Women And Fiction: A Fangirl’s Promise

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Imagination is encouraged in children and I was lucky enough to be a little girl who had a good one.  Turning my backyard into a place where horses and cats could talk to each other and treasures could be found in flowers, became a way for me explore reality while opening my mind to greater possibilities.  When I was about ten years old, I found that I could put this imagination into a page of words.  Writing solidified and extended worlds for me, taking them from fantasy and making them more real.  I knew I was different then because the other kids told me I was weird to want to spend so much of my time writing stories.  Fiction writing is something that has always made me special and I cherish it for that reason.

But as I grew older, my imagination became a concern to me.  I read too many books about sad women who would go home by themselves and alone indulge in an Austen novel, passively wishing that the fantasy they read would become real.  Being a writer with a love of the imagination, I have feared that I will become one of these sad women who only have a fantasy to hold on to.  It becomes a worry when I spend more time with the characters I create then with my real friends.  I should have a job that doesn’t involve reckless creativity.  I need to pursue a professional career that will tie down my passion for words and things that are just “stories.”  For an adult woman, imagination is dangerous when we are supposed to excel towards being a man’s equal in fields like entrepreneurship, politics, sciences, and criminal justice.  I have grown to fear my ability to imagine just as much as I have grown to love it.

latestIn the past, it seems like women have always been criticized for being fanciful, for reading too many novels, and for having dreams in their heads.  Novels and fiction make women senseless.  They allow us too much indulgence into our emotions causing us to be unruly, rebellious; or worse, hysterical.  Women today are still captivated and obsessed with stories that we like – it is only a natural, human response that comes from having a brain.  We have become what are called “fans” with lists and lists of unreal things we shower with admiration.

However, with the advent of the Internet, our interests and passions have become more obvious because we have the ability to share them instantly with the world.  So the “fangirl” has been born – a woman who indulges in her imagination.  But if only that were the sole definition for “fangirl.”  She is not just someone who embraces the things that she likes.  Look at urbandictionary.com and you will see that, for having these feelings, a fangirl is less than human.  She is a “rabid breed of female.”  Which sounds kind of like a description of a dog to me.  She’s ugly and unattractive.  We are victims of an “epidemic” like we don’t choose for ourselves what moves us.  We are obsessed stalkers – emotionally unstable – who act like idiots.  And the whole of our interests are made up of objectifying men and making our favorite characters have sex with each other.  We are stuck in the belittlement of forever remaining a “girl” when there are plenty of us who are the age of respected adults.  This is how the world see us and this is the stereotype we have been assigned.

psychopathfangirl

Despite the negativity included in the fangirl stereotype, I believe that my own fear of my imagination, my fictions, my stories, and my fantasies is not unfounded.  If one becomes too consumed with fiction, we become detached from the real world that we explored as children, which I believe is harmful to women.  We become passive, hoping that our goals and dreams will come to us, instead of us reaching out to them.  We have unreal expectations for ourselves – waiting for a man who looks like Colin Firth in Pride & Prejudice – when the man sitting next to you in class, at work, or at the cafe is more handsome due to the fact that you can actually receive love and equality from him in a relationship.  Being overwhelmed with fatasy allows us to stop thinking for ourselves.  We let the fiction start to tell us what is right and wrong about who we are instead of own heads and hearts.  There really is damage that can be done by having too active of an imagination and by spending too much time with fantasy.  An imbalance of fiction and reality exists and an imbalance is rarely good.  There is truth in every stereoptype, and this is what scares me.

As a woman who writes fiction, who writes fan fiction for fun, and who considers herself to be a fangirl, how do I find that balance?  How do I maintain a level of imagination that expands my world of reality without losing myself with the fangirl stereotype?  How do I know when escapism has taken over?

How do I be a fan and a fiction writer in a way that is responsible and respectful to my identity as a woman?

In order to answer that question and maintain that responsibility/respect for my identity, I have decided to make some promise to myself.  This promise will hopefully give me peace of mind on the matter and also help to fight the negative stereotypes/truths of being a fangirl.

1) I promise to use fiction as not only a way of escaping from reality, but as a way of reflecting on my own reality.

Fiction is based in reality even if that fiction belongs in the science fiction or fantasy genre.  When I write fiction or fan fiction, I promise to think about what I’m writing about.  I will look for the reality within the fiction.  I will apply it to my own life and ask myself why it is significant to me.  I will use my own mind and my own heart to determine why I care about the things I admire and the things I write about.  I will ask myself:  How does this story change or contribute to how I see my own experiences?  Can I apply what I have learned from it to my future life?

2)  I promise to be respectful and responsible toward the identities of the individuals I Loki-Fangirls-loki-thor-2011-27649223-900-1371choose to admire and use that admiration to create something new for myself.

I believe that part of being a fangirl who respects her own identity, is showing respect for what I choose to admire.  I promise to think about why I am a fan of someone or something.  Do I have reasons beyond superficial appearance for admiring celebrities?  If I do like someone just for their looks, what specific things do I like about them?  How does this physical admiration empower, contain, or define my own sexuality?

Another thing that personally concerns me about being a part of the fangirl stereotype are the actions/reactions fangirls supposedly exhibit when in contact with the person they admire – being a stalker or excessively emotional.  I will think about what is the correct way to express my admirations.  I will ask myself: Are my actions as a fan related to my own self-affirmation/importance or am I using the experience interacting with a celebrity to genuinely compliment them?  Is the interaction respectful or annoying and intrusive?  Is the interaction based on who they are, what they have done, or your possible common interests?  When is it the right time to go bat s**t crazy because I’ve just met him?!

I promise not to alter or portray the sexual identity of the person I admire.  How would I feel if someone took my body image and against my will, put that image into sexual situations that do not describe me?  What if someone I never met took an image of me and made that image having sexual relations with someone I’ve never wanted to have sex with?   It is an assault of an individual’s sexual identity.  It doesn’t matter to me if the celebrity sees it that way or not.  It doesn’t matter if it never hurts their feelings or if they never see it/think about it.  As a woman, I would personally like to have my own body image respected, so I promise never to be disrespectful to the body/sexual image of anyone else.

3)  I promise not to fear my passions, but to embrace them in order to see what new reality they will lead me towards.

It is never wrong to feel, no matter what the emotion is or to what it is connected.  Having fantasies, dreaming, and spending time with fiction is completely normal.  I promise to never stop imagining new things.  I promise never to turn my back on that child who wanted to explore the world.  I promise to never fear what I have freely chosen as a passion.  I promise that writing fiction will not keep me from real happiness or success.

Philosophy in the Novel Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5)

Oryx and CrakeOryx and Crake is a fantastic dystopian novel with powerful characters and emotional truths.  The story of Jimmy and Crake presents us with a horrifying and thought-provoking look at the projected future of the natural world and our existence within that world if science, entertainment, and the economy continue on in their current courses.  Margaret Atwood does all of this while asking the philosophical questions: What is real and why does it matter?

“We understand more than we know.”

About the Book

Snowman lives at the top of a tree near the ocean wearing nothing but an old bed sheet, a baseball cap, and broken sunglasses.  His life consists of foraging for food and other equipment for survival while avoiding natural enemies.  The heat of the sun is so strong at its zenith that Snowman can do nothing but lay in the shade of his tree until the daily afternoon thunderstorms drag the heat away with them.  After a disease has destroyed all other natural, human life, genetically altered animals have become wild and more numerous.  Snowman does what he can to deflect the notice of the wolvogs (wolf/dogs).

He has only one duty, to keep an eye on The Children of Crake, a community of genetically modified humanoids.  Unlike the humans we know today, The Children of Crake are unable to conceive and understand a number of different things including death, rape, the need for clothing and need for art in their society.  They are a gentle and innocent people who have no understanding of the destruction which has taken place in the world around them and how it has impacted the life of their friend, Snowman.  They only know what Snowman teaches them; that Crake created them and that Oryx created the plants and animals.  Snowman tells The Children of Crake that he must leave for a few days in order to visit Crake.  He will really be making a 2-3 day journey to a nearby compound in order to collect more supplies and food.

While Snowman embarks on his mission, he relates to us his life leading up to his current circumstances.  Before the end of the human civilization, Snowman was known as Jimmy.  Jimmy grew up in a world made up of the compounds and the pleeblands.  The compounds are housing developments for the employees of large companies which are experimenting in the field of genetic science.  They house the richest and the healthiest people of society.  Imagine a futuristic version of the ideal domestic life of the 1950’s.  All the houses exactly the same and each one pristine.  The world inside the compounds is faultless and unvaried.  On the other hand, the pleeblands are natural chaos.  Nothing is uniform and the poorer classes struggle with illness, crime, drugs, and violence.  Jimmy always lives in the compounds due to the fact that his father works for OrganInc – a company which has created the large pig-like pigoons.  The pigoons act as carriers for human organs.  The wealthy can give OrganInc a sample of their DNA which is then used to create the body parts that the donor possibly might need for transplant in the future.  After facing an ethical dilemma, Jimmy’s mother quits her own job at OrganInc and eventually runs away taking Jimmy’s beloved pet rakunk (racoon/skunk) with her.

In high school, Jimmy meets his best friend who becomes known to him as Crake.  Crake is an anti-social genius who continually theorizes the problems of the human condition such as war and overpopulation, and how these problems can be solved (Note: The quotes you see in this post are sayings on a number of fridge magnets which Crake has collected.).  Jimmy and Crake live in a world that is fueled by a cycle of desensitization.  They spend their time watching shows on the Internet featuring live suicides, live executions, and child pornography.  Entertainment has become more and more graphic due to the fact that people become insensitive to seeing a certain image of sex or violence and are bored.  Therefore in order to continue to shock an audience, content must become more and more graphic (even the normal news reports are not entertaining enough so the news anchors are now reporting in the nude).  Jimmy and Crake are unaffected by everything they watch until they come across a porn video in which a small girl looks at them through the camera.  This girl will later become Oryx to them, but until they find and rescue her, her image remains in the hearts and minds of both the boys as they grow older together.  She is one of the few things that they both hold fast to as their lives take separate paths throughout their college careers.

To stay human is to break a limitation.

Jimmy and Crake both go on to graduate from universities.  After a number of events (you have to read the book to find out what), Jimmy gets a job working in advertising for a project that Crake is developing for one of the more prominent companies.  The project has two parts.  The first part consists of a pill which will increase libido, and at the same time prevent all sexually transmitted diseases.  However, the pill will also do one other thing that its users will not be aware of and that is that the pill will make anyone who uses it sterile.  In short, the population rate will be controlled by how the company controls the marketing of this product.  Crake hopes the pill will limit the strain on resources due to overpopulation.  Crake is also under the impression that sexual frustration is the cause for much violence and war in the world.  Increasing the libido of the general population, he believes will reduce crime.  In order to sell the product, Crake has found and hired a woman who may or may not be the girl from the porn video.  However, Oryx has been involved in the sex business and is able to travel within it in order to find sellers for the new pill.  The second part of the project is The Children of Crake – a version of the human which Crake has created.  The idea behind The Children of Crake is that they are human beings which are designed to create an ideal society around themselves.  Crake, I think in some ways wants to reverse the fact that society creates and forms people into the fact that, for The Children of Crake, the human being gets to create a new perfect society in which to live.

The relationships between the three characters, Jimmy, Crake and Oryx, become at once more intimate and more strained as they work on the two projects together.  Tragedy strikes around the world with the outbreak of the rapidly transmuted disease, which leads, in ways he never suspected, to the end of Jimmy’s friendships forever.  All that is left of the only two people Jimmy ever cared about are The Children of Crake, whom he now has the responsibility to care for as he believes them to be the only other human-like creatures in the world besides himself.  But first Jimmy must survive his trip back into the ruined compound to find supplies.

no-brain-no-pain-T-ShirtsPhilosophical Questions

Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite writers who focuses on philosophical content.  Oryx and Crake is no exception for Atwood in this regard.  The main question she asks readers is simple and yet thought-provoking because it can be answered in endless ways.  The question is: What is real?  Atwood examines this question through her characterizations of Crake, Jimmy, and Oryx.  Crake with his sharp, questioning mind and cynicism tends to the extreme that nothing in the world is real.  Oryx, on the other hand who has experienced hardships her entire life is more likely to believe that everything in the world is real.  Jimmy falls somewhere in between them and in many ways is on a continual journey towards truth or reality.  Atwood also examines what is real through aspects of the society she’s created in the novel.  The two most important of these aspects of society are housing and entertainment, which I will explain in more detail later.  But I think that attempting to answer the question of what is real, is only a part of what we can gain from Atwood’s novel.  The other part is a question which I have asked myself: Why does it matter?  Here is a look at the two questions and how Atwood presents them to readers.

1.  Housing – It seems as I start writing this, that in order to explain the question at all, I need to give a rather general definition of the terms “real” and “fake.”  Atwood seems to connect reality to anything that is natural or found in the natural world.  In turn, anything that is fake is created by man.  For example, a glacial lake versus using machines to dig a hole and fill it with waterThese definitions become important when trying to explain the two different areas where people in the novel live.

The characters in Atwood’s book are either born in the pleeblands or born in one of the compounds.  The compounds where Jimmy and Crake grow up are in a way fake in the sense that they are highly controlled.  There are strict rules about what can come in and what can come out of the compounds.  The corporations that the compounds are centered around have put into place security systems – mainly military-like systems – which help to create a uniform environment. In the compounds, everything seems to be a copy of something else.  Jimmy describes the furniture in his house for us. “The furniture in it was called reproduction.  Jimmy was quite old before he realized what this word meant – that for each reproduction item, there was supposed to be an original somewhere.  Or there had been once” (26).  This  description can be related to the process of cloning.  We start out with an animal that has been born naturally, and then we take its DNA and create something that is man-made.  This fakeness also allows us to create the exact same animal over and over again like the reproduced furniture.  The compounds are also described by Jimmy’s father as being a reproduction of how life used to be like before things became “serious.”  I took this to mean that the compounds are a copy of our world as it is today.  However, the fact that this world would seem real to us, the compounds are still fake because they are an ideal version of the world that we know.  The control and security over the compounds has reduced illness by limiting the movement of infection and infectious individuals from the pleeblands.  The security has also reduced crime and violence by having highly enforced rules.  The pleeblands are the opposite; an uncontrolled place filled with chaos.  The pleeblands are a bit like a wilderness uninhabited by any humans in which plants and animals live and grow wherever they please.  The pleeblands are also rampant with crime and death, but they are more natural in the sense that the people are free of being manipulated by the higher power of the companies which control the compounds.

