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Whence Cometh the Belief...

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Katherine Ashe
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Post by Katherine Ashe » Sun December 5th, 2010, 4:43 am

There is the lovely opera The Macropolis Affair, in which an alchemist devises an elixir of life for a renaissance prince and is forced to try it first on his own daughter. She falls into a death-like swoon, the alchemist is put to death for attempting to murder the prince -- and then she wakes up. That's the back-story.
The opera actually takes place in the early 20th century when, having lived successive extraordinary lives, she's now an opera diva in love with her own great-great (etc) grandson -- as I recall. Surely some Historical Fantasy novelist could do better with the set up?

Any other resurrected ladies?

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Sun December 5th, 2010, 5:56 am

Any other resurrected ladies?
Now there's a great question!

I think the Macropolis lady's story does not parallel the others, because she isn't tucked away somewhere in the deep freeze waiting to come back and save anybody in time of need. But surely there must be women sleeping in the mists who will come back to help out when the world desperately needs their special gifts. The closest I can come off the top of my head would be the medieval concept of the Virgin Mary, who was always ready to intercede for a penitent sinner in dire straits. But she was always hanging out in Heaven, ready for any emergency, and it was individuals she interceded for, not society as a whole.

Arthur is the main sleeper in the story that got this thread started - but what about the three ladies who appear out of the mist to ferry him away as he lies mortally wounded? Are they perhaps an echo of the same kind of thing?
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Post by annis » Sun December 5th, 2010, 6:21 am

There is a theory that Morgan le Fay (or more strictly Morgain) has her origin in the Celtic triple goddess known as the Morrigan. She is associated with battle, and embodies the three aspects of woman; maiden, mother and crone, therefore the three queens.
Last edited by annis on Sun December 5th, 2010, 7:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Sun December 5th, 2010, 8:11 am

Yes, but what intrigued me is the way they actually come out bodily and fetch him. Now that I think of it, there may also be a medieval tale of the Virgin where she comes down and fetches someone - wish I could remember it more precisely - I think it had to do with a man who was about to be hanged for his crimes, but he repented and prayed to Mary, and she rescued him.

Still, neither of these is a match for the image of the heroic male sleeping underground until summoned in time of need. Perhaps the warrior element makes a woman inappropriate for the image. Although there were warrior women, the archetype doesn't call forth the same cluster of emotions. I've never heard a tale about Boudica sleeping under a hill until such time as she is called back to rescue her people.
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Post by Ash » Sun December 5th, 2010, 1:24 pm

Boudecia probably would have been if a woman of Mallory's stature wrote of it. Think of the possiblities!

Any other resurrected ladies?

Well, there was Juliet...

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Post by annis » Sun December 5th, 2010, 4:44 pm

Posted by Margaret
I've never heard a tale about Boudica sleeping under a hill until such time as she is called back to rescue her people.
No, though I see archaeologists are looking at computerised terrain analysis as a way of tracking down the site of her last great battle with the Romans.
http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba114/feat3.shtml

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Post by LoveHistory » Sun December 5th, 2010, 6:47 pm

On the subject of sleeping, seemingly dead ladies I only have two to offer: Snowdrop and Sleeping Beauty.

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Post by SarahWoodbury » Sun December 5th, 2010, 8:40 pm

And the problem with Sleeping Beauty is that she's passive. She's rescued, not doing the rescuing.

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Post by LoveHistory » Sun December 5th, 2010, 9:09 pm

Same with Snowdrop actually. But then Juliet doesn't fit either.

I think it's interesting that many of these king-under-the-mountain candidates have military links. Few are spiritual.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon December 6th, 2010, 5:03 am

Posted by Margaret
Quote:
I've never heard a tale about Boudica sleeping under a hill until such time as she is called back to rescue her people.
No, though I see archaeologists are looking at computerised terrain analysis as a way of tracking down the site of her last great battle with the Romans.
http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba114/feat3.shtml
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People have been trying to figure out the site of that battle for ages - it would be so exciting if they found it!

LovesHistory's mention of Sleeping Beauty and spirituality reminds me that shamans (who can be women, too) often receive messages in dreams. Perhaps we shouldn't think of these sleeping heroes as entirely passive. I'm reminded, too, of the "hollow hills" of the Celtic sidhe people, often associated with foreknowledge and other mystical abilities.
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