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Literature / Hit the Road, Helen!

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Hit the Road, Helen! is Book IX in Kate McMullan's Myth-O-Mania series, published in 2013. Hades recounts The Trojan War, absolving Helen of Troy of some blame for sparking the battles.

This book provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: The Trope Naming warrior appears. When Thetis grabs baby Achilles by his heel, and immerses him in the invincibility-granting River Styx, Hades warns her that no mortal could survive two dunks, leaving the heel as Achilles' only weak point. Thetis orders some "heel protectors" from Hephaestus, but Achilles refuses to wear them, because they give him blisters. Achilles eventually dies after a poison-tipped arrow, shot by Prince Paris of Troy, pierces his heel. Ironically, when Achilles reveals his weakness prior to fighting in the Trojan War, one of the other soldiers expresses doubt that anyone would harm him there.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Achilles refuses to fight in The Trojan War after he and King Agamemnon have a disagreement regarding a sacrifice to Apollo. He comes out of the tent after the death of Patroclus, and re-joins battle to avenge him.
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  • Apple of Discord: Eris crashes Peleus' and Thetis' wedding, and uses her golden apple to start an argument among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite over who is the fairest goddess.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Trojan War ends, but only after countless warriors perish in battle. Accordingly, the last chapter before the epilogue ends on a more serious note than usual. Helen and Menelaus agree that after all those years she spent with Paris, their marriage will take a while to rebuild. After they head back to Sparta, Hades sees the destroyed city of Troy, then heads off to lead yet another batch of casualties into the Underworld. The epilogue tries to lighten things up by assuring the reader that Helen and Menelaus did rekindle their love, after a wayward wind left them stranded in Egypt for many years, and that the couple resumed their thrones in Sparta before their daughter married Achilles' son.
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  • The Cassandra: The Trope Namer makes several warnings that other mortals refuse to heed. This time, she was a priest of Apollo, given a job prophecy, but she quit to get married. Apollo angrily cursed her so no one would believe her. Later, she or her ghost encourages Hades to make Book X an Odyssey story instead of his planned Jason and the Argonauts story.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Hades considers the likelihood that the Trojan War wouldn't have happened if Zeus accepted the responsibility of picking the fairest goddess, instead of using Prince Paris of Troy as a scapegoat.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Hades and Persephone take a cruise with Norse Mythology deities Thor and Sif after Hades finishes writing Hit the Road, Helen!
  • Cupid's Arrow: Cupid uses the brand-new "Smoochie Woochie" arrow to make Helen of Troy leave Menelaus for Paris. The Smoochie Woochie's effects wear off of Helen after Philoctetes slays Paris.
  • The Dandy: Prince Paris of Troy enjoys trying on and showing off fancy outfits more strongly than he does performing princely duties, such as defending his city from invaders.
  • Disney Villain Death: Paris falls off of the wall surrounding Troy while dodging an Arrow of Hercules, fired by Philoctetes.
  • The Scapegoat: Zeus deems Helen of Troy responsible for the Trojan War, which he says arose after she left her husband, Menelaus, for Paris. Although, Hades argues that Helen wouldn't have run away with Paris if Aphrodite and Zeus didn't tell Cupid to make them fall in love, after Aphrodite promised Paris the world's most beautiful woman in exchange for Eris' golden apple, after Zeus chickened out of choosing the goddess worthiest of the apple by making Paris pick her instead.note 
  • Uncancelled: Go For the Gold, Atalanta! ended with Hades and his publisher feeling undecided on what myth to share next, prompting Hades to go on vacation with Persephone. Then another book saw the light of day 10 years later.
  • War is Hell: Recalling the Trojan War prompts Hades to reflect on all the mortal lives lost during petty wars. Kate McMullan also sugarcoats it less strongly than par for the series.

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