“Your faith in mankind was not misplaced. When unified by a common enemy they are a noticeable threat. But divide them, place doubt into their minds, and any semblance of power they once had will wash away. Of course, they won’t realize it at first. They’ll cling to fleeting hope, their aspirations, but this is merely the first move.
So you send your guardians, your huntsman and huntresses, and when they fail and you turn to your smaller soul, know that you send her to the same, pitiful demise. This is the beginning of the end, Ozpin, and I can’t wait to watch you burn.”
Salem:Legends. Stories scattered through time. Mankind has grown quite fond of recounting the exploits of heroes and villains, forgetting so easily that we are remnants, byproducts of a forgotten past. Man born from dust was strong, wise and resourceful. But he was born into an unforgiving world. An inevitable darkness, creatures of destruction, Creatures of Grimm set their sights on man and all of his creations. These forces clashed and it seemed the darkness was intent on returning man’s brief existence to the void.
However, even the smallest spark of hope is enough to ignite change. And in time man’s passion, resourcefulness and ingenuity led them to the tools that would help them even the others. This power was appropriately named dust. Nature’s wrath in hand, man lit their way through the darkness, and in the shadow’s absence came strength, civilization, and, most importantly, life.
But even the most brilliant lights eventually flicker and die, and when they are gone darkness will return. So you may prepare your guardians, build your monuments to a so called free world. But take heed, there will be no victory in strength
Ozpin:But perhaps victory is in the simpler things that you’ve long forgotten. Things that require a smaller, more honest soul.
Salem:A smaller, more honest soul? It’s true that a simple spark can ignite hope, breathe fire into the hearts of the weary. The ability to derive strength from hope is undoubtedly mankind’s greatest attribute.
Which is why I will focus all of my power to snuff it out. How does it feel? Knowing that all of your time and effort has been for nothing? That your guardians have failed you? That everything you built will be torn down before your very eyes? Your faith in mankind was not misplaced. When banded together, unified by a common enemy, they are a noticeable threat. But divide them, place doubt into their minds and any semblance of power they once had will wash away.
Of course they won’t realize it at first. Like you, they’ll cling to their fleeting hope, their aspirations. That this is merely the first move. So you send your guardians, your huntsmen and huntresses. And when they fail and you turn to your smaller soul, know that you send her to the same, pitiful demise. This is the beginning of the end, Ozpin, and I can’t wait to watch you burn.
Okay, we see Cinder shoot Pyrrha and she sort of disintegrates. Some people wonder if this is how you die on Remnant. but when Cinder shot Amber, he body was still there.
Second, the scene with Salem. that SO looks like some kind of alternate dimension full of dark magic and shit like that. That does not look like ti could be anywhere on Remnant. So what if it also has a shattered moon, it could simply be an alternate plane of existence where the Grimm come from.
So Pyrrha might not be dead, Cinder just sent her to hell.
So, obviously RWBY likes to reference legends and fairy tales. That much is obvious, and a lot of people tend to see the Wizard of Oz as a fairy tale due to its timelessness and all that.
I feel like this connections may play a role later in the story.
Obviously, the first few connections are easy:
Ozpin is the Wizard of Oz; and, there’s a chance that maybe he has a connection to the wizard mentioned in the Maiden’s story. He’s the one who pulls the strings, has the most secrets (as far as we know) and is generally considered to be a good guy, even if there’s a chance he may not be… Also, he’s connected to the color Emerald Green, like the Emerald City.
Glynda Goodwitch is, of course, Glinda the Good Witch of the North. She helps Ozpin and is one of the first people Ruby meets, who helps her get into Beacon (aloing with Ozpins help).
As for the others?
Qrow is the Scarecrow, from what I can tell. Other than his name, he also uses a scythe, which is a tool used in farming things like wheat and grain. He has a close relationship with Ruby, who may be our Dorothy, and generally sometimes seems like kind of an idiot–but he isn’t.
James Ironwood is the Tin Man–who was also a woodsman. In the Wizard of Oz, the Tin Man needed the others to help him by oiling his joints, and in this case, I guess he needed some help learning that he wasn’t in control as he thought. Plus, Ironwood’s half robot, so there’s our little tin part.
So, now all we’re missing is Dorothy, The Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witches.
