i will never understand people who get pissed off at emilie, a mentally ill person who uses art as a creative outlet to cope, for “romanticizing mental illness” but then turn around and stan melanie martinez, a neurotypical whose entire career is dedicated to glorifying mental illness and trauma, making them look quirky & cute and treating them like tropes. i’m not saying emilie is perfect when it comes to that sort of thing, i’m just saying it’s hypocritical to call her out and then praise melanie, who is FAR worse.
During the Age of Romance people liked to build artificial ruins. They can be found in parks and castle grounds all over England, France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and other countries. In this period such artificially decayed artifacts were regarded as picturesque and suffused with the atmosphere of former times.
Another key feature of the Romantic Age is the Gothic novel as represented by authors like Mary Shelley, Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, and many others.
In TAB Mofftiss keep playing with elements of romance and Gothic novel. Even the cemetery in the 2nd modern scene quickly turns into a Gothic stage design, complete with dramatic gravestones, a rotten coffin, and a decayed body dressed in ragged finery. The scene is clearly not real and is preceded by Moriarty’s comment:
“Is this silly enough for you yet? Gothic enough? Mad enough, even for you? It
doesn’t make sense, Sherlock, because it’s not real. None of it.”
Every time a cemetery is mentioned in the show, it has a very Gothic quality and is connected to something that is fake or unreal.
There’s the blind greenhouse in Kew Gardens and the leaning tomb in Hampstead
Mary Morstan was stillborn in October 1972. Her gravestone is in
Chiswick Cemetery where – five years ago – you acquired her name and date of birth and
thereafter her identity. (HLV)
But what does it mean for TFP? Well, here we get the real ruins of a manor house, surrounded by an artificial cemetery. Can there be anything more Gothic?
MYCROFT: The ancestral home, where there was always honey for tea and Sherlock played among the funny gravestones.
JOHN: Funny how?
MYCROFT: They weren’t real. The dates were all wrong.
SHERLOCK: The wrong dates. She used the wrong dates on the gravestones as the key to the
cipher and the cipher was the
A cipher consisting of wrong dates on gravestones standing on (probably) fake graves next to the ancestral home? This is very Gothic. The same goes for the burnt down house itself which is strongly reminiscent of Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre and Manderley in Rebecca, both of which can be regarded as standing in the tradition of the Gothic novel. (Eurus also reflects the Victorian image of the “madwoman in the attic” as discussed by Gilbert and Gubar but this would deserve its own post).
Therefore the house and the cemetery in TFP are echoes of echoes of the Gothic. And as such they are completely in accordance with the atmosphere of TAB. I leave you to your deductions.
Some images I took of the Johns Hopkins library’s copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer (1896). For more on William Morris, the creator of the Kelmscott Press, and the other elements of the Arts & Crafts movement, click here.
“What do you mean, you’re taking Theodosia Burr?” Alex asked
with a chill.
“Pops, I find her to be quite charming. I would like to take
her.” Charming? If she’s anything like
her father than that’s a fat load of crap. You tried to convince yourself
of that, it didn’t work. Alex was about to say something, he looked very
against this whole thing. But Eliza nudged him with her elbow and cleared her
“Of course you can take Theodosia, my son.” She smiled.
“Thank you, mom.” For a second, Philip looked over at you.
Every once in a while you’d think you’d see it. Your Sunshine, not this dark
cloud trying to hide him. Something sparked in his eyes for that single second.
Was it regret? Was it longing? Was it remembrance? Was it an apology? You couldn’t
tell, he built a wall between you.
‘In this same
interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by
name, present a wall.
And such a wall, as I
would have you think,
That had in it a
crannied hole, or chink,
Through which the
lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe,
Did whisper often very
This loam, this
roughcast, and this stone doth show
That I am that same
wall. The truth is so.
And this the cranny
is, right and sinister,
Through which the
fearful lovers are to whisper.’
That should’ve been a passage he marked. As quick as the
second had come, it was gone once again.
