Ah, mythology. It brings excitement into the usually dull reality of life. Instead of listening to out-of-touch world leaders babbling on about how great it is that men with very expensive and very lethal rifles are building a new future for those that are unfortunate enough to be living in the Middle-East, we get to sit back and listen to epic tales of violence, the Gods that perpetrate and endorse it, and headstrong women who find clothes to be more of a hindrance than a practicality.
But what are the stories without settings? In order for the actions to take place, they need a place to take place in, and mythology has no shortage of these. And to be honest, the places that are documented in these myths are much much much better than the places we have now. I mean, how cool does Camelot sound? Not only do you get to have massive feasts on a round table, but it’s a frigging castle. It’s a shame then, that no one knows where it was.
And this is what this article is about. I aim to provide logical answers to the question that plagues the mind of every historian. Just where is [Kickass Point of Interest X]? In a spiteful break from tradition, we’re going to cover four currently lost bastions of mythology. And we’re not going to do Camelot, neither. It’s only a model, after all.
Valhalla, if it indeed exists, is quite possibly the most masculine place on Earth. But that is not to say that the only women allowed there deal in food preparation and nothing else, quite apart from it. Instead I mean it is the dream of every man worth his heroic salt to end up in Valhalla rather than the far more boring sounding Heaven. Indeed women serve a very important part in the Halls of Valhalla, valkyries being the ones that ferry dead warriors to this alcohol-fuelled afterlife. The first thing a fallen warrior sees after realizing he is in fact dead are a group of on-horseback, presumably promiscuous women who you can talk about swords to without them sighing, rolling their eyes, and then gossiping about how sad you are to their mates. They don’t gossip. They war-cry. Now, I don’t know about you, but I call awesome on that.
And that’s before even getting to the damn place. According to Wikipedia, “the hall itself has 540 doors, so wide that 800 warriors could walk through side-by-side.” In that case, coming down to breakfast to get your daily dose of Cornflakes for the day must be a truly monumental experience. And yes, I did just include Cornflakes and monumental in the same sentence. And for similar word contrasts, consider this: There is a rooster living in Valhalla called Gullinkambi. Even mentioning his name would force everyone in the same room as you to flex their muscles and say things that they wouldn’t necessarily say in front of their grandmothers.
If Breakfast Time doesn’t really get your juices flowing, how about this: Valhalla is just a really big waiting room for the greatest battle the world has ever seen. Ragnarök. This is basically the time in which the world will transform itself into a South Korean styled MMO in which you complete repetitive quests for money and epic loot. With a choice to be a Swordsman, Magician, Archer, and many more, you’ll spend the rest of eternity grinding rats while having an out of body experience, viewing yourself from an isometric camera angle.
And if we’re judging the quality of these places by the size of the inhabitants’ beards, Odin here pretty much wins it.
I can’t actually find a place that lives up to how bloody hardcore Valhalla is. I mean with Valhalla you have everything. You have demonic roosters, you have scantily-clad women, you have buckets and buckets of the ale stuff, and you have the knowledge that pretty soon you’re going to partake in the biggest, goriest, and most epic battle that the world has ever conceived. Also, from then on every proper noun and noun you ever use will be as testosterone-fuelled as Hulk Hogan.
Apart from Hugh Heffner’s house on a Friday night, you aren’t going to get that sort of quality anywhere else.
Atlantis is a far more poetic and tragic affair from the general piss-up that Valhalla is. Located in the Atlantic ocean, it was apparently made up by Plato to forward his political beliefs. I can just imagine that happening now, George Bush stomping up to the podium and saying, “Howdy y’all. I’ve been hearing rumours on the Internets, right? And I’ve decided to answer these rumours with this: Imagine a massive island in the Altantic ocean full with powerful and important people. You with me so far? Then it sinks. Thank you for listening.” And then there’d be a rapturous applause.
I’m not quite sure why Plato came up with this idea, but the story of Atlantis is something that has captured peoples’ imaginations for centuries now. Basically it was the place where Poseidon hung out when he wasn’t making colossal waves for “rad surfers to tame.” Poseidon, being the cheeky sod he was, ended up falling in love with a mortal woman called Cleito, and they were at it like rabbits. They had ten kids together, who all took part in ruling the place.
To hear words about Atlantis, it pretty much sounds, in the early years, to be some sort of island utopia. Everyone appeared to be very rich, and I’m guessing the city of Atlantis itself had an astonishingly low crime-rate. The land was fertile, the animals abundant and varied, and the water clean and not say infested by various peoples’ piss.
