I always felt the God of the Underworld got shortchanged in pop culture and needed a press agent. That horrible portrayal of him in Disney’s Hercules? Really? He came off as a parody version of a grasping business tycoon, the jealous little brother who never got any attention. The portrayal in the Hercules series on television was better, but not nearly as interesting as some of the other gods on the show.
When we try to find the real Hades, we run into roadblocks, holes in the mythical record, things left unsaid but several bits and pieces do make it through the mists of time. We know he was the oldest brother of the three original Olympians. We know he fought fiercely in the war against his father. We know that at the end of the war, when the brothers drew lots to divide the world, Hades got the Underworld and Zeus got all the glory.
That’s always been the most telling bit for me. He agreed to let chance decide rather than insisting on his right to rule as the eldest. When he drew the short straw, he accepted his fate. He always struck me as the responsible brother, the one concerned with justice. His brothers ran around making as many babies as possible. He stayed home and made sure his slice of the world ran properly.
This is the god I fell in love with when I was young – the strong, steady, serious god – and this is the Hades I’ve chosen to portray in my new Immortals story. It’s all about life after the Underworld. And why some gods might have an atrophied sense of humor.
A little excerpt exclusive (Hades is in the modern world, going by the name Aiden Plouton)– you’ll see what I mean:
When he cracked one eye a few minutes later, Mr. Plouton hadn’t moved, his eyes tracking something outside. “What’re you watching?”
“People walking their dogs on the other side of the river. Quite a variety of breeds.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
Mr. Plouton nodded toward the window, one corner of his mouth tipping up. “There’s a borzoi passing now. There was a foxhound, a pair of akitas, a Tibetan mastiff, a pomerian and a chow chow.”
Careful. That’s almost a smile. “You like dogs, huh?”
“Yes.” The word sounded so sad, so wistful, Ti had to wonder if there had been a canine death recently. He was about to ask when the big man’s eyes lit up. He motioned to the window. “What a lovely Samoyed. Come see.”
Ti managed a dry chuckle. “I’ll have to take your word for it.”
“Ah.” Before he could protest, Mr. Plouton strode over, scooped Ti up in his arms, and carried him to the window. “There. Now you can see.”
“Um…thanks?” The casual ease with which the man held him was scary as hell. Sure, Ti knew he didn’t weigh too much after the past six months on the streets, but he was over six feet tall for pity’s sake. No one should be able to carry him like a rag doll. To be polite, he looked out the window at the dog and found he had to agree. If someone told him he had to have a dog, then that white bit of fluffy pretty would have been high up on the list of candidates. “Nice.”
“Very intelligent dogs. Highly energetic.”
Maybe not then. Ti risked a glance back at his host and transport. The unguarded sorrow in his eyes yanked at his heart. Damn. “So this mangy mutt moves into a really high-class neighborhood, right next door to a couple of snobby poodles.”
Mr. Plouton gave him a noncommittal grunt, so he forged on.
“Okay, so the poodles aren’t real pleased with their new neighbor and they decide that they need to march right over there and put this lop-eared, flea-bitten mutt in his place, right? So the first poodle turns up her nose at him and says, ‘My name is Fifi. F-I-F-I.’ And the second snooty poodle chimes in, ‘My name is Mimi. M-I-M-I.’ And then the mutt looks at one and then the other. He sits up straight and declares, ‘My name is Fido. F-I-D-E-A-U-X.’”
Deep blue eyes stared at him nonplussed. “Dogs don’t speak to each other like that.”
“No, I know. It’s a joke. The plain, ordinary dog knowing French. Funny? Haha? You’re supposed to laugh. Or at least smile politely.” Still nothing. “Um. Never mind.” Ti heaved a sigh. “Mom and Dad didn’t hug you much, did they?”
He heard an odd grinding sound and realized it was Mr. Plouton’s teeth. “My father tried to kill me. Several times.”
Canines, Crosshairs and Corpses by Angel Martinez is now available at Amber Allure.
If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all, and that's multiple chances to win!