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Oberon's lover writes...

Crap! I forgot to ask another question. Would you say Luna is more representative of Fate or Destiny? I bet nothing is exciting to Luna. She usually sounds bored.

Greg responds...

How are you defining "Fate" and "Destiny" so that they are significantly different?

Response recorded on August 14, 2007

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Oberon's lover writes...

I love the Weird Sisters. Selene cracks me up, shes gets so flustered. I do have a question about them though (I'm sorry). Luna kinda confuses me. I know shes supposed to be the mystical one and symbolizes fate but what exactly is her personality. Is she a little more hot-headed than Pheobe or is she the most analytical? Mystical is kind of a vague description to me. I miss Oberon and Titania =(

Greg responds...

Luna is far from hot-headed. Seline (the one with black hair) is the most "hot-headed" of the sisters. Luna (with silver hair) is far-seeing. Always looking ahead.

Response recorded on August 14, 2007

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JULY 3

This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

July 3rd...

1996
Oberon and the Weird Sisters locate Anastasia Renard, the mortal identity of Titania, Queen of the Third Race. Oberon proposes that he and Titania renew their marriage vows on the eve of the Gathering. She promises to consider it.


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Velik writes...

Hey there! If you would answer my questions, I would be honoured :)

It is easy to imagine a powerful, cunning trio of Fate/Vengeance/Grace thinking THEY should have a say in how Fate plays out or vengeance to be exacted against anyone. How important is Grace? Is interfering, or attempting to control Fate for that trio a natural reflex to them? What usefulness would there be in an almost immortal pair that WOULD DIE if either Demona or Macbeth had a head chopped off/reduced to fine particles/etc by someone other than Macbeth or Demona? Would it not be FAR more exciting for a meddling trio to seize the opportunity to create a potential pair of weapons that can only be destroyed by the other weapon? (It would be a change from the short lifespans of the guns in the series). That sort of weapon should carry some weight against anyone who angers Luna/Phoebe/Selene.

Do the Weird Sisters ever fear the future?

Now for the thanks: Thank you Greg, and all the others who made Gargoyles! I found out about Gargoyles during a search for other voice roles by Keith David, and now it seems as though there isn't enough Gargoyle goodness! (Keith is the sexy, commanding voice of the Arbiter in the Halo games, have you played them?) I love the relationship between Elisa and Goliath, as agonizingly slow as it progresses. Grr! So slow! Anyway, here's hoping for Demona and Macbeth to realize they're perfect for each other. :)

Greg responds...

Grace is important, as will eventually be revealed.

I'm not sure I view the Sisters in the sam way you do, so the rest of that paragraph doesn't seem to make much sense to me.

I haven't played Halo.

Response recorded on June 13, 2007

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Ylm writes...

1. Why did the Archmage-Plus specifically pick Macbeth to serve him alongside Demona other than just following the directions of his future self?
2. How did the Archmage intend to deal with the returning Oberon and his entourage? Could he have fought Oberon off if he had succeeded in taking Avalon from the gargoyles?
3. Who was the greater threat in the Avalon Three Parter? The Weird Sisters or the Archmage?

Greg responds...

1. Do you think he needed a better reason? (I do, but I may be a touch smarter than he is.)

2. Not sure he knew about Oberon's pending return.

3. Depends on whether you're the Magus or Goliath.

Response recorded on April 06, 2007

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Makhasu writes...

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?

Greg responds...

Good question.

Response recorded on March 07, 2007

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Makhasu writes...

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.

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on March 01, 2007

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Jurgan writes...

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.

Greg responds...

But what if you paint an elephant pink? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Otherwise I DO think you're on the right track.

Response recorded on January 16, 2007

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Todd Jensen writes...

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.

Greg responds...

Re: the Weird Sisters plots. I wouldn't say never. Especially now that we've got the comic book.

Response recorded on November 01, 2006

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Francois Ferland writes...

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 :)

Greg responds...

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...

Response recorded on April 15, 2005


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