As I mentioned earlier, I think Ruby may just be our Dorothy. Yes, yes, I know she’s supposed to be red riding hood, but she can allude to more than one character, right? There’s no rule she can’t. Plus, she is the main character. And is going on her own lil journey with three other people! Who also could fit into the archetypes a little too… (jaune = lion (points at season 1), ren = tin man (hes v reserved so he may seem heartless) and nora = scarecrow (often comes off as a ditz))
On top of being close with the Scarecrow, who is the first person who joins Dorothy on her quest to see the Wizard, she even has her own Toto, Zwei! And as I mentioned, Glynda is the first person to help her from a ‘witch’ and set her down the path she’s on now.
I’m not too sure about the Cowardly Lion…. It could be a new character we’ve yet to meet, but perhaps it’s Taiyang Xiao Long? He’s got the yellow hair which you could consider his “mane”. But he also seems to be very anxious and overprotective at times; not necessarily cowardly, don’t get me wrong, but it may make him more reluctant to go and fight and do dangerous things like Qrow does… plus, poor guy lost one love and god knows what happened between him and Raven. So his story may follow something similar to the lion, and he tries to go help save his daughter….
As for the Wicked Witches? Well, it’s possible Cinder may be a Wicked Witch, particularly the Wicked Witch of the East. She is the first ‘witch’ we meet along with Glynda, and she isn’t the true big bad, just the witch who helps set the plot into motion. But she could also be one of the lackeys of the witch, much like Roman and the others were (tho maybe Neo is the real witch of the east? Who knows).
However, the Wicked Witch of the West is the real villain, and well… We’ve just met her. Putting it under a cut for those who can’t see the episode until tomorrow:
I’m in a state of deep denial over many things and I’m also hyped up on like four cups of coffee and I have some thoughts running around that I want to get out here so let’s do this
- The original Winter Maiden is Salem, aka the “mysterious narrator”.
From Volume One everyone has been wondering who the narrator voiced by Jen Taylor was; and this finale revealed her character, otherwise known as “Salem”.
There are some vague similarities to their designs; their hairstyles, most notably, caught my attention.
To me, it also makes sense that a Maiden has gone “rogue”. Cinder, the now Fall Maiden, seems to be serving Salem who, my guess, is the Winter Maiden. It would tie the story of the Maidens over to the “modern” story quite well by having an original Maiden as an antagonist. However, why do I think this is the original Maiden in some capacity?
In the show “Once Upon a Time” there is a character known as Rumplestiltskin, aka the “Dark One”. For generations the Dark One has been a person capable of the darkest of magic (the name says it all, really). The only way for power to transfer from one Dark One to the other was whenever someone killed the previous Dark One with the Dark One’s dagger, the powers transferred to the killer.
In the Maidens fairytale, the only way for a Maiden’s power to transfer over to another is when she dies, and then it goes one of two ways. If her last thoughts are of a young woman, the powers transfer to the girl in question. If the person in the Maiden’s last thoughts isn’t a young woman, then the power transfers to a (seemingly) random young girl.
But it doesn’t seem like the Maidens are “immortal”, so how could the original Maiden possibly be Salem if hundreds, if not thousands of years have passed since their story began?
My take on this is similar to how the Dark Ones work in OuaT. Each Dark One is also the previous Dark Ones; each Maiden is also the previous Maidens. To better explain it, every time a Maiden dies her conscious, along with her powers, transfers over to the next Maiden. Whether this is an Avatar type of reincarnation or a Dark One obtaining the consciousnesses of all the previous Dark Ones I have yet to figure out.
Also, I find it very interesting that the name, Salem, derives from the Hebrew word Shalem, and could also derive from the Arabic name/surname Salim, meaning “peace” and “safety”, respectively.
As Monty stated, the general “rule” in RWBY is a character’s name must allude to a color. Very few characters in this show seem to break this rule including Glynda, Ozpin, and now Salem. So if Salem is from a period of time before the “color-naming” rule came into play, then there is a good chance she could be a Maiden.
Well, I put all the Salem makeup back on for another photo! I figured I’d play around with the shapes and a different palette to figure out what I like makeup and editing wise. First time (right) I made it look more cut into the skin, where the second time (left) looks more sitting on top of the skin. Buuut I do like my lighting/editing for the first one. Just something fun to do for the day.
Oh my fucking god. That was rediculous. Here are my slightly more coherent thoughts, in no particular order. But first, a note on tone.
