Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Remember When . . . You Had to Switch Sides?

The battle of Thermopylae. On one side, a vast Persian army over 1,000,000 strong (according to the numbers of the time). On the other, 300 Spartans standing outside a hastily built wall. Their armor and arms are at their feet while they comb their manes of long hair and exercise--nude, so that their enemies might see all those rippling muscles they work on daily and be pierced by fear before a spear is lifted.

Inside the walls of Thermopylae are other soldiers from other states, assigned the tasks of guarding the rear and providing support as needed.

How could it be needed? No one fought like the Spartans. It was their life. Their soul. Their blood. Their law--Fight, no matter how many the enemy. Win, or die trying.

They chose their stand well, in a place where the Persians' numbers didn't matter because there was little room for them to move. The Spartans had the longer spears, they had the better training. They did the miraculous and held the greater army off for three bloody days (I mean that literally, not as a curse, LOL), until someone told Xerxes how to lead the Persians around the back of the mountain pass.

How in the world could anyone read about this and not side with the Spartans? Right?? I mean, they were the most heroic of heroes. They fought against impossible odds and won. Well, sure, they all died eventually, but not until the Persians snuck up behind them and took out their backup. They were just beyond reckoning. I've always loved the Spartans, always admired their culture and their pure prowess.

But, um . . . well, Xerxes is my hero now, so . . . huh. Guess I gotta root for the Persians in Jewel of Persia, don't I? And, you know, understand Xerxes' frustration with it all. It's a challenge--I've been trying to write this life-altering battle for two days and can't even get to the fighting. Probably because I haven't hit on the right take for it.

But here's how I reconciled my not-so-secret rooting for the Spartans in the book thus far--my heroine admires them. Much as she wants Xerxes to ultimately win, she is deep-down struck by what those 300 men dare to do. And maybe, just maybe, seeing them fight in the face of certain death will give her the inspiration she needs to stand up for her own beliefs when the battle is over.

Goooooooo, Spartans!

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of your heroine feeling for the Spartans. Helps keep a nice balance :)