Thursday, February 02, 2017

Musing on: Penelope's Suitors

Who *are* these men?
Mnesterophonia Louvre CA7124
Slaughter of the Suitors via Wiki Commons (public domain)

We know some of their names, of course, and even who their fathers are. We know that they seem to have some pretty poor manners, and as guests and suitors they have overstayed their welcome to an extreme degree (though it seems Penelope is in part to blame for not sending them away, herself, perhaps, too.) But. Who are they in the greater scheme of Ithaca's kingdom and community, post Trojan War?

Presumably, Odysseus took a majority of able-bodied men with him to Troy to fight. We know these suitors are the sons of now-old men, noble houses of Ithaca who were part of Odysseus's assembly. The sons of men who are now too old and weak to rule them -- much like Laertes is too old and weak with grief and sorrow to guard Penelope and Telemachus from the suitors, or even to engage in Ithaca's assembly to any degree. Had they been younger men, the fathers of these suitors would have left 20 years earlier with Odysseus to fight, right? And if the suitors had been older men themselves, they also would have left, for the most part, 20 years ago to fight with Odysseus.

So are these Suitors second or third or fourth sons (of second wives, perhaps)? Not quite so young as Telemachus, clearly, who was an infant when Odysseus left, but old enough to see their brothers sail off in his company, and just a shade too young to follow? Old enough to grieve for their brothers who never returned home? Are they acting out, taking back what they lost in some way, by pillaging Odysseus's stores in his absense and courting his wife?

During Telemachus's assembly in book two, Mentor says:
"Think: not one of the people whom he ruled
remembers Odysseus now, that godlike man,
and kindly as a father to his children!" (Fagles, p 100)
Is he accusing the Suitors themselves of not knowing or remembering Odysseus, suggesting that perhaps they were too young to have really engaged with him in any meaningful way? Accusing the old men of the Assembly of forgetting the kindness of their king, or betraying the kindness that Odysseus showed them by not standing against the abuses of the suitors?

It seems likely that reinforcements came to support the Greeks (generic national identity used loosely, here), so why didn't these suitors travel to Troy to fight at some later point in the war? Or had they not yet quite come of age, even then? Say they were only 5 or 6, and hadn't quite reached manhood before Troy was sacked? But that would make them only 26 to Penelope's mid thirties, at the youngest, assuming she was in her early/mid-teens when she married Odysseus and bore him Telemachus, now nearing 20.

Odysseus mustered 12 ships when he initially sailed to Troy with the army, according to Homer's Catalogue of Ships, and in the Odyssey, Odysseus claims to have begun his journey from Troy with a dozen ships, still. twenty to thirty oars per ship would mean a minimum of 240 to 360 men -- none of which returned home, save Odysseus himself. Could resentment for the loss of so many have fueled the blind eye that these old men turned to their youngest/younger sons who lived? Or simply the desire to spoil them, because they had not been lost when so many others had been?

Honestly, I'm kind of shocked that upon his return Odysseus is allowed to keep his crown, after losing so many men -- hero-kings have been thrown out of power for less, after all -- but perhaps it is the slaughter of the suitors that secures his power in the end. The old men, after all, clearly don't have the strength to stand against him when they cannot stand against their own sons. And with the suitors' deaths, an entire generation of Ithacans, ultimately, is wiped out -- leaving Odysseus with no one to challenge him at all.


Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top 5 Reads of 2016!

I do a lot of reading and rereading -- this year I'm at 97 books read, and a very solid portion of those are rereads from years past (I'm in the middle of a huge Animorphs reread sooo.) But for THIS post, I'm going to just focus on the books that were new to me this year. If I have time, I'll put together another with my Top Five ReReads but -- that will wait for another day, or maybe even the new year! I'm also going to be assembling a top Hist Fic reads list for that other Amalia, so I'm excluding those from this particular list as well.

Top five NEW reads of 2016


Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (Vorkosigan Saga, #16)
1) Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Cordelia is one of my most favorite literary characters -- and as far as sci fi characters go, she's right up there with Princess Leia, so of course I was beyond stoked when I heard that at long last, Cordelia was going to be center stage again in this Vorkosigan Saga installment. And my friends, I was not disappointed. Cordelia is presented in all her Betan glory and I absolutely adored every page. (I think I'll always love Cordelia more than Miles, though, so if you're in it for Miles and not Cordelia, you might not enjoy this one quite so much. Also if you have strong feelings about the nature of Aral and Cordelia's relationship across all those years... well. Prepare yourself. You might be in for a shock.)


