Archimage Banner by Judy Justice

Author's Notes

  • Glossary
  • Notes
  • Author's Comments

  • Glossary

    Archimage, n [\ar ke maj\ (rhyming with rage)[derived fr. Gk archioriginal, primary + magos wizard - Webster's] 1: the Original Witch within 2: Power/Powers of Be-ing within all women and all Biophilic creatures 3: Active Potency of Hags 4: Metaphor pointing toward Metabeing, in which all Elemental Life participates. (From, Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language. Conjured by Mary Daly, in cahoots with Jane Caputi, hacked by Madrid Tennant.)

    Archimage, Archimagus
    Ar"chi*mage (#), Ar`chi*ma"gus (#), n. [NL.; pref. archi- + L. magus, Gr. , a Magian.]
    1. The high priest of the Persian Magi, or worshipers of fire.
    2. A great magician, wizard, or enchanter. Spenser.
    (From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913.)

    Balliol: Balliol College at Oxford University. Miki is a member of the Balliol Middle Common Room and lives in the Graduate Center at Holywell Manor.

    Blue: A highly accomplished member of the Oxford University Fencing Club (also, "full Blue").

    Daiku no Hi: Dyke Day in Japan. So far, evidence suggests that there was only one march, but maybe there will be more.

    Davis Square: Where Anthy and Utena's apartment is, in the west end of Somerville, MA.

    Fanueil Hall: Pronounced FAN-yel. A popular shopping area in downtown Boston, across from City Hall.

    Hana Monogatari: Literally, "Flower Tales," a famous book by Yoshiya Nabuko, published in 1932. It is one of the foundational texts of shoujo literature.

    Hancock Tower: This flashing light is a weather forecasting device in Boston. The tower has lights along its sides that are clearly visible for quite a ways. There's a rhyme to help one keep track of what the states of the tower mean:
    Steady blue, clear view
    Flashing blue, change due
    Steady red, rain ahead
    Flashing red, snow instead.*
    * (or today's Sox game is cancelled)
    -- John Hancock weather beacon
    So, basically, the flashing red light that Utena sees is indicating "bad weather" while the skies are perfectly clear...

    Harvard Square: Where you can find hordes of students, wacky teenagers, cool and not-so-cool shops... oh, and Harvard University. In Cambridge, MA.

    Hothead Paisan: Hothead Paisan, Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist, by Diane DiMassa. A comic book series (now collected into a single volume) that many women find extremely cathartic and therapeutic.

    JASDF: Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

    King Richard's Faire: This is the Boston-area Renaissance Faire.

    Metro: General term for the subway in Washington, D.C. This station exists, and terrified the hell out of me the one time I had to take the Metro.

    Mount Auburn Cemetery: Cemetery in Cambridge, MA. If you're ever in Boston and you want a cheap place to spend a really enjoyable afternoon (so long as the weather is nice), try this place. It's a botanical garden AND a cemetery, so you get to gawp at New England gravestone art, the graves of the famous, and gorgeous huge trees and flowers all at the same time! While you're there, visit the grave of Harriet A. Jacobs, author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself.

    Naiad: A publisher of lesbian fiction and non-fiction.

    New Words: A long-time women's bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After 28 years in business, New Words Bookstore closed its doors on October 6, 2002 and wrapped its mission into the nonprofit Center for New Words.

    Red Line: One of four main subway lines in Boston, Massachusetts.

    The T: General term for the subway in Boston.

    Takarazuka: The Takarazuka Revue is a Japanese all-women musical revue, founded in 1913 and continuing to today. The five troupes perform musicals of Japanese, American, and European origin (at least, though there may be Korean and Chinese origin pieces in there that I don't know about). The women who play male roles are called otokoyaku and the women who play female roles are called musumeyaku, and are selected to be trained for those roles when they attend the Takarazuka Academy. (The girls' preferences have little or nothing to do with whether they're trained for male or female roles.) The particular musical referenced in Part Thirteen is Elisabeth, originally an Austrian musical about the Empress Elisabeth and her relationship with Death. It is an immensely popular Takarazuka show, and has been running about every other year since 1996.

    Tiptree, James Jr.: One of the noms de plