Norse and Greek mythology, especially, are depicted with some frequency in movies, books, comics, and television. It's reasonable to wonder how closely their representation in pop culture media represents their traditional mythology.

So far, it seems like these can be on-topic, good questions, and be well-received by the community).

And some of them aren't so well received.

What makes a good question of this type?

2 Answers 2


Looking at how these are going, here is what I think:

The question should still be answerable if all references to pop culture sources were removed.

I'm not saying you should remove them. Those references are great for clarifying and establishing context. But you should be able to remove them easily, and still be left with a clear, answerable question. They should be treated as clarifying material, not as the meat of the question.

Remember who your talking to. The people in this community are expected to be knowledgeable about mythology, not comic books or video games. Don't assume we know about Marvel's Thor. Don't assume we know about "God of War", or "Age of Mythology", or the new "Clash of the Titans" movie, or even the old "Clash of the Titans" movie. If you are asking about a film, you need to be the film expert.

Pretend you are asking this guy*:
He went to a movie once, in '79.  Didn't much care for it.

Not this guy:
Worst meta-answer ever!

Looking at some examples of questions of this sort:

This one confuses me a bit:

* : I don't actually know who this guy is. Just a tweedy, bookish-looking character, as far as I know.

  • I think the reason for the one you are confused about is that the base of the question comes down to asking about the game versus reality. That makes it a bad question. However if the game context were removed and the question could stand alone then it would probably not be a bad question. I am skeptical that it could stand alone as a good question. It is verging on a hypothetical.
    – Chad
    May 6, 2015 at 2:30
  • @Chad - It still seems to me that the meat of that question is independently answerable: "Is there a Greek character - especially a hero/heroine - who started out following one god and then made a sea change to follow another?" I'll accept that I may just be wrong on that point.
    – femtoRgon
    May 6, 2015 at 2:56
  • That verges on the type of story identification question I hope we want to avoid.
    – Chad
    May 6, 2015 at 3:02
  • Amusingly, Marvel vs. Mythology question would possibly be offtopic on SFF.SE as well (at least, as too broad - but also because it falls under "Scientific Explanations" VTC, possibly)
    – DVK
    May 7, 2015 at 22:02
  • I wasn't able to force myself to watch the entire "Clash of the Titans" remake, but I'd be happy to point out inconsistencies if the question is specific enough that I don't have to watch the movie. That said, the earlier Ray Harryhausen mythology films inspired me as a youth, and, for instance, led me directly to 1001 Nights. I recognize that there are "specialists" and "generalists" in every field, but I'm not sure we should be restricting this forum to questions preferred by the "specialists" only.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 18, 2016 at 20:15

I personally think that these questions should all be off-topic.

Stack Exchange sites are supposed to attempt to attract experts, and my guess is that mythology experts would rather answer questions about mythology than questions about a comic book. Artists frequently take artistic liberties, and attempting to stay true to stories written a long time ago is rarely one of their goals. I can't see how questions based on what is essentially fan-fiction would be interesting to someone studying ancient cultures.

  • The point I would make is, yes, mythology questions are what we want, even if the asker was motivated to ask by comic books. I really don't much care what inspires someone to ask a question, as long as it is clear, self-contained, and answerable. If the asker proceeds to provide additional information for context, fine. I have real trouble justifying closing a question because the asker gave a bit of extra information.
    – femtoRgon
    May 6, 2015 at 16:13
  • I studied under a very accomplished Classical Scholar who opened his "Topics In Myth" class with the film "Dirty Harry" and proceeded to break down all of the symbols and plot points that related to mythology. It was one of very few classes that attracted non-Mythology students. My feeling is this sub-forum needs to cater to the widest audience possible, partly based on the paucity of questions posted, but I also feel it's relevant. I don't disagree with keeping most modern, "invented" mythologies, such as Star Wars, off-topic, except when they relate to canonical mythology.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 18, 2016 at 20:07

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