Could You Fight It? Mythology Edition

a scholarly chat with my older brother

LIZ: How's it going, man?

LUKE: Hey! I just got a second wind after shopping for an RV sink for the bulk of the day. Ya self?

LIZ: I'm doing pretty good! Thanks so much for chatting about mythological creatures with me.

So, the idea of today is - we each brought two creatures from mythology to talk about, and the grounds for discussion are -- could you fight it? And if yes, by what methods and under what conditions? And by "you" I mean you and me personally, with our current capabilities and bodies and stuff. But any tools or aids, mythical or real, are acceptable.

Do you want to tell me about the first creature you chose?

LUKE: I feel like I'm signing some sort of waiver hahaha. Today our guest belligerent is the Medusa of Classical fame.

LIZ: I'm gonna be real bold here, I absolutely think I could fight Medusa

LUKE: Well, with all fairness you'd tower over her! Being an ancient Greek woman in the time before post-scarcity nutrition, she stands at a whole FIVE FEET NO INCHES TALL

LIZ: Wait seriously?? I never knew that!! I mean I wouldn't WANT to fight her, having a tragic backstory and all. But I think I could, if I had a weapon. No fisticuffs - I could not fistfight a head full of snakes. What do you think?

LUKE: Ya know, that's pretty wise not to punch because her snake hair would be a bushel of either southern Europeon asps or vipers! Unless you visited somewhere beforehand and brought a conspicuous order of every snake anti-venom known to southern Europe. She has wings too, (but no snake tail ALAS). I think you could kill er' with a sword or something, but how would you get past the stone gaze thing??

In mythology the hero Perseus killed her whilst she was sleeping, but that doesn't fit with our newsletter's ethics and standards

LIZ: What?? That's so unsportsmanlike! I was going to say you'd have to follow Perseus's example and use a hand mirror. But apparently he didn't even need it!

I also think it would be preferable to be in a space with a lot of stuff to crouch behind, Uncharted-style

then you could sneak up on her

Maybe mirrored sunglasses?

LUKE: I think you got something going there; maybe you could look at here through a go-pro camera or a night vision goggles (would that turn the go pro or glasses to stone tho?) I'd hate having a stone go pro stuck to my dang face



YOU COULD blind her enough to go for the kill

LIZ: Dude!! You're absolutely right. Pair that with a Pegasus and you're golden.

LUKE: The Pegasus came from her severed neck so maybe we'd want to not sever her neck - trample risk

LIZ: Oh wow my understanding of the Medusa myth is way garbled. I thought Perseus rode IN on the Pegasus, and Athena gave him the Pegasus, from like, her helmet or something

LUKE: The Gorgons and their ilk are OLD OLD stories, which is why I think they have all these weird, seemingly unrelated powers

LIZ: That makes sense! So I was actually ALSO going to talk about Medusa - great minds think alike, as they say (especially great minds who grew up together)

My next proposed guest is: The Harpy

Wikipedia describes harpies thus: "generally depicted as birds with the heads of maidens, faces pale with hunger and long claws on their hands"

LUKE: Ooof, long claws are a rough start

LIZ: It says that even though most poets emphasized their ugliness, some of them stressed that they have nice hair, so that's something. I think the key to this one is having a projectile of some sort

LUKE: Agreed; at minimum like a good sturdy stick with a spear point on the end

Are they sentient??

LIZ: Hmmm it says here that they're the "personification of storm winds"

LUKE: I like to think we could become the personification of a big f*ck-off stick. 

They could drop rocks or debris on us so we'd want like, shelter or a shield - or just give them the old Philly Shuffle

LIZ: Oh that's a good point, also I'm pretty sure they never hunt alone. A pack would be pretty dangerous. 

I think the verdict on this one is: try to avoid, unless you have shelter and a big stick

What foul (but perhaps misunderstood) creature did you choose for your second beast?


to wit:

"The squonk is of a very retiring disposition, generally traveling about at twilight and dusk. Because of its misfitting skin, which is covered with warts and moles, it is always unhappy...Hunters who are good at tracking are able to follow a squonk by its tear-stained trail, for the animal weeps constantly. When cornered and escape seems impossible, or when surprised and frightened, it may even dissolve itself in tears."

They're knee high little pig-like creatures

LIZ: The squonk!! Perhaps we could subdue them with cognitive-behavioral therapy


I couldn't fight him

I can't

LIZ: No, we wouldn't stand a chance

LUKE: You could scoop up the tears but why would you

LIZ: We could bring a dermatologist who could maybe see about the moles and stuff


LIZ: but yeah I agree, if you tried to fight it you would have already lost

LUKE: Arguably the tears could dissolve an assailant who was emotionally scorched by life and managed to sneak up and grab the little nugget

LIZ: This is a stretch, but maybe one could collect a few vials of squonk tears to make little bombs to throw at the harpies

LUKE: I was just?? Thinking that??

what the heck

or a whole Squonk

chuck em like a basketball

LIZ: I think we solved it

Thank you so much, dude! You have a wealth of knowledge about the stories of these creatures and I really appreciate you sharing some of it with me. I should wrap up since we're about to have dinner, but let me know if you want to chat again about mythology (anytime! not just for the newsletter!)

LUKE: But of course and but of course! Thanks yinz for reading.