domingo, 31 de enero de 2016

SINCE I TURN 24 TODAY...

SINCE I TURN 24 TODAY...

I guess that I'll turn at least a little older and wiser.






So far, I have been given lavender soap and bath salts (Scented Garden Warm Lavender), the El Último de la Fila box set, and my very own MP3. Not to mention the cool blingy Wellingtons or the Blackstar CD/DVD (the swan song of David Bowie, may the Seven be with him). And the cake that I'll get for supper will surely be delicious.
My friends and family have showered me with greetings, both live and on Facebook, and I feel in the best of moods! What ever could go wrong? TODAY IS MY (NAME/BIRTH-) DAY!!!

jueves, 28 de enero de 2016

MUSINGS ON DRUGGING...

When Domild hears the news from the messenger she feigns joy and “celebrates” by intoxicating the messenger to the point of delirium so that she can do her evil. While the messenger lies insensible, Domild, by the consent of her clerk, opens the letters sent to the king and replaces them with her own fabrications.

Domild, realizing that the messenger carries orders from her son, gets the messenger intoxicated (as before), opens the letters, rewrites her own set of orders in the name of the king, and places the king’s seal on it for authenticity.  The messenger delivers the forged letters.

She (the queen) gets the messenger intoxicated in order to gain access to the letters.

ON GENDER ROLES:

By having Domild take up the pen, a traditionally male instrument in the Middle Ages, and impersonate her son, Trevet de-feminized the king’s mother, allowing readers to differentiate the behaviour of the other “mannish” women in the text.  Here I do not speak of the phallic pen when calling a pen a “traditionally male instrument.”  Female literacy in medieval England was considered a threat to the patriarchal order, and most women were not given an authoritative voice even over their own work (Margery Kempe, for example, had to have two male scribes to validate her text in the male-dominated medieval tradition).  Domild’s direct agency in writing the letters, then, made her masculine.
Later, Gower’s choice of death for Domilde further evinces his attempts to effeminize Trevet’s Domild.  In Trevet’s version, Domild was slaughtered by the sword, a traditionally male death.  Gower, however, has Domilde burned at the stake—a punishment often reserved for women guilty of sorcery, or plotting against a lord.

Compare Story the Fourth of The Snow Queen, in which the princess writes herself the proclamation for her engagement challenge... (Anyway, this fascinating character is a product of the nineteenth century, NOT the Middle Ages, and gender roles had been changed and defied significantly in between):


