The Thirteen Houses Project: Dahlia

[Once a month for the next twelve months, I will be doing a post on the 13th of each month based on one of the Thirteen Houses of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers from Kushiel’s Legacy.]

Another month, another entry in the Thirteen Houses Project. This month’s House is Dahlia. This house’s motto is “Uptight and unbending,” and its canon is dignity and regality. The house maintains that when Naamah lay with the King of Persis, she “bestowed herself like a queen.”

This is one of the houses that we don’t know much about, although in Kushiel’s Dart it’s implied that the adepts of this house may have some issues with Cereus House’s prominence in Terre D’Ange.

I thought about talking about this house last month, but so many topics came to mind that I decided to do an easier house and come back to this one, and, to be honest, I still can’t seem to limit this post to one topic. I thought about discussing the concept of sovereignty and how I believe it applies to the Vanir, or a general discussion of depictions of queens in media and why certain franchises My Little Pony are all about the princesses (hint: marketing, and sexism). I could also discuss how some have begun to reclaim the archetype of Queen as an addition to the Maiden. Mother, Crone thing (the Queen isn’t the only one, it’s just relevant to the topic). I was going to talk about the concept of “sacred kingship” (or queenship. in this case) and how what some Pagan authors (read: Edain McCoy and the like) have to say about this topic makes absolutely no sense (does anyone even take McCoy seriously anymore?) but I thought that was best saved for tumblr.

Since I’m so indecisive, I’m just going to wander from topic to topic and hope it all makes sense.

I was originally going to do a post on this topic a while ago, but just never got around to it. As some of you may know. I’m a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, it’s set in the Kingdom of Equestria, and its ruler is Princess Celestia.

“Princess?” You say. “Why isn’t it a principality then? Or why isn’t Celestia a queen?”

Well, a fellow fan was wondering that same thing, so they asked creator Lauren Faust about it. Her response is just, well, you can read it for yourself here.

Basically, Princess Celestia isn’t Queen Celestia because of Disney movies, or rather, because Hasbro believes that because of Disney movies, princesses are seen as good and queens are seen as evil.  This reminds me of something one of my women’s studies professors said about how the most powerful women in movies and TV are often the villains, and in Disney movies (or, hell, fairy tales in general) powerful women tend to be queens, because, well, feudalism and shit.

I just can’t help but reflect on how sad and angry this makes me. You either have The High Queen (which has its own share of problems) or the puppy-kicking Evil Queen. There is no middle ground! Shut up there isn’t!

This is why it was so important to me to have a queen regnant in The Eldermaid, and it was also important to me that she was a (mostly) good queen, not a perfect queen, mind you, she’s only human and fails massively in a few ways, but definitely not a puppy-kicker, the puppy-kicking goes to the villain in the novel.

If you ask me, what this all boils down to is that people (read: cis men) are scared shitless of powerful women.

Actually, this brings me to that other topic I mentioned, about how some women are reclaiming the Queen as an addition to the Maiden Mother Crone life stage thing, but even here, they seem petrified of portraying “queenly” goddesses as anything other than “good queens who make the earth all fertile and stuff”. Then again, this isn’t too surprising, as some Goddess-focused Pagans do everything in their power to minimize associations of women (divine, semi-divine, and otherwise) with war.

Seriously, where the fuck are my Warrior Queens? Where’s all the kicking ass and taking names? And I’m not talking about some viking dudebro’s wet dream of Freyja with a boobplate.  Speaking of which, apart from some calling Freyja “Queen of the Valkyries” and I have no idea where that comes from, she isn’t really thought of as “queen-like” in the same way Frigga is, but if I get into one more topic it’ll be the end of me for the night.

In short, everything to do with queens and such inevitably disappoints me, but at least I got this off my chest.

Photo credit: Dahlia “Dahlstar Sunset Pink” by Ramin Nakisa (via Wikipedia)
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One thought on “The Thirteen Houses Project: Dahlia

  1. I am mother to a fabulous wee little girl, and as such, I am trying to raise her to be a conscious woman. She has claimed the title “Princess” and I am teaching her what it means to be a Queen. Shame on Disney for making strong women appear evil!!

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