Friday, February 22, 2008

More on Hags


Hags make for interesting villains in any story. They look human-ish, and some are indistinguishable from old women. Despite their hateful ways (see this article), hags are sometimes depicted as being almost sympathetic characters.

Take the russian hag Baba Yaga for instance. A cruel eater of men, women, children and anything else she can grasp, this monster was also capable of great kindness towards brave and misused people, sometimes acting on behalf of a misused orphan or other innocent. Was this due to a kind heart under all of that evil? I doubt it.

Rather I suspect that such glimmers of humanity from monsters (for a monster she was), has more to do with the hidden rules that seem to govern magical beings. That-is, they are compelled towards certain responses to the right words, actions or people.

We see aspects of the "hidden rules" that govern magical being thruought folklore and myth. From dealing with gods and dragons, to lesser beings such as fairies and sorcerers. Destiny has a different sort of role for these beings, one that though more potent, is quite restrictive in certain circumstances.
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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan