I Am Become Death

I like to do a post around Halloween about horror or horror-adjacent movies I’ve watched, but since we still have out two Netflix we haven’t watched, you might have to wait until November for that. In the meantime, here are some book reviews.

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Call of the Wild, by Floyd Gottfredson – Like many other comic strips that normally run in black and white, the Sunday Mickey Mouse comics were printed in color, and didn’t go along with the continuity of the others. Some were just one-page gags, while others were continuing serials of their own. There’s a Western tale about cattle thieves, adventure stories with Mickey and his friends going camping and climbing a mountain, and a story the mouse tells to his nephews about conquering a giant. Fighting giants is something Mickey has done a few times, notably in Mickey and the Beanstalk, but also in earlier shorts. I guess it works because it’s someone little overcoming someone enormous. Dippy Dawg, who would later become Goofy, makes a few appearances in which he’s obsessed with playing the Jew’s-harp. And before Donald Duck got his own nephews, he had to babysit Mickey’s in these early comics. Oddly, Donald was colored in yellow in these strips. And for anyone who thinks it’s weird for Pluto and Goofy to both be dogs, here’s Horace Horsecollar riding a horse.

A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore – After his wife dies in childbirth, mild-mannered thrift store owner Charlie Asher finds out he’s now Death. Well, not THE Death, but A Death. It’s an appropriate theme for Halloween, but I don’t remember if I was thinking that when I requested it from the library. Moore did recently mention that he’s starting a sequel, so I figured it would be good to read the first one before that one came out. Anyway, Charlie is one of several people who purchase and sell objects that hold human souls, thus aiding the cycle of reincarnation. In addition to the fact that having to hang around dying people can be quite depressing, there’s another occupational hazard in the form of the Morrigan, who hang around in the sewers and try to steal souls in order to nourish themselves. Also playing a significant role in the proceedings is Minty Fresh, the son of Anubis whom we last saw as a Las Vegas security guard in Coyote Blue, and is now running a record shop that distributes souls. As with many of Moore’s other books, he mixes various types of mythology (in this case mostly Celtic mythology and Buddhist beliefs) while also presenting original characters who are generally likeable despite having various annoying and sometimes disturbing traits. The idea of a normal person becoming Death (or, alternately, Death having to live as a normal person) is one I’ve come across fairly often. Even The Simpsons and Family Guy did it. Still, Moore’s presentation of the theme is interesting as well as funny.

Posted in Authors, Book Reviews, Cartoons, Celtic, Christopher Moore, Comics, Egyptian, Mythology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Religion, Politics, and the Great Pumpkin

There’s a History Channel special called The Haunted History of Halloween that Beth videotaped years ago, and we often watch in October, at least when she can find the tape. This year, we found the same special On Demand, although I think it might have been slightly edited. It’s a good overview of how the holiday and its traditions developed, but I also think there a slant to it. It’s a GOOD slant to my mind, but I have to wonder if it might have rubbed anyone else the wrong way. When it talks about the spread of Christianity and what that did to the Celtic festival of Samhain, I noticed a bit of a tone that, while certainly not anti-Christian, did kind of suggest that the spread of the religion homogenized culture somewhat. Or am I bringing my own biases into it? I’m sure the special was partially intended to combat the anti-Halloween sentiments among some fundamentalists. There’s also a bit on how the killing of witches was misogynistic, when I’m sure some people still think it was really about fighting Satan. Speaking of Halloween and evil, are violent pranks around that time (especially on the night of the thirtieth) still common? I’m sure there’s still some of it going around, but when I hear about how kids would set buildings on fire and take buggies apart on throw the pieces on the roof, I have to wonder how people can think society is more violent NOW. There’s a part of the special Beth and I sometimes mention with Garrison Keillor (presumably sarcastically, but it’s hard to tell) coming out in favor of the death penalty for children who throw toilet paper in trees. Other footage includes a young Candice Bergen and Liza Minnelli attending a Halloween party, and modern-day Druids dancing and singing corny songs.

We watched a more modern History Channel special as well, but while it offered a few tidbits of new information, like how All Saints’ Day was originally in May and the possible connection between trick-or-treating and soul cakes (no mention of the Soul Cake Duck), I didn’t care for it as much.

