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Literature / Go For the Gold, Atalanta!

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Go For the Gold, Atalanta! is Book VIII in Kate McMullan's Myth-O-Mania series, published in 2003. Hades records the achievements of "Princess Hero" Atalanta, from taming the Calydonian Boar, to out-running every eligible bachelor in Greece, to challenging gods in the Olympics.

This book provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: After Atalanta marries Melanion in the original myth, they don't properly honor Aphrodite, and get turned into lions as punishment. They don't get married in this book, preventing the incident that turned them into lions from ever occurring. When Stone Arch added a traditional retelling of Atalanta's story to the back, that version also left out this incident, by ending at the wedding.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Atalanta's father abandons the baby princess just because he wanted a son instead, and only invites her back to his castle after she becomes a celebrity, whose fame the king attempts to profit from.
  • Beary Friendly: Honey raises human Daughters of Artemis, such as Atalanta, with the same care that she provides her own cubs.
  • Big Eater: Atalanta. Hades even refers to her as this, word for word!
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  • Child Marriage Veto: Atalanta vowed to Artemis not to be married off to anyone, so she sets up an impossible Engagement Challenge.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Even after Melanion becomes the last man to lose Atalanta's Engagement Challenge, he gets on her good side by admitting that Hera and Aphrodite forced him to help break her vow of celibacy.
  • Disneyfication: Hades expresses disgust in the prologue that Zeus stripped Atalanta's chapter of The Big Fat Book of Greek Myths of all the suffering she endured, and even had the nerve to end it by claiming that she "...lived Happily Ever After."
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Argonauts appear well before the release of their own book. Hades and Atalanta both recall helping them and Jason find the Golden Fleece, although Hades says the specifics of his involvement are "another story".
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  • Engagement Challenge: When Atalanta is imprisoned by her father after years of abandonment, he wants to marry her off. However, the Daughter of Artemis does not want to, so she says that she'll marry anyone who can beat her in a race, which no one ever does.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Calydon has one aptly named, "Heroes".
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: When Hades helps Persephone weed, he tries to hide from any mortals who might catch him working up a drosisnote , but the quickest option proves ineffective — he just sticks a basket on his head.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title has a pun regarding bears.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Persephone laughs sarcastically when Hades assures her that he'll be "rooting" for her to win an Olympic Gold Medal for weeding.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Hades admits that it seems unbelievable that he would have known Perseus, Hercules, and Atalanta ever since they were babies, and that becoming entrusted with Atalanta made him wonder if he became "some sort of baby magnet".
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Gender-flipped: Atalanta's father banished his wife after she gave birth to a girl instead of a boy, so Atalanta doesn't discover until the epilogue who her birth mother was. Artemis reveals that her mortal friend Clymene, whom Atalanta meets before the race against Melanion, is the princess' birth mother.
  • Nemean Skinning: Artemis wears the fur of animals she hunts.
  • The Olympics: Atalanta strives to become the first mortal to compete against the gods.
  • On the Next: In the epilogue, Hades pitches books about Jason and the Argonauts, the Trojan War, and the Odyssey to Hestia, who unfortunately admits that she doesn't have time to approve or publish any more Myth-O-Mania books yet.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Calydonian Boar can talk in rhyme.
  • Running on All Fours: Atalanta can do this, since she was raised by a bear. This skill helps her win the race against Melanion.
  • Take a Third Option: Atalanta learns before the race that Melanion will try to distract her with three of Hera's golden apples, so Atalanta makes plans to both claim the apples, and win the race.
  • Tempting Apple: Atalanta finds the golden apples tempting, because all that gold could pay off a ransom on the life of Prince Meleager of Calydonia.
  • Warrior Princess: Atalanta, a strong and tough Daughter of Artemis whose long-lost birth parents reigned over Arcadia. After she both helps the Argonauts find the Golden Fleece, and saves Calydonia from the rampaging Calydonian Boar, everyone calls her, "The Princess Hero".