Abaratian Royalty

So in the midst of creating the articles and summaries that I thought needed to be done immediately, I forgot that one of the things I also wanted to focus on was cleaning the articles. I have done this but I haven’t made it clear which ones. Tonight I am writing this post to talk about the articles I have recently edited, why I chose the way I edited them, and talking about the royal families of the Abarat.

We start with the Princess Boa. From her first mention in the series, in Gallows Forest by a soul-searching Christopher Carrion, we’re introduced to a character who was well-loved. Carrion, a man whose grandmother actually sewed his lips together because he said the word love, fully admits to himself that he loved her. He wanted to marry her because she was a daughter of the King of Day and he was the Lord of Midnight. Their union would bring peace. But Boa had doubts about it all even though her father and brother Prince Quiffin were all for the marriage and its potential for daylight and nighttime alliances. Carrion believed it would actually lead to an Age of Everlasting Love, as he remembers writing in one of the letters he sent when courting her. The Fantomaya believed her soul was important to the future of the Abarat. I don’t want to give it away too much, but her soul still is important. Hehe.

So Princess Boa is presented to us as what TVTropes calls the Princess Classic. I would like to once again stress that when I mention TVTropes I don’t mean to criticize the story, as it is one my absolute favorites, but Tropes are in literally everything. They can be cliche at times but everything has them. And also, we find out later that Boa’s character is more, for lack of better word, complex than the initial praising we hear of her.

I edited her article to make it easier to read. It introduces her as a character. It has an Appearance and Character section where I discuss her back story, personality/other traits, and her looks, though that last one is a little slim on details. I’ve based this format on A Wiki of Ice and Fire’s format for characters. I also did this to prevent spoilers from being seen so easily. There used to be an Overview section and below that an In The Books section with three smaller places for her role in each book. But none of the Roles were filled out, and the Overview had information from all three books in it, some quite spoilerific. If no one claims that word soon I declare it mine. So I got rid of all those and just moved around the information. Get ready for the spoilers now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Stop reading now if you are in book one and don’t want to know.

Boa’s soul after she died was attached to Candy’s soul. It’s heavily suggested in book one with various hints, but nothing is actually said about it. Its confirmed at the end of book two, which if you’re a fan like me left you feeling like Boa finally speaking to Candy was such a great scene and suggested good things to come. Couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t want to outright say it, but Boa is less like the paragon of innocent Princesses and more like this. I love you, TVTropes.

So next, we have King Claus of Day and Finnegan Hobb the Bridegroom. King Claus is Boa’s father. After her death, Claus became a compulsive eater in his grief and some say he weighs over 1000 pounds. He lives, eats, and travels in a large car. TVTropes classifies him as Adipose Rex, a common trope that involves a king that is obese. The only things that connect him is the fact that he is a king and he is obese. We don’t know his other personality traits because he’s not made an appearance yet, so his personality doesn’t fit the traditional jolly fat king who parties all the time. That’s the fun of tropes, but I digress. Then again, that’s about it for King Claus. Good king of daylight, daughter died, he was sad about it and (quite understandably I’d say) ate a lot in mourning.

Lastly, we have Finnegan Hobb. He is the Bridegroom of Princess Boa, formerly at least. Ever since she was slain, he has had a vendetta against dragons, or worms as they’re called, because these dragons are not noble enough to take on the title dragon. He spends the sixteen years after Boa’s death hunting down and killing worms. This had been compared to the character of Prince Rillian of The Chronicles of Narnia who goes on a quest to kill the green serpent who kills his mother but goes missing for years. Not a plagiarism or rip-off in my mind because Finnegan wasn’t kidnapped. More of a homage, and I love homages. Natalie Goldberg in her book Writing Down The Bones says the it’s arrogant for a writer to think their writing is original and we are all influenced by what we read. If Finnegan is meant as a homage to Rillian that is nothing out of the ordinary for writers to do. I’ve actually started to read the books with a more lurking eye because I do believe he makes some homages to other works at times. I’ll try to make a post about this later, but for now I’ll just say that Kaspar Wolfswinkel is an interesting version of a Mad Hatter.