Picture by Fluffysingingneko
And we couldn’t even make it through the one on werewolves, which was more of a paranormal investigation type of thing than actual history. That seems to be the case with pretty much everything on the History Channel these days, though.

Another special I’d seen many times before but still wanted to comment on was It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the classic horror tale of a town where the children are practically always unsupervised, adults give rocks instead of candy to a clinically depressed child (seems to me that would be just asking for broken windows), and another kid walks around in a permanent dust cloud. Charles Schulz has denied there being any religious connotation to Linus’ fervent belief in the Great Pumpkin, instead saying that he simply mixed up Halloween with Christmas.

Mind you, it’s certainly easy to read religion into it, considering that Linus quotes the Bible on occasion. Looking back at these Peanuts specials, it’s amazing how something so cynical became such an integral part of childhood. That’s not a bad thing, but I’m not sure I always realized just how dark they can be.

Posted in Cartoons, Christianity, Fundamentalism, Halloween, History, Holidays, Religion, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Aboard the Afterlife Express

One of the more interesting episodes in Final Fantasy VI, and incidentally an appropriate one for this time of year, is the Phantom Train. Sabin and Cyan (and maybe Shadow, if you recruited him and he hasn’t left yet) board the vehicle in the Phantom Forest, and Cyan reports that it takes the dead to “the other side.”

The idea of ghost trains has been around for a while, with Wikipedia mentioning the Silverpilen metro train in in Stockholm and the phantom funeral train that runs from Washington, DC to Springfield, Illinois around the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death as noteworthy examples. There was also an encounter with a ghostly subway train in Ghostbusters II. Wikipedia also says that “phantom train” was sometimes used to describe the trains that the Nazis used to take prisoners to concentration camps, which adds an even more disturbing and probably unintentional twist. I wasn’t sure if there were any other examples of trains being used to convey souls to the world of the dead, but the Final Fantasy Wiki refers to a song called “Spanish Train” by Chris de Burgh that might have been the inspiration.

It refers to a train in Spain that stays mainly…um, I mean, that carries the souls of the dead, and to a poker game between God and Satan for their fate. If this is the case, it’s weird that Setzer doesn’t feature in this part of the game. While De Burgh is most famous for the song “The Lady in Red,” he has another one called “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” that might well be about Charon.

And the train is basically an updated version of Charon’s ferry, so there’s that. Anyway, the train is full of generic ghosts, some of whom will attack your party, while others try to sell them items. I’m not sure where ghosts get items to sell, but I suppose that’s not my concern. Others will temporarily join the party. They’re not good fighters, but they do have an ability that can instantly kill an enemy through possession. After doing this, the ghost leaves the party.

We also learn from this part of the game that ghost food is nourishing to living beings.

And it’s where the party first encounters the mysterious thief Siegfried, or possibly an impostor claiming to be him. The conductor is called “impresario” for some reason; it’s been speculated that this was a translation error since the conductor of the opera later in the game is known as an impresario. In that case, however, the term is appropriate. I thought at first they might be the same character, but apparently not. When Sabin and company make their way to the engine, they find out that it’s sentient and have to fight it. One interesting aspect to this fight that I’m sure amused everyone when they first tried it is that Sabin’s Suplex move, where he picks up and body slams an enemy, totally works on the locomotive.

Finally, the train drops your party back off at the terminal, but takes the people of Doma, including Cyan’s wife and son, on to the afterlife.

Picture by Isangsimaron Batis
I find a train being used for this purpose to fit the game’s general atmosphere of fantasy combined with Victorian-era technology. A steam train is much more modern than the quasi-medieval feel of most sword-and-sorcery settings, but still rather quaint in this day and age. At one point, Cyan mentions that Doma used to have a railroad, but it’s no longer operational.

Picture by Mr. Fipp
The Phantom Train makes an appearance in a few other FF games, but FF6 was the first to use it. In FF8, there’s a Guardian Force called Doomtrain that can inflict both damage and status ailments.

Interestingly, the Japanese name for this being was Glasya-Labolas, after one of the demons in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Dragon Quest IX has the Starflight Express, which doesn’t convey the souls of the dead, but does transport angels to and from the heavenly realms.

I also can’t help but think of Salvador Dali’s painting La Gare de Perpignan, which is based on his conviction that the train station in Perpignan was the center of the universe.

Apparently he experienced an epiphany there, but even without that transportation centers really are nexus points of a sort.

Posted in Art, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Music, Technology, Urban Legends, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Save Our Souls

There’s a saying that I’m sure you’ve come across on occasion: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” It’s often misattributed to C.S. Lewis, but I don’t think he ever actually said anything of the kind. It shows up several times before Lewis, usually in wording pretty close to that, but we don’t know for sure how it started. The idea it reflects it pretty similar to the Gnostic belief that the material world is an illusion meant to hold us back. While it was rejected by orthodox Christianity, it kind of seems like it managed to sneak back in. References in the New Testament suggest a bodily resurrection, as also mentioned in the book of Daniel, apparently a favorite of Jesus. When this general resurrection didn’t happen, it became more common to think of souls as going to Heaven or Hell after death. Some Christian denominations still hold that the bodily resurrection will eventually occur, while others largely disregard it. The thing is, if the soul can live on eternally without the body, it kind of makes life on Earth somewhat irrelevant. Sure, the mainstream belief differs from the Gnostic in that it affirms the reality of material things, but a human lifespan is apparently a drop in the bucket compared to how long a soul can exist.

I must admit to being curious as to what exactly people think a soul is, and how the concept developed. It’s the animating force of the body, but at the same time it also seems to encompass a person’s mind and identity. As such, it’s still YOU moving on into the afterlife, not just a collection of spiritual energy.

I can’t say I’m sold (souled?) on the idea myself, as it seems to me that the prevailing wisdom is that identity is stored in the brain and can’t be separated from it. I think the idea that personalities can simply cease to exist is inherently disturbing, however, so different cultures came up with different ways they could live on. I’m not saying it isn’t a tempting idea, just that I find it unlikely. While there are still debates now as to whether, say, animals have souls, some of the oldest known religious beliefs are animist ones in which even non-living things do.

Of course, back then no one knew about cells, so there wasn’t as much of a line of demarcation between life and non-life. Also, I’m not sure whether animists believed that souls could be separated from bodies, so the implication isn’t necessarily that a rock can have an eternal afterlife.

The Wikipedia article on ghosts suggests that the soul was commonly associated with breath, since living things stop breathing when they die. That could be why ghosts are often thought of as wispy, like frozen breath on a cold day.

It also appears to be a pretty old belief that the dead still look like they did in life. This would probably be essential if you’re going to recognize the spirit of someone you knew, unless that information is just automatically filtered into your mind or something. While it’s tempting to think of a soul as pure energy, I don’t think that really fits with the common understanding. Ghosts can float around and walk through walls, but they’re also frequently regarded as interacting with physical objects.

In reading about mythology, I’ve come across many different concepts of the afterlife and the world of the dead. The Greek Asphodel and the Hebrew Sheol are more or less shadowy underground realms of eternal boredom. I think a lot of people would rather just cease to exist than go there, but I guess at least you can still occasionally keep in touch with your living friends and relatives, like when Odysseus chatted with the shades.

There are also many variations on souls being rewarded or punished for their deeds on Earth, and often in ways that suggest they still have some physical substance. After all, if you no longer have a body, you would think you wouldn’t need to eat and couldn’t feel pain, but the honored souls were still said to spend their time feasting and the damned burning in fire.

Tantalus‘ punishment in Tartarus consisted of being denied food. Some cultures that practice ancestor worship will offer food to their late predecessors, and it seems that ancient Egyptians thought they could bring some things with them to the afterlife. Some old Egyptian and Mesopotamian beliefs held that the next life wouldn’t be a place of eternal reward, punishment, or boredom; but rather another life much like on Earth. It seems common now to regard these very physical descriptions of the afterlife as merely symbolic, and maybe they were always intended to be. There’s really no way to tell until someone makes a trip there and back, and I don’t mean that Heaven Is for Real kid. Indeed, people who claim they’ve seen Heaven or Hell often have ideas suspiciously close to the popular conceptions that they’ve almost certainly learned about before.

