Monday, January 16, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Witch Child (2002)

“In the town live witches nine: three in worsted, three in rags, and three in velvet fine...” 

Witch Child by Celia Rees details the story of Mary Newbury and her journey from a witch trial in England that nearly cost her life, to her newNew England near Salem in 1659.  Told in diary format as a series of entries we get Mary's first-hand account of her grandmother's trial and her journey to the dangerous new land of America.

Reading this story I am once again struck how easily superstition can take ahold of an ignorant populace and drive them to madness.  We see this in England, on the ship to the new world and in New England as well.

Mary's magic is a subtle sort. Despite some fantastic embellishments the scenes with magic could be explained via science and imagination or they could honestly be magic.
The book itself is a quick read and the conclusion, while what I expected, was still enjoyable.  The story could have been set in the same time and place as The Witch, Eyes of Fire and the Daylight Gate.

I will admit the cover struck me. It reminds me of the cover of the WitchCraft RPG.

There is a sequel to this, but I have not picked it up yet.
2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 2
Level: Initiate
Witches in this book: 3
Are Good Witches or Bad Witches: 3 at least.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Again, Colonial Gothic 3.0
Use in WotWQ: Maybe. I love the idea of the scared villagers as a potential "monster" here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lazy Sunday: Continuing Education Edition, Magic in the Middle Ages

It's Sunday. I am sitting here drinking my coffee and watching my son make sushi for lunch.
(Of course, I had some for breakfast!)

I saw another blog posting about a Coursera class on Magic in the Middle Ages.

For those that don't know, Coursera is an online MOOC, a Massive Oline Open Classroom. Professors from different universities around the world put up an online classroom to learn various topics.  They can be fairly fun and educational. I am a fan. (My second Ph.D. field of study was on how people build communities on learners online).  So I signed up.

The course is sponsored by the University of Barcelona ("Universitat de Barcelona") and taught by a team of professors and instructors.

It is a five-week course with video, discussions, reading and quizzes.  Now as a college professor myself I HATE quizzes for college age students, but for a MOOC you kinda need them.

The course looks like it is a lot of fun AND it is still open if you want to sign up as well.
Week 3, Magic to Witchcraft looks like the most fun for me.

The course is $49.00 (less if you have a code) or FREE if you opt for the non-certificate option.
I took the non-certificate choice. I really don't need any continuing education credits anymore.

I think it is going to be great.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Larina gets "Rather Gamey" (?)

So last year (snerk-December) I was talking with Shawn at +Studio Arkhein and the mad genius over at Rather Gamey. I really enjoy his posts and art and thought it might be fun to get some custom art in his style.

Well here are the fruits of his labor!

I have to say I am pretty thrilled with this.

She looks like she is getting ready for some moonlight dancing by the fires of Beltane.
Actually, the NSFW version on his site is more appropriate for moonlight dancing by a bonfire.

Love the little differences artists can bring to my character.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: The Daylight Gate (2012)

"You are stubborn," said Roger Nowell. 
"I am not tame," said Alice Nutter.

By no means she is.

Jeanette Winterson's "The Daylight Gate" is a retelling of one of England's most infamous witch episodes; the Lancaster Witches.
I have covered this ground before both William Harrison Ainsworth's "The Lancashire Witches" and in a more fantastic version with "The Last Apprentice: books by Joseph Delaney.  The case is also related to "The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster" and even more remote "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness.

Winterson takes the story of the witches of Pendle Hill in Lancaster and retells it from the point of view of Alice Nutter, the odd one out in the witch trials.  Unlike all the others accused she was well off, rich even, and more than a match for the powerful men in this tale.

Really that is what this about; the differences between men and women, the powerful and powerless, the so-called just and the victims.   It is easy to hate the men of religion in this and see the "witches" as helpless victims of circumstance.  Indeed it would have been all too easy for Winterson to write that tale.  Thankfully she is much more skilled than that.

While she does not deviate from history's ending (much) there is some room for her to play around with this tale.   The cameos of John Dee and Shakespeare were also quite fun. All in all I thought it was a great, fast read.

What attracted me to this book was the time.  King James was terrified of witches. He was a learned man, seemingly rational. Very well read and well educated.  And utterly terrified of witches.

The title refers to the "liminal hour" between daylight and night.  Here I have talked about liminals and "in-betweens" forever. Witches are in-between Wizards and Clerics. My own Petty God, Nox and her companion Syla are also reflective of this.  Nox is the Goddess of this time. I called it the "Near Dark" but the "Daylight Gate" is also appropriate. Syla herself is a liminal. She is between mortal and divine, as well as human and elf.

The summoning that Alice Nutter uses at the liminal gate (and taught to her by John Dee) would also make a great spell to summon Nox.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 1
Level: Initiate
Witches in this book: 0, 2, or more than a dozen depending on how you look at it.
Are Good Witches or Bad Witches: A little of both.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Colonial Gothic 3.0
Use in WotWQ: Alice Nutter is totally a Witch Queen! Maybe not in power, but certainly her attitude.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Movie: The Lure

Mermaids are not something I think about or use very often.  I will admit that after "Splash" came out I wanted to try an underwater campaign, or at least an ocean-based one. But I don't remember actually ever using a mermaid, merman or even a triton in my games.

That all being said I am really looking forward to this new movie "The Lure" described as a Mermaid Horror Musical Comedy.  I mean mermaids have to sing right? That is part and parcel with their myths.  While Hollywood seems content on remakes and sequels, we have to go abroad for something original.

Here is the "Red Band" trailer.

Pretty weird right?
Looks like it could be a lot of fun too.

It is by brand new director Agnieszka Smoczynska.  She has a vision that is certain.

I love hearing about her influences. Glamor amongst poverty. I am looking forward to seeing what else she can do.

Hopefully, I'll be able to add this my October Horror Movie Marathon.

This does give me an idea. What if Kuo-Toa, who were described as living on land once, have a mermaid-like sub-species. Something that is appealing to humans, but used as a lure.  Like something out of the movie Dagon.  I might have to watch this before October!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year! Tell What You Have/Do/Make!

So I started this posting on Facebook today and it is really taking off.

So I want to continue it here.

I know so many wickedly talented and smart people. A lot of them read this blog.

So in the comments below and/or on Google+ please share what you are doing, making, selling or otherwise want people to know about. Share.  When I get back from my meetings today I'll also share some, but don't wait on me. Toot your own horn!

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

It's 2017 and time for some new challenges. Or maybe an old challenge with new choices.
I am planning on participating in the 2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge over at Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.

I participated in 2015 and 2016. I did well in 2015 getting 25 witch books read.  Last year I didn't get any since I spent most of my reading time with the history of England.

This year I already had a couple of books lined up so I figured it was a good thing to do. I had a lot of fun in 2015 with this.

This year I think I want to post reviews as soon as I am done reading them rather than waiting till the end of the month.  I also want to post more RPG-related material based on the books I am reading.  Plus anything I can add to my War of the Witch Queens adventures.  I think I will also expand a little what I consider a witch too.

In any case I think this is going to be a lot of fun.