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Literature / Myth-O-Mania

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"K.H.R.O.T.U, King Hades, Ruler of the Underworld, that's me."

When it comes to the Greek Myths, things aren't always what they seem.

Lots of people (or at least those who are especially interested in that sort of thing) have some knowledge of Classical Mythology. Many of the myths feature brave heroes and the mighty Zeus, who rules on Mount Olympus. But in this children's series by Kate McMullan, Lord Hades, Ruler of the Underworld, tells you the real story of what actually happened. The myths we've all heard are a pack of lies told by Zeus, the biggest myth-o-maniac (old Greek-speak for "liar") ever, to make himself look good. And he only got to be ruler of Mount Olympus by cheating at cards!

    Myth-O-Mania Books 

The Myth-O-Mania series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Aside from such embellishments as anachronisms and a larger role for Hades deities, Hit the Road, Helen! and Get Lost, Odysseus! seem more like The Trojan Cycle and The Odyssey trimmed and translated into middle-school syntax, than entirely new takes on them. The Stone Arch editions of all X books also include two-three page, traditional summaries of the myths in the back.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Happens to many of the monsters, such as the Minotaur, the Hydra, Medusa, Echidna, and Orthus. In contrast with the myths, the Greek heroes' encounters with these famous monsters tend to be resolved peacefully (often with the help of Hades).
  • Adaptational Ugliness: According to Hades, Zeus removed references to his own pudginess and bald spot when rewriting the myths.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In-universe, Zeus' versions of the myths exaggerate monsters' scariness.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Hades calls Poseidon, "Po", Persephone, "P-Phone", and Cerberus, "Cerbie."
  • The Alleged Car: Hermes transports souls to the Underworld in a broken-down bus.
  • Anachronism Stew: The mythological characters make constant use of technology more advanced than that of Ancient Greece.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Hades can just barely put up with conceited, deceitful Zeus, or bossy Hera.
  • Bag of Holding: The monogrammed wallet that Hades receives from Persephone can hold anything regardless of size. She explains that she bought it from some nymphs.
  • Brother–Sister Incest:
    • Cronus and Rhea are full siblings as well as husband and wife.
    • Zeus had a daughter with his sister Demeter.
    • Zeus marries his sister Hera.
  • The Casanovas: Zeus and Poseidon court several women throughout the series, while Hades instead remains Happily Married to Persephone.
  • Character Narrator: Hades narrates each book, usually only providing plot details that either he was present for, or someone else told him about. (Have a Hot Time, Hades! does include some plot points that don't seem to fall into either category; Hades quotes events preceding his birth, but doesn't say who detailed those events to him.)
  • Cliffhanger: Each chapter usually ends at a tense spot.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The ghosts of the wicked become subjected to fire, lava, and tar in the Underworld pit of Tartarus. In Stop that Bull, Theseus!, Hades decides to build up an Underworld Wrestling league by way of persuading some big bad bullies who are otherwise headed for Tartarus to sign wrestling contracts to get out of this. Souls who had already landed in Tartarus couldn't join because the severity of their punishments caused them to lose their fighting spirit.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The ghosts of those who were not-so-good but not-so-bad have to memorize an endless list of difficult spelling words.
  • Cupid's Arrow: Cupid uses three different kinds of arrows when spreading love between people, two of which invoke the Temporary Love Interest trope. Love induced with yellow-tipped arrows only lasts an hour. Orange-tipped arrows create romantic effects that wear off after three days. Red-tipped arrows make people permanently fall in love. Cupid only carries prototypes of the orange-tipped arrows in his first appearancenote , with the other two debuting in Nice Shot, Cupid!
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The majority of the inhabitants of the Underworld, such as Hades himself and the Furies, are decent people. Most of the monsters, with the exceptions being Typhon and the NeMean Lion, turn out to be more-or-less good guys who will listen to reason.
  • Dirty Coward: Zeus tends to wuss out of fights and confrontations.
  • Doorstopper: The Big Fat Book of Greek Myths, Hades' main source for Zeus' revised versions of the tales. Hades apparently gets plenty of equally thick books from The Big Fat Book of the Month Club.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Averted; Hades actually seems like the most helpful god most of the time, so the only mortals who fear him include those who mistake him for a messenger of death (a discrepancy he does express annoyance with).
