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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | ANTONIA THOMAS as HELEN OF TROY, the spartan queen who defied the kingdom of her father, who eloped with the prince of troy, whose decision leveled a city and launched the greatest war in legend.

She had been the prize of men her whole life, sullied by men, caged by men, given, given, always given. Helen of Sparta was a queen who was beholden to the basest peasantry; Helen of Troy shall be a goddess on earth. Choice, choice, she chants as she boards the ship with the bright eyed youth. Let them come, she thinks, and smiles. Let them come for their queen; let them come for their idol and their star, let them come for the mirage of a woman perfect beyond measure. Let them break their spears on the walls of Troy, let them break their spines beneath Trojan swords. You made me into a goddess, she thinks. And a goddess demands blood.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | HAYLEY ATWELL as JULIE D'AUBIGNY, master swordswoman and opera singer, who had seduced noblemen and nuns, whose flamboyance and wild lifestyle inspired romances after her death.

“What do you wish for?” The duke’s son asks, and she smiles at him over the rim of her wine glass, watches him watch her. He still moves stiffly from where her sword had pierced his shoulder - fine act, that. Fine art, fencing. Penetration was always a man’s sport, was it not? She looks at his sweet young mouth, and thinks of a dozen other lovers, of counts and ministers and prim young ladies and the lauded courtesans of the opera; she casts her eyes downwards. What freedom, to make your own name. D'Aubigny, she thinks, and then thinks of the meek maidens in the popular novels, half penny worth papers about the girls they teach you to be. “To inspire novels,” she replies.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | THANDIE NEWTON as SEKHMET, the egyptian lion-headed goddess of war, whose breath created the deserts, who leads the pharoahs of the kingdom against his enemies.

The earth trembles at her cry, the Nile itself changes course in the face of her wrath. She roars over the vast deserts of her land, and the enemy is a blurry horde in the distance. Let us slaughter them together, she purrs in the pharoah’s ear, and trails a paw down his bare back. Let us dance over their corpses; let us drink their blood to excess. When the battle starts, she can feel the trembling of the earth in the confines of her heart, feel the cry for blood in the depth of her stomach. When she roars, the army rushes forward.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | ROSE BYRNE as ISABELLA OF FRANCE, the wife of edward ii and mother of edward iii, renowned for her beauty and political finesse, who deposed her husband and was named the she-wolf of france.

Hugh Despenser hangs from a great height with his entrails falling out, and his cries can be heard for miles. She touches her handkerchief to her nose, to block out the stench of burning flesh, but also to hide her smile. I am a queen, she thinks and tilts her head. I come from the royal blood of France, I am a queen and my mother was a queen and I am made from the flesh of conquerors. Kings may love and kings may forget - as the world allows them these trivial delights - but queens must always have the crown in mind, lest they become mere puppets. Queens must always have a taste for blood. She touches her tongue to her teeth, and thinks, burn.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | EVA GREEN as MACHA, the ancient irish goddess of war, horses and sovereignty, one of the morrigan.

I have bathed in the blood of thousands. I have carved my wrath into battlefields and shaped the nightmares of generations. I have felled entire kingdoms in a day; I have whispered to queens and made emperors. I am the goddess soldiers pray to, I hold the lives of all men in the palm of my hand.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | SOPHIE TURNER as GUINEVERE, the queen of arthur, the godhead of lancelot, the white enchantress whose love brought down a kingdom.

She was given to him with the promise of a crown. “Some day you will sit on the throne of this broken land,” her father had promised her, before he bartered her like a cow. “And you will make it anew.” Ancient stories tell of an ancient queen, whose love burnt a city to the ground and spawned a legend; the nuns tell her that is wicked, that it was a woman’s lust that had brought about the downfall of every empire, had cast man from Eden. But I will be a queen, she thinks but does not say. I will be queen, and kings are not knights; kings do not fight and kings do not bleed. Should I not have a champion to bow at my feet, to kill and burn for the sake of mine honour? Should I not have a Paris, as every queen must? When she sees the man, when she sees his dark hair and his dark eyes at the tourney - she sits up.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | LIV TYLER as THE LADY OF THE LAKE, the queen of the isle of apples, the lover of the great merlin, the woman who gave arthur the boy the means by which he became arthur the legend.

Her hand breaks the surface of the lake, and grasped between her thin fingers is the golden hilt of a long greatsword, crafted in flame and ice, waiting for a king. Years later, she will sit at Arthur’s table and tell tales of whirlwinds of fire, of hurricanes, of wind and sea that the goddess had used to cast the sword at her feet. She will tell him that it was destined for him, that this is the sword for a king of the ages, and she will ignore the hungry gleam in his sister’s eyes, she will ignore the tight lips of the old man at his side. This is the truth of kings, she knows: the crown is make believe. And men need a legend to worship. She lifts her goblet to her lips, and the wine is tart on her tongue. Kingmaker, she thinks. Mythmaker.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | ROONEY MARA as A RUSALKA, the unquiet spirit of a young woman who had died near water, which dances and sings by the light of the moon and lure men to their watery deaths.