This distinction between the compounds and the pleeblands matters because it shows us the pros and cons of what it would be like to live in each of these societies.  The compounds are a better place to live in several ways.  They are safe from violence and disease.  People can live there without having many worries.  There’s peace.  The corporations take good care of their employees and if you work for them, you will be paid well.  The problem with the compounds is that they are also similar to prisons.  Once inside, you must have special passes in order to leave again.  Jimmy sees the compounds as having negative effects on the person into which he had developed.  During much of Jimmy’s life, he pursued any type of pleasure he could find – sex, smoking, and alcohol.  His main fault as a human was that he lacked the ability to have an intimate relationship with anyone other than Crake.  Jimmy becomes a player – using up women like they are clothing he can discard.  Just as the compound security controlled and manipulated their residents, Jimmy manipulated women into showing him their vulnerabilities, while he gave them nothing back.  This behavior,  Jimmy later reflects, was because he wanted to remain ignorant, perhaps of his responsibilities or his own emotions.  Jimmy believes that he learned this behavior from the compounds.  He states, “there had been something willed about it though, his ignorance.  Or not willed, exactly: structured.  He’d grown up in walled spaces, and then he had become one.  He had shut things out” (184).  Whereas if he had grown up in the pleeblands, he might have been forced to examine his life and the emotions of those around him because in the pleeblands nothing is hidden – not even the worst faults of individuals or communities.  There is a price that must be paid in any case when moving from the real to the fake.  The fake takes away something that is essential in making us human – mistakes.  However,  in the compounds we no longer have to look at our own blemishes even if we still fear them.

In our current world, we are also faced with the problem of balancing individual freedom such as in the pleeblands with individual safety such as in the compounds.  I see this mainly in the debate over gun rights.  Individuals have a right to their person safety which is gained with either control and order or by a greater show of violence.  The first solution of control is beneficial, but at what point does that control become like a prison to us?  And the second solution of safety through fighting back, brought to its extreme, undermines the ideal of personal safety itself.  It seems that Atwood is perhaps showing us that finding some sort of middle ground is the solution to these types of debates.

There are two moons, the one you see, and the one you can’t.

2.  Entertainment – As teenagers, entertainment is the main part of Crake’s and Jimmy’s life.  They spend most of their time in Crake’s bedroom where there are two computers.  On these computers, they watch live entertainment.  Live entertainment itself is an interesting combination of the real and the fake.  It is real in the sense that what you are seeing and hearing is happening at that exact moment.  There is no manipulation in what you are seeing.  On live TV what’s done is done and you can’t go back and change it.  On the other hand, what you are watching is fake in the sense that you are not actually present when the action occurs.  There is a distance between yourself and what is happening on the screen in front of you. 

Atwood has made the fact that live TV is simultaneously real and fake problematic because of its graphic content.  Crake and Jimmy watch live videos of people committing suicide and also live videos of executions.  These videos are done similarly to what we would call “reality” TV.  There are aspects of the videos which Jimmy suspects have been added in order to create drama for viewers.  The suicides include readings of individual’s final letters and slide shows about their soon to be previous lives.  The executions often feature criminals who attempt to make an escape or who have particularly shocking last words for certain people.  These live shows have convoluted what is real by adding things that are fake.  The boys are watching things that are actually happening, and yet to them, these things have become fake.

This flip-flopping of real and fantasy is relevant and important to our current world because it creates a cycle in which our entertainment becomes increasingly graphic.  Our entertainment today involves gruesome crimes that you might find on Dateline or 48 Hours Mystery.  We also have exploitation of the strange and unknown like Little People, Big World and Breaking Amish.  Then there are the shows that create drama through sex and relationships like Wife Swap and The Bachelor.  At first we might see these shows as thrilling because they shock us and show us something new.  However, after watching them a number of times, they might lose their original thrill.  There are only so many times we can look at the live pictures of a bloody murder scene and dead body before they become just that – just some disembodied blood and just an empty shell.  Therefore, in order to be entertained – in order for the people making the shows to continue to make money – the content of said shows must increase in shock value.  Perhaps to the point at which – like Jimmy and Crake – we will be watching the actual death take place.  The problem is that these things that Jimmy and Crake see are real.  There are people dying and somehow, it no longer matters.  The reality of the boys world becomes fake, which allows them to ignore the facts.

The proper study of Mankind is Everything.

This matters in today’s world if we ever want to know the truth and if we want to allow ourselves to make informed decisions in our lives.  News is also included in the category of live TV.  What we see reported is real and yet unreal at the same time.  The other shows which I mentioned above, work to increase the shock value of entertainment through desensitizing the audience.  Unfortunately, this, I fear, is becoming the case with our news programs.  The news must not only be true, but it must also be entertaining in order to keep a hold of its viewers who are becoming more desensitized.  Drama is added into the facts to make things extreme – something is always this way, or never that way, it was the greatest day he could ever imagine, or it will never be forgot in the history of the entire town.  Are these things true?  No.  Not at all.  However, the story they are reporting did actually happen.  Though we can’t know how much of it is true when it is clouded by extreme language which leans more toward opinion than fact.  This has an impact on us as a society by preventing us from being informed and educated about our own communities.  The consequences are detrimental not just to individuals, but to all of us.  What will happen if Jimmy’s world suddenly realizes that thousands of people have died at the expense of an audience’s enjoyment?  The guilt and the lack of responsibility lies on the shoulders of every person whose community allowed these deaths to occur.  And it is also the fault of those who modified information which could have allowed the community to be educated about what it had been permitting.

Where God is, Man is not.

There are many other ways that Atwood explores the question of what is real.  You will have to read the book to discover the others.  There are two more books which accompany Oryx and CrakeThe Year of the Flood and Maddaddam.  They are both available to read at this time if you are interested in continuing with the story of Jimmy and those who knew him and Crake before the destruction of humans.

 Source

Atwood, Margaret.  Oryx and Crake.  New York: Anchor Books, 2004.  Print.

Noah Czerny: Character Profiles in The Raven Cylcle (Part Three)

Note:  I’ve read the newest Raven Cycle novel, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater and have added my notes from this book to the character profiles I posted earlier.  Text in blue indicates that this content was derived from Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  The in text citations do not correspond to page numbers, but to locations used on my Kindle.  For some reason page numbers were not available on my eReader for this novel.  In addition, I’ve decided to give each character their own separate post.  This will hopefully make the posts shorter and easier to read.  It will also allow me to write about certain things in more depth without having to worry about going on for too long.  The fact that I don’t have as many length restraints means that there might also be new things to read in the black and green colored texts.   WARNING: Some of the spoilers at the bottom I’ve gotten rid of because they were somewhat irrelevant anyway.  However, the rest of the spoilers I’ve added back into the main text, so read with caution.

Key

Black Text = The Raven Boys

Green Text = The Dream Thieves

Blue Text = Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Noah Czerny

Mustang-CopBlockAppearance/Traits/Quirks: Noah is gray, rumpled and faded.  He is very observant and good at finding things.  He is quiet, mild, content, loyal, and easy-going.  He is good at producing unexpected humor.  His hands are restless and moving.

He loves the gelato parlor, for some reason even though he can’t eat anything (687).

Transportation: Red Mustang

Tarot Card: N/A

Death: Noah is a ghost.  He was murdered seven years ago by who he thought to be his best friend, Barrington Whelk.  Whelk wanted to use Noah as a sacrifice to the ley line in order to wake the line.  At the same time Noah died, Gansey was also dying from hornet stings.  The line took Noah’s life in order for Gansey to live.  Noah is a shadow of what he used to be while alive.  Noah shows us that death is what we make of it because even though he is a ghost, to his friends he is not truly dead.  To Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Blue, Noah won’t be dead until his ghost disappears forever.

Noah discovered Ronan when Ronan was dying.

Noah declares that he is tired of decaying, but it seems like no one is sure what to do about it. Noah doesn’t want to be alive again because he doesn’t remember who he was while living, but he also doesn’t want to be really dead because that means leaving his friends.

Privilege:  He was once a student at Aglionby Academy, but now privilege doesn’t apply to him.

Family:  He has a mother, a father, and a sister.  His real family has become the friends who can see his spirit.

Beliefs/Dreams:  Even though he wasn’t religious while he was alive, he starts going to mass with Ronan (89).

Nature/Ley Line: Noah is related to nature by the fact that his body is literally in the earthNoah starts fading away and the friends decide that it is because his remains have been moved to a cemetery away from the ley line.  They move his body back to the ley line and Noah comes back.

Noah disappears entirely just like Cabeswater disappears.  He’s not even an invisible spirit.  His presence also depends on how much energy is flowing through the ley line.  Noah often re-enacts his own death without knowing it.  He doesn’t care about how his spiritual form exists or why.

Noah claims that he didn’t hear the voice speaking about Glendower that Gansey heard while Gansey was dying. This could very well mean that Gansey was hallucinating. Noah tries to reassure Gansey by explaining that Noah thinks that the ley line knew Gansey would be able to help wake it when Noah couldn’t. That’s why the ley line let Gansey live.  

Glendower: Noah is just along for the ride.  He is looking for Glendower because his friends are looking for Glendower and he wants to spend time with them.

Relationships with Others:  Noah seems to spend the most time with Ronan.  It seems that he enjoys observing Ronan’s activities and perhaps tries to live vicariously through Ronan.  The two of them are always experimenting with new stunts together.  Noah has a fascination with Blue’s hair and is always petting her head.  It is the other characters that make Noah what he is.

Without Blue there to make him stronger, without Gansey there to make him human, without Ronan there to make him belong, Noah was a frightening thing (371).

He tells Blue that he would ask her on a date if he were still alive.  Along with Ronan, it seems that Blue has also become one person that Noah enjoys spending most of his time with.  Their relationship is also stronger because Blue increases the energy that Noah’s spirit needs to remain visible.  He’s closer to being a real person with Blue than with anyone else.

Sources

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Raven Boys.  New York: Scholastic, 2012.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Dream Thieves.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  New York: Scholastic, 2014. 

Adam Parrish: Character Profiles in The Raven Cycle (Part Three)

Note:  I’ve read the newest Raven Cycle novel, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater and have added my notes from this book to the character profiles I posted earlier.  Text in blue indicates that this content was derived from Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  The in text citations do not correspond to page numbers, but to locations used on my Kindle.  For some reason page numbers were not available on my eReader for this novel.  In addition, I’ve decided to give each character their own separate post.  This will hopefully make the posts shorter and easier to read.  It will also allow me to write about certain things in more depth without having to worry about going on for too long.  The fact that I don’t have as many length restraints means that there might also be new things to read in the black and green colored texts.   WARNING: Some of the spoilers at the bottom I’ve gotten rid of because they were somewhat irrelevant anyway.  However, the rest of the spoilers I’ve added back into the main text, so read with caution.

Key

Black Text = The Raven Boys

Green Text = The Dream Thieves

Blue Text = Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Adam Parrish

4436260001_largeAppearance/Traits/Quirks: Adam is self-conscious about his appearance.  He wears a second-hand Aglionby uniform.  He is fine boned with blue eyes.  He looks fragile and has hair the color of dirt.  He is at the top of his class at Aglionby.  Adam is cynical and hard-working.  He is proud and a dreamer.  Adam enjoys fixing cars and works at an automotive mechanic’s shop along with two other jobs.

He has prominent cheek bones and deep-set eyes (8).  Adam feels self-pity and he has lost hearing in his left ear – an injury obtained because of his father’s anger.

The backs of Adam’s hands are chapped and he occasionally rubs them. Adam begins to see his self-worthiness. He has to make the decision to accept or decline Gansey’s help in the trial against his father.

Was it okay? Adam had turned down so many offers of help from Gansey. Money for school, money for food, money for rent. Pity and charity, Adam had thought. For so long, he’d wanted Gansey to see him as an equal, but it was possible that all this time, the only person who needed to see that was Adam.

Now he could see that it wasn’t charity Gansey was offering. It was just truth (3383).

Transportation: bicycle.  He gets a tri-colored, junky car from Helen, Gansey’s sister.  Ronan names Adam’s car the Hondayota.

Tarot Card: The Magician – This card represents someone who does what needs to be done and carries out a plan.  The magician is totally committed to a cause.  He has the power to draw on a variety of forces and use them in creative ways.  He is magic because his achievements seem to be miracles (Bunning, 112-3).

Death: In the hollow tree inside Cabeswater, Adam has a vision of himself causing Gansey’s death.  This is part of what prompts him to make his sacrifice to the ley line.  I think he sees his sacrifice as preventing his vision from coming true.

Adam sees death as something that makes everyone equal.  “Only death couldn’t be swiped away by a credit card” (65).  Adam starts to see ghosts.  The spirits are messages the ley line is trying to send him, but he doesn’t understand what they are telling him.  He has to learn how to communicate with the ley line.

Adam finds out from Blue that Gansey is going to die even though Adam made his sacrifice.

Privilege: Adam is part of the lower-class and lives in a trailer.  He has to work three jobs in order to afford to pay tuition at Aglionby.  He fears that Gansey will in a way own him if Adam accepts Gansey’s charity.  This is a problem because, “success meant nothing to Adam if he hadn’t done it for himself” (132).  Privilege is something Adam has to earn on his own.  Adam experiences a fierce wanting for everything in his life (41).

JT_RockPileAdam is convinced that it is Gansey who is responsible for lowering his rent at his new apartment at St.Agnes Church (64).  This causes more arguments between him and Gansey.  Adam is also convinced that the people at Gansey’s party will somehow know that he lives in a trailer – that his poverty is something people just know because of how he acts or looks.  Adam states that he will only help Gansey in the search for Glendower if they can help each other as equals (282).

He believes that his grades have to be perfect in order to make up for the fact that his poverty excludes him from being a true raven boy at Aglionby (907). Adam definitely has a change of heart about his pride. He relates this to growing up and becoming wiser. He states, “It seemed like a silly bit of principle now, completely divorced from the point of anything. He wondered if he was going to go through each year of his life thinking about how stupid he’d been the year before” (3326).