In this kingdom, a peaceful and modest land (a great baroque castle-palace, a market village below for a capital, a few scattered hamlets and farmsteads here and there, and a dark firwood forest at the edge), there lives a princess of unusual cleverness.
They say she owns as many books as all crows in the land have feathers, and studies philosophy and art and other such things, and speaks Latin as easily as you please. 
The late king made his daughter his heir, you see, because his son was the younger of the two, and the crown here always goes to the eldest, so he had her trained in statescraft instead of the usual occupations of young women. But this open-minded ruler sadly passed away when the royal children had reached a quite early age, his health ruined by drinking and losing a great war. 
The regency was entrusted to the princess's unmarried aunt, who was aware of the kingdom's traditions and hadn't opposed her brother's education plans. This tragedy did not affect the royal children's lives: they were looked after by an army of foreign governesses and tutors, brought from the finest seats of learning the known world had to offer. These tutors where the ones who encouraged the Crown Princess's thirst for knowledge, and they saw her grow both fairer and brighter for each year, until she finally came of age.
A short time ago, after ruling for several years just as well as any prince could have done, she
turned to her advisors and spoke the following words:
‘Why should I not be married?’
‘Why not indeed?’ they said, and so she determined to marry if she could find a husband who knew what to say when he was spoken to, and not one who could only look grand, for that would be tiresome. Then she assembled her entire court together in the palace gardens and told them of her intentions, to much rejoicing and acclaim.
The garden was full of moonlight, turning the snow-covered flowerbeds into great sheets of silver. The fountains were dry, because of the cold, and the princess's gardeners had set little statues carved of ice atop them to take the place of the streams of water.
The princess's advisors suggested putting notices in the newspapers, but she declined on the grounds that this would attract too many men of the ordinary sort. Instead, she wrote a proclamation out herself, in Latin, and had it copied out and affixed to the doors of every University in three kingdoms.
The notice stated that every young man who was handsome was free to visit the castle and speak with the princess; and those who could reply loud enough to be heard when spoken to, were to make themselves quite at home at the palace; but the one who spoke best would be chosen as a husband for the princess.
Scholars and alchemists and theologians and other learned men came in crowds, until the palace was quite crowded with men in black gowns, but not one of them was able to meet the requirements. They could all speak very well in a lecture hall, or outside on the streets, but when they stood in the great hall of the palace, surrounded by gilded plasterwork, and rose-red tapestries, and great, silver mirrors that glowed with the light of a thousand candles, and saw the counts and barons in all their finery, and the guards in blue and silver uniforms, they grew nervous, and felt themselves shabby, though they all wore their best academic robes of black silk. And when they were called up to stand before the princess herself, seated on her throne with her golden hair as bright as the candles, they could do nothing but repeat the last thing she had said. And so she soon grew bored with each man, and sent them away.
There was quite a long line of them reaching from the town-gate to the palace. They looked very foolish standing there, jabbering away at one another like so many crows, as practice for when they went inside.
Yet somewhere, at one of the universities where the notice had been sent, there was a surpassingly clever student, a young man in appearance but with the wit of an older one, who read the notice and was drawn to it. He had been a gifted child, fond of reading, and he even enticed some of his classmates to jealousy with the sharpness of his mind, in spite of his social standing. And thus, he left the college for the court of one of the nearby kingdoms, to prove if the princess was as clever as the notice stated, thinking that he may as well meet his intellectual equal.
This confident youth arrived there on the third day. He came on foot, and did not wear a black robe like the others, and he was tall and thin, with very dark hair. He was clean shaven and with grey streaks at his temples, though he was still young. The part of his hair that was not grey was so dark.
The moon was high overhead the palace gardens, its light so bright that around and within the garden wall. The garden was full of moonlight, turning the snow-covered flowerbeds into great sheets of silver. The fountains were dry, because of the cold, and the princess's gardeners had set little statues carved of ice atop them to take the place of the streams of water.
When he passed through the palace gates, he saw the guards in their silver and blue uniforms, and the nobles in all their splendor, but was not the least embarrassed, though his own clothes were faded and worn. He went boldly up to the princess herself, who was seated on a throne entirely covered in mother of pearl, and all the ladies of the court were present with their maids, and all the counts and barons and knights with their servants; and every one of them was dressed so finely that they shone as brightly as the mirrors. Even the servants wore cloth of gold, and they were all so proud that they would not even look at him, because he had come to the palace with ink on his fingers.
He was quite solemn and not at all afraid, and said he had not come to woo the princess, but to hear her wisdom; and he was as pleased with her as she was with him.
The soldiers in their blue and silver uniforms look somewhat worried into the throne room. The princess's younger brother is their captain, and he guards his sister's welfare most faithfully. They say he is a most fearsome young firebrand indeed. So he was slightly jealous of this tattered stranger. But his heart was soon won by the kindness of his future brother-in-law, and thus, the fair-haired captain swore allegiance to the royal couple.
Today, the princess was walking in the garden.
And so, holding each other hand in hand, they reached the first landing of the long staircase, where a lamp was burning. Beside it stood a bust of the goddess Minerva.
There was, within the palace, at the end of the long staircase, a series of halls, each grander than the last. First came a hall with a floor of white marble, hung with tapestries of crimson silk. Then a hall with a floor of pink marble, hung with paintings of such size and magnificence that one would ordinarily have stopped to admire them, the richness of the tints, and the skill of the brush strokes, followed in turn by a third hall, which had a floor of black and white marble laid in squares like a chessboard, and which was hung with mirrors in gilded frames.
The princess's bedchamber was more magnificent still, with all the gold and silk and marble, a great canopy bed in the middle, the bed-curtains thickly embroidered with gold and silver thread. Through a narrow gap in the bed-curtains, one could see a head of dark hair, quite black.
The princess and the new prince were asleep in one another's arms, his face quite hidden in her golden hair.
Then the princess woke as well, and sat up and asked what was the matter.
The prince and the princess, learned as they both were, looked quite sorrowful, though the prince asked with a keen interest after a great alchemist, saying that they had been at University together once.
The princess, regretting that she could not help more, and not at all angry to be woken in the middle of the night by a stranger standing in her bedchamber, offered to have another notice delivered through three kingdoms.
And then the prince and princess summoned servants.
The following day, they were served breakfast in a great hall, out of a golden bowl, and the prince and princess talked about what he had seen on his journeys, and about art, which the princess had studied a little, in between reading philosophy books, and about military tactics, and they invited us to stay at the palace for a few days, and enjoy ourselves.
... a fine, tall horse, its hide a deep grey color like polished steel, with a black mane and tail. Its saddle and bridle were trimmed with silver bells, and its saddle-cloth had the prince and princess's coats of arms, entwined, embroidered on it in silk thread.
The prince and princess themselves wished success, from the garden gate.
“Farewell, farewell,” cried the prince and princess.
Half a year later, we met a robber boy in the woods and asked after the prince and princess.
“They are gone to foreign countries,” said the robber-boy. "On a great voyage of exploration,
and they have taken the princess's brother, her captain of the guard, with them, and also one of the prince's oldest friends."


