"a common feature of the various classical myths and literary epics is the descent of the protagonist to the underworld"

The archetypal hero, Ulysses – referred to many times in Riding the Ice Wind - as with the other heroes below - travelled to the underworld in order to seek out the ghost of the prophet Tiresias and get instructions about his return home. Sisyphus, whom legends suggest was Ulysses’ father, dwelt in hell but yearned for a return to the world. Milton’s Satan was flung headlong from heaven and Adam was exiled from the garden. Orpheus descended into hell to rescue Eurydice and, on losing her, wandered the world forever in despair. Theseus was forced to enter the labyrinth to hunt down his Minotaur. One of the labours of Hercules was to slay Cerberus, the dog who guarded the gates of hell, the hell that Dante, the foremost poet of the Western Canon, saw as composed of wind and ice.