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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Crowns – May is the month of the Crowning of Mary, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, Theotokas; Mythological Species of Humans # 20 – Royalty; Book Review (Middle Grade) – The Hero's Guide to Saving your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy

May Crowning

The Crowning of Mary as Queen of May probably started in the early 1700's in Italy.

 It varies a great deal but usually consists of adding activities to normal devotions such as singing hymns about Mary, reading scripture passages or devotional books about Mary, praying the Hail Mary, etc. May 31st devotionals usually end with crowning a statue or picture of Mary with May flowers. 

Though devotion to Mary is frowned on by many Protestants, when I converted back to Catholicism (I had been baptized Catholic) I found great value in the guidance and comfort we, as Christians, can receive from Mary as our spiritual mother.

The rosary, more often focused on in October than May, is a deeply moving and a powerful form of prayer that helps me connect to a spiritual mother, the most helpful prayer partner that a person can have, who leads me to her son, Jesus.

Mythological Groups of Humans (A group of humans that has been raised to the level of myth, by fairy tales and legends.) # 20 – Royalty

Royalty is a term used to describe people who have sovereign rank and power, usually kings, queens and their descendents, but emperors and pharaohs and their like, probably the precursors to kings, could also be a sort of royalty. All royalty are connected to crowns and a thrones. These bestow allegiance and authority on royalty. For kings and queens the most popular type of royalty, the type of government formed would be called a Monarchy. Monarchies developed in the time when religion and state were closely connected, but are different from forms of government where religion and state are combined, as they are for Pharaohs and Holy Roman Emperors.

In stories, without the crown and the throne, royalty is certainly still larger than life, but is often depicted as just heroes or even villains. Without the crown we have Strider instead of Aragorn, Prince John instead of King Richard, Prince Hal instead of King Henry, and even Daenerys Targaryen's brother, Viserys. Though it's not nice to speak unkindly of the dead, since he's fictional I'll make an exception. He was a villain if ever there was one. I am glad he never got his crown and throne, since he was one of George R.R. Martin's early fatalities. (A character I was glad to see go.)

Royalty is really just a promise of allegiance and power. It is the crowning that bestows it.

Book Review – The Hero's Guide to Saving your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy ISBN 976-0-06-211743-4

[To make my book reviews unique, I use characters from the book series I'm writing, called The SylFae Trees Saga, to discuss the book I'm reviewing. The characters are taken from the first book in that series, Into The Gloaming. I often have more exploration of my characters than book review, but I think it's fun.]

Caitlynn is walking her dog, Cuchulain, after school and Jake trots up. “Hey, Cat.” He hands her a thick book.

“What's this?” She asks, taking the book.

“To read in the yard. I want to hear what the trees say about it.”

Caitlynn laughs, “Jake, I'm not reading this whole book in the yard. Have you seen how big it is?”

“Just read the beginning in the yard.”

Caitlynn rolls her eyes, “What's it about? The cover art looks a little cartoony.” She flips it over to read the back.

“It's supposed to look cartoony, it's funny. You'll like it! Read it.” He gives her sad eyes, “Please. I want to hear what...”

Caitlynn frowns at him, “I may not even dream about it you know.”

“... you think of it.” Jake smiles at her.

“Oh." Caitlynn sighs and continues walking her dog, "Is it about princesses and fairy tales? That doesn't seem like stuff you usually like.”

Jake grins and follows. “It's not! It's called The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom, by Christopher Healy. It's a remake of the fairy tales Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Snow White, but it's told from the perspective of the four princes." Caitlynn cocks her head, so Jake keeps describing it. "Especially Sleeping Beauty's prince, well no, especially Cinderells'a prince, well, I'm not sure which one is the main character. But they form a group, called the League of Princes because the bards robbed them of their fame and even their names in the stories." Jake points to the princes as he mentions them. "It's got two sequels, The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle and The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. The fairy tale kingdoms are all side by side and it tells what happens after the regular versions of the fairy tales. The princes get together to try to salvage their reputations and it's hilarious. The princesses are in it too. But they're more interesting than their Disney versions, especially Sleeping Beauty. She's a …”

Caitlynn puts her hand up to stop him. “Spoilers! I want to read it! Don't tell me too much.”

“Okay, I'll just say that the personalities the author gives these characters from from the fairy tales are great. And it's fun to see how they interact.”

Caitlynn smiles. “Sounds great. Are there any trees?”

Jake wobbles his head as if he can't decide how to answer. “Not really. Well, they're in the woods a lot, and there are some woodland animals and vegetarian monsters. Oh and there is a giant and a witch.”

“I don't the trees will have much interest, but I'll read it in the yard and see.” Caitlynn tucks the book under her arm.

“Good. You'll like it. It's a fun book.” Jake smiles. "And I want to hear all about what you thought of it too!"

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