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In COS part four, Luna tells Macbeth "And thus you both shall live, eternally linked, sharing each others pain and anguish. With no release until one destroys the other. Only then shall both finally perish, together. What she making a prophesy of what would occur, or was she just stating the rules of their link?
You said that, besides pain, pleasure also passes between Macbeth and Demona. Why would the Weird Sisters toss that in? Doesn't it creep Mac and D out a bit?
For that matter, when did they first find out about that? It must've been a pretty shocking experience.
Your premise is faulty. You make it sound like the Weird Sisters made a choice. No one has definitively stated that. They made a link.
As to Mac & D's reaction, etc., I'm not revealing that now.
I've never asked a question here before, probably because I didn't have the patience to wait, but I just wrote this analysis of Demona and Macbeth's link for the GFW website, and I wanted to see what you thought of it. Am I on the right track?
Curses and Prophecies, Fate and Freewill
(Warning: This essay contains minor spoilers for Harry Potter books five and six. It's mostly about Gargoyles, so if you don't read HP you'll still understand this, but if you plan to read them soon, you may wish to stop reading now.)
Like most people reading this, Gargoyles had a major impact on my life. For me, the best it ever got was City of Stone. In fact, I would say that CoS was one of the highlights of my childhood. I still distinctly remember, when I was twelve years old, reaching the end of Part Three, seeing Demona advancing on stone Elisa with a mace, and then the words "To be Concluded." "You're telling me I have to wait a whole day to see what happens? I'm supposed to go to school? Screw that, I want to know how Elisa survives!" I've thought long and hard about CoS, and the key to it is the relationship between Demona and Macbeth. In fact, I think the Weird Sisters' spellcasting is, from a classical sense, the climax of the entire story. On the surface, the spell seems simple enough: Demona and Macbeth are linked so they feel each others' pain, and they will live forever. If someone were to kill one of them, (s)he would die and then quickly come back to life. If one of them were to kill the other, though, then they would both die. As I say, it seems simple. After reading Greg Weisman's numerous responses on the subject, I began to think about whether there was more to it than meets the eye, and it slowly dawned on me that it was much more subtle, deep, and brilliant than I'd ever considered.
For years, Greg has received questions like "What would happen if Macbeth got his head cut off? Would it reattach itself? Would it grow back immediately?" He has always answered something like, "Well, that hasn't happened, has it?" At first glance, that seems like just a weak cop out, with Greg trying to avoid a question he has no good answer to. In fact, he seemed to get pretty flustered at the way people kept projecting Highlander concepts onto Macbeth, which was probably inevitable given that they're both immortal Scottish nobles. Unlike Highlander, though, there are no explicitly stated rules as to how immortality works; all we have to go on are the Weird Sisters' words, and they clearly are not the most trustworthy or forthcoming of people. Remember that Luna is supposedly a representative of fate, and then think about the fact that the spell doesn't really talk about "what if this or that happened," but rather "what will happen." The final words of Luna to Macbeth in the past were that "you both shall live, eternally linked, sharing each other's pain and anguish, with no release until one destroys the other. Only then shall both finally perish together." From that, it's clear that the Sisters are not interested in playing hypotheticals about all the different ways things could happen: they simply pronounced what will happen. Rather than the spell being simply a safeguard against their dying, it could instead be thought of as a prophecy declaring quite simply what will happen to them in the future.
It turns out that at no point in the entire series do we see anything happen to either Demona or Macbeth that would be sure to kill them. In fact, there are only two times it really seems likely that one of them could die. The first is when Macbeth was stabbed in the back by Canmore- painful, to be sure, but not necessarily lethal. Certainly there are those who have survived a poorly aimed stab. The second is when Elisa shot Demona with Macbeth's electric gun. That one seems even less likely, as about three gargoyles get shot with one of those things in any given Macbeth episode. One might make a case that the roller coaster collapse in The Reckoning was potentially lethal, but that falls under the old comicbook rule of "if you don't see the body, the guy's not dead," and the fact that we know Thailog survived as well makes it clear that magic was not necessary to live through that incident. So, we have established that we have never seen anything unquestionably fatal befall Demona or Macbeth. Furthermore, Greg has told us that no such thing has ever happened. Knowing that, it follows that it is meaningless to ask what if such a thing were to happen- it hasn't! Such speculation is what is known logically as a vacuous proof: If A occurs, then B occurs, given that A is an impossible event. Consider the statement "All pink elephants can fly," or, more precisely, "If A is a pink elephant, then A can fly." This statement is absolutely true, since every pink elephant in the world can fly- there are none, so anything you can say about them is true. A simpler way of thinking about it, though less rigorous, is that the statement "all pink elephants can fly" could never be disproved, since to do so one would have to find a pink elephant that could not fly, which can never be done. It is equally true that every pink elephant cannot fly. What this means, then, is there's no point asking "what if Demona or Macbeth were beheaded" if it cannot happen- it's true that if Macbeth were beheaded, he'd die, and it's true that if he were beheaded, he would be revived, and it's true that if he were beheaded, they'd both die, etc. All of those statements are true, because they are all based on an impossible hypothetical.
