My Favourite Monsters A-Z – satyr

October 23, 2012 at 11:48 pm (fantasy, Magic University, writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

Satyrs are rarely portrayed as peaceful idyllic creatures like something out of Fantasia. Rather, they were monsters intended to exemplify the bestial nature of man – crude, uncivilized and at times hostile. In Greek mythology, it was a satyr’s lust that resulted in the death of Orpheus’s love, Eurydice.

In my own writing, one of the characters in my Masters & Renegades series, Snyder, is a satyr-human hybrid. Having spent most of his life being scorned for his mixed lineage, and not because of his human blood, he is ashamed of his satyr heritage. The reader gets a glimpse of the personal demons that haunt him when he looks into a special mirror intended to reveal secrets:

“Snyder, I believe it is your turn…”

With a sideways glance at Tom, Snyder stepped before the mirror. There was a moment of haze and one big bubble, and then the mirror slowed to a slight wave motion, but did not settle. It did bear the revelation within, however. As if looking into a pond rippling from a stone’s throw, Snyder’s reflection was not his jovial, well-groomed self, but that of a savage, sneering beast. His hair and fur were knotted and tangled with burrs, and his eyes wild and darting. Instead of Snyder’s fancy suede boots, the satyr’s feet were great cloven hooves, the nails long and twisted as though in need of a clipping. The creature clutched at a set of panpipes. Every few moments it would lower its head in a threatening gesture, exposing the large spiralled ram’s horns on its head, partially hidden by its frizzy hair. Its body was swarming with flies, probably drawn to the filth and rotted leaves matted into its fur, and as if to add insult to injury, it would pause every few seconds to scratch at its groin. It was not wearing any clothing, not even a modest loincloth.

Snyder turned several shades of red, but his features did not otherwise display any emotion. He stepped back, fluffing his curls with his hands to keep his horn tips out of view. Then he casually walked to his place next to Shetland. This time, however, he purposefully avoided the ladies’ eyes.

Not exactly what he wanted to see there.

Above is my sketch of a satyr.


  1. Jae said,

    Got a story question for you then. In this excerpt have we known before this point that it is a satyr? I just found it slightly confusing on this part: “Instead of Snyder’s fancy suede boots, the satyr’s feet were great cloven hooves, the nails long and twisted as though in need of a clipping.” From this excerpt only it seems like you suddenly leap into calling it a satyr. But I don’t know what’s come before this obviously, so it may work, just wanted to point it out if it was our first time being introduced to a satyr. I think it may still be a bit disruptive, you may want to work it more gently into the description. Otherwise, sounds fascinating! And as always, great sketches.

    • chantellyb said,

      Snyder makes a half-hearted attempt to hide his mixed lineage, but by this point the other characters are aware of his satyr blood. It is very obvious that the monster in the mirror is one of the more repulsive versions of a satyr, a reflection of his own distaste for that part of him.
      Thanks for the feedback, and I’m glad you’re enjoying my sketches 🙂

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