what's a fire and how does it - what's the word? - burn
so i have this disney playlist i listen to usually when i’m driving and i was blasting poor unfortunate souls this morning and i was thinking
what if ariel didn’t sign the scroll?
because she’s about to, okay, and she looks at the paper. the parchment made of seaweed, the ones that’s specially treated to survive underwater. and she thinks of her cave of treasures, her books that remain perfectly preserved underwater.
“no thank you,” she says slowly, becoming keenly aware of air of this place, of the not-people she’d seen who hadn’t been able to pay the price for sea witch’s bargain. “i – no. thank you. but no.”
ursula tries to convince her otherwise, but ariel runs. she goes back to her cave, destroyed as it was by her father’s anger, and thinks.
she’s the daughter of triton. her books never got wet, though she lives in the ocean. she feels a pull inside her, to the land, to somewhere else, but what if – what if –
what if she doesn’t need the sea witch or her father to perform magic for her? what if she has her own?
ursula had wanted her voice because that’s how she performed her magic. singing in this cave had given it powers and protection, and when she saved her prince from the sea – she sang then too, to keep him safe, to guide him back to life and away from death.
so she has magic. she only needs to figure out how to use it.
so that’s what ariel does now. she’s quiet and keeps to herself, and her father and sisters think that it’s because she’s upset with her father, that she’s busy licking her wounds.
she’s moved on from that. she has no trident, and is uninterested with fueling her magic with the souls of the damned like ursula has. so she needs to figure something else out.
she does what she’s not supposed to do, and goes where she’s not supposed to go, slipping past the guards and patrols to the one place in the sea that is forbidden to all of them.
the crevice in the earth where what remains of her grandmother lives.
ariel goes to amphitrite, and the sea goddess is so much bigger than ariel, the size of great whale as she curls at the bottom of the sea floor, too old and too tired to do anything more than sleep. “granddaughter,” the great being croaks, opening an eye as blue and as unfathomable as the sea, “you look like me.”
“they say i look like my mother,” she says, and to herself adds: that’s why father can barely stand to look at me.
“you have more of me in you than your mother,” she says, and she shifts and pulls her mass of red hair over her shoulder. “more of me in you than your father does, even.”
“i have magic,” she says, pulling her bravery to the fore as she swims closer to her grandmother, “i want you to teach me how to use it.”
amphitrite pushes herself up, and it’s the first time she’s moved in a millennia, and ariel notices for the first time that her grandmother isn’t a mermaid – she has legs.
she has legs.
“you have power,” amphitrite corrects fiercely, “and i will teach you to wield it.”
and so she does. ariel spends her nights by her grandmother, learning to harness the power of the sea that runs in her veins, and sleeps her days away while her sisters and flounder and sebastian grow more and more concerned, but she refuses to tell them why. she refuses to be stopped.
but her heart still aches. she fell in love with her prince, and she wants him still. so she swims to the edge, goes to the beach where his castle resides in the dead of night when her lessons with her grandmother are complete, and sings
she’s careful not to let any magic leak through, only her voice. she does not want to enchant him. she wants him to love her as she is. so she sings, her voice clear and powerful and cutting through the air. she hopes he can hear it.
then one day a figure walks to the beach, and it’s him, her prince. “hello?” he calls out, “are you out there? are you – please, it was you that saved me, wasn’t it? won’t you come out and let me see you?”
so she does, waves her tail at him until he catches sight of her and takes hesitant, disbelieving steps closer.
“you’re a mermaid,” he says, eyes wide, “i thought i saw – but it couldn’t be.”
“i am, and it can,” she says, heart beating wildly in her chest. he’s just as handsome as she remembered, and she wants him just as much. “my name is ariel.”
“ariel,” he repeats, and pulls off his boots and goes wading into the water, watching her to see if she flinches away from him. she doesn’t, and his strides grow bolder. “my name is eric.”
“eric,” she whispers, and when he’s close enough he touches her, trailing fingers across the bare skin of her shoulder and tangling them in her hair.
when he kisses her, she feels powerful enough to undo the world.
so there’s that now, spending her nights with her grandmother and her prince, and she knows how to make her own legs now, could walk onto land and be made a queen among the two legged men.
but she’s a princess here first, and before she can do that she needs to take care of something.
the rotten sea witch with her rotten sea magic won’t be allowed to torment her people any longer.
she tells her grandmother, and amphitrite smiles and says, “an excellent decision, child. i’ve enjoyed our time together, but i think it’s time for me to sleep once more. i’ve taught you everything i can.”
and tears prick ariel’s eyes, but she holds them back. she knew that it couldn’t be forever, that her grandmother can’t die but no longer desires to live and this is the in-between.
“you’ll be an amazing queen,” amphitrite murmurs, and closes her eyes for a millennia more.
this isn’t something to be done in the dead of night, although it would be easier to do it then.
she will make a spectacle of it, she will remind the sea that her people are not to be trifled with.
once upon a time they feared a blue eyed, red haired sea queen with the power to destroy them all. it’s time for them to do so again.
so she drives ursula to the center of the city. her sisters cower and people hide, and her father comes rushing forward to save her.
“you’ve committed great crimes against my people,” she says, not flinching as lightning gathers in the sea witch’s hands, “so now shall a great crime be committed against you.”
“foolish girl,” the sea witch snarls.
triton is yelling. he won’t get there in time.
he doesn’t have to.
she doesn’t need to sing anymore. instead she lifts her hands and pulls ursula apart without ever touching her, not only renders flesh from bone but also sets free the souls she’s been hoarding, reverses the magic done to those who’d fallen into the sea witch’s trap.
they all stare at her, her people, her father, and her sisters. she looks to triton and says, “i’m not a little girl anymore.”
he opens his mouth, closes it again, then says, “i can see that.”
all at once everyone’s perceptions are turned sideways about their youngest princess. she commands a power that even her father doesn’t have access to, she’s not depressed and dreamy – she’s powerful young woman who knows exactly what she’s doing.
so she does what she wanted to do, she gives herself legs and steps onto the sand and launches herself into eric’s arms. she becomes his bride, and the rumors run rampant of what she is, of where she came from, but they can’t prove anything and so they rule.
they live long, happy lives. ariel is his consort, his advisor, his wife, his tactician, and his best friend. all those years reading drowned books have certainly paid off. she ages herself along with her husband, bears his children and then teaches them they ways of her – their – people.
her husband dies, and she disappears, like the stories of selkie women that everyone whispers around her. their children give their father a sea burial, and vow to see him again one day. what they know and none of their subjects do is this – their father’s body isn’t in that casket.
she returns to her ocean, her legs form into her glittering green tail, and she goes home. she uses her terribly powerful magic, and brings her husband with her. she went from princess ariel of the sea to queen ariel of the land, and now she’s back again.
she’s not quite a teenager, but neither is she the old woman she pretended to be on land. she’s returned her and her husband to the prime of their life, and as she gained legs to be with him, he now gives his up to be with her.
eric becomes a merman, and a prince by virtue of being ariel’s husband.
she returns to her family and her world without missing a beat, and they all welcome her as if she never left, treat her husband with kindness and respect.
because they all know.
it doesn’t matter that she’s the youngest. when, far in the future, triton’s reign ends –
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
to build that brotherhood because if you’re that way in real life and sticking together it’s gonna help you on screen anyway. It makes your entire unit and I think that’s what helped us. That was one thing about The Shield that I really enjoyed is that like we were a real team, know what I mean like we celebrated together, we sold together, it was really cool to me. And I think that was what got us over, the fact that we treated each other like brothers. You know like, after matches carrying each other out. Seth would hug me, you know weird shit, Dean would kiss me on my friggin’ head sometimes.
we took home a grammy. tyler and josh took home a grammy tonight.
i know this seems like me trying to be deep, but please hear me out.
tyler and josh were just like you. they used to be just like you. they thought they were messed up, that they were losers, that they had nowhere to go. but you know what they did? they held on. they held onto their dreams and they pressed on. and i want all of you who need that extra push to use that as inspiration. you may be held back by mental illness, by your gender, your race, your families, or by where you live, but i want you to use the journey tyler and josh endured to get to where they are as your reason for fighting. it took hard work for them to get here; it took them strength to swing the anchors that held them down over their shoulders. it takes dedication and perseverance to fight against a world that wants you to fail.
tyler and josh never, ever gave up. even when they played shows at the same venues for the same handfuls of people, they never gave up. they fought. they powered through. they pressed on.
it’s time for you to do the same.
whatever dream you have, and whatever obstacles you may face, power through them. fight. press on. because i promise, in the end, you will reign victorious.
It’s no secret that Mary Queen of Scots has been my favorite person in history. So to see reign in its last episode honor her death but also to the fact that Francis was the love of Mary’s life, truly made me cry (and I haven’t watched the show since the 2nd season) because I did my research and historians and her letters point of Francis being the love of her life and I’m glad reign gave mary that in the end. Long may she reign.
Glorious Gems of MP - The Gwalior Fort and Man Singh Palace
Most of what I remembered about the great city of Gwalior came from my 5th or 6th grade history textbook. And my memories were as foggy as the evening of the day I landed in MP.
Excited to be in Gwalior for the first time, I was just in time to catch the Light and Sound show at the Man Singh Palace also known as the Man Mandir Palace. And what a majestic show it was - under the open sky, the palace lit up in wonderful colours, the history of the city rendered in the baritone of Amitabh Bachchan! It was nothing less than a grand theatre!
Built in 8th century, the fort stands tall upon the Gopachal hill. The exact period of the fort’s construction is not clear, but historians say that it started in the 8th Century. According to the folklore, one day Suraj Sen who suffered from leprosy, found himself very thirsty atop the hill. Sant Gwalipa offered him sacred water from a pond, which cured him of the disease. Out of gratitude, Suraj Sen fortified the hilltop and named the citadel Gwalior to honour the saint.
Around the 15th century, the fort came under Man Singh Tomar, a king who was known as one of the greatest connoisseur of art and music. He transformed the fort into a grand architectural marvel that even Babur referred it as the “pearl amongst the fortresses of India”. After being captured by the Mughals, the fort was used as a jail. By the end of their reign, they had destroyed almost everything precious. Finally, in 18th Century, it flourished again in the hands of Maharaja Scindia.
