elaine the fair

ACOWAR References

I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite references in ACOWAR because it really does make the story way more fun! (These are mostly my own observations/ideas and nothing too official). 

I’ll add more tomorrow when I have time… but off the top of my head I remember:

  • Koeschi: probably from the Russian folk tale Koschei the Deathless
  • Stryga: the same name as that main chimera on Notre Dame!
  • Vassa: a reference to the Russian folk tale The Firebird and Princess Vasilia (although her story also sounds like it’s blended with Swan Lake). So that would mean that Koeschi is her kidnapper…
  • I got serious Exodus vibes from Nephelle’s story
  • Lord Thanatos. lol
  • Thesan, the Etruscan Goddess of dawn
  • the Morrigan (which still makes me so happy)
  • Andromache
  • pretty sure Azriel is named after Azrael, the Angel of Death
  • Madja the healer: I read about an ancient Egyptian archeological site where they found a healer’s body and named her Madja but maybe that’s a total coincidence
  • not sure if Dagdan is a reference to The Dagda but that was my first thought… especially the association with the cauldron
  • Idk if Elain is a reference to the Arthurian legend where Elaine the Fair (or The Lady of Shallott if you’re an Anne of Green Gables fan) dies of unrequited love… but that kind of fits.
  • the Myrmidons: I’m taking this in the Achilles context
  • Eris, the Greek goddess of discord
  • I think the Illyrian stuff is obvious but there’s that
  • Helion’s probably a form of Helios, the Titan god of the sun
  • I totally googled this after a certain plot point: Lucien means “light/illumination” and that’s rather fitting haha. He’s also a prince in Persian mythology buuut I don’t think that really fits.
  • the Naga
  • And this is old news but still makes me sad when people don’t know it, so: the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin
  • Ouroboros!
  • and then there are the obvious influences in earlier books of Beauty & the Beast, Hades/Persephone, Cinderella (with how she had to pick the lentils out of the fireplace before she could go to the “ball” in ACOTAR), East of the Sun West of the Moon, etc…

Ok I feel like I’m forgetting a ton and I know I’ve read about a Brannagh before, so let me think on a few and add more later! I just love mythology and how many reference Maas can throw into one book.


The complete poetical works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Poet Laureate.
New York.
Harper & Brothers, Publishers.
Franklin Square.

The Lady of Shalott

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide :
The mirror crack’d from side to side ;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Side Story: The Melancholy of Elaine

Jericho: “Damn it Ban!! You…”
Ban: “Kakah! ♪
You might be the first… ♪ ”
Jericho: “First what?!”
Ban: “The first human being I don’t hate being around”
Jericho “I… I’m the first? Don’t hate being around? You mean… you like me?”
Elaine: “Uuuuh… that’s not fair, no, no!!!
If a human girl that cute is together with him..”.
Ban: “I’ll kill ya ♪ ”
Elaine: “Ban will start to like her!!!”


The Sacred Twenty Eight: The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

Three sisters: Morgana, Morgause and Elaine of Garlot. One dark, one brown, one fair. Three sisters: Bellatrix, Andromeda and Narcissa. One a warrior, one a rebel, one entirely unexceptional.

Of all the houses of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, the Blacks were the only ones who could trace their descent to an ancient royal family, canonized in both myth and legend. There were those who were openly skeptical that a wizarding family could claim to be related to Arthur, King of the Britons and his three half-sisters; Morgana, Morgause and Elaine of Garlot - such a claim, they said, was far too exaggerated and could never be proven (for none were allowed to see the Black family tapestry but the Blacks themselves). But most agreed - out of fear and awe - that the Blacks indeed were children of these great sorcerers.

For how could they dispute it when all the portraits of these mythical figures seemed to live again in the faces of the Blacks striding alongside them in the Ministry, studying at Hogwarts, holidaying with them in the South of France?

But if those concerned with the veracity of this outrageous claim had bothered to dig through records held in the Department of Mysteries - held purely for historical purposes, of course - they might have found a series of bills and commissions to various unknown artists and artisans of the early 11th century. Of early tapestry-weavers instructed to portray their patrons as characters from Arthurian legends - else face death (how wonderful those ancient times were, where the missing poor prompted no visits from the Auror department). Of mosaics and etchings presented to this family; all the children of the Lady Igraine shown with the high cheekbones, dark hair and pale faces particular to the Blacks. Of portraits and paintings and landscapes - all in the grand tradition of the rich families of those times. In time, any traces of the original Arthur and his half-sisters were lost and all the artworks concerning the Arthurian legends - even among the muggles - came to assign each character the same face over and over again; pale skin, dark hair (sometimes light for Elaine of Garlot was a fair young maiden), high cheekbones: trademark of the Black family. 

And yet these records would mean nothing, not even in a history textbook, not after all this time. For who could say, after all these centuries, that the Blacks were not descended from Arthur, Morgana, Morgause and Elaine?

The Blacks were not practically royalty. They were royalty.

[Paintings: Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse, The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton

Photo Credit: Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan Le Fay (Merlin, 1998), Katie McGrath as Morgana (Merlin, 2008), Imogen Poots as Fanny Knight (Miss Austen Regrets, 2007)]