Daily Archives: April 27, 2008

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A Fantasy Life

April 27, 2008 by in category A Fantasy Life by Janet Cornelow tagged as ,

by Janet Quinn Cornelow

When writing fantasy, sometimes something out of mythology can trigger and idea that is just too good to pass up. A chimera seems to be one of those things.

A chimera is a mythological creature first mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. The creature is always referred to as a female. She is immortal, not human and made up of a lion in front, a dragon in back and a goat in the middle. Sometimes she has three heads. She also breaths fire. That has to be the dragon part of her. Most of us remember her from school. A scary creature who may have mothered the Sphinx and the Nemean Lion.

The interesting thing is that a chimera can also be a human being. (No dragon head or breathing fire, but just as interesting.) This condition occurs through the fertilization of two ova by two sperm, followed by the fusion of the resulting zygotes and the development of an organism which is actually two organism in the guise of one. A human chimera could have a heart with one DNA and a liver with another. Most chimeras never know that they are two people fused together. After all, how many people are going to have their DNA checked on different parts of their bodies to see if they are one or two people. It’s a rather creepy thought.

However, in fantasy, it is an intriguing idea. What kind of a character would a chimera be? An evil creature? The original one was. How can the other characters tell a chimera from everyone else? They’re not going to run out and do DNA tests either, so there has to be a way to tell. Otherwise, the whole idea falls flat.

Now that I have discovered this unique individual, I have to put her in a story. Dark fantasy. A chimera would never be in light fantasy.

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