Posted in Animism, Christianity, Egyptian, Gnosticism, Greek Mythology, Judaism, Mythology, Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m Just Looking for the Divine Hammer

The Mighty Thor Omnibus, Volume 1, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby – As I’ve become somewhat more interested in comics recently and I’ve been interested in mythology for a long time, I thought I should check out some of these early Thor stories. Making a classical god into a twentieth-century superhero was an interesting idea, although the way it worked was a little confusing. Basically, the lame physician Dr. Donald Blake is on vacation in Norway when he finds Thor’s hammer in disguise as a walking stick. Tapping it on the ground turns him into the god, although if he’s without it for more than sixty seconds he turns back into the rather frail Dr. Blake.

He actually uses this to his advantage occasionally, because when villains tie up the huge, muscular Thor, Blake can easily escape the bonds. But are Blake and Thor the same person or two different ones? Obviously Thor existed long before Blake did, and when the doctor first encounters Loki, he only seems to know the trickster god from the myths themselves. Later, however, Blake recognizes other inhabitants of Asgard. I guess it takes a little while for him to regain his memories. I believe the eventual explanation was that Odin placed Thor’s spirit in Blake’s body in order to teach him humility, but this isn’t mentioned in these early comics. It’s not too surprising that the 2011 Thor movie (I haven’t seen the sequel yet), while it does include a nod to the name Donald Blake, basically left out this aspect altogether. Of course, superheroes being physically weak before gaining their powers (or in cases like Superman having to feign weakness in order to avoid suspicion) is a staple of the genre. So is heroes getting new powers whenever they need them, although I guess this makes sense for a god. Not only can Thor throw his hammer out into deep space (from which it always comes back), but he can use it to drag himself through the air, control the weather, and even travel through time. There’s also a sort of love triangle that isn’t really a triangle based pretty blatantly on that of Superman and Lois Lane. Blake has a thing for his nurse Jane Foster, and while she has feelings for him as well, she thinks he’s too timid and wishes he were more like Thor. And he can’t just reveal his secret identity because Odin has expressly forbidden it. Jane is such a stereotypical girly girl here that it’s just ridiculous.

Thor fights a variety of foes, starting with the Stone Men from Saturn.

I’m not exactly sure how people made of stone can live on a gas giant, but maybe they’re actually from Titan and just SAY they’re from Saturn; the outer planets probably have their suburbanites as well. Loki soon emerges as Thor’s main antagonist, sometimes fighting Thor directly and other times tricking other gods or granting powers to mortals so they can battle in his stead. How little back story some of the bad guys have is a little disappointing. The Absorbing Man is presented as one of the most formidable of these early foes, but he’s just some random criminal who was granted supernatural powers by Loki. From what I understand, many of the early Marvel villains seemed to have no particular motivation beyond robbing banks and getting revenge. Since it’s the sixties, the thunder god also occasionally fights communists.

The dynamic between Thor, Loki, and Odin is altered somewhat from the source material by making the trickster Thor’s adopted brother rather than Odin’s blood brother. Loki’s status is a bit inconsistent, as sometimes he’s chained up, but other times freely able to come and go from Valhalla. It seems to repeatedly be the case that Odin doesn’t want to think badly of Loki, despite all the bad stuff he’s done in the past. I’m not really sure why Loki is a skinny guy in green; I guess he’s kind of a Robin Goodfellow sort in his appearance.

Of course, Marvel also gave Thor blond hair and no beard, and Odin two functional eyes. Other members of the Norse pantheon show up on occasion, as do other residents of Asgard invented for the comics. The short Tales of Asgard stories go some way toward reconciling the classic myths with more modern concepts. There’s a version of the creation myth that accounts for a round Earth revolving around the Sun. Loki’s attempt to kill Balder with mistletoe is also acknowledged, although here it’s unsuccessful, meaning Balder can appear occasionally in the modern day. The final story in the volume has Thor visiting Olympus and fighting Hercules. The two are evenly matched, and only stop fighting when Zeus makes them.

One of my favorite pictures in the volume was this overview of Asgard, which really comes across as more of a futuristic theme park than the collection of sprawling estates I imagined from the myths.

Come to think of it, IS there a theme park based on Norse mythology? Now that Disney owns Marvel, maybe they should make their own Asgard.
It seems that Marvel’s version of the Norse pantheon is so prominent in popular culture that it’s a little difficult to present these characters in other ways, which doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem for the Greek deities. That’s not to say it hasn’t been done, though. Thor, Loki, and Odin all show up in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, which was published by DC Comics. Diana Wynne Jones’s Eight Days of Luke uses all three as well. Douglas Adams brings somewhat different interpretations of Thor into Life, the Universe, and Everything and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, and Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing… makes the god as he appeared in the former into a major character. And I understand that Rick Riordan, who already wrote successful series featuring the Greco-Roman and Egyptian gods, is starting one based on the Norse.