Philip tightened his lips and walked away, the same way he always did.
“You’re going to let our son take my rival’s daughter to a
party? Are you crazy, Betsy?” Alex asked. Eliza shook her head.
“Trust me, love. A mother knows what she’s doing.” She
assured, winking at you after she finished her sentence. What’s that supposed to mean?
days passed and you were left to your same routine. You were dusting off the
shelves in Alex’s study when you heard someone come in. You looked over to see
Lafayette leaning against one of the cleaned shelves.
“Oh, hey Laf. Did you need something?” You asked. He tapped
his finger against his chin and took a step forward.
“Yes actually, I do have a small favor to ask of you Miss
“You can just call me Y/N or Titania like Alex does, but
sure, what’s the favor?”
“I was invited to a party by a friend of mine. I would like
to ask you to allow me the pleasure of escorting you there.” WHAT?!
“Um, wait what? A party? Oh no, no, no, no! I’ve never been
to one before! Besides, why would you need me to go?” You asked nervously.
“Well you see, I am not exactly the best dancer and every
time I try to go to a gathering by myself a madam will ask me to dance. I just
cannot find it in my heart to say no to them, it seems rude but I always
accidentally step on their feet…” His face flushed a bit. Fucking Marie
Antoinette, this is all your fault! “If I take you with me, I believe I will be
asked to dance far less.” Honestly, I should’ve expected that this was the
reason. Lafayette was known for being extremely awkward in many situations.
“I mean; alright I guess? As long as I don’t have to talk to
many people because honestly I do not know the proper etiquette for these
things…” Lafayette smiled at your answer.
“Merci, we can both not know the proper etiquette together,
how does that sound?” He asked humorously, you chuckled.
“Sounds like a plan!” You laughed.
Eliza about what Lafayette suggested and she seemed very pleased that you said
yes. She even said she would help you get ready, of course Angie decided she
would as well. When the day came, Eliza summoned you to her room and she pulled
out this very elegant blue dress.
“What’s this?” You asked.
“Well, as much as I love the dress Hercules gave you, it
simply is not ball appropriate. So, you shall wear this.” She informed. Angie,
who was sitting on the bed called out excitedly.
“That’s the dress Mama says she fell in love with Daddy in!”
You looked at the beautiful blue color.
“Eliza…this is too much, you’re so sweet to me!” She brushed
off the comment.
“Nonsense! I would do anything for my girls and you are
certainly no exception! Now, come over here! We are wasting precious time!” You
went over and she immediately started to work on you.
“Mama, how did you and Daddy fall in love exactly?” Angie
asked curiously. Ohhh, I’ve never heard
this story before! Eliza giggled to herself.
“That is actually quite the fascinating tale. You see, many
people in our family believe that Alexander and I were in love at first sight…”
“Wait, are you saying you weren’t?” You questioned, she
“I had met Alexander once at my Father’s estate. He brought
a message from Mr. Washington and stayed over for dinner. At the time, I had no
intentions of courting with him.”
“Really? Why?” Angie seemed confused.
“Well… I was in love with someone else at the time. He was a
red coat named Andre.” She explained. WAIT!
“You were in love
with someone on the opposite side?” You were astounded. Eliza nodded with an
amused smile. Am I the Andre to Philip’s
Eliza? Was I just a phase?
“Madly in love, in fact. When I saw Alexander that night at
a winter’s ball, everything changed. Love is a very complicated feeling, that’s
what I realized in that moment. You can’t control it, you can’t change it and
that’s scary.” Yeah…I know the feeling…
“At first, I didn’t think Alexander was interested in me. Although my sister
was already married at the time, I assumed he fancied her more. But here we
are, many years later. Alexander has taught me many things, but mostly he’s
shown me that love is not easy. You will doubt each other, hurt each other and
not even intend to, or even worse… You do it to protect them.” Eliza finished
putting the dress on you and quickly worked with your hair. She took two pieces
from the front and braided them to the back, making sure your hair stayed out of
your face. Was my sparkle not enough? Did
someone give him more than I could offer? “You look beautiful dear!” Eliza
teared up, Angie got off the bed, an idea burning in her pupils.
“Wait! Don’t go anywhere! I have an amazing idea!” She ran
out of the room and you were left to wonder for a moment. After a few minutes
she came running back in with something in her arms. You froze when you
realized what it was. Five bushels of
baby’s breath… She stepped behind you and laced the stems into your braid. “The
best accessory a lady can wear is fresh flowers.” She stated. You felt odd
about using the flower. You looked at yourself in the mirror. You were pretty
but felt, out of place. Monachopsis, that’s the word that came to mind in that
moment. You didn’t feel like you belonged there anymore, you tried not to think
about it too much. Once you were all
dressed and ready, Eliza led you out to the main room.
“Alexander has already called the coach. He should be waiting
outside with Lafayette.” You took a step out the door and let your eyes adjust
to the bright light. Alex was talking with Lafayette outside the carriage and
once they noticed you and the other woman with you they smiled. You went down
the steps and Alex took your hand, turning your wrist and signaling for you to
“Oh, I wonder where that dress came from!” He hinted while
you span in place, his banter made you feel a bit better about everything. Alex
gave your hand to Lafayette so you turned your attention to him. He smiled at
“Miss Titania, Alexander instructed me to call you that, you
look quite elegant, if I must say.” You fanned your face jocularly.
“Monsieur, you flatter me so!” You said with fake
bashfulness. He opened the carriage door
and helped you into it, when he got in he sat across from you. You waved
everyone goodbye and joked that you would be back before tomorrow. The carriage
pulled forward and you watched as it drove out of the yard. Just as the house
was starting to fade out of sight, you saw another carriage pull in. Another carriage? The house was too far
away at that point for you to investigate any further. You were starting to get
a bit nervous and your leg began to bounce from under your dress. You stared
out the window until you felt something tap your arm. You jumped slightly and
turned your gaze toward Lafayette.
“Miss Titania, you seem a bit flustered. May I ask what is
“Oh, um, yes. I’m just a bit anxious is all. I’ve uh, never
been to anything like this before.” You chuckled and scratched your cheek.
“Do not fear! As a gentleman, it is my job to ensure that
you have as nice of a time as possible. After all, those who can’t dance shall
not dance together! Or…something of that effect.” Wow…he’s just as awkward as me. What a precious lil baguette!
long before the carriage pulled in front of a large house. It was mostly brick
and was almost the model image of Victorian styling. The carriage stopped in
front of the estate and Lafayette stepped out first to help you down. The two
of you made your way up the grand stone steps, the door was opened for you. You
thought you were going to be early but there were already tons of people inside
the large, open room. It wouldn’t have bothered you so much if not a good majority
of the people looked over at you. Lafayette had his arm linked with yours and
pulled it slightly to get your attention as he led you through the room.
“I think they like you.” He whispered.
“Who’s party is this anyway?” You questioned.
“The Price’s, I was quite close with the father of the
house, the rest of the family was more than happy to allow me to attend.” You
nodded to show that you understood. You felt several eyes gaze at you from time
to time, you weren’t sure how to feel about it. Lafayette was nice enough to
make sure you never felt too uncomfortable. At one point he was leading you
across the room by stopped halfway. “I will be right back; I must greet the
lady of the house. Would you mind waiting for just a moment?” He asked.
“Go ahead, I’ll be here.” He continued to walk across the
room. A young man approached you not long after. Well, not quite young, he
still seemed quite a bit older than you.
“Hello Miss, what is a fair lady, such as yourself, doing here
all by your lonesome?” He certainly knew that you were not alone. Can’t a girl be by herself for ten seconds
and not be bothered?! “May I get you a drink?” He asked.
“No thank you, I don’t drink.” I don’t trust the alcohol in this century! He tried to insist but
you declined, that didn’t stop him from trying to ask again but he was stopped
by a voice interrupting him. You felt someone standing behind you.
