Wednesday 15 July 2015

We're All Stories in the End

image courtesy of jannoon028 at
I got to thinking recently that we essentially tell the same stories over and over, since the beginning of time.
This isn't to say that we are repetitive idiots who are unable to come up with anything original. Not at all. What my point is, is that clearly there are things in these stories that we need to hear. There are things that we have recognised as fundamental since the very beginning, and we feel the need to repeat it - to get the message through again and again. But why? Are we still not hearing it?!?! Well, given the state the world seems to be in as of late, that's a distinct possibility. But I think it's more to do with it speaking to something inherently human in us.

We never abandoned the old Gods - Thor and Loki are still with us (literally if you're a Marvel fan,) but the rest are still here too. Does no one else see the Robin Hood parallels with The Green Arrow or Hawkeye? Or older still, the Eros/Cupid and Apollo associations with archery etc?

We have literally clung on to all of the old traditions, the myths, the stories, we just give them a new cape and a mask, and set them to it. But it's not just comics and their associated media (i.e. movies) that are affected by this phenomena. We litter the pages of our novels with the things that go bump in the night - vampires, werewolves, angels and demons haunt our pages. But, more subtly than that, the same stories play out in front of our eyes again and again. Even the dreaded Twilight owes so much to Romeo and Juliet, which in turn is a retelling of Pyramus and Thisbe. 'Fallen' by Lauren Kate leans heavily on Biblical tales and the legends of fallen angels. Hell, The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen bears more than a passing resemblance to Artemis. And I won't mention the obvious Percy Jackson parallels - I think you can figure that one out by yourselves.

I kind of like it, if I'm going to be honest with you lovely people: I like the thought that our stories are such a fundamental part of us that we tell the same tales over and over, shaping and framing, adding and subtracting - and that's what really shows the strength of these ideas and stories. They still captivate and intrigue. And fan-fiction feeds into that (no, really, it does!) - it's us hearing the story and adding our interpretation, our hopes, our feelings (and lots of the feels,) taking the parts that most speak to us and zooming in on them. We're the myth-tellers, sat around the collective glow of the laptop and the tablet, instead of the fire, and telling just one more tale of love and hurt, of bravery and sorrow, to get us through one more dark night when we're tired and hungry and afraid. And isn't that beautiful.

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