Book 7 – In which Odysseus needs to get up off the bloody floor!
So, Sean Bean (or Odysseus as we should probably call him) is on his way to see Nausicaa’s dad, Alcinous. Athene pops up in the guise of a peasant girl, and agrees to show him the way, and tells him he may have more luck if he speaks to the king’s wife, Arete, as she is more likely to know how to get him home, and will pack him off with a decent map and some marmalade sandwiches, whilst Alcinous would probably still be debating which route to take.
Athene is worried the locals might make trouble for Odysseus, as although he’s had a bath, he’s still a stranger in these parts, so she shrouds him in a mist so people can’t see him. I presume it’s not an actual mist, and people didn’t say, ‘Hey, why’s there a cloud floating down the street? Man, it really is time to take global warming seriously.’ And also, I hope Odysseus can’t see the cloud, as he’s be forced to think about new glasses, as everything is really, really blurry.
He gets to the palace, and is immediately struck by how utterly bling it is. Gold and silver statues everywhere, and even the walls are made of brass. My mum has a lot of brass candlesticks and stuff, those things require complicated cleaning. Brass walls are just silly, and how do you stick a nail in to hang a picture up? Not very forward thinking, our Alcinous.
Odysseus throws himself at the feet of the royals, and begs for help to get back home, after which he goes and sit in the ashes of the fire. Firstly, ashes are often hot, there used to be warning on dustbins stating ‘no hot ashes’ as people were always melting their bins. As a child, I once scooped our ashes into some newspaper assuming they were cold, and singed the carpet in a way that saw me grounded for months, and the need for a permanent strangely-positioned rug to cover the pizza-sized burn mark. Secondly, he’s just had a wash! Dirty boy! Thirdly, no consideration for the servants who will have to clean up his ashy foot and bum prints from the furniture. And fourthly, that’s just weird behaviour. I don’t sit in people’s baths or on their tables when I visit, as that would be just as strange.
The king and queen, in spite of his mental behaviour, are nice to him. They initially think he’s a god, but he assures them he’s mortal (more than mortal, he’s Sean Bean, he can’t stay alive through any film or season finale), and tucks in to some dinner. Arete becomes suspicious when she notices he’s her daughter Nausicaa’s clothes. Well, you would. If a man turned up at my house wearing my daughter’s skirt and cardigan, I’d think he was a bit weird, too. However, he explains what happened, how nice her daughter was getting him all cleaned and dressed when he washed up naked on their shores, and they are all so impressed with him, Alcinous offers Odysseus Nausicaa’s hand in marriage. Well gee, thanks dad. I don’t care if he is Sean Bean, you’re not marrying me off to a man who sits in ashes after a bath (is what I would have said if I were her).