Compare also my stage retelling of the same subplot as Story the Fourth, Retold and Uncut, and my Westeros AU "The Fourth Tale of Septa Poppine", with its deviant heroine Elysenne of Tarth, who writes, paints, and even goes to war in drag:
Thus, she had to part from Renly and from Storm's End, returning home to her own land and kin, no matter how much she regretted it, and no matter if her guardian chided her. Sending a reply written with all her heart as soon as she had finished reading the letter, she turned to the Storm King, who was now feeling far better, and told him that she had to leave for Tarth that very day.
[···]
The next day and for many days after that, she would ride on her own along the cliffs of Evenfall, or lock herself in the library, her head buried in her hands, reading old histories and philosophical writings, and writing war poetry. Sometimes her steps took her up to the Twilight Tower, whose walls she would climb, and there she would stand in sunshine or rain, even if lightning flashed around her, and return home drenched and weather-beaten.
[···]
Shutting herself in the library with ink, primroses, and tassel hyacinths, and her breastplate for a mirror, she spent the whole next day, from dawn until way after dusk, with her head buried in her hands, working on as many portraits of herself as she knew great houses in the Stormlands: Durrandon, Caron, Dondarrion, Selmy, Connington, Hasty, Penrose... plus one, a portrait that she had intended to keep herself for the test she had in mind. She drew her face the way it was, without changing a detail or missing one of her countless freckles, and, when the ink on all her portraits had dried up, coloured her tightly braided hair golden with the sap of the primrose, and her brightly shining eyes blue with the jelly inside the flowers of the tassel hyacinth, on every picture, now as true to her face as the mirror image on polished steel which she had taken for a lead to draw the pictures. Each of the portraits filled the upper half of a scroll, and now, on the empty lower half of each scroll except only one (the one she had intended to keep for herself), she wrote the following proclamation in her own handwriting:
"A contest has now begun at Evenfall Hall.
Every good-looking young man of rank aged between eighteen and twenty-eight years, and belonging to one of the great houses to whom these proclamations have been sent, is free to present himself at the royal castle on the Sapphire Isle of Tarth, where his strength, his nerve, his wit, and his heart will be put to the test by none other than the princess of said kingdom. Should all of the trials reveal him as the one most endowed with good qualities and virtues, she will give her heart and hand, as reward for gathering, in both body and spirit, the most qualities worth of praise.
Upon that we rely and open the contest,
Elysenne of Tarth."
In the meantime, her old guardian had, following Elysenne's advice, sent homing ravens with requests, which Elysenne had written in advance, to both the Water Gardens and Highgarden. She had not told him what the rulers of the Reach and Dorne had to do with her scheme, keeping it a secret, but she had told Axell to give her the little parcels that they would receive for replies the next day. When the parcels were already in Elysenne's hands, she sent the ravens with the proclamations across the Straits of Tarth, to all of her prospective suitors, and then sauntered down to the forge of Evenfall to receive something that she had ordered the smith to make right before she had made all of those self-portraits and written the letters to the Reach and Dorne. Leaving the forge with something precious hidden in her clenched fist, and carrying the only picture of herself that she had kept in her left hand, she entered her bedchamber and did a quick trick with both her hands ere she sauntered into bed and fell fast asleep, dreaming of all the young men who had fought by her side during the war. Soon, all of them would stand by the ivy-grown walls of the Hall, and then before her throne, and her heart would get to know which one of them was meant to share both their lives.


Christina Vasa is even shown reading and writing, riding like a man, little caring for her appearance... in my works. The Swedish enlightened queen, like Andersen's princess of unusual cleverness and Shakespeare's lawyer Portia, was one of the inspirations behind my character of Elysenne of Tarth.


.........................................................................................................................................................

1) Love interests in fairytale given injections (instead of tainted drinks) to render them unconscious:
Apparently, the use of drugging is conditio sine qua non for the motif of forged letters: a narcotized/drugged person is disabled by being unconscious, a state of mind that can be taken advantage of. To substitute the real letters carried by a messenger with forged ones, to break out of prison, to make love to a reluctant beloved, to keep said beloved out of a rival's reach, to injure a weakened rival, to spirit someone away elsewhere... 
Rarely, another device than the classical one of offering a draught, laced or not, is used to render secondary characters unconscious: the czarina who is Finist's second/false/rival bride sticks a tainted hairpin into the nape of his neck (in most versions of the tale: others have her give him a draught, via cupbearer or hand to hand), while the Icelandic tale of Märthöll (a surprising spin on the "prince and pauper" and "fair bride and dark bride" formulae: in which the handmaid/best friend replaces the princess during her betrothal, swapping clothes, to save her from a fairy curse) has handmaid Helga stick a tainted thorn into the prince bridegroom so he does not see the effects of the curse and shy away from marriage to Märthöll. Both young men recover as soon as the pin/thorn is removed from their skin... Instead of receiving the drug orally in a liquid dose, the classic way, these male secondary characters are given what appears to be a preindustrial IV injection. Which has its pros and cons: the drugged person cannot expel the drug through vomit, but the pain felt due to the injection piercing the skin and/or the bleeding at the site of the puncture may raise suspicions...

