Just read the Routledge Companion to Women and Monarchy in the Ancient World. Loads of fantastic ideas very compatible with Glorantha – but one section particularly struck me was about brother-sister marriages among some of the Hellenistic dynasties (as well as among the pharaohs and Persian great kings). Everybody recognised those marriages as both incestuous and consanguineous – forbidden to mortals. But they were permitted – sometimes even required – for the basilleus precisely because the basilleus was “more-than mortal”. In short the violation of taboo was not because of the royal pair’s exalted status but was the sign of it. Gloranthan heroes routinely violate taboos or perform terrible deeds – we often think this is a case of the powerful getting away with what is forbidden to others, a sign of hypocrisy. But perhaps we have that backwards – the taboo violation (and surviving despite that) might well be one of the markers of being a Hero.Anyways, food for thought at least.
But let’s look at the Big Daddy of Greek heroes – Heracles. The man was a taboo breaking machine! Sure he suffered each time – and his 12 Labors of course were punishment for murdering his wife and children in a mad rage – but those transgressions are a large part of what marked him as a Demi-god.
Helen largely skates free of personal consequences – another sign of her status.