I'd like to welcome Phillip W. Simpson, author of Minotaur to the blog with a character spotlight. Greek myth retelling plus a nod to Beauty and the Beast-- who could ask for more?
Character Spotlight: Asterion aka Minotaur
by Phillip W. Simpson
by Phillip W. Simpson
Minotaur is a retelling or reinterpretation of the famous Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. According to the legend, the Minotaur was a savage half-bull, half-man beast imprisoned in the labyrinth by his father, Minos, the King of Crete.
In the myth, King Minos failed to sacrifice a beautiful white bull to the sea god, Poseidon. To punish him, Poseidon seduced his wife, Queen Pasiphae. Their union brought about Asterion (the starry one) who was later known as Minotaur – the terrible beast of the labyrinth.
According to the myth, Asterion was monstrous with the head of a bull and the body of a man.
In my interpretation, Asterion is nothing like as monstrous. He is born with the horns of a bull. Asterion’s cruel stepfather hates Asterion because of his deformity and for the harsh reminder of his wife’s betrayal.
Asterion’s childhood is filled with bleak encounters with his stepfather and his horrible younger brother and sister. As he grows older, his great size and horns mark his as a freak. He is also incredible strong. He is an outsider and is teased and feared by others. Because he spends much of his childhood alone, he befriends a dog who in some ways, is his only friend.
Asterion is plain looking rather than handsome but even so, he attracts the interest of Phaedra, Minos’ beautiful daughter, who sees beyond his looks, recognising the kind and gentle man that he is. In this respect, Minotaur is also a story of the beauty and the beast.
Phillip W. Simpson
Greek Myth Retelling
September 29, 2015
“Where shall I start?” asked Minotaur.
Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands. “Where else but the beginning of course.”
Minotaur nodded his huge head. “Yes,” he said. “Yes,” his eyes already glazing over with the weight of thousand year old memories. And then he began.
So begins the story of Asterion, later known as Minotaur, the supposed half bull creature of Greek legend. Recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid, Asterion tells of his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, his adventures with his friend, Theseus, and his growing love for the beautiful Phaedra.And of course what really happened in the labyrinth.
This is the true story of the Minotaur.
About the Author
Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.
He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.
Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.
His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.
He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.
When not writing, he works as a school teacher.
Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.