”IO”: A New Netflix Sci-Fi Production Inspired by Mythology [attention – spoilers!]

“IO” is a new Netflix sci-fi production (directed by Jonathan Helpert, rated 13+) which presents the post-apocaliptyc version of the life on Earth.

In the movie we can find a lot of references to Greek and Roman myhology – especially to the myths of Jupiter (Zeus) and two of his lovers – Io and Leda.



The action of the movie takes place in the future, when the Earth is dying because of the toxic air pollution. We get to know that most of the people already left the planet and they are now living in the “Exodus” colony, at the space station called “IO”, which is localized on the one of the Jupiter’s moons (the naming becomes the first reference to the mythology in the movie).

In the first movie scene the main character – Sam Walden, is reading the poem of William Butler Yeats, entitled “Leda and the Swan” (written in 1923), placed on an art exhibition poster:


The Yeats’ interpretation of the Zeus and Leda’s myth is the key to understand the whole story presented in “IO”.

Sam Walden

The main character of the movie is Sam Walden – a young girl, daughter of the well-known scientist (doctor Walden). She decides to stay on Earth and fight for her planet. Sam is living in her scientific station, placed above the toxic clouds in a high attitude. The girl believes that humans and nature are able to adapt themselves to the new atmosphere. We can see that everyday she is trying to grow plants, vegetables and breed the bees. The girl wants to continue her fathers’ work – she is trying to convince people that they should stay on Earth, and she is doing that by broadcasting her fathers’ recorded lectures. Apparently someone listened…

In the movie we can see that each day Sam travels down to the city zone (of course with the stash of oxygen bottles). She seems to be interested in literature and art, as she visits the library very often. In one of the scenes we can see her taking a book about Mythology. Later we also discover, that her wish is to see the exhibition in the local Museum of Art, dedicated to Mythology.


In the movie we also get to know Micah – the teacher of classical history and literature, who listens to Sam’s broadcasts. He believes that they are transmitted live and that he can meet doctor Walden face to face, so he decides to visit him.

Micah as a character seems to be an allusion to the figure of Jupiter (Zeus), especially in a few scenes. For example: we see that he arrives to Sam’s station from the sky (as Zeus becomes a cloud to approach Io in the myth).


There is also a conversation between these two characters about the swan (a reference to the popular art symbol, of coursed based on the Greek version of the Zeus and Leda’s myth, where Zeus takes the swan’s shape to seduce her). Sam asks Micah if he has ever seen this animal (as he belongs to the generation from before the apocalypse). He admits that he saw the bird when he was a kid – the girl seems to be impressed by this fact. I think it won’t be a surprise that eventually Sam and Micah have a sexual intercourse.

Movie ending

One of the the last scenes of the movie takes us to the Museum of Art – Sam finally watches the exhibition about the Mythology and Micah is joining her as well.

While Sam is watching the “Leda and the Swan” painting by Paul Cézanne, she is also reading again the William Butler Yeats’ sonnet. Micah (a teacher) is explaining her the meaning of it:

Micah: “Leda gave birth to Helen – Helen of Troy. A face that launched a thousand ships. She was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Her abduction by Paris, the Prince of Troy, brought upon a Trojan War. The broken wall, the burning roof and tower, and Agamemnon dead. Leda was related to the gods. And the swan is Zeus. Zeus in disguise. Leda gave birth to God’s children.”

Then Sam confess to him her prophetic dreams…

In the last movie scene we see that Micah is on his way to the “Exodus” colony, while Sam and… their child are standing without the masks on the beautiful beach (just as in her dream visions).

“Just as Leda gave birth to god’s children, Sam is suggested to have given birth to a new generation, the next stage of evolution and survival on the planet.”

Source – https://screenrant.com/io-netflix-movie-ending-explained/

Art and Philosophy in the movie

During the movie we can see a lot of beautiful art representations of the myths of Jupiter and Io and Leda.

For example the painting “Jupiter and Io” by Correggio from ca. 1532:

Antonio Allegri, called Correggio - Jupiter and Io - Google Art Project.jpg

and Paul Cézanne‘s painting “Leda and the Swan” from ca. 1880:

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania


In one of movie fragment Micah explains to Sam the love theory of Platon (The Myth of the Missing Half), to prove her that people are not meant to be be alone (below short reminder of the Platon’s theory):

Found by Dorota Bazylczyk

Elaborated by Dorota Bazylczyk

See more:

  • “IO” in IMDB – link
  • “IO” in “The Guardian” – link








“Un día de tormenta” (“A Stormy Day”) by Daniel Nesquens and Maguma

“Un día de tormenta” (“A Stormy Day”) created by the awarded (i.a., Internationale Jugendbibliothek’s White Raven in 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2010) children’s books author, Daniel Nesquens, and the illustrator and graphic designer Maguma, was published for Spanish children by a small Spanish publisher, A Buen Paso, in October 2018.


Two covers of “Un día de tormenta”

The text and illustrations of “Un día de tormenta” combine into an interesting whole. It presents two different perspectives on the same story: to grasp both meanings the reader must turn the book over and upside-down.

