I’m not sure if that’s cheating, but I’ll probably get off on a technicality! This post is about the Grim Reaper, also known as Death or the Angel of Death.
“You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you dance with the reaper” (Quote taken from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey)
Okay, so as well as being a closet Bill and Ted fan, I’ve always been fascinated with Death. In Greek mythology (oh, come on, you can’t be surprised I’m referencing the Greeks), Death was also known as Thanatos, though information about him is scarce as he was mostly ‘pushed aside’ for Hades – god of the underworld. He was born to Nyx (Night) and Erebos (Darkness) and most depictions are of a bearded man with wings – though he has been portrayed as a boy. He was not purely evil and was often represented as gentle.
Most people will be familiar with the depiction of a skeletal figure in a hood, carrying a scythe. There are other representations. Sometimes the Grim Reaper (or Death) is female. In some myths the Grim Reaper actually causes death when arriving to collect victims. This has led to tales of people trying to fend off Death by bribery and tricks.
The Grim Reaper is represented considerably in media – here is a taste:
- In the Seventh Seal (an Ingmar Bergman film), a knight returning from the crusades plays chess with Death
- In Discworld by Sir Terry Pratchett, Death is a character – portrayed as a black-robed skeleton.
- Death appears in the DC Comic Sandman by Neil Gaiman – as a woman.
- In the Twilight Zone (Season 1), Death was played by Murray Hamilton.
- Death also appears in Marvel Comics.
- In The Book Thief (book and film) – Death is the narrator.
- In the book, On a Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony, Death is the main character.
- Brad Pitt played Death in Meet Joe Black.
- Sam and Dean Winchester have encountered Death in Supernatural.
I’d love to hear how the Grim Reaper is represented in other mythologies, so please feel free to share in the comments. What is your favourite portrayal? How do you imagine the Grim Reaper? I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time. Thanks for stopping by.
- Day 1 – Fantasy Squad: Angels
- Day 2 – Fantasy Squad: Banshees
- Day 3 – Fantasy Squad: Centaurs
- Day 4 – Fantasy Squad: Dwarf
- Day 6 – Fantasy Squad: Elves
- Day 7 – Fantasy Squad: Fates (The)
- Day 8 – Fantasy Squad: Giants
- Day 9 – Fantasy Squad: Harpies
- Day 10 – Fantasy Squad: Imps
- Day 11 – Fantasy Squad: Jersey Devil and the Jabberwock
- Day 13 – Fantasy Squad: Kelpie and the Kraken
- Day 14 – Fantasy Squad: Leprechauns
- Day 15 – Fantasy Squad: Minotaur
- Day 16 – Fantasy Squad: Nephilim
- Day 17 – Fantasy Squad: Ogres
- Day 18 – Fantasy Squad: Pegasus
- Day 20 – Fantasy Squad: Questing Beast