So let us then accept that neither of them has ever been beheaded. That still doesn't prove that neither of them could ever be beheaded, in which case it would still be relevant to ask what would happen. To answer that, it's worth thinking of the Weird Sisters' pronouncement as a prophecy rather than a spell. Suppose we think of the Macbeth/Demona connection in these terms: The spell allows them long life and they share each others' pain. Since they share pain, if one of them were killed, then the other would die too. Then we see that what Luna meant by saying that they would live on until one destroys the other is not that they are somehow magically protected from injury, but simply that she was predicting what would happen, as an avatar of fate. Such a prophecy brings Harry Potter to mind. When Harry was an infant, a prophecy was made which roughly stated that either he would kill Voldemort or Voldemort would kill him. That prophecy was overheard and found its way back to Voldemort, who immediately acted on it by attempting to kill Harry and fulfill it in a way favorable to him. In so doing, he nearly destroyed himself and gave Harry powers that would enable him to finish Voldemort once and for all. Moreover, he gave Harry a desire to end Voldemort. Harry lost his parents and knew first hand the sort of pain Voldemort inflicted on others, and so he would not rest until Voldemort was finished. On the other hand, Voldemort believed in the prophecy, and thus saw Harry as the greatest danger to him, so he would not rest until Harry was dead. So the result was that the two enemies were both determined to kill each other. As such, it was inevitable that one of them would eventually succeed, and the prophecy would be proven true. However, it was not true because of some incomprehensible hand of fate hovering over them, but rather it was based on simple extrapolations from the subjects' characters, and the fact that they knew about the prophecy (fittingly enough, Rowling has acknowledged Shakespeare's Macbeth as an inspiration for the prophecy).
The same can apply to Demona and Macbeth. At the time of the spell's casting, they were already great warriors, and with unlimited time to practice, they would become even greater. So it is highly unlikely that anyone else would kill them. Yet based on the events of their falling out, an intense hatred blossomed between them, one that would keep them hunting each other and make it inevitable that one would eventually kill the other. And since Macbeth heard the Weird Sisters' pronouncement, he believed that he could not die without killing Demona. It never would have even occurred to him to jump off a tall building and see what happened, because he believed that it would fail. Thus, the prophecy has the added bonus of controlling any possible suicidal tendencies Demona or Macbeth might develop by telling them it's impossible to kill themselves, since while Luna's side of their personality may simply be prophesying, Selene's needs them to survive for their future plans. Plus, even if Macbeth thought it would work, he probably would still feel the need to settle the score with Demona first. With all of that in mind, it is not hard for the avatar of fate to predict that one of them will end up killing the other, and the fact that she makes the prediction helps it to occur.
The question then is this: Is there a difference between saying something cannot happen and saying it will not happen? Suppose a man plans to stay home one day. Can we then say that it is impossible that he will get in his car and drive to another state that day? Let's say it's early in the morning, so he's got plenty of time. He's got a full tank of gas. He's not in Alaska or Hawaii, so there are connecting states he could go to. However, he has no desire at all to do so. Without that desire, it simply will not happen. We can then say that it is impossible. Now the obvious objection is that one never knows for sure what might happen, and if an emergency came up, he might have to leave the state that very day. For that reason, we distinguish between what can happen and what will happen- something can happen if it would happen provided the will to do it existed. If we knew for sure that the man would choose not to leave that day, it would then be fair to say that it was impossible for him to leave. Likewise, if we know with certainty that Demona and Macbeth will not die until one destroys the other, then we can say that it is impossible for anything else to happen.
