I’ve been thinking about Emerald lately, especially with that potential redemption arc looming on the horizon. Well, I assume it’s Emerald that’s getting stolen. Probably by Oscar on his quest to deprive Salem of as many of her minions as possible. Hah, the thief’s getting stolen. Anyway, we also figure that since Emerald heard how to speak to Jinn that it’s likely that she’s gonna ask the final question. Is it official that she alludes to Aladdin? Or just a fan theory? Either way, the thief steals the lamp from the evil queen and escapes, supposedly.
Seeing as how it’s a Relic and incredibly important to Salem, I doubt she’ll simply let it out of her sight. Well, unless she’s so confident that nothing’s going to happen to it. Or, maybe normally she’ll have the Hound watch over it if she’s not near it? But with the Hound and Cinder going after Penny … Salem’s busy pressing her attack and, well, conducting the whale. So she’s suitably distracted for now. Mercury and Tyrian are gone to Vacuo. Hazel is pretty preoccupied with Oscar and Ozpin. Anyone left? Neo. But I think it’s likely she’ll go with Cinder if only to get away from Salem’s forces and have a chance to get at Ruby. Plus Cinder always wants a go at Ruby so it’d be likely that she wouldn’t mind tracking her down after the Winter Maiden stuff is resolved (except we all know that they’re all at Schnee Manor so).
Now it wouldn’t be hard for Emerald to walk out with the lamp. Especially since she could just mask it with he semblance. Unless semblances don’t work on the Relics for some reason, but that seems too convenient so I’ll throw that out. I wonder if she can display an image out of her sight range? If she steals the lamp can she make an illusion of it if it is stationary even if it’s a few doors down? Well, she can at least hide herself. And it even works against Grimm. As we see in War. So I suppose the likeliest option would be to hide herself and the lamp using her semblance and simply walk out.
But of course, team J_YR are coming to rescue Oscar so I’d definitely bet that their quest will coincide with Emerald’s escape. Unless she decides to grab Oscar and take him with her and then hey!, everyone wins.
Except Ironwood. Fuck him.
There was a post about song lyrics in the episode Midnight that @thinkingaboutrwby added onto, mentioning the parallels in Cinder’s lyrics to Oscar and Oz, so I went to read the lyrics to Awake (the song that plays during Cinder and Rhodes’ fight) and Fear (Oscar’s song that plays during the v7 credits), and found a TON of interesting comparisons. So instead of taking over @edeldoro ‘s post, I’m putting my thoughts here! :)
This isn’t to say that these parallels were intentional, but since the songs are about and for their characters, we can draw connections between Oscar and Cinder using their respective lyrics. Cinder and Oscar may both have started out as poor farmhands from Mistral, but when their lives changed, they took opposite paths. These foils also provide some insight to Oscar and Ozpin’s differences as well.
First, this is the lyric that made me want to analyze further:
“Truth can break your soul in two” sounds an awful lot like this line in Oscar’s song:
“You broke from your soul.” Poignant word choice. “The treachery will breed inside” goes hand-in-hand with the theme in Fear about betraying yourself: “Will you […] feel proud or betrayed?” Treachery is defined as a betrayal of trust.
So I decided to analyze the rest. Both songs talk about breaking from your soul, as well as fear, trust, choice (or lack thereof), and truth, in ways that apply to both characters’ unique situations. Both songs also center on identity: Cinder losing her identity and sense of self, while Oscar is growing into his identity and becoming more in-touch with who he is as an individual. So far, it seems Volume 8′s themes are primarily identity, choice, and consequence, just as Volume 7′s themes were trust, honesty, and fear.
Here’s a Read More cause I got a little carried away. I hope some of you fellow nerds will enjoy this or add your thoughts, cause wow this took a long time XD But it was worth it cause it really got me thinking!
Since we know Oscar’s clearly very smart and can think things through, is he gonna be the first ozcarnation to realize that the God of Light’s task is probably impossible? It doesn’t seem like Ozpin views it that way, and it wasn’t included in Jinn’s tale of things Oz was hiding, so it might have to be Oscar who pipes up with
“Hey, so the whole reason the gods destroyed the world was because Salem didn’t respect the importance of life and death, creation and destruction, right? They said it was a delicate balance. But they also said man was made with the ability to choose – the whole point of humankind was to create beings with both light and dark within them! Now the God of Light shows up and tasks us with uniting the entire world? Saying if we fight with each other they’ll wipe our planet from existence? So we have a ‘choice’ but only if we choose what the god of light wants. There will literally never be a point when all beings are in perfect harmony with no conflict. The gods have to know that – that. was. the. POINT. They’re just being dicks and brought you back to punish Salem AGAIN knowing full well that she can’t be killed so there’ll always be at least one person choosing division and destruction even IF it were possible to get everyone else together. The gods suck.”