2) Where is that estranged reason?
When it comes to describing unconscious, intoxicated, or deranged people in literature... the fate of their somehow estranged reason is often described. Don Quixote lost it (out of too much reading); the messenger in Emaré, and Lieutenant Cassio, had it stolen (by the liquid "enemy" they had drunk); the youngest of the Sacrilegious Gamesters and a nineteenth-century English student had it dethroned and in exile following the coup d'état (though the rightful heir that is reason would return to claim her throne from the usurper). The messenger in Chaucer's MoLT? His mind is gone (again, due to ethyl excess). Sigismund in Life a Dream has his reason "bereft, stolen, and stripped", which "leaves him a living corpse", violently taking away his mental faculties. The messenger in Trivet's Chronicle is "made so drunk with an evil drink which laid hold of his brain, and bound his senses so strongly, that he lay as if insensible, and as a dead man", and then, the next morning, he arises "quite sick and ill-at-ease through the badness of the drink which had envenomed his brain." Aerys Targaryen, in my Game of Wands AU, is described using all of these metaphors related to unreason: this character's sanity slippage due to wartime trauma is the catalyst for the whole action. And it all was due to an argument between Aerys and Tywin, the two of them having fallen out before one of them was taken prisoner.


Thrice he gave it to him, and thrice he drank, not knowing what it was, and how it would work within his brain.
...

And as he spake he fell back in a drunken sleep.


3): "He drank until his belt had firm support..."
Other Chaucer versions of this MoLT verse says he stuffs his girdle, underpins his girdle, or drinks until his girdle is too tight. We might say we have this much liquor (or experience) under our belts. Speaking of which... The finale of the Baratheon Saga sees Margot Tyrell marry Gottfried Baratheon (the latter) in Schutzstaffel uniform, as black and sharp as it can be. And, of course, at the wedding feast, dramatic irony unfurls beyond the point of no return:

Raising his cup to the sky ere his lips would touch it, Gottfried Baratheon-von Lännister praised his bride and confidently said that he was to drink her health. Margot raised her cup as well, clinking it lower than his, looking at his whole frame, from the peach-fuzz on his upper lip all the way to the belt of his tight black Schutzstaffel trenchcoat, under which, inside his midriff, was the next destination of the laced draught.
[···]
The Lorrainian brandy was then searing his throat, and the Schutzstaffel officer felt its agreeable warmth spread from the back of his mouth, down his gullet and into his chest, behind his sternum, behind his throbbing heart, deeper in, through his diaphragm, and then stopped at the height of his solar plexus, where his ribcage ended, producing a warmer and more intense glow, the sensation of having swallowed a draught of liquid fire, inside his midsection, right under his shiny belt buckle. At the same time, Gottfried felt more clear-headed and light-hearted, pleased with the draught once it had gone down at last, relishing the inner warmth it had offered, but still stark unaware that his death was closing in on the sources of his life.


4) The Circles of Sin...
There is the view that every sinful/forbidden/deviant act consists of four stages, in this order:
i) Resolution
ii) Delight
iii) Consent
iv) the Sinful Act proper
It is crystal clear in most cases, as we can observe.



5) Plying and gender:
Remarks:
Intoxication, ethyl intoxication, intoxicación etílica. The Swedish version of the expression, "etylförgiftning", cannot be clearer. Ethyl excess can even be lethal. Also noteworthy is the gender and adherence to, or rather, deviance from, gender roles (in the drugged messenger motif) of the plyer (a mannish villainess) and the plied (a trusting servant). The cup as a weapon of the weak and/or the shrewd (Iago on Cassio, or *I support the theory!* Oberyn on Tywin): whether to kill or to drug that person. The so-called three nights tales (in which the villainess drugs the love interest to keep him for herself and not lose him to the heroine) and The Cattle Raid of Cooley prove great examples of strong females who are shrewd enough to use the cup instead of the blade or gun to further their aims, and so do Cersei Lannister and Olenna Tyrell, not to mention Countess Clara von Platen in the Königsmarck affair.

ENEMY AT THE GATES

Go!Princess Precure - Episode 48 (Finale Part 1-3):

MY OWN REVIEW

ENEMY AT THE GATES

Previously on Go!Princess Precure: THE HOPE KINGDOM IS FINALLY FREE!!!
BUT LADY DYSPEAR HAS ANOTHER REALM/DIMENSION IN HER POINT OF VIEW...
AND IT'S OURS.




In the end, the four rainbows have converged on the Dysdark palace, filling it with colour and erasing it.




KANATA: The Hope Kingdom...

The streets of the towns are colourful and peaceful once more.

But the denizens of the HK, and the King and Queen, are still trapped beyond the Door of Despair.

CURE SCARLET: Our country is revived!!!

KANATA: Now all that we have to do is open the Door of Despair.
(To free his parents and subjects, who are trapped beyond it. So come on!)