Family: Adam’s father is an alcoholic and sometimes beats Adam.  They are a proud family in the way that what happens in their family stays in their family.  Adam and his mother don’t want to talk about the behavior of their father/husband.  Adam’s family is also a part of his strong wanting.  Adam desires to find a place where he belongs.

He was full of so many wants, too many to prioritize, and so they all felt desperate.  To not have to work so many hours, to get into a good college, to look right in a tie, to not be hungry after eating the thin sandwich he’d brought to work, to drive the shiny Audi that Gansey had stopped to look at with him once after school, to go home, to have hit his father himself, to own an apartment with granite counter tops and a television bigger than Gansey’s desk, to belong somewhere, to go home, to go home, to go home” (370).

Like the other boys, Adam faces the challenge of not becoming like his father.  This is more difficult for Adam than it is for Gansey and Ronan.  Adam has previously described himself as having Stockholm Syndrome, which means that he empathized with his father even though his father’s beating Adam was horribly wrong.  First Adam must learn to stop blaming himself for being beaten before he can free himself from the way of life that his father has taught him.  He has struggles to control his anger and has to remind himself not to fight with Blue and Gansey (66-7).

Adam has to face his father in court. Also, Adam grew up believing that what happens in your family is private. Therefore he respects the privacy of his friends’ family business (1497).  He doesn’t pry and this might be why Ronan feels more inclined to reveal his family secrets to Adam rather than anyone else.

Beliefs/Dreams:  It is hard for Adam to believe in the supernatural.  He has too many worries about the reality he is living to think too much about magical possibilities.  Sometimes he feels that he is sleepwalking in the life he lives with Gansey.

His work with the ley line has made Adam much more understanding of the supernatural. He has to listen to Cabeswater and communicate with it; doing so requires that he put his doubts aside. His experiences in communicating with tarot cards and scrying in order to fix the ley line has increased his confidence in the supernatural. This has made him more like Gansey.

img-thingNature/Ley Line:  Adam sees images of nature when Gansey tells other people about Glendower.  He sacrifices his hands and eyes to the ley line in order to wake it up or bring its energy to full power.  With all the new energy, it is supposed to be much easier to map the ley line and find Glendower’s tomb.  When Adam wakes the line there is an earthquake.  Adam also believes that waking the ley line will somehow make him equal to Gansey.

The ley line is messing with Adam’s senses, trying to send him a message.  He has an episode of what is called transient global amnesia (306).  He walks somewhere and he can’t remember why he’s going there or for what purpose.  He is aware that he can’t remember, but yet he can’t stop walking.  He now has the ability to detect the location of the ley line without using any electronic devices.  He learns with the help of Persephone that, because he gave his service and part of his free will to the ley line, it is now his job to maintain the line.  His task is compared to what a priestess might have done at Stonehenge – taking care of the ley line through rituals.  The earthquake that occurred after his sacrifice caused energy leaks along the ley line.  This has created power surges and drainages of energy along the line, which have been increased by Ronan and Kavinsky’s dreaming.  It is Adam’s job to find and fix the leaks so that Cabeswater will have enough energy to return.  He also has to restore the ley line in time for Ronan to be able to save Matthew.  Persephone teaches Adam how to communicate with the ley line by using tarot cards and scrying.

The bargain Adam has made with the ley line protects him from danger. The ley line needs Adam to take care of it, so the ley line takes care of Adam. This is useful to the friends because Adam can enter an unknown area in Cabeswater first, explore it, and come back unharmed. Adam’s bargain also allows him to work alongside Ronan’s dreams. Adam can ask Cabeswater to do certain things for Ronan while he is dreaming. Adam discovers that there are more areas like Cabeswater and wonders what would happen if they were all connected (3535). He also likes to think that he was one of the three sleepers that were predicted to rest on the ley line (4370). I think this has to do with the fact that his new discoveries about himself – his new self-confidence, and his new belief in the supernatural – have been like an awakening to him.

Glendower: Adam wants to find Glendower in order to be granted the favor from the king.  He hopes the favor will help him obtain some of his many wants.

He sees finding Glendower as a part of growing up.

Eyes forward, Adam. Soon it would be behind him. Soon this school year, too, would be behind him. Soon they would find Glendower, soon they would all be kings. Soon, soon (1180).

Now that Adam no longer lives with his father and can see new worth in himself, he no longer feels like he needs the favor from Glendower. Instead, he wants to ask Glendower for Gansey’s life.

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Relationships with Others: Like Blue, Adam realizes that there are multiple versions of Gansey.  Adam thinks that Gansey should get out of Ronan’s business and let Ronan make his own decisions.  Gansey and Adam have a relationship in which Adam is trying to get away from Gansey and Gansey is always trying to draw nearer because he fears that Adam will leave him.  Adam is also bitter and envious of Ronan.  He’s envious of Ronan’s privilege and bitter because Ronan seems to be wasting it.

Adam is still attracted to Blue.  He says, “Blue Sargent was pretty in a way that was physically painful to him” (58).  We learn more about the history of the boys’ friendships.  Gansey met Ronan first before Ronan’s father died.  After the death of Niall, Ronan moved in with Gansey.  Sometime after that Adam stopped to help Gansey with the Camaro which had broken down on the side of the road.  Adam thought Gansey would be cruel to him and didn’t want to help at first, however, they became instant friends after they started talking.  Adam believes that Ronan is unable to express emotions with words so Ronan uses actions to express himself – like kicking things, driving too fast, or occasionally doing kind things for other people.  The sacrifice Adam made to the ley line sets him apart from his friends.  They will never be able to understand Adam’s new connection to the ley line.

Adam describes himself as lonesome, but not alone. His connection to Cabeswater sets him apart from the others in a way his friends can’t understand, but yet he now knows that his friends will always be there for him.

There a few more things I can say regarding equality between the friends’ relationships.   Throughout much of the story Adam and Gansey have been on an uneven footing due to their differences in privilege. However, Adam is slowly starting to see Gansey as his equal. The fear Gansey shows inside of Cabeswater’s cave has a humanizing effect on Gansey. Gansey’s experiences with hornets in a way comes to equal Adam’s experiences with his father (357).

Adam also sees Gansey as more of an equal because Adam is surer of himself. His confidence is due in part to Ronan’s affections or his perception of Ronan’s affections. The two of them have a very subtle relationship. Are they just closer friends or is some other attraction between them? Are Ronan’s attentions towards Adam because he needs his friend’s help for revenge or because he likes to spend time with him? Does Adam care for Ronan in the same way, or does he just like the idea that Ronan might care for him and so imagines that there is more to Ronan’s actions than just friendship?  There a few things about Adam’s actions towards Ronan that stand out to me.  First of all, Adam seems to accept payment from Ronan without complaint, but does not accept the same thing from Gansey.  Adam thought that Gansey had lowered his rent and so got in a fight with Gansey.  However, it was actually Ronan who helped him.  When Adam made this discovery, there was nothing more than an acknowledgment made between them.  It also seems that when Adam gets angry with Ronan it is because Adam desires Ronan to be able to express his true emotions without having to destroy something.  Adam must feel like they have an intimate enough relationship that Ronan should share his inner self, and when Ronan doesn’t, Adam feels cheated.

 

maj01

Sources

Bunning, Joan.  Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners.  San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 1998.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Raven Boys.  New York: Scholastic, 2012.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Dream Thieves.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  New York: Scholastic, 2014. 

Ronan Lynch: Character Profiles in The Raven Cycle (Part Three)

Note:  I’ve read the newest Raven Cycle novel, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater and have added my notes from this book to the character profiles I posted earlier.  Text in blue indicates that this content was derived from Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  The in text citations do not correspond to page numbers, but to locations used on my Kindle.  For some reason page numbers were not available on my eReader for this novel.  In addition, I’ve decided to give each character their own separate post.  This will hopefully make the posts shorter and easier to read.  It will also allow me to write about certain things in more depth without having to worry about going on for too long.  The fact that I don’t have as many length restraints means that there might also be new things to read in the black and green colored texts.   WARNING: Some of the spoilers at the bottom I’ve gotten rid of because they were somewhat irrelevant anyway.  However, the rest of the spoilers I’ve added back into the main text, so read with caution.

Key

Black Text = The Raven Boys

Green Text = The Dream Thieves

Blue Text = Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Ronan Lynch (Greywaren)

black-bmw-110-wallpaper-hd-wallpaper-and-download-free-wallpaper-72gke6b6Appearance/Traits/Quirks:  Ronan has a sharp nose, thin mouth, blue eyes, and buzzed hair.  He has a tattoo on his back and neck.  He’s described as handsome.  He is of Irish origin.  Ronan likes to make other people feel uncomfortable by creating awkward silences and by staring at people for too long.  Ronan also tends to be insincere when he knows that everyone else is being serious.  He tells the blunt truth even if you don’t want to hear it.  Ronan is true to his word.  If he says he will do something, then he will do it.  He acts like he despises everyone.  He likes Latin, loud music, boxing, and swearing.  Ronan is a dare-devil and enjoys doing stunts and drag racing.  He is very nurturing toward animals and his pet raven, Chainsaw which he brought back from a dream.

He chews on his leather wrist bands.  Ronan despises cell phones and suffers from insomnia.  However, unlike Gansey who can’t sleep because his mind is busy with Glendower, Ronan doesn’t sleep in order to avoid his dreams.  Ronan and Gansey have a lot of midnight gatherings with one another.

Like Gansey, Ronan puts on a mask, but it is a mask of insolence. He pretends to be a bad boy and in a way that makes him a liar. This is contrary to what Ronan claims and is proud of – that he always tells the truth. Adam observes Ronan, “Returning to his desk, he threw his feet up on it. This was forbidden, of course. He crossed his arms, tilted his chin back, closed his eyes. Instant insolence. This was the version of himself he prepared for Aglionby, for his older brother, Declan, and sometimes, for Gansey. Ronan was always saying that he never lied, but he wore a liar’s face” (924-7).

‘In my experience,’ the Gray Man said, ‘the badasses are the most scared’ (3106).

I must also mention the Murder Squash song, something that went viral on the Internet which Ronan and Noah love. Everyone else hates it, so Ronan uses it often when he wants to annoy someone. (Squash one, squash two, squash three…)

Transportation:  A black BMW which belonged to his father.  The vehicle is actual something that his father dreamt (both Ronan and his father have the ability to bring objects from their dreams into reality).  Ronan takes the car after his father’s death.

Tarot Card:  N/A  Ronan tries to stay away from tarot cards as much as he can because he sees Blue’s family as being involved in the occult or black magic.  He opposed tarot readings due to his Catholic background.

Death: His father, Niall Lynch, was murdered and Ronan found the body in the driveway.  Ronan had a near death experience in which he almost bled out.  Noah found his body and Gansey assumed the incident was attempted suicide.

The Orphan Girl from Ronan’s dreams tells him that she is a psychopomp (127).  A psychopomp is a creature or spiritual being which guides the souls of the  deceased from earth to the after life.  In some cultures, a raven is also a psychopomp.  The Orphan Girl is maybe a dream personification of Chainsaw (?).  We learn that Ronan’s near death was not suicide, but his wounds were a result of being attacked by his night terrors in a dream.  Upon waking, Ronan brought the injuries with him into reality.  He let Gansey believe it was suicide because he doesn’t want to tell anyone about his abilities. When Ronan starts dreaming with Kavinsky (another Aglionby student who can also makes dream objects reality), Kavinsky gives him a little green pill for which, “dying is a boring side effect” (312).  The pill throws them into sleep. 

tumblr_static_cowPrivilege:  Ronan’s money comes to him from the fact that his father died and Ronan was given money in his father’s will.  This maybe is the reason for Ronan’s bitterness towards his privilege.  He hates the stereotype of being condescending and self-centered that Blue assigns to him. The world expects him to be a certain way because he is rich, but Ronan refuses to meet these expectations.  However, he still doesn’t know what he wants for himself.  He tells Gansey, “I don’t know what I want.  I don’t know what the hell I am” (75).  The only way that Ronan meets the stereotype of being a privileged individual is in his love for the Latin language.  Latin is not a language that’s used for any practical function, so learning it fluently is something that someone with time and money might do.  Like Gansey has the leisure time to search for Glendower, Ronan has the time to learn Latin.  Latin in a way also represents the privileged education that Ronan is receiving at Aglionby.

We learn that Ronan has actually inherited 3 million dollars from his father along with their family property.  However, he cannot access it until he is 18.  If Ronan ever returns to his home, the money will be forfeit (34).  Returning home also includes never seeing his mother again.  Unlike Gansey’s family home which is rich in an untouchable and an intimidating way, Ronan’s family home is what he calls “shabby rich” (155).  Ronan’s family is rich not because they own shiny, breakable things, but because they can afford to buy every warm and comfortable thing you could imagine.  Instead of Gansey this time, Ronan secretly helps Adam with Adam’s rent.  This seems like part of a turning point for Ronan.  It perhaps means that he is becoming more comfortable with who he is and who his privilege has made him.  Instead of being stuck in confusion about his identity, he is now acting on it and maybe using Gansey as a guide for the person he wants to be.  Church is the one place where Ronan actually feels privileged to hate himself for the sins he’s committed. 

Ronan gave in to the brief privilege of hating himself, as he always did in church.  There was something satisfying about acknowledging this hatred, something relieving about this little present he allowed himself each Sunday (91). 

Family: Ronan is the middle of three sons.  He has an older brother, Declan, and a younger brother, Matthew.  Declan controls Ronan’s funds until Ronan turns 18.  Ronan hates Declan.  Their mother stopped speaking after the death of their father.