BEGINNING OF THE END = MIDNIGHT
The episodes Beginning of the End and Midnight can be seen as complementary.
Both share a similar structure with the first part telling Cinder’s story and the second part showing how past events are influencing the present. At the same time, they show the links among Cinder, Emerald and Mercury and explore their changing dynamic.
In Beginning of the End it is shown how they came together and we reach the climax of their cooperation. The Fall of Beacon is when the trio is at its strongest. It is only because of their coordination and teamwork that the plan succeeds. In Midnight instead we are shown the beginning of their separation.
For different reasons (fears and wishes) both Mercury and Emerald are about to leave Cinder. Mercury already has and it is probable Emerald will soon.
The two episodes also give us two opposite and complementary visions of Cinder.
In Beginning of the End, we have the way Cinder wants to appear:
Cinder: (stepping forward slowly, glass anklet shifting with her footsteps) I’ve already told you. And I don’t like repeating myself.
Salem: I would like to think I have shown a great deal of patience over my many years walking Remnant. But I do hate repeating myself.
Mercury: Is this how you treat a patient? (Emerald reaches over and twists the screwdriver in his leg, causing him to wince) Ah, too tight!
Cinder: Enough. Our Mercury put on a wonderful show. He was quite brave.
Salem: Do you find such malignance necessary?
Watts: I apologize, ma'am. I’m not particularly fond of failure.
Salem: Then I see no reason for your cruelty towards young Cinder. She’s become our Fall Maiden, destroyed Beacon Tower, and most importantly, killed dear Ozpin. So I’m curious, to what failures are you referring?
In Midnight we see who she really is. Moreover, it becomes more and more clear that her imitation of Salem is different from the original:
Salem: I will tell you when and where you are needed.
Cinder: Both of you, get out. I’ll let you know when you’re needed next.
Mercury: Yeah about that, Salem’s got other plans for me. I’m not gonna be taking orders from you anymore.
Why is this being shown through her interactions with Emerald and Mercury? Why are they important for Cinder’s character?
well, frankly i think the main reasons are
1. a story doesn’t normally have both a character like ironwood (surface-level competent, willing to do “what it takes”, charming, in control) and characters like team rwby. normally in a story where team rwby types are the heroes, the villains aren’t as nuanced and charismatic as ironwood is. and a character like ironwood is normally the hero of his own story
2. a lot of people aren’t used to sorting through lots of perspectives. rwby has a lot of unreliable narrators who aren’t “checked” the way that they might be in a story that focuses more closely on a certain group or in a story that’s less subtle.
3. most of the rwby fandom is american, and american culture IS authoritarian. this makes people biased in ironwood’s favor unless they’ve done a good deal of thinking on “maybe imperialism is bad”. i don’t think that the fact that the audience is biased in a villain’s favor and hasn’t figured out after the dude shot a political dissident in cold blood that he’s a villain could be crwby’s fault.
some people are going to need more than a nuanced television show to break out of their deeply held cultural assumptions, you know?
I was talking w/ my mom a little while ago about why Maria is such a refreshing character. being a little old legendary warrior lady aside, there’s also the fact that she never had kids, and this is never remarked on. in any other story, if there was an 80 something year old lady with no kids or grandkids, she would be sad because of that “tragedy,” and you’d be supposed to feel sorry for her, and this “loss” would be what makes her a well rounded character. but with Maria, whether or not she had kids is never brought up, not even alluded to. I only recently realized that whether or not she had them was something to even think about. because there’s so much more going on with her. she is a tragic character, but it’s because she used to be a legendary warrior with powers from the god of light, but went into hiding because she was scared after her weapons(her eyes) were taken from her in an attack on her life, and now she sees herself as a failure. and there’s other parts of her life that she talks about too, like her father. nowhere in all of this is whether or not she had kids a factor in her character. and that’s really refreshing when “she was infertile” seems to be the only “tragic” defining experience a lot of writers can come up with for women.
i was just thinking about how easy it would have been to make ozpin a villain. like, he could have just been a bad dude. he’s a little shady, you hear hazel’s YOU KILL CHILDREN perspective pretty early on if i remember right, we find out he’s literally body-hopping and has the capacity to just steal control of the host body wheneves he wants (and that he can and has done it for a host’s whole life in the past).
but he’s not just a villain. sure he’s far from perfect, but he’s legitimately a dude that’s trying to make the world better. this could have been a two big bads things (or even a Salem is Actually Right TM) but it wasn’t and that was a little refreshing, actually. dude made mistakes, but he’s still overall a guy that’s trying.
