the swan maiden

so if there’s one single trope i’m always down to fight it’s the animal bride (folklore motif 402??) which a lot of you are probably familiar with as the selkie - the fisherman either falls in love, steals her skin to trap her on land/gain power over her, or they fall in love and THEN he steals her skin to keep her from leaving, and either way she spends a lot of time gazing sadly out to sea and then she or her child finds the skin and never returns again.
and that’s awful on a whole lot of levels - it’s not love, it’s control.

BUT. but the thing is. you how selkies/seal women was a pretty common variation of this? another really popular one was swans.

i just want you to think about that for a moment. swans. like…I get it, they’re pretty, graceful birds, certainly it’s easy to imagine them magically becoming pretty graceful ladies? but have you ever fought a swan. swans are awful. swans are the devil’s geese. imagine seeing a pretty magic lady and being absolutely enchanted by her, and stealing her magic feather cloak, and then you go up and say ‘hey i’m in love with you, let me make you my queen, it will be great, we’ll be so happy’ and she just looks at you for a moment and…

you know i was going to say maybe she just shouts for her sisters and suddenly you’re realizing you’ve made a terrible terrible mistake bc you’re surrounded by big fucking birds who are all hissing. but honestly if this swan lady is as aggressively down to brawl as any other generally unhappy swan, then she’d straight up fuck you up on her own. she’d just deck you roundhouse, honestly. you don’t fuck with swans. why does this trope exist

anonymous asked:

What's the story behind swan lake?

swan lake starts out with the prince seigfried with his hilariously stupid name.

his mother is the queen of some unnamed kingdom, and on his birthday she not only gives him a crossbow, which is apparently common in quasi victorian times, but she also reminds him that since he is 21 and like an adult now that he needs to have some responsibilities. these include governing the kingdom and taking a wife, because you know, WHO RUN THE WORLD? GIRLS.

so he’s all like “gosh mom okay whatever i get it” and goes out with some of his broskies to go hunting with his new crossbow. he goes running after some swan and gets separated from his buds. the swan actually morphs into a woman and she’s all like “damn son please don’t shoot me”

he’s all like “man girlfriend you so fine but you’re like half swan and that’s kind of weird what’s your story?”

she tells him that her name is odette and shes a princess turned into a swan by a vengeful sorcerer rothbart who apparently has nothing better to do than torture young ladies, and trapped her and her swan maidens on a lake made out of her mother’s tears and they’re all pretty upset about it

at this point there is a lot of dancing of the swans which is probably the most memorable and gorgeous part of the ballet, but has absolutely nothing to do with the story other than being like “damn these girls are swans”

she’s all like “hey the only way i can get to be a real human again and save all my swan lady sisters is for a man to fall in love with me and swear it to the world”

and despite having known her and danced with her for only like 20 minutes by now he’s all like “oh course ill do that for you bae, in fact my mom is having a ball tonight you should come we’ll do it then”

von rothbart, who is listening in, is all like “hell no am i letting my swan bbs go” and he starts to concoct a plan to fuck up their love swearing shindig

act three flashes forward to the next night, with the ball. seigfried’s queen mom has brought all these eligible princesses from neighboring kingdoms to try to egg him on like “please get married already.” all the princesses are of course into it because hey, cute prince, and they all try to do their best dancing for him to remind him that they are the most marry-able

they dance with their entourages in a lot of traditional dances, like the hungarian czardas, until BOOM INTERRUPTION

in busts odette, or who we think is odette, and some dude. turns out rothbart has used his magic to tranform his daughter odile to look like odette, but she is a black swan, instead of a white swan.

this sassy bitch dances with seigfried and he’s completely enraptured- he totally thinks this is the same swan lady from the other night. she’s such a boss ass bitch with her rad thirty two fouettes and her like mad gorgeousness that he is completely convinced that she is odette, and of course he goes in front of everyone to swear his motherfucking love TO THE WRONG GIRL

this is the terrible moment where we see odette frantically flying at the window, and he realizes THAT HE HAS MADE A GRAVE MISTAKE

odile and rothbart laugh it up and leave in a flash of smoke because they think that odette is now going to be a swan forever with her swan girlfriends and seigfried busts out to there to go look for her

he gets to the lake and odette is in tears, surrounded and protected by her flock, who don’t want to let this dude in. she listens to his plea and forgives him

then she decides that the only way to free her flock of swans is to kill herself, and she leaps off the cliff into the lake, drowning herself, despite the fact that SHE IS A BIRD AND SWAN CAN SWIM, and seigfried, unable to live without her and wracked with guilt, follows her and jumps to his death.

with the two’s selfless death and eternal love, the swans are freed from their bondage and rothbart dies, as we see their eternal souls floating over in the horizon.