Today, the monument is a huge fortress sprawling across an area of 3 square km surrounded by a concrete wall of sandstone. It comprises of six palaces, three temples, and several water tanks. One of its most famous temples is Teli-ka-Mandir built in the Dravidian style with an exquisite sculpted exterior. Another fascinating temple is the Saas-Bahu Temple, with two asymmetrical pillars. The other palaces are Jahangir Mahal, the Karan Palace, the Shah Jahan Mahal and the Gurjari Mahal, built by Man Singh for Mrignayani, his favourite wife. Gurjari Mahal currently is an archeological museum with an impressive collection, some of which dates back to 1st century AD.
Totally engrossed in the stories, I had walked down the lanes of history. I looked around to see the most beautiful view - a modern cityscape of Gwalior. The city was lit up!
Early next morning, I returned to witness the monument and relive all the stories I had heard the night before. We started off our visit with the Man Mandir palace or the Chit Mandir for the rich ceramic mosaics encrusting its facade. It was absolutely breathtaking made out of sandstone with stunning motifs on coloured tiles- everything speaking volumes about craftsmanship beyond time. My guide Puneet ji narrated many more wonderful tales that described the symbolism of the motifs as well as showed me the secret little telephonic tunnel the king used to converse with his queens.
The Diwan-e-aam and Diwan-e-khas music halls made for the queens to see performances while honouring the purdah system, have some exquisite grillwork. Lotus, which signifies Lord Brahma is a motif that keeps re-appearing across numerous places.
The royal seal can also be seen in the main hall.
Raja Man Singh’s bedroom has beautiful brackets which once held stunning mirror work like a Sheesh Mahal. Taking cue from this, I began reimagining the grandeur of the place.
I could also see the Gurjari Mahal situated below the palace, which was built as one of the conditions set by Mrignayani to marry Raja Man Singh. The other two conditions were that she should get water from her village river (which was the secret of her strength and beauty) at the new palace, and that she would fight each war alongside the King.
A leap into history, the Man Singh Palace has left me inspired in many many ways.
About the artist
Neethi Goldhawk is an independent illustrator and textile print designer who loves drawing all things dreamy, inspired by nature and life. She has illustrated for platforms like Redbull Amaphiko and Launchora. Her pen name (Goldhawk) was concocted in the crowded space of her mind full of absurd characters, who are but little children at heart. She is an avid Tumblr blogger and can be found here
The Future Diary.
Bungo Stray Dogs.
Hunter x Hunter.
Twin Star Exorcists.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
One Punch Man.
Sword Art Online 1 & 2.
Michiko and Hatchin.
Akame Ga Kill.
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign.
Kill la Kill.
Magi 1 & 2.
Kaze no Stigma.
Blood Blockade Battlefront.
Terror in Resonance.
Beyond the Boundary.
Unlimited Psychic Squad.
The Seven Deadly Sins.
DISCLAIMER: There is indeed a curse in the film, but it was directed at Nicolas Romanov. Rasputin said to him: “Mark my words; you and your family will die within a fortnight. I will not rest until I see the end of the Romanov reign forever.”
Then magic and the revolution happens, the royal family falls and Rasputin dies. But since Anastasia cheated death, Rasputin cannot rest in peace and is doomed to an existence in limbo. He feels the consequences of his curse, but Anastasia is in no way affected by it throughout the film.
Yes, she looses her grandmother and suffers from hallucinations and amnesia for 10 years, but these things are not connected to the curse from the beginning of the film.
Anastasia - “Let me go! Please!” Rasputin - “You will never escape me child. Never!”
So - back to my random thoughts on this animated classic from 1997!! The more I think about this, the more frustrated I get. My problem with the magic in this movie would have been SO EASY to fix. The only thing needed would have been a curse cast on Anastasia, something along the lines of: “You shall forever be apart from all your family”.
When the curse is first taking effect, that is when Anastasia is separated from her grandmother (instead of grandma just having a weak grip), and then Rasputin´s magic keeps her away from her family. There could have been a short montage her grandmother coming back to look for her granddaughter, but the curse is making it impossible for them to find each other.
Grandmother - “Hold onto my hand!” Anastasia - “Don´t let go!”
Even Anastasia´s amnesia would have been more intriguing his way; the curse is actively forcing out her memories (instead of being the aftermath of an unrelated accident). But throughout the film the memories are trying to re-surface as best as they can in the form of hallucinations and dreams (que “Once Upon A December!!”). Imagine the ball-room scene slowly but surely becoming more and more green in color, as the curse is doing it´s best to hide the memories of her family. This way it would also make more sense why Anastasia cannot recognize her family (or even herself) when looking at the paintings in the palace (btw, why hasn’t all the shit been stolen during these past 10 years???)
It isn’t until Dimitri comes along and forces Anastasia to meet her grandmother again when the curse is finally broken. All in all: the whole idea of Anastasia being a victim of dark magic would have been more suspenseful from a storytelling POV, but this way we would also have had a much better connection between the main character and the villain. Not only are they both cursed, but now the magic that Rasputin possesses has been affecting Anastasia all this time.
Anastasia - “That face…”
As the movie is now, Anastasia is not in any way aware of Rasputin after she accidentally hits hear head as a child. And when they meet again in the movies climax he is simply the man who swore revenge on her family (and has been trying to kill her during the past couple of days without her having any clue about it).
