Behind the Book: Just Who is Jason?

Happy Friday Everyone!

As promised last week, I’m starting up the first of several Behind the Book features as we head into the launch of The Voyage: Book Two of The Osteria Chronicles. Just as Book One was a re-imagining of the myths of Hercules, book two of the series re-imagines the myths surrounding Jason (of Argonaut fame).

As with other big name heroes like Hercules, Jason’s legends – especially those during his time aboard the Argo, have many layers, additions, follow up stories, spin off tales, and can get pretty complicated. Behind the Book takes a peek at the legends that went into The Voyage, the legends that were tweaked just a bit, and the legends that just didn’t make the cut. And hopefully, I’ll keep you entertained as we sort through all the tales.

Jason’s Big Start in Life

First and foremost, whenever you have a mythological character who’s created a big name for himself, everyone wants to claim a relationship to him. This may explain why no one can seem to put a finger on who Jason’s mom is – which is kind of weird if you think about it, most women are pretty aware of being pregnant, having a baby, and knowing who that baby is. While all sources say Aeson is Jason’s father, the list of candidates of his mother is about seven names long. Either the legend was never sorted out or it changed to suit people’s needs.

Anyway, Jason is born and then becomes a hero, right? Well….not exactly.

crown-101795_640Jason doesn’t exactly have the most heroic start in life – in fact, it’s his mom (whoever she may be) who is the true hero. He’s a baby when his uncle Pelias (Aeson’s half brother) invades his home city-state. Pelias is as bad as the baddies come and kills off Aeson and all of Aeson’s descendants. Except for Jason whose mother keeps him hidden then secrets him out of the city and sends him off to be raised by the wise centaur Chiron. Way to go, Mom!

Pelias has some confidence issues about his true place as leader so, as people do, he goes to an oracle to find out how things are going to go for him. The oracle tells him a man with one sandal will be his doom. (Cue dramatic music and close up shot of Pelias’s worried face).

Fast Forward Twenty Years

Where did I leave that sandal?

Where did I leave that sandal?

Jason knows he is rightful heir to the throne, so when he’s twenty years old he heads home to confront Pelias. On the way, Hera (one of the most meddling goddesses) causes him to lose a sandal. Rather than just stop off at a shoe shop, Jason continues home with his feet half-shod  and freaks the poo out of Pelias.

For whatever reason myth makers thought logical, Jason does not come in with an army to reclaim his throne. Instead he confronts Pelias who says, “Hey, why don’t you go on an adventure. If you succeed, I’ll give you your kingdom back.” So, one sandal short of pair, Jason leaves his home in Pelias’s hands and heads off to fetch the Golden Fleece.

In the Book

The Voyage begins where The Trials of Hercules left off (although each book in the series is written to be read as a stand alone novel, you’ll get more out of The Voyage if you read Book One first). Because I didn’t want to have to delay things twenty years, the book starts off with Jason as an adult. He has just helped defeat an invading army and is feeling pretty pleased when he receives word that while he was away, his uncle Pelias has invaded his home and usurped the throne. Isn’t that always the way?!

This shortening of the time frame is one of the few changes I made to the initial plot line of the legend and, as these adventure myths tend to require years of work from our heroes, is something I had to do many times throughout the book to keep up the pace of the novel. Of course, there are other minor changes as well such as the characters who join Jason, the settings, the fact that there is dialogue, and the working in of motivation and logic for the seemingly random plot lines in the myth.

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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.

 

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