This episode, and the whole volume, was pretty damn dark, but I have to absolutely commend the team for keeping an amazing focus on tone. Beacon is basically toast, the CCT is down, Pyrrha is dead, Penny is probably dead, Vale is fucked up, Blake and Weiss are gone, Ozpin is missing. But in the end, it **STILL. FEELS. HOPEFUL.** We get a glimpse at the big bad right at the end, but we see Ruby going to Haven with the others. Ruby **never lost hope**, not once. The moments of light and dark play off each other. The dark moments hurt because we love these characters, but we still feel hope because they do. This is clearly NOT the kind of show that, when it decided to become much more dark, went dark just for the sake of shock value. A darker show is **never, EVER** automatically a better show, if characters die or bad things happen to them just for the sake of an audience reaction. But RWBY did not do this at all. In it’s absolute darkest moment, when Pyrrha dies, we literally have Ruby **bursting with light** to freeze the enemies. Every moment of darkness felt earned, but it still ended on a note of hope. And I love it for that.
The callback to Carden shoving Jaune into the locker was hilarious but now it just hurts.
Pyrrha had a full character arc. This is heartbreaking but it also makes sense. It hurt but it felt real. They were still kinda cheeky with the FUCKING ACHILLES HEEL THING, but Pyrrha gave her fucking all and put a damn beat down on Cinder.
On Ruby’s newfound power: We have 2 clear options. The first is that the Silver Eyes Legend is **totally separate** from the Maidens legend and also **totally true**. This would be cool, imo, and has an interesting genetic line from Summer to Ruby. Did Summer know about this? Is that why she died? The other option is that Summer was a Maiden, and Ruby has her slightly-dormant powers, and Qrow was just lying about it to try and protect Ruby. I think this is less likely, also less impactful. I will note though that Ruby did have the ‘light out of the eyes’ thing that Cinder had.
Ozpin fighting was amazing, but NO way is he dead and NO way did we really, really see him let loose. He mentioned that the 'tower could not fall’, which it did, but if Ozpin’s power is “game breakingly powerful” then he probably didn’t want to use it and destroy the place himself.
In the first episode, Salem and Ozpin were very clearly having a back and forth conversation, because Oz directly responded to her. Either they have some form of psychic link, or they were speaking face to face. This leads me to believe that Ozpin was defeated and captured, and brought to wherever Salem is right now. Cinder is also probably there, possibly frozen. The two were likely brought by Mercury and Emerald.
On **Salem**, I really really reeeeally think she looks like the original Winter Maiden. Corrupted by Grimm and now immortal, and took on the name Salem? Is she a **human** Grimm? Also I feel like her monologue at the end, especially if she’s directly talking to Ozpin, was sort of threatening Ruby. Does she know who she is? Did she kill Summer?
It’s sorta hard to read but I don’t think Yang is mad at Weiss. She established that everyone else in the world thinks that Atlas had something to do with this. I think she’s probably mad at Papa Schnee taking Weiss away, and understands she didn’t really have a choice. Blake, on the other hand….yeah I think she might be upset with Blake. But I think that makes sense. I don’t think Yang blames her, I think Yang is just upset she did the same thing she did in V1 - run away without speaking to her.
Speaking of Blake, I find it real interesting that she’s still in Vale. What’s she doing there?
Ok, let’s talk about Qrow. We got a lot of him this episode and it was all great. The big one is that we learned what I’m assuming is his semblance, to turn into a crow. I’ll also assume he shares this semblance with his sister, and Raven can turn into…well, you know, a raven. This brings to mind the twin ravens of **Odin the Allfather**. I’d say we can draw a parallel between Odin and Ozpin pretty easily here. On that note, how *did* Qrow know that the first thing out of Ozpin’s mouth was about Ruby’s silver eyes? Does Qrow just know Oz THAT well and know that he’d pick up on the legend? Did Oz tell Qrow about it? Or is there something deeper going on here?
Another thing is the apparently important of eye color. Is this JUST for silver eyes being rare, or does the Branwen family having red eyes like Salem mean something? A look at Yang, her eye are fucking PURPLE. Is the red eye trait from Raven literally so powerful that it mixed with Taiyang’s blue eyes and powers Yang’s semblance?
Taiyang is cool. Hard not to 'hear’ Burnie, but he exudes the cool, caring Dad, so I’m down for it. I felt bad for him at the end though, how much shit and worrying does he have to go through :(
I’d love to know what Ironwood and Glynda’s next move is going to be. Also, Yang needs to get a metal arm stat, so Yang-Ironwood team up anyone? Also, when I saw Salem’s cape it really reminded me of Glynda’s, and there are obvious witch connotations. Is there also something special about Glynda’s backstory? Where does the name Goodwitch come from?
