Saturday, July 13, 2013

Paranormal Week: Old myth/new life

Posted by: Shona Husk
One of the things I love about paranormal romance is that it can take old myths and breathe new life into them. It could be something as simple as vampires, looking at what the common law is but adding a new spin. Or it could be taking whole legends and reimagining them, Juliet Marillier is very good at this in a fantasy setting.

While Beauty and the Beast gets used a lot in romance, in paranormal romance the hero can truly be a hideous beast…or goblin.

I was able to blend my love of Roman Britain with goblin lore and a classic tale of not judging a person based on appearance to create The Goblin King.

For the Annwyn series I looked at the old fairy lore, the stories from when they were gods and Gwyn ap Nudd ruled the underworld, and then imagine a kind where are they now scenario? What has happened to the fairies over the last couple of thousand years?

Other writers draw on Greek myth or Egyptian. But in each case the old gods and creatures get a chance at being reborn for a modern audience.

Before stories were written down they were handed down orally. Each teller adding their own variation. There are so many variations of King Arthur and Robin Hood. And these are just the ones we know about, the ones that were recorded, and they are far more recent that ancient myth. Imagine how many variations and tales of the gods we have lost over the centuries. 

Some was deliberately destroyed when early books were destroyed by Christian monks wanting to stamp out the worship of old gods. Other stories would have simply been lost because no one was telling the stories anymore after they were forced to convert. 

The only way to keep myth and legend alive is for it to be talked about, for people to know it exists. 

I love that TV shows are looking at the old stories and bringing them back. Supernatural uses plenty of paranormal creatures; ever googled the wendigo? Or the woman in white? 

Seen the trailer for Sleepy Hollow or Dracula? Go one take a look, I’ll wait ;)

Even Once Upon a Time give the fairy tales a fresh spin.

Paranormal romance lets authors take an old tale out of the crypt, revive it and give it a makeover. Some will closely resemble their source (like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast) but others will spawn a new story that on the surface looks nothing like its parents.

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