MME SHAMOUR: After I heard what Cure Flora said about princesses, I think there is nothing more I can teach you. Mes leçons sont finies!

AT LAST, THE HK IS FREE!!! (Pops a bottle of Moët and begins to pour herself a glass)... Now all to do, as Kanata said, is to free the royal pair and their subjects! But... Is that Lady Dyspear I hear...? and does she say... (Pause.) SEVEN GODS!!! (Drains her cup at one fell swoop)

DYSPEAR: I have no business for the Hope Kingdom, I give it back to you.






"You can have the Hope Kingdom. Earth is my prize now!" Finally, the HK had been completely freed from Dysdark rule, and all that was left to do was freeing the trapped subjects of the Kingdom. Dyspear then suddenly announces that she is no longer interested in the HK and teleports herself before Noble Academy.
So yes, we have reached our purpose... but it ain't over till the dark lady sings. And I'm all like WHAM. I did not at all expect that Spanish Inquisition. I'm like this: (*O*): Eyes like oranges, maw like an open oven, brain teeming with sudden questions about the Dysdarks.



THE ENEMY IS AT THE GATES OF NOBLE ACADEMY...




SHUT IS BACK.







RANKO FREAKS OUT.



OUR HEROES RETURN FROM THE HOPE KINGDOM...



...TO FACE THE LAST STAND.







OUT OF LOVE, YUKI PULLS HARUKA OUT OF HARM'S WAY.

SEIRA AND AYAKA (SEIRA FIRST) RUSH TO HELP MINAMI.

MRS. SHIROGANE AND YUME CAN'T LET THEIR STUDENTS BE IN HARM'S WAY.

RANKO IS STILL PESTERING KIRARA.




NOBLE ACADEMY BECOMES A DYSDARK FORTRESS.


THE ELDERS ARE CONCERNED. TOWA IS AWESTRUCK. RANKO IS STILL HYPED.

MINAMI GOES FORTH, TO THE COUNCIL'S SURPRISE...

RANKO HOLDS KIRARA BACK...

TOWA IS HELL-BENT ON DEFEATING THE DYSDARKS.

 PRECURE PRINCESS ENGAGE!!!






 KIRARA'S TRANSFORMATION (AND MAYBE HER NUDITY) SENDS RANKO INTO HER LIFETIME'S GREATEST STATE OF SHOCK.








THE HEADMISTRESS AND HER NEW FRIENDS ARE SURPRISED BY FINDING OUT TOWA IS CURE SCARLET.
YUME: The transfer student... is a warrior princess!?



THE COUNCIL IS ALSO SURPRISED BY MINAMI'S TRANSFORMATION. 

SEIRA: I didn't know that Minami cosplayed...

YUKI HAS A GREAT REALIZATION.

YUKI (in shock): Haruka... is... Cure Flora!?

KANATA STEPS TO THE FRONTLINES.

 AND SO DOES CURE SCARLET.

 EVERYONE ELSE IS AGHAST.

RANKO GETS HYPED. 
AND REIKO CAN'T BELIEVE PUFF IS TALKING.





YUKI REALIZES THAT YUI KEPT THE PRECURES' SECRET.
YUKI: Yui, you don't seem surprised at all.


YUKI (determined): You knew all of this!? Answer!!
YUI: (no reply, brooding)

SEIRA: Really?
AYAKA: Please tell us what is going to happen!

YUI WAVERS...


YUI (caught unaware): Um...






 ...AND YUKI PROTECTS HER. LIKE A REAL KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR.

WITHIN THE FORTRESS...
DYSPEAR: The Precures are coming.
CLOSE (bowing before her): I know what to do.



CLOSE: Your Ladyship, what is your command?

SHE GIVES HIM SOME STRANGE DARK CLOTH...

It's clearly Lock's tattered cowl, as you can see from the horns and the dragon wings.



KANATA WONDERS WHAT THE VILLAINS ARE PLANNING...




STOP AND FREEZE DEFEND THE FORTRESS WITH THEIR GAZERBEAMS.

THE CROWN PRINCE CASTS A FORCE FIELD TO DEFEND HIS ALLIES...



KANATA (to Stop & Freeze): I will be your opponent!
MME. SHAMOUR (to the Cures): You four go on ahead!

KANATA: Your opponents...
MME. SHAMOUR: ...we will be!!

KANATA: Eh, Shamour... can you fight?
MME. SHAMOUR: Don't underestimate me! I have fought Shut before!!

AND THUS, KANATA TAKES ON FREEZE...


KANATA: Even we...

 ...WHILE SHAMOUR AND STOP DUKE IT OUT.


MME. SHAMOUR: ...can stop you as well!

A WILD CLOSE APPEARS, WITH THAT SICKENING GRIN OF HIS.
CLOSE (To the Precures): He he he! Your opponent is not me! (Commanding.) Go ahead, Lock!

