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As the others have said, changes are fine so long as you do your research before changing things so that the changes still fit in the context that the myth you're changing comes from. Failing that, make it so that it fits the context of your world and explain why the version most of us are familiar with is wrong.
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As long as it's done well, I really don't care.
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Mortok
...

Fictional works that incorporate Norse mythology (my own included), frequently choose to interpret Valkyries as badass warrior women, because that's more fun and itneresting than being a divine waitress in a heavenly mead hall.

...


Actually, valkyries weren't waitresses; they were divine beings who lifted/collected fallen soldiers from the battlefield to bring to Valhalla. Given the 'valk' in the word (which means wolf) it's very likely the Norse were referring to the wolves and crows who were eating the dead carcasses.

Naturally, very few people make use of this cannibalism = spiritual acension in modern works. I just wanted to clarify they were never divine waitresses, and also accent how far them being warrior women is from the original thought.

Not that I don't like warrior women! I just... secretly wish people wouldn't call them valkyries. Or at least incorporate cannibalism.

They also served the mead in Valhalla. Would it be better if I called them part-time waitresses?

Some myths say that they also carried spears and rode wolves into battle, so the 'warrior women' interpretation could be considered equally as valid.
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Mortok
H.P. Lovecraft did it back in the 1930s or so.


I still have no idea how one logically goes 'corn god = rape tentatcles'.

Nobody knows what the gods actually look like, Lovecraft can make them whatever he wants.

And in Lovecraft's world, everything is rape tentacles. In his fiction, 'gods' are not really 'gods' as we understand the term, they are interdimensional or alien beings with unfathomable powers that have become mythologised. They might have the ability to change their true form, to make themselves more palatable to humankind. But their "true form" is always one of unimaginable horror that causes insanity to all that view it.

And yes, it frequently incorporates the tentacles.
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Oh hey, someone who totally isn't me just started a thread about one of my current hot-button issues! Fancy that!

I've started using the term "cosplay characters" for when an author says that they're using a character from a mythology, or a fairy tale, or someone else's work, but the facts just don't bear that out. This happens when an author fails to make any attempt at understanding the source material, and takes it entirely at face value, failing to bring along the ideology or thematic characterization that makes the character what they are in the source material, giving the impression that someone who isn't that character is none the less going about wearing their name and appearance.

Which isn't to say that you can't use characters from elsewhere, or that if you do, you can't change anything, just that you should know why things were the way they were in the first place, so that you understand the real effect of changing them, and are able to preserve the characteristics that make them most what they are.


I agree with this whole heartedly..I personally found it pointless to have vampires sparkle, when it didn't mean a dammed thing..Honestly, I think most people wouldn't have had such a problem with the book, if she put that in for a little source of comedy. Becuase that pissed off alot of "vampire" fans. I onyl quote vampire, because there have been a few different tailes, like them having super strength, and super speed (I actually kinda like that kind of vampire lol).
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Mortok
Nobody knows what the gods actually look like, Lovecraft can make them whatever he wants.

That doesn't really work as gods that are said to look one way can't suddenly look a totally different way. Why bother using a god with it's own myths if you're just going to change everything? why insult history by doing that?
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Mortok
Nobody knows what the gods actually look like, Lovecraft can make them whatever he wants.

That doesn't really work as gods that are said to look one way can't suddenly look a totally different way. Why bother using a god with it's own myths if you're just going to change everything? why insult history by doing that?

Well, yes they can, because they are supernatural beings of indeterminate power. That's what being a god is all about.

Why not do it? Is it really so hard to believe that a being of supreme power would establish themselves as a deity just to ******** with people? Most of them aren't exactly what you'd call benevolent.

Myths are just fairy tales that people once thought were real, and most of them weren't very good anyway. Fairy tales are fair game, so why not myths? I'm sure the re-appropriated deities don't mind.
Rob Thurman puts her own spin on pretty much any kind of mythology, but she doesn't do it to just suit her own needs for the story, she does it for a reason. The logic in her books is that most mythology in the world is, as described by the main character, "bullshit" with only a grain of truth in them. Which makes sense, because if the lore were all correct, then wouldn't more people know about them?

So it makes sense, and the books turn out great smile

I think changing lore or tweaking it wouldn't make or break a book~
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Mortok

Why not do it? Is it really so hard to believe that a being of supreme power would establish themselves as a deity just to ******** with people? Most of them aren't exactly what you'd call benevolent.

