A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 24: Fantasy Squad – Undine

You might be surprised by my choice today, then again, you might not! I considered unicorn, and though I love these mythical creatures, I decided to explore something new.

UUndines, (also spelled Ondine) are water nymphs, and some people believe they have been around since the beginning of time. Nature spirits are common to all cultures, and undines are believed to inhibit the element of water. They are depicted as either human or animal, or half-animal; half-human. Normally invisible to humans, views about their nature vary – a scale which ranges from kind and friendly to malevolent. The general consensus seems to be that they are emotional beings, who enjoy to serve mankind.

Undine by dewmanna* Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Fantasy©2011-2015 dewmanna
Undine by dewmanna*
Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Fantasy©2011-2015 dewmanna

One of the most influential stories is the belief that undines become human when they fall in love. They are normally female and do not possess a soul until they marry. There are some references to male undines, but those are rare. There is also a darker side to the tale – if an undine marries and her husband is unfaithful, he is destined to die.

The group has many species, such as mermaids, for example. Some even believe undines are derived from the Greek figures, Nereids – who were attendants of the sea god Poseidon. Nereids were the daughters of Nereus and Doris. Their number varies, but is either recorded as fifty or one hundred. One of the best known Nereids is Amphitrite (Poseidon’s spouse).

In media, undines are depicted in literature, drama, ballet and music. These include author, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué; poet, Aloysius Bertrand; playright, Maurice Maeterlinck and author, Hans Christian Andersen.

I think it might be fun to play with these delightful beings! There are so many possibilities when it comes to water based powers, making undines an entertaining addition to the squad. But what about you – are you familiar with these creatures? Do you have any stories to share with us?

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

Mel

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34 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 24: Fantasy Squad – Undine

  1. Interesting how the Undines have a wide range of nature. One would guess that they have a variety of emotions like humans. 😀 Seriously though, it’s odd how many mythological creatures are given one personality mode. Almost like they’re not allowed to be anything one than one thing. I’d think at least the humanoid ones would have the full range of emotions.

      1. Same here. I think we’re seeing more creatures getting used with human emotion instead of the single mode. Like orcs and goblins being more than ‘I try to eat the heroes and now I dead’.

      2. lol! I agree. The internal conflicts of fantasy creatures are being explored like never before, which is fun. One of my favourite interpretations of Thanatos, for example, comes from a fantasy romance series written by Larissa Ione.

      3. I keep thinking of Thanos from Marvel Comics when I see his name. Though he was one of the minor gods I wrote about in college for an Ancient Greek course. We chose our own topic for a final paper and I went with 12 minor gods that people don’t really know about. Mostly because I wanted to write something that included Morpheus.

      4. I would have loved to do a Greek course. Most of my knowledge comes from a variety of reference books, a mild obsession, and listening to my dad! I’ve always liked Thanatos and always wondered why he was pushed aside by Hades! Maybe it was jealousy, since Hades was the god of the underworld! I don’t know much about Morpheus other than the fact he was the god of dreams!

      5. From what I can remember, Morpheus was mentioned in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Not sure of the spelling here. From what I remember about Thanatos and Hades, they actually had different roles. Hades was the God of the Dead/Underworld. Thanatos was the personification of death and that made him weaker in power and influence. I guess the God controlled things while the personification merely existed.

      6. To be fair, many of the gods were minor. Aries was barely mentioned in most of the core myths. It was the more extensive stuff (expanded universe if you will) that brought him more into the forefront.

      7. I never particularly liked Ares if I’m honest, so I guess I didn’t notice! It depends on the story and the interpretation. There’s no doubt that the twelve are focused on in most of the stories, but there is so much cross over it makes your head spin. The Titans don’t seem to get their share either, and they were the first!

      8. I am an Ares, which is why I paid more attention to him. Also, he was a great character in the Hercules & Xena TV shows when I was younger. The Titans tend to get ignored because they were the ‘bad guys’ for the most part. Think of how the first big story we’re told is of the Olympians overthrowing Chronus and his kind. Prometheus and Atlas might be the biggest names out of the Titans and they were put under punishments.

        I would say only a handful of the Olympians take the spotlight though. People tend to forget Hestia and Dionysus are in that elite group. They usually get replaced by Hades who isn’t supposed to be in there. I remember getting into a debate in high school over that.

      9. Yes, I’ve read the opinions about Hades and whether he should be part of the gang! I You’re absolutely right about Hestia – so little is known about her. I’ve tried to dig up some facts but came up mostly empty. A film bringing the battle between the Titans and Olympians to life would be so cool!

      10. I’d actually be afraid of that movie. They’d pick one god/goddess to be the focal point, so you’d miss out on the others. I’d expect it to be Athena, Artemis, or Hermes given the media today. With Hestia, I think her arena of power didn’t allow for any fun stories like the others.

      11. I was thinking of Zeus in terms of focal character, since he saved his siblings and led the war against the Titans. You’re right though, many of the characters would be overlooked, and that’s a shame. And I guess they touched on Zeus’ trouble with dear old dad in Wrath of the Titans! Still, it would be fun, though the destruction would be worthy of the Avengers!

      12. Think the closest we’ll get to a story where most of the gods get equal attention is Percy Jackson. The destruction in an all God movie would definitely be way up there. Maybe they could do it during a time when society is already crumbling. So the Gods come back to battle for the remains of humanity or something like that.

  2. Oh again a lovely post! I do have to go back and look at the whole alphabet…
    I knew Undine as a first name, it is rather rare I think, but it is sometimes given in France.

  3. Now that is interesting. I wonder how “souls” are defined, if undines are supposed to fall in love without them? Usually those are linked in Western culture.

    1. There’s something about earning an immortal soul, so perhaps they have a kind of soul already and loving a mortal somehow enables them to ‘exist’ It’s a good question and worth looking into. I’ll dig a little!

  4. That’s a really interesting quirk that they could fall in love before they even have a soul. Sounds like they would make a really interesting companion to sirens and mermaids!

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