all-seeing-eyes

Some Thoughts: Eclipsa

I haven’t been writing much for SVTFOE because I got a lot of feedback from everyone saying they wouldn’t like that kind of content on this blog. So I’ve decided to take my thoughts for SVTFOE to Cartoon Universe’s YouTube channel. This is the first of what I hope will be quite a few analyses on Star Vs. I’ll be posting the transcripts for those videos on this blog.

This might change, if there’s overwhelmingly negative feedback like last time, but I feel like it’s an okay compromise since it’s a little more discreet. With that, let’s get started!

Eclipsa has always been the enigma of the Butterfly family. While each queen of Mewni has her own motif, and chapter in the book of spells, Eclipsa is unique in that she seems to have an entire domain as her motif, that of the darkness. In other words, while the other queens all occupy slices of the realm of “light,” Eclipsa, it seems, is the exclusive occupant of its diametric space.

This is, of course, as far as we’re aware of in the canon of the show. We know that of all the chapters in the family spell book, only Eclipsa’s has a connotation of being forbidden, requiring Glossaryk to unlock it.

Given the intrigue surrounding the character, Eclipsa’s re-emergence in the narrative raises some questions about where Star and the series are heading.

Since the show’s inception, we’ve seen that “The forces of evil” are not such a simple thing to place.

What initially was a struggle for power between “good” Mewman’s and “evil” monsters, was shown to be much more complex.

Mewni is a kingdom rife with inequality, with leaders who care about their subjects but at the same time view them as easily suggestible and lesser than themselves. Monsters, likewise, are not homogenous, and suffering from poverty, under the table politicking, and disorder.

Over the series, the “evil” has taken many forms, from Ludo’s attempts to steal the wand, to Toffee’s manipulation and destruction of many of the characters.

Amid all of the interpersonal conflict, though, there has been another steady narrative going on. Star herself has been changing throughout the series.

One thing to recall is that Star was originally sent to Earth so that she could better be trained to be a queen. Coming to Earth was a compromise she made so she wouldn’t be sent to St. Olga’s. Interpreted this way, a lot of the series is geared towards Star’s becoming more and more becoming of someone who deserves to be the Queen of Mewni.

From being able to fight and defend her kingdom to being able to deal with other people in a mature and diplomatic way, Star’s experiences are honing her to be a better person and a better Queen, and the series is documenting that.

Something that is generally agreed upon is that Star is maturing. She’s made many personal sacrifices for the things she cares about, destroying her wand (not once, but twice), risking her life, leaving her life on Earth in order to protect her friends and her kingdom.

After the Battle for Mewni mini-movie, there is seemingly little else to prevent Star from being considered a true queen. In Queen Moon’s words, Star wasn’t just “a happy child” any more. She has become significantly stronger, more patient, more selfless, and more responsible than when she was first introduced.

At the same time, it appears as though the “evil” she’s supposed to be against is reformed, or vanquished, marked by Ludo’s commitment to reflection and Toffee’s apparent destruction.

It’s striking that the end of the Battle for Mewni showed Eclipsa’s crystal being fractured. But her appearance as a potential threat to the main characters might be subtler than those of the previous antagonists.

1. What Eclipsa Represents

Eclipsa made her first appearance in Into the Wand, on her tapestry from Star’s memory of the Grandma room. And her status as a member of the family was until then kept hidden from Star, as we learn in Star and Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension.

The Butterfly family likely felt that Eclipsa’s very existence was too dangerous for Star to know about at this point in her life. Later, in Page Turner, the Magic High Commission react with much fear that Star is reading Eclipsa’s chapter in the book.

But then, when we finally see the end of the episode, she appeared unaffected by the new information presented to her.

In the end, all her reading amounted to Star’s using only one spell, the all-seeing eye, a spell meant to watch someone else without their knowing.

From the way the older characters reacted to Star’s reading Eclipsa’s chapter, we had expected spells on murder, death, and in general of a much darker nature.

It’s worth noting then, why a surveillance spell is up there alongside those of say, Eclipsa’s spell to kill the un-killable monster.

It may very well be that the show is framing things like consent, choice, and nonviolence as important values that need to be upheld. And this puts in clearer perspective, why Eclipsa is so feared in the first place.

