Melody is back!
Some of our most popular episodes are our crossovers with Heaving Bosoms, and we have a new one for you! We read The Invisible Goddess by AC Dawn, a retelling of the myth of Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home. We had a LOT to talk about, so I’ve divided this into two episodes.
Here in episode one, we’ll recap about half the story, and you’ve got options! You can read the story (it’s not long) before episode two if you like.
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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:
You can find Melody at Heaving Bosoms, and we’ve done a few episodes together!
And we also mentioned Lore Olympus on Webtoon.
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Sarah Wendell: Hello and welcome to episode number 496 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I am Sarah Wendell, and Melody from Heaving Bosoms is back. Some of our most popular episodes in our archive are our crossovers with Heaving Bosoms, and we have a new one for you! Melody and I read The Invisible Goddess by A. C. Dawn, a retelling of the myth of Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home. We had a lot to talk about, so I’ve decided this into two episodes. Here in episode one, we’re going to recap about half the story, and you have options: you can read the story – it’s not long – before episode two, when we finish recapping. Here is the cover copy to tempt you:
“From behind the scenes, Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home, runs the court on Mt. Olympus – invisible, unknown, and just the way she likes it. When Erebus, the primordial God of Darkness, interrupts her mundane existence, Hestia’s head and heart spin as she is thrust into the spotlight. Two powerful gods ask for her hand, leaving Hestia with a choice that threatens to divide the gods and plunge the world into war. Can she maintain balance on Olympus without losing her chance at happiness?”
We really enjoyed this story. It is not a long one, but there is a lot to talk about.
Hello and thank you, as always, to the wonderful people in our Patreon community. Your pledges help me make sure that every episode has a transcript, and you keep the show going every week!
I have a compliment this week for Alanna F.:
Alanna, your creative talents are admired by everyone around you. In fact, someone you know is trying something new and fun and a little scary because you have inspired them.
If you would like a compliment of your very own or you’d like to have a look at our Patreon community, get all the details at patreon.com/SmartBitches.
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I am so excited to share this interview with you. Let’s get started with me and Melody and The Invisible Goddess.
Sarah: So I want to tell you that the reason I selected The Invisible Goddess is because –
Sarah: – the very first episode – not only did I like this story a lot and was desperate to talk to you about it because I have a lot of questions and I’d really like to hear your opinion –
Melody: I fucking loved it. Sorry.
Sarah: Oh my God! Oh my God, me too!
Melody: I loved it.
Sarah: I thought it was so charming, like a perfect little confection. Like –
Sarah: – it was the perfect cupcake of a story.
Sarah: But the first episode of Heaving Bosoms I ever listened to, you gave a tribute to one of your Patreon supporters, and you specifically mentioned Hestia.
Melody: Yes! Yeah.
Sarah: So the very first episode of your show that I ever listened to was also about –
Sarah: – Hestia, and I thought, oh, this is perfect!
Melody: Oh my gosh! Aww!
Sarah: Also, Hestia is one of my favorite of the, of the gods in the pantheon.
Melody: Yeah. And I, I loved the spin that this author took with her, because I’ve always been a tiny bit Justice for Hestia.
Melody: And she got it! [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh yeah. Oh, she got good justice!
Sarah: And she didn’t have to compromise what she is, because one of the things I love about all of the stories that are recasting and re-exploring all of the Greek and Roman mythology is that –
Sarah: – the characters have an essence. Like, they have a core that’s already present, so in a way it’s, it’s, it’s a lot like, you know, redoing fanfic on the same characters.
Melody: Of course.
Sarah: They have a fundamental essence that you have to make part of their character, or at least address –
Sarah: – why it’s not part of their character. So why do you love Hestia? I’m very curious.
Melody: So I love Hestia because – I mean, I think the author captured this really well – I love the fact that she, she has this elemental power, and she, you know, she’s flame, right? She’s the hearth, and, and I love the fact that, that in her being she uses what could be an incredibly destructive –
Melody: – power –
Melody: – only to, like, comfort and care and nurture and warm and inspire. And, like, my, my son’s name is Ember, and one of the reasons his name is Ember is because I really loved the, the, the visual metaphor of him, like, either being the last one burning or, or something that, that you can ignite an, an inspiration off of and, and make a blaze, you know?
Melody: Those are the main reasons that I love Hestia so much.
Sarah: So what did you think of this story?
Melody: I fucking loved it!
Melody: And, and I love the fact that you, you’re – [laughs] – I felt like nerves coming off of you from our email when you were like, hi! So I, I’ve been reading this novella, but, like, are you anti recapping something that has no sex on the page? [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah, I mean, usually when you and I do a podcast –
Melody: It’s –
Sarah: – there’s dragon sex or dinosaur sex –
Melody: Oh yeah.
Sarah: – or both dragon and dinosaur sex! Somebody turns gold!
Melody: Oh yeah.
Sarah: They’re, you know, they have to have double penetration to per-, preserve the mating bond! I mean –
Melody: You have to!
Sarah: I mean, this was –
Melody: No, I hear you.
Sarah: – this was very tame!
Melody: No, I have a certain brand, and I get that, but no, I loved, I loved it, and I thought, I thought the lack of sex was actually perfect. It was a boon to the story –
Sarah: Oh, interesting! How come?
Melody: – rather than taking it away, yeah.
I think because Erebus is so mysterious.
Melody: I liked keeping the mystery of Erebus intact.
Sarah: Non-corporeal, non-corporeal dick was good.