Ronan’s family has lots of secrets.  Niall had a mysterious job for which he spent a lot of time traveling.  Like Ronan, Niall could bring objects into reality from his dreams.  Like Gansey shares his father’s name, being able to create dream objects gives Ronan the curse of being just like his father.  We learn that Ronan’s family farm is called The Barns because all of the many barns on their property.  Ronan feels guilt at not discovering his father’s body in time to save his father (91).  He realizes that Gansey is more of a brother to him than his real brothers (154).  Declan is incapable of telling anyone the truth and Matthew is slow of mind, but everyone’s sweetheart including Ronan’s.  His mother is also one of his father’s dream objects.  When a dreamer dies, any living thing they’ve brought into reality is sent into a sleeping stasis.  “Non mortem, somni fratrem” (146).  Not death, but his brother sleep.  Sounds like Glendower.  Therefore Ronan’s mother along with all the animals at The Barns are living in a type of fairy tale.  Like Glendower, they are in a state of sleep.  In order to wake up, Ronan’s mother must go back inside of a dream.  Or in other words, Ronan must take her into Cabeswater.

When Ronan was three years old, he dreamt Matthew and didn’t know it (1905). Declan gave him this information which has sent Ronan on one of his own quests – to wake the sleeping animals at The Barns without having to take them into Cabeswater. He is worried that if something happens to him, Matthew will be sent into the sleeping stasis and won’t be able to live a normal life outside of Cabeswater.  He wants to be able to protect Matthew.  Since Matthew was created out of Ronan’s child-mind, Matthew is a representation of everything Ronan was as a child before his father was murdered – sweet, gentle, and innocent.  If anything ever happened to Matthew, Ronan perhaps would lose that part of him forever.

mouse close up isolated on white

Beliefs/Dreams:  We learn that Chainsaw the raven is something that Ronan took out of his dreams.

Ronan is what is called the Greywaren.  It’s a title that Cabeswater gives him.  There are many people who can steal objects out of their dreams, but only Ronan can speak the language of dreams.  When Ronan dreams he enters Cabeswater where the Orphan Girl helps him take dream objects into reality.  The Orphan Girl wants Ronan to take her out of the dreams, but he doesn’t.  Some other dream objects include: keys to The Pig, a remote control air plane that runs without batteries, blue lilies, the translating puzzle box, and his night terrors which are creatures that I imagine to be part raven, part man, part demon.  He has repeated dreams about driving to The Barns and multiple nightmares about bad things happening to Matthew.  Some other dreams include Gansey being attacked by hornets and Adam being overcome by a mask.  The dream about Adam can symbolize how Adam feels about sacrificing himself to the ley line or Adam’s relationship with himself in general.  A mask belonging to Ronan’s father gets stuck on Adam’s face.  The mask becomes his face.  Adam tries to pull it off, but he can’t.  Only Ronan can pull it off for him.  The mask is described as being a prison only to Adam (129).  Therefore I determined that perhaps the mask represents Cabeswater or represents the lack of self-worth that burdens Adam (It would be interesting to think about how this dream might contribute to Ronan and Adam’s new closer relationship in Blue Lily, Lily Blue).  The dream beasts that Kavinsky and Ronan summon to fight each other reflect the characters’ self-hatred.  Ronan describes Kavinsky’s beast, “He could feel how it hated him.  How it hated Kavinsky, too.  How it hated the world” (412).  The beasts come infused with the feelings and desires of their makers.  When Ronan creates his own night terror to fight Kavinsky’s, the creature is now white instead of black – a significant change in color.  The Orphan Girl asks, “‘Why do you hate you?'” Ronan responds in the dream after much thought, “‘I don’t'” (417).  With this knowledge, Ronan is able to protect what he loves (Matthew) from Kavinsky (which is also symbolic considering what I wrote about Matthew earlier under “Family”).

Ronan is Catholic and believes in heaven and hell.  He believes that he once saw the devil talking to his father inside of a barn.

Nature/Ley Line:  Chainsaw reveals to us what Ronan might have been like before Niall died.

Ronan’s smile cut his face, but he looked kinder than Blue had ever seen him, like the raven in his hand was his heart, finally laid bare (304).

Ronan can speak in Latin to the trees of Cabeswater.

Taking things from his dreams is like the power nature has to produce new life.  Again we see Ronan’s true heart through the respect and love he has for animals.  We find out that creating dream objects sucks the energy out of the ley line.  Ronan’s and Kavinsky’s dreaming has been adding to the erratic behavior of the ley line with bursts of energy followed by no energy at all.  Their dreaming contributed to Cabeswater disappearing.

We learn that it was the death of Ronan’s father, which caused the sudden appearance of Cabeswater. The fact that Niall was dreaming so often had made the forest disappear, but after Niall’s death, Cabeswater had enough energy to return (1825).  Niall’s death made it possible for Gansey to find Cabeswater.

Arkansas_Red_Barn_HDRGlendower:  Ronan wants to find Glendower because Gansey wants to find Glendower (21).  Ronan imagines that finding Glendower will be like dying in the sense that it will be similar to finally seeing God.

Relationships with Others:  It seems that Ronan enjoys spending time with Noah more than any other character does.  Ronan seems to be the only person who went through a grieving process for Noah after they find out that Noah had been murdered (285).

Ronan sees that Gansey is pretending that Adam did not disobey him by waking the ley line.  Gansey is just ignoring the fact that he’s mad at Adam because Adam decided to go his own way, stepping further away from Gansey.  Ronan also notices that Gansey is attracted to Blue when Gansey himself doesn’t know it yet (141).  Ronan loves when Gansey acts like a normal boy – Gansey’s opposite extreme from the formal and polite mask which Gansey wears.  His relationship with Gansey is a reminder of what Ronan wants to be.  He’s concerned about what Gansey may think about his actions.  Destroying The Pig is like destroying Gansey.  Ronan thinks that Adam doesn’t feel right if Adam’s life isn’t agony (71).  Ronan is disgusted by Blue’s clothes.

Ronan is not so much of a jerk actually.  He even might be a little bit in love with Adam. He is always doing nice things for Adam and giving him small gifts, which are surprisingly thoughtful.  He asks for Adam’s help in avenging his father and in finding a solution for waking up The Barns.  After Adam discovers that Persephone is dead, Gansey goes to find Blue, and Ronan goes to sit with Adam.

We also see Ronan’s softer side when he admits to dreaming up EpiPens and hiding them all over his and Gansey’s apartment just in case Gansey might get stung by a bee. Ronan has new respect for Blue as well. He calls her Sargent, her last name, as if she were a boy from Aglionby – an equal (4207).

Both his new treatment of Blue and Adam act as further equalizers in the friends’ relationships.  Ronan places more worth on Blue which makes her more of a part of their group which had existed for some time before she came along.  In addition, the secretive and ambiguous nature of Ronan and Adam’s relationship somehow makes Gansey and Blue’s secret relationship okay.  Neither Adam nor Ronan will feel that Gansey and Blue are playing favorites as long as they have each other as well.

 

Sources

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Raven Boys.  New York: Scholastic, 2012.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Dream Thieves.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  New York: Scholastic, 2014. 

Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey III: Character Profiles in The Raven Cycle (Part Three)

Note:  I’ve read the newest Raven Cycle novel, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater and have added my notes from this book to the character profiles I posted earlier.  Text in blue indicates that this content was derived from Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  The in text citations do not correspond to page numbers, but to locations used on my Kindle.  For some reason page numbers were not available on my eReader for this novel.  In addition, I’ve decided to give each character their own separate post.  This will hopefully make the posts shorter and easier to read.  It will also allow me to write about certain things in more depth without having to worry about going on for too long.  The fact that I don’t have as many length restraints means that there might also be new things to read in the black and green colored texts.   WARNING: Some of the spoilers at the bottom I’ve gotten rid of because they were somewhat irrelevant anyway.  However, the rest of the spoilers I’ve added back into the main text, so read with caution.

Key

Black Text = The Raven Boys

Green Text = The Dream Thieves

Blue Text = Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey III

1973camaroAppearance/Traits/Quirks:  Gansey is clean and well dressed.  He wears very expensive clothes with ease and his school uniform looks perfect.  He is tan with tousled brown hair and hazel eyes.  He wears glasses when he doesn’t have his contacts in.  He is a leader and a control freak.  He is oblivious to how other people feel about his money and his attitude, but is trying to pay more attention to the reactions of others.  People say he is much older than he looks – an old soul or both young and old at the same time.  Gansey has made scholarship into an art form.  He smells like mint because of all the mint leaves that he chews.  He also unconsciously rubs his bottom lip with his thumb.   He suffers from insomnia possibly because his mind is always busy with his obsession with Glendower.  Gansey is a member of the Aglionby rowing crew.

Gansey is persuasive (36).  We see more of his masks and this could be related to the fact that he has grown up in a family with politicians.  Gansey is very good at appealing to whomever he meets.  In order to do this, he puts on the mask that will most suit the individual with whom he is speaking.  He quits the rowing crew to devote more time to Glendower. 

Gansey is all about his outward self either masking or revealing his inner self. The day after his fight with Blue he wears “a brown sweater that looked exactly on the outside like Gansey felt on the inside” (2366).  We now learn more about whom Gansey was before he came to Henrietta.  Dr. Malory describes the Gansey that he knew in England as mercurial or having temperamental, changing moods. While in England, Gansey had more nightmares and anxiety attacks because of his near death experience with hornets. His use of masks therefore can also be attributed to wanting to hide his distress from other people (2764).  “The old floor by the door was buckled by the weight of tradition and required a hefty, familiar shove to close it; Gansey did it without thinking” (3281). This shows Gansey’s fight against becoming the stereotypical privileged person who has been a part of Aglionby’s long history. We also see Gansey as being a king himself more than we having in the other novels. He becomes concerned with the ethics and methods of leading other people and asks some questions including: Do the risks of danger to my friends outweigh the results of my quest? And: Do I want to lead by demanding things or requesting things of others? Glendower is a model on which he bases his own kingliness. The fact that he is a king is also reinforced by people’s willingness to follow him – Ronan for example seems to regard Gansey’s orders even when Gansey is not around. It also takes Gansey’s command to wake the animals in Dittley’s cave (4071).

Transportation: A classic 1973 orange Camaro with two black stripes down the middle.  Gansey calls it The Pig.  The car is constantly breaking down.  The Pig is similar to Glendower in the way that it is always dying and then being revived again.   Ronan wrecks Gansey’s car and brings back an identical version of The Pig which Ronan has taken from his dreams.  The friends find a tire from The Pig in a man-made pond, but the tire is several hundred years old.

A car is a wrapper for its contents, he thought, and if he looked on the inside like any of the cars in this [his rich father’s] garage looked on the outside, he couldn’t live with himself.  On the outside, he knew he looked a lot like his father.  On the inside, he sort of wished he looked more like the Camaro (295).

13-DeathTarot Card: Death – This card can represent someone in a state of change or transition.  They are closing one door and opening another.  They are going into the unknown from something familiar and shedding old attitudes.  Not very often is this card actually interpreted as literal death.  Like for Glendower, death is not permanent, but simply heralds a new type of life.  However, the death card can mean that you are faced with a challenge that is inevitable (Bunning, 136-7).

Death: First of all, we know that Gansey will die because Blue saw his spirit on St.Mark’s Day.  In regards to Glendower, Gansey sees death as something that is not permanent.  He believes that Glendower is similar to King Arthur and will someday come back to life or wake up (45).  According to Gansey, it is the fact that Glendower is buried on the ley line which keeps him from being entirely dead (215).  We also know that Gansey has died once already.  He is deathly allergic to bees.  When he was 10 years old, a swarm of hornets attacked him.  While he was dying he had a vision concerning Glendower – a message from the ley line.  We learn that Gansey was brought back to life in exchange for Noah’s life which was given as a sacrifice to the ley line.  This near death experience makes Gansey like Glendower who has died and will come back to life.  His experiences can also explain his concern for Ronan who he believes has attempted suicide.  Gansey has to remind himself that, “death isn’t as close as you think” (111).  He sees death as possibility – it is a look at what may happen.  This fascinates him and Ronan finds him staring at a bee in their apartment.  His second chance at life makes it more important that he do something meaningful like finding Glendower.

Gansey is frozen by fear in Cabeswater’s cave when he believes there are hornets swarming at the bottom of a giant hole. This seems very un-Gansey like. He is showing rather raw vulnerability. His masks are gone and revealing a very unsettled Gansey that has so far been hidden. The fact that he was able to hide his fear of death for so long makes seeing it even more alarming.  The thought of Glendower sleeping rather than being dead now also seems unsettling to Gansey when before it didn’t bother him. “This inspired a shivery, unpleasant thought, of imagining you were being sent to sleep and instead being sent off to a trusting, accidental death” (1556).   For Gansey, death is not that far off.

Privilege: He was born into a family of millionaires. Gansey feels the need to take care of his friends’ financial burdens because he has the means to do so.  He is somewhat careless with material objects because he knows he can just go buy a new one.  Gansey believes that he owes it to the world to discover Glendower again because he has the time and the money to do research while others do not (24).  He does not always realize that while he sees giving away his money to people as kindness and love, others see it as condescending and insulting.  However, he becomes more aware of other people’s perspectives on his privilege after meeting Blue who is always angry with him for throwing around his money.  Gansey starts to worry that all people will see of him is his money.  He states, “I am only my money.  It is all that anyone sees, even Adam” (133).

Gansey begins to relate privilege to not only being rich in money, but rich in love.  He compares himself and Blue; who have had loving families, to Adam who has had to experience domestic abuse (362).  Gansey starts to see that he has been blessed in more ways than one.  He no longer tries to give Adam or Blue money.

In this novel, Gansey is bothered with the fact that he will not be able to know how many of his achievements occur because of his money and status or because he is talented and brave (1756). He gets to a point in his quest in which he is close enough to finding Glendower to realize that no one is worthy of discovering Glendower. The glory and magic he is looking for is bigger than anyone. He asks, “What are we doing? We of all people?” (2469)  Gansey is growing up and seeing more of the reality of his quest.

Duca_(corona)

Family:  His father is a congressman and his family lives in a mansion in Washington D.C.  He has a sister named Helen whom he gets along with.  They are equals through the fact that they both have the problem of sharing the same parents.  Gansey shares his father’s name and he hates it.  This is why he won’t allow anyone to call him Richard or Dick.  Gansey fears becoming like his father who doesn’t think twice about the fact that he’s a millionaire.  Visiting home causes him to compare himself to his family and he feels the weight of everything he hasn’t yet achieved.  His family reminds him that he is becoming more like the masks that he puts on rather than his true self.  His real family is his friends and anyone who is helping him to find Glendower.

