Thanks to Rick Riorden and Percy Jackson, I get into trouble when I tell kids that Poseidon is not the hero in my novel. In Riorden’s version of the world, Poseidon is one of the good gods, so this generation tends to like him. They give me the “you-better-explain-fast” stare when I say that in Moon of the Goddess, he is the agent of chaos.
My justification begins with Homer: he called Poseidon “Earthshaker.” Earthquakes cause major disruption, and so as the god who makes the earth shake he is the agent of trouble. He may sometimes help humans, but he also causes major headaches even before we talk about ocean storms.
The real issue in my novel is that it is set way before Homer wrote at the time when the land was moving away from a rural centred society to an urban one. Cities still depended on food that was grown around them, but in Greece they became focussed on trade and the development of craft. They became ambitious, and war erupted between them.
There was all through the Mediterranean and in Greece an ancient goddess tradition. It is the goddess, and the moon, that mark the flow of life for the farmer. We can visit the large pre-Olympian goddess shrine in Didome, in northern Greece. In every museum, collections of bronze age artifacts include feminine images and jars and jewelry marked with spirals.
The Olympians made sense to the classical Greeks, and the goddess made sense to the earlier farmers. So what happened in that time when the cities began to grow? This is the cause of the tension between the creation goddess Eurynome and the Olympian Poseidon in my novel Moon of the Goddess.
Eurynome is not angelically good, she is just rooted in the land. Poseidon is not evil in the story, he is just as ambitious as the kings of the great cities. Not all conflict is about good and evil, and even a villain has to have a fully developed character–but more on that another day.