But THIS WAY he would be 100% responsible for all her misery - her memory-loss, the separation from her grandmother, her hallucinations - Everything would now be connected to Rasputin instead of being mostly based on a series of unfortunate events.
Rasputin - “And me… A rotting corpse… Last seen at a party like this one.” Anastasia - “A curse!” Rasputin - “Followed by a tragic night on the ice. Remember?”
Notice how all of these lines would have been more impactful if Anastasia was cursed too!! :o
The point of all this?
IDK. It´s 3.30AM and this is what I do when I cannot sleep - Ramble on about animated movies. But admit that this should have been canon. :P
Once again, it starts with Apollo hating his humanity, something that I believe won’t change in some time, he was born a god, after all. Though I fervently believe that he is learning from his time as a mortal.
Through the whole book, we are able to read some of his most selfish comments, which is to be expected, since he had always been portrayed as a selfish, self-centered god. However, we’re able to see his selfless and kind side, too.
“…It went against the very nature of being Apollo. I should always be the most obvious, brilliant source of light in the world. If you had to search for me, something was wrong.”
And: “I tried to contain my bitterness. Soldiers and sailors were all very well, but if your city’s biggest monument is not Apollo, I’m sorry, you’re doing something wrong.”
“You rescued me.” Then I added two words that never came easily to a god: “Thank you.”
“When I was a god, I would’ve been delighted to leave the mortal heroes to fend for themselves. I would’ve made popcorn and watched the bloodbath from a distance on Mount Olympus, or simply caught the highlight reel later. But as Lester, I felt obligated to defend these people….I wanted to be here for them.”
“Their eyes were so full of concern- concern for me- that I had to swallow back a lump in my throat. Six weeks we had been traveling together. Most of that time, I had fervently wished I could be anywhere else, with anyone else. But with the exception of my sister, had I ever shared so many experiences with anyone? I realized, gods help me, that I was going to miss these two.”
These are some of the parts I loved the most about the book:
The Waystation. It’s nice to know of more demigod safe-spaces, more so when they’re under the loving care of Emmie and Josephine:
“We’ve saved a lot of demigods and other outcasts- raised them at the Waystation, let them go to school and have a more or less normal childhood, then sent them out into the world as adults with the skills they needed to survive.”
It’s different from both Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter, where, no matter how much they protect you and care for you, it could never be as normal and comforting as being raised in a “normal” loving environment.
The relationship between Apollo and Calypso: They hate each other, that much is perfectly clear…
“Lo!” I said. “I arrived at Camp Half-Blood as Lester Papadopoulos!”
“A pathetic mortal!” Calypso chorused. “Most worthless of teens!”
“-…her evil stepfather had poisoned her mind!”
“Poison!” Calypso cried. “Like the breath of Lester Papadopoulos, most worthless of teens!”
“Lo!” I shouted. “From the Oracle of Dodona we received a prophecy- a limerick most terrible!”
“Terrible!” Calypso chorused. “Like the skills of Lester, most worthless of teens!”
Though as the chapters progress, it appears that it’s more of a mutual disagreement than actual hatred. Apollo realizes how unfair their punishment on her was, and starts to feel like his own treatment towards her is unfair:
“Just yesterday, I had toyed with the idea of leaving Calypso behind to the blemmyae when she was wounded. I’d like to say that it wasn’t a serious thought, but it had been, however briefly. Now Calypso refused to leave Meg, whom she barely knew. It was almost enough to make me question whether I was a good person…”
And, in the end, they become friends. They still have much path to cover and much to discuss, but I believe they’re on good terms now.
Calypso and Leo:
One of the many topics vastly discussed after Blood of Olympus was how short and forced their relationship seemed. However, in The Dark Prophecy, we caught a glimpse of the reality they’re living on:
They’re trying to discover who they are together, as a couple and as friends. We see their multiple fights and their disagreements, and I believe it’s a very good thing! They’re exploring the possibilities of their relationship!
We see Calypso missing her island, we see her missing her powers, but most than anything else, we can see that Calypso and Leo truly love one another, and that they’re trying. It feels real, their problems, which only makes it better. It was to be expected that they’d be fighting and having problems, since they hadn’t talked much back on her island before he was forced to leave. They’re testing the waters, as Calypso explained.
They’re trying to build a good future for each other, they’re even going to enter school together. I like how their relationship improved, I like that Rick portrayed and fixed the mess that was their relationship by the end of BoO.
I also loved that Leo keeps calling her mamacita, and that Leo’s full name is actually Leonidas.
In general, everything about Emmie and Josephine was pure perfection.
They were hunters of Artemis, hunters who fell in love with one another and decided to choose each other over immortality. Their love was beautifully portrayed, and the fact that they adopted a daughter was even more precious for me and for everyone in the LGBT community.
I like that, on a similar topic, we had more explanation about the Hunters of Artemis and their rules:
“All romance is off-limits. My sister is quite unreasonable in that regard. The mission of the Hunters is to live without romantic distractions of any kind.”
It makes more sense that the Hunters only being prohibited the company of men, as was stated by the Titan’s Curse. I like that Rick fixed that, too.
AND ARTEMIS BEING COMPASSIONATE AND LETTING THEM LEAVE HER GROUP WITHOUT PUNISHING THEM, GODS BLESS HER SOUL.
