You might already know of my fascination with Greek mythology, and I could talk for hours on the subject. But this theme is not about focusing on one particular interpretation – it’s about how centaurs are represented in media. Plus I think they make an excellent addition to any fantasy squad! I am slightly disappointed centaurs weren’t featured in the movie remake of Clash of the Titans. Having said that, I get far too distracted by Perseus and, okay that might have something to do with Sam Worthington.
But I digress. We’re talking about those beautiful creatures who have the head, arms and torso of a man (or woman) and the body and legs of a horse. I imagine them as wild, stubborn, and noble creatures. In literature and film they are often described as warriors and I can totally get on board with the whole archery element. Not that I have an obsession with archers, and certainly not of the emerald variety. Nope, not me.
Centaurs are represented well in literature and film thanks to authors like C.S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, and Rick Riordan. In The Chronicles of Narnia, centaurs are noble, loyal and protective creatures; skilled and gifted in healing. In the Harry Potter books, they live in the Forbidden Forest and are skilled in archery. They also have an interest in astronomy. Staying with the intellectual theme, in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, centaurs were seen as wise.
I didn’t catch the series, but there are many references to centaurs in Xena: Warrior Princess. They are also used frequently in games; Dungeons and Dragons, Tomb Raider, and Mortal Kombat, to name a few.
What about you – do you think centaurs are worthy of being in a fantasy squad? What is your favourite interpretation?
Thanks for stopping by
NB: I ‘borrowed’ my nifty new badge from Doobster, who didn’t officially register for the A to Z, but who is participating anyway. I’ll let him tell you all about it here!
54 responses to “A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 3: Fantasy Squad – Centaurs”
They seem to show up a lot in YA fantasy. Usually in the role of a wise or savage creature that the humans bump into for a chapter or two. You don’t really see centaurs take a big role in stories for some reason.
That’s true, and I don’t know why. They would make a great central character. If I follow through on my fantasy squad, which probably involves making these creatures part of serialised fiction – I’ll definitely give centaurs a meaty role! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I think they’re a hard character to have because of their physical build. Standard buildings and rough terrain would be an issue. It would really depend on how prevalent and advanced centaur society is compared to those around them. I’ve been told that less humanoid creatures are harder sells too because of reader connection.
I can see how that would be true, but I do enjoy a challenge! I also like the idea of creating a whole new environment for these characters.
One thing I do have trouble figuring out with centaurs is why are they commonly shown as archers? I always thought they’d be more lance/spear types.
Yes, I can definitely see a centaur with a spear – that fits with the image in my head. I’m not sure about the archery element either, but I do love a good archer and so I’m not complaining! It might be fun to come up with a nice backstory for that 🙂
Their height does give them a better view of the area. I’ll have to look at more mythology to see if the archery thing is from the original tales. There’s Sagittarius after all.
Indeed there is. I’ve done quite a bit of research, mainly on the Olympians and have a variety of books. I may have to dig deeper too!
I have always liked Centaurs! Ever since I watched Disney’s Fantasia as a kid. That whole scene was just amazing. I enjoyed the portrayal of them in the Harry Potter movies as well 🙂
I agree about Fantasia – the scene was truly amazing and centaurs were portrayed in such a positive light. I like them too, and I’m glad they are a part of my team! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I was going to say, Fantasia! The defensive, territorial ones I saw later in Harry Potter confused me because I didn’t know much about their history/mythology.
Every team needs to have a good archer, so I say why not? 🙂
lol – I couldn’t agree with you more. If I’m going to make centaurs part of my series they will definitely be archers 😉
I discovered Centaurs in the Xena and Hercules series. What a concept for an animal. Mother Nature–you listening?
I agree that it would be cool to see a centaur take a more prominent role in a story 🙂
I knew this A to Z challenge was going to be a lot of work, but I didn’t realise I’d want to incorporate all these wonderful creatures into my work. If I do go ahead with the serialised fiction, they are going to really keep me on my toes! I’ve been thinking about Banshees since yesterday, and now I’m busily building a centaur society in my head 😉
You don’t make it easy for yourself, that’s for sure! 😉
With centaurs always being cast as wise creatures, let’s switch it up and write a story were one is paired up with an elf and the elf is constantly having to save the centaur from the things the centaur does. Or something silly. 😉
Love it! I already have an elf in my fantasy series so I think he’s about to get a partner in crime 😉 Thanks for the idea. I’ll let that percolate for a while!
