Mythology Monday: Boreas and Oreithyia


A shift in my teacher’s tone caught my attention. He rolled up the sleeves of his blue dress shirt, moving his hands as he told the story. He leaned forward, voice becoming ominous.

“Oreithyia danced upon the river bank, unaware she was being watched.”

A cloud passed over the sun, bathing the class in sudden shade. Goose bumps rose on my arms as the temperature plummeted. I flinched when a gust of wind knocked over the legal pad with a thump. The yellow pages fluttered open, sending loose scraps of paper floating toward the lake.

“Suddenly, the God of Winter, Boreas, swept her away in a cloud and…” Professor Homer faltered at the sight of the escaping papers. “Married her.”

I rolled my eyes. At sixteen, it wasn’t as though Melissa and I were clueless about what happened to poor Oreithyia. Beside me, Melissa nodded as though I’d spoken aloud.

Professor Homer continued. “For nearly a century afterward, the people of Athens traced their lineage back to Oreithyia and Boreas, claiming to share the blood of the gods.


That’s pretty much the myth. So why include it, verbatim in Persephone?

The Persephone myth is one of the first myths people learn because it explains the seasons. If Persephone didn’t exist until modern day, there would need to be a myth to substitute as an explanation for winter. Using the myth as *the*explanation for winter was supposed to alert my readers we were in a world where Persephone’s myth hadn’t happened yet because she didn’t exist yet. Judging by the number of reviews wondering why Persephone doesn’t recognize her own name in mythology, I should have made that a bit clearer. I’m still trying to figure out something I can slide into the next edition of the book that indicates that in this universe, some myths (the older ones involving the big six) have happened while others are still in the process of unfolding. But it’s not like something I can have Persephone think about or casually point out in dialogue. The people of this world don’t know they’re missing myths.

This myth was similar enough to the Persephone myth to fit in nicely. Plus the god of winter makes would be a natural enemy of the goddess of spring, and Boreas is associated with the sky, which was logical given who we was working for. So luckily, it worked on a lot of levels.

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