Been doing a lot of RWBY character analysis recently (slowly due to holiday season) and I just wanted to gush a bit on how much fun it is to play with allusions.
Like, on the one hand you have the Direct Allusions. Or which fairy tale/story each character is directly based on. Like how Ruby is Red Riding Hood or how Weiss is Snow White or Blake is Belle, Yang is Goldilocks, etc. Relatively straight-forward stuff. But, these more or less give us a basic idea of and path to theorize about who a character is as a person, what their general drives are and what lesson they most need to learn on an individual level.
Then, on the other, you have this tier of Indirect Allusions. Or what roles a character plays in relation to other characters. Like how Team RWBY has the main allusions above but can also be seen as Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow. They’re not the allusions to these characters, but due to their dispositions, when placed in relation to Ozpin (Wizard of Oz) they fill very similar roles. And this is where things get more convoluted. Because instead of providing information about an individual with a lasting identity, Indirect Allusions provide information on an interpersonal/situational level.
Which is how we get batshit things like 4 or 5 Dorothies traipsing around Remnant. Because relationships are way more fluid than individual identities. While there may be only one “true” [Direct Allusion] Dorothy, there’s no reason multiple people can’t play the role of Dorothy (wide-eyed kid whisked into a dangerous quest in a world beyond their wildest dreams by forces beyond their control). After all, people model themselves after others all the time and an immortal wizard is going to know a thing or two about finding people who can play it reliably well.
But, the thing is…while people may fill a role for someone, they still bring their own individual ideals and attitudes and flavor to the role. And it provides this awesome opportunity for the writers to foil characters and give perspective. Show how, while the original “Lollipop Gang” may have made horrific mistakes, a new generation can take those same roles and remake them with an entirely different approach. There may only be one true, Direct Allusion Dorothy (Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, etc.) but each Indirect Allusion gives a whole new perspective by asking things like “OK. But what would happen if Red Riding Hood was Dorothy? Or Pinnochio? Or if Snow White was the Tin Man? What would they do?” and seeing what happens.
I gush because it’s just so cool to prod around and see how many different angles and lenses to view characters with. Just like in real life, these characters aren’t straightforward. They may be themselves but what that means and what they show can change based on their situation and who they’re relating with. We know these characters pretty well, but each new dynamic and role we see them partake in with someone on screen just gives us an additional perspective on them as a character.
So, like, Yang may be Goldilocks, but in relation to Blake, she’s the “just right” between Sun and Adam. Ironwood is the Tin Man, but he is trying to act like the Wizard in relation to Atlas. Raven and Qrow are Huginn and Muninn in relation to Ozpin, but who are they independent of that? - All of this really cool stuff that arises from how they relate to others.
Yeah. I just think it’s really neat to have a show that uses it’s allusions to create such a complex portrait of its characters’ identities. Didn’t mean for this to go on for so long, but figured I’d share :)
so, in order to fufill the fairy tale, Penny and Pietro have to be inside the whale. Penny’s crashed outside Schnee manor and is going to be captured, obviously, but how will pietro get there? I personally predict he goes “fuck it, I was gonna float off and be safe with my daughter but I guess that’s not happening anymore” and try and crash Amity into the whale.
Reading the Wikipedia entry for “Princess Ozma” (14-year old princess and later best friend of Dorothy Gale in the Oz series) for reasons. Encountered this lovely paragraph:
So, (ignoring Baum’s love of social commentary on American bureaucracy) anyone have their money on Oscar and Ruby both end up abducted only for Glynda to roll up with 3 maidens/op helpers to save the day? Because APPARENTLY that is also a possibility 😂
I refuse to think that Beacon didn’t have at least one class on litterary analysis and how to analyse a document(aka when, where, by and for whom it was written) especially since hunters and huntresses are going to work alongside governments or investigate third parties on occasions.
Broke: Oscar’s gotten so wise; he’s becoming more like Ozpin!
Woke: Oscar’s wisdom is unique to him and his growth; Ozpin’s actually becoming more like Oscar.