It's well-established as to what the gods look like and what they can and cannot do. If you want to change that, get your own god.

What's the point? You still haven't answered that.

Why steal someone else's god if you'r going to get nothing right about them? What message are you trying to convey? Why about that god in that religion? Did you consider that this might be offensive to make the pacifist god of fertility a rape-god? Did you think this might reflect poorly on your research skills? What ARE yo trying to get out of this and why not just write a hentai manga? Is there some deep, philosophy you're telling us by showing this? How would that message not be as good f you did your research and had a more accurate portrayal of a god other people already had established?

You can't just say 'why not?' when it comes to literally raping a religion, even a dead one. Unless, you want to be an a** (Lovecraft I mean).
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DarknessofHeavenandDreams

It's well-established as to what the gods look like and what they can and cannot do. If you want to change that, get your own god.

I don't even know what god you're bitching about here. You're going to have to tell me its actual name and what story it appears in.

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What's the point? You still haven't answered that.

I contend that there does not need to be a point. I also contend that Lovecraft's deity merely sharing a name with a pre-existing one does not require the two to be in any way similar. If I create a deity and call it Zeus and I say he is a minor god of fire and he is faithful to his god-wife, Debbie, then I have created a new character. Yes, I called him Zeus, so what? Nobody owns the name. I never claimed to be accurately representing Greek mythology. I have not drawn any connection to Greek mythology. My Zeus is different from your Zeus, and that is okay.

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Why steal someone else's god if you'r going to get nothing right about them?

How on Earth is it "stealing"? In Lovecraft's fictional universe, he was debunking the very concept of deities in general, and subsituting it with a new "truth". In Lovecraftian Mythos, all gods are false. They are either non-existent, or they are space monsters. That is a valid interpretation.

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What message are you trying to convey?

Why do I need to convey one at all?

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Why about that god in that religion?

In Lovecraft's case? He probably just liked the sound of the name.

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Did you consider that this might be offensive to make the pacifist god of fertility a rape-god?

Lovecraft's monsters don't rape anyone, at least not in any story I ever read. Genrally people go insane or just die of fright as soon as they see them. If any of them do rape people, then it's probably for a plot-relevant reason. His work is not porn.

I don't really give a s**t if people are offended. And that goes for all cases. If a Norse Pagan has issues with Marvel Comics representing the Asgardians as highly advanced aliens, too bad. If Christians take issue with Assassin's Creed portraying Adam and Eve as genetically engineered slaves crafted by an advanced precursor race, too bad. If people take issue with Phillip Pullman painting God as an interdimensional tyrant and a fraud, too bad.

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Did you think this might reflect poorly on your research skills?

Um, no. Anyone who reads my work and says "HERP DERP YOU GOT THE MYTH WRONG" clearly has no comprehension of the concept of fiction.

If I am starting from the premise that the myth is a lie or a misconception that is covering up a sinister underlying truth, then what the myth actually says is irrelevent, because I am already working from the assumption that it is false.

EXAMPLE

Myth: Dryads are beautiful, friendly tree spirits who sometimes mate with mortal men.

My premise: The myth about dryads is false. They are, in fact, carnivorous, parasitic creatures in female form that seduce men in order to kill them, and use their blood to fertilise the host tree that keeps them alive.

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What ARE yo trying to get out of this and why not just write a hentai manga?

What am I trying to get out of it? An entertaining story.

Why not write porn? Because my work is not porn. And neither is Lovecraft's for that matter, have you actually read any of it at all? Why the ******** do you automatically associate tentacles with porn in the first place?

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Is there some deep, philosophy you're telling us by showing this?

Me? Not particularly. In Lovecraft's case, the major aesthetic and philosophical principle of his work was Cosmicism.

In basic terms, Cosmicism starts with the assumption that there are no "real" gods, that humans are insignifcant creatures in a world filled with incomprehensible cosmic horrors, and that they project their mythologies onto these presences because they do not understand their true nature, and never can.

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How would that message not be as good f you did your research and had a more accurate portrayal of a god other people already had established?

In Lovecraft's case, the very premise of his entire body of work, mentioned above, is inherently opposed to the concept of any sort of accurate portrayal of a deity, particularly a benevolent one. He actively rejects the notion that such a being exists.

