Worldbuilding

218 – Infernal Realms

The Mythcreant Podcast
Whether we call it the underworld, Hades, Hell, or some other name, fiction is full of the idea that there are other dimensions out there, and that they’re bad. At the very least, they’re the sort of places we avoid for as long as we can, unless we need to make a tragic journey there to retrieve a loved one. This week, we explore this concept in more detail. Why are storytellers so interested in the infernal realms? What rules do they operate under? How can they best be used? Plus, a discussion of why the morality of underworlds is often so arbitrary.

Download Episode 218 Subscription Feed 

Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

The Odyssey

The Aeneid

Dante’s Inferno

Orpheus And Eurydice

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Lorne

Good Omens

The Good Place

Constantine

What Dreams May Come

The Amber Spyglass

Supernatural

Xena

Sandman

The Screwtape Letters

Adventure Time

Marceline

No Exit

Event Horizon

The Warp

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Comments

  1. Leo

    Hi, the download link leads to “216 – Ace and Aro rep”.

  2. Sam Victors

    Interesting.

    I created my own fictional infernal realm, many years ago, in the same vein as Dante’s Inferno; only with nature and natural hazards as punishments, divided into provinces instead of circles, and with mythical or urban legend characters rather than real people (with the exception of historical people who either mysteriously disappeared or were involved in supernatural or folk legends, like Faust or Prince John).

  3. Xandar The Zenon

    You talked a lot about Greek mythology, and my favorite example of an infernal realm is in the book House of Hades, when Percy Jackson and Annabeth literally fall into the bottom of Tartarus and have to try to climb out.

  4. Tifa

    I really, really liked this podcast! Underworld myths are some of my favourite myths.

    Now I feel like rereading Good Omens for what is probably the sixth time, and watching Overly Sarcastic Productions’ videos on the underworld and Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy all over again. Oh, and I’m super looking forward to season 3 of The Good Place.
    Also, I appreciated the little discussion of Sandman.

    I’ve never read The Screwtape Letters, or the Space Trilogy, and I’ve never seen Adventure Time. I’ll have to check them out sometime.

  5. Julia

    Awesome podcast, guys!

    The Greeks had stories of ironic punishment in the afterlife, also. There was Tantalus who was punished by grapes and water always receding from his reach; and Sisyphus who had to roll the boulder up the hill, never quite reaching the top.

    In the Myth Adventures series by Robert Aspirin, ‘demon’ was just short for ‘dimensional traveller.’

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