Seriously, I have evidence! (spoilers through volume 8 chapter 7)
[Note: I’m not addressing their movements and speech patterns in this post. They’ve both adopted similarities to one another in those ways, but this analysis isn’t about muscle memory, it’s about worldview, morals, outlook, values, and choice.]
comment on youtube:
I can’t lie, this video really changes the perspective of Ironwood’s semblance. And it’s a great callback to the Tin Man and why he became made of tin to begin with. The Tin Man, when human, had fallen in love with a girl in his village. But her mother was cruel, and wanted to keep the daughter to herself to essentially keep her as a slave. So she tasked the Tin Man with a seemingly impossible task; he was to build a functioning house and have a stable income on his own. That was when he and her daughter would be permitted to marry. But the mother underestimated his determination, and the Tin Man, still human, was finishing his task far more quickly than she thought, having a stable income of chopping wood for a living during the day, and working on building the house after work. In order to stall, she makes a deal with the Wicked Witch to stop the Tin Man from finishing his task. As a result, the witch enchants his own axe and has it cut off his leg. But he has it replaced with tin, and carries on his work. This is a repeated process, going back to chop wood even knowing that the witch may enchant his axe again, and this keeps up until he is entirely made of tin, At the end of his story, the Tin Man admits that it had started to become less about being determined to being with the one he loves, to sheer determination of simply just going, despite the risks and common sense. He briefly wonders why he was still chopping even after becoming fully tin, and he reflects on why he still went on despite the fact that he in his eyes can never be with the woman he loves, cannot feel love for her, and may have even found someone else by that point. RWBY has quite literally retold the Tin Man’s story throughout the series, and they did it in such a subtle way that was honestly brilliant.
Sure! Firstly, thanks for reading that lol.
So I’ll just come out and say that I don’t fully trust the writers in this aspect, but the main ships that I see set up for in the alchemical sense are, of course, Yang/Blake and Ren/Nora, but also Ruby/Oscar and potentially Emerald/Mercury and Jaune/Weiss. (I will touch on Pyrrha/Jaune, but I don’t think Pyrrha is going to or should come back so… :( ) This all depends on how they stick to the alchemical structure, but just to reiterate: it’s extremely unlikely an alchemical story with a fairy tale basis is going to end with most characters single. It could and could do it well, but I’m skeptical lol.
Just to add a disclaimer: this is all theory and speculation; I honestly do not care about ships in this series besides Ren and Nora and hence am not emotionally invested. I could be wrong, and I’m fine with it. Please don’t come for me.
Let’s begin by going over what romance is in alchemy. I talked about this in my previous meta, but the key principles of an alchemical work are the solar king and lunar queen. So who are they? What is their role in alchemy?
So, I finally watched RWBY after a friend name-dropped several characters and I was like wait… those names are alchemical. I was still pleasantly surprised to find out just how deeply rooted in alchemy the story is, from its characters to its plot structure.
Background: alchemical structure is a type of story structure that focuses on inner transformation via outward obstacles. You can find it in literary traditions across the world, from Moxiang Tongxiu’s novels to A Song of Ice and Fire to Harry Potter to The Witcher to Trollhunters. Carl Jung incorporated it into his psychology. Daoism plays heavily into Chinese alchemy. The Wizard of Oz, one of RWBY’s main inspirations, is a blatant alchemy allegory. It’s everywhere, so it’s not surprising RWBY is drawing heavily on alchemy, but it is neat to see how blatant the references are.
Thematically, the goal of alchemy is a metaphorical philosopher’s stone. The philosopher’s stone, in legend, is said to produce an elixir of eternal life, and to be able to transform “baser” metals into gold.
In stories, when positive, as it usually is, this usually results in a character either overcoming death (see, Harry Potter) and/or transforming the world and others around him (Harry Potter saving his friends, etc.) But the journey from how they get from prima materia (raw material) to the philosopher’s stone? Now that’s the story.
(When reversed, a metaphorical stone results in something that can destroy everything; see: the One Ring, also Salem, because Salem’s whole thing is that she cheapened the process of life and death, while alchemy states that death is a necessary part of achieving life.)
So, mostly I’m gonna talk about the symbolism I’ve seen so far and make some predictions for what’s likely to happen next in the story, and for the characters.
