I've signed up today for Rachel Morgan's Fairy Prince blogfest (to celebrate the release of her new book, details below) because it gives me a good excuse to talk about one of my favorite characters:
|Get ready for a gratuitous amount of images.|
This is Prince Ashitaka from the movie Princess Mononoke written and directed by my favorite modern storyteller, Hayao Miyazaki. Mononoke-hime could easily be considered a Japanese fairy tale with its proliferation of gods, demons, spirits, a Prince protagonist and the titular "princess".
Wise Woman: My prince, are you prepared to learn what fate the stones have foretold you?
Ashitaka: Yes, I was prepared the very moment I let my arrow fly.
Ashitaka is told that the infection in his arm will slowly spread through his body causing him a painful death. Due to the laws of the Emishi, Ashitaka must cut his hair and leave the village, henceforth considered dead to his people.
Wise Woman: You cannot alter your fate, my prince. However, you can rise to meet it, if you choose.Ashitaka's one hope is to travel west, to the source of the corruption that cause the demon to become consumed with anger and hate. The Wise Woman of his village tells him that it is his fate to go there with eyes "unclouded by hate" to see what he can see. Ashitaka bravely takes on this fate without any bitterness in his heart for what has happened to him.
In the west he becomes embroiled in the conflict between the humans of Iron Town who are consuming the resources of the land to make profitable iron to fuel human civilization and the spirits and gods of the nearby forest whose land is being encroached upon by the humans. He meets Princess Mononoke ("princess of the spirits"), a human girl who was raised by the wolf gods of the forest when her family was killed in war, a human who now hates humans. Another angle to the conflict arises when the Emperor sends a mercenary monk to the forest to cut off the head of the Forest Spirit whose dual nature of life and death can offer healing or destruction. But the emperor wants the head to give him immortality. Ashitaka takes no side in the fight, but tries to convince all the players that violence and anger and hatred cannot lead to anything good.
Ashitaka: Look, everyone! This is what hatred looks like! This is what it does when it catches hold of you! It’s eating me alive, and very soon now it will kill me! Fear and anger only make it grow faster!
And in the end it is only because of Ashitaka's devotion to life and to protecting that which is worth protecting that the world is not consumed by the Nightwalker, the destructive side of the Forest Spirit. Ashitaka is my favorite prince because of what he stands for: the courage to life a life of peace, the bravery to honor and love all life. He never sees anyone as the enemy, he knows they are all victims. He never sacrifices or falters in his convictions. He protects everyone and earns the right to live again.
San (Princess Mononoke): Even if all the trees grow back, it won't be his forest anymore. The Forest Spirit is dead.
Ashitaka: Never. He is life itself. He isn't dead, San. He is here with us now, telling us, it's time for both of us to live.
Also, his music is awesome:
It's release day for The Faerie Prince, the second novel in the Creepy Hollow series! Woohoo! If you're keen to read it, you can find it at the following places online:
Guardian trainee Violet Fairdale is just weeks away from one of the most important occasions of her life: graduation. After messing up big time by bringing a human into the fae realm, Vi needs to step up her game and forget about Nate if she hopes to graduate as the top guardian of her year. Everything would be fine if she wasn’t forced to partner with Ryn, her ex-friend, ex-enemy, current ‘sort of friend’. They might be trying to patch up their relationship, but does she really want to spend a week undercover with him for their final assignment? On top of that, the possibly insane Unseelie Prince is still on the loose, free to ‘collect’ as many specially talented faeries as he can find—and Vi is still at the top of his list. Add in faerie queens, enchanted storms, complicated not-just-friends feelings, and a murder within the Guild itself, and graduation is about to become the least of Vi’s problems.
|In celebration, The Faerie Guardian is on sale for a limited time!|
There will be a giveaway running from now until the end of the blog tour (Sun 9 June). A giveaway where FOUR people could win something! The prizes are a signed copy of The Faerie Prince (or The Faerie Guardian, should the winner prefer that), an Amazon gift card, a mini book pendant and necklace, and a Creepy Hollow pin badge. Check out the pic below!
Giveaway is open internationally
a Rafflecopter giveaway