In Lovecraft's world, all major religions, past and present are completely and utterly wrong. There are no "gods" as the term is defined in a dictionary, and myths of benevolent deities exist only to obscure the horrifying truth. Most familiar "gods" are just non-existent, if you're lucky. Of the few that he actually incorporates into his work as characters, they are indifferent at best. For many, it is questionable whether they are even aware of our existence at all.

If Lovecraft were to turn around and say "Oh but this god is really a god and he is totally friendly and he cares about people a lot", then that would be going against the guiding principle of his entire work, not to mention his own personal beliefs.

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You can't just say 'why not?' when it comes to literally raping a religion, even a dead one. Unless, you want to be an a**.

Except you totally can, and people do it all the time. Why are you singling out Lovecraft? Because you don't like his particular interpretation? As mentioned earlier, Marvel Comics did pretty much the exact same thing when it re-imagined the Norse gods as advanced beings that exist on another planet. Is that not offensive? Even if Marvel's version of Thor appears to be mostly similar to his mythological counterpart in terms of appearance and abilities, the very nature of his character is still fundamentally altered, because according to Marvel Comics, he is not really a god, and nor are any of the other deities they have incorporated. And they incorporate a buttload.
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Mortok
It's well-established as to what the gods look like and what they can and cannot do. If you want to change that, get your own god.

I don't even know what god you're bitching about here. You're going to have to tell me its actual name and what story it appears in.
Every god in every myth they're mentioned in. We know what Thor can and cannot do. We know what he looks like. Turning him into a bunny that shoots lasers from his eyes makes no sense.

Mortok
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What's the point? You still haven't answered that.

I contend that there does not need to be a point. I also contend that Lovecraft's deity merely sharing a name with a pre-existing one does not require the two to be in any way similar. If I create a deity and call it Zeus and I say he is a minor god of fire and he is faithful to his god-wife, Debbie, then I have created a new character. Yes, I called him Zeus, so what? Nobody owns the name. I never claimed to be accurately representing Greek mythology. I have not drawn any connection to Greek mythology. My Zeus is different from your Zeus, and that is okay.

This is amazingly offensive. 'My Jesus, a merman who lives on mars and preaches recycling and eats children doesn't have to be YOUR Jesus.'

Also, using the name and using the deity are two obviously separate things. If your Mars Jesus just has the name, fine, but don't say it's Jesus from the Bible.

You never answered my questions, you just backed up what I said about being an a**. The last page was about 'remember the point of the myth and do it well'. Don't go throwing the standards we've built up out the window because you think not doing three seconds of research on google isn't important. There's a thread that constantly lists that as to why you'll get your a** kicked with that newbie attitude (it's also a reason why Twilight is the WF's b***h).

Also, Dagon was a rapey pointless bad fanfiction; the story was a cult of people who wanted to give Dagon a ******** and kill everyone who ruined the cult's group think (and to give the priestess someone to bone). There are books that are far better at saying religion is all false without hitting the audience over the head with bad research and wanting to make a hentai manga out of a fertility god (yes, Dagon was the same god. If Lovecraft had pulled the trick D&d did, it wouldn't look so bad).

Also, why the dryad thing? To ******** with people, to look stupid, or laziness?

What's the difference between not giving a crap who you insult with no research or what you say with religion and race? What about sexual orientation? Sex/gender? Do you go '******** everybody, I'll insult who I want and everyone else should too' or is there a line you draw? Why is religion (and history) not included in not being an a** or idiot?

Everything in your story needs to be important and have a point. Otherwise, we should all just write Transformers or Star Wars prequels.
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I_Write_Ivre

Every god in every myth they're mentioned in. We know what Thor can and cannot do. We know what he looks like. Turning him into a bunny that shoots lasers from his eyes makes no sense.

So, assuming he retains his commonly accepted powers and characteristics, is it or is it not okay to re-imagine him as a humanoid space alien who fights crime?

Mortok
This is amazingly offensive. 'My Jesus, a merman who lives on mars and preaches recycling and eats children doesn't have to be YOUR Jesus.'

My Jesus is a gardener who hangs around outside the Home Depot.

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Also, using the name and using the deity are two obviously separate things. If your Mars Jesus just has the name, fine, but don't say it's Jesus from the Bible.

If I create a hypothetical alternate version of Christ and say that, in my fictional universe, the Biblical representation is inaccurate, then I'm not actually claiming him to be the same Jesus in the Bible. Bible Jesus is not real, but my Jesus is.

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You never answered my questions, you just backed up what I said about being an a**.

I answeered all of them, but don't let reality get in the way of a debate.

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The last page was about 'remember the point of the myth and do it well'.

A piece of advice I completely disagree with. I am not retelling a myth, I am writing a new story with inspiration drawn from mythic influences.

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Don't go throwing the standards we've built up out the window because you think not doing three seconds of research on google isn't important.

First of all; I fully research any mythology from which I choose to take influence. Your assumption that I am unaware of the "original" just because I choose not to follow it is ignorant and prejudiced.

Secondly: ******** your standards. Standards stifle creativity, they kill the possibility for anything new to be created.

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There's a thread that constantly lists that as to why you'll get your a** kicked with that newbie attitude (it's also a reason why Twilight is the WF's b***h).

Oh no! Ignorant, obsolete elitists might be mean to me on the internet? Quelle horreur!

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Also, Dagon was a rapey pointless bad fanfiction; the story was a cult of people who wanted to give Dagon a ******** and kill everyone who ruined the cult's group think (and to give the priestess someone to bone). There are books that are far better at saying religion is all false without hitting the audience over the head with bad research and wanting to make a hentai manga out of a fertility god (yes, Dagon was the same god. If Lovecraft had pulled the trick D&d did, it wouldn't look so bad).

I haven't read Dagon, and I don't care about its quality or how well it represented whatever it is you take issue with. As long as it expressed Lovecraft's cosmicist philosophy, it fulfilled its intended function.

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Also, why the dryad thing? To ******** with people, to look stupid, or laziness?

Because I think it would be cool. I write for my own entertainment, not for you or anyone else, and I like the idea of a species of murderous plant-women who spread false rumours about themselves in order to entice human prey. I am not altering the details of the myth at all, because I am not writing in the universe of the myth. I am merely establishing the "fact" that in my own fictional universe, the myth is not a literal truth. I don't see how that's offensive at all; it's just one way in which my world is similar to the real world.

If I create my own myth and then go on to debunk it as being an allegory or a lie to cover up a more unpleasant 'truth' of the fictional universe in which I am currently writing, am I then being offensive to my own invented religion?

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What's the difference between not giving a crap who you insult with no research or what you say with religion and race? What about sexual orientation? Sex/gender? Do you go '******** everybody, I'll insult who I want and everyone else should too' or is there a line you draw? Why is religion (and history) not included in not being an a** or idiot?

I don't waste time thinking about whether my work will be offensive, or to who. Chances are someone somewhere will be offended, no matter what I write. I am not obliged to be politically correct, or a role model. I am not obliged to defend my creative choices to anyone. I am trying to tell a well-crafted, entertaining story, with a rich setting and interesting characters. All other concerns are secondary.

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Everything in your story needs to be important and have a point. Otherwise, we should all just write Transformers or Star Wars prequels.

Everything in my story should have a point in my story. I do not have to communicate some sort of overarching moral message. I'm there to tell a story, not to teach a lesson.
Mortok

So, assuming he retains his commonly accepted powers and characteristics, is it or is it not okay to re-imagine him as a humanoid space alien who fights crime?

No, as long as he remains JESUS, it's okay. Gods are not their powers.

Mortok
This is amazingly offensive. 'My Jesus, a merman who lives on mars and preaches recycling and eats children doesn't have to be YOUR Jesus.'
My Jesus is a gardener who hangs around outside the Home Depot.

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Also, using the name and using the deity are two obviously separate things. If your Mars Jesus just has the name, fine, but don't say it's Jesus from the Bible.

If I create a hypothetical alternate version of Christ and say that, in my fictional universe, the Biblical representation is inaccurate, then I'm not actually claiming him to be the same Jesus in the Bible. Bible Jesus is not real, but my Jesus is.


How in the hell is your Jesus real? He's a fictional character and the only message he's taught people is '******** you' while the original Jesus promoted peace and forgiveness.

Why not just write '******** you' and Jesus in random intervals if you're going to do that?

Mortok
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You never answered my questions, you just backed up what I said about being an a**.

I answeered all of them, but don't let reality get in the way of a debate.

Sounds like you agree with me.

