A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 9: Fantasy Squad – Harpies

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Harpies are one of my favourite mythical creatures, next to Sirens. Granted, the two are often mixed up, but there is something fascinating about hybrids, especially those with wings!

As this feature is about the portrayal of mythical creatures in media, at least in part, I did a little research. Most of my knowledge comes from Greek mythology, and though I’m familiar with some of the following interpretations, I was surprised at how many references there are. These are just a few:

Harpies by Sophia-M Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Fantasy©2012-2015 Sophia-M
Harpies by Sophia-M
Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Fantasy©2012-2015 Sophia-M
  • Harpies are featured a great deal in Anime and Manga. I don’t have enough knowledge to comment on these representations, but if you do – please share.
  • Betty Ross was temporarily turned into a Harpy in The Incredible Hulk – the delightful Bruce Banner made a deal and found a cure.
  • In Jason and the Argonauts (a particular favourite of mine), harpies torment the blind prophet Phineus, by stealing his food. There are only two of them, when traditionally they come in threes.
  • They are portrayed as monsters in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe movie.
  • In The Tempest, Ariel disguises herself as a harpy.
  • Harpies appear in various table top and video games.
  • They were frequently portrayed as monsters in The Adventures of Sinbad.
  • They appeared in Charmed as minor demons.
  • Hercules (The Legendary Journeys) and Xena (Warrior Princess) both include harpies.
  • They are Hades‘ minions in Clash of the Titans (remake). In this interpretation they don’t appear as bird-women. They snatch people and drag them to the Underworld.
  • Harpies feature in the epic Latin poem The Aeneid by Virgil.
  • They are based in hell in Dante’s The Divine Comedy.
  • In the Grey Hawk adventure novels (Book 5) – a harpy plays the female protagonist – a heroic one at that!
  • Harpies are a kind of gate-keeper in Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series – maintaining curfew at Camp Half-Blood and eating those who break the rules!
  • As with most of the mythical creatures I’ve dealt with so far, most interpretations are dark. In the 2007 TV Movie – Harpies, they are demonic winged monsters.

There is clearly a pattern, one I would like to see balanced out a little. What are your thoughts? Do you think harpies deserve their bad reputation, or should there be a touch of bitter and sweet when portraying these creatures? Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

Mel

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29 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 9: Fantasy Squad – Harpies

  1. I hate to say they deserve their bad rep, but they have been bad guys since the beginning. I think it doesn’t help that their name has a sinister sound to it. Very close to the word ‘harsh’, so the imagery about them isn’t very pleasant. I don’t know. Really hard to think beyond them attacking people and screeching.

    1. That’s just given me an idea – I have a god in the Fractured who courts the line between good and evil – I think I’ll introduce him to a few harpies and let them torture him for a while!

  2. That artwork is awesome! I agree that it would be cool to see a different side to harpies a little more often – a struggle between good and evil is usually more interesting than pure and simple evil.

    1. I completely agree – on both counts! I have sirens in the Fractured, but maybe I can play around with them in the serialised stuff (The Collective). I’ve never had so many notes!

    1. They are both hybrid – part woman, part bird (at least in most myths) but sirens have connections to the sea. They were often portrayed as femme fetals and lured sailors to their death with their beautiful voices. They have been depicted as mermaids too.

      1. Okay… that’s what I thought – that’s my gal 😉 It would be interesting to meet a Harpy that had a ‘soft’ side – lol! Love you A-Z Challenge!

  3. This is not a topic a know much about, so a fun read. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Best of luck as you continue writing through the alphabet!

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