“Excuse me sir, thank you for keeping my friend company for
me. Now if you don’t mind…” The man quickly walked away from the masculine
voice behind you. Why does that sound so familiar?
“Thank you, I wasn’t sure how I wa-“ You turned around and
“Hello Titania, it’s been quite a while hasn’t it?” A bright
color filled your eyesight.
when i saw this prompt, i wondered what mood i wanted to go for and finally decided on 19th century portraiture. what i didn’t expect was that when i looked up inspiration for a pose/composition that i’d find so many delightfully silly portraits. upon further research, tricks of editing–such as headless portraits, or ‘impossible figures’–were a popular thing, but took lots of forethought and effort to achieve at times. so a simpler, but equally fun option was to swap clothes.
here’s the photo i used as reference, and while i am sad that i couldn’t find its origin, it is one of several ‘crossdressing’ portraits that exists from the victorian era. i highly recommend checking them out, everyone looks INCREDIBLY dapper, and i adore that in each of them you can see the humor in their suppressed smiles.
Magic, Racial Tensions and Archaeology in Rivers of London
So I want to talk about some themes I keep seeing popping up. I have no conclusions I just want to talk about them (some THT spoilers). This also went very school english essay, sorry.
Urban fantasy is a fairly new subset of the fantasy genre, and it is significantly different from modern fantasy cities set in an ahistorical past like Minas Tirith, Ankh Morpork, King’s Landing etc. in that it is set in a recognisable modern city. Urban fantasy cities have more in common with Charles Dickens London and his ghosts of various tenses in that it often exists to point out political and cultural failings. By using magic, urban fantasy strips its narrative of the quotidian that serves as an easy distraction from the issue the story wants to highlight to make it easier to process.
This has a long history in English literature, with Shakespeare setting many of his plays that comment on Elizabethan society in Italy, while modern examples include A Song of Ice and Fire’s message of the pointlessness of petty political squabbling when faced with serious issues. Urban fantasy uses magic in the same way, except by setting it in a modern city it creates a sort of circus mirror through magic - everything looks almost the same, but modern anxieties are reflected and writ large. Rivers of London uses magic in particular to create a magical analogy for racial tensions.
Louis Darget Fluidic Thought-Image Photography, 1896
1. “The 1st Bottle” Photo of Thoughts. 27 May, 1896.
2. N.D. Inscribed: “Photo… of thought. Head obtained by Mr. Henning, having a plate wrapped in black paper on his forehead while he played the piano. Opposite him on the piano was a portrait of Beethoven. Could this be that [same] portrait reflected by the brain onto the plate through the black paper. Comt. Darget”
3. “Photograph of a Dream: The Eagle.“ 25 June, 1896. Inscribed: "Obtained by placing a photographic plate above the forehead of Mme Darget while she was asleep.”
4. “The Volcano.” 13 May, 1902. Inscribed: “Volcano. Film placed on table in spiritualist séance. The drawing is done in gold. Before the séance, turning toward the West, toward Martinique, I had said: This evening 13 may at 9:00 P.M. I beg one of the spirits who died at St. Pierre to come and appear. May my wireless dispatch reach Martinique. After the séance, I said to all present: I had called up a spirit from Martinique, no medium saw it but it made the present drawing.”
5. “Anger” 23 June, 1896. Inscribed: Plate placed for 10 minutes above the forehead of a very angry person.“
6. Planet and Satellite. 16 May, 1897. Inscribed: "Thought photograph Planet and Satellite. Created by thought by Mrs. A. who was looking at a celestial atlas with a plate on her forehead.”
This Victorian image depicts Katherine Parr wearing blue. In fact because blue was a cheap dye the Tudor royals only wore it for funerals, and then as a symbol of humility in the face of death. This is why Katherine Parr wore blue at Henry VIII’s funeral and why his pall was also blue. I mistakenly thought it was to do with the Order of the Garter but a recent conversation with the estimable Professor Maria Hayward put me right.