Finnegan is eventually found by the crew of the sunken Belbelo on the Nonce, the island at three o’clock in the afternoon. He is in the midst of a dragon battle. I know I’ve praised TVTropes a lot in this and other posts, but here is a place where I think they are quite wrong. They qualify Finnegan’s vendetta against worms as the “Love Makes You Evil” trope, stating Finnegan Hob’s love for Princess Boa causes him to commit mass genocide against all dragons when a single dragon kills Boa. Genocide it may be, but I fail to understand why that’s considered evil in this story’s context. The worms here, while able to speak and even have a royal seat, the Scaly Throne, and the concept of heirs, are nothing but evil. Every instance we see them they are needlessly killing and trying to eat relatively peaceful creatures. They especially love eating children. In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, a character named Melisandre says “If half an onion is black with rot, it is a rotten onion. A man is good or he is evil.” While certainly up for debate, especially in that series’ world with so many blurred lines of morality, the message speaks volumes I think. There is good, and there is evil. Daylight in the Abarat is usually considered good whereas Nighttime is evil. There are exceptions but early on in the series we are told there is perfect evil and perfect good in Abarat. Just refer back to this posts’ opening line, the opening line of the series. So I don’t consider Finnegan’s vendetta against the worms evil. The worms are evil.

That’s all I have tonight

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Mysteries and Monsters of the Twenty-Fifth

A criminal who happened to make it out of the Twenty-Fifth Hour came out of it as a poet named Righteous Bandy. He, like many others who were lucky enough to make it out of the mysterious island, was happily insane. One of the things he wrote was that “Every mystery of the Abarat has its solution here; every enchantment its source, every prayer its destination.”

Indeed, the island is set up to have many mysteries associated with it. When Candy gets her first glimpse of it through the eyes of a telescope squid attached to her face (I repeat, a telescope squid attached to her face) the island is hard to look at because of the strange movements of the clouds around it. The light plays tricks with the eyes and doesn’t allow so much as a small glimpse of the island. Something or someone clearly doesn’t want the island disturbed.

That someone is a man named Abraham Hollow. Next to nothing is known about him in the text. He is called the Keeper of the Twenty-Fifth Island by the Fantomaya. He makes a small appearance in a doorway located in an unknown . infinite darkness. He wears scarlet robes and is very old. A giant rat named Tattle, true to its name, informs him of people who make it onto the island. That doesn’t sit well with him. This man does not want outsiders in this place. But don’t worry, he has a plan. It’s a brutal one too.

Que the Fugit Brothers! Man, are these guys creepy.

Do you see those spiders on his face? Oh wait, that IS his face!

Do you see those spiders on his face? Oh wait, that IS his face!

Not sure if this is Tempus or Julius Fugit. It could be either one of them. That’s why I decided to create their article as just one. Actually, that is the same reason I made the Fantomaya and the John Brothers into one article. Maybe the Fantomaya, could have individual articles, but essentially these are one-character groups. The Fantomaya are rarely seen alone, though that does happen. The John Brothers literally can’t be alone since they share a body.

But back to the Fugit Brothers. They’re the minions of Abraham Hollow. They enjoy killing, according to their dark banter as they chase after Candy. They threaten to tear her heart out at one point. Their gruesome facial features are what Candy speculates to be the reason those who make it out of the Twenty-Fifth go insane. In fact, when she escapes, she is muttering incoherently, but when her buddy Malingo suspects she’s gone insane she snaps out of it and insists she’s not. I’m not sure if the text entirely suggests this, but I personally think that if Malingo wasn’t with her she would have gone insane. To me, that also shows the importance of the Candy/Malingo relationship.

Since the content of both articles, Abraham and the Fugit Brothers, is very small, I’ve decided to combine it in one blog post. All three articles I’ve created this week have some connection to the Time Out Of Time, whether good or bad. My personal prediction is that Candy will go there (that is confirmed by the Fantomaya but it has yet to happen) and somehow interact with Abraham Hollow. Whether he will receive her well or not is up for pure speculative debate. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the Fugit Brothers in more than just a “minion” light. I’d like to learn if they’re decent characters to interact with when they’re not killing or making people go crazy. Maybe we’ll gain an insight on what it’s like to have a face that moves around like bugs.

Or maybe that’s something we should never ever have to learn. I mean, just scroll up and look at it again!

That’s it for this week. May your travels be safe from mantizacs.

 

Three Women Of Mystery

Three is the number of those who do holy work;
Two is the number of those who do lover’s work;
One is the number of those who do perfect evil
Or perfect good

            -From the notes of a monk
             of the Order of St. Oco;
             his name unknown

This epigraph opens up the prologue. It’s credited to an unknown monk, much like many of the epigraphs. They’re in-universe quotes, but most of the time I will just credit them to Clive Barker. The prologue of book one is called The Mission. It begins with three women who are doing some sort of holy work.

