Athena: The Grey-eyed Goddess

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By: George O'Connor

About George O'Connor

George O'Connor
George O'Connor

George O’Connor is an author, illustrator and cartoonist. His first graphic novel, Journey Into Mohawk Country, used as its sole text the actual historical journal of the seventeenth-century Dutch trader Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, and told the true story of how New York almost wasn’t. He followed that up with Ball Peen Hammer, the first graphic novel written by playwright Adam Rapp, a dark, dystopian view of a society’s collapse. Now he has brought his attention to Olympians, an ongoing series retelling the classic Greek myths in comics form. In addition to his graphic novel career, O’Connor has published several children’s picture books, including the New York Times best-selling Kapow, Sally and the Some-Thing, and Uncle Bigfoot. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Character Family Tree
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Athena Reading Group Guide
Reader's Theater — Athena: Grey Eyed Goddess
This Reader's Theater has been taken from pages four to fourteen of Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess. It comprises the scene in which Athena is born.
Read the original scene as it is portrayed in Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess. Then assign roles from the cast list. Act out the scene, with each character speaking and acting his or her part. Masks for the characters have been provided.
Download the maks and textfiles to do this activity at home or in the classroom here:
Colored Masks and Text File: Birth of Athena Masks (color) & Text
Black and White Masks for You to color and Text File: Birth of Athena Masks (B&W) & Text
The Birth of Athena
Cast List:
The Three Fates: Klothos, Lakhesis, and AtroposZeusMetisAresHephaistosAthena
Klothos: Mother Earth loves all her children . . . and so she prophesied against Zeus, as she had Kronos, "As you have overthrown our father, so shall your child by Metis overthrow you!"
Lakhesis: Far away in Greece towered Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain left standing after the clash of Gods and Titans. And there it was that Zeus, the newly crowned King of the Gods, made his home with Metis, his Queen, and his brothers and sisters, the Olympians.
Atropos: Zeus knew all too well the doom that a prophecy from Mother Earth could bring. And so it was that Zeus, the newly crowned King of the Gods, was troubled.
Metis: My husband, what furrows your brow? Is there any counsel I might offer?
Klothos: But Zeus could not share the reason for his silence with Metis. And besides, he had . . . other distractions. . . . .
Lakhesis: Zeus developed a cunning plan, a plan to fool his wife, the Goddess of good counsel.
Metis: What's gotten into your, Zeus?
Zeus: I want to get some fresh air! Hurry! Follow me! C'mon!
Metis: But . . . you know I can't transform as easily as you. . . .
Zeus: It's just like I showed you, Metis! Try!
Metis: O-okay.
Zeus: You can do it! Concentrate. . . . .
Metis: I did it! Zeus, I did it!
Zeus: I knew you could! Now let's have some fun. I'll change shape, and you follow me. Ready?
Metis: I-I guess so.
Zeus: Here we go! Raven!
Metis: I did it again! It's so much easie-
Zeus: Bat!
Metis: Haha!
Zeus: Something trickier! Serpent!
Metis: Whoop!
Zeus: Now: eagle!
Metis: Try something harder!
Zeus: Dragonfly!
Metis: I did it! Zeus, I did it! Zeus?
Atropos: But that was not the end of Metis. . . .
Metis: Hello? W-where am I?
Zeus: Metis? It's me. Zeus.
Metis: Zeus? Zeus, what have you done?
Zeus: I did what I had to do, Metis. Gaea said our child would overthrow me. I couldn't let that happen.
Metis: But — but we can work —
Zeus: And I couldn't let you go, Metis. I need you. I never could have overthrown Kronos without you.
Metis: Zeus, what did y —
Zeus: Now you're inside me, a part of me. Now we'll always be together.
Metis: You — you can't do this to me! Zeus! You can't do this to meeeee!
Klothos: But Zeus did not let her out, and despite wanting to always keep her near, Zeus soon forgot to listen to that voice in his head. He had too much of his father in him.
Lakhesis: For Zeus, the world continued without Metis. He took Hera as his new Queen and the entire world celebrated their union. Meanwhile, unknown to everyone, deep in Zeus' head, Metis was pregnant with his child.
Atropos: Hera and Zeus and children of their own. The number of Gods on Olympus began to grow. And in the subconscious of Zeus, Metis gave birth to her own child, a daughter. This child inherited all her mother's wisdom and intelligence, and her father's power and ferocity.
Klothos: In the world beyond Olympus, the population of mortal men swelled. They spread out to all the corners of the earth, and build great ships, armies, and cities. While in the head of Zeus, Metis' daughter spent her days learning the arts and sciences, and her nights fighting the worries and anxieties in the dreams of the King of Gods.
Lakhesis: And in the human cities, men built temples and monuments and made sacrifices to the Gods of Olympus, who served as their protectors and their inspiration.
Atropos: Sensing the time was near, Metis worked day and night, pouring the last of her essence into the appropriate clothing for her daughter's own debut on Olympus. Until finally:
Zeus: Aaaah! My pounding skull! Hephaistos! Ares! I need your help!
Klothos: A quick plan was hatched. To ease the incessant pounding and pressure, Hephaistos would cleave the skull of Zeus with a hammer and spike. The blow was struck.
Lakhesis: And so it was that the world met Athena as she sprang forth from her father's split skull, fully clothed, fully armed, already a young woman. She screamed, and her grey eyes flashed the color of Zeus' storm clouds.
Atropos: Her yell was not the cry of a newborn babe, but rather the shout of a warrior.
Klothos: Zeus, being Zeus, healed instantly. His head ached no more than any daughter's father's head does. But her miraculous birth, her pre-life gestation in her father's skull, changed Athena. She had been prophesized to end her father's rule, but Athena instead became his staunchest ally, his favorite child.