Each of the four main characters has a name that corresponds to one of the four phases of the Magnum Opus. “Blake Belladonna” refers to the nigredo, or black stage; “Weiss Schnee” to the albedo, or white stage; “Yang Xiao Long” to the citrinitas or yellow phase, and “Ruby Rose” to the final stage, rubedo, or red (Ruby’s name is quite literally taken from that stage). Naming them for these stages shows a dual purpose: while Ruby is the central character, she needs her team around her, and Team RWBY will save the world together. Team JNR is also a part of the stages, but I’ll get to what they represent later on.
Jung associated each of the major stages with a major archetype. The major stages can be further broken up into a total of seven or twelve or even fourteen stages. Most commonly you’ll see George Ripley’s Twelve Gates referenced, and I believe that’s what RWBY is referencing as well since its allusions are pretty perfect. The “gates” or stages also sometimes overlap, especially when different characters might be at different stages.
Nigredo: Seasons 1-3
Alchemy begins by gathering the prima materia, or raw material. The characters assembling in season 1 is more of the gathering than the actual transformative process. But once we hit season 2, we dive straight into the process.
Calcination occurs during the climax of season 2, during the fight on the train. Season 3 contains dissolution, or the washing of impurities through the exposure of certain secrets (like the fall maiden) as well as the literal dissolution of Beacon Academy, and separation (the end of the season, when Team RWBY is scattered).
Narratively, Jung associated nigredo with the shadow, with someone’s dark night of the soul, their low point. In historical artistic depictions, often part of nigredo is dismemberment… which happens to Yang when she saves Blake from Adam. See, Splendor Solis:
The goal of the shadow is that it should be integrated with, accepted, rather than denied. Facing the shadow is a necessary part of growth and ultimate transformation… and the point is, through facing the shadow, hope and light come.
I am not saying there is a parallel between these shots but..there is
We started the volume (5 and 7) with Raven and Winter believing (or trying to) in what they’re doing, and using Yang’s desire for the truth / Weiss’s admiration to attempt to rally them to their cause (Raven promising Yang to join her; Winter didn’t really propose Weiss to join her, but I think that, consciously or not, Winter was trying to influence Weiss) .
(Maybe she wanted the approval of her younger sister, maybe she wanted her to say “You are doing the right choice Winter ” because at the end, Winter is human and loves Weiss, and wants her to be proud of her)
And at the end of the volume, (and beginning le the volume 8 for Winter), Raven and Winter are not as confident as they were in the beginning, they are doubting their choices, and Weiss and Yang are more confident and know what they are doing, what they are fighting for. And they’re the one who show/will show to Raven and Winter there is other possibilities.
…So if Salem can be seen as “Wicked Witch of the West” to the Wizard of Oz, the “fairy godmother” to Cinderella, and “the witch in the candy home” to Hansel, does that mean she’ll be “the sorcerer” to Aladdin?
I mean it tracks pretty well. Salem is a magical being that is giving Em what she thinks she wants at the moment. The sorcerer starts out pretty chill - pretends to be Aladdin’s uncle, gives him a magic ring - just needs this kid to help him steal a lamp. Once Aladdin takes it though, ooooh boy does he get pissed. Which, assuming Emerald takes the lamp and uses it…lines right up.
But, then, that would mean all 3 of the WTCH members Salem fits the role for are the same 3 that the FNDM has pegged as likely defectors: Cinder, Hazel and Emerald. And in each one their allusions start out the story believing they need the Salem figure only to later realize they don’t. Like:
Cinderella needs the fairy godmother to give a boost through classism but her prince loved her for her personality in the end.
Hansel needs the food the witch gave him but kills her after finding out her plan to eat him and his sister.
Aladdin needs cash but kills the sorcerer after making a new life for himself with the lamp [and wily wife].
Not saying these relations will play out exactly (Salem does act as both fairy godmother AND stepmother to Cinder, after all). Maybe it’s coincidence, but it does boost my hopes that we’ll get to see at least these three realize that they don’t need Salem to accomplish their goals and leave her.
Not the hottest take, but figured I’d share, lol.
Cinder’s backstory is even more tragic than most tales of Cinderella. Cinderella normally starts with a loving father (maybe even a loving mother she still remembers from before she died) and things only become bad after he dies and the stepmother takes everything over which means
1. Cinderella was loved and remembers being loved
2. Cinderella had some level of economic privilege as a landowner’s daughter at the beginning of her life
But with this backstory? Cinder never had parents who loved her. She never had resources- she went from human trafficking orphanage to child slave at a hotel with no respite for a moment. Poor kid