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) 2) Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Look, I'll be honest with you -- I think this duology is better than the Grisha Trilogy. By like, a lot. I mean I enjoyed the Grisha Trilogy but, I LOVED these two books, and that was even going into book one as a skeptic. I also think this book could just as easily have been adult fantasy rather than YA. For sure it's upper YA/Crossover YA/New Adult, at the least. And this second book? It was everything I wanted it to be, with one small storytelling-decision exception. It was a super fitting end to what was a super thrilling adventure and even if, like me, Fantasy Heist Novel isn't something you'd normally be into, you should still give this a shot!


Keeping Time (Servants of Fate, #3) 3) Keeping Time by Wendy Sparrow

I am a HUGE fan of Stealing Time, the first in this series, so when the opportunity to advance read and blurb came to me for the sequels, I jumped on it. This third installment with Ruin and Phoebe was my favorite of the two new novellas released this year, and the way Sparrow captures that awkward and uncomfortable (but also TOO comfortable) space of intimacy between best friends who are afraid to take the next step and make it into something more is perfection. Even better -- this series takes place basically for the full length of the winter holiday season, ending on New Year's Eve, so you can still make it your holiday romance of the season!! (I believe there's even a box set, which I would totally recommend -- personally, I picked all three of them up in paperback to have and hold forever.)


A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2) 4) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I thought I knew what this book was going to be. I was anticipating a certain amount of annoyance with that direction. And then I started reading, and the deeper I got, the more wrong I was about everything I'd thought. This was one of those could-not-put-it-down reads, and I think it's even better than the first book in the series. But I'm not sure it could be as good as it is WITHOUT the foundation of that first book, either, even though for some people I can see how the first book might be unsatisfying. If you read book one and gave it the side-eye -- I think book two will be a different experience for you, for sure. First couple of chapters excluded. Trust me -- just keep reading.


New Pompeii5) New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey

First: choosing my 5th book for this list was tough, but after scrolling up and down and up and down my list of books read, I think this one has to be it. I picked this up on a whim at the bookstore and I don't know what I had really high hopes for it at the time -- I always worry about books that present ancient peoples alongside modern characters. But. Godfrey definitely did not shy away from giving the Ancient Romans their due. They scheme and plot and manipulate as skillfully as one could hope, and although I would've liked a little more grounding of the world we begin in to make the alternate timeline glimpses more meaningful, that's not going to stop me from getting my hands on book two, and it didn't stop me from enjoying the read!


Honorable Mentions:

Hunter and Elite by Mercedes Lackey
Age of Heroes by James Lovegrove (Almost entirely because Theseus!)
Hercules: Still Going Strong by Dan Abnett (graphic novel -- but it is SO GOOD.)
and Sabriel by Garth Nix

If you want to see the complete list of all the books I've read this year -- klikk klikk!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

4th Annual #NameThatButt Finale Reveal!

Thanks so much for playing #NAMEthatBUTT with me this year!

Our Double Butt Finale Butts are...

Bacchus and Ariadne!


And our Winner is...

Faithlessone!

Email me at amaliatdillin(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize!


Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

4th Annual #NAMEthatBUTT: Round 4 FINALE!

Because even the shortest season of #NAMEthatBUTT deserves a double butt finale -- let's do this thing!

TWO BUTTS -- you must identify BOTH correctly (ie: image 1 is named x and image 2 is named y) to get your full 5 points for NAMING. An additional 5 points for title of the piece and artist will be available, naturally, also.

Rules are available for your reference HERE. But remember this is the FINAL round and as such I am leaving it open until NEXT WEEK -- the FINAL REVEAL will be December 6th. So I'll give you guys a full week to get your last guesses in for the final butt AND you'll have one more full week from today to cash in on the bonus #NAMEthatBOOK rounds on blog.amaliacarosella.com, which close with the final reveal of the final butt. 

There will be no bonus #NAMEthatBOOK this week.

BUTT ONE:

BUTT TWO:

Clues:

  • One of these butts is a Cretan. Not to be confused with a Cretin. 
  • Indeed, there was nothing cretinous about said butt -- it was seemingly fine and generous, if perhaps, from some perspectives, disloyal and treacherous. 
  • The other of these butts is rather fond of Drama, which might account for the third act rescue of the former butt -- too much patronage of the theater.
  • Cheetahs, Tigers, and Panthers, along with a leopard skin are associated with the non-Cretan butt above. (I told you, dramatic!)

Drop your guesses in the comments and lets name a #NAMEthatBUTT Champion for Season 4!


Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble