Unsplash does not have good mermaid images.
Anywho, welcome to a brand new series, and the first one on my blog! Before we get started, I would like to point out that I am no scientist, and all the points I make in this series are simply from common sense and flawless deductive reasoning.
*bursts out laughing*
Well, this post is already a mess XD
How about a little bit of background before we jump in?
This series is going to be about the logic of magical creatures from mythology and pop culture. I’m going to point out some of the things wrong with them, and my theories of how these problems could be improved. Maybe even erased. I’ll post one “episode” each month, covering whatever creature comes to mind.
Are you ready for more rambling?
Mermaids originated in many different countries as part of their mythology. One of the earliest known myths involving mermaids is an Assyrian myth of the goddess Atargatis. She changed herself into a mermaid out of shame for killing her human lover.
Mermaids are typically described as having the upper body of a woman and the tail of a fish. Contrary to the Disney mermaids, they don’t wear seashells. Where on earth did the mermaids find the string? So many inconsistencies.
Mermaids started out as neutral beauties that were rarely spotted, but as the tales started to gain momentum, they began to take on similar characteristics to the Sirens from Greek mythology. They could sing a haunting tune and enchant their listener into swimming towards them, eventually exhausting himself and drowning in the rough waves. In other stories, mermaids can control the weather and can bring entire ships down with a few huge waves. (Maybe that’s what happened to King Agnar and Queen Iduna in Frozen) Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid paints mermaids as decent creatures, who are treated unfairly by everyone.
He’s probably the only one in pre-modern times who thought that.
My main question about mermaids is: How do they reproduce? Giving birth has got to be difficult, especially underwater. I mean, it could be similar to how whales reproduce, but I don’t exactly know how whales give birth, and whales aren’t mermaids. Google is not being helpful today.
I think mermaids can shape-shift into a human form (which adds more holes in the fantasy fabric, but we’re going to ignore those), and they go on land when it’s time to give birth. Then, they take their little mermaid babies underwater to learn to swim.
Sounds plausible, right?
Something else I have questions about: Why did mermaids steal the attributes of Greek Sirens? That’s plagiarism!! Because of this, many people mistake Sirens as mermaids, which they’re not! Sirens are actually half bird, half woman — not half fish, half woman. There’s a bit of a difference.
Sorry. I get a little annoyed when people get Greek mythology wrong.
Okay, now let’s move on to design flaws.
Many people, when they draw mermaids, stick to the classic Disney look. However, mermaids are fish, which means they need more fins than the ones that are at the end of their tail. They need a dorsal fin along their backs to help them cut through the water. They need bigger tail fins to push them through the water. After all, the size tail Disney gave them isn’t nearly big enough to help them swim as fast as they need to. Also, depending on how you’re designing them, they might need a pelvic fin along their front, like fish, and some fins on their sides.
Another thing: Gills. Where do the gills go? Because, since they can live under the water, they have to have gills. And when gills come into the conversation, that creates a lot of flaws in the worldbuilding of The Little Mermaid. If they have gills, they wouldn’t need to open their mouth except to talk. They wouldn’t even need a nose, really. And if they don’t have gills, they would have to surface to breathe, which ruins King Triton’s plans of keeping his daughters from going to the surface. Unless he had a much darker plan……
Their ears and eyes need protection too. After all, what happens to our ears and eyes when we stay underwater for long enough? Our eyes start to hurt and our ears get clogged with water (speaking from painful experience). Mermaids need protection from these things. They would need a thick cornea, and a layer of skin over top, like fish have, ultimately making them kind of unattractive. Their ears would need to be practically invisible, like fish ears, to be able to function.I don’t know about you, but I think they would look strange with invisible ears.
I could go on and on, but this post has gotten a little long. In conclusion, mermaid logic is difficult, and it makes it even more impossible for them to exist. There are multiple flaws in their current designs and stories. Fortunately, that makes it fun to invent your own type of mermaid for your story. Still, be careful not to make a mistake as you brainstorm.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know your thoughts on this series, and leave some ideas for what fantasy creature I should do next!
Thanks for reading!!