Also, Zeus forbidding Artemis from interfering with Apollo makes me so angry, but I didn’t expect anything less than that coming from him. It was good, though, that Artemis sent her Hunters to help Apollo discretely, just like when Apollo helped Percy and co. with rescuing Artemis and Annabeth.
Apollo being thirsty as fuck:
Apollo having the hots for Tall, Dark & Handsome Jamie.
Apollo being a fluttering mess when talking to him, then feeling away as soon as he heard Jamie had a girlfriend.
Apollo canonically having fantasies involving Thalia: “Thalia Grace climbed up behind me on the elephant- which fulfilled a daydream I’d once had about the pretty Hunter, though I hadn’t imagined it happening quite this way.”
Apollo canonically doing all sort of stuff to get Britomartis’ attention. To get a “kiss” and a “cute date” from her. (We all know that he wanted more than just a date and a kiss, but alas, this is a “children’s book”)
Apollo and Commodus:
I’m aware that Commodus is evil, and I don’t like him as a character, but honestly, his relationship with Apollo killed me unlike any other relationship ever had. More specially, this:
“Overhead, a white silk canopy billowed in the gentle breeze. Inn one corner, a musician sat discretely serenading us with his lyre. Under our feet spread the finest rugs from the eastern provinces. Between our two couches, a table was spread with an afternoon snack of roast boar, pheasant, salmon, and fruit spilling from gold solid cornucopia.
I was amusing myself by throwing grapes at Commodus’ mouth. Of course, I never missed unless I wanted to, but it was fun to watch the fruit bounce off Commodus’ nose.
“You are terrible,” He teased me.
And you are perfect, I thought, but merely smiled.”
“I didn’t mean to laugh at the expense of his distant wife, but part of me was pleased when he talked badly about her. I wanted all his attention for myself.”
And, of course:
“Commodus looked at me, panic in his eyes.
“Go,” I said, as calmly as I could, forcing down my misgivings. “You will always have my blessings. You will do fine.”
But I already suspected what would happen: the young man I knew and loved was about to be consumed by the emperor he would become.
He rose and kissed me one last time. Then he left the tent- walking, as Romans would say, into the mouth of the wolf.
“Apollo,” Calypso nudged my arm.
“Don’t go!” I pleaded. Then my past life burned away. “
Never forget this hear-wrenching part:
“As I often did for him after our workout sessions, I filled his great marble bath with streaming rose-scented water. I helped him out of his soiled tunic and eased him into the tub. For a moment, he relaxed and closed his eyes.
I recalled how he looked sleeping besides me when we were teens. I remembered his easy laugh as we raced through the woods, and the way his face scrunched up adorably when I bounced grapes off his nose.
I sponged away the spittle and blood from his beard. I gently washed his face. Then I closed my hands around his neck. “I’m sorry.”
I pushed his head underwater and began to squeeze. Commodus was strong. Even in his weakened state, he thrashed and fought. In had to channel my godly might to keep him submerged, and, in doing so, I must’ve revealed my true nature to him.
He went still, his blue eyes wide with surprise and betrayal. He could not speak, but he mouthed the words: You. Blessed. Me.
The accusation forced a sob from my throat. The day his father died, I had promised Commodus: You will always have my blessings, Now I was ending his reign. I was interfering in mortal affairs- not just to save lives, or to save Rome, but because I could not stand to see my beautiful Commodus die by anyone else’s hands.
I hunched over him, crying, my hands around his throat, until the bathwater cooled.
Britomartis was wrong. I didn’t fear water. I simply couldn’t look at the surface of any pool without imagining Commodus’ face, stung with betrayal, staring up at me.”
Rick Riordan has a talent of portraying gods and their actions unlike anyone else.
Apollo loved Commodus, he loved him deeply and wholeheartedly, but he couldn’t see anyone else killing his beloved Commodus. He killed him, for he could not stand the way the young man he loved had destroyed himself, turning into a murderous, evil emperor.
For me, Apollo has always been a complex god.
He said so himself in the first book, when he called his arrogance a pretense, when he mentioned he was a guilt-ridden, miserable god. He has never been good at love, for some reason, all of his lovers end tragically in one way or another, some by his own hand (Cassandra, Commodus, etc). It weighs him down more than he admitted when he was a god. As a mortal, he is more connected to his emotions, and is unable to put his usual facade of coolness and of arrogance.
Everything he has done, every sin he has committed, weighs him down:
“I imagined Trophonius’ head transposed on his body- my son’s agonized voice crying to the heavens, Take me instead! Save him, Father, please!
This blended with the face of Commodus, staring at me, wounded and betrayed as his carotid pulse hammered against my hands. You. Blessed. Me.
I sobbed and hugged the commode- the only thing that wasn’t spinning. Was there anyone I hadn’t betrayed and disappointed? Any relationship I hadn’t destroyed?
And, since we’re talking about Apollo and his change, I’d like to mention his relationship with Meg.
In the beginning, he could not stand her. Then by the end of the first book, he cared for her. Now, on this second book, the feeling grows and morphs into something so profound and so beautiful that I do not have words for it.
“No! She was- she was trying to protect me.” I choked on the words. “She is my friend. Take me instead!”