The theme for this week is the Twenty-Fifth Hour, called the Time Out Of Time, Whence, Lud, and Odom’s Spire.

These three women are Diamanda, Joephi, and Mespa. They are called the Sisters of the Fantomaya. Since they are the first characters we’re introduced to, I’ve made an article specifically for them. On TVTropes, they’re called the Abarat version of The Hecate Sisters, a common trope seen in many forms of stories of three women, one young, one middle, and one old. It’s not extremely evident to me that this is a good comparison. Diamanda fits the profile of the old, serious one, but Joephi is not “ditzy” or “innocent” as the young one often is. Joephi is wild-looking. Mespa may or may not be motherly; she carries the night sky in her eyes.

More easily the can be associated with the Moirae, the three sisters of Fate in Greek mythology. The Fantomaya seem to be connected to fate in the Abarat, though in the prologue they make it explicit that the influence they have shouldn’t really be done.

They appear to have different powers depending on nature and prayers. They pray to the moon, Lady Moon to be exact, and the response is the moonlight repairing their boat and bringing them safely across the sea in the middle of storm. Though nearly every appearance of these women is magical, they are nowhere near invulnerable. Diamanda was once married to a very mortal man. They have one of the most bittersweet reunions I’ve ever read about. I’ll leave it at that.

Somehow these women are connected to the Twenty-Fifth Hour, one of the biggest and still unexplained mysteries of the series so far. It is described as being a Time Out Of Time, a place where “Everything is Here. Everything is Now. Even Yesterday.” The job of the Fantomaya is unclear, but it seems to be studying and protecting all the mysteries of the Twenty-Fifth Hour. I’ve read each book at least twice, and I don’t have a good prediction about what lies there. I eagerly await the day Abarat IV: The Price of Dreams comes out. And when the series finishes in general.

So there you have, very little information on three very mysterious women. More will be revealed of their purpose and intents in the coming volumes, I hope. For now, I believe that while they are powerful, they are not to be seen as goddesses. They are mortal, and can make mistakes. One mistake that our main character Candy notices is their lack of judgement for certain people, one they see as evil and the other as good. The evil one, Christopher Carrion, can be debated. While the other, the good one, well I don’t want to spoil anything. But it was not at all what I expected of a princess. But more on that later…

Happy sailing…

Creating A Monster

“O little one,
My little one,
Come with me,
Your life is done.
Forget the future,
Forget the past.
Life is over:
Breathe your last.”

This nursery rhyme by Clive Barker is sung by a menacing character in chapter 7 of Abarat. It is one of the first indicators of the personality of Mendelson Shape. As the main character Candy thinks as she hears it, only a monster like Shape would have this sung to him as an infant. And she is right. She may have had little interaction with him when he sings this, but it’s enough to tell her what a dark being Shape is.

We are first introduced to Shape in chapter 6. He is standing in a grass field, and John Mischief says he is being hunted by Shape. As him and Candy hide in the tall grass, she gets her first look at the grotesque being.

The author's own painting of the character. I'm not entirely sure if Mendelson Shape can be called a man. His hands certain don't suggest it.

The author’s own painting of the character. I’m not entirely sure if Mendelson Shape can be called a man. His hands certain don’t suggest it.

He is a tall, spidery man. Or maybe he is something other than human. On his back are strange rods attached to his body that can extend. They seem to hold his weapon of choice, two swords. He is missing his right foot. I don’t recall if why he lost his foot is mentioned. Somewhere in the books no doubt it might come up. So far I’m not done with my reread, much less my notes on each and every subject.

Mendelson mentions his family at a point in the book. His mother’s name is Miasma Shape, a clue into how gruesome this family was. A miasma can be defined as a noxious atmosphere, a theory on how many plagues and diseases were spread in history. His brothers are named Nizz and Naught, though the text is unclear if Mendelson is the youngest, eldest, or middle. A clue comes in the form of his master, Christopher Carrion, Lord of Midnight’s dark warning:

“Your brothers are dead for their failures, and you will join them in the lime pit if you do not succeed in this last venture.”

