salamander: born in flame

Parrish Update! Could Parrish be... a Salamander?

I’m a bit late with this piece of meta, but here goes anyway, I finally got around to researching this beastie… Which looks, to me, like the most likely solution for what Parrish is, at the moment. 

Time to get investigating! (Honestly I’m going to need to get an investigation board like Stiles pretty soon!)

1) So what exactly is a Salamander, in mythical terms?

The Salamander, Persian for “fire within”, or from the Greek phrase for “fire lizard”, is a phoenix-like supernatural creature with fire-based abilities.

Accounts of the Salamander can be very mixed, but essentially all mythological writers throughout history agreed that the Salamander is immune to the effects of fire, due to fire-resistant skin. In some stories, the Salamander can manipulate or even become fire. They are depicted as small lizards (like the real-life salamander), glowing lights, or in humanoid form. Like the Phoenix, Salamanders were thought to have been born in flames. 

Salamanders were thought to represent — through fire, of course — courage, loyalty, chastity, virginity, impartiality. They were especially used in Christianity as a symbol of divine goodness.

The creature was used on King Francis I of France’s coat of arms alongside the phrase, “I nourish and I extinguish.” (How cool would it be if Argent brought that up?) Essentially, this phrase sums up what a virtuous Salamander would represent — nourishing the good flame of passion and justice, and extinguishing the potential for a less controllable, destructive side. 

Salamander’s also have the added ability of being able to produce a poison, the same substance in their bodies that protects them from flame. This poison is especially caused when the Salamander is under severe stress or threat. The poison’s effects are so strong as to burn the hair off of people, or poison entire water supplies. There is no indication that the poisonous aspect of the creature will be included, but if it was, it sounds it could be presented like a heightened, more dangerous version of kanima venom. It makes sense too, considering these creatures would both be were-lizards.

Here is a good summation of what the Salamander can do:

“The Salamander is so called because it is strong against fire; and amid all poisons its power is the greatest. For other {poisonous animals} strike individuals; this slays very many at the same time; for if it crawls up a tree, it infects all the fruit with poison and slays those who eat it…It fights against fires, and alone among living things, extinguishes them.  For it lives in the midst of flames without pain and without being consumed, and not only is it not burned, but it puts the fire out.”

2) How come Parrish might be one?

Here are some links between Parrish and this Salamander mythology:

- We know for certain that whatever creature he is, it has to do with fire — his supernatural eyes are distinctly orange and red like flames, and we know that he is immune to fire and cannot burn.

- Ryan Kelley reportedly accidentally began saying the creature’s name at Wolfs Bane Origins in London, and audience members thought that it sounded like the creature’s name begins with “S”. If this is the case, it’s almost certainly not the Sluagh, because Mike Lynch will be playing that character, and because we know that Jeff has had Parrish’s powers in mind for a long time now, whereas the Sluagh was decided rather recently (and probably will only have a small Eichen House appearance for one or so episodes).

- The Salamander can take human form.

-  The “good” virtues associated with the Salamander definitely seem to match up with Parrish so far.

- The Salamander is a creature with a potential for chivalrous, knightly good (as we have seen from Parrish) but also for some violence and strength born from sheer passion, just like fire, symbolically. We have actually seen some of this. When Parrish returns from the burning car to attack Haige, he rather viciously assaults Haige, seeming to lose control of himself in a kind of dignified rage. This corresponds perfectly with the belief that the Salamander becomes more passionate, supernaturally charged and potentially destructive under pressure or stress. This also applies to physical stress, considering that Parrish’s eyes were activated by the strain of pulling Chris from the wall.