's much more downplayed. The gods never appear in person but the characters all devoutly believe in them. Achilles's invulnerability is rumored, but one character remarks that his armor or luck is perhaps just that good, and arrows later do just bounce off his armor. He dies from the proverbial arrow in the heel after Paris prays to Apollo that he may hit a weak spot, but it could be due to him falling from his chariot and hitting his head on a rock.

to:

* ''Film/HelenOfTroy'' (1956) has shades of this too, but compared to the later ''Troy'' it's much more downplayed. The gods never appear in person but the characters all devoutly believe in them. Achilles's invulnerability is rumored, but one character remarks that his armor or luck is perhaps just that good, and arrows later do just bounce off his armor. He dies from the proverbial arrow in the heel after Paris prays to Apollo that he may hit a weak spot, but it could be due to him falling from his chariot and hitting his head on a rock.


** More ambiguously, Achilles' mother could be a goddess (well, one who really doesn't know the original version would think she is simply a seer rather than a goddess) or a strange but wise woman. However, Achilles scoffs when a child says that people believe that Achilles's mother is a goddess. His blasphemy, in general, tends to be followed by bad luck, and of course he is shot in both the heel and the chest (several times, in fact), but he removes the arrows on his chest before dying, and as a result his men find him dead with a single arrow stuck in his heel.

to:

** More ambiguously, Achilles' Achilles's mother could be a goddess (well, one who really doesn't know the original version would think she is simply a seer rather than a goddess) or a strange but wise woman. However, Achilles scoffs when a child says that people believe that Achilles's mother is a goddess. His blasphemy, in general, tends to be followed by bad luck, and of course he is shot in both the heel and the chest (several times, in fact), but he removes the arrows on his chest before dying, and as a result his men find him dead with a single arrow stuck in his heel.


Added DiffLines:

* ''Film/HelenOfTroy'' (1956) has shades of this too, but compared to the later ''Troy'' it's much more downplayed. The gods never appear in person but the characters all devoutly believe in them. Achilles's invulnerability is rumored, but one character remarks that his armor or luck is perhaps just that good, and arrows later do just bounce off his armor. He dies from the proverbial arrow in the heel after Paris prays to Apollo that he may hit a weak spot, but it could be due to him falling from his chariot and hitting his head on a rock.


** Most translations of the Book of Exodus heavily imply that the Pharaoh's [[CourtMage court magicians]] possessed some degree of genuine magical abilities, which allowed them to replicate all of Moses' miracles until the Ten Plagues [[VillainousBSOD left them too weak to do magic]]. For the story's original audience, the intended message was likely that [[AllMythsAreTrue there were many forms of magic in the world]], but none of them were as powerful as God's divine miracles [[note]]This makes sense considering that earlier Judaism is henotheist, not monotheist, so the other powers are real, but Yahweh's the only one worthy of worship[[/note]]. In the movie, Ramses' court magicians [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Hotep and Huy]] are shown to be simple illusionists who use sleight of hand and stagecraft to make people ''think'' they can perform miracles, while Moses' miracles are the real deal.

to:

** Most translations of the Book of Exodus heavily imply that the Pharaoh's [[CourtMage court magicians]] possessed some degree of genuine magical abilities, which allowed them to replicate all of Moses' miracles until the Ten Plagues [[VillainousBSOD left them too weak to do magic]]. For the story's original audience, the intended message was likely that [[AllMythsAreTrue there were many forms of magic in the world]], but none of them were as powerful as God's divine miracles [[note]]This makes sense considering that earlier Judaism is henotheist, not monotheist, so the other powers are real, but Yahweh's the only one worthy of worship[[/note]]. In the movie, Ramses' court magicians [[ThoseTwoBadGuys [[BumblingHenchmenDuo Hotep and Huy]] are shown to be simple illusionists who use sleight of hand and stagecraft to make people ''think'' they can perform miracles, while Moses' miracles are the real deal.


* The 1955 [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer MGM]] musical ''The Glass Slipper'' is another down-to-earth "Literature/{{Cinderella}}". The normally magical elements are given practical explanations (the FairyGodmother is an eccentric vagrant with StickyFingers), though the overall style does still verge on the edge of MagicalRealism.

to:

* The 1955 [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer MGM]] musical ''The Glass Slipper'' is another down-to-earth "Literature/{{Cinderella}}". The normally magical elements are given practical explanations (the FairyGodmother is an eccentric vagrant with StickyFingers), explanations, though the overall style does still verge on the edge of MagicalRealism.

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