Was Apollo a jerk?

In Greek mythology, Apollo is often depicted as the ideal of the kouros—a beardless, athletic youth. Son of Zeus and Leto, his hair was golden, his body was banging and he was good at pretty much everything he did, which includes, but is not limited to archery, music, poetry and medicine.

Apollo relished his daily task of pulling the sun across the sky with his gilded chariot and four fiery horses, Aethon, Pyrois, Phlegon, and Eous. In addition to his stunning beauty, many other talents, and impressive lineage, it’s no wonder Apollo holds the title of God of Sun and Light in the Greek pantheon.

Basically, dude was extra. And since Apollo plays a huge role in the next book in my romantic comedy series, I needed to know just how extra. Was he really the perfect golden child Wikipedia made him out to be?

Here’s what I discovered…

Apollo is recognized as being one of the most important Greek deities, but he did some pretty awful stuff in his day. For instance, after killing Python, the serpent that guarded the center of the earth and tormented his mother before she was finally able to give birth to him and his twin sister Artemis, he picked a fight with my bae, Eros.

Still amped up from the thrill of victory, Apollo belittled the God of Love, taunting and laughing at Eros while saying his toy bow and arrows would never achieve a great feat such as killing the mighty Python. Basically, Apollo told Eros he was a hack. If you’re familiar with the myth of Apollo and Daphne, you’re lifting an eyebrow right now because, as Apollo learned one leaden arrow later, love ain’t no joke.

Another example of golden boy’s sketch is that one time he got so jealous of Marsyas, a satyr possessing great musical prowess, he challenged the satyr to a contest. When it seemed Marsyas would best him, Apollo changed the rules, flipping his lyre upside down and singing while he played.

Poor Marsyas didn’t have a chance. Not only was it impossible to play his flute upside down, but he also couldn’t sing while playing it. Never mind that Apollo had the Muses judge the contest. Um, Apollo was the leader of the Muses. He knew full well they would side with him, which, of course, they did. But Apollo wasn’t satisfied with simply winning and…well… Let’s just say Marsyas lost more than the contest.

Then there was the time Apollo pulled some shady business on Cassandra, princess of Troy. He was crushing on her hardcore, and even gave her the gift of prophecy thinking it would sway her into his arms. When she refused him, he cursed her: The prophecies she spoke would be true, but no one would believe her. In fact, they would think she was bat shit crazy for the rest of her life.

Apollo was also known to send an infestation of mice to invade Greece when he was in a foul mood. He also told Paris how to defeat the best of the Greeks, Achilles. The list goes on, so yeah, Apollo was kind of a jerk. Truth be told, however, he was no worse than many of the other gods and goddesses occupying Mount Olympus. They all had big egos, some larger than others, and there was no shortage of grudges, fits of jealousy and major rage fests against each other and mortals.

Despite his propensity to be a pompous ass in his youth, Apollo did do many great things. He was a healer, protected his fellow gods from evil, and showed his mother and sister the utmost kindness. In fact, he loved his mamma so much he would suffer zero insults or transgressions against her. He was also charismatic and generous, especially to those on his good side.

There’s no doubt Apollo was complex, embodying both the light and dark sides of human nature. In Romance, he’s definitely the sort of guy you love to hate…devastatingly handsome, but super ugly when he’s in one of his moods. I mean, talk about the original bad boy alpha-hole, right? Well, I couldn’t resist giving Apollo a shot at redeeming himself. Seriously, with his horrible track record at finding lasting love and a centuries old grudge against cupid, how could I not?

Book two is going to be epic. Just sayin’.


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