This would be awesome! Do iiiiiiiiiit!
😀 I’m on it! Or there are at least interesting things happening in my head 😉
Sam Worthington would make a good centaur…………..hm? What were we talking about? 😉
Lol! That comment just made my day! 😀
Sure they are!
Evalina, This and that…
My favorite interpretation is Chiron (I think that is his name) the crazy-wise centaur who educated a lot of the Greek heroes and demi-gods.
Definitely worthy of the fantasy squad. It’s so cool that I get centaurs here and chimera at Diana’s today. Like I’m taking a stroll through the Monster Manual with you two.
Absolutely – Chiron is a mighty fine example 🙂 I love the myth which has him earning a place among the stars as the constellation Centaurus.
Diana suspected there would be crossover between our themes and it is a lot of fun! I don’t know about Geek Pastiche – today it was all about the Greek! 😉 Chimera is a great choice – such a fascinating creature.
It’s all Geek to me?… Especially when it comes to anything in the Monster Manual!
Absolutely! I was just being facetious! 😀
Me too 😀
lol – touché! 😀
I think the first centaur I knew about was from an old Hercules cartoon. He was Herc’s sidekick. He was a bit annoying, nothing like the elegant centaurs you see in Fantasia.
I like annoying sidekicks – they can be a lot of fun! I want to check out the cartoon now, because I’m a huge fan of Heracles/Hercules 🙂
You and I seem to have similar tastes in actors. Sam Worthington all day.
lol…all day indeed 😉
Definitely worthy of the squad. And I like the Chronicles of Narnia interpretation. They strike me as noble warriors.
Me too – noble warrior fits my image of them perfectly 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
I like JKR’s interpretation of Centaurs – wise, but also with a more violent side when failing to see eye to eye with humans. (I wish I could love the new Clash of the Titans, I adore Sam Worthington in Avatar, but I much prefer the original CotT to the remake.)
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I enjoyed both versions of Clash of the Titans, though I have seen the original more – it was one of my dad’s favourite films!
Chronicles of Narnia was a great one! Excellent post 🙂
Thanks 🙂 I enjoyed Narnia too.
[…] Melissa Barker-Simpson […]
I’m not really heavy into fantasy, but I did like the centaur in Chronicles of Narnia, which I watched with my kids a few years ago 🙂
Yeah, they were the best! Good to hear from you, Janna.
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I do see centaurs as gentle and loyal creatures, who know the sky well. But my views might be flawed due to my readings of Harry Potter. I have enjoyed how they are portrayed in the books, but not so much in the films (well I actually never really enjoyed the Harry Potter films that much as they left out my favorite parts of the books).
That happens a lot in films, I think. I’ve seen two of the Harry Potter films, but haven’t yet read the books. I’ll look forward to learning about the centaurs in Rowling’s work 🙂
I was really deceived when I saw the first film. I really did not want the book to be made into a film, I loved Harry Potter a lot, and hated when it became so mainstream. When I started reading the series (in German at first) no one had heard of Harry Potter, and I wanted to keep it that way, keep the magic world jealously to myself. Over the years as the series gained in popularity, I felt like it lost its magic (at least the spell cast over me wasn’t as strong anymore).
I get that. It’s happened to me before. A story that has lost some of its shine because it was pulled apart so many times, it tainted the originality somehow.
I see centaures as wise, but also as warriors. I’ve always been fascinated witht he dycotomy knowledge/strength, I’m not sure why 🙂
I agree. I love horses, so these creatures have always fascinated me. I’ve been toying with the idea of using centaurs in my novel, but I haven’t quite figured things out yet. I need to build a land, fit for their strength and beauty! 🙂
I think centaures are not easy to use in fiction. You need the right world and the right idea.
But I’m sure you’ll find both 😉
I agree it will be a challenge! Thanks for your vote of confidence 😀