His mother is also running for congress which means that Gansey has to appear a certain way so that his mother can appear a certain way to the public.  More masks.

Beliefs/Dreams: Gansey believes that in to make new discoveries, you must believe in what you are looking for.  He does not believe in coincidence.  Everything happens for a reason or it happens as a result of cause and effect.  Inside the hollow tree in Cabeswater, Gansey sees a vision of what Glendower will look like when/if they find him (289).

He believes that finding one impossible thing makes it easier to find more impossible things (187).

Gansey seems to be losing control and confidence. In these two areas, it appears that he has switched places with Adam. Like Adam was at the beginning of the series, Gansey is losing faith in Glendower or the power of the supernatural. As I mentioned earlier, he is becoming unsettled. “ ‘Everyone says, Just find Glendower,’ Gansey said suddenly, ‘but all around me the cave walls are crumbling’” (1142). He feels that he has been stuck on finding something so immense and beautiful that he has lost interest and appreciation for making small discoveries. He is seeing what lies within reality and is disappointed with it.  Adam and Gansey are talking about Dr. Malory. Gansey states:

‘He’s all starry-eyed over it.’

‘You were once,’ Adam reminded him. They both had been. How ungrateful they’d become, how greedy for better wonders (1145-8).

Nature/Ley Line:  Gansey is connected to nature by the fact that his near death experience was caused by an insect.

Gansey is disturbed by Cabeswater’s disappearance.

Glendower:  His obsession with Glendower is a painful longing.  He has documented his entire search inside of a journal which has become part of his being.  He has put so much love and work into the journal that he feels incomplete without it.  Glendower is the one thing that Gansey wants that does not come with a price tag.  He wants to find Glendower in order to prove that he is more than just his money.  His search is also the result of the fact that his privilege gives him the leisure time and means for the quest. 

Since Noah died for him, Gansey decides he wants to use Glendower’s favor to bring Noah back to life. The other big doubt in Gansey’s mind is the thought of what will happen to him after he finds Glendower.  Gansey talks to Noah about it. “Because it was Noah and no one else, Gansey could admit, ‘I don’t know what I’ll do if I find him, Noah. I don’t know what I’ll be if I’m not looking for him. I don’t know the first thing about how to be that person again” (1594). It’s okay to tell Noah this because unlike the others, Gansey’s doubts won’t be a betrayal of the efforts everyone has put into the search. It’s a betrayal because it was Gansey who asked them to follow him.

Gansey is also obsessed with Glendower because he feels like he needs to prove that what he heard when he was dying was not just an hallucination. This raises the question of what it would mean if it were an hallucination.

Wasp-or-hornetRelationships with Others: Gansey sees Ronan as trouble.  He is afraid that Ronan will learn to be nothing.  Gansey wants to find the Ronan that he was friends with before Ronan’s father died.  He believes that Adam works too hard and is concerned for Adam’s health.  It’s hard for Gansey to see Adam with injuries that Gansey knows Adam’s father gave him.  However, Gansey cannot offer Adam help without Adam feeling like Gansey is being condescending.  Gansey thinks that Adam is a genius who is too busy feeling sorry for himself.  He wants Adam to realize how great and fantastic Adam really is.  Gansey thinks Blue is evil, but yet he still wants her to like him because her approval will prove to himself that he is not just an arrogant Aglionby bastard.  He calls Blue “Jane.” (They are collectively now Dick and Jane).  In general, Gansey feels like his friends do not appreciate him in the same way that he cares for them.

In the end he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan.  Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him.  Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.  They were always walking away from him.  But he never seemed able to walk away from them (351).

His opinion of Blue has improved.  He now sees her as fanciful, but sensible (77).  Blue becomes a representation of Henrietta for Gansey.  She is everything about the town that he has come to love.  When he wants to think about Henrietta he calls her instead of his other friends.  And she tells him what is happening at her house (288).  Helen is always teasing Gansey that the town of Henrietta is Gansey’s girlfriend.  Blue has become the personification of that relationship.  Henrietta is meaningful to him because he has spent so long traveling here and there and has, until Henrietta, not found a place where he feels he belongs.  His home is not with his family, so where is it?  Where he will find Glendower, or Henrietta which also means Blue.  Gansey has a fight with Adam at Gansey’s house.  Afterwards Gansey is convinced that Adam hates him (287).  Adam has undermined Gansey’s wishes that they not wake the ley line.  This is a betrayal of Gansey that no one else seems brave enough to make.  It disrupts Gansey’s control and begins to put Adam on more of an equal footing with Gansey, which Gansey is not used to.

Gansey feels guilty about his relationship with Blue. He does not want to be seen playing favorites – that it would somehow be unfair to the others who have followed him with no questions asked (442). A king cannot have favorites. He tries to keep the romantic aspect of their relationship a secret (though I’m pretty sure Ronan knows something, but doesn’t care). The other problem with having favorites is that it seems that all of the friends need to play an equal role in order to complete their quest. Everyone’s talents are needed and no one is any more important than anyone else. Equality between them seems absolutely necessary in order to see Glendower wake. In order for them to lift the lid from Gwenllian’s grave, they all had to be helping each other (2479).

It seems that in many ways, Gansey has switched roles with Adam. Gansey is now with Blue and he harbors doubts about his future, which Adam possessed when he was living at home with an abusive father. His has lost faith in the supernatural, which is similar to how Adam felt at the beginning of their journey.    

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Sources

Bunning, Joan.  Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners.  San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 1998.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Raven Boys.  New York: Scholastic, 2012.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Dream Thieves.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  New York: Scholastic, 2014. 

Blue Sargent: Character Profiles in The Raven Cycle (Part Three)

Note:  I’ve read the newest Raven Cycle novel, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater and have added my notes from this book to the character profiles I posted earlier.  Text in blue indicates that this content was derived from Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  The in text citations do not correspond to page numbers, but to locations used on my Kindle.  For some reason page numbers were not available on my eReader for this novel.  In addition, I’ve decided to give each character their own separate post.  This will hopefully make the posts shorter and easier to read.  It will also allow me to write about certain things in more depth without having to worry about going on for too long.  The fact that I don’t have as many length restraints means that there might also be new things to read in the black and green colored texts.   WARNING: Some of the spoilers at the bottom I’ve gotten rid of because they were somewhat irrelevant anyway.  However, the rest of the spoilers I’ve added back into the main text, so read with caution.

Key

Black Text = The Raven Boys

Green Text = The Dream Thieves

Blue Text = Blue Lily, Lily Blue

olympia_blueBlue Sargent

Appearance/Traits/Quirks:  She’s five feet tall and has short, black hair.  Her style is trashy chic.  She is vain about her appearance.  She is sensible for a teenager.  Blue is judgmental and prejudiced against raven boys or students that attend Aglionby Academy.  She is creative – her room is decorated in feathers, leaves and paper trees.  Most of her clothing is something she’s made herself or altered.  Blue also likes to help people.  We can see that in her many odd jobs some of which include being a waitress at the pizzeria, Nino’s (where raven boys frequent), teaching penmanship to third graders, walking dogs, and helping elderly ladies with their gardens (57).

She has a short temper (11).  Blue is a tough one even if her appearance doesn’t suggest it.  Her sensibility doesn’t allow her much patience with other people’s non-sense, especially her cousin Orla’s need to impress anything which is male.  This prompts Blue to jump into a lake clothed to retrieve a piece of Glendower’s shield while Orla wastes time floating about in a bikini complaining that she can’t dive deep enough (190-1).

BeechLeaf_iStock_000013408445XSmallGansey’s friend from England, Professor Malory, finds what is thought to be an ancient lost flag.  The flag was believed to be something the English had stolen from Glendower’s men.  The flag depicts three woman with red hands.  According to Gansey, the red hands are a symbol associated with the Welsh title Mab Darogan which was used for legendary individuals or a “son of destiny” similar to the British King Arthur (484-9).  Malory explains that before he rediscovered the flag, everyone thought that as an insult the English had turned it into nightgowns for Henry IV (495).  However, the important part is that the women on the flag share Blue’s face.  The significance of this resemblance remains a secret, but it is attached to the fact that in The Raven Cycle time is seen as something that loops back on itself.  Somehow the characters exist in different times – events have happened in the past (the faces on the flag), but haven’t yet happened for the characters in the book (Blue doesn’t know how her face got there).

All Blue eats is yogurt, but she doesn’t like the fruit at the bottom – this she gives to Gansey.  This lack of eating could be attributed to stress Blue is experiencing at the disappearance of her mother.  It also attributes to why people think she is tiny.  Jesse Dittley calls her “ANT” because she apparently doesn’t eat her greens (2047).   

We learn that she has a blue aura.  Blue hopes that this didn’t contribute to why her parents chose to name her “Blue.”  The blue aura indicates clairvoyance.

Transportation: bicycle

cups11Tarot Card:  Page of Cups – represents someone who is open to opportunities, new experiences, and new relationships.  She is ready to receive guidance and advice from others.  She is defined by togetherness and thoughtfulness.  This card is related to reaching out to someone and mending relationships (Bunning, 206-7).

Death:  To Blue death is part of a reverse fairy tale because of the prophecy that she will kill her true love by kissing him.  She doesn’t put too much weight on the prophecy until she meets the living Gansey for the first time when he comes for a card reading at her house.  After seeing him alive, the consequences of killing Gansey seem more real.  Any romantic relationship that Blue may have will in some way be related to death.  She struggles to tell her prophecy to anyone she might be romantically interested in.  Telling her crushes about the prophecy also comes with the assumption that they are her true love.  This becomes a problem when she doesn’t love them.  The only way she gets her first kiss with Noah is because Noah is already dead and she doesn’t have to worry about killing him (244).

After the death of Persephone, she learns that death can come at a moment with no ceremony.  This changes her view of the world.  “And there would now forever be two Blues: the Blue that was before, and the Blue that was after.  The one who didn’t believe, and the one who did.” (3743)  This is part of  Blue’s journey to becoming an adult, like the other characters she is starting to see the reality of the risks they are taking in a quest based on legend and magic.

Privilege:  Blue and her family are most likely middle-class.  She is not as rich as Gansey, but she is probably richer than Adam.  She is prejudiced against the raven boys because of their wealth and assumes that they are all arrogant and self-centered.  She’s made two rules: “One, stay away from boys, because they were trouble.  And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards” (10).  This influences her relationships with Gansey, Ronan, Noah, and Adam.  When she first meets Gansey, he asks her to sit with the guys at a table at Nino’s.  He makes the mistake of offering to pay her to do it.  She responds appropriately, “I am not a prostitute” (62).  She does not accept charity from the condescending raven boys.

She starts to see privilege differently.  Privilege is instead an act of kindness and allowing someone into her life.  When Gansey comes to her house he is now a “privileged tourist” (98).  You can make someone privileged by giving them something special.  However, Blue also starts to see herself as separate from the raven boys because she is a girl.  She will never be able to share their experiences at the all boys school of Aglionby.  She wants the boys to treat her like an equal friend despite her gender.  She tells Adam, “Well, I don’t want to be just someone to kiss.  I want to be a real friend, too.  Not just someone who’s fun to have around because – because I have breasts!” (345). 

Blue sees her economic status as a roadblock that will narrow her possibilities for the future.  She can only afford to go to certain colleges.  Her guidance councilor bases the advice she gives Blue on the factor of money rather than Blue’s own abilities to achieve great things (This awful councilor is unfortunately named Mrs.Shiftlet.  It is not hard to imagine what high school students like Ronan might call her simply by moving the “f” to the 2nd to last letter in her name.)   On the other hand, Blue’s status opens doorways to communities that are inaccessible to the raven boys.  Her appearance and behavior allow people to trust her in a way they do not trust the raven boys because of the boys’ money.  Gansey lives in a world that many “normal” people do not understand, but they do understand Blue’s world.  For that reason, along with Blue’s gardening skills, the raven boys gain access to Jesse Dittley’s cave.  Without Blue being herself, this wouldn’t have happened.

Family:  Blue has a very large family of female psychics.  She lives in a house with her mother, Maura, her mother’s two friends, Calla and Persephone, her half-aunt Neeve, her aunt Jimi, and cousin Orla.  There are probably more relatives who are unnamed.  Her home is full of warmth and chaos.  Out of all the characters, she has the most positive experiences with her family.  There are some negative aspects, however.  Blue often feels like her family uses her like a tool because of her ability to magnify psychic energy.  She feels like she has no talents that she can call her own and is always looking for what she calls her something more.  Blue doesn’t know much about her father except that his name is Artemus,  that he might have come out of Cabeswater, and that he disappeared.

Neeve has left a negative energy in her home.  Blue sees her family as whoever belongs inside of her house.  This now includes the raven boys. 

For Blue, there was family – which had never been about blood relation at 300 Fox Way – and then there was everyone else.  When the boys came to her house, they stopped being everyone else (98).

Blue’s mother is lost somewhere in a cave looking for Artemus and Glendower.  Blue is overrun with worry for her mother and anger that her mother would leave her when she is in the midst of her own dangerous quest and in the midst of her senior year of high school.  What if her mother doesn’t get back for her graduation?  Her mother’s vanishing also puts a strain on her relationships with Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah.  She starts seeing their friendships as temporary – the boys will soon leave her and go off to expensive universities which she can’t afford to attend.  This increases her fear for Gansey’s impending death which she cannot stop.  We also learn that Artemus was involved in punishing Glendower’s illegitimate daughter, Gwenllian, by putting her in Glendower’s false grave, and perhaps Artemus is responsible for putting Glendower to sleep.

Beliefs/Dreams:  Blue thinks that most people do not believe in psychics and so she has always felt that other people see her as being crazy.  She also thinks that it is better not to know the future.  She sees Cabeswater as the dream world that it is.  Stiefvater writes, “She felt like she was a part of a dream this place was having, or it was part of a dream of hers” (225).  In Cabeswater, the friends find a hollow tree.  When they go inside of the tree, Gansey, Blue, and Adam each have their own dream or vision.  Blue’s vision shows her what it might be like to actual kiss Gansey.  This brings into question of whether or not the visions tell a definite future or can they be changed?

