Aardy R. DeVarque (aardy) wrote,
Aardy R. DeVarque

Retcons and fanfic crack

I just discovered that the impulse to write fanfic that attempts to be an in-canon retcon of something seen as poor characterization in the "canon" story goes back a lot, lot farther in history than I ever thought it did.

Back several hundred years B.C.

The case in point: In 412 B.C., the Greek playwright Euripides wrote in his play Helen that Homer's Illiad was wrong: Helen never actually left her husband Menelaus, went to Troy, and married Paris (thereby starting the Trojan War).

Instead, the god Hermes created an exact duplicate of Helen made out of clouds, and sent the duplicate off with Paris, who was never the wiser. Hermes then carried off the real Helen to Egypt, where she stayed for the entirety of the Trojan War, pining for her dear, dear Menelaus.

In other words, Helen really, really wasn't an adulterous hussy who left her husband and young daughter to run off with a hot Trojan stud, instead she was the very model of womanly virtue. (Of course, retcons like this sometimes have their own undesirable side effects, this one being that then the whole "face that launched a thousand ships" wasn't really ever there, and the whole Trojan War was fought over a wisp of cloud...)

Then, after Menelaus sacked Troy and was reunited with "Helen", he set off for home, but ended up shipwrecked on the Egyptian coast, just coincidentally a short walk from where Helen's been staying for the past ten years. The duplicate flies off into the sky and Menelaus stumbles across the real deal. The two of them then plot against the ruler of the land (who kills all Greek men he meets and wants to marry Helen himself), and, in one of the more sparkling Mary-Sue scenes in the story, successfully make off with the ruler's best ship and a huge treasure. And then they ride off into the sunset.

It's crack, but it's good crack.

(Moving Helen to Egypt wasn't actually original to Euripides, but his version of the story is the only one with this particular arrangement of "facts".)

Feudalism: Serf & Turf
Tags: fanfic, greek plays, humor, retcons

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