(in some versions, the two promise o jump off the cliff and the romise in and off itself frees the swans so nobody has to die, and in some versions, they fight rothbart and kill him, and in other versions, only odette dies, so i can see how this might get confusing)

*shuts story book* and that’s the ballet of swan lake

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Is there a creature you’d like to see documented? Suggest a spook.

She tastes like nectar and salt. Nectar and salt and apples. Pollen and stars and hinges. She tastes like fairy tales. Swan maiden at midnight. Cream on the tip of a fox’s tongue. She tastes like hope.
—  Laini Taylor
Tell it to the Marines - Swan Maiden/Soulmate AU

[A hope-you-feel-better short AU for @tsume-yuki, hope you enjoy it!]

Ace had the mantle for as long as he could remember.

It always appeared in his possession if he traveled too far, materializing out of the air like magic. Falling across his shoulders like he’d never left it behind, nailed down deep in the chest at the end of his bed. The strange looks he’d received while walking into town with a collar of feathers around his neck were too much, so he tried getting rid of it.

Selling it was pointless because it would always come back.

Burying it did nothing.

Throwing it into the ocean, again, did nothing.

Burning it had no effect either, though it was gone longer than usual and he’d fallen into a deep depression during that entire span so he never tried it again.

Sabo had been fascinated, wondering if it had any other powers and overall had been the reason he came to accept the mysterious coat. Luffy just became all starry-eyed and asked where he could get one too. He’d been disappointed when Ace couldn’t give him a direct answer.

It wasn’t until after he left Dawn Island and became a pirate that part of the mystery was solved.

“That’s a Valkyrie’s cloak ,” Marco murmured in surprise, when the cape faded into existence around his person. The black and red feathers were all ruffled in an agitated manner, reflecting Ace’s mood as he sat glowering on the Moby Dick’s deck. “How did you come across something like that?”

It turned out that Marco was much older than he appeared. Much, much older. And knew what the mantle signified.

He’d been chosen, by some divine providence, to be the husband of a Swan Maiden.

A Swan Maiden or otherwise known as a Valkyrie, a mythical female warrior that served as protectors of the King of their choosing.

What the hell?

Ace laughed in the man’s face once he’d gotten over the shock of his explanation, because it was just that ridiculous. Who in their right mind would choose him of all people to marry such a powerful figure? He was the demon child of the late Pirate King. There was no way a woman (or any woman for that matter) would find it beneficial to be burdened with him as a husband. He wanted nothing to do with it.

Or so he thought.

He very much wanted to eat those bitter words the first moment he laid eyes on her.

She was on Luffy’s crew, his little brother her chosen King (because of course Luffy was that lucky, why wouldn’t he be). Riskua was her name, hair the color of a crimson dawn and eyes so startlingly yellow they could have very well been plucked right from a beast’s skull. She was a warrior, fierce and loyal. Vicious as a hurricane in the heat of battle.

And to him, she was as radiant as the sun.

It was no wonder he was tongue tied, the moment she strode up to him and gave a beauteous smile, her yellow eyes melting into warm amber.

“I see my favor has guarded you well. It’s good to finally meet you, I’ve been waiting,” she says, and Ace nearly faints.

He returns her mantle, and the red and black wings that burst from her back only add to her feral beauty. The Straw Hats crew give the appropriate applause, ‘oohing’ and 'aahing’ as she flaps the wings experimentally. Ace smiles as she takes to the sky, her wings beating powerfully through the air, her form shifting to that of a black swan, the crown of her avian head as red as her hair.

