All Along the Watchtowers

Welcome to a world of anxiety, anger and insecurity; a place where Abandonment Issues rule the day unknown.

Whether a first time visitor or previous—maybe even current—resident, The Medusa Protocol hopes to show as much as relate and commiserate.

So, what’s Medusa—age-old gorgon of Greek lore; violated and wronged beauty of Roman poetry—got to do with it all?


Perseus, under the protection of Minerva, turns Phineus to stone by brandishing the head of Medusa (Jean-Marc Nattier, 18th century, year unknown)

Go back far enough and near on every culture on the planet has at least one version of a ‘Grail story’.

In her book From Ritual to Romance Jessie Weston concludes that the Grail story—Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, etc—is itself a relatively new take on what was once a number of very similar stories originating from different parts of the British Isles.

The principle is straightforward

A perilous journey must be undertaken, its purpose being to retrieve something that will save the day back at the journey’s start point.

Replacing the word retrieve with slay and the variation pretty much covers all bases.

The Greek version of Medusa’s story has both: a hazardous journey to slay something, part of which must be returned with to win the day.

Over time, the story has been reworked and given numerous new guises. So-much-so a connection is rarely realised, as the above Holy Grail/Gorgon Medusa example may serve to show.

Something as obvious as superficial differences are plenty enough to hide similarities from view.

Monty Python’s The Holy Grail is a modern remaking of the classic tale, albeit a ludicrous and hilarious one.

It might not appear to have much to do with the following three contemporary versions:

  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Star Wars
  • Apocalypse Now*

(*at Kurtz’s compound From Ritual to Romance is shown in a collection of books belonging to the General)

But at the core beats the very same heart


Light vs. Dark: Medusa’s end at the hand of Perseus is identical to how Willard dispatches Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, while Star Wars reigns it in to be a family epic; nonetheless, it is still only a symbolic single strike required to take down one as mighty as a Jedi Master.

Another trademark of the Grail tradition: temptation, resisting an urge – trying to, at least.

  • Gollum succumbs to the One Ring and is grotesque for the fact.
  • Likewise for Darth Vader and the Dark Side.
  • Willard is warned he’s not the first to go after Kurtz; his predecessor having fallen in with the general instead of terminating his command.

Willard (Martin Sheen – back to camera) comes face-to-face with his predecessor, Lieutenant Richard M. Colby (Scott Glenn).

In versions following the Greek tradition Perseus is often described as fighting off an insatiable urge to look at the gorgon, despite her incredible ugliness and the consequence for doing so.

In the Holy Grail clip below, a knight is saved from temptations that if succumbed to would prevent him completing his quest.

Fundamentally his and Perseus’ predicaments are the same.

Superficially a hideous monster with snakes for hair vs. virginal nuns gagging for sex leaves the two appearing worlds apart.

Yet it wasn’t long after Ancient Greece that the Roman poet Ovid reworked Medusa’s story to have her begin as an irresistible beauty; a change in the plot to facilitate her rape at the hands of Poseidon . . . Why on Earth would he have done that?

Is it coincidence the oldest story humanity has ever known is constantly rehashed—rebornDevil in the details?

By focusing obsessively on the individual and also considering the impact the same trauma might’ve had on the bigger picture, The Medusa Protocol is a story that hopes to find out.

Book I Wish You Were Her starts with the main victim someway distracted from the truth of their situation:

Drunk in a dive bar.

Start as you mean to go on?

Other posts in this series: