Happy Friday Everyone!
After the treacherous times he had last week, if you think Jason is getting a break once he reaches Colchis, you’d be wrong. This week’s Behind the Book looks at the ordeals our hero had to get through to win the golden fleece so he could get home to (finally) win back his kingdom. And of course, we’ll take a quick peek at how the myths tie into my upcoming novel, The Voyage.
Jason in Colchis in Mythology
Although getting to Colchis required plenty of skill and luck, King Aeetes isn’t about to hand over the golden fleece to Jason. In fact, the old king has some impossible tasks up his conniving sleeve to ensure no one ever takes his pelt away from him. The tasks include tethering a couple fire-breathing bulls to a plow, plowing and planting a field, and then killing off the warriors that sprout from the seeds (which are actually dragon’s teeth).
Luckily, the gods are on Jason’s side and Aphrodite casts a love spell on Aeetes’s daughter, Medea. As with anyone in love, Medea wants to see the object of her affection succeed…and survive. So, she gives him a salve that keeps him from becoming flame-grilled by the bulls’ fire, provides him a set of god-sent chains to control the bulls, and tells him the secret of how to defeat the warriors.
With help like that, Jason zips through the tasks and then tells Aeetes’s to hand over the fleece. Aeetes pulls out one more trick and says Jason must also get the fleece from the dragon who guards it. Once again, Medea helps out by giving Jason a potion that will put the dragon to sleep. He retrieves the fleece and sails away with it and Medea.
In The Voyage
The time Jason spends in Colchis was one of my favorite parts to write for The Voyage (the interactions between the gods will always be my top favorite, though). I wanted to give a good sense of how foreboding Colchis is and how horribly Aeetes treats his people in order to protect the fleece, so I had plenty of fun with the kingdom’s setting and the courtiers who take advantage of Aeetes.
In The Voyage, before Jason ever faces the tasks Aeetes sets him, he has to face an internal struggle. See, he’s an honest and nice guy. He knows Medea is in love with him, but doesn’t want to use her. However, he is also starving for approval and her attraction to him ends up swaying him into thinking he too is in love….to tragic results as they escape Colchis.
The tasks play out in a similar manner to the legend, but of course with plenty of detail added to really get you to understand the fear and doubt Jason experiences. The final task, where Jason must get the fleece, seemed too much Jason-time, so I allowed one of my favorite characters, Orpheus, a chance at some action…whether he likes it or not!