Melody: Oh my God. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Did I, did I highlight the – [laughs] – the line, “Bodiless, Erebus possessed no defined shape. He could grow and shrink at will.” [Laughs]
Sarah: Yes! Non-corporeal dick! Woohoo!
Melody: [Laughs] So, like, my nasty brain was there, but!
Sarah: Oh sure!
Sarah: But it was very elegant! Like, there is –
Sarah: – kind of a sex scene, but there’s no thrusting or pinnacles or waves or –
Sarah: There’s no specific reference even to genitalia. It’s two –
Melody: No, it’s very much an emotional sex scene.
Sarah: It’s very emotional and lyrical.
Melody: Like, it’s, it’s all about the connection.
Sarah: I like that part. I really wondered, I was like, is Melody going to read this and be like, where was the shadow sex?
Melody: No! No! I, yeah.
Sarah: [Laughs] I’m so glad!
Melody: Not at all! [Laughs] I’ve been reading a lot of retellings that are like super retellings. You know, like, like Neon Gods and –
Sarah: Yep, I was going to say –
Melody: – Electric Idol by Katee Robert. It’s – all of the characteristics are there –
Melody: – of each of the gods and goddesses and everything, but it’s set in, like, a crime town.
Melody: You know, it’s, it’s all, it’s all mafia stuff –
Melody: – instead of, like, the Olympus, you know, myth, and this is there.
Melody: We’re in togas.
Melody: We have got ringlets that go to the shoulders, and everybody is exactly who you think they’re going to be.
Melody: So Hestia’s, like, walking by a room, and she hears Hera sniping at Zeus because he’s fucking some other bitch again, and –
Sarah: Yes. [Sighs]
Melody: – real mad about it! [Laughs]
Sarah: Like –
Melody: And Hestia is normally, she’s like the housekeeper of the house; she does the meals –
Melody: – she does the this; she does the that; she’s in charge of the kitchens.
Melody: She does all the events and everything, and she, she’s usually incredibly meek, but I feel like, is it this scene where she’s like, she kind of is like, hey, guys, like, can we, can we just cool it a tiny bit? I feel like –
Sarah: That’s later, during the meal.
Melody: That’s later, okay.
Sarah: This is the one where she tries her old – so at the beginning she tries her old technique of distracting them, and –
Melody: That’s right.
Sarah: Okay, so Hestia speaks to me on a very fundamental level –
Sarah: – because she, she’s described as “she thrived in the peace and tranquility of a well-ordered house.”
Sarah: And I’m like, girl, yes, you and me both. And so she tries –
Sarah: – distraction because she doesn’t want them to fight, because it creates disorder and it’s unpleasant –
Sarah: – because she knows – she’s been around these two for a while – she knows that nothing is ever going to be resolved. This is just going to –
Sarah: – keep happening, and –
Melody: Exactly! You made your choices –
Melody: – don’t fill this house with those vibes!
Melody: Like –
Sarah: And so –
Melody: – don’t fill my house with that.
Sarah: – her first instinct is to distract them. So she first distracts Hera, because Zeus –
Sarah: – notices her and drags her into the conversation –
Sarah: – and she distracts Hera by saying, well, Dionysus has new wine!
Sarah: And she asks Hera a menu decision. And then –
Melody: What should we pair it with? she says.
Sarah: Right! And –
Sarah: – and Hera – this is my favorite part, ‘cause –
Sarah: – ‘cause Hestia gets it:
“Though she was the Queen of Heaven and the mistress of Olympus, Hera didn’t manage the day-to-day operations of the court. Hestia saw to the meals, the assemblies, and the constant stream of guests. Hera left it to her, but took the credit.”
Melody: Took the credit!
Sarah: “Hera only had an opinion in Zeus’s company.”
Melody: That’s correct.
Sarah: He-, ‘kay, so first of all, I have to admire the amount of work that one paragraph did to really –
Melody: Oh God!
Sarah: – contextualize Her-, Hestia and Hera.
Melody: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Sarah: Like, yes, the homemaking work is always invisible, it is always underappreciated, and someone –
Sarah: – will always try to take credit for what you do.
Melody: Yep. That, I feel like, again, the essence of those characters, right? Like –
Sarah: Yes! Absolutely!
Melody: – that is absolutely Hera with her peacock bullshit.
Melody: But I also like later on when she’s like, it actually didn’t matter what Hera said right now, because by dinner she would forget the menu choice she made.
Sarah: I have worked for that person.
Melody: Yeah! [Laughs]
Sarah: Hera and Zeus are the people who sit down at the head of the table and raise a toast and take credit for everything that’s on the table when someone who they don’t acknowledge at all is what made that table full of food happen.
Melody: Correct. Yep.
Melody: And then what does she do with Zeus?
Sarah: [Laughs] Zeus is a devious coward! She –
Melody: Isn’t he, though.
Sarah: Yes. She distracts, Hestia distracts Hera, and Zeus –
Sarah: – takes advantage of the distraction and runs away! [Laughs]
Melody: Oh, that’s right! He just bounces!
Sarah: Yeah, he just runs. He just leaves. Hestia did not stick around either. She’s like, yeah, I’m, gotta, gotta go, food, bye! And they just leave Hera alone.
Melody: Oh my God, so much food.
Sarah: And so she goes down to the kitchen and takes care of things –
Sarah: – manages all this stuff, and then runs into Zeus hiding in the garden, and she’s like –
Sarah: – why are you hiding? He’s like, I’m not hiding! I’m the go-, I’m the King of the Gods! I don’t hide! And he’s, she’s like, yeah.
Melody: I would never!
