Menalippe

menalippefilmTime for the second character we can spot in the official Wonder Woman image, this time on the far left of the pic: Menalippe, portrayed by Lisa Loven Kongsli. Menalippe will be part of Diana‘s family as well, and possibly a second sister to Queen Hippolyta. We know that she’ll be General Antiope‘s lieutenant, a warrior who teaches Diana how to fight…and that is already quite a change from the comics since, among all the Amazons, she’s not exactly the fighter, having another set of abilities to put at her sisters’ disposal (not that she doesn’t fight at all, she’s an Amazon nevertheless). We have a year to wait for the movie, in the meanwhile, let’s take a look to the original Menalippe.

As all the Amazons, Menalippe was born when the goddesses of Olympus decided to create new champions of humanity, an elite of warriors who would have brought peace on Earth. The goddesses infused the souls of the women killed by men’s hatred into figures of clay, putting life in them and transforming them into beautiful, immortal women who embued the gifts of the goddesses that created them. Menalippe was the third one to emerge from the lake, after the sisters Hippolyta and Antiope; while the first two were entrusted with the title of queens and the mission of leading the Amazons in their quest for peace, Menalippe received a different talent, albeit an even more delicate and important one: she would have been the Oracle of the Gods, with a particular affinity to nature, able to hear the voice of the Olympians and to forsee the future to a certain extent. With this kind of ability, she was meant to be a guide for Hippolyta and Antiope, able to tell them which way the gods wanted the Amazons to go. Menalippe was extremely proud of her status as an Amazon, so when the actions of Ares, the God of War, brought her people to distance themselves more and more from common humans, she didn’t perceive it as a loss, quite the opposite, she was almost relieved that the Amazons didn’t have to live among men. When Ares then arranged things to have the demigod Heracles attack the Amazons, Menalippe was among the ones enslaved, raped and tortured by menalippecomics1his men. Through her, Hippolyta spoke to the goddesses, and Artemis and Athena answered to her prayer: Menalippe, however, pointed out that the goddesses would have freed them only if they refused to exact vengeance on their assailants. Hippolyta accepted these conditions, but Antiope didn’t, and as a result the Amazons divided between the two queens: those who truly and totally accepted the will of the gods and the Amazons’ mission for peace stayed with Hippolyta in Themyscira, while the ones eager to hunt and kill Heracles and his men left for Greece along with Antiope. Menalippe, knowing far too well where the will of the gods laid, stayed with Hippolyta. She even started a romantic relationship with a fellow Amazon, Penelope, and she kept acting as the Oracle.

In the following years, Queen Hippolyta manifested the desire to have a daughter, and came to Menalippe in search of help and advice: the Oracle spoke to the goddesses, who revealed her that they had saved one special soul for this particular occasion. Menalippe instructed Hippolyta on how to create a clay body for her daughter, and then acted as a vehicle for the last Amazon soul to be imbued in the clay: Diana, princess of the Amazons, was born. Menalippe helped Hippolyta in raising Diana, and followed her becoming one of the most gifted Amazons ever…until the gods spoke to her once again, telling her that they were seeking for a champion to be sent to Man’s World. The gods indicted the Trial of Flashing Thunder to select the champion, a contest that was ultimately won by Diana, eager to leave Themyscira and to follow the mysterious stranger who had arrived on the island, Steve Trevor. Hippolyta strongly opposed her daughter’s decision, but much to her surprise Menalippe stood with Diana: the gods had spoken, and Diana had to leave the island to become the heroine known as Wonder Woman, able to protect the weak and to inspire men to become something better than the battling tools Ares had transformed them into. Eventually Hippolyta allowed Diana to leave Themyscira with Trevor, much to Menalippe’s relief. Years later, Menalippe lost her connection to the menalippecomics2gods: Olympus, in fact, had almost been destroyed in a battle with Darkseid, master of Apokolips, and the Olympians had left our plane of existence to restore their strength. For the first time in her life, Menalippe was blind to the future, and despite she tried to compensate with her wisdom, she was among the first ones to fall for the tricks of Eris, the Goddess of Discord, who took advantage of her brothers’ and sisters’ absence to plant her seeds among the Amazons, corrupting them. Only the intervention of Wonder Woman defeated Eris and freed the Amazons from her influence, but Menalippe, feeling guilty, fell into a deep depression, and refused to be with her sisters again, blaming her weakness. Suddenly, however, Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods, appeared to her, revealing that the Olympians were coming back to this plane of existence, and that the Amazons would have needed their Oracle: with her self-confidence restored, Menalippe rejoined Hippolyta and the others, preparing the Amazons for their greatest challenge yet.

Menalippe is a proud and wise Amazon, one of the first ever born from the Greek waters. She possesses all the canon abilities of her sisters (superhuman strength, speed, stamina and durability, immortality, proficiency with weapons), but more than that she has a special connections with Olympus, that makes her the Oracle of the Gods among her people: she can speak directly to the Olympians and she can reveal their will to the other Amazons, guiding them and counseling them. Entrusted with a huge responsibility, Menalippe is the right Amazon for the task, wise and rational, with a deep faith in her gods that allows her to trust them even in the direst of situations.

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