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Laura (Ackerman) Sack writes...

I was reading your answers to the Oberon/Titanina Family trees (November 2004) and two things caught my attn:

"Lord Oberon married Titania (who became Queen Titania after Mab was overthrown). (Note: Oberon intentionally did not take the title of King. Retaining his "Lord" title is his semi-skewed attempt at being more... egalitarian.) "

-When you say that Titania 'became' queen while Oberon chose not to 'take' the title king- do you mean that Oberon's claim came from Titania and not from Queen Mab or his conquest of her? (Queen Mab is his mother, right?) Is Titania queen or queen consort?

I know in many cultures that seem to have inherited kingship the facts are actually differnt. Take Macbeth, for example: Luach was probably the first son to directly inheret a crown from his father in Scottish history. Macbeth's claim was as good as Duncun Canmore's, but Gruach came from an older line than either. Are Oberon's children similarly not straight forward? With near imortality succession probably doesn't come up all that much anyway.

You also wrote:
"Oberon also has at least two sons by mortal women: Merlin and the changeling boy from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". "

I cannot believe I didn't notice you saying that before! When I read/saw Midsummer, (one of very few plays I can't get into while reading but love to watch), I always assumed the boy was the mortal child of a beloved, all-to-mortal, devotee of Titania's. The complete disregard for the boy shown by Oberon stealing him away (both physically and magically from Titania's attention) always left Oberon a bit too scummy for me to be fully happy with the 'all the couples were reunited and lived happily ever after." (Though, I'm told if my knowledge of mythology were more complete I would know the royal mortal couple don't end so happily, or at least longly, either.)

If the boy was in fact Oberon's, than the disregard might be feigned as a ploy to get him from Titania. Oberon is immediately made less scummy.

Barage of questions:
1.In the Gargoyles universe, how true to the Shakespeare is the 'true' story?
2.Was Titania aware that the child was her husband's?
If so, was her care for the boy as innocent and real as they seem (to me) in the play?
3.What made Oberon father a child with a worshiper of his wife? Coincidence? Meaness? Was she a worshiper of Titania at the time or did that come after?
4.I think, but do not remember clearly, that the woman did not die in childbirth. What did she die of, and could Oberon have been of help preventing it? Did he try?
(My pet theory is that Titania has tried to help Renayrd out a bit in his illness, but there is only so much she can do without being obvious. And even if she were to use blatant magic, there is still only so much she can do. Medicine and healing, though we take it for granted, is still 'big magic'.)
5. What ever did happen to the changling after the events of the play? Or, if you don't want to go into specifics, is he alive or at least have a unnaturally long life?

Apropo of very little- last summer I caught a rather good preformance of Midsummer in a Shakespeare in the Park(ing Lot). (Not as good as their Richard II that they seemlessly reordered to make the first half as flashbacks during the second.) Uneven. but with real flashes of brillance. Instead of dual roles, they had the traditionally dual roles played by exchangable pairs. The Oberon and Titania I caught had fantastic presence.

thank you

Greg responds...

Titania is Queen Consort, technically, but it's also a position of not a little authority at the top of the feudal pyramid, answerable ONLY to Oberon... and even he is somewhat reluctant to order his Queen around. Note that when the Weird Sisters report that everyone but Titania and Puck have arrived for the Gathering, Oberon immediately states that Titania may come and go as she pleases.

In any case, Oberon's claim to his throne comes from both being the son of Mab and being the one who took Mab down. It does not come via Titania.

As for your Midsummer Questions, this is a story I hope to tell one day, so I'm going to be stingier...

1. We'll have to see.
2. I prefer to leave the answer to this ambiguous.
3. She was already a worshipper. His motives... are also best left ambiguous for now.
4. I'm not revealing this now.
5. Ditto.

Response recorded on September 05, 2006