Sarah: Yeah, you’re hiding from your wife, pal; don’t lie.
Melody: Right! Nice try!
Sarah: And then Zeus is like –
Sarah: – by the way, my mistress and all her girlfriends are arriving? Put them in the east chambers.
Melody: Throw a party for my mistress, Hestia! Make it okay with Hera, too! [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah. Like, are you fucking kidding me?
Melody: And she, and, and she’s like, grrr! And she’s, like, sort of, sort of trying to jazz hands her way out of this?
Melody: And he’s like, but sister, I really need you to, like, give me your verbal agreement on this one –
Melody: – and she’s like, fucking Zeus, yes! Of course I will! Who else is going to do it?
Sarah: Yep! And she’s angry more that they continually disturb the peace that she worked –
Sarah: – so hard to maintain. And –
Sarah: – and her first reaction is to be extremely tired, and I’m like, yes. Yes, I understand all of this. [Laughs]
Melody: Yeah! Yeah, so she’s, we start the story and she is, she’s meek, she’s exhausted –
Melody: – she knows everybody’s bullshit, and it’s just like bullshit on repeat. She’s just like –
Melody: – oh, we’re doing this dance again and you want to act like it’s the first time? Cool! Here I go!
Sarah: Here we go again!
Melody: I’m just going to make magic happen.
Melody: And there’s a certain downtrodden quality to her –
Melody: – at the beginning –
Melody: – that I really, I really liked as far as her character arc is concerned?
Melody: I really liked it.
Sarah: She has hit the limit of what she is going to be willing to do. Like, I have hit –
Melody: Oh yeah!
Sarah: – my limit; I am not obliging you anymore, and that’s where Hestia is at the end of chapter one. She’s like, I am –
Sarah: – I am tired and I’m done, and this is, this is awful. I don’t feel like pushing this boulder up this hill anymore. So she leaves!
Sarah: She runs away! She’s like, fuck all this, and she goes into the mountains!
Melody: Yeah! She does –
Sarah: She takes a run!
Melody: She does an emotion walk, which, there’s nothing more liberating.
Sarah: Oh, such a good term for that! Did you make that up?
Melody: Yeah! [Laughs]
Sarah: I’ve never heard that before!
Melody: I, I think I made it up when I was a teenager and I would literally, on our thirty acres, I would literally –
Melody: – be like, I’m leaving!
Melody: And I would just go, like, walk and sob in the mountains. It’s –
Melody: – it’s necessary! It’s very, it’s very cathartic.
Sarah: She takes an emotion walk, and she goes up the mountains, and she notices this crack in the rocks –
Sarah: – and there’s some kind of flickering light back there, and she’s never noticed it, and she goes through this tiny crack –
Melody: – crack!
Sarah: – and there’s this big cavern.
Sarah: And she’s like –
Melody: Oh, it’s a dark cavern, and it’s –
Melody: – vast! Ooh!
Sarah: And it’s weird: there’s a cliff, and it just empties out below her, and she doesn’t know what’s down there, and she can’t see?
Sarah: And then –
Melody: And she can, she can tell, like, in her bones that it’s endless.
Melody: Like it –
Sarah: There’s no bottom.
Sarah: There’s no ground.
Melody: Yeah, it’s infinite. Mm-hmm.
Sarah: And yet she can sense that something is down there.
Sarah: And she slips and she almost falls in, and a warm wind pushes her back onto the cliff, and she knows something’s down there.
Melody: Yes! Oh my gosh.
Sarah: I love this. This is a great meet-cute, by the way?
Sarah: I’m going to taunt you –
Melody: It’s really good!
Sarah: – but I’m also going to save your life. [Laughs]
Sarah: And so she says, who is this? And this voice is like, are all Olympians as foolish as you?
Melody: Dumbass! Oh, it’s so good. He negs her hard from the beginning. [Laughs]
Sarah: He negs her, and she is like, I have had it. Then he really calls her out, this weird voice coming from a, you know, pit of nothing.
Sarah: Do you know they call you the Invisible Goddess? She often felt invisible, but she thought a well-kept house should seem to run itself.
Melody: You sweet angel.
Melody: You sweet angel! That’s you, though.
Melody: You know?
Melody: Like, step into the light, Hestia! Ugh!
Sarah: And the thing is, she is Light, and she’s working so hard –
Sarah: – to make herself invisible!
Sarah: And how much does that communicate to a universal experience, when you’re constantly told to diminish yourself? Don’t take up too much room –
Sarah: – don’t be too loud; don’t show off.
Sarah: That’s not your job; that’s not for you.
Sarah: Dimin-, how, how many messages do people receive in ways that they should diminish themselves?
Sarah: And yet she –
Melody: Well, and women specifically.
Sarah: Of, for sure.
Melody: Especially women in, in fields that are considered women’s work.
Sarah: Oh, for sure!
Melody: You know, like this is, this is the perfect encapsulation of that –
Melody: – that, I don’t know – [laughs] – fucking universal truth –
Melody: – unfortunately? [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah! It really is!
Melody: In the patriarchy? [Laughs]
Sarah: It reminds me of that really famous quote from, from Futurama, where God says –
Melody: Oh yeah?
Sarah: – when do you everything right, it looks like you’ve done nothing at all.
Melody: Yeah, ooh, yeah! Ooh!
Sarah: And so she does so much, and no one notices the actual work, so she feels ignored! And she’s like, why are you taunting me? What – and they –
Melody: Yeah! Why you got to kick me while I’m down, man?