His heart soars with her and he knows now that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

They later sit beneath the stars, huddled among the feathers of the mantle, two hearts beating as one at last.

“:.  Novgorod region - 1860s  This is The Sun Shallop.   It is pulled by a pair of swans (their heads are shown as ends of a shallop).   The Sun Maiden drives a vehicle.   A checkered pattern covering the whole image means that characters depicted are gods; and they have a strong connection with The Sun and The Water - productive powers of the world.  The Shallop sprouts with tree branches.”           


Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. The stories frequently revolve around female selkies being coerced into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their sealskin, often not regaining the skin until years later upon which they commonly return to the sea, forsaking their human family. The legend is apparently most common in the Northern Isles of Scotland and is very similar to those of swan maidens.

love love peace peace (and a little revenge)

… in which Killian does Eurovision. Because the Eurovision was on, and @ofshipsandswans and @killiancygnus and @captainswanandclintasha and @swanandapirate are a terrible influence.

It’s all Ruby’s fault.

That’s Emma’s tale, and she’s sticking to it. She still isn’t entirely sure how writing a song turned into, well, this. She was going to just watch it on the TV. She wanted to stay in the background. But here she is, sitting backstage with Ruby and the rest of the Norway team, blinking in the flashing lights and trying not to look overwhelmed by the ridiculousness all around her.

Because Eurovision is ridiculous. There’s a guy on stage right now singing a high-pitched song about bread or something, while five other men dressed as rain drops dance around him. Or maybe they’re tear drops; Emma isn’t sure.

The point is, all Emma ever wanted to do was write a song, and yet here she is at the weirdest music event she’s ever attended and wondering about Europe’s collective sanity.

Elsa’s performance goes amazingly well, though, so there’s that. The ice theme was the right choice, as Ruby remarks with satisfaction, complementing the song while being weird enough to leave an impression. Emma was unsure about the robotic snow man whizzing around the stage, before, but she understands the reasoning now. It’s probably the next meme already.

The crowd loves it, anyway.

Emma suffers through another ballad, this one sung by a German lady who could really do with a bucket or something to help her carry the tune. She’s only half-paying attention, most of her mind on Elsa and Ruby and trying to look calm and relaxed for the cameras, in case any show up.

“Next up is the UK—let’s meet their candidate!” one of the hosts (Emma keeps mixing them up) calls.

There are screens everywhere, showing the little clip that plays before each country takes the stage. Emma pays no attention, because Anna has started talking again, her nerves running away with her.

“… because really everyone says neighbours vote for each other, but we don’t have that many neighbours and I’m not sure Sweden would vote for us anyway, but I think that a lot of people also vote for the song they like best and really Elsa has been the best so far, hasn’t she? And—”

“Anna,” Emma says, reaching over to put a calming hand on the girl’s shoulder before she can drive them all to the brink of nervous collapse again. “Anna. Relax. Elsa did her best, and now we just have to wait and see.”

“I know, but—oh, he’s handsome, isn’t he?” Anna’s eyes have snagged on the stage, where the UK’s candidate is about to begin his song.

Emma follows her gaze, thankful to the UK for distracting Anna—and does a startled double-take.

Keep reading

mythology aesthetics: selkies

selkies are mythological creatures found in scottish, irish, and faroese folklore. similar creatures are described in the icelandic traditions.the word derives from earlier scots selich, (from old english seolh meaning seal). selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. The legend is apparently most common in orkney and shetlandand is very similar to those of swan maidens.


Aaaaah, I finally got around to take photos of some art pieces I made at the end of last year and start of this year..! I’d forgotten to do that since I didn’t do that straight away.

All of these are more or less experimental, but I still like them quite a lot! Click through for titles for all of them!

Ink, markers and white paint pen or white colored pencil on plywood, all are around the size of an A4 paper.


An old legend told in Pentos claims that the Andals slew the swan maidens who lured travelers to their deaths in the Velvet Hills that lie to the east of the Free City. A hero whom the Pentoshi singers call Hukko led the Andals at that time, and it is said that he slew the seven maids not for their crimes but instead as a sacrifice to his gods. (TWOIAF PG 18)