Blue is having a hard time following her dreams for the future as far as college is concerned.  She believes that the quest for Glendower has given her false hopes about the possibilities that are available to her.  She starts seeing the world in a more realistic way.

FeatherNature/Ley Line:  Blue’s favorite place is outside under the beech tree in her backyard.  The inside of her house is so busy that for her the outdoors is the only place she can have privacy.  There is a strong connection between nature and psychic energy.  Stiefvater uses images of nature when she describes Blue watching Neeve scrying (34-5).  Blue’s bedroom is also decorated like a forest.  The trees at Cabeswater knew what her name was – another example of time being a loop.  We do not know how the trees knew her, but possibly Blue met them in a past that hasn’t happened yet.  Blue’s relationship with the ley line mainly consists of the fact that she can increase its energy.  This makes it easier for Gansey to map out the pathways of the ley line.

Blue learns a considerable amount about her own powers in manipulating psychic energy.  She can cut it off just as easily as she can enhance it (847).  She learns some things from Gwenllian who has the same talents.  Her powers can be symbolized by a mirror.  Blue reflects the energy over and over again to make it stronger like a candle’s light in a mirror (3184).  Mirror magic seems to have no effect on her perhaps because she can cut off the energy flow.  There is no danger of Blue getting lost in Neeve’s double mirrors/portals, and Blue can turn off the frightening images shown to her in the lake in Cabeswater’s cave.  She is closer to finding her special something more.

Glendower:  Blue feels an attraction to Gansey’s journal about Glendower because it represents new possibilities to her.  She feels that finding Glendower is something that runs deeper than just getting the favor from him.  She has become involved in the search for Glendower because it was her fate.  She will find him because she is meant to find him.

She would only remember that this was the fall her mother vanished.  This was the year of Glendower (650).

Relationships with Others:  Blue thinks that her half-aunt is intense.  She is curious about Gansey at first, but then finds him to be “annoyingly impressive.”  She calls him President Cell Phone.  After a while, she starts to see that Gansey has a mask that he takes on and off.  One Gansey is polite, formal, and condescending; the other Gansey she doesn’t know very well, but wants to know more.  She also has nicknames for the other boys.  Noah is Smudgy Boy.  Ronan is Soldier Boy.  Adam is Elegant Boy.  She sees Adam as attractive and endearing – not at all like the other raven boys.  I think that most of her interest in Adam is because he is the first boy to show a romantic interest in her.

She realizes that she is physically attracted to Gansey, but still doesn’t love him (7).  She likes having the boys at her house because it gives her the upper hand since they don’t know much about psychicsBlue realizes she has a crush on Gansey and not Adam (240).  I think Gansey makes her feel like more of an equal participant in their friend group.  Adam can’t do this because he himself feels inferior to Gansey.

In this novel like never before, the characters share a strong bond with one another. Blue sees Cabeswater as one of the factors that connect them. This is because they have all dreamed of Cabeswater or have had dreams while inside Cabeswater. “She knew it was not true, but it was both comforting and thrilling to imagine they were so connected, that Cabeswater represented something they all thought of when they closed their eyes” (171).  Equality between the friends has been key to their relationships and in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, they are closer than ever before to being equal.  I believe that being equal is also an essential ingredient that is needed if they are to wake Glendower.  Ronan has become more respectful of Blue, which I think is not necessarily because they have gotten to know each other better, but because Adam has lost interest in Blue. She’s no longer his rival for Adam’s friendship which Ronan has come to value.  She has staring contest with Ronan and showing her fearlessness might also be what has earned his respect (208). Ronan also saves her when they are inside Cabeswater’s cave. He also gives her his dream light inside the Dittley’s cave (4156).

Her mother’s disappearance makes Blue become worried about the temporary nature of her relationships with the raven boys – in particular Gansey. She is more worried about his eminent death and frustrated with the fact that she can’t stop it from happening. She gets angry at Gansey because she can’t save him, but she also can’t tell him that he’s going to die.

Orla said. ‘I think it’s crazy how you’re in love with all those raven boys.’

Orla wasn’t wrong, of course. But what she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other (1202).

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Sources

Bunning, Joan.  Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners.  San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 1998.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Raven Boys.  New York: Scholastic, 2012.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Dream Thieves.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  New York: Scholastic, 2014. 

Developing The Raven Cycle: Character Profiles (Part Two)

Key

Black Text = The Raven Boys

Green Text = The Dream Thieves

Red Text = Spoilers (see bottom of post if you want to read spoilers)

Blue Sargent

Appearance/Traits/Quirks:  She’s five feet tall and has short, black hair.  Her style is trashy chic.  She is vain about her appearance.  She is sensible for a teenager.  Blue is judgmental and prejudiced against raven boys or students that attend Aglionby Academy.  She is creative – her room is decorated in feathers, leaves and paper trees.  Most of her clothing is something she’s made herself or altered.  Blue also likes to help people.  We can see that in her many odd jobs some of which include being a waitress at the pizzeria, Nino’s, teaching penmanship to third graders, walking dogs, and helping elderly ladies with their gardens (57).

She has a short temper (11). 

Transportation: bicycle

Tarot Card:  Page of Cups – represents someone who is open to opportunities, new experiences, and new relationships.  She is ready to receive guidance and advice from others.  She is defined by togetherness and thoughtfulness.  This card is related to reaching out to someone and mending relationships.

Death:  To Blue death is part of a reverse fairy tale because of the prophecy that she will kill her love by kissing him.  She doesn’t put too much weight on the prophecy until she meets the living Gansey when he comes for a card reading at her house.  After seeing him alive, the consequences of killing Gansey seem more real.  Any romantic relationship that Blue may have will in some way be related to death.  She struggles to tell her prophecy to anyone she might be romantically interested in.  Telling her crushes about the prophecy also comes with the assumption that they are her true love.  This becomes a problem because she doesn’t love them.

Secret*1

Privilege:  Blue and her family are most likely middle-class.  She is not as rich as Gansey, but she is probably richer than Adam.  She is prejudiced against the raven boys because of their wealth and assumes that they are all arrogant and self-centered.  She made two rules: “One, stay away from boys, because they were trouble.  And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards” (10).  This influences her relationships with Gansey, Ronan, Noah, and Adam.  When she first meets Gansey, he asks her to sit with the guys at a table at Nino’s.  He makes the mistake of offering to pay her to do it.  She responds appropriately, “I am not a prostitute” (62).  She does not accept charity from the condescending raven boys.

She starts to see privilege differently.  Privilege is instead an act of kindness and allowing someone into her life.  When Gansey comes to her house he is now a “privileged tourist” (98).  You can make someone privileged by giving them something special.  However, Blue also starts to see herself as separate from the raven boys because she is a girl.  She will never be able to share their experiences at Aglionby.  She wants the boys to treat her like an equal friend despite her gender.  She tells Adam, “Well, I don’t want to be just someone to kiss.  I want to be a real friend, too.  Not just someone who’s fun to have around because – because I have breasts!” (345). 

Family:  Blue has a very large family of female psychics.  She lives in a house with her mother, Maura, her mother’s two friends, Calla and Persephone, her half-aunt Neeve, her aunt Jimi, and cousin Orla.  There are probably more that are unnamed.  Her home is full of warmth and chaos.  Out of all the characters she has the most positive experiences with her family.  Blue often feels like her family uses her like a tool because of her ability to magnify psychic energy.  She feels like she has no talents that she can call her own and is always looking for what she calls her something more.  Blue doesn’t know much about her father except that his name is Artemus,  that he might have come out of Cabeswater, and that he disappeared.

Neeve has left a negative energy in her home.  Blue sees her family as whoever belongs inside of her house.  This now includes the raven boys.  “For Blue, there was family – which had never been about blood relation at 300 Fox Way – and then there was everyone else.  When the boys came to her house, they stopped being everyone else” (98).

Beliefs/Dreams:  Blue thinks that most people do not believe in psychics and so she has always felt that other people see her as being crazy.  She also thinks that it is better not to know the future.  She sees Cabeswater as a dream world.  Stiefvater writes, “She felt like she was a part of a dream this place was having, or it was part of a dream of hers” (225).  In Cabeswater, the friends find a hollow tree.  When they go inside of the tree, Gansey, Blue, and Adam each have their own dream or vision.  Blue’s vision shows her what it might be like to actual kiss Gansey.

Nature/Ley Line:  Blue’s favorite place is outside under the beech tree in her backyard.  The inside of her house is so busy that for her the outdoors is the only place she can have privacy.  There is a strong connection between nature and psychic energy.  Stiefvater uses images of nature when she describes Blue watching Neeve scrying (34-5).  Blue’s bedroom is also decorated like a forest.  The trees at Cabeswater knew what her name was.

Glendower:  Blue feels an attraction to Gansey’s journal about Glendower because it represents new possibilities to her.  She feels that finding Glendower is something that runs deeper than just getting the favor from him.  She has become involved in the search for Glendower because it was her fate.  She will find him because she is meant to find him.

Relationships with Others:  Blue thinks that her half-aunt is intense.  She is curious about Gansey at first, but then finds him to be “annoyingly impressive.”  She calls him President Cell Phone.  After a while she starts to see that Gansey has a mask that he takes on and off.  One Gansey is polite, formal, and condescending, the other Gansey doesn’t know very well, but wants to know more.  She also has nicknames for the other boys.  Noah is Smudgy Boy.  Ronan is Soldier Boy.  Adam is Elegant Boy.  She sees Adam as attractive and endearing – not at all like the other raven boys.  I think that most of her interest in Adam is because he is the first boy to show a romantic interest in her.

She realizes that she is physically attracted to Gansey, but still doesn’t love him (7).  She likes having the boys at her house because it gives her the upper hand since they don’t know much about psychicsSecret*2.

france-beech-tree

Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey III

Appearance/Traits/Quirks:  Gansey is clean and well dressed.  He wears very expensive clothes with ease and his school uniform looks perfect.  He is tan with tousled brown hair and hazel eyes.  He wears glasses when he doesn’t have his contacts in.  He is a leader and a control freak.  He is oblivious to how other people feel about his money and his attitude, but is trying to pay more attention to the reactions of others.  People say he is much older than he looks – an old soul.  Gansey has made scholarship into an art form.  He smells like mint because of all the mint leaves that he chews.  He also unconsciously rubs his bottom lip with his thumb.   He suffers from insomnia possibly because his mind is always busy with his obsession with Glendower.  Gansey is a member of the Aglionby rowing crew.

Gansey is persuasive (36).  We see more of the masks and this could be related to the fact that he has grown up in a family with politicians.  Gansey is very good at appealing to whomever he meets.  In order to do this he puts on the mask that will most suit the individual with whom he is speaking.  He quits the rowing crew. 

Transportation: A classic orange Camaro with two black stripes down the middle.  Gansey calls it The Pig.  The car is constantly breaking down.  Secret*3  The Pig is similar to Glendower in the way that is always dying and then being revived again.

A car is a wrapper for its contents, he thought, and if he looked on the inside like any of the cars in this [his rich father’s] garage looked on the outside, he couldn’t live with himself.  On the outside, he knew he looked a lot like his father.  On the inside, he sort of wished he looked more like the Camaro (295).

Tarot Card: Death – This card can represent someone in a state of change or transition.  They are closing one door and opening another.  They are going into the unknown from something familiar and shedding old attitudes.

Death: First of all, we know that Gansey will die because Blue saw his spirit on St.Mark’s Day.  In regards to Glendower, Gansey sees death as something that is not permanent.  He believes that Glendower is similar to King Arthur and will someday come back to life or wake up (45).  According to Gansey it is the fact that Glendower is buried on the ley line which keeps him from being entirely dead (215).  We also know that Gansey has died once already.  He is deathly allergic to bees.  When he was 10 years old, a swarm of hornets attacked him.  While he was dying he had a vision concerning Glendower – a message from the ley line.  Secret*4.   This experience makes Gansey like Glendower who has died and will come back to life.  His experiences can also explain his concern for Ronan who has attempted suicide.  Gansey has to remind himself that, “death isn’t as close as you think” (111).  He sees death as possibility – it is a look at what may happen.  This fascinates him and Ronan finds him staring at a bee in their apartment.  His second chance at life makes it more important that he do something meaningful like finding Glendower.

Privilege:  He was born into a family of millionaires. Gansey feels the need to take care of his friends’ financial burdens because he has the means to do so.  He is somewhat careless with material objects because he knows he can just go buy a new one.  Gansey believes that he owes it to the world to discover Glendower again because he has the time and the money to do research while others do not (24).  He does not always realize that while he sees giving away his money to people as kindness and love, others see it as condescending and insulting.  However, he becomes more aware of other people’s perspectives on his privilege after meeting Blue who is always angry with him for throwing around his money.  Gansey starts to worry that all people will see of him is his money.  He states, “I am only my money.  It is all that anyone sees, even Adam” (133).

Gansey begins to relate privilege to not only being rich in money, but rich in love.  He compares himself and Blue; who have had loving families, to Adam who has had to experience domestic abuse (362).  Gansey starts to see that he has been blessed in more ways than one.  He no longer tries to give Adam or Blue money.

Family:  His father is a congressman and his family lives in a mansion in Washington D.C.  He has a sister named Helen whom he gets along with.  They are equals through the fact that they both have the problem of sharing the same parents.  Gansey shares his father’s name and he hates it.  This is why he won’t allow anyone to call him Richard.  Visiting home causes him to compare himself to his family and he feels the weight of everything he hasn’t yet achieved.  His family reminds him that he is becoming more like the masks that he puts on rather than his true self.  His real family is his friends and anyone who is helping him to find Glendower.

His mother is also running for congress which means that Gansey has to appear a certain way so that his mother can appear a certain way to the public.  More masks.

Beliefs/Dreams: Gansey believes that in to make new discoveries, you must believe in what you are looking for.  He does not believe in coincidence.  Everything happens for a reason or it happens as a result of cause and effect.  Inside the hollow tree in Cabeswater, Gansey sees a vision of what Glendower will look like when/if they find him (289).

He believes that finding one impossible thing makes it easier to find more impossible things (187).

Nature/Ley Line:  Gansey is connected to nature by the fact that his near death experience was caused by an insect.

Gansey is disturbed by Cabeswater’s disappearance.