Sarah: So then this voice just becomes another gust of air and starts, like, pushing her towards the brink of the cliff. She’s like, what –
Melody: Oh my gosh!
Sarah: – what are you doing? And he’s like, well, are you a goddess or not? Were you going to –
Melody: Yeah, so –
Sarah: – save yourself?
Melody: – so he sexy-tornados her into that void –
Melody: – and she’s, like, falling and falling and falling forever, and he’s like, hey, man, did you forget that you’re a goddess? And this, like, finally pisses her off to the point where she’s like, fwoom! And just, like, engulfs herself in flames and –
Melody: – carries herself out of the void.
Melody: And she’s like, take that for the Invisible Goddess! [Laughs] She’s mad!
Sarah: And that’s when, that’s when the text actually says that she uses her fire for warmth and comfort, never for destruction or aggression, but she stood with –
Sarah: – forgotten power coursing through her, and she wondered –
Sarah: – if she’d let herself fade too much to the background. Yes!
Melody: Yes! Oh my God!
Sarah: And this is like chapter two! I love how this story just knows what it is and goes!
Melody: Oh my God! Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Sarah: That’s when Hestia figures out who this voice is, who is talking to her –
Sarah: – from this pit. It is Erebus, the primordial God of Darkness in his bodiless state cringing away from the brightness of her fire.
Melody: Ah, ah, ahhh!
Sarah: So he’s like an elder god. The current crop of gods are the ones that sort of run things on Olympus, and Erebus –
Sarah: – is one of the primordial gods who came before them and doesn’t really do anything! Like just hangs out in a pit!
Melody: No, he’s been super forgotten.
Melody: Like, he’s been forgotten, and this – I really thought this was interesting as well – he’s been forgotten to the point that the mortals, the Olympians, everybody have now reduced him to just, like, the –
Melody: – the scary and –
Melody: – you know, negative things that we think about the dark.
Melody: And so she’s immediately like, wow, you really are the asshole that we all think you are –
Melody: – Mr. Silent Pants –
Melody: – who doesn’t help at all.
Melody: Like, you’ve just been hanging out!
Sarah: You are shapeless, you are nameless, you are forgotten, and you have no right to point your fingers at me. Yeah!
Melody: That’s right.
Sarah: She runs out –
Sarah: – and she leaves the fire burning behind her, and Erebus is really pissed and starts cursing and yelling about it. And –
Melody: I loved it.
Sarah: This is one of my favorite parts. She –
Sarah: – it says, “The light would dim over time, but perhaps it would make the crotchety old god think twice before he meddled in the affairs of Olympus.” And then Hestia feels bad! She feels like –
Sarah: – she needs to go back and apologize!
Melody: Right. But she’s got too much work to do in this moment?
Melody: So, like, she’ll have to go apologize tomorrow, Hestia thinks –
Melody: – to herself. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah. She’ll just, you know –
Sarah: – I, I got shit to do. She can hear –
Melody: I love you! You’re pure! [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah. And she’s heading back, and she can hear Hera yelling about something and people are mad, and that’s when she walks in –
Sarah: – and Hera and Zeus are fighting, and she walks up to both of them and said, both of you need to knock it off right now. Zeus, you know better; you are insulting your queen. And then Hera’s like, yes, she’s on my side! And Hestia turns on her and says, you won’t change him. He always comes back to you; just be content.
Melody: And I love this passage because there’s very much, like, she’s riding the high of just letting her flames loose.
Melody: She can feel that power coursing through her body, and so she’s finally like, I have the power and the insight to put both of you in your place, no matter that you’re king and queen.
Melody: Go fuck yourselves!
Melody: Just stop!
Sarah: And there’s –
Melody: And they’re stunned into silence.
Sarah: Yeah! And then she says, you have upset the tranquility of this house, and as Goddess of the Home I will not have it. Collect yourselves –
Melody: I will not have it!
Sarah: – so you can behave like civilized gods at the evening meal. Like –
Sarah: – she totally goes, don’t make you make me stop this car!
Melody: It’s true!
Sarah: She does!
Melody: It’s true. I loved it. Oh my God.
Sarah: And one of the things that I love about this particular moment is that she feels her own power, and she realizes that so much of her work has been reacting – you know, Hera and Zeus are fighting –
Sarah: – someone brought wine; what do I do? Or anticipating –
Sarah: – and predicting what needs to be done to preserve the tranquility. So she’s either reacting –
Sarah: – to conflict or she’s preserving things in advance and anticipating what everyone needs, and right now –
Sarah: – she’s dealing with the immediate moment of how she feels right in this moment, and she is –
Sarah: – not having it!
Melody: I – yes. Oh yeah! That is a really, really insightful thing to point out. I hadn’t even thought about that layer, but you’re right! Like, this is one of the only times when she’s just in her body.
Melody: And she’s just letting herself feel what she’s feeling.
Sarah: Yeah! Even when she’s coming down from the mountain –
Melody: It’s really powerful.
Sarah: Yes! They, I, I totally agree, ‘cause even when she’s coming down from the mountain, having figured out that Erebus is now taunting her, and she’s like, I have no more time for one more asshole in my life.
Melody: [Laughs] Yeah!
Sarah: Even then she’s like, I got shit to do; I can hear Hera yelling; and she just shows up in her own power and says, both of you need to knock it off right now. That’s enough.
Melody: Yeah. Okay, wait, can we please talk about Erebus and his, his respect boner?
Melody: Erebus has, Erebus has a really funny reaction to the, the thing that just went on, went down with her.
Sarah: Oh yeah!