So I don’t know if the bird outside Yang’s window was just Qrow 'saying goodbye’ because going up to the hillside to watch Ruby leaving, **or** if it was Raven (who I’m just going to assume has the same semblance at Qrow) checking up on Yang. Either way, let’s do a rewatch of the whole series to see if we notice any hidden ravens! But in all seriousness, the bird may have even been a normal bird and it’s just a visual cue for us that Yang is thinking about her mom.
The visual of fall turning into winter was beautiful. It’s turning over a leaf into a new season, and I think it also ties into what I said about tone. The last scenes on the Patch (I’m assuming Ruby and Yang are at home) are literally just BRIGHT because of all the snow. In the final scene, Qrow is surrounded by light.
On Ozpin’s identity: Someone on /r/rwby made an amazing connection in the previous thread. Cinder said that (probably) Salem said Ozpin had a lot of arrogance. Remember the tale of the Maidens, and the old wizard being sorta arrogant in saying “Why me?” to them?
I truly feel that “Do you believe in destiny?” has some sort of meaning we won’t understand for a very long time.
That’s all for now. I’m sure we’ll have more to speculate on over the hiatus. Like I said up top, this is dark but RWBY is still a show that has a lot of hope in it. Bad things happened in this episode but since Kevin is frozen and Cinder is missing, we end this volume with the heros being able to at least push back.
“Legends. Stories scattered through time. Mankind has grown quite fond of recounting the exploits of heroes and villains, forgetting so easily that we are remnants, byproducts of a forgotten past.” -Salem
We know what Ruby’s fairy tale is, it seems to be something different to the maidens. It’s possible Ruby can stop time honestly, she seems to have frozen the state of Beacon Tower in place. And with how Qrow describes Grimm falling at the very sight of silver eyes, perhaps it’s the people observing those events misinterpreting exactly what happened. Those with silver eyes stop time, kill everything in sight, and restart time, and the other people just watch all the Grimm disintegrate, which is where the misconception comes from.
Yang’s Fairy Tale: “The Shapeshifter”
Qrow’s shape-shifting powers (and Raven’s if she has them which is kind of a prerequisite for this theory, and they did show a raven outside of Yang’s window) might be part of a different fairy tale…. Maybe Yang can shapeshift, too, but she’s a bird with one wing, rather a phoenix, in fact she could be a literal phoenix (albeit with one wing), and be very Touka like in her overall abilities. Touka for reference (Tokyo Ghoul spoilers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsAY4cRZ32Q
Weiss’ Fairy Tale: “The Mother’s Sin”
Perhaps something along the moral of “the sins of the father” linked to how Schnee abilities are hereditary. Her father achieved absolute power, but in doing so took many lives, so now every Schnee is trapped in that cycle. They are born, seeking perfection and power, and are “destined” to take the lives of those around them (perhaps something hinted at in the lyrics of Sacrifice). Winter didn’t break that cycle. Her father didn’t break that cycle. If Salem herself is a Schnee, then perhaps she was the first sinner, and she continued in her lust for power and domination. The Winter Maiden? Perhaps the last good Schnee. But her daughter never inherited that power, and thus her daughter (Salem?) would begin this strive for power and dominance, to have even a small portion of what power her mother once possessed. Weiss is perhaps destined to break this cycle.
Blake’s Folk Tale/Fairy Tale: “Twin Souls”
In an effort to gain the power to kill Adam and save her team, Blake ends up being granted audience with Salem and she bestows upon her a Grimm Artifact that gives her the means to end her misery once and for all. This, perhaps a Grimmstone (see: Fire Emblem’s Dragonstone and Beaststone) that allows her to transform into a Grimm, perhaps not as extreme as that, comes with a side of effect of leading her down a darker path as she struggles with her dark vigilante morals, very much becoming the very line she speaks in Shining Beacon. “Two souls fighting for control over the same body”. While these souls are metaphorical, it is symbolic of Blake’s struggles with right and wrong up until she finally comes to terms with who she is and stabilises in the realm of Light, far and away from ever becoming like Adam. So Weiss is the ending of a fairy tale that one day joins the Four Maidens and Silver Eyes, her story, The Mother’s Sin is as above and becomes a fairy tale overtime. Blake’s meanwhile, Twin Souls, is solely tied just to her. Perhaps it starts as a folk tale but over time, as Blake’s legends grow, she goes from “That girl who is half Grimm” to “The Grimmlady who saved the world” and that turns her from a modern day pariah into a fairy tale. (Worth mentioning here that Monty has teased an upgrade to Gambol Shroud, perhaps Salem’s doing?)