Who's your favorite Argonaut?*
I'm a sucker for teams of heroes. I am not sure why, but ever since I started reading legends and mythology, I can not get enough stories about groups of warriors, bards, demigods and other misfits teaming up for great adventures. I am enchanted by group dynamics. Fascinated with combat cooperation. And just all-around happy that I could find stories where interesting characters got together for a gig.
(In case you were wondering: I read mythology way before I read comics, so I guess I liked the X-men and the Avengers because I liked team myths, not the other way around)
So, for today's Story Saturday post, here is a list of my all-time favorite hero teams from world folklore and mythology. In no particular order.
People following this blog are probably starting to get the idea that I have a Fianna fixation. They are right.
Culture of origin: Celtic (mainly Irish, but there are a lot of Scottish stories too)
What I like about them: They walk between worlds like I walk to the grocery store. Also, they need to know fighting AND poetry to get in.
Favorite members: Oisín, Fionn, and Caoilte, in THAT particular order.
Book recommendations: Lady Gregory's Gods and Fighting Men, and Rosemary Suttcliff's High Deeds of Finn mac Cool
2. The Argonauts
I always had a soft spot for sailing, and also for all-star Greek hero team-ups. Honestly, half of Graves' Greek Mythology was on that ship. Including Hercules.
Culture of origin: Very Greek
What I like about them: Mostly the fact that so many famous characters ended up on one ship. Also, their adventures are pretty awesome too.
Favorite members: Atalanta (the only female Argonaut), Orpheus, Kalais and Zetes
Book recommendations: Robert Graves' The Golden Fleece
3. The Knights of the Round Table
I grew up on these stories, and I am extremely picky about how they are told and adapted (which is why I might be the only person in the world who broke out in hives from BBC's Merlin).
Culture of origin: Welsh / British
What I like about them: It is one of the most epic stories ever told, and it still has a hold on people.
Favorite members: Sir Kay (hands down, no contest), and Sir Gawain, but I really like Arthur too.
Book recommendations: T.H. White's Once and Future King
4. Dietrich of Bern
This is a fairly new one, I read the Norse saga version for this year's A to Z Challenge post.
Culture of origin: German
What I like about them: It is an awesome lineup of diverse characters with interesting background stories. Also, someone gets fished out of the mouth of a dragon.
Favorite members: Hildebrand, Sistram, and Wittich (Vidga)
Book recommendations: The saga of Thidrek of Bern
Also known as Outlaws of the Marsh. One of three great Chinese epics, this one takes the cake in number of heroes: There is 108 of them, 105 men and 3 women.
Culture of origin: Chinese
What I like about them: All the heroes have their own backstories, skills, fighting styles, and trials. And very colorful personalities.
Favorite members: Lin Chong (Panther Head), Shi Jin (Nine Tattooed Dragons)
Books recommendations: Shi Nai'an's Water Margin
In addition, honorable mentions are due to Robin Hood and his Merry Men (recently planned for a shared universe movie series by Sony, God help us all), Charlemagne and his knights, the Jómsvikings, and Journey to the West. I could go on and on and on about hero teams... Which one would you rather belong to? ;)
*The correct answer is: NOT Jason.