Melody: So he’s, like, back there in her flames cursing or whatever –
Melody: – and then he sits there for a minute and he’s like, hold on –
Sarah: Hang on a minute.
Melody: – that was fucking hot!
Melody: Oh my God!
Melody: That –
Sarah: She knew me!
Melody: Yeah! Like, nobody pays attention to her; everybody underestimates her –
Sarah: How dare they!
Melody: – there’s so much more to her, and how dare they!
Melody: And so he’s like, you know what? Hestia should get some too!
Melody: That’s what he thinks to himself –
Melody: – really, when you boil it down! [Laughs] He’s like, Hestia needs some passion and some awesomeness in her life, and I feel like, God of Shadows and Darkness, I feel like I could whisper in some ears and make that happen.
Melody: And so he matchmakes for her in his brain, and I have a bit of a bone to pick with this one, because – and it’s, it’s very – listen, I don’t have a bone to pick because of, like, you know, accuracy, although that’s a hilarious thing to think about in regards to mythology –
Sarah: Oh yeah.
Melody: – regardless, but –
Melody: – but, like, it makes sense, because he’s, like, going down the list of gods, and he’s like, nah, not this one. Not Hades; he’ll, like, keep her away and he’ll hide her. He’s like, Apollo; Apollo’s like Mister, Mr. Poet-Soldier; you know, he’d probably dick her down real good.
Sarah: Yeah, he would appreciate her.
Melody: And then he’s like, but also Poseidon! And, like, I forgot that Poseidon is currently married.
Sarah: Yes, he is married, and Erebus is like, eh, it doesn’t matter! Just, you know –
Sarah: – pick up a little goddess on the side!
Melody: Yeah! And, like, and, like, listen, that is accurate as far as the Greek mythology is, the Greek mythology of it all. It is accurate! [Laughs] On the other hand, I was like, Hestia deserves more than somebody –
Sarah: Than being somebody’s side piece!
Melody: Yeah! She needs all of someone’s attention.
Melody: She does!
Sarah: Yes. My biggest bone to pick with the text is the constant use of the word cripple? Or crippled?
Melody: Oh, I didn’t like it! Yeah.
Sarah: I didn’t like that either.
Sarah: Did not like. Not cool! Not as an adjective, not as a noun.
Sarah: Hestia’s best friends are Dionysus and Hephaestus, who’s all –
Sarah: – who’s married –
Sarah: – and treated terribly by his wife.
Sarah: But they keep referring to Hephaestus as the cripple. Not cool! Do not like.
Melody: Not cool.
Sarah: [Failure buzzer noise]
Melody: Didn’t love it. Yeah.
Sarah: So, so Erebus is like, nobody appreciates her. She should be admired and worshipped, and she should get some. She should get that –
Sarah: – real good D. Who’s going to give it to her?
Melody: Yeah! Yeah!
Sarah: And so he decides, all right, you know, Apollo and Poseidon. Who, who is going to win Hestia’s hand?
Melody: Yeah, let’s see where the chips fall when they finally notice her?
Sarah: Which bothered me for a little while, because –
Sarah: – he’s making choices for her.
Sarah: He’s just presuming, well, of course she’ll like both these guys. They’re those guys!
Melody: Yeah. Yeah. I think I didn’t mind it because there was a choice?
Sarah: Yeah. There was a choice, but she’s like, these two are the ones who are going to battle for you, and then they start kissing her.
Melody: Right. Immediate!
Melody: Immediate! So they go from, she is part of the wallpaper, to –
Melody: – OMG, let’s go on the balcony and I’m going to kiss you! Without, without, like, really chatting with you about it first.
Sarah: Thank you for serving me this glorious meal. Would you like to go to Bone Town? I would like to go to Bone Town right now.
Sarah: There is, like, there’s no courtship; there’s no, oh, wait, hey, she’s beautiful; I notice the candlelight on her hair – no, it’s like, oh! Thanks for the fish; how ‘bout Bone Town?
Melody: I mean, and, and that is, it’s an efficient way to get to the conflict of a seventy-two-page novella.
Melody: Like, there, there is some necessity to it –
Melody: – because this was a, a bite-size deliciousness.
Melody: There’s nothing more entitled than a Greek god, so –
Sarah: Oh yeah.
Melody: – it really wasn’t out of left field –
Melody: – that they would be like, wait a second, that is pretty! Must have!
Melody: Will have!
Melody: She want. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah. That’s a lot of presumption on your part, Mr. Erebus. But of course that presumption’s going to bite him in his non-corporeal ass, so that’s okay!
Melody: Isn’t it though?
Melody: Mmm, I loved it; I loved it. So Apollo comes over and he’s like –
Sarah: Hey, baby!
Melody: – hey, girl. I –
Sarah: Hey, baby, want to stroke my beard?
Melody: I have seen you for the first time in my immortal fucking life. Uh, wowza! –
Sarah: Yep! And I –
Melody: – I got to say to you!
Sarah: – I confess that part of my struggle with this section is that I have had my view of Apollo affected greatly by Lore Olympus?
Melody: Oh, ohhh!
Sarah: Apollo is an absolute shitheel in Lore Olympus, ‘cause he’s an absolute –
Sarah: – shitheel in a lot of ways –
Sarah: – and so I’m like, no. Do not kiss that purple fucking rapist!
Sarah: No kissy!
Melody: Don’t do it! [Laughs]
Sarah: Exactly: don’t you touch my Hestia! Do not! You purple fucking rapist, get out! So I had to keep telling myself, this isn’t Lore Olympus; I know you just read it.