“She is precious to you,” Said the Oracle. “Would you give your life in exchange for hers?”
I had trouble processing that question. Give up my life? At any point in my four thousand years of existence, my answer would’ve been an emphatic No! Are you crazy? One should never give up on one’s life. One’s life is important! The whole point of my quests in the mortal world, finding and securing all these ancient Oracles, was to regain immorality so I wouldn’t have to ponder such awful questions!
And yet… I thought of Emmie and Josephine renouncing immortality for each other. I thought of Calypso giving up her home, her powers, and eternal life for a chance to roam the world, experience love, and possibly enjoy the wonders of high school in Indiana.
“Yes,” I found myself saying. “Yes, I would die for Meg McCaffrey.”
And lastly but not least important:
When Apollo shared Meg’s curse, slipping into her mind and trying to save her:“I would share this burden with her, even if it kills me.”
What saved us what a simultaneous thought: Meg/Apollo needs me.
There we had Apollo, someone that, supposedly, only cared about himself, risking his life, his human life, to save his little but beloved friend from madness and darkness.
It’s a beautiful moment, more so for those of us that adore Apollo since before the PJO books. It’s a beautiful character development from the fuckboy we saw in Titan’s Curse; it’s a beautiful character development from the god that we met in the first TOA book, the god that could only feel annoyance towards Meg.
“Let the girl go,” I whimpered through the pain. “Kill me and let her go.”
I surprised myself. These were not the last words I had planned. In the event of my death, I’d been hoping to have time to compose a ballad of my glorious deeds- a very long ballad. Yet here I was, at the end of my life, pleading not for myself, but for Meg McCaffrey.”
The mention of other gods through the book:
Apparently, gods have a weekly game night in Mount Olympus where Athena loves to gloat about her Scrabble scores.
AND THIS SAVAGE LINES: (AKA: my cute, dorky ex-god being dorky as fuck)
“Ever since my famous battle with Python, I’ve had a phobia of scaly reptilian creatures. (Especially if you include my stepmother, Hera. BOOM!)
“I’ve always found spiders fascinating creatures, despite what Athena thinks. If you ask me, she’s just jealous of their beautiful faces. BOOM!”
This important, yet short part:
Leto knelt at Zeus’ side, her hands clasped in prayer. Her bronze arms glowed against her white sundress. Her long golden hair zigzagged down her back in an elaborate ladder weave.
“Please, my lord!” She implored. “He is your son. He has learned his lesson!”
“Not yet,” Zeus rumbled. “His real test is yet to come.”
I laughed and waved. “Hi, mom! Hi, dad!”
There we have a glimpse of Leto being concerned over Apollo’s fate and we see that she cares. Zeus is, as always, being shady as fuck, and Apollo is super cute while hallucinating and being under the effect of the waters of Mnemosyne and Lethe.
Apollo realizes how hard some demigods have it:
“I’m new to these heroic-quest business. Shouldn’t there be a reward at the end? Not just more deadly quests?”
“Nope,” Leo said. “This is pretty standard.”
My sweet, innocent Lester seems to forget that when he was Apollo, as a god, he never cared much for the quests he made demigods go through.
“I wondered if demigods ever felt the need to restrain themselves when facing ungrateful gods like this. No. Surely not. I was special and different. And I deserved better treatment.”
Had Percy Jackson been there, he would’ve written a gigantic thesis statement with a power-point presentation about how wrong Apollo was.
Also, this part:
“I knelt next to him- a boy of about sixteen, my mortal age. I felt no pulse. I didn’t know whose side he had fought on, but that didn’t matter. Either way, his death had gone to waste. I had begun to think that perhaps demigod lives were not as disposable as we gods liked to believe.”
Finally, at the moment of war, Apollo realizes how easy it is for a mortal to die. And most times, demigods die because of the gods.
The part where they find out Georgina might be Apollo’s daughter:
The whole scene, though the most painful part was when Emmie asked if it was payback for having renounced to his gift of immortality:
“I hadn’t known I could feel any worse, until I did. I really hate that about the mortal heart. It seems to have an infinite capacity of getting heavier.
“Dear Emmie,” I said. “I would never. Even on my worse days, when I’m destroying nations with plague arrows or putting together set lists for Kidz Bop compilations, I would never take revenge in such a way…”
That shows that he was a good god, even if he murdered and punished people, he had some kind of morality. He knew where his boundaries went: like when he mentioned that he flirted with the Hunters, but that he would never dare to go any further than that.
Had it been Zeus, he would’ve raped them already; and canonically, on mythology, I’ve never read about any case of Apollo raping anyone.
Also, I really liked that Rick added certain parts that showed that our actions, as mortals, are what define us and that, once we take one wrong decision, we cannot pray for better things when it is us that fuck things up.
I’ve heard so many people complain that their prayers were never answered, that their God never helped them. They don’t seem to realize that God cannot help us if we don’t help ourselves first.
It’s shown here:
“Don’t blame me for you robbing the king’s treasury!” I snarled. “You are here because you messed up.”
“I prayed to you!”
“Well, perhaps you didn’t pray for the right thing at the right time!” I yelled. “Pray for wisdom before you do something stupid! Don’t pray for me to bail you out after you follow your worst instincts!”