  • Fertile Feet: Wherever Persephone walks, grass and flowers grow from her footsteps.
  • First-Person Smartass: Hades' accounts tend to develop a cynical tone.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Even though these are retellings of Greek myths rather than fairy tales, each book otherwise fits this trope.
  • Fun with Acronyms: For starters, Get To Work, Hercules! uses "T.R.U.T.H." and "F.I.B." as abbreviations for "Totally Real Unadulterated History" and "Factually Inaccurate Bull-Hooey", respectively.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: Since the publisher changed from Hyperion to Stone Arch Books for the 2011 reprints, the epilogues for Phone Home, Persephone! onwards were re-written to show Hades talking with someone other than the Titan Hyperion.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Aphrodite talks with this. The author says this trope is used so Aphrodite has an excuse to use the Roman and more familiar version of Eros's name, Cupid, which would otherwise be out of place with Greek names.
  • Group Picture Ending: Say Cheese, Medusa! and Go For the Gold, Atalanta! both end with Hades getting his picture taken with the title character and her family and friends.
  • Happily Married: Hades and Persephone never divorce or cheat on each other, and even when she must leave the Underworld to bring spring to the world, he makes time to visit her on Earth.
  • Hurricane of Puns: These books provide several puns.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each novel has a title that sounds like someone giving a character a command or comment. Most of them also name their chapters with a theme related to the title and/or the main character.
  • In-Series Nickname: Most serve as abbreviations for names that children might find too long to properly spell and/or pronounce.
    • The gods refer to Hera as, "The Boss."
    • The Furies Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone go by Alec, Meg, and Tisi, respectively.
    • Gaia and Uranus have the respective nicknames of "Mother Earth" and "Sky Daddy".
    • Pandora and Epimetheus have the respective nicknames of "Pandy" and "Epi".
    • Hades' gardener, Ascalaphus, also goes by, "Cal".
    • Medusa's sisters, Euryale and Sthenno, have the respective nicknames of "Riley" and "Eno".
    • Hercules' cousin, King Eurystheus of Tiryns, also goes by, "Eury".
  • Invisibility Cloak: Hades' Helmet of Darkness can turn him, and anything or anyone he holds, invisible.
  • Kayfabe: Almost all references to Professional Wrestling (such as Hades wrestling a Titan in the Olympics, attending "Eagle-Eye" Cyclops' latest match, or starting his own wrestling federation) try to make it sound more like a legit sport than a scripted event.note 
  • Life of the Party: Poseidon loves to party.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Gaia, AKA Mother Earth, AKA Granny Gaia, has a pretty bad temper.
  • On the Next: The epilogue of each book features Hades telling one of his friends or relatives which myth he will retell next. Until Go For the Gold, Atalanta!, he even shared the name of the next book.
  • Precap: The original versions of the books each had one.
  • The Promise: A promise made over the waters of the River Styx can never get broken.
  • Punny Name: Several characters have one, including these:
    • Shiner the cyclops has one eye, and is named after the term for a black eye.
    • The Hundred-Handed Ones go by Fingers, Highfive, and Lefty.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Hades reveals that some of the monsters who died in The Big Fat Book of Greek Myths actually survived, including monsters Zeus claims his sons slew.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Gods can communicate with animals via the Creature Communication Channel.
  • Teleportation: Gods perform this with an "Astro-traveling spell", which Hades refuses to share with the readers.
  • Walk into Mordor: For people who haven't died, travel between the Underworld and the Earth requires either a nine-day trek on the Underworld Highway, or access to Hades' secret shortcut. Not even astro-travel can help a god quickly reach the Underworld.
  • Wrestler in All of Us:
    • In Stop That Bull, Theseus!, Hades meets a lot of mortals with great wrestling skills, from Theseus, to the bullies on the Trozen-Athens Road, to the Minotaur, to the Athenians who could actually survive living in the labyrinth.note 
    • Hercules out-wrestles two pythons as a baby, and also takes wrestling classes as a boy.
    • Atalanta spends her life training to wrestle an immortal in the Olympics.
  • Written Sound Effect: Some of the most commonly used include the "POOF!" of Hades turning invisible, and the "FOOP!" of him re-appearing.