Melody: Like, if you look at this Apollo and this Poseidon, like, Apollo’s the clear choice –
Sarah: Oh –
Melody: – because this Poseidon is, like, a, a rape-y monster –
Melody: – even though, like, right now – okay, so, sorry! So Apollo comes over and he’s like –
Sarah: Hey, baby!
Melody: – hey, girl, will you save me a dance? And she has been sitting there, like, dreaming about – because she hasn’t even thought about it –
Melody: – in her whole life. She’s been like, no, I’m the one who runs the party; hostesses don’t have time to dance!
Melody: And so – but when she goes up to her room she’s like, you know what? Fuck this veil! I’m going to put kohl on my eyes, and I’m going to put on a beautiful, like, heavy necklace, and I am going to feel myself for once in my Goddamn life!
Melody: And so she goes down, and he’s like, save me a dance!
Melody: And she’s like, hold everyone’s horses –
Melody: – especially Poseidon’s –
Melody: – what do you mean, you are asking me to dance? And he’s like, yeah, I know! I don’t know why it took me so long, but I think we’ve got to do it.
Melody: And she’s very confused.
Sarah: And she’s completely overwhelmed by him. Like, he kisses her and pours on the charm, and she is just like –
Sarah: – like, what is happening to me?
Melody: He’s, he’s doing a nuzzle on her neck that, like –
Melody: – she, she’s waking up in places that have been –
Sarah: Very quiet.
Melody: – very silent. [Laughs]
Sarah: Mm-hmm, yep.
Melody: Those bathing-suit parts have been nonexistent up until now.
Melody: But then, doesn’t she hear like a growl from the side, and, and Poseidon’s like, hey! Stop peeing in a circle around the thing I want!
Sarah: And his wife is not there –
Sarah: – and he shows up, and he’s like, how dare he grope you?! You are not a serving maid. Did you give yourself to him? And she’s like, what the fuck business is it to you, butt-noid? I’m not a child!
Sarah: You guys fuck everything that moves and things that don’t move! Why couldn’t I? And Poseidon says something really interesting here: he says –
Sarah: – you are the best among us. You are all that is good and right in this world. I would not have you spoiled, and then he kisses her –
Sarah: – and I’m like, so you kissing her is not spoiling her, but –
Sarah: – Apollo kissing her is a problem.
Melody: That’s a super spoil.
Melody: That’s not just a spoil, Sarah; it’s a super spoil.
Sarah: That’s just like hosing her down with sewage.
Melody: Oh God, completely. Yeah! It’s so, it’s so interesting, right? Because –
Melody: – I, I really also enjoyed the commentary this novella made about purity culture in general –
Melody: – you know?
Sarah: Oh yes! Absolutely!
Melody: Because it’s like the, the conflict is, when we get there, is like, are you going to choose one or the other, or are you going to choose to remain a virgin for the rest of your immortal existence?
Melody: Those are, those are her only choices when we get down to it.
Melody: And that’s baffling to me –
Melody: – on the face of it, you know? Especially because everybody not only agrees with it, but they see it as, like, they have tunnel vision: it’s literally the only path –
Sarah: Yeah! There’s no third option –
Melody: – for Hestia.
Sarah: – there is –
Sarah: – no option aside from eternal maidenhood, which is –
Sarah: – one of Hestia’s markers as a character –
Sarah: – and this dude or that dude, not both, and not someone else.
Sarah: It’s, you have to choose between them or remain a virgin and pure for the rest of your life.
Melody: Yeah! And it’s not like –
Melody: – you can change your mind in a while. Like, if you –
Sarah: No, this is it!
Melody: – if you meet a satyr you really like, you can get down. No!
Sarah: I mean.
Melody: It’s like, this, I’m great –
Sarah: That’s it! That’s all you get!
Melody: I really liked what they did with the sa-, what she did with the satyrs in this –
Sarah: Yeah, me too.
Melody: – so.
Sarah: Me too!
Melody: Mmm. It, it very much hung onto the purity myth that, like, those who don’t have sex are good and competent and noble and unspoiled and all these things, and –
Sarah: Untainted. Ugh!
Melody: Oh God! Bleah. And yet there are also the foils in Hera and Aphrodite showing that, like, if you do decide to get down with your genitals, that you’re going to be bad –
Melody: – and philanderous –
Melody: – and, you know, not quite respected by everyone and kind of a d-bag, like, in general!
Sarah: Yeah. And Hestia, as the home goddess, as the Goddess of Home –
Sarah: – and Hearth and Comfort and Tranquility, is essentially re-, desexed. She is –
Melody: Oh yeah!
Sarah: – she is removed from any sexual allure because of that element of her personality –
Sarah: – which sort of reminds me of the, the virgin/mother/crone, you know –
Melody: Oh, absolutely.
Sarah: – idea that you can only be sexual at a very specific set of responsibilities and roles –
Sarah: – in your life, and then once you take on these other roles, you are no longer a sexual being.
Sarah: And as you age, you’re not sexual, and as you take on home care or the care of other people, you’re no longer a sexual being. Like, your sexuality is removed, and that’s being projected onto her too.
Melody: Absolutely. And I, I also love the way that it so clearly showed how metaphors of fire –
Melody: – for example, right? Because it’s crazy to me that Hestia –
Melody: – the Goddess of Tranquility and, and, you know, no sex and whatever, is an, she contains the el-, like, such a passionate and, and eruptive element!
Melody: You know what I mean?
Melody: And it’s so interesting to me the way that different myths and different authors and, you know, different narrators in general –
Sarah: You’re so right.