PRECURES (surprised, unison): Lock!?

EVEN SHUT IS UNABLE TO BELIEVE IT.
SHUT (surprised): Lock!?

YES. LOCK IS FRICKING BACK.



 THE PRECURES' USUAL ATTACKS DO NOTHING ON THE NEW LOCK.



 CURE TWINKLE'S FULL MOON SHIELD EVEN FLINCHES.

 TIME TO TAKE OUT THE HEAVY ARTILLERY (TRINITY EXPLOSION WORKED BEFORE, DIDN'T IT?)

 TO NO AVAIL. LOCK JUST ABSORBS MORE AND MORE PRECURE ATTACKS, BECOMING STRONGER THE MORE POWER HE QUAFFS.


EVEN CURE SCARLET IS POWERLESS.



NO MATTER HOW HARD THE PRECURES TRY.


 LOCK EVEN DEFENDS HIMSELF WITH NEW AND IMPROVED PURPLE FIRE.
SERIOUSLY, NOW HE'S EVEN MORE DIE-HARD THAN SHUT HIMSELF.

IN THE END, HAVING BEEN USED TO THE EXTREME, THE PRECURES' WANDS...



 ...SHATTER INTO TINY SHARDS.

 AND EVEN THE SCARLET VIOLIN...





 ...SHARES THE SAME UNPLEASANT FATE.

CURE SCARLET: My brother's violin...

WHAM.
THE PRECURES ARE UNARMED.

CLOSE: I've got an idea.

CLOSE TARGETS ALL OF NOBLE ACADEMY: TEACHERS, STUDENTS, AND THE REST OF THE STAFF.

 EVERYONE HAS THEIR DREAMS CLOSED: HEADMISTRESS MOCHIZUKI, DEPUTY HEAD ZAMA, MRS. SHIROGANE, KENTA, SEIRA, RANKO... EVEN THE PROMPTER.
BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE WHO REMAINS FREE.
AND THAT PERSON IS YUI NANASE.


THIS IS HER FOURTH TIME BEING TARGETED BY DYSDARKS, AND THUS, SHE RESISTS HARDER THAN EVER BEFORE...



...YET SHE FINALLY WAVERS AND FALLS. THIS IS HER FOURTH TIME.

LIKE THE LATEST TIME, YUI KEEPS HER EYES OPEN WHILE IMPRISONED. THERE ARE STILL HIGHLIGHTS (NO EMPTY EYES YET!), BUT SHE'S GOT AMNESIA.

THE DYSDARKS BEGIN TO HARVEST DESPAIR AT AN INDUSTRIAL SCALE...




...A POWER THAT IS ABSORBED, OR RATHER QUAFFED, BY LOCK...



...AND THE POWERLESS, UNARMED PRECURES WIND UP TRAPPED IN DYSDARK KUDZU.










RIGHT IN THE DARKEST HOUR, YUI'S RESOLVE SHOOTS UP.





YUI DECIDES TO BREAK FREE OF HER PRISON...






 ...AND SHE HAS FINALLY FREED HERSELF! WITHOUT ANY ASSISTANCE OF OTHERS!

KURORO & CO. RUSH FORWARDS, AMAZED THAT YUI HAS SET HERSELF FREE.

YUI IS THE NEW MESSIAH.

EVERYONE ELSE (SEE RANKO AND SEIRA?) IS TRAPPED IN A DARK DIMENSION, GLOWING PURPLE AND CROUCHED IN A FETAL POSITION, WITH THEIR EYES SHUT OF THEIR HEADS BURIED IN THEIR HANDS.

YUI REACHES OUT TO YUKI...






 ...WITH A SMILE AND AN OUTSTRETCHED HAND, THEN TO EVERYONE ELSE.

...EVERYONE IS SAVED (WE SEE EVERYONE AS YOUNG ADULTS: AYAKA AS A GRAND MASTER, SEIRA AS A BASEBALL BATTER, SHUN AS A MASTER SWORDSMAN, REIKO AS A JUDGE... [AND RANKO AS A POP STAR? SURELY])

YUKI: Yui!
CLOSE (shocked): What!?

RANKO (wiping her brow, savvy): Phew! I was so near not becoming a superstar...

CLOSE (shocked): Why!? Why are the Precures fighting over there!?

YUI AND THE PETS ARE SURPRISED...

...AND THE CURES ARE SURPRISED, THEN ELATED UPON HEARING THAT YUI HAS BROKEN HER PRISON ALL BY HERSELF.

SHE MODESTLY TONES IT DOWN.


WHILE LOCK IS BROKEN BY THE NA STUDENTS' AND STAFF'S ALL DREAMS COMBINED.


KURORO PLEADS THE PRECURES TO HAVE MERCY ON LOCK, WHO WAS ONCE PART OF HIM, AS HIS MASTER AND POSSESSOR.


