Rick Riordan, author of the forthcoming releasePercy Jackson's Greek Gods, has written multiple books based on Greek mythology, but one myth in particular continues to captivate him: the story of Orpheus. Here he explains why he finds the myth so enduring.
You know what’s weird? After writing ten books of adventures based on Greek mythology, I still haven’t used my favorite myth: the story of Orpheus.
I’m not sure why the Orpheus myth hasn’t made it into Percy Jackson’s world yet. Maybe because it is my favorite, and I’m waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it.
I love Orpheus because he’s a hero who uses music rather than strength or magic weapons. He was so talented he could charm wild animals and even the gods themselves with his golden lyre, but like all heroes, he had his fatal flaw. When his wife Eurydice died, Orpheus charmed his way into the Underworld and made Hades agree to send Eurydice back to the world of the living. Hades had only one condition: Orpheus could not look back at his wife until they both reached the upper world.
Orpheus, riddled with doubt, looked back too soon, and his wife vanished before she could reach the sunlight. The myth is tragic and moving, much like Orpheus’s music. He is a symbol of trusting in one’s own talent, and the perils of overthinking and succumbing to self-doubt.
Maybe one day soon, I’ll incorporate the Orpheus myth into a story you can read on your Kindle. I’ll do my best not to look back or give in to doubt until the story is finished. There’s nothing worse than an idea that vanishes into an apparition before it reaches the daylight!