Oh, my love, she sings and beckons with her pale hand, her hair strung out long over her breasts, twisted with moss. Come, come, come to me. He is beautiful and he is golden, and he has lips like a ripe plum, and she does so miss it, she does so miss the sun; the burn of it on her skin, the way it caresses her hair. She misses the taste of light. Come, my love, come, my sweet. She smiles, and spins; shall I dance for you, my love? When he draws near, she lets him wrap his arms around her, and feels the sun within him, pressing against her skin. When she drifts back, when the water comes up to their knees, he follows; when it comes up to their throats, he is grasping her ever tighter. Down, down, down to the river deep, she murmurs to him, oh, my love; won’t you come for a visit? He follows; they always follow, and below, where the moon does not reach, she presses her lips against his, and finds no breath. When he falls to the river deep, his lips blue, she thinks sadly: I only wanted a kiss.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | MICHELLE DOCKERY as HELOISE D'ARGENTEUIL, the brilliant scholar who was renowned throughout europe by her late teens, the lover and equal of pierre abelard.

Turn your affections to God, he advises, and her hands clench hard around the heavy wooden cross at her throat. Direct your love to our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, for it is he, not I, who had loved you all this while. How foolish he is, to think that love is a thing that can be controlled. She turns her eyes heavenward, and sings the hymns with her sisters, she clenches her hands around the beads of her rosaries, and prays until her voice is hoarse. Our father who art in heaven, she whispers on nights lit with dripping tallow. Hallowed be thy name. Let me loose from this love, o Lord. Let me loose and let me be free, turn my heart from this mortal man and let me serve you, entire. The songs come out hollow from her throat, and God does not fall within her heavy, and filling as her love. God leaves her empty after prayer, cold after confession, and she closes her eyes, thinks: please.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | PHOEBE TONKIN as DAPHNE, the nymph of artemis who was pursued by apollo, lord of light, who pleaded to the gods to save her and was turned into a laurel tree by divine benediction.

The skin of her arms are hardening, and at first she thinks she must have dreamed it as she casts her face to the heavens; o gods, preserve me. Let me not be used as light’s plaything. Her soul and her maidenhead belongs to light’s sister, and she shall not throw away her oath for a mere golden afternoon. Save me, she cries, and her legs are hardening; her legs which were once so swift, once so nimble, rooting themselves into the ground, digging into the very heart of the earth. My love, Apollo whispers, his hands clawing uselessly around her bark-covered waist, my soul. Her mouth twists, and it stays in the same satisfied curve. O fickle gods, she thinks, her face frozen heavenwards in unforgiving lines.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | RACHEL WEISZ as PALLAS ATHENE, the greek goddess of wisdom and war, the patroness of cities, the composer of greatness.

She had sprung from her father’s head in full armor, she is the daughter of thunder and thought, of lightning and wisdom, she was born to a mother whom the fates said would bear greater children than their father - this is the story all men know. She was the child of a single, fleeting thought - a thought that had gripped Zeus the Thunderer, a thought of empires, of civilizations, of towers reaching to the heights of Olympus; the making of a world with a word. She had forged heroes for the myths, had inspired men with divine wisdom; had had the greatest city in the world named in her image; she wears the head of Medusa on her shield. She is the goddess men pray to for genius; she is Pallas, the molder of heroes.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | ZOE SALDANA as CIRCE, the daughter of sun and sea, the enchantress who ensnared wily odysseus.

“My hero,” she whispers and they come. She holds out her hands, raises her pure sweet voice, draws her fingers across her loom, and they trail towards her, as the earth itself gravitates towards her father the Sun. The song is the same every time - how I need you, rescue me, come to me; I am helpless and I need you. They are all the same; they all come in the end. In rain and sun and wind and fire, they follow her voice through the forest, into her hearth. The song is the same every time: I am a woman and I need you. I am a woman and you must help me. When they come, their eyes wide and their jaws open, she smiles invitingly, places her lips to their cheeks as their skin turns to fur. She strokes a hand across the beast’s head, and thinks: your natural state.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | OONA CHAPLIN as PAX ROMANA, the personification of roman peace; she is the scream of the roman sword, she is the spirit of the empire.

Peace is not gentle. This is the lesson the empire learns at her knee, suckling at her breast; peace is sword and fire, it is might and courage and cunning, it is unbending steel. Peace is pacification; peace is conquest until your words are the only ones heard, until all the nations of the world are bowing before you. She smiles down at the child on her knee, at the greedy, suckling mouth of her daughter. One day she will stand tall and fast and she will fell entire kingdoms in a single campaign. One day she will build a temple to her in a field of war, and she will teach the world that peace is not gentle, that peace is not kind, that peace is not soft. Peace is pacification, and oh, Pax thinks. There will be no peace in the world but Romana.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | ZHANG ZIYI as HUA MULAN, the legendary chinese warrior who took her father’s place, who fought among the best of the empire and commanded them, whom men called general.

