Take Zeus. O’Connor thinks many of the excellent depictions of “King of the Gods” are wrong.
“He’s not a dignified old gray beard like Sir Lawrence Olivier or Liam Neeson,” O’Connor scoffed. “He will be this 21-year-old surfer dude from California with sick abs.”
He mentions that in most of the Zeus myths, the gods are chasing those who are attracted to them. “He can look whatever he wants. He can never be an old man of dignity. It’s not Zeus.”
O’Connor’s favorite goddess is Hera, the wife of Zeus, whom he describes as “calm, full of grace and dignity.”
“In many retailers, he is simply cast as a bad guy, a wife’s jealous genius,” he said, “regardless of what Zeus could imagine as the worst husband.”
Herr’s marriage is a betrayal. Artemis is clear that she will never be touched by men. Dionysus is born a woman and then a man. Caitlin Arbuckle, a fourth-grade teacher at Brent Elementary School, said it was “refreshing” that the books did not divert her attention.
“He doesn’t shy away from sex, he doesn’t shy away from the fact that Dionysus enjoys a lot of wine like most adults do. Knows, “he said.
That’s part of the point of his book, O’Connor says. He doesn’t talk to the kids – and that’s what draws the kids to them. “Greek mythology is full of things that will make people grab their pearls and be like ‘but kids’,” he said. “I’m not trying to clear any of that. The world is full of things that might upset your particular worldview, but they exist and they’re things that kids are going to face. So why not face them in the story?”
Dionysos O’Connor, the last Olympian, finished his series. Next: Graphic novels in Norse mythology.
Jennifer Vanasco edited this story for Air and the Web.