A huge wave, illustration by Maguma

Because of this particular feature, the book has two different covers and two plots which meet in the middle. The story is rather loca (crazy), as told me the bookseller in Barcelona, where I bought the book! The “human” version (with a person on the cover) tells the story of a group of people whose normal day was interrupted by a huge wave, coming-from-nowhere, destroying everything in its wake, and taking alongside not only furniture, but also people. Finally, at the end, they met a huge man (?) whose hair and beard are made from water.

People and the Water-Man (Poseidon), illustration by Maguma
The Water-Man (Poseidon), illustration by Maguma

The story of the water-man begins on the other side of the book (cover with a white hand). He is a huge creature with water-blue hair and beard, wearing a sandal and carrying a trident. These attributes (esp. the trident) resemble the Greek god Poseidon’s typical objects and in both text and illustrations, there are more or less obvious references to Homer’s “Odyssey” and to Classical Antiquity: the lotus flower (“hoja de loto,” Odysseus met Lotus-eaters), the name of the boat “La Odisea” (on one of the illustrations), a moon of Saturn (“una luna de Saturno”), etc.

A sandal with a classical meander motif, illustration by Maguma.

The book may be interpreted as an example of the tragic universal struggle of people confronting the “unknown” forces of nature or simply victims of bad luck. It also shows young readers that everything depends on the perspective and sometimes it is important to change one’s point of view in order to understand fully the surrounding world. Is there a better way to change our point of view than to turn the book upside-down?

See more:

  • More information about “Un día de tormenta” on the official website of A Buen Paso publishing house – link
  • The official website of Magumahttp://maguma.org/

Found by Krzysztof Rybak


“Big Picture Book of General Knowledge” by James MacLaine and Annie Carbo

“Big Picture Book of General Knowledge” [“Wielka księga wiedzy. Cały ten świat”] is a children’s encyclopedia written by James Maclaine and illustrated by Annie Carbo. In Poland the book was published by Wydawnictwo Zielona Sowa in 2018.

The book is rich in interesting facts about the world, nature, history, sport, technology, art, etc. It is divided in different sections (see below):

This encyclopedia can be very attractive for children who can already read, as well as for toddlers. Inside, the young recipients can find many funny stories, unobvious information, and creative illustrations.

In a few chapters of the book we can also find some references to Classical Antiquity. For example, on the main cover we see the Roman Emperor Claudius:

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania big picture book general knowledge
The cover of “Big Picture Book of General Knowledge” [source]

Inside the section “Who’s who?” children can get to know the first five Roman Emperors (and the meaning of Caligula’s name):

“Who’s who?” chapter fragment from the Polish edition of the book [picture taken by the author of the post]

There is also a chapter that focuses on the “Myths and Monsters”, where the young readers can get to know the Trojan horse:

“Myths and Monsters” chapter fragment from the original edition of the book [source
“Myths and Monsters” chapter fragment from the Polish edition of the book [picture taken by the author of the post]
Found by Dorota Bazylczyk

Elaborated by Dorota Bazylczyk

A Feast on Olympus

On October 25, 2018 I had an opportunity to participate in a workshop for school teachers and to attend an open lecture about mythology for the 6th grade General Mariusz Zaruski 231st Primary School in Warsaw. The workshop was organized by two teachers – Anna Czernik (the 231st Primary School) and Agnieszka Czernik (the 387th Primary School). As I am not a school teacher, it was for me a great honour and pleasure to be invited to the workshop – all thanks to “Our Mythical Childhood” project!

I was most impressed by the lecture prepared by Anna Czernik. It was an example of a class given every year after finishing a course on mythology. For two hours the students – all extremely brave, active, and involved! – became Greek goddesses and gods. Each of them had a short presentation about the main mythical stories and features of gods, as well as their attributes.


Some students were more courageous than others, but all had very interesting presentations and divine appearances. They made their costumes themselves and prepared their own roles – it was their homework to find out about their particular deities and tell everybody what they learned. Some of them did it in verse, some were very theatrical, and all identified themselves with their gods. The students have transformed into gods to such an extent that during the following competition, solving riddles, they confused Irenka, Maciej, and Marysia, etc., with Demeter, Asclepius, and Athena.


And there were plenty of competitions, and questions, and riddles. The students were skilled, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. Some had greater knowledge than others, some were quicker giving answers, some were as serious as gods should be, but it seemed that all of them liked the make-belief world they were in and the gods they impersonated.


And afterwards, there was a feast on Olympus for gods and goddesses:




After the class Anna Czernik said that these classes look different every year, because students are different, as are their interests and attitudes, but each time all of them are usually very involved and manage to create wonderful and great learning opportunity.

And of course, such events require a significant amount of work, but maybe this is why students are so committed and engaged.


Thank you, Anna and Agnieszka, for doing it for your students and for sharing it with us!

Post by Hanna Paulouskaya, Postdoctoral Researcher in the “Our Mythical Childhood” Project

Pictures – courtesy of the School. We wish to thank also the UW Office of Research Administration for the contact with this School.