Seems as though all the summer entertainment takes us back to ancient and mythic themes to understand contemporary society. Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame dominated the month of May. The finale of Game of Thrones pitted dragons against mortals to show the difference between dictatorship and democracy. Now, Good Omens uses Biblical themes in a battle between Heaven and Hell to show that friendship is magic.
I’m not actually 100% sure. I haven’t finished watching it, and I read the book over a decade ago. It’s been a while. The point is, people are trying to make sense out of a flawed world, and they’re turning to ancient myths, legends and stories to cope. They’re also giving a lot of money to huge corporations (Disney, Warner Media, Amazon) to scratch the itch for story. Pro tip: You don’t have to. You have podcasts.
Jarnsaxa Rising gives you Norse mythology, in worlds both imagined and real. Mythic themes sort out justice, climate crisis and wealth disparity. Just like the aforementioned, it’s got the end of the world at stake, rich multifaceted characters, and clever strategies to defeat enemies and surmount obstacles. Plus, the actors are exciting. If you haven’t heard it yet, now’s your chance! You can start with Season 1, Episode 1, on your favorite podcast app. Or, click below for the stand-alone episode, We Who Contain Multitudes, the opening of Season 2.
In September of 1944, Jarnsaxa meets mysterious strangers whose plane crashes on her island. She hopes they might release her from her witch bottle, and let her escape. When she finds their agenda is more bellicose and cruel than she could imagine, she takes strides to correct them.
Content warning: extreme violence, frank discussion of sex, frank discussion of racism, fighting Nazis.
(Hey, look at that! I embedded an audio link! It works! Yay, WordPress!)
Why do we keep pulling mythology out to try to cope with what we cannot understand? It’s familiar, it’s adaptive, and it lets us believe that recklessness and flaws have a place in the world. Nature has its own order, humans just try to impose their will on it. Stories let us make sense of our lives. Get yourself more mythic stories, for free!