Posted in Authors, Book Reviews, Comics, Diana Wynne Jones, Dirk Gently, Douglas Adams, Greek Mythology, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Mythology, Norse, Rick Riordan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Green Witch Village

The MGM movie of The Wizard of Oz popularized the idea of the Wicked Witch of the West having green skin, something she didn’t have in the book. And at this time of year, it’s common to see witches with light green skin. That, along with the broom and the pointed hat, is an indication that you’re seeing a witch. So where did this idea get started? This was a topic of discussion on the now-defunct International Wizard of Oz Club message board back in 2009, and it appears that there weren’t that many green witches prior to 1939, but they did appear in some Halloween decorations as early as the 1920s.

It’s likely the case that the Wicked Witch was made more colorful in the film for the same reason the Silver Shoes were turned into Ruby Slippers, but still, why green?

The color seems to have been associated with disease and the decomposition of dead bodies. Death is said to have ridden on a pale green horse. It’s still considered a rather sickly color. Ruth Berman points out that copper arsenate dye, which was discovered in the eighteenth century and remained popular throughout the nineteenth, had a pale green color and was discovered to be poisonous. A search on the Internet turns up several suggestions that the Halloween witch was based on a bruised and battered witch facing execution, but this seems a bit unlikely. Another possibility is that it has to do with witches working with plants, but that would suggest a deeper green.

Then again, witches probably would grow mint in their herb gardens. Green was also considered a magical color in Celtic folklore, and tended to be associated with fairies.

I don’t know whether any of these was consciously the reason for green-skinned witches, but they might well have contributed to the idea.

It also applies to other monsters, like how Frankenstein’s monster was colored in green on movie posters, although that could just be to highlight his decomposition.

Even Mr. Hyde was green in Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo cartoons.

And I’ve also discussed green Martians. I guess the main remaining question is why Halloween witches have long noses, but that’s probably just because it’s generally agreed to look ugly.

Posted in Mythology, Oz, Characters, Holidays, Celtic, Halloween, Fairy Tales, Cartoons, Oz Authors, L. Frank Baum, Monsters, Magic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Girls Against Gestahl

Picture by Beth Wulff/Annie Felis
The ensemble cast of Final Fantasy VI has definitely stuck with me over the years, and I’ve written about a few of them, but I don’t think I’ve said much recently about the character who is arguably the main protagonist. I say it’s arguable because it was never intended to focus on one viewpoint character the way FF4 has Cecil, FF5 Bartz, and FF7 Cloud. Still, Terra Branford is the first character you control (not counting the temporary Biggs and Wedge), and is quite central to the plot. Also, if you do count her as the main protagonist, she’s the first female to hold that role in the series, and that’s definitely cool. I recently read somewhere that, since FF4, pretty much every main FF title has had three playable female characters. I haven’t played beyond FF7, but it does seem to work out up through that one. FF4 has Rosa, Rydia, and Porom; FF5 Lenna, Faris, and Krile; and FF7 Tifa, Aerith, and Yuffie. FF6 fits the pattern as well, with Terra, Celes Chere, and Relm Arrowny. It also generally seems to be the case that two are adult women and one a child, but that’s a bit flexible. Rydia starts out as a child, but grows to an adult due to spending time in a place where time flows differently. And Yuffie is sixteen, which isn’t that much younger than the other two, but she’s definitely less mature. The thing is, even the adults tend to be quite young as well, usually between eighteen and twenty-two. If they lived in the United States, they’d be college age. This often surprises me when I look at the official statistics. In addition, when heights and weights are mentioned, all the women are apparently really skinny. Most of the male characters are quite young as well, but there are exceptions: Cyan is fifty, Tellah and Strago sixty, and Fusoya millions of years old. Terra and Celes are both said to be eighteen, even though the latter is a general. The Final Fantasy Wiki proposes that Celes might have been partially inspired by Joan of Arc, who was also a military commander at a young age. Terra and Celes are both magicians, which is a bigger deal in the FF6 world than in those of other games. Terra has her powers because her father is an Esper, while Celes was augmented with hers by the Empire. In terms of offensive magic, Terra specializes in fire, and Celes in ice.

