Jul 27, 2007
"Orpheus" is a Greek myth about a musician who was so good (or so
"awesome" in contemporary musicians' lingo) that he truly inspired
awe in all living creatures. Unfortunately, his talent didn't help
build his patience any, and it proved to be his undoing when he had
an opportunity to rescue his wife Eurydice from tragic death.
We chose this tale mainly because of Cerberus, the three-headed
dog. What does this have to do with anything? Well, the three
headed dog appears in one of the Harry Potter books -- only he's
given the name Fluffy. And this isn't the only bit of folklore and
mythology that J.K. Rowling borrows. There's the phoenix, the
fabulous bird that is reborn out of its own ashes; the hippogriff,
which is similar to the griffin, which she also uses. And in the
story of Orpheus, as in Harry Potter and many other stories, the
serpent is used as a symbol of evil.
So what does this have to do with anything? As if you didn't know,
this past week marked the release of the seventh and final book in
the series. And we, of course, were in line at midnight to buy our
copy like millions of other folks.
Were you surprised when you found out in an earlier book that Remus
Lupin was a werewolf? Well, you wouldn't have been if you'd been as
familiar with Latin as Rowling is. The name provides two very
strong clues: "Lupin" is from the Latin word lupus meaning wolf (if
something is wolf-like, it is said to be lupine) and Remus was the
brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. According to legend,
the two boys were raised by ... wolves! (This also inspired the
story of Tarzan.) In this episode, we discuss these Latin clues, as
well as some of the other mythology in Harry Potter.
Our special guest this week is Zephyr's friend Cassia from
Massachusetts; she spent a couple of days living with us and got a
first-hand look at the glamorous life of a touring actor.
Dennis (Orpheus), Kimberly (narrator and Cerberus head), Zephyr
(Charon, Hades and Cerberus head) and Cassia (Eurydice and Cerberus