When the emperor offers her all the gold she can spend and all the honors that her name can carry, she refuses. Her hands are still stained with the blood of the empire’s enemies, her name is whispered by the peasants in the fields and by the nobles at court, and her eyes have learnt to sweep her surroundings for the errant fall of a leaf, for the snap of a twig - she has no quiet within her. When the emperor offers her a place at court, when the emperor offers her everlasting glory by royal decree, she refuses. I have slayed your enemies, she thinks. I have let them taste the steel of my sword and kissed them with the tips of my arrows. I have already made my name, and it is one that shall be remembered past the remembrance of yours; my name will live when your tomb fades into the dust of the earth. “I desire only one thing, my king,” she says. “Let me have peace.”

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | HOLLIDAY GRAINGER as LORELEI, the spirit of the rhine who lures sailors to their deaths on an outcrop of jagged rock.

The comb she holds is golden/she sings a song as well/whose melody binds an enthralling/and overpowering spell. - heinrich heine, die lorelei

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You hear it on a dark cool night, the waters of the river lapping lightly against the sides of the ship - the music rises; a woman’s high, sweet voice, and from a distance you see it. The gleam of gold on a far outcrop of rock, a pale hand running through the mass of aurelian curls, cast in a silver shine by the heavy moon overhead. You are leaning over the side of the ship, trying to grasp her song with your heavy, clumsy hands, and she is getting farther and farther away, fading into the distance, no, no, you will not let her go - 

Before you know it, you have jumped.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | KAYA SCODELARIO as ARTEMIS, the greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, and the moon; the eternal virgin; the sister of apollo.

When her father asks her what she desires to have, she smiles, and leans in. Leave unto me what is mine, she whispers, and over her father’s shoulder, she meets the golden gaze of her darling brother. Give me dominion over the wilderness; let me run free in the woods for eternity, do not keep me in chains, father. She had seen the goddesses of Olympus incarcerated under the will of her father, under the will of the men - all their beauty and strength and immortality became blunt once they allowed themselves to be taken. My body is my own, she thinks, and her fingers trail over the long curve of her silver bow. My body is mine to claim, and mine to use, and I will not give it up. She looks up, and holds her brother’s gaze. “Let me remain a maiden forever.”

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | TILDA SWINTON as NEMESIS, the greek goddess of divine retribution, she who inflicts upon mortals exactly what they sow, who carries out the will of the fates.

I am the daughter of titans, of night and the primeval ocean from which the world emerged. I am the winged instrument of justice, I am the right hand of fate. She looks down at the trembling man, on his hands and knees, prostrated before her, and her mouth twists. She is the will of heaven, and she will not be denied. She sweeps down, until her lips are cold and instant beside the man’s ear, and whispers, “hubris is a sin.”

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | IMOGEN POOTS as PSYCHE, the girl who had stolen worship from aphrodite, whose beauty made eros himself taste the bite of his own arrows, who performed three daunting tasks to regain her lover.

You are not meant for mortal men, her parents had told her when they abandoned her on a lonely outcrop of rock. Your beauty is too great; it is a thing for the gods, and the gods only. Her bridegroom presses kisses against the hollow at the base of her throat, against the line of her jaw, and she has to wonder, then, how she can be touched, when men and oracles tell her that she is a whirling pillar; a paragon; a marble statue that must not be touched, for fear that human warmth mars her. When her candle illuminates love himself, when it casts a golden glow over the face of her immortal lover, she feels a weight settle inside her, whispering yes, yes of course. When Aphrodite tells her, “three tasks you must perform, three tasks you must survive,” she only smiles. I was not meant for mortality, she thinks but does not say, and lifts her chin. Do your worst.

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | JAIMIE ALEXANDER as NIKE, the greek goddess of victory

She is the height to which all men aspire. She does not fly over the fields of war howling for blood, she does not dirty her hands with anything other than the hubris of conquerors. Death does not interest her; she is the voice against the shell of your ear, whispering, “the day is yours.”

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ladies who should be playing mythical head bitches in charge | KATERINA GRAHAM as MARY OF MAGDALA, the most celebrated disciple of christ, to whom jesus first appeared at his resurrection.

She is not crying when they take his body down, feet bloodied and hands bloodied, limp and pale, the crown biting into his forehead. She is not crying when she cleans his wounds, pulls thorns from his scalp and the nails from his hands. She is not crying when she presses her lips to his cheek, whispers, oh, my love. Beneath the dirt and the sweat and the blood, beneath the hopes and prayers of others, he is only a man. She had spent her life loving a messiah, she had given her heart over to a martyr who was always made to be nailed to two slabs of wood, a man who was always fated to breathe his last wearing a crown of thorns. She cants her face up to the heavens, and she does not pray. What now? She asks. What do I do, now?