One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
I’ve a couple of questions about Cassandra, the Trojan princess/seer:
1) Were the conditions of her curse known to other people? I assume not – otherwise it’d defeat the purpose of the whole ‘will never be believed’ thing – but you never know.
2) How *did* her prophesizing work, anyway? Was it involuntary like she’d get pseudo-possessed à la Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter (which I imagine contributed to her madwoman status)? Or did she actively divined like she had to read the movement of birds or something (in which case, couldn’t she have just… *not*?)?
So, part of Cassandra’s deal is that, although we think of her as a character from the Trojan War, which we associate with the Homeric epics, the major surviving texts where she actually does anything are all tragedies (in fact, Cassandra is such a minor character in the Iliad that I don’t think Homer ever mentions her gift/curse of prophecy – it might even have been a later addition to the myth, although of course I can’t prove that). And Greek tragedies are all about mortals rushing headlong into terrible fates that they could easily have avoided if only things had gone a little bit differently. I think we’ve gotta see Cassandra’s prophecies as the same class of Thing as, like, Oedipus’ prophecy about killing his father and marrying his mother: even when you know it’s coming, you’re powerless to stop it, because that’s just the kind of thing Fate does to mortals who know the future.
Well, it proves that Her Queenship’s original body was not biologically immortal, which actually shoots down several theories I previously considered fairly plausible. Jim the Editor and I are currently working under the assumption that, after a brief and decisive spiritual struggle, she took over the body of the Lesser Liz during their first official meeting as monarch and PM (no British Prime Minister since Thatcher could possibly have had the sheer evil resolve to resist her, but Truss may have been especially vulnerable because of their shared name). Now inhabiting the body and office of the new Prime Minister, and with her loyal son ruling as Charlie 3, she will seek to establish a new Holy British Empire by conquering the EU and Brexiting each of its member states, one by one. The Second Elizabethan Age has ended, but the reign of the dread Eternal Queen is only just beginning!
Other than that, I’m mostly concerned by what this might mean for the great Prophecy of the Queen of Pentacles in my ongoing Kingslocke of Heart Gold. I mean, I just posted the episode where I defeat the Champion this morning and I didn’t have either of the True Queens of Johto in my party; could that have been the final straw? Are these events symbolic of the final death of monarchy itself? What will happen if we don’t fulfil the Prophecy?
Also, does this mean Charlie 3 will be on all the money by the time I get home in December? That’s going to be weird.
Thanks to an update from a mysterious figure in the shadows, I was prompted to start searching again for the true origins of the Asparagus Fleet myth (or is it a myth? Maybe it’s real! No classicist I’ve told the story to believes it’s real, but we could all be missing the secret wisdom! Who knows!?). And I have an update. I still don’t believe I have pinpointed the genesis of this elite squadron of vegetable-toting Augustan ships and/or chariots, but I have an earlier source for it, which exonerates Pam Brunning of the International Wine and Food Society of the crime of inventing it. That source is an article, now available online but apparently first published in print as early as April 1999 (more than 10 years before Brunning’s magazine article, which was cited by Wikipedia and probably spread from there to the rest of the asparagus fandom), in the Deseret News, a Mormon newspaper based in Salt Lake City. Said article can be found here. The author’s name, unfortunately, is not listed online and I might have to track down a print copy to get that information [EDIT: one week later, the article now does have a byline. I don’t know why it didn’t before, or what has changed since then. The original writer was apparently food editor Jean Williams, who has unfortunately died in the 23 years since the article’s publication, meaning I cannot pursue her for answers.]. The article also doesn’t say where the asparagus fleet came from. Newspaper articles don’t cite their sources, because by convention the article is the source; whatever the journalist writes is assumed to carry the authority of the paper’s reputation and editorial standards. This works (…up to a point) when a journalist is reporting on current events. When they dip their toes into history… not so much.
Let’s look at the text of the relevant section of the article (a feature on asparagus with a couple of asparagus recipes, just like the dozens of more recent articles that have also picked up the myth):
One of the hosts, Ian, made reference to Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, saying that he was very fond of asparagus. Augustus, it is said, used to tell people when he wanted something done fast that it should be “quicker than cooking asparagus,” and was so enamoured with the vegetable that he commissioned an entire fleet of ships to seek out the best sources of asparagus in the world for supplying the city of Rome. My eyebrows, dear reader, assumed a posture of heightened readiness.
I will stress, before going on, that I intend here to cast no shade on Ian, who is lovely and has even helped me with research on a previous occasion. If you google “asparagus fleet” there are so many websites that mention it – dozens, certainly; it even made it onto the official QI Twitter account – that if that’s all you’re going on, it looks pretty legit. Unfortunately for me, it’s not all I’m going on, thanks to my secret double life as a PhD student in classical studies.
Jim the Editor has been taking a break for Christmas and New Year’s, but he’s back now, so we’re once again streaming our playthrough of Final Fantasy X, at 9 am Saturday NZ time/8 pm Friday UK time/some time on Friday afternoon US time, idk figure it out yourself. As always, we’d love to see you there!
I had a fairly long discussion about this with Jim the Editor and didn’t really come to a satisfying conclusion; I think I’m possibly going about the question the wrong way. See… when I take it upon myself to imagine a dragon, I sort of… picture something that would come with a name? Like, a dragon to my mind is an intelligent creature that might not necessarily want me to name it, or might expect a name from its own language. Y’know, you can’t name a dragon the way you’d name a pet dog or whatever because it’s going to understand the name and has to like it, but it’s also weird to just give a dragon a normal human name like “Kyle” – which is a name I genuinely like and could imagine giving to a kid, but is undeniably a weird name for a dragon.
Can you do that? Can you name a dragon “Kyle”? Kyle the dragon?
I mean, I’m committed now; I guess if I ever get a dragon, then this is what’s happening and we all just have to live with that.