Apollo’s son, Trophonius, made wrong choices all his life, and when it came back to him, he wanted his father to miraculously save him. It doesn’t work like that, God/gods cannot help if we try to make them fix our whole lives.
The way they temporarily defeated Commodus. (I found extremely pretty the way Apollo’s real form was revealed) (Finally we had an explanation as to why gods’ real forms are deadly to mortals: they’re pure light.)
The second chance Apollo gave Lityerses. “Everything alive deserves a chance to grow.
Lityerses sobbing when Emmie said he could be part of their family.
All the “lit” jokes. And the commode ones too.
“The two bumped fists as if they hadn’t spent the last few days talking about how much they wanted to kill each other. They would’ve made fine Olympian gods.”
Little Georgina’s words to Apollo. How he told her he was there for her if she wanted to talk. How he was concerned about her, even if he was not sure if she was his daughter.
“You’ve built something good here, Hemithea.” I said. “Commodus could not destroy it. You’ll restore what you’ve lost. I envy you.”
Everywhere he goes, Apollo seems to crave home. Not Olympus. Home, as in: a place where he’d feel loved and safe. In the 1st book, he wanted to stay in Camp with his children, now there, he admits that he craved the lovely home, the safe environment that they created at the Waystation.
“It all felt so homey and cozy, I wanted to volunteer to wash dishes if it meant getting to stay another day.”
Apollo trying to fix what he did to Agamethus by offering to go to the Underworld once he became a god again, to ask Hades to send him to Elysium.
“Never underestimate the healing power of music.”
Lit staying in the Waystation.
Apollo mentioning that he believed in second chances, and that he could understand Lit since they had things in common- being attractive being one of those things.
Apollo’s talking arrow only speaking bad Shakespearean English.
“Being productive. Urgh.” Same, Apollo, same.
The whole choo-choo scene, I don’t now why but I really really loved that part.
The fact that WE MIGHT GET TO SEE REYNA, FRANK AND HAZEL ON THE NEXT BOOK.
GROVER UNDERWOOD IS FINALLY BACK. MY SON, MY BABY, MY FAVORITE ENCHILADA LOVER SATYR. HE WILL BE BACK.
I must’ve missed many points, but this was already very long. In general, I really loved The Dark Prophecy, and I recommend everyone to read it as soon as they can! It is honestly so, so good. As good as the first one, I cannot wait for The Burning Maze!
…yeah, call a Samoan man a dog and mutt, that’s totally okay.
Also, just because he’s not an Anoa'i, doesn’t mean he isn’t a proud Samoan. He had a different path but he made it here, right? Dude’s the first ever two time NXT Champion, first guy to beat the manliest of Kings, Shinsuke Nakamura, and ended the longest reign in NXT Championship history when he beat Finn Balor. On a HOUSE SHOW. Joe is a guy who gets shit done.
The end of Reign broke my heart… I mean.. history is the greatest spoiler so I knew how Mary Queen of Scots died. I knew but watching a character, whom I’ve grown to love, portray actual events is hard to watch. Mary’s story will always break my heart. Whether it’s being retold on a TV series, movie, or written in a history book.
On a positive note though, Frary! Toby Regbo is so beautiful 😍
“But then came the Tongues on that terrible day. Steadfast as winter, they entered the fray. And all heard the music of Alduin’s doom. The sweet song of Skyrim, the sky-shattering Thu’um.” ~ “Tale of the Tongues,” by Malukah
One of the things that I really enjoy doing when it comes to my research is looking for patterns that span not just history, but cultures as well. Some tend to be rather archetypal, such as certain gods and spirits. But there’s one pattern that I’m surprised doesn’t get more attention in witchcraft: the power of the voice.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of witches out there who encourage chanting, singing, and prayer. But more often than not, the emphasis of the magic involved comes from the music or the other aspects of the spell. What I’m talking about is magic from the voice with no other influence.
As I’ve mentioned multiple times in previous articles, when you break magic down to its ultimate basics, it is composed of very simple yet powerful principles. First is intent. Magic is meant to help take a witch’s intent, focus it, and channel it into reality. As such, I’ve often said that as long as your intent is in the right place, you really can’t mess up a spell.
The second is visualization. Many goal-setting tutorials and witches often say that one of the keys to successfully reaching a goal or casting a spell is being able to see the outcome in your mind’s eye. For instance, when I’m working my morning self-improvement coffee spell, I not only have the intent and desire to better myself, but can also see where I want to be by the end of the day (smiling brighter or complimenting more or feeling more confident). The more specific and detailed the visualization and the better that visualization is held (some spells call for holding a visualization for an extended period of time), the more effective it tends to be.
And the third is energy in two forms: the first being the energy put into the spell itself, and the second being the mundane and practical work put into achieving a goal. Being able to feel the energy around you and within you, and then make use of it is a huge key to setting spells in motion. When combined with intent and visualization, it forms a spell. So when working a spell to get a job, it may seem a bit like this: You have the intent, need, and desire to get employment at a place you know you’ll love your job (let’s say cooking). You visualize yourself cooking for a living, being happy as you do so with great coworkers and decent paychecks. You see yourself shaking hands with a manager who is congratulating you on getting the job. Then, you focus your energy toward that goal and light a candle that you may have dressed or set up. You hold the visualization and intent for a while, and then you set of to put in applications and resumes (jobs don’t come out of nowhere).