Since there are multiple images of Athena Goddess of Wisdom found in books and on the web, this video can help students identify or clarify the images when researching this mythological character.
Finally, Athena gets her due. ATHENA: GREY-EYED GODDESS nicely tells the tale of this unusual female goddess of Greek mythology whose presence is all too often seen as a shadow of her brother, Ares. In ATHENA: GREY-EYED GODDESS, George O’Connor nicely weaves in the origin of Athena and some of the exploits that make her such an interesting character.The birth of Athena to Zeus is one of the stronger myth stories, as she is birthed directly from her father’s head. The back story has to do with a prophesy that led Zeus to swallow whole his first wife, Metis, who then gave birth to their daughter inside of Zeus. Athena emerged from Zeus, full of wisdom and courage and ready for battle.In this book, we also learn of how she came to take on the name of “Pallas,” how she defeated the giants of Gaia, how she helped Percy in his quest against Medusa, and more. (One confusing bit is that she takes the name Pallas from a friend whom she has killed in competitive games, only to face a giant named Pallas. Why the two have the same name is never quite clear.) Athena emerges as a full character as O’Connor infuses her with the compassion, intelligence and bravery one expects from a goddess.ART REVIEWThe illustrations here are nicely done, with dark colors visually representing the evils, which Athena must face in the world. The colors are vibrant throughout the book. Athena herself is beautiful, but not sexualized, and her persona is representative of the many facets of her personality.IN THE CLASSROOMThis book would be a great addition to a library dedicated to Greek mythology, and it a nice counter-balance to the male-dominated work that often goes along with studying myths. The story of Athena’s birth will certainly raise some questions, as will the use of The Fates to tell Athena’s tale here. There is also a wonderful section at the back of the book with useful information about Greek myths, profiles of select characters, a detailed reference to mythology in the story and even discussion questions. RECOMMENDATIONConsidering the target audience for this novel and the themes that are present throughout it, I would highly recommend this novel. Due to the graphic style of this novel it gives the text a different approach from common text found in everyday reading. This novel would be interesting and intriguing for an independent read as well as in a classroom setting using the techniques described above.-Katlyn Swanson