LOCK IS CURBSTOMPED. CLOSE THINKS, "WHAT A USELESS RAG... I NEED TO GATHER MORE DESPAIR ASAP."

SO HE DECIDES TO TAKE ON THEM HIMSELF.
CLOSE (firing purple lightning from his hand): Let me finish all of you.

IN STORMS SHUT, WHO INTERCEPTS CLOSE'S LIGHTNING WITH HIS OWN ORANGE LIGHT, TO DEFEND THE PRECURES.



CLOSE (FURIOUS): SHUT!! WHAT THE HE** ARE YOU TRYING TO DO!!??

CURE SCARLET (surprised): Gasp!!


YEAH!!! (POP ANOTHER MOËT!!!) SHUT SAW THE LIGHT!!! (AMAZING GRACE, INSTRUMENTAL)
SHUT (furious, attacking Close): SHUT UP!!!
(Shrek 2, Fairy Godmother version)
I need a hero!!
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night!
He's gotta be strong
and he's gotta be fast
and he's gotta be fresh from the fight...
I need a hero!!
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light!
He's gotta be sure
and it's gotta be soon
and he's gotta be larger than LIFE,
larger than life...

MORE LIKE "SHUT UPPERCUT!!!" 
AND A POWERFUL ONE (THE ELEGANT, ARISTOCRATIC STRIPLING WAS SO STRONG!?).
CLOSE IS EVEN SPITTING BLOOD.




THEN, SHUT ADDRESSES LOCK, WHO STANDS THERE ALL WIDE-EYED...






SHUT:

All those days chasing down a daydream...
All those years living in a blur...
All that time never truly seeing
things the way they were...

And at last I've seen the light, 
and it's like the fog has lifted...
And at last I've seen the light, 
and it's like the sky is new...
And it's warm, and clear, and bright, 
and the world has somehow shifted...
All at once everything looks different...

SHUT (determined): Lock, let's escape from Dyspear's Dysdark curse!
LOCK: (No positive reply)

SHUT (determined): Now it's your time, Precures!

THE CURES DO GRAND PRINTEMPS ON LOCK, WHO VANISHES...
LOCK: Dreaming...

LOCK BECOMES A NORMAL COWL, WHICH HIS FORMER HOST KURORO EYES WITH THE SAME MOURNFUL LOOK HAMLET HAS WHILE WATCHING YORICK'S CRANIUM.
"Alas, poor Lock! I once knew him well..."


"Alas, poor Lock! I once knew him well..."

AT FIRST, IT APPEARS THAT SHUT SHALL WIN THIS EPIC BATTLE (AND WE ROOT FOR SHUT, DON'T WE?)


SUDDENLY, IN THE MEANTIME, CLOSE HITS SHUT IN THE FACE. THAT'S THE BLOND HATTER'S WEAK SPOT.

WITH HIS SELF-ESTEEM DOWN, SHUT BECOMES AN EASY TARGET, WHOM CLOSE SERIOUSLY CURBSTOMPS... UNTIL SHUT IS REELING...

...AND FALLS UNCONSCIOUS, BREATHING HEAVILY, DEFEATED, ON THE KUDZU-COVERED GROUND.


LADY DYSPEAR EMERGES FROM HER COCOON...
DYSPEAR: Anyway... this is the time...








And thus, the last stand begins...


MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION:
On this episode as a whole: Part Fricking One of the fricking Grand Finale. And it's FRICKING AWESOME! Everyone had a role to play and this was like a great ensemble number at the climax of a musical, in which the whole cast sings, every person about their plans. And yes, I'm thinking of One Day More in Les Mis, so here's my GPPC finale filk:
KANATA: One day more,
another day, another destiny...
this never-ending road to liberty...
This time it is the final stand,
to save my other motherland...
One day more...
YUKI: We may not live throughout today...
and yet, with you, I'm not half-hearted...
HARUKA: Tomorrow'll be another day...
recall, with me, a new you had started...
SHUT: One more day, all on my own...
YUKI+HARUKA/SEIRA+MINAMI: Will we ever meet again?
SHUT: One more day without a purpose...
YUKI+HARUKA/SEIRA+MINAMI: I will bleed and die for you...
SHUT: What a life I might have known...
YUKI+HARUKA/SEIRA+MINAMI: And I swear we'll make it through...
SHUT: Now where do I go from here!?
CLOSE: One more day of violent storm...
SHUT: Do I follow the Precures?
KANATA: One more day to fight for freedom...
SHUT: Should I find my calling there?
CLOSE: When we harvest all despair...
SHUT: Do I stay or do I dare?
KANATA: Will you take your place with me?
NA STUDENTS AND STAFF: The time is now!!!
The place is here!!!
DYSPEAR: One more day on the agenda,
Earth is sure full of despair!
I am ready for those Precures,
they will soon fall short of air!
STOP: Watch them lose their hopes---
FREEZE: ---catch them as they fall---
STOP & FREEZE (unison): Never doubt the spoils will be despair for all!
STOP: Here a little stop---
FREEZE: ---there a little freeze---
STOP & FREEZE (unison): All of them will never, ever be released!
HK DENIZENS, NA STUDENTS AND STAFF: One day to a new beginning...
PRECURES: Raise the flag of freedom high!
HK DENIZENS, NA STUDENTS AND STAFF: Everyone a queen or king!
PRECURES: Everyone a queen or king!
HK DENIZENS, NA STUDENTS AND STAFF: There's a new world for the winning!
PRECURES: There's a new world to be won!
HK DENIZENS, NA STUDENTS AND STAFF, PRECURES: Do you hear our people sing!?
SHUT: My place is here!!
I fight with you!!
(Everyone repeats their respective lyrics in counterpoint)
HK DENIZENS, NA STUDENTS AND STAFF, PRECURES, SHUT: Tomorrow, they'll be far away!
DYSDARKS: Tomorrow is the Judgement Day!!
EVERYONE: Tomorrow we'll discover what the gods, if there are, have in store!!!
One more day...
One more day...
One... day... mo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ore!!!!
On the way the crisis was presented: Every muggle at Noble Academy reacted in a different way to the Dysdark invasion and the subsequent battle, and I love how these diverse reactions were presented. Like... what if there was an alien invasion (or a terrorist attack) suddenly at my university? How would everyone (me, lecturers, friends, strangers, staff) react to the sudden crisis?