This theory may seems very complicated at first, but if you take the time to think about it, it makes more sense than most other explanations out there. Rather than rely on vague magic powers and convoluted rules of "what if Demona were smashed in the day?" this theory eliminates all of the guesswork and gives an answer without the ambiguity; one that ultimately is simple and inevitable, yet firmly in the hands of the players. By thinking of Weird Sisters' spell as a prophecy, we can help resolve the fate vs. free will argument. Luna is an embodiment of fate, and so she is able to make predictions in the future, yet they are based simply on reading the characters of the subjects. While the prophecy that Demona and Macbeth will eventually die when one kills the other is a pronouncement of fate, it is only made true because of Demona's lack of trust and irresponsibility and Macbeth's lust for vengeance. The same could be said of the prophecy that Macbeth, Lulach, and Canmore would all become king- it wasn't hard to see that Duncan's paranoia would lead to him moving against Macbeth, a confrontation which would ultimately lead to Macbeth's ascension.
But what if you paint an elephant pink? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
Otherwise I DO think you're on the right track.
Thanks for the "Ill Met By Moonlight" ramble, Greg! (And it's a pity that people keep on misreading it, as well. Maybe they need to read a little more Shakespeare and come across the original line. :))
I'm at a slight disadvantage at reviewing this episode, since I missed "Ill Met By Moonlight" the first time that it aired (or, more accurately, wasn't able to see it properly, since I'd just gotten a new television set that didn't have an antenna yet and so wasn't able to make out the picture very well). By the time that I did get to see it properly, I'd also already seen "The Gathering" and so got to meet Oberon and Titania through it instead. (It also meant that I already knew that Titania and Anastasia Renard were the same person, and since I'd already seen "Walkabout" by this time, knew therefore what Titania was talking about when she made that remark to Goliath at the end.)
You didn't say much about the Weird Sisters in this episode, but there were two small bits about them that stick with me. The first is that, when Oberon's burying the Avalon clan alive, the Sisters exchange little smiles with each other in a way that makes them look almost like a school tattletale who's just gotten someone sent to the principal's office and is gloating about it.
The second (which I think is especially intriguing) comes at the end, when Selene (the Sister representing vengeance) is clearly angry over the way that events have turned out, but Luna (the Sister representing fate) holds up one hand silently. Fate restraining Vengeance - that definitely makes me wonder what was going on there, especially since you said that the Sisters still had other plots brewing. Pity that we'll probably never find out now what they were.
I don't know for certain whether I was expecting Oberon and Titania to show up in the series, but I'm glad that they got in; it would be odd if they were only to be mentioned but never actually appear.
This was definitely one of the more "Shakespeare-heavy" episodes. Oberon, Titania, and the Weird Sisters are on-stage characters, Puck is mentioned, the title is taken from Shakespeare, there's a gargoyle named Ophelia, plus the lines "The game is afoot" (I wonder how many people know that Shakespeare wrote that long before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes) and "All's well that ends well".
Ophelia raised a good point about the issue of Oberon having a prior claim over Avalon. (Indeed, one question that I've seen raised once in the comment room is why the Avalon clan stayed so long on Avalon; the initial reason was to escape Constantine, but since he was overthrown only two years after they fled, that reason was now moot. On the other hand, anti-gargoyle sentiment didn't die with Constantine - not by a long shot - so I can see why it would want a hiding place that humans could never reach.)
The notion of casting the iron into the shape of a bell worked for me, and fitted in nicely with faerie lore, where the faerie-folk couldn't stand bells. (This seems to have been for religious reasons in the original stories - the bells in question were church bells and the faeries were imagined as being old gods dwindled with the waning of paganism - but here the concept used instead is that the bell is made out of iron.) I'll confess that I don't know enough metallurgy to recognize that the forging of the bell wasn't all that accurate. I also liked Titania's clever little word-play with "ring" in giving the clue.
Good explanation for why Oberon was acting in the same way towards mortals that he'd condemned Titania for acting a thousand years earlier. (Though I did wonder when I first saw the episode why Oberon hadn't had any problems with another mortal - King Arthur - sleeping on Avalon. Of course, the fact that Arthur was spending all that time in an enchanted slumber in an out-of-the-way location like the Hollow Hill would have made that different - as well as what you mentioned about Oberon owing Merlin a favor.)
Thanks again for the ramble. I'm looking forward to the "Future Tense" one next.
Re: the Weird Sisters plots. I wouldn't say never. Especially now that we've got the comic book.
Hello again Greg.
I just have a few observations about Oberon and his children.
1. I'll admit to being one of the many people who was very disappointed by the way the Sisters acted in the "Avalon" trilogy. I've read all your explainations in the archive, but although it makes sense and I can accept it on an intellectual level... it still doesn't feel right. I've been asking myself why, and I think I've found an answer or sorts...
I think what was really intriguing about the sisters was the whole mystic surrounding them throughout the series up until the "Avalon" three-parters. They always seemed to have some higher goal in mind, like they were an integral part of destiny (you'll probably say they are, but I meant in a more intentional way). Their words of wisdom when talking to Goliath and friends in "City of stone" were especially touching. They appeared almost like moral guardians of some sort.
When we see them again in "Avalon", we find out their primary motive has been revenge all along. Maybe it wasn't the whole reason for their actions, but it certainly felt like that. And thus, their whole involvement in "City of stone" felt like cruel mindgames and very subtle manipulation.
Hum, you know, maybe the thing that makes it hard to accept is the fact the we, the audience, uncounsciously feel like WE were cheated and manipulated. Like Goliath and the gang, we were fooled from the beginning and we have a hard time accepting the truth, thus we prefer to think that the Sisters' characters were simply cheapened.
The human mind works in mysterious ways...
2. Oberon's children were forbidden by his law from interfering in the affairs of mortals. Those who took on a human form were obviously not a problem, since they were limited by their bodies just like every other mortal. I suppose assuming any other mortal form, like Gargoyle or simply animal, would also be okay.
Of course, a great many actually took on more fantastic forms, like Banshee and Anansi.
I've noticed that most of those we saw never really showed the full extent of magical powers that feys posess, although they often exhibited at least SOME kind of magical abilities.
a) Are they limiting (or customizing) their power in relation to their "character" of the moment, like Banshee having a powerful voice, or Odin having control over the elements? Because since they'd be limiting themselves, they wouldn't really be using "fey magic" against mortals and as such, wouldn't go against Oberon's law.
b) This one's technical, so if you don't feel like answering it, no problem.
You often said that the Third race don't have a true, definite form, being shape-shifters. Of course, some DO have a form they obviously prefer and we tend to associate it with their true form but "that assumption is faulty" as you would say.
I've been thinking about their vulnerability to iron, and how assuming a mortal bodies removes that limitation (as well as any magical power except reverting back). So Anastasia can touch iron but can't do any magic. That's simple. Any other mortal form would do the same.
Now, is it possible for a fey to assume a non-existing form, like Anansi as a giant spider, which would have some innate powers unique to this body (so it would have no other powers except the one of that form and the possibility to change back to "pure fey") while being immune to iron, pretty much like a mortal body?
And if you don't know and don't want to think about it, just say so. I'll understand :)
1. Totally agree... and that was my intent. I guess I just didn't count on HOW strongly people would feel along those lines... and how they would then translate that into disappointment with our execution. Or maybe we just sucked.
2a. You're assuming that every one of Oberon's Children have the exact same base power that can then translate into anything they choose. That's not the case. Banshee's appearance may or may not be a glamour. But Banshee is Banshee. Banshee isn't some other Oberon's child glamoured and powered as Banshee.
2b. See above. Appearance may be deceiving, but Anansi is Anansi. He is one of Oberon's Children in that form and is thus vulnerable to iron. Now if he shape-shifted himself into a real spider...
Greg, I absolutely love Gargoyles, almost more than any other cartoon, ever (I'm sure that's been said before, but every fan should say it). I have some ?s for you, but I would like to apologize first if they have been asked previously, as I have not got a chance to read all the FAQ's. I would appreciate it if you could email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your response, when you get to it. If you prefer to only post them, then I understand. You could say that my ?s may not be directly related, but they are both concerning Goliath's confusion about something.
1) In the beginning of "City of Stone: Part One", who was the Weird Sister referring to when she told Goliath that when he "...forgets that every life is precious..." he is just like "her"? I believe Goliath points to the girl he calls a "terrorist", but the Weird Sister was referring to someone else...Who? (Right after Goliath says this, the 3 sisters disappear; not that you don't know that, but for quick reference)
2) I won't torture you with everyone else's ? in "Ill met by moonlight," but I would like to know something else: At the end of the episode, what favor was Titania referring to when she thanks Goliath for a "favor rendered"?
1. They were referring to Demona, who is the next person we see.
2. For saving her (and everyone) in "Walkabout".
Hi Mr. Weisman, it's Billy. Man I couldn't believe my eyes
when my first question got posted with my name atop being ready to be answered back by someone like you. I've seen your name by a lot of cartoons so I've known you a lot but boy did I ever think that you and I could get in contact so easily! I know it must be a little strenuous to answer all of these questions on a show that has passed away for quite a while and you'd have to consider your question subscribers your buddies. Well Greg, I want to... I want to be your buddy! I know I might be a little crazy but you are the bomb! I'm glad you can recieve this note.
Oh Greg, if I got too hyper when I asked you my first question which was about a hopeful future for Lexington I'm sorry. I get so much into him a lot when I think about the show. He was the reason I got back into this show because I saw a ToonDisney late night lineup commercial and he looked like a nice guy and all. I still like him as a matter of fact and sometimes I think he's the type of person I've dreamed of being (not counting that nightmarish future guy I mean.) Don't take about what I said about that episode personally I mean it's a little OK. There is something about it that mesmerizes me real good.
I watched this cartoon with my dad when I was a kid on FOX at 6:30 A.M. way back when. I never really paid attention to it however because, well I don't know, I guess I wasn't seeming fit for it. But sometime last year when I heard about this show on ToonDisney I decided to give it a shot. So one night when I stayed up late, I checked it out and Leader of the Pack was on halfway through and guess who stars in that episode... Lexington!
Well Greg questions are why you're here so here I go:
1) I used to think Oberon and Titania were aliens but are they fays like Puck, how many powers do they have, and what are their occupations?
2) Are the Weird Sisters good guys, bad guys, or in between helpers?
Thanks for your time Greg! I hope we'll be calling each other buds soon.
1. They have magic. What they can do with that magic is limited largely by their store of it and by their imaginations and by the Laws of Oberon himself. As for their occupations, they are the Lord and Lady of Avalon. In her human guise as Anastasia Renard, Titania is also a scientist, but I don't think she's employed by anyone at the moment.
2. All of the above. Check out their archives in ASK GREG for more info.
And thanks for your time, Billy. I hope you're still around to read these answers two years later.
The Weird Sisters - "Avalon" & "City of Stone"
For me, the Sisters orchestrating of Demona and Macbeth's lives has always been about much more than just getting revenge against the Magus, or 'some petty strike on an island' as another fan put it. Certainly revenge was involved as it's in their nature - but had the Sisters not bound Demona and Macbeth, Demona would have died long ago and Xanatos would never have raised Castle Wyvern above the clouds, and the rest just plays out from there. Again the immutable nature of time and fate in the Gargoyles universe is made clear.
I don't think I've seen any comments on this from yourself though, so I am left wondering if no one has caught on to the greater scheme of things here, or maybe I'm just jumping to grand comclusions?
The key, I believe, to understanding the sisters is that they are simultaneously of three minds: those of the Graces, the Furies and the Fates. (And various mythy permutations of each.)
Phoebe represents Grace.
Seline represents Fury.
Luna represents Fate.
But all three are all three.
So cooperating with the Archmage suited their Fury persona directly, but also fit in nicely with the other TWO aspects of their personas.
I've been a fan of Gargoyles for a while and I was wondering what a few characters were based on. The mythology is put into the sotry so well and fits like a puzzle. Anyway, I was wondering who the Weird Sisters and Megus. The mythology of the story is beautiful and the plot is extraordinary. So, That's my question- What were Megus and The Weird Sisters based on?
The Weird Sisters were based primarily on the Weird Sisters, from William Shakespeare's play MACBETH. They were also influenced by various triple/lunar goddesses from various mythologies, in particular the Graces, The Furies, the Fates/Norns.
The Magus is more of an "original" creation. He begins, I think, as fairly standard D&D wizard material. But I like to believe that he transcends the stereotype.
How you doing, Greg?
Okay, let's take a look at a hypothetical (this is my disclaimer in case you want to just stop reading now). If things had gone differently, and the show had never moved to ABC, meaning you never left, and Disney offered you 13 more episodes, but made it clear that these 13 would be the LAST 13 the show would get... how would you have approached them? Lord knows you had enough material to make another 13 just in picking up loose threads, let alone new ones such as The Quarrymen. Do you think you would have turned the whole third season into a good-bye like with "The Journey"? Would you have been more optimistic than that and ended it just like seasons one or two? Or would you have tried to wrap it up, like The Goliath Chronicles boys did with "Angels in the Night"?
I don't think life COMES TO AN END. So I would not have attempted a full-on closure tone, as "Angels" did.
I would have, most likely, done the best 13 stories in my arsenal at that time. In continuity, as before, but 13 stand-alone episodes that were the best I could come up with, starting with "The Journey" and ending with an episode (like "Reawakening", "Hunter's Moon, Part Three" and "The Journey") that contained a sense of open-ended closure. A sense that even though we're going away for a time and some amount of loose ends (though surely not all) have been tied up in bows, that life goes on.
In between Journey and that Open-Ended Closure Episode, I would have done 11 other stories that picked up on the loose ends that were screaming the loudest to be addressed. One of which, certainly would have been the Illuminati. One would have been Brooklyn. One would have been the Weird Sisters. &tc.