Lore Olympus, a Modern Take on the Myth of Persephone
Colette Tamburini – Online Editor
Greek Mythology takes a modern twist in Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus, a retelling of the Abduction of Persephone legend. Since its debut in March 2018 on the platform Webtoon, the webcomic has garnered over 299 million views and 5.3 million subscribers. It’s no secret that Lore Olympus’ popularity is mainly due to the engaging story, stellar characters,and unique art style.
Lore Olympus follows Persephone, the naïve and warmhearted Goddess of Spring, as she ventures to Olympus. Despite being a goddess, she was never treated as such by her mother, Demeter, and has been hidden away for most of her life. An opportunity “springs” up when her best friend, Artemis, takes her to a night party amongst gods such as Zeus, Poseidon and the mysterious Hades.
After a breakup with former partner Minthe, Hades isn’t too keen on attending Zeus’ party. But when glancing at Persephone, he is stunned, thinking her beauty rivals Aphrodite’s. The Goddess of Beauty is of course jealous, to which she calls her son, Eros, to intoxicate Persephone and dump her to the backseat of Hades’ car.
However, instead of looking at Persephone as an embarrassment, Hades takes pity and decides to bring her to his home as a guest. This leads to their slow burn relationship throughout the series as they try to balance duty and love. As they grow close, so does ever-looming threats that could tear them apart.
Another aspect that shines in Lore Olympus is Rachel Smythe’s art. The New Zealand artist uses tools such as watercolor wet pencil to bring her characters and backgrounds to life. The wash texture is very neat and stands out as Smythe’s signature style. A good example of Smythe’s lovely art are the character designs. The Greek gods are colorful and their fashion mostly on point. I especially adore Hera’s outfits and the regal robes the gods wear for when they go down to the mortal realm.
But through the darkness, there is the light of having funny, caring and relatable characters like the supportive Eros, the strict Hecate, and more. A personal (and obvious) favorite character of mine is Persephone. I love how kind and awkward she can be, even with her god-like powers.
Many people look up to a strong female protagonist as a bad-a**, sword wielding warrior. But in my eyes, despite all the trauma and hardships she’s facing, Persephone’s soft, gentle nature is truly relatable.
In an interview with Dan Ekis on YouTube, Smythe mentions that “we need representation for softer people, who their idea of having a breakthrough is just verbally learning how to stand up for themselves” and that representation matters for many young women.
I appreciate the topics discussed on Lore Olympus about abuse, trauma, rape and other serious themes. Smythe addresses these issues from the original myths and shows just how flawed and dangerous the Greek gods can be. She writes them as humans and how their actions are inexcusable of causing harm to others. I won’t spoil anything, but later in the series, one of the gods goes to therapy and that scene caused me to cry a lot.
Lore Olympus is definitely worth the hype. If you are looking for a Greek retelling to obsess over, look no further! Lore Olympus has chapter updates on Webtoon.
You can also preorder a copy of Lore Olympus: Volume One, which collects the first 25 episodes including a brand-new short story. The graphic novel releases Tuesday, Nov. 2.