Glendower:  His obsession with Glendower is a painful longing.  He has documented his entire search inside a journal which has become part of his being.  He has put so much love and work into the journal that he feels imcomplete without it.  Glendower is the one thing that Gansey wants that does not come with a price tag.  He wants to find Glendower in order to prove that he is more than just his money. 

Relationships with Others: Gansey sees Ronan as trouble.  He is afraid that Ronan will learn to be nothing.  Gansey wants to find the Ronan that he was friends with before Ronan’s father died.  He believes that Adam works too hard and is concerned for Adam’s health.  It’s hard for Gansey to see Adam with injuries that Gansey knows Adam’s father gave him.  However, Gansey cannot offer Adam help without Adam feeling like Gansey is being condescending.  Gansey thinks that Adam is a genius who is too busy feeling sorry for himself.  He wants Adam to realize how great and fantastic Adam really is.  Gansey thinks Blue is evil, but yet he still wants her to like him because her approval will prove to himself that he is not just an arrogant Aglionby bastard.  He calls Blue “Jane.” (They are collectively now Dick and Jane).  In general, Gansey feels like his friends do not appreciate him in the same way that he cares for them.

In the end he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan.  Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him.  Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.  They were always walking away from him.  But he never seemed able to walk away from them (351).

His opinion of Blue has improved.  He now sees her as fanciful, but sensible (77).  Blue becomes a representation of Henrietta for Gansey.  She is everything about the town that he has come to love.  When he wants to think about Henrietta he calls her instead of his other friends.  And she tells him what is happening at her house (288).  Gansey has a fight with Adam at Gansey’s house.  Afterwards Gansey is convinced that Adam hates him (287).

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Ronan Lynch (Greywaren)

Appearance/Traits/Quirks:  Ronan has a sharp nose, thin mouth, blue eyes, and buzzed hair.  He has tattoo on his back and neck.  He’s described as handsome.  He is of Irish origin.  Ronan likes to make other people feel uncomfortable by creating awkward silences and by staring at people for too long.  Ronan also tends to be insincere when he knows that everyone else is being serious.  He tells the blunt truth even if you don’t want to hear it.  Ronan is true to his word.  If he says he will do something, then he will do it.  He acts like he despises everyone.  He likes Latin, loud music, boxing, and swearing.  Ronan is a dare-devil and enjoys doing stunts.  He is very nurturing toward animals and his pet raven, Chainsaw.

He chews on his leather wrist bands.  Ronan despises cell phones and sufferes from insomnia.  However, unlike Gansey who can’t sleep because his mind is busy with Glendower, Ronan doesn’t sleep in order to avoid his dreams.  Ronan and Gansey have a lot of midnight gatherings with one another.

Transportation:  A black BMW which belonged to his father.  Secret*5

Tarot Card:  N/A  Ronan tries to stay away from tarot cards as much as he can because he sees Blue’s family as being involved in the occult or black magic.

Death: His father, Niall Lynch, was murdered and Ronan found the body in the driveway.  Had a near death experience in which he almost bled out.  Noah found his body and Gansey assumed the incident was attempted suicide.

The Orphan Girl from Ronan’s dreams tells him that she is a psychopomp (127).  A psychopomp is a creature or spiritual being which guides the souls of deceased from earth to the after life.  In some cultures, a raven is also a psychopomp.  Secret*6  When Ronan starts dreaming with Kavinsky, Kavinsky gives him a little green pill for which, “dying is a boring side effect” (312).  The pill throws them into sleep. 

Privilege:  Ronan’s money comes to him from the fact that his father died and he was given money in his father’s will.  This maybe the reason for Ronan’s bitterness towards his privilege.  He hates the stereotype of being condescending and self-centered that Blue assigns to him. The world expects him to be a certain way because he is rich, but Ronan refuses to meet these expectations.  However, he still doesn’t know what he wants for himself.  He tells Gansey, “I don’t know what I want.  I don’t know what the hell I am” (75).  The only way that Ronan meets the stereotype of being a privileged individual is in his love for the Latin language.  Latin is not a language that’s used for any practical function, so learning it fluently is something that someone with time and money might do.  Knowing Latin seems to me like something a snobby scholar would wave in the face of another scholar.

We learn that Ronan has actually inherited 3 million dollars from his father along with their family property.  However, he cannot access it until he is 18.  If Ronan ever returns to his home, the money will be forfeit (34).  Returning home also includes never seeing his mother again.  Unlike Gansey’s family home which is rich in an untouchable and intimidating way, Ronan’s family home is what he calls “shabby rich” (155).  Ronan’s family is rich not because they own shiny things, but because they can afford to buy every warm and comfortable thing you could imagine.  Instead of Gansey this time, Ronan secretly helps Adam with Adam’s rent.  This seems like part of a turing point for Ronan.  It perhaps means that he is becoming more comfortable with who is and who privilege has made him.  Instead of being stuck in confusion about his identity, he is now acting on it and maybe using Gansey as a guide for the person he wants to be.  Church is the one place where Ronan actually feels privileged to hate himself for the sins he’s committed.  “Ronan gave in to the brief privilege of hating himself, as he always did in church.  There was something satisfying about acknowledging this hatred, something relieving about this little present he allowed himself each Sunday” (91). 

Family: Ronan is the middle of three sons.  He has an older brother, Declan, and a younger brother, Matthew.  Declan controls Ronan’s funds until Ronan turns 18.  Ronan hates Declan.  Their mother stopped speaking after the death of their father.

Ronan’s family has lots of secrets.  Niall had a mysterious job for which he spent a lot of time traveling.  Like Ronan, Niall could bring objects into reality from his dreams.  Like Gansey shares his father’s name, being able to create dream objects gives Ronan the curse of being just like his father.  We learn that Ronan’s family farm is called The Barns because all of many barns on their property.   Ronan feels guilt at not discovering his father’s body in time to save his father (91).  He realizes that Gansey is more of a brother to him than his real brothers (154).  Declan is incapable of telling anyone the truth and Matthew is slow of mind, but everyone’s sweetheart including Ronan’s.  His mother is living in a type of fairy tale.  Like Glendower, she is in a state of sleep.  In order to wake up she must go back inside of a dream.  Or in other words, Ronan must take her into Cabeswater.

Beliefs/Dreams:  We learn that Chainsaw the raven is something that Ronan took out of his dreams.

Ronan is what is called the Greywaren.  It’s a title that Cabeswater gives him.  There a many people that can steal objects out of their dreams, but only Ronan can speak the language of dreams.  When Ronan dreams he enters Cabeswater where the Orphan Girl helps him take dream objects into reality.  The Orphan Girl wants Ronan to take her out of the dreams, but he doesn’t.  Some other dream objects include: keys to The Pig, a remote control air plane that runs without batteries, blue lilies, the translating puzzle box, and his night terrors which are creatures that I imagine to be part raven, part man, part demon.        He has repeated dreams about driving to the barns and multiple nightmares about bad things happening to Matthew.  Some other dreams include Gansey being attacked by hornets and Adam being overcome by a mask (the dream about Adam can symbolize how Adam feels about sacrificing himself to the ley line).  The dream beasts that Kavinsky and Ronan summon to fight each other reflect the characters’ self-hatred.  We find out that when a dreamer dies, all of their dream objects that are living fall into a sleep (The Barns seems to be under a sleeping spell since Niall died).  “Non mortem, somni fratrem” (146).  Not death, but his brother sleep.  Sounds like Glendower. 

Ronan is Catholic and believes in heaven and hell.  He believes that he once saw the devil talking to his father inside of a barn.

Nature/Ley Line:  He has a pet raven named Chainsaw.  Chainsaw reveals to us what Ronan might have been like before Niall died.  “Ronan’s smile cut his face, but he looked kinder than Blue had ever seen him, like the raven in his hand was his heart, finally laid bare” (304).  Ronan can speak in Latin to the trees of Cabeswater.

Taking things from his dreams is like the power nature has to produce new life.  Again we see Ronan’s true heart through the respect and love he has for animals.  We find out that creating dream objects sucks the energy out of the ley line.  Ronan’s and Kavinsky’s dreaming has been adding to the erratic behavior of the ley line with burst of energy followed by no energy at all.  Their dreaming contributed to Cabeswater disappearing.

Glendower:  Ronan wants to find Glendower because Gansey wants to find Glendower (21).  Ronan imagines that finding Glendower will be like dying in the sense that it will be similar to finally seeing God.

Relationships with Others:  It seems that Ronan enjoys spending time with Noah more than any other character does.  Secret*7

Ronan sees that Gansey is pretending that Adam did not disobey him by waking the ley line.  Gansey is just ignoring the fact that he’s mad at Adam because Adam decided to go his own way, stepping further away from Gansey.  Ronan also notices that Gansey is attracted to Blue when Gansey himself doesn’t know it yet (141).  Ronan loves when Gansey acts like a normal boy – Gansey’s opposite extreme from the masks Gansey wears.  His relationship with Gansey is a reminder of what Ronan wants to be.  He’s concerned about what Gansey may think about his actions.  Destroying The Pig is like destroying Gansey.  Ronan thinks that Adam doesn’t feel right if Adam’s life isn’t agony (71).  Ronan is digusted by Blue’s clothes.

Adam Parrish

Appearance/Traits/Quirks: Adam is self-conscious about his appearance.  He wears a second hand Aglionby uniform.  He is fine boned with blue eyes.  He looks fragile.  He is at the top of his class at Aglionby.  Adam is cynical and hard working.  He is a proud and a dreamer.  Adam enjoys fixing cars and works at an automotive mechanic’s shop.

He has prominent cheek bones and deep set eyes (8).  Adam is feels self-pity and he has lost hearing in his left ear.

Transportation: bicycle.  He gets a tri-colored, junky car from Helen, Gansey’s sister.

Tarot Card: The Magician – This card represents someone who does what needs to be done and carries out a plan.  The magician is totally committed to a cause.  He has the power to draw on a variety of forces and use them in creative ways.  He is magic because his achievements seem to be miracles.

Death: In the hollow tree inside Cabeswater, Adam has a vision of himself causing Gansey’s death.  This is part of what prompts him to make his sacrifice to the ley line.

Death is what makes everyone equal.  “Only death couldn’t be swiped away by a credit card” (65).  Adam starts to see ghosts.  The spirits are messages the ley line is trying to send him, but he understand what they are telling him.

Privilege: Adam is part of the lower-class and lives in a trailer.  He has to work three jobs in order to afford to pay tuition at Aglionby.  He fears that Gansey will in a way own him if Adam accepts Gansey’s charity.  This is a problem because, “success meant nothing to Adam if he hadn’t done it for himself” (132).  Privilege is something Adam has to earn on his own.  Adam experiences a fierce wanting for everything in his life (41).

Adam is convinced that it was Gansey who is responsible for lowering his rent (64).  This causes more arguments between them.  Adam is also convinced that the people at Gansey’s party will somehow know that he lives in a trailer – that his poverty is something people just know because of how he acts or looks.  Adam states that he will only help Gansey if they can help each other as equals (282).

Family: Adam’s father is an alcoholic and sometimes beats Adam.  They are proud family in the way that what happens in their family stays in their family.  Adam and his mother don’t want to talk about the behavior of their father/husband.  His family is a part of his strong wanting.  Adam desires to find a place where he belongs.

He was full of so many wants, too many to prioritize, and so they allfelt desperate.  To not have to work so many hours, to get into a good college, to look right in a tie, to not be hungry after eating the thin sandwich he’d brought to work, to drive the shiny Audi that Gansey had stopped to look at with him once after school, to go home, to have hit his father himself, to own an apartment with granite countertops and a television bigger than Gansey’s desk, to belong somewhere, to go home, to go home, to go home” (370).

Adam lives in an apartment above St.Agnes church rectory.  Like the other boys, Adam faces the challenge of not being like his father.  He has struggles to control his anger (66-7).

Beliefs/Dreams:  It is hard for Adam to believe in the supernatural.  He has too many worries about the reality he is living to think too much about magical possibilities.  Sometimes he feel that he is sleepwalking in the life he lives with Gansey.

Nature/Ley Line:  Adam sees images of nature when Gansey tells other people about Glendower.  He sacrifices his hands and eyes to the ley line in order to wake it up.  When this happens there is an earthquake.  Adam believed that waking the ley line would somehow make him equal to Gansey.

The ley line is messing with Adam’s senses, trying to send him a message.  He has an episode of what is called transient global amnesia (306).  He walks somewhere and he can’t remember why he’s going there or for what purpose.  He is aware that he can’t remember, but yet he can’t stop walking.  He now has the ability to detect the location of the ley line without using any electronic devices.  He learns with the help of Persephone that, because he made his sacrifice, it is now his job to maintain the ley line.  His task is compared to what a priestess might have done at Stonehenge – to take care of the ley line through rituals.  The earthquake that occurred after his sacrifice caused energy leaks along the ley line.  It is Adam’s job to find and fix the leaks so that Cabeswater will have enough energy to return.  He learns how to communicate with the ley line by using tarot cards.

Glendower: Adam wants to find Glendower in order to be granted the favor from the king.  This will grant him some of his wants.

Relationships with Others: Like Blue, Adam realizes that there are multiple versions of Gansey.  Adam thinks that Gansey should get out of Ronan’s business and let Ronan make his own decisions.  Gansey and Adam have a relationship in which Adam is trying to get away from Gansey and Gansey is always trying to draw nearer because he fears that Adam will leave him.  Adam is also bitter and envious of Ronan.  He’s envious of Ronan’s privilege and bitter because Ronan seems to be wasting it.

Adam is still attracted to Blue. “Blue Sargent was pretty in a way that was physically painful to him” (58).  We learn more about the history of the boys’ friendships.  Gansey met Ronan first before Ronan’s father died.  After the death of Niall, Ronan moved in with Gansey.  Sometime after that Adam stopped to help Gansey with the Camaro which had broken down on the side of the road.  Adam thought Gansey would be cruel to him and didn’t want to help at first, however, they became instant friends after they started talking.  Adam believes that Ronan is unable to express emotion with words so Ronan uses actions to express himself.  The sacrifice Adam made to the ley line sets him apart from his friends.  They will never be able to understand Adam’s new connection to the ley line.

maj01Noah Czerny

Appearance/Traits/Quirks: Noah is gray, rumpled and faded.  He is very observant and good at finding things.  He is quiet, mild, content, loyal, and easy-going.  He is good at producing unexpected humor.  His hands are restless and moving.

