Friday, August 7, 2009

Vampires and Dionysus

While I don't expect the gods to be portrayed in a positive light within mainstream media, I was not expecting the turn that HBO's show True Blood took, since it follows a series of novels. Yes, I will openly admit here - I am a fan of cheesy vampire fiction - I can't help it. I should know better. I have read of all Charlaine Harris's books on the Sookie / Southern Vampire stories, and I was looking forward to how they dealt with the storyline of the Maenad. While the stories themselves have deviated considerably to allow more time between characters and plots, this means that the Maenad has ended up with a larger role and characterization in the tv show than in the books. One that is just trite in errors.

I was actually quite excited to hear Dionysos' epithets mentioned in tv - I can only recall a few like Bromios, Bakkhos and 'Hekos, o hekas, este bebeloi' Unfortunately they butcher it because instead of Io! Io! Bromios! it is written out as Lo Lo Bromios!

When the character of Maryann is finally revealed to be a Maenad in a discussion between two characters: Daphne making the reveal to Sam, telling him that according to the Greeks, they are handmaidens of Dionysus, the god of wine. After a few dialogue sentences we get the full meaning of what really is going on -

"Guess what else they call him? The Horned God. Sound familiar?"


"Dionysus, Satan - it's really just a kind of energy; wild energy. Lust, anger, excess, violence. Basically all the fun stuff."

And there we have it folks. While the book did not venture into some correlation between Dionysus and Satan, the producers and Alan Ball felt that it had to, for spookier plot.

While in the book the Maenad would travel seeking tribute in the shape of some sort of sacrifice, it does not seem as such within the show as she seems to take as she pleases, which I guess is the way of honoring Him, while portraying her to be a vile, manipulating, two-faced demon woman. Makes me feel warm inside.



Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline, angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine; Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind. Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill: With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse: Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine: With pow'r endu'd all language to explain, of

care the loos'ner, and the source of gain. Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Kerukeion, blessed, profitable God; Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind: Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear; Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

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