Release the Kraken!

David Nguyen, Staff Writer

Jim Weiss can tell a good yarn. Before spring break, on February 22, Presbyterian College had a guest speaker tell the story of Perseus. This was one of the better CEPs this reporter has attended, though that observation is purely subjective.
For those who are unversed in Greek mythology or didn’t attend the CEP, Perseus is a Greek hero who killed Medusa, a Kraken, became king, and accidentally killed his grandfather as prophesied (though the man seemed to have lived a perfectly long and happy life despite his wickedness). It starts with the prophecy given to the king that his grandson will kill him, and the man goes to very extreme ends just to keep this from occurring (including attempted murder). Obviously, things don’t work out because the Greeks are fatalists: if it is writ, it is writ! Baby Perseus and his mother meet a humble fisherman and form a family. Years later, Perseus is fit as a fiddle and a new evil king decides he wants to marry Perseus’s mother. So he sends Perseus on wild gorgon chase, while Perseus’s mother and her husband hide in a temple to avoid the new king’s soldiers. After Perseus kills Medusa, he returns to save Andromeda, whose subplot is resolved as soon as it appears, by killing the Kraken she is to be sacrificed to, and he then kills the evil king. Years later, Perseus accidentally kills his grandfather in an incident unrelated to the main plot.
Obviously, Jim Weiss told the story much better than this reporter, and it was definitely more captivating than Clash of the Titans (again, this is just an opinion). The only real criticism was that it was a familiar story. Other storytellers have come to PC to tell more unfamiliar tales from African or Native American mythology, but Greek mythology is fairly well known. Even if a person is unfamiliar with Greek mythology, it’s easy to pick up a copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, which also covers Norse and Roman mythology. Still, there’s something delightful about being told a story by someone who knows how to tell a story. It’s a rare talent and even more rarely appreciated.