A persistent theme in the narratives of Eclipsa is simply her person. Eclipsa isn’t often viewed by the characters as a previous queen of Mewni, or a great and powerful wielder of magic in so much as she’s simply Eclipsa.

In the show, her name needs no introduction, and she herself requires no qualifiers. When characters mention her, all of the weight her name carries speaks for itself, and the listeners react with corresponding awe and horror.

And we gather then, based on context, all these other facts about her.

In Into the Wand, we recognise her as a previous queen because of her presence in the Grandma Room. In Baby and Page Turner, we get a glimpse of just how powerful Eclipsa’s magic is and the fear she brings with her.

Yet we’ve seen similarly powerful magic users before. Rhombulus was able to contain her, and based on Baby’s assessment, Star’s power could Rival Eclipsa’s own, but they don’t elicit the kind of fear that invoking Eclipsa’s name does.

Something unique to Eclipsa, then, is a certain self-orientedness we don’t see in other queens, which, coupled with her power, makes her both unpredictable and terrifying.

For instance, while the other tapestries in the Grandma Room, both from Into the Wand and the Guidebook, showcase previous queens of Mewni in terms of their motif, a great act they did for the kingdom, or something they stood for, Eclipsa’s entry is very personal.

“Eclipsa Queen of Mewni to a Mewman King was wed,
But took a Monster for her love and away from Mewni fled.”

Unlike those of the other queens, Eclipsa’s tapestry is very focused on her private life. Even the image on the tapestry captures an un-queenly aspect of her life, her being held by a large demon, wearing a ring on his finger.

From the episode Moon the Undaunted, we know that the tapestries don’t capture the moments in the exact way they happened. Even Moon’s blasting off Toffee’s finger was stylised for the tapestry.

This highlights the idea that the representations captured are great and decisive moments in the lives of the queens.  

For Moon, it was being able to intimidate the un-killable monsters and preventing them from attacking the kingdom. That act not only saved Mewni, but cemented her role as a strong and capable queen, earning her authority in the eyes of much older parties.

In that way, Moon’s moment had large- and personal-scale implications worth recording.

If Eclipsa’s decisive moment was her choosing personal interest, that is, her demon love, over her kingdom, then the large-scale implication is apparent. Mewni’s queen had left, and her daughter, or the next Butterfly in line would be queen.

On a personal level, it tells us a lot about Eclipsa. She’s not only aware of her own power, but she’s also very confident about it. Her identity isn’t tied to being a queen or to Mewni.

Glossaryk himself said that the only queen who had never bothered him with questions was Eclipsa. Her character has a large focus on interiority, and it’s likely she made a lot of her decisions on her own.

Eclipsa’s strong individuality on its own, doesn’t seem to be dark and evil. That in itself ties in with many of the show’s themes about prejudice and making judgements.

What that individuality and stubbornness has brought, though, is a lot of very powerful spells that impinge on the lives of others. A common theme linking the spells for “Power of darkness, forces of evil, eternal suffering, blah, blah, blah” that Star saw in Eclipsa’s chapter is their disregard of others.

When spying on Marco, Star would have rather seethed on her own rather than be honest about her feelings, or at least talk to her friends so that things wouldn’t have been as awkward. And the use of that power was intoxicating, because she was calling these shots on her own, seemingly detached from the mercy or wants of others, but it didn’t respect Marco or Jackie’s privacy.

The act of killing someone else is the ultimate disregard for their being an individual, because it likens their life as something worth much less than the life of the killer. Toffee’s attempted erasure of Star and Glossaryk, particularly in the context of means to an end, exemplifies that.

The reason Eclipsa’s chapter and dark magic in general may be so dangerous is its promotion of this very impulsive and self-oriented worldview, which is probably not something to be supported in a queen, who is to be responsible for many individuals.

The theme of singularity in Eclipsa is even more apparent now, as she appears to be the last of her generation of Butterflies, being Star’s ninth great-grandmother. She’s been encased in her crystal, alone for hundreds of years.

Now that she’s returning, the carefully crafted narrative that things were always a certain way, or that a princess always had to follow certain steps before becoming a queen, could change drastically.

2. The Upturn of Values

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