His mother is presumably dead also. I have created an article about him on the AbaratWiki because he is the first antagonist that is introduced in the books. He is pursuing John Mischief, though some may sympathize because John did steal from Shape’s master. But since I’ve read each books, I know that what he stole was for a good purpose. The morality in this series isn’t so grey as others. There is dark and light, and clear divisions, in the beginning at least.

He not the true villain of the series. His role is significant, but minor when looking at the big picture. I know what happens with Mendelson’s dark travels, but I have not written them on his page yet. I will leave that for when I finish my rereads and my notes for this dark character. In the beginning we’re led to believe that his master the Lord of Midnight is the true villain. That is up for debate. 

But we’ll cross that sea when we come to it.

Creating The Sea

“Life is short

And pleasures few

And holed the ship

And drowned the crew

But o! But o!

How very blue

the sea is.”

Clive Barker has this small poem towards the beginning of Abarat. It is credited to an in-universe character. And though it’s few lines are dark, it brings one small, indisputable, and obvious truth. The sea is blue. Whether he means the color or its sad because of it just drowned a whole crew of a ship is debatable. Barker has used the sea or oceans as large plot points in other works of his, notably The Great and Secret Show and Everville. I read both when I was around fourteen to fifteen. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. Books aren’t rated R, even when using an inter-library loan from my high school.

In The Great and Secret Show, the sea that is focused on is called Quiddity, or sometimes the Dream Sea. It is visted three times in a person’s life. Once when they sleep in their mother’s womb, once when they sleep with the one they love, and once when sleeping before dying. In the sequel Everville, Quiddity comes to prominence more as a real sea. There might be others in his writing; it’s been a while since I’ve read anything of his besides Abarat.

In Abarat, we have the Sea of Izabella. Sometimes called Mama Izabella or Mother Izabella, it is a very real, very beautiful, and very dangerous sea. Being that it is called Mama Izabella, the sea itself just might be sentient, like a omnipotent yet non-intervening goddess. She protects and guides some who need it, but lets others drown or be eaten by monsters of the deep. Boats in the Abarat are often colored red on the bottom to ward away predators like Mantizacs or “worms,” large sea serpents.

The series is all about the Islands of the Abarat. Without the Sea of Izabella, the Abarat would not have what makes it so mystical and dangerous. Mama Izabella needs it’s own article because of the emphasis placed on the sea travel. Since the sea is actually given a name, I’ve decided to classify it as both a character and geography. The article I’ve made is in its very early stages. There’s much more to say about it, but that shall have to wait until I’ve done my extensive re-reading of the books. For now, at least I have the article started for others to add if they wish.

Creating My First Article

Today begins the first large steps into the wiki clean-up! Small spoilers ahead for those of just happening to read Abarat.

My first instinct is to create a much-better summary of the first book. On the article for book one, the UK edition book cover summary is listed, and below that is an empty place for a plot summary. The UK summary does a decent job of showing the main theme of a plot; a teenage girl getting involved in a fantastic new world apart from her own conventional world. But the book cover summary is all about introducing the book and not the characters. Abarat is all about Candy’s personal journey into the strange world. It tells us that Candy has a longing inside her, but not much else. It also mentions the first Abaratian character she meets; John Mischief.

I’ve noticed something else on the wiki also. John Mischief does not have his own article. He is the very first character from the new world that Candy meets (although technically he is eight characters in one. He has seven brothers that take the form of heads on his antlers.) John Mischief is the man, if he can be called a man per se, who sets Candy on her journey. When I’m on Wikipedia, every once in a while I will see a very short article that can have a message on the bottom. It goes something like this: this article is a stub and may not fit Wikipedia’s notability standards. Well, since I am taking charge (figuratively) of the Abarat Wiki, I decided the notability standards. And every named character who appears for more than a few sentences and has a decent description will have their own article. Why? Here’s why.  Merrel is not a major character in A Song of Ice and Fire. His article around fifty words to describe him. His appearance isn’t even described. But he is in the story, and what is known about him is put on the wiki. Therefore, named characters for the Abarat Wiki will get their articles, no matter their role in the story. And since the story is not finished yet, it is not improbable that they might make a more important appearance later.

Today I’ll spend time creating John Mischief’s page, and later I’ll start on a decent book one summary.

One challenge I might find is whether or not to create separate articles for John Mischief’s seven brothers. You’d think the answer would be no, but just look…

mischief1

 

His brothers live on his antlers, and though they do have certain personality traits that distinguish them a little, I’m going to consider them one character for now.