Furious got its start when my daughter, who was studying ancient Greece in 11th grade Western Civ class, came home and said that she and her two closest friends figured out what they were going to be for Halloween. “The Furies,” she announced, and when I looked up pictures on the Internet, I totally got it. Who wouldn’t want to go to a party dressed something like this?
Fury images in art are sometimes of ugly, hideous creatures; other times, the trio is sexy and gorgeous. But the figures are always scary, powerful, hair flying, female energy venting its full righteous anger.
I immediately knew that I wanted to write about them, but I didn’t want to portray generic monsters to be avoided or killed. I wanted to tell the story from the Furies’ points of view. My goal was to look deeper into who these creatures of vengeance are, why the Ancient Greeks created them and what they mean to us here in 2013. (As a start, they gave us the words fury and infuriated.)
Here’s what I think:
Mythology still appeals to readers because we are not so different from those people of long ago. Cultures create and use myths, like The Furies, in order to better understand and cope with a confusing and unfair world. For instance, look inside yourself. When someone hurts you and gets away with it, what’s your first instinct? Eye for an eye, maybe? When you see injustice, don’t you want to call out the Furies or better yet, be a Fury yourself to stand up for the wronged and the innocent?
I am particularly intrigued by how the Furies don’t physically harm their victim. They get inside his head and let him punish himself. Isn’t that what we usually want – for the person who hurt us to feel really, really bad, to be racked with guilt and remorse? Isn’t that a worse punishment than a quick punch in the arm?
This is what the characters in Furious experience. Meg, an ordinary, powerless teenage girl, discovers that she’s the modern incarnation of the Fury Megaera. She links arms with two other furious, wronged teenagers, and they move in on their first victim. Here’s that scene:
I am the center of the chain and I squeeze them close to me, feeling the pressure of Stephanie’s long thighbone and Alix’s solid hip. Alix sounds the first note. I join in on the second, Stephanie the third.
“Singing? What the hell? Why are you singing?” Pox asks.
That’s the last we hear of his repulsive voice. After that, it’s nine notes, our notes, the amazing melody repeating itself. We’re in perfect harmony. We’re …in.
He covers his ears, but can’t drown out the voices.
He shakes his head, but he can’t shake off the knowledge of his own wrongs.
We use the strands of our wild hair to cross the wires of his thinking and shock him into seeing his true, hateful self.
What an awesome power to have – the ability to make bullies and jerks see the results of their own terrible behavior. But what will the Furies do with their newly discovered talent?
And how about you? If you had the same opportunity, would you use your power fairly and wisely? Or would you lose control and let your power use you?
Thanks so much to Birth of a New Witch for sponsoring this blog tour stop. And to circle back to the beginning of the post, my daughter and her friends never got their Fury costumes together, but I got an idea for a book! I hope you all enjoy it.
Thanks, Jill! Remember, “Furious” is out tomorrow, April 16, 2013 in North America from Macmillan, so be sure to check it out! It’s definitely a fun read!