On the way Yui Nanase has definitely become a Christ figure: There is somewhat of a messianic aura around our wannabe illustrator, as seen, for instance, when she was targeted for the second time and Cure Scarlet cradled her lifeless form à la Pietà. But now she shows what she is capable of doing. Mind that this is the FOURTH time she is the victim of the week. Once bitten, twice shy, thrice strong, FOUR TIMES POWERFUL. Yes indeed. SHE BROKE THROUGH HER FRICKING BARS ALL ALONE, ON HER OWN, WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM THE PRECURES. AWESOME.
On Seira Azuma in this episode: Badass. Cool and calm. Ready to die for Minami's sake... and we saw her dream as a baseball batter from up close. Indeed, awesome as ever. Except when she was in despair. Still we count on her.

ON RANKO ICHIJO IN THIS EPISODE: With Shut going serious, there still had to be an attention whore whose high extroversion and intense emotions brought on awesome expressions and reactions, and RANKO fit the slot perfectly (except when she was in despair, that is). Reactions worthy of being Shut's as well. And a little of Kirara's trademark sarcasm has rubbed on her, like when she was freed and said: "Gosh, I was so close to not becoming a superstar..."
On the Return of Lock: THE COWL IS BACK. And Lock retains the absorption ability for which he is so well known, becoming more powerful the more enemy attack power he quaffs. Still, the Precures were able to curbstomp him even easier than when he was possessing Kuroro. And there are two other battles here which are even more exciting. PS. Lock became a normal cowl once purified... Does it mean that Shut is actually a top hat and Close is some punk accessory whom Dyspear breathed life into??? Next week we'll know!

On Kanata & Mme. Shamour vs. Stop & Freeze: Twindividuals just have to fight a 2vs2 battle. It appears to be a convention whenever this kind of characters appear. Here, we have to watch perfectly synched Shamour vs. Stop and Kanata vs. Freeze, the HK combatants even picking up their Dysdark opponents' typically twindividual habit of finishing each other's sentences. All four of them were graceful and precise in this battle. Yet Shut's role here trumps Stop & Freeze definitely.



ON SHUT'S HEEL-FACE TURN: GODS, IT'S HAPPENED AT LAST! I saw it fricking coming at large and now, at the finale, Shut finally shows he's on the Precures' side, making him a traitor to the Dysdark agenda (but... he got laid off before, so does it count as being a traitor at all?). Seeing Shut defend the Precures and duking it out with his archrival Close left me hanging at the edge of my seat. And Shut lying unconscious on the ground, defeated and breathing heavily, reminded me of Oberyn at the end... GASP. Only that Shut is still breathing and with his head intact. So there is still hope... Will his story end with a happy ever after?


IN NEXT EPISODE (49):
WE WILL FINALLY GET A GLIMPSE OF THE DYSDARK BACKSTORY AND AGENDA!!!
Plus, Dyspear becomes purple-skinned, with the scariest eyes I've ever seen on an animated villain...


...and she grows to a huge size.
Will the Princess Precures (like their DokiDoki! predecessors) have to undergo a fantastic voyage to enter her heart and turn her good? (I seriously hope so!)

The Precures (here, Minami), are a close shave away from death.

The other Noble Academy students' resolve supports them...

...and thus, they become Grand Princesses.

And... is that Golden Key Yui's somehow found the one that fits the keyhole in Dyspear's heart?

Still, finding out the whole Dysdark backstory is what excites me the most!!!
(GoT opening theme tune)