Monday, April 11, 2016

Thorn Jack's Symbolism

I adore symbolism, but it's mostly subconscious. When I notice certain themes, I try to make them more focused in future drafts. Here are some of the symbols I used in the Thorn Jack series:

BLOOD: It means life. It's what the Fatas, especially the darker, wilder ones, crave in rituals. When a Jack or a Jill (mortal soldiers kept alive by magical flowers) is created, they are bloodless and heartless. They only bleed when they fall in love. The Fatas also bleed and become vulnerable when they love.

FUR: Mostly in Briar Queen, which takes place in winter, fur on the Fatas represent their almost savage state beneath the elegance. And some of them, like Seth Lot, the Wolf king, can shapeshift into animals.

HAWTHORN: (Jack's last name) The May tree. The tree of rebirth. It's sometimes referred to as a fairy thorn.

HEART: In some cultures, the heart is the soul's resting place. Fatas and their Jack and Jill servants are heartless. In certain folk tales, witches or wizards would sometimes cut out their own hearts and hide them so no one would have power over them.

KEYS: Shaped as moths, butterflies, dragonflies, keys in Thorn Jack are talismans. Obviously, they symbolize doorways, which lead the characters to otherworldly places. They are also transformed people. Keys have always held an almost magical significance in folklore.

POETRY: Poetry represents the power of language. It's a chant, a mantra, speaking in tongues. There's an entire book about it by Robert Graves, called The White Goddess.

REVELS: The Fata revels are inspired by tales of fairy dances that lure the unwary. One night at a fairy dance or feast could turn into one hundred human years. The extravagant parties and masquerades are the Fatas' way of drawing the young to them.

SISTERS: In fairy tales, there's always the bad sister and the good sister, with the exception of 'Snow White and Rose Red', where the two love one another. The bond between sisters in stories can be powerful, and so it is with Finn and Lily.

THE SWING: A lot of important conversations take place on the swing set in Finn's back yard. Swings have always had a symbolic power, signifying being caught between the sky and earth. In the Chinese version of Cinderella, the part where the prince puts the shoe on Cinderella takes place on a swing.

TEETH: Teeth contain DNA. Teeth were the first step to certain organisms evolving into mammals. Although the Fatas can sometimes manifest as creatures of tooth and claw, human teeth, to them, are precious because each represents a mortal life.

THORNS, BRIARS & NETTLES: A standard feature in fairy tales. As well as representing the obvious--barriers and entanglements--they symbolize the Fatas' dangerous and twisty way of tricking mortals.

If you have questions about any other symbolism in Thorn Jack, post them here!

No comments:

Post a Comment