In modern pop culture, mermaids are benign and often romantic creatures of the sea who readily find happiness in the company of humans, as in The Little Mermaid, The Shape of Water, and even Aquaman. But in medieval times, sea sirens were deadly as well as sexy. A new TV show, Siren, is a return to the earlier view of mermaids. Its main character, Ryn, surprises humans by not being Ariel.
Although Ryn is more of a mermaid than a siren in form, her ferocity – in particular, her taste for human flesh – finds its roots in the siren legend. In The Odyssey, the Sirens are said to have been surrounded by ‘a great heap of…
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