Melody: – will cherry-pick, like, the, the portions of –
Melody: – those elemental things –
Melody: – to be like, no, no, no, fire is purifying! And you’re like, yeah, it is, but it’s also hot and passionate. It’s like nonononono! Fire is, like, fire is, like, comforting! And you’re like, yeah, but, like, sex can be really comforting.
Melody: You know what I mean? Like –
Melody: And they just refuse to include those aspects.
Sarah: And Hestia’s change in character pivots on the fact that she’s no longer complying with that expectation –
Sarah: – placed upon her.
Sarah: No, I am fire, and I am arousal, and I am hot. I’m literally hot. All of you have noticed that I’m hot!
Sarah: And it’s very overwhelming for her because that’s not something she’s ever participated in, but she’s also –
Sarah: – refusing to comply with this absence of sexuality for herself.
Melody: Exactly. Exactly. And, and I really, I love the fact that as her character arc went on, we started seeing her embrace the other aspects of fire.
Sarah: Yes. Yes!
Melody: I really loved it.
Sarah: I love that part too.
Sarah: So –
Sarah: – Hestia leaves the party. She’s overwhelmed by all these dudes putting the moves on her. She’s like, I can’t just disappear and run the party, ‘cause these guys are staring at me and all the other gods are noticing –
Sarah: – that these people are into me, so she leaves the party, and Erebus shows up!
Melody: Yeah. Oh, hey!
Sarah: She’s in the garden, and she’s like, what, what are you, what are you doing? He’s like, well, it’s night. Are you, are you going to dance? No one’s going to dance with you?
Sarah: And she’s like, oh, I’m just taking a break, and he calls her on it. He’s like, you’re lying. No one dances with you.
Melody: You’re hiding.
Sarah: You –
Sarah: – are hiding. And his non-corporeal, shadowy body grows and grows and grows –
Sarah: – and she feels very cold and small, and she tries to remind herself –
Sarah: – I’m the hostess. I don’t have time for dancing, I have duties, I have things to do, and she starts to feel awful –
Sarah: – because he’s shown her how small she is making herself.
Sarah: And then he’s like, I have never seen anything more pitiful: a goddess feeling sorry for herself. You are a disgrace to your heritage, but I want to help you. And he is just negging and noodging and needling, and she is like –
Sarah: – motherfucker.
Sarah: And then he surrounds her, and she’s like, I am in complete darkness, oh my God, and it’s completely overwhelming that his darkness completely covers her, and –
Melody: Yeah, she can’t see a thing. The party is gone.
Sarah: It’s gone.
Melody: The, the noise is gone.
Melody: She’s in a void right now.
Sarah: Yeah! And she reaches out, and who does she find? Apollo.
Melody: [Gasps] Oh!
Sarah: And he’s like, I was looking for you on the balcony.
Melody: Apollo is light. The chest is right there everybody!
Sarah: Ka-boom-bah! Yep! Yep! Let me just grab those pectorals for balance. I won’t fall down!
Sarah: And he’s like –
Melody: That’s right.
Sarah: – well, of course I will rescue this damsel in distress. This reminds me a lot of the historical romance scenes that I’ve read where there’s a ball and it’s hot, and so someone goes out on the balcony for air, and there’s people around, so it’s not totally inappropriate, but that’s when the subtle groping always happens.
Melody: Oh yeah. A, yeah.
Sarah: Always groping on the balcony, right?
Melody: [Laughs] Of course!
Sarah: Always balcony groping: that is what they were for! That’s why they’re shaped like breasts.
Melody: That’s the best place to do a grope! Yeah!
Sarah: [Laughs] It’s why they’re shaped like boobs!
Melody: Yeah! Absolutely! [Laughs] He’s like, I, how can I dance with you if you’re all the way out here?
Melody: Maybe, maybe we should, maybe we should just make the most of it right here.
Melody: And he starts, like, sort of dancing with her and, like, swaying back and forth and holding her tight. And she, her whole body –
Melody: – is just like tingly and a mess.
Melody: And she, like, doesn’t really know what to do with herself, but she does enjoy it!
Melody: And then he, she feels him, like, slip a, a – what’s it called?
Sarah: A scroll.
Melody: A scroll, thank you.
Sarah: Yep. It’s –
Melody: A scroll into her belt.
Sarah: – a very suggestive scroll that he slips –
Melody: Oh yeah.
Sarah: – into her belt.
Melody: That’s right.
Melody: That’s right.
Melody: It’s like just a teensy bit phallic?
Sarah: Yeah, just a little.
Melody: Yeah, and then –
Sarah: And she’s dancing with him, and he slips this scroll into her, into her pocket, and she’s like, I have to go. She’s like, I need to leave, and he’s like, no, we must continue dancing! And Poseidon shows up and is like, uh, bro, let go of her.
Sarah: And so Apollo and Poseidon start mouthing off at each other, and she rolls her eyes and pushes Apollo away and walks away. He’s –
Melody: Wait, wait, can I –
Melody: – can I read a section really quick?
Sarah: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
Melody: ‘Cause they’re both standing there, and, and Poseidon’s like, did you hear her say to, like –
Melody: – get away from her?
Melody: And I was like, hilarious, Poseidon.
Melody: Right, ‘cause you listen to those directives all the time.
Sarah: Absolutely. Applies to him all the time (not at all).
Melody: Yeah. [Laughs] So it says:
“Before she could say anything, Apollo brushed a kiss across her lips. He slipped his fingers under her chin and tipped her head back until her gaze met his.”