Mortok
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The last page was about 'remember the point of the myth and do it well'.

A piece of advice I completely disagree with. I am not retelling a myth, I am writing a new story with inspiration drawn from mythic influences.

So, you're writing bad fanfiction or are you writing D&D? Or are you writing '******** you' a lot and adding the names of gods?

Mortok
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Don't go throwing the standards we've built up out the window because you think not doing three seconds of research on google isn't important.

First of all; I fully research any mythology from which I choose to take influence. Your assumption that I am unaware of the "original" just because I choose not to follow it is ignorant and prejudiced.

No, it's not. Even if Meyer had done her research on geography, she's still an idiot for putting 'Brazil's west coast' in her story. Doing something dumb intentionally is still being dumb. Same with being offensive.

Mortok
Secondly: ******** your standards. Standards stifle creativity, they kill the possibility for anything new to be created.

'******** your standards' gave us bayformers. You're telling me 'deep wang' is a good thing.

also, grammar, syntax, etc are standards. Let's throw those out the window nad thank all the illiterate spammers for being artistic. Hell, following rules on gaia is standards. Let's get rid of those. You know what? Words and letters are standards. ******** that.

Mortok
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There's a thread that constantly lists that as to why you'll get your a** kicked with that newbie attitude (it's also a reason why Twilight is the WF's b***h).

Oh no! Ignorant, obsolete elitists might be mean to me on the internet? Quelle horreur!


Oh no! someone told me to act like an adult and use my brain.

Mortok
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Also, why the dryad thing? To ******** with people, to look stupid, or laziness?

Because I think it would be cool. I write for my own entertainment, not for you or anyone else, and I like the idea of a species of murderous plant-women who spread false rumours about themselves in order to entice human prey. I am not altering the details of the myth at all, because I am not writing in the universe of the myth. I am merely establishing the "fact" that in my own fictional universe, the myth is not a literal truth. I don't see how that's offensive at all; it's just one way in which my world is similar to the real world.

So you're telling me you don't understand religion, or that you don't want anyone to read your stuff? Or both?

Mortok
If I create my own myth and then go on to debunk it as being an allegory or a lie to cover up a more unpleasant 'truth' of the fictional universe in which I am currently writing, am I then being offensive to my own invented religion?

You're being offensive if the way you write it is 2x4.

Mortok
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What's the difference between not giving a crap who you insult with no research or what you say with religion and race? What about sexual orientation? Sex/gender? Do you go '******** everybody, I'll insult who I want and everyone else should too' or is there a line you draw? Why is religion (and history) not included in not being an a** or idiot?

I don't waste time thinking about whether my work will be offensive, or to who. Chances are someone somewhere will be offended, no matter what I write. I am not obliged to be politically correct, or a role model. I am not obliged to defend my creative choices to anyone. I am trying to tell a well-crafted, entertaining story, with a rich setting and interesting characters. All other concerns are secondary.

Then why waste your time not writing '******** you, ******** you, ******** you' since you pretty much hate everyone and want to say you'd like to run over any written ethics or able of kindness?

Mortok
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Everything in your story needs to be important and have a point. Otherwise, we should all just write Transformers or Star Wars prequels.

Everything in my story should have a point in my story. I do not have to communicate some sort of overarching moral message. I'm there to tell a story, not to teach a lesson.

Yes, you do. You need to tell people 'I am not an a** and I'm not a complete dipshit, therefore my stuff is worth reading.'

But you don't want to write that. You want to write 'I'm an a**, ******** you, don't tell me what to do, I hate everything.' Just like the prequels and bayformers did.

So far, the more you say, the more its an example of what NOT to do (if you want people to read your stuff, which i doubt you do.)
Evoblack's avatar

Toothsome Citizen

Technically, writers can do anything, including changing vampire myths. Even if it doesn't exactly make sense, you have to keep in mind that it is THEIR world. What they have created will stay the way they like. Some changes have me wondering, but some changes actually make sense to me.
Evoblack
Technically, writers can do anything, including changing vampire myths. Even if it doesn't exactly make sense, you have to keep in mind that it is THEIR world. What they have created will stay the way they like. Some changes have me wondering, but some changes actually make sense to me.


Sure it's their world, but no one's going to want to play in it if it's too a**-backwards. You can't have a dolphin that poops jellybeans and call it a vampire.

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