Of course, this being mythological history things suddenly went wrong. And when things go wrong in mythology, the Gods start getting peeved, and when Gods get peeved, lightning bolts start falling from the sky. Zeus and the rest of his cronies decided that the government of Atlantis had turned into something he didn’t quite like, so instead of replacing that government with another government, he did what any right-thinking God would do, and sank the whole island, killing absolutely everyone on it.
…is actually New Orleans.
God, that was predictable, wasn’t it? I was going to put Gloucestershire down, but at the risk of this article becoming too British-centric, I decided to go for the obvious.
The flooding of New Orleans was not because of Zeus getting pissed off at how selfish people are of late, but because of what is called “really rubbish preparation.” No amount of prior warnings to the prospect of flooding seemed to make anyone wake up and say “holy fuck guys, maybe we should actually have a half-decent defence, just in case there’s a flood! I mean that not actually happen, being a port city and all, but y’know, stranger things have happened!”
While New Orleans didn’t actually sink, a good percentage of the city was submerged for a few days, and that’s got to count for something.
The Garden of Eden…
Ah, the Garden of Eden. The place which, according to Christianity, housed the first two humans in this world. One called Adam, and the other called Eve. It was supposedly a wonderful place, where the grass hadn’t been mindlessly picked at by some irritating youth, where the animals hadn’t been industrially herded into the backs of vans to be taken off to be slaughtered in a dark and badly ventilated room, and where you didn’t get signs telling you, in no uncertain terms, “do not step on the grass, thank you.”
What you did get was a sign telling you, in no uncertain terms, ‘do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thank you.” If there was ever a reason to headbutt someone, I’d say it was because Eve was stupid enough to listen to a suspicious serpent who mysteriously appeared and got her to eat from a tree she had been specifically told not to. You just can’t trust snakes with anything…hadn’t she seen the Jungle Book? Anyway, because of this she pretty much doomed the rest of the human race ever to a life of misery. For being the first female, she did a pretty fucking bad job of it.
But she and Adam can both be blamed for being really bad parents. They must have forgotten to tell their first son, Cain, to under no circumstances kill his younger brother, Abel. Because that’s exactly what he did. If God created man in his own image, he must have been pretty damn depressed by that time.
But we’re digressing. You can pretty much imagine the Garden of Eden having a nice white picket fence running along the outside.
…is actually Hayes Garden Centre.
While researching this piece I saw that the Scottish, bless their souls, seemed convinced that a place called Mòinteach Bharbhais is actually the location of the Garden of Eden. Well, screw you Scotland, and the rest of you countries that seem to want to claim the Garden of Eden as your own, because I know from first-hand experience that the Garden of Eden is actually Haye’s Garden Centre.
It’s nestled in the British Lake District, in a town called Ambleside, and it’s one of the most heavenly places you’ll ever go to. The car-park is of a reasonable size and you can almost always get a space (if you can’t, there’s plenty of car-parks in the vicinity you could use instead), and right outside there’s a wishing well you can entertain the kids with, if they’re particularly gullible.
Inside, the fun really starts. There are loads of two for one offers on potted plants, and there’s a wide variety of them to choose from. If plants aren’t your thing, there is a multitude of garden sheds, and there’s even a sculpture and novelty section, and tonnes of shelves with joke books on them if your idea of humour is limited to making awful jokes about farmyard animals crossing the road.
As far as I know, there are no trees that you absolutely mustn’t eat the apples of if you don’t want to incur God’s ultimate wrath, but the staff attendants normally don’t like when you take fruit off the branches and tell you off. I’ve found that a swift swing to the face with a baseball bat normally ends their protestations, though. And then I normally pour soul on them. And maybe cut their legs off with hedge-trimmers.
The Hill on Which Jesus Was Crucified…
This is pretty much the point in which humanity had buggered up so many times it just wasn’t funny any more. After murdering so many people that God was forced to flood the world, you’d think we’d learn to take a hint, but no. Just a few thousand years after that, we end up killing the manifestation of God on Earth, which really goes to show what a terrible lack of business sense we had back then. We could have just forced him to turn water into wine for the rest of his days, that would have done wonders for the alcohol industry, but no, we stick the saviour of mankind on a cross and feed him vinegar until he doesn’t feel like living any more.
It was like it was a contest to see who could be the biggest dick to Jesus. Feeding him vinegar is pretty damn sly, but how about putting a crown of thorns on his head, or making him carry the same thing that’s going to kill him? Or maybe letting a convicted killer out of jail instead of someone whose idea of violence is to push over a few tables when he doesn’t like the idea of gambling in a temple?
…is actually Iraq.
Because I’ve heard that everyone is very Cross there. Hur Hur Hur.
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