My back is hurting a LOT today, and I’m quite frustrated because it’s nice out and I want to be out doing stuff. However, it hurts to even sit up so I’m not feeling very capable at the moment. I did some more writing yesterday, and then today just wrote a few paragraphs. I really hope I can pick up the pace at some point soon.
So, I was talking about the minotaur. Has anyone read “House of Leaves”? It’s been a couple of years since I read it last but I remember the minotaur being in red, I think? It was symbolic of course, and being lost in the expanding hallways of the house would correspond to the labyrinth. I’ve read that book twice. It is quite a task to read for those uninitiated, but worth it. It builds such a sense of creeping dread throughout it, and his use of all the visual tricks helps put you in his frame of mind. Anyway, that’s me going off on a tangent.
What strikes me about the minotaur is how he must have felt. I am empathizing with him, of course. He is portrayed as a monstrous beast to be killed, and he is monstrous, but maybe not always. He was born a prince, born Asterion, of the stars. As a child he was loved by his mother, but shunned by the man he thought was his father. Or did he think and feel like a human child? Even if his thoughts were alien and strange, all creatures deserve kindness. He did not sin to be born such as he was. Could he speak or were his vocal cords only capable of producing the bleats of a calf?
As a child, he would have been lonely, chasing the other children through the palace, wanting to play. And they would have run screaming. As he got a little older, his shunning more complete, that loneliness would have curdled into hate. His hate would grow with his hunger, until he attacks.
The first child was found crumpled in the courtyard, and they turned to him. Asterion was blood drunk and innocent, and spoke of his hunger. He was just a child. Pasiphae wept, but the King was adamant. Such a creature had no place in his kingdom, growing stranger with the years.
So he was thrown in the labyrinth, with moving walls, kept prisoner by the same magic of his birth. Alone in the dark for so long, I wonder how he reacted with the first sacrifice of seven boys and seven girls. I wonder if he feasted or if he rationed them. Did he try to befriend any of them there in the dark? If he did, it wouldn’t have lasted. By the time of the second sacrifice, he had plans. Either eat them or ally them, if he could control his hunger.
Theseus came with the third batch of tributes. He was arrogant and vain, assured of his own immortality. He would not have been curious about Asterion. He would have seen him as a trophy to his own greatness, no more. By that time, all those years alone in the dark, the minotaur had gone ever stranger and I wonder how much of a fight he would have put up. Sure, our hero claims to have fought a mighty battle with the beast, but he would, wouldn’t he? Maybe he wound his way through the moving halls to find Asterion already dead by his own hand. Maybe he didn’t find Asterion, but was found by Asterion, taken by surprise, and surprised again when the minotaur asked for death. I think the last one is more likely.