Melody: “His thumb ran over her lower lip, and desire rolled through her as his eyes promised so many other pleasures she could only vaguely understand – ”
Melody: “ – but longed to know more about. ‘Another time. Read the scroll and give me your answer,’ he murmured. Without another word to Poseidon, Apollo disappeared into the great hall.”
Melody: And that’s the other reason that I really enjoyed this novella, because there was no sex on the page, but there was a metric fuckton of sexiness.
Sarah: Oh, lots of sexual tension. And –
Sarah: – and it’s all okay that Hestia feels sexual attraction for Apollo, for Poseidon –
Sarah: – for Erebus. She’s like, wait, wait –
Sarah: – they’re interested in me and they’re awakening all of this arousal in me, and it’s completely understandable ‘cause they’re hot!
Melody: I love – well, I mean, we’ll get to it when we get to it, but I love the way that Erebus is in that dynamic as well.
Sarah: Yes. Oh my God, me too.
Melody: So let’s keep going.
Sarah: Oh my God.
Sarah: Oh my God. Okay. So she’s with Poseidon, ‘cause Apollo leaves, and Poseidon’s like, hey, let’s sit down and talk. And –
Melody: Oh my God.
Sarah: – he’s intimidating. She thinks that he’s a brute and a bully; he throws tantrums; he takes whatever woman he wants, willing or not; but he had never looked at her the way he was looking at her now. And he is being –
Melody: And he starts, like, rubbing her back and stuff?
Sarah: Yeah, he’s being very tender and appreciative, and she’s very tired, and she knew it wasn’t from her duties of the day. Like, yes –
Melody: That’s right.
Sarah: – that is because managing immature men-children is exhausting.
Melody: Yeah! You’re emotionally spent, madam! Like, yeah!
Sarah: Yes, because you are managing all of these big feelings from people who are projecting their, their expectations onto you. That’s a lot to –
Melody: And have no ability to manage for themselves! Like –
Melody: – this is, this is such a good example –
Melody: – of, like, the women having to do the emotional labor because the men are just like –
Melody: – am feeling! What? Have erection! No?
Sarah: Boner! Boner upsetting! Soothe boner! Soothe boner now!
Melody: [Laughs] Yeah! Truly!
Sarah: Listen, if I have an orgasm, I’ll feel much better; that must be the root of this problem.
Melody: That’s right! As is your job! [Laughs]
Sarah: Geeze. Geeze Louise.
Melody: Yeah! So Apollo has just proposed to her. Now Poseidon’s rubbing her back –
Sarah: Like, hey, baby.
Melody: – and then, Sarah –
Sarah: He’s trying to be charming and making shapes out of the water fountain and showing her that water can be charming and beautiful and, and that her perception of his domain may not be correct.
Melody: Mm. Yeah. Also, I really, I really enjoyed the double entendre, because she was like, she was like, oh, I, I always thought that it was just, like, dark and cold and wet.
Melody: And he goes, you get used to the wetness.
Sarah: Uh-huh, yeah. Mm-hmm!
Melody: I was like, Poseidon! Like, golly!
Sarah: Subtle! Very subtle. Very subtle and classy.
Melody: [Laughs] Very –
Sarah: But he says, you know, Apollo is right. You are the most beautiful goddess on Olympus!
Sarah: And then he’s like, you know, I could have a wife on the land and then a wife in the sea, and you could marry me, and I could have wives in both places, and she’s like, the fuck are you talking about?
Melody: What, sir? Like –
Sarah: Excuse me!
Melody: – I didn’t know you knew my name yesterday!
Melody: What the fuck?
Sarah: And now you want me to be your second wife?
Melody: Yeah, and –
Sarah: On the land?
Melody: And he’s like, don’t worry; second wife means nothing, because I’m going to get you a big old house that you can hearth up.
Sarah: Yeah! And this is –
Melody: Like –
Sarah: – particularly egregious for him to propose, because she says earlier, in the first party, oh, is your wife joining us? Which means that she knows his wife and has welcomed his wife and has probably hung out with her at all these parties she’s running.
Sarah: Like, yeah, she’s fine; just don’t worry about her.
Melody: What?! Incredible. Incredible!
Sarah: What an absolute turd blossom. So then she hears Erebus start laughing, and Poseidon is like, what the hell? And then the bench they’re sitting on, like, leaps up into the air, and Erebus disappears because he’s upset them from the bench and knocked them onto the ground –
Sarah: – and Poseidon’s like, where is it? Where is it? I’m going to get him, whoever just attacked me! And she just runs away. She books it out of there. She is not having anymore. The world has gone mad, she goes back to her room, and she does not –
Sarah: – know what to do with herself.
Sarah: And that brings us to the end of part one of Melody and me taking a very, very deep dive into The Invisible Goddess. You can find this book on Kindle Unlimited – I will have links in the show notes – and if you want to read it and catch up with part two next week, it would be very fun to have you along for the ride.
Thank you again to Melody for joining us. I will also link to our prior crossover episodes, ‘cause they are a lot of fun.
As always, I end every episode with a bad joke, and this week is never an exception. This joke is from Reddit.
What do you call a baby owl that has just had a bath?
What do you call a baby owl who just had a bath?
A moist owlet.
A moist owlet! [Laughs] Little tiny owls! You ever see pictures of owls running? It’s hilarious. I love owls. Moist owlet.
On behalf of everyone here, we wish you the very best of reading, and we’ll see you back here next week for part two!
Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find many outstanding podcasts to subscribe to at frolic.media/podcasts.
[Laughs] Moist owlet!
This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.