Echo and Narcissus is one of those myths that gets alluded to a lot in popular culture. Two instances in particular stand out as having done it really, really well.
The Mark of Athena
I don’t often include Riordan in my blogs because Way Back Wednesdays refer to the way back. As in before I wrote Persephone. Stuff I read after I wrote Persephone couldn’t have influenced my take on any given myth I used in Persephone.
But we’re in Aphrodite territory now, and I wrote that pretty recently. My Echo and Narcissus are just allusions, they don’t contribute much to the plot, they don’t get fleshed out much character wise. They’re just background people who exist in my world. So I’m not unaware my take on them for Aphrodite isn’t groundbreaking or particularly insightful. But his was.
I loved Rick Riordan’s take on Echo. I loved that he gave her agency and I loved how she used her echo to create her own voice. It was creative and so well done. Narcissus didn’t break the mold (mine doesn’t either), but Echo more than made up for it.
The main character in Dollhouse is named Echo. She’s a doll, which means her personality and mannerisms are uploaded into her brain (she’s not a robot, btw. If you haven’t seen the show, watch it) as requested by very rich clientele. At first she’s limited to just echoing her role as it was prescribed to her, but as the series progresses, she begins to retain fabrics of each personality she acquired to build her own personality. It’s nothing short of amazing. There’s another character named Alpha who plays the Narcissus role to a “T,” he’s obsessed with creating the most perfect version of himself. But the crush and the power play is inverted and he’s the one obsessed with Echo this go round.
There are about a million amazing things about that show. Seriously, go watch it.
Current note: iZombie is doing something similar with it’s main character at the moment (retaining echoes of personality from multiple sources) and I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never tire of this plot device. Seriously. I’m never not going to be impressed if it’s done well. From a writing standpoint, the blending of all the characters is fascinating.