Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fairy Prince Blogfest: Prince Ashitaka

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".

Ashitaka is the last prince of the Emishi tribe. He is a warrior, wielding both sword and bow and arrows, though he abhors violence and uses it only to protect. In the story's beginning, Ashitaka fights against a corrupted boar demon that is attacking his village. He fights without fear, killing the boar demon but earning a cursed wound in the process.

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


  1. I love how I'm learning about all these princes/heroes I haven't heard of before, alongside the traditional ones I've known forever. Thanks so much for taking part in the blog fest!

  2. I'm not sure "titular" and "princess" should be used in such proximity.

    I have the first book, but I haven't had a chance to read it, yet.

  3. Wow, Ashitaka sounds *amazing*. And I'm appalled that clicking the "comment" button made his gorgeous music stop playing. X( Restart!

  4. So I came over here because I was reading Andrew's blog about blogs, and I saw your comment that you think you're boring, and too intellectual, and thought I'd stop by to see whether I thought that was true.

    Based on this post? I HAVE NO IDEA. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most people who have heard of Princess Mononoke are probably pretty intellectual, or they are people who hang around my youngest son (a/k/a "Mr Bunches"), who briefly got into anime when he (first) saw a preview for "Howl's Moving Castle" on a DVD he was watching, then (second) saw that "Howl's Moving Castle" was available on Netflix and subsequently monopolized our Roku for months watching that movie over and over, only to then (thirdly) be drawn (briefly) away from "Howl" by the allure of "Bee Movie," which he watched so much that he wore out a DVD, which I didn't even think was possible, but the bottom line is: Mr Bunches liked anime and also watched this Mononoke thing, but I never got to watch them much because we don't spend our time watching movies when I'm around. When I'm around, we have to do things like playing "Chase The Crab," where we re-enact that scene in the kitchen where Sebastian is chased around by an insane Chef. How insane is he? Even AFTER the chef (and everyone else) finds out that mermaids are real and the sea life are intelligent and can talk, even AFTER that, the Chef tries to kill Sebastian AT ARIEL'S WEDDING. That is insane.

    (I am always the chef, when we play that game.)

    I've sort of lost track of where I was. By the way, my name's Briane. Nice to meet you. I have a tendency to ramble when I don't know what else to say. But you don't seem boring, even if you are intellectual.

    1. Briane, I think I can honestly say that I've never had a comment like this before. Thanks for saying I'm not boring. Though I don't think I would say that anime is an intellectual pursuit. It's more like what I dive into after I'm through being intellectual for the day. Not that it isn't awesome, because it is. Howl's Moving Castle is also one of my favorites. I love pretty much everything Miyazaki does. (Nausicaa is still top of the list though.)

  5. Ashitaka is definitely an excellent prince and Princess Mononoke is one of the best Japanese Anime movies ever. He is selfless and willing to do whatever he can to protect life and anything sacred. You made a great choice picking him over Disney Princes and congrats to Rachel on her new book.

  6. @Briane: So we should all chip in and get you one of those chef's hats for Christmas? I'd say a meat cleaver, too, but the idea of that scares me.

  7. I've actually never heard of Ashitaka before, but we need more princes. ;)

  8. I've seen bits of this before and didn't understand it. Now, I'd like to find it again and watch it! I love anime :) Great choice! And I love your header picture.

  9. I love that you have such a unique Prince pick. The music is amazing, I agree.


  10. Oh, I had seen a trailer and listened to a couple of songs from this movie!
    Now I want to watch it asap =)

  11. I'm glad I could introduce so many people to Princess Mononoke. It's one of my all time favorite movies and a true artistic masterpiece.


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