Transportation: Red Mustang

Tarot Card: N/A

Death: Secret*8

Discovered Ronan when Ronan was dying.

Privilege:  He was once a student at Aglionby Academy, but now privilege doesn’t apply to him.

Family:  He has a mother, father, and sister.

Beliefs/Dreams:  Starts going to mass with Ronan (89).

Nature/Ley LineSecret*9

Glendower: Noah is just along for the ride.  He is looking for Glendower because his friends are looking for Glendower and he wants to spend time with them.

Relationships with Others:  Noah seems to spend the most time with Ronan.  He has a fascination with Blue’s hair and is always petting her head.  It is other characters that make Noah what he is.  “Without Blue there to make him stronger, without Gansey there to make him human, without Ronan there to make him belong, Noah was a frightening thing” (371).

He tells Blue that he would ask her on a date if he were able.

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Spoilers

1.  In The Dream Thieves, Blue is able to have her first kiss with Noah because he is already dead (244).

2.  Blue realizes that she has a crush on Gansey and not Adam. (Thieves, 240).

3.  Ronan wrecks Gansey’s car and brings back an identical version of The Pig which Ronan has taken from his dreams.  Also in The Dream Thieves, the friends find a tire from The Pig in a man-made pond, but the tire is several hundred years old.

4.  We learn that Gansey was brought back to life in exchange for Noah’s life which was given as a sacrifice to the ley line.

5.  His father’s BMW is also a dream object that Ronan’s father created.

6.  Ronan did not attempt suicide, but was attacked in his dreams by his night terrors.  He allowed Gansey believe that he had tried to kill himself (135).

7.  Ronan seems to be the only person who went through a grieving process for Noah after they find out that Noah had been murdered (Raven, 285).

8.  Noah is a ghost.  He was murdered seven years ago and his death was a sacrifice to the ley line.  His death is what brought Gansey back to life after Gansey was attacked by hornets.  Noah is a shadow of what he used to be while alive.  Noah shows us that death is what we make of it because even though he is a ghost, to his friends he is not truly dead.

In The Dream Thieves, Noah disappears entirely.  He’s not even an invisible spirit.  Noah often re-enacts his own death without knowing it.  He doesn’t care about how his spiritual form exists or why.

9.  Noah is related to nature by the fact that his body is literally in the earth.  The presence of his spirit depends on the fact that his body is buried on the ley line.

Noah’s spirit vanishes like Cabeswater vanishes.  His presence also depends on how much energy is flowing through the ley line. (Thieves, 123)

Sources

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Raven Boys.  New York: Scholastic, 2012.  Print.

Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Dream Thieves.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.  Print.

Developing The Raven Cycle: The Novels of Maggie Stiefvater (Part One)

imagesIt was one in the morning.  A Yankee candle burned on the table next to me, the scent of home filling the room, it flickered small in the darkness of empty space.  The night itself nor the time mattered since they fell beyond my bubble of light, which shone on the book in front of me.  I saw then in a deep part of my mind as I read the words in front of me,  that discovering a story that I loved was kind of like the cliché that when you kiss someone – and the kiss is really, really good – then the entire world disappears and it’s just you and the person you’re kissing.  With that realization, the emptiness of the world vanished and I was just someone sitting next to a candle with a book.  The book was called The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, the first novel in her series The Raven Cycle.

After much thought I’ve decided that the best way to describe Stiefvater’s books is by stating that they are a combination of the student camaraderie and youthful community of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter,  the mixing of European and American folklore of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and the strong sense of place and the shared experiences of growing up surrounded by paranormal events in Stephen King’s It.  The story is about five teens who all live in Henrietta, Virginia.  Four of them; Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, are students at the all boys private boarding school called Aglionby Academy.  The school is home to boys who come from extremely wealthy households – the sons of politicians, bankers, and possibly criminals.  Gansey, the leader of their friend group, harbors a leisure and money fueled obsession of finding the tomb of the Welsh king, Owen Glendower.  Whoever finds and awakens the king will be granted a favor.  Historical and supernatural theories have led Gansey and his search to Henrietta.  Gansey believes that Henrietta lies on what is called a ley line, or a pathway of spiritual energy running through the earth which connects locations of importance such as Stonehenge and Washington D.C. (Derry, Maine as well. :) ).  Each of the boys have their own reasons for finding Glendower which have entangled them together.

The fifth main character in the story is Blue Sargent.  All of the women in her family have psychic abilities and they all live in the same house.  From the time Blue was born, her family had assigned to her a prophecy that Blue would kill her true love if she kissed him.  Blue doesn’t put too much weight on her fortune until St. Mark’s Day.  On the night of St.Mark’s Day, Blue goes with her half-aunt, Neeve, to a ruined church where spirits arise and walk the ley line.  These are not the spirits of those who have died, but the ghosts of who will die within the year.   Blue’s family records the names of the spirits so that they can inform their clients of who will be dying.  Blue herself cannot see the apparitions.  Her only psychic talent is increasing the energy sensed by other psychics.  However, this year, Blue sees the ghost of a boy.  She asks the spirit what his name is and he tells her it is Gansey.  Neeve later explains to Blue that there are two reasons why she could see him: one, he’s Blue’s true love; or two, Blue will kill him.

After Gansey, Adam, and Ronan seek advice on the supernatural from the Sargent household, Blue is inevitably caught up in the boys’ quest to discover Glendower.

In my opinion, characters are the most interesting part of Stiefvater’s novels.  They are definitely not perfect people, but I love them anyway.  I don’t think I’ve read many young adult novels that feature relationships between characters that are as complex and deep as what I find in The Raven Cycle.  For this reason, I’ve been trying to come up with a way of posting information about each character in a way that shows connections between the characters and connections between the character and important ideas in the novels.  It has taken me forever to find the right way to do this.  Anyway, what I’ve done is created a profile for each of the five characters.  The categories I’ve included in the profile are important motifs from the books.

The categories on the profiles include: appearance/traits/quirks, transportation, tarot cards, death, privilege, family, beliefs/dreams, nature/ley line, Glendower, and relationships with others.  I’ll explain some of the categories to you and the reasons why I’ve picked them.   I’ve chosen to write about transportation because cars become an essential part in describing the people who own them.  The novels are about rich, teenage boys who can buy whatever car they want.  Therefore, they pick vehicles that tell us exactly what type of people they are. As for the tarot card category, some cards in the tarot deck, both the face cards and the major arcana, are used not only to represent ideas or actions, but can symbolize a literal person.  If you work with tarot cards at all, you may find that one card in particular represents yourself (mine is Temperance for example).  In the same way, Steifvater has assigned different cards which are used to represent the characters.  By “privilege” I’m referring to the fact that some of the characters were born with wealth and an extravagant lifestyle while other characters have to work in order to earn everything that they own.  Privilege is not something the characters ask for, but they are given it when they are born.  Therefore, each character has a relationship with and opinion of their own privilege.  Each character also reacts differently to the fact that other characters are more privileged than they are.  Privilege changes how they feel and interpret each others actions.   I’ve chosen to pair “nature” and “ley line” together because the two things seem to be strongly connected.  The ley line is essentially part of the earth.  Natural objects like rocks and streams seem to increase or define its energy.  The forest called Cabeswater is located at the most powerful point of the ley line and Cabeswater’s presence depends on the line’s energy.  No energy, no forest.  A character’s relationship with nature describes their relationship with the ley line.  The rest of the categories I think are more self-explanatory.

I’ve created these profiles for each of the five characters, but they also span the space of what is for now two books (The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves), the first two books of the series.  This will document the development or changes in the characters after they experience events in the novels.  Anything on the profiles that is in black text refers to The Raven Boys while any text in green refers to The Dream Thieves.  In addition, I wanted the profiles to be complete without revealing too many spoilers to those who haven’t read the books.  For that reason, I’ve marked certain things on the profiles as “secret” followed by a number.  The secrets are then listed at the bottom of each profile with their corresponding number.  That way you can choose to read the spoilers or not.  If you don’t read them, you will still know that there is some information in a category that I have left out.  I will have the profiles posted tomorrow before the release of the third novel on Tuesday.

As far as I know the Raven Cycle is projected to be a four book series.  The third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, will be released on Tuesday October 21, 2014.  I will be adding more to my profiles and re-posting them as more of the books become available.  Thanks for reading.  I hope you follow my progress with the character profiles.

Obsession in Austenland: A Book Review

Having seen the film earlier, I picked up Shannon Hale’s novel, Austenland, expecting an entertaining but typical piece of chick lit. with a Jane Austen twist.  I was surprised to find an intelligent discussion of modern women who, like myself, are involved in some type of fandom.

An American woman, Jane Hayes, has had a long stream of what she sees as utterly failed relationships.  She uses this as an excuse for her embarrassing obsession of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC version of Pride & Prejudice.  None of her real life relationships can live up to her fantasy of falling in love with Mr. Darcy.

This all changes when Jane is given an opportunity to go on a three-week vacation to a Jane Austen theme park in England called Pembrook Park.  Here Jane gets to live out her fantasy.  She gets to wear corsets, embroider, read, play pianoforte, and play whist – all of which is done within the proper manners of 1800’s society.  A number of actors are provided as company to the guests and work to move along a drama similar to what might transpire in an Austen novel.  That’s not all.  Pembrook Park promises that each female visitor will experience the romance of falling in love with a gentleman (an actor) who will propose to her at a ball at the end of the three weeks.

Jane soon finds that her fantasy isn’t as great as she hoped it would be.  She becomes bored with the evening activities of playing whist and gossiping.  Jane escapes the company of the high society gentlemen and wonders through the gardens.  Here she meets up with a gardener named Martin.  Martin is quite willing to share his modern contraband luxuries of TV and McDonald’s hamburgers with the thankful Jane.  Like never before, spending time with Martin makes Jane feel like she is truly happy with a “real” man.  That’s until Martin tells her he doesn’t want to see her because he’s worried his employer suspects he has a television (the two of them had been watching it so often).

Being faced with yet another failed relationship, Jane decides that she must redouble her efforts at overcoming her Mr.Darcy dream.  Jane throws herself wholeheartedly into the game of Pembrook Park, hoping that she will exhaust her interest in the fantasy.    She divides her time between trying to befriend another female guest – the perfect Miss Heartwright – and horribly teasing a gentleman called Mr. Nobley.

Jane gets to know the stick-in-the-mud, stubborn Mr.Nobley and is left with the perplexing question of whether their relationship is a fiction – that Mr.Nobley is simply an actor playing a part – or if she is getting to know the real man behind the waistcoat and breeches who is called Henry Jenkins.

Hale’s novel does a wonderful job of highlighting some main issues that women face in modern relationships by comparing contemporary romance to past ages in which women didn’t have as many choices in the love department.  One of the problems Jane has is that she feels a tremendous pressure to be involved in a serious relationship.  In Austen’s day, middle-class women such as Elizabeth Bennet had no choice in marriage.  They either married a man with an estate or lived rather poorly.  Today, many women choose not to marry at all, but there is still a high pressure put on us by society.  We assign ideas to unmarried women that are seen to be negative.  An unmarried woman is a lesbian, afraid of commitment, perhaps she likes sleeping around, or has poor self-esteem.  This haunts Jane to the point at which her desire to have a serious relationship makes her clingy, uptight, and easily hurt by rejection.  Towards the end of her experience at Pembrook Park, Jane comes to recognize, “In her old self more of the anxious, marriage-obsessed Mrs. Bennet than the lively Elizabeth.”  Despite the fact that she obsessed about being in Elizabeth’s shoes, Jane had become nothing that resembled the desired role.

Austenland further points out that having idyllic fantasy relationships can be harmful to the men involved as well.  When Jane leaves the company of Mr.Nobley and the other gentlemen to spend time with Martin, Hale writes the dialogue: “‘So,’ Martin said, digging in his spade.  ‘You’ve come to find me again when there is no one else to flirt with.'”  The hope and search for what we think is a perfect man leaves real men with the pressure to fill the shoes of our Mr. Darcy’s.  And if men don’t fulfill the impossible role, they may come to feel like they are second choice.

I liked the fact that Jane had a defined idea of what she wanted in a relationship.  Hale describes her ideal man as, “A real man.  A tall man!  Someone to kiss and make her feel sexy and fun.  Someone who didn’t insist on more than she could give, who allowed her to live in perfect moments, who made her want to smile instead of fret about future what-ifs.”  The great part about Jane’s character was that she knew what her problems were.  She realized that the pressure she put on her relationships (“the future what-ifs”) was what was keeping her from enjoying who she could be with another person.  She knew that Darcy was not real.  It was this awareness that allowed Jane to move forward and relearn her attitude/feelings about relationships.  Another important step in her growth as a character was the comprehension that; in fact, it wasn’t even the character Mr.Darcy from the book she wanted, but the representation of the character by Colin Firth.  This came to have more meaning when reflected in her conflict between being attracted to Mr.Nobley the character, vs. Henry Jenkins, the man playing the part of Nobley.  I also found it interesting to note that she realized that if Mr. Darcy were a real person, he would be a darn unpleasant one to spend time with.

There was only one thing about Hale’s book that I didn’t care for: Jane’s going back and forth in thinking she was going to give up men.  I didn’t completely understand why it was such an issue for her.  Perhaps I didn’t like it because the idea of giving up men altogether was just way too dramatic.  The obvious and positive message to give would be that you don’t have to have a man to be happy, but that didn’t seem to be considered in the novel.  It was either you had to have a relationship – good or bad – or Jane didn’t want to have anything to do with men at all.  Extremes like this in general tend to annoy me. Very few things in real life are one extreme or another.  But maybe these drastic measures of man dieting do more to describe Jane’s character.

I would recommend Austenland by Shannon Hale to anyone who loves Austen’s original novels or to anyone has some sort of fan obsession/fantasy about a fictional character.  With my next post, in the spirit of Austenland, I’d like to do an experiment in which I will attempt to rid myself of my own fantasy obsession.