Good adventure myths have their own gravity. They start to pull the strings of your imagination from the moment you lift the cover of the book or hit the play button of a media device. Regardless of what their container is and the way you consume them, once their gravitational field captures you, it’s over.
I remember waiting in line for Star Wars tickets when I was 7 years old more vividly than I remember my first day at school. And back then, when I was still pure at heart and naïve by mind, the Lucas trilogy was truly bigger than life. It was a Universe on its own and even though the rational part of my immature brain already knew miracles weren’t possible, I still kept a very special hope in my heart – that one day I will wake up in this reality and live the life of a true hero.
At that time I imagined heroes exactly as depicted in Star Wars – as warriors of a just cause, morally superior and slightly indoctrinated.
The Star Wars myth, powerful as it was, left little room for something else but as I grew up, I felt more and more drawn by other types of stories – the Ancient Greek myths. They had something that Hollywood movies generally didn’t – real, human heroes.
Even though Achilles and Heracles had a well expressed supernatural side, their personalities were less divine and way closer to mortals. Even the real gods of the Greek pantheon sometimes resembled a pretty dysfunctional modern family.
Those weren’t the types of heroes who always dictated the story and bent it to their will. Most of the time, it was the story that forced them to play according to external rules. Fate, caprice, accident and luck all had an equal part in the adventure.
There is one legend in the Greek legacy that stands above all – the Odyssey. The story of the journey of the victorious soldier back home. I cannot be exactly sure but I think it is the first story that begins exactly where all the others end – the moment of ultimate glory. And apart from the much simpler story of Heracles, it’s the only one that actually tries not to build up a hero as it progresses, but to deconstruct him until all that’s left is his real, human essence.
One day, without even noticing it, I stopped identifying myself with Skywalker and embraced Odysseus. And I haven’t stopped ever since. I don’t think I ever will.