That particular spell got me a great job in a matter of 48 hours.
So here’s the question. Say you have the visualization, intent, and energy. You know that all of the other components to a spell generally serve to help focus those three concepts, but you don’t want to craft a wand or use a candle or burn incense. Could you cast a spell by simply using your voice?
The answer is a resounding YES. And this is something that has been seen in quite a few cultures. Most prominently those cultures which have valued oral tradition over written. One of the best examples of this would be that of the Irish Celts. Though there was an established writing system (a runic form of writing called Ogham), it was almost never used to record lore or tales. Instead, the stories were passed down from one generation to the next by the druids - or priests. Irish culture held the belief that the voice was powerful in and of itself. Words had the ability to influence a person’s mind if used the right way, were capable of helping one person understand another’s thoughts and emotions, and could weave mental images in the form of stories and poetry and song.
This concept is even held in many religious establishments. Take, for instance, Christianity. Regardless of denomination, the belief is that prayer is a way of speaking to God, either directly or via an intermediary such as a saint or the Virgin Mary. The only requirements of this kind of prayer come down to intent, visualization, and energy focus (prayer often becomes its own way of channeling energy). For most denominations, there is no other ingredient to such a practice than a voice (though some, such as Catholicism may incorporate rosaries and prayer beads). Many witches, including myself, would say that as a result, prayer is a form of casting a spell. It has all the core ingredients of spellcasting, and like paganism may on occasion involve an added ingredient while also appealing to a higher power.
Today, the media continues the concept of how powerful words can be. Especially where fantasy gaming comes to play. In games such as Dungeons and Dragons, bards are storytellers and entertainers whose words can become so powerful as to shape reality and work spells (a concept that actually makes sense, as historically bards are the ones who spread news and passed history down through the ages… if a bard were to change the story, history would remember the new version if it caught on).
Or, if we want a game that is more prominently known than D&D, we’ll look at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In this installment of the Elder Scrolls series, one of the driving forces of the storyline is the hero’s use of the Thu’um, or Voice. According to the lore, the dragons were capable of waging war simply by having a conversation. The Voice was powerful enough to be a world-shaping force. Seeking to end the dragons’ reign of oppression, the people of Skyrim learned how to harness the Thu’um for themselves and waged war against the dragons using words as weapons instead of relying on steel. Thus Alduin (the leader of the dragons prophesied to consume the world; a spirit powerful enough to arguably be called a deity) was defeated by the Nords until the events of the game.
So there is precedence for using one’s voice or words as a vehicle for spellcasting. This, of course, leads to the question of how a witch can use her voice to work a spell. The easiest and most common method is through affirmations. Part of my coffee spell mentioned above is to say an affirmation that works with my intent: “I am confident in my abilities.”
Say you need to cleanse a space or your home. One of my friends’ grandmothers was known for her ability to clear a home of unwanted or negative energy and spirits simply by walking from room to room and talking to her god out loud. Her intent and her ability to see the energy be pushed away and out of the home, coupled by talking as a focus was a great way of cleansing. This same concept can be done on your own. For instance, when cleansing a home, I could walk from room to room, maintaining visualization and channeling my energy and intent, while using my voice as the vehicle for change. Thus I might say something to the effect of “All darkness and negativity in this room is cleansed and illuminated, for I hold in my heart the light of the fires of Brigid and the strength of the Morrigan. It is my will and desire that this place be cleansed and made pure, and as it is in my heart, so too shall it be in this room.”
Many examples given of vocal spellcasting make use of a relationship between the witch and a deity, but this isn’t required. Using my example in the last paragraph, you could say something such as “All darkness and negativity in this room is cleansed and driven away. I hold in my heart the will and the power of my spirit. It is my will and desire that this place be cleansed, and as it is in my heart, so too shall it be in this room.”
The benefits of working with vocal spellcasting are several-fold. First, it is inexpensive. And by inexpensive, I mean to say free. You don’t need to spend money to talk. Then there’s the fact that it can be discreet. If you have a moment of privacy and work a spell, when someone enters the room later, there’s no residual incense or candle smoke, and no ingredients that may have been forgotten. If you’re talking quietly and someone shows up and asks what you’re doing, you could say that you’re praying and they may leave so as to respect your privacy.
Then there’s the fact that working with your voice is a great way of affirming your personal power and magic. Much of witchcraft today can sometimes be lost in the ingredients to a spell - “I must have rosemary added to this moon water so that it’ll be good for protection.” In truth, the power of that water comes from you. Yes, the rosemary and the moon add to its potency, but most of that energy is from your intent and visualization. Working with your voice helps further affirm that you are in control of your life and that you are a powerful and beautiful individual.
So consider the magic of your own voice. How can you use it in your day-to-day life to work spells of your own?
Blessed Be! )O(
Witchy Tips! -When working with your voice for any spell, speak with confidence. Be proud of the work you’re doing and know that you are a force to be reckoned with. -Don’t limit yourself to just talking. Singing, laughing, crying, and even screaming all add power to your voice! -When creating new spells that don’t initially involve using your voice, consider incorporating a chant or affirmation that can help you further cement your magic.