Picture by Style XX

At the beginning of the game, Terra has amnesia, and only after the battle in the mines of Narshe does she recall her unusual heritage.

It turns out that her parents were the Esper Maduin and the human Madeline (called Madonna in the original Super Nintendo translation, although I was never sure whether that was supposed to be her name or just a description).

When Emperor Gestahl invaded the Espers’ village and Madeline died, he took the baby Terra back with him. We know little of her upbringing, but it’s likely that she was basically treated as a lab rat. Under the control of Kefka’s slave crown, she commits various atrocities in the name of the Empire.

Since mind control is necessary to achieve these effects, she’s presumably not violent on her own, despite having been brought up around would-be world conquerors. After finding out about her past, she is able to take a more powerful Esper form during battle.

A major struggle for her is that she’s concerned she’s incapable of feeling love, but this turns out to be untrue when she begins caring for the orphaned children of Mobliz. Her friends are worried that she’ll die when magic and Espers disappear from the world, but she’s able to hold onto life due to her attachments.

Celes is presumably an orphan, but since Cid of the Magitek Research Facility is a surrogate grandfather to her, she apparently knew more of familial affection than Terra ever did. Still, she’s fairly proud and independent. She was one of the earliest experimental Magitek Knights, given power from Espers when she was a child. As a general, she led some brutal attacks, but eventually turned against the Empire. For this, she was jailed in South Figaro. Locke Cole rescues her and develops feelings for her, and she becomes a valuable member of the Returners. During the course of the game, she has to take the place of an opera singer who looks like her. After Kefka destroys much of the world, she spends a year on a desert island with Cid, but finally uses a raft to reach the mainland and reunite her allies.

Picture by KatChan00
Many of the FF women are presented as either love interests or motherly figures, if not both. They also tend to be healers, and not all that skilled with weapons. There are exceptions, however, like the purposely un-feminine Faris. While neither Terra nor Celes is a physical powerhouse, they’re both former imperial soldiers. For all of the terrible things you can say about Gestahl, he apparently never had any objection to women in the military. Terra is a motherly sort, particularly fond of children and animals, although at first she thinks she might not be able to love at all. Celes is a love interest, but that’s hardly the extent of her character. They do both seem really interested in clothes shopping when preparing for Gau’s reunion with his father, but then so do some of the guys. Celes is said to have a passion for gardening, although I don’t know that this is considered especially feminine in Japan.

It’s been speculated that Terra and Celes’ names are meant to parallel each other, with the former referring to the terrestrial and the latter the celestial. The only problem is that Terra’s name was originally Tina, but the English translator changed it because he considered Tina to be too common. So the connection might be intentional, but only in English. It is perhaps noteworthy that Aerith in the next installment has a name that’s supposed to sound like “Earth.” It’s also possible that Celes was named after the grain goddess Ceres, but I don’t think there’s ever been an official answer. I’m not even really sure how it’s supposed to be pronounced, although I’ve always said it like “sea-less.” The ending of the game reveals all of the characters’ last names (well, except for Gau, Mog, Umaro, and Shadow), and I initially thought Branford sounded rather too bland for Terra. Looking at its meaning on the Final Fantasy Wiki, it’s apparently derived from Welsh. Her father’s name, Maduin, comes from the Irish Mael Duin, so maybe there’s supposed to be a Celtic connection there. The Espers’ village being accessible only through a hidden cave fits with the Celtic Sidhe and their fairy mounds, and Terra could probably pass for one herself. The fact that nobody uses the last names in the game itself apparently means imperial military officers are called by their first names, which is also true of General Leo Christophe and Kefka Palazzo. I don’t even know where Terra and Celes received their surnames. Was Madeline’s last name Branford? I remember seeing it suggested that Cid’s last name was Chere, but his full name was later revealed to be Cid del Norte Marquez. If Celes marries Locke, I wonder if she’ll become Celes Cole.

Picture by Lady of the Lake

Posted in Celtic, Final Fantasy, Gender, Greek Mythology, Magic, Mythology, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment