ofmd and communion
(idk if it needs to be said but MAJOR fucking spoilers below)
okay so i’ve seen a few meta posts in the past week discussing Christian imagery and symbolism in Our Flag Means Death, and there’s a particular aspect of that which I’ve been itching to talk about.
what I wanna discuss is the theme of consumption in this show, because there’s something really clever going on in this show with how people share food and I think it deserves to be pointed out. in literary theory, it’s typically understood that when someone is shown eating in a story, they’re not just eating. Eating in a narrative is always about consumption on a broader scale, and there’s essentially two acts that we associate with eating that come to mind during these scenes: communion, and sex. in this piece I’m going to be focused on the former, but keep in mind that it’s very rarely only one or the other.
when I talk about communion here, I’m not just talking about it in a religious sense. communion in its most basic definition is just the sharing or exchanging ideas or values, thoughts and feelings, and coming to an understanding. in Christian tradition, communion is a common term for the Eucharist, the act of eating bread and drinking wine to commemorate the acts of Jesus Christ. it’s one of the most sacred and significant acts of worship in Christian theology, and it is the primary method of reaffirming commitment to the faith and signifying belonging. when I say that a scene in OFMD is a communion scene (or more often a false communion) I mean that it’s a moment in which the characters have the chance to commit to or find belonging with a certain group, act, or individual, and that decision is reflected in consumption within the scene. who eats and who does not always reflects the decisions and alliances of the characters involved.
(much more below the cut)
now, @knowlesian has already made a VERY good post explaining how this symbolism is used in that particular scene between Izzy and Blackbeard. To quickly sum up, Ed is feeding Izzy literal flesh; the communion metaphor could not be more clear here. But in an actual act of communion, the idea is that you consume the flesh of God, not of yourself. Izzy’s act of communion here is naturally corrupt, an ouroboros of consumption. Through his worship of Ed, he only consumes himself. This scene is also laden with sexual metaphor as well, but for my purposes I’m focusing more on the communion aspect.
this piece about Izzy’s communion is fascinating, but it is also part of a larger metaphor that is built up throughout the series. there are a lot of scenes in this show about eating, each one carrying the metaphor a bit further and contextualizing the actions of the characters in new ways.
so in the first episode we have this scene, which is the first instance of eating seen in the show. significantly, this is a very sterile scene - not intimate at all. it’s tense, everyone is uncomfortable, and it’s meant to highlight how vulnerable stede is as a person.
this scene is a communion scene, but a highly specific one - the first one. the Last Supper, which is fitting considering the death that follows it. very biblical. the food and drink here is stede’s. and significantly, the only people we see eating are stede’s crew, and only sparingly. At this point they are reluctant disciples, not yet committed to Stede, but we can see them warming up to him in the fact that they take cautious sips from their teacups and nervous nibbles of the crackers. Significantly, the English do not eat or drink at all, which foreshadows the hostilities to come. but the important thing here is the crew, who become more dedicated to stede after this moment
interestingly, the most obvious and unsubtle moment of consumption that we see in this scene is from Black Pete, who drinks from his goblet while talking about the flags to the english. especially interesting because he was the one calling for stede’s removal in previous scenes.
also in this episode we have this fucking scene, in which stede is painful, obviously removed from the aspect of breaking bread with his family.
again, another dinner scene in which no one is seen eating anything. at the end you can see stede chewing, but we don’t see him eat on screen, and he’s alone in this act.
episodes two and three are sparse on the consumption metaphors, but there are two that kind of stand out - one being when lucius and stede drink the toe juice (kind of an initiation ritual / communion moment in which the juice represents the world of piracy, which stede is not yet ready to enter) and the tapas that he brings to the Spanish ship, which, yknow, he’s going to try and break bread with the spanish but will once again be betrayed, this time before the last supper can even happen.
episode 4 is when things get REALLY interesting here, and where parallels with Izzy’s later act of consumption can be made. the opening scenes to this episode are flashbacks to his time with Mary, which feature a lot of eating and drinking.
when they first sit at the table together, mary holds a glass of wine, while stede is reading - another instance of a rejected communion, in this case where the wine is representative of their marriage (there’s more sex metaphor here, but again, I digress). Mary partakes in the act of communion, committing to their marriage, but stede doesn’t even have a glass. he doesn’t have the option to even try.
and then, of course, we get the breakfast scene.
this is a real divergence, and the first moment where the offer of shared food is truly accepted. stede and edward actually break bread; edward accepts and partakes in the communion as does stede.
and yet - and this has to be intentional, I can’t imagine how it could be so deliberate otherwise - we don’t actually see edward eating the bread. it’s implied, we can see the movements, we know he did it. but both times that he bites into the bread, his face is covered by the rigging in between him and the camera.
like... okay. yet another false communion, or at least not one fully realized. edward hasn’t truly committed to stede, to this relationship, which is confirmed in the next scene where he tells izzy he plans to use stede for his own personal gains.
brilliant, honestly. and that’s okay! because the next scene, stede will, of course, literally be teaching edward how to properly accept his offer of communion.
i’m losing my mind! okay! okay.
I can’t even begin to unpack this one. the empty table is hugely significant; Ed is attempting to commit to this world, to belong to it, but there’s no food for him to consume. though this is rectified in a later scene, the damage is done. we know that he has no chance of belonging here, because the option was never really presented to him. like the wine in episode 2, edward doesn’t even have the chance to belong here.
(we could say sooooo much about all of this running parallel to izzy’s experience with lucius and drawing the crew and the sexual aspect of it all BUT. we won’t)
episode five has no moments of consumption, but it is when edward finally decides not to kill stede and fully commits to him emotionally. and the next scene we have of people consuming anything together is this iconic moment:
in which we see, for the first time, edward partake in the communion. he drinks the tea that stede offers him, committing to them - not to the aristocratic society that stede comes from, but to stede himself, their relationship.
and at the end of the episode this is reconfirmed when they decide to be co-captains, they again drink together in a mirror of the first scene.
and then we only go downhill from here. we have this scene in the next episode, where jack eats voraciously (it’s his table this time, even if the food belongs to stede) while edward is eating but not seen taking bites on screen, and stede doesn’t eat at all. once again, a false bread breaking, making it clear that stede and jack are at odds, with ed caught in the middle.
there’s no scenes of eating in episode 9, but then in episode 10 the metaphors are back full force - stede is back at the dinner table with his family, and no one is eating (more false communions) same as last time. ed is eating marmalade straight out of the jar, still participating in taking communion for his relationship with stede even though stede is no longer there.
this scene, in which all of stede’s peers are participating in worship of him, but stede doesn’t drink at all
and then, of course, izzy’s act of violent, self-destructive consumption, supposedly a communion in worship of blackbeard, but really just him consuming himself and his own delusions
I don’t think I’m ready to say that there’s overtly religious symbolism in most of these scenes, because I don’t think there are. But I do think that the way this show uses the “breaking of bread” and refusals to engage with people over the dinner table is extremely impressive. you can basically read the alliances and commitments of everyone in this show only through what they eat, which is just a level of detail I thought couldn’t be intentional at first but now I believe couldn’t not be. idk I’m just obsessed with this show and its commitment to metaphor. ofmd is offering me a feast and I am partaking
Please write something about ironpanther. Anything at all. Right now, I'll even be fine with a 100 word drabble. There are not enough ironpanther fics
I tried and therefore no one should judge me.
“Don’t fucking touch me!” Tony flinched away from T’Challa’s outstretched arm and the comfort it tried to give. Fury and betrayal burned in his eyes. “Don’t ever touch me again. I can’t believe this. Right under my nose the entire damn time and I didn’t even see it. I’m suppose to be a genius, for fuck’s sake.”
“Anthony,” T’Challa tried again only for Tony to take two steps back. His heart chipped away at the obvious rejection.
“Fuck, I thought you were different. I thought you cared. So fucking stupid of me to believe that.”
“I do care, Anthony! My feelings were not lies.”
“Yeah? You’re standing there and telling me you care, even after I told you all the hell I’ve been going through thanks to my fucking ex-teammates that you’ve been hiding this entire fucking time? You’re telling me you care after you took off with Rogers and his buddy after they left me beaten in an abandoned Hydra bunker?”
“Rogers said you were well…”
“Oh, fucking Rogers told you that did he? Newsflash, king, don’t believe everything that Rogers says. He tends to not tell anyone jack shit.” Tony took a deep, shattered breath, arms and legs shaking. “I can’t deal with this right now. Do whatever you want. I don’t give a damn anymore. Burn them, babysit them, throw them to the wolves, just leave me out of this.”
T’Challa tried one more time to reach out. Again, Tony stepped back.
“I need to get out of here.” Completely void of emotion, but eyes showing everything, Tony mocked bowed. “Good day, your majesty.”
With nothing left in him Tony walked out the room and never looked back. T’Challa was left to stare at the spot he had stood on. The two droplets of tears the only evidence of Tony having been present.
Why You're F#cking Amazing
How to play: pick one of the photos below using your intuition. You can close your eyes and meditate for a bit or just take a few grounding breaths while thinking of the topic. Feeling drawn to more than one is fine! You might have messages in more than one pile
Pile 1 (x) Pile 2 (x) Pile 3 (x)
My pile numbers always go from left to right, then down to the text row (if applicable)
Cards: The High Priestess, Five of Swords, Seven of Pentacles, The Moon Rx, Five of Rods, Ace of Pentacles
You are so intuitive! You're either very in touch with your divine feminine or are working your way there right now. Something about you is severe in the most beautiful way. You can take things seriously when they need to and the way you command a room with just your presence is unmatched. Maybe you're also a tarot reader or involved in spirituality/divination in some way. Maybe you really like Pick-a-Cards.
Something beautiful about you is that you never give up on a fight, especially when you know the end is worth it. Your ambition is strong and you will fight for what you love and what you want. You are not weak-willed by any means.
This also makes you so unique! You work so hard and put so much labor into your love even if you know it will take a long time to come to fruition. The times that you feel discouraged by a lack of results are few and far between. If for some reason you do find yourself wistfully hoping for faster results or an easier path, you can easily remind yourself of why you started in the first place.
You might have moments where you think of yourself as sneaky or like you're hiding a part of yourself from others, like your true self would be too much for them. I'm here to tell you that your intensity is exactly what make you such a beautiful person! You thrive in competition and in adversity. It gives you a chance to show off your quick thinking and survival skills. Others look at you with envy of how you can make an opportunity out of seemingly nothing!
If you need help improving your self-love, Spirit says to stop comparing yourself to others! You are amazing and beautiful and unique all on your own! Throwing yourself into the fray to compete against others who are nothing like you will only fim your inner shine. And you really do shine! When I asked for a card about why you are beautiful, nearly half the damn deck flew out!
Sprit loves you and I love you so please take care of yourself and keep making those amazing opportunities to improve your physical surroundings. (I feel like you have a very clean room/home)
Cards: Nine of Rods, the World, King of Cups, Three of Rods, Ace of Rods, Two of Cups
Ahh the Loona pile!
Similar to Pile 1, but much more fiery! You are resilient! Taking time to collect yourself before pushing forward with a renewed sense of energy and purpose is such an amazing and useful trait. You maybe aren't as commanding of a presence but you have such an inner strength that no one can deny.
You got the World for the reason why you're beautiful! Maybe it's related to physically being very beautiful and possibly exotic-looking. You might have very specific features associated with a certain area of the world that stand out where you live. You also have such a wonderful understanding of the world and where it's currently at. Things can seem negative or like hope is lost but you still seek out the beauty and share it with others. You see opportunity where others do not and feel a sense of peace and connectedness with all of humanity. Wow!
Your uniqueness shines in your emotionality and compassion. You might be a natural born leader who makes sure to understand all under your rule. You lead with kindness and, most importantly, by example. You don't have any desire to use you position for ill-gotten gains. Power to you does not corrupt, it solely provides a tool for you to do good in the world and really make a difference in the lives of others, whether it's on a large or small scale. You are probably the kind of person who makes sure to give money to those who need it when you pass a begging mother and her children, or buying a homeless man a bottle of water on a hot day.
Your card for why you think you are not perfect actually came out quite positive. Maybe you don't have a very low self esteem, but I can see a few possible scenarios here. You might be constantly planning in your head, waiting and watching for the next move to take but never actually getting to the action part. Maybe you're planning for your future and have so much planned out that you're excited for, but haven't made the practical plans on how to actually get there. This could make you feel bad about yourself especially on days where you're reminded of others moving ahead in their lives while you're still planning. Visualisation is very important in manifesting your desired reality! If you are moving slower than others around you, remember that it is okay to not be where "everyone else" is. Life is not a race or a competition. Taking your time to get to where you need to be when you need to be there reminds me of the story of the tortoise and the hare. Quick does not necessarily mean better.
You can improve your self-love by creating! Using your creativity and passion to make something! Create art, whether it's physical/digital art, music, writing, inventing, anything that uses those creative muscles of yours. It doesn't have to be good! Just creating something will help burn up that excess energy you have that's trying to rush you somewhere. Self-expression this way can be a wonderful hobby even if you don't consider yourself as a creative person.
Your kindness really shines through. You care so deeply about the people around you and your spiritual team cares just as deeply about you. You are loved and watched over and protected by Spirit. Others around you also see your sparkle and appreciate and admire you, even if they don't show it. Know you are beautiful and amazing and bringing a light into this world that needs to be here.
Cards: Six of Rods, the Hierophant, Four of Rods, Six of Cups, Ten of Swords, the Hermit Rx
Damn, who are y'all!? You've got some mighty power and pull in this world. Maybe you're a public figure or have some kind of platform, like a social media with many followers. You could also be well-recognized within your field of study/work. Whoever you are, people see you and look up to you. They celebrate you and how amazing you are! Spirit loves this about you and you really shine in the spotlight. Your achievements deserve all this pomp and celebration!
You are naturally authoritative. People listen when you speak and take your words to heart. You might also be a religious person or someone who enjoys organization and the comfort of hierarchy. People will willingly follow you wherever you lead them because they trust you with all their hearts. "A merciful ruler" (lol) You hold your position with grace and dignity befitting a king or queen.
You are unique in ways the public recognizes, but we knew that already! You might be someone who likes to entertain and you throw the greatest parties and get-togethers. Maybe you've planned a wedding and everyone had such an amazing time! You know how to relax and have fun when the time for celebrating arrives. You can out down your guard and bit and let loose. Not many people with such responsibility can let go of the reigns like that, but you don't seem to hold on to control too tightly.
Your past might be a source of anxiety for you. Maybe you're worried that what you've done when you were younger will catch up to you and ruin what you've got going on now, but it's important to remember that the past is the past. It cannot be undone or wished away. Taking time to accept what happened and recognizing that you've moved on to bigger and better things is important here. Whatever happened, take time to heal your childhood wounds and forgive past actions.
Ending this cycle will bring much more self-love to your life. Old habits and patterns being out to rest is the way forward. It might be a painful ending and something you don't necessarily look forward to, but it is something that needs to happen to clear out old energy and welcome in everything new. You can't expect to move on if you're still repeating old actions or ways of thinking. It's time to set these things to rest and evolve. Leave behind what no longer serves you.
Your understanding of yourself knows no bounds. You've taken the time to inquisit yourself and learn all of the shadows that lie there. Self-reflection might be a favored pastime for you. Through this knowledge of yourself you are able to see truths that many struggle to see all their lives. Your light can cut through the fog if bullshit and see the true source of something. Use this knowledge of yourself to become the best version of yourself that you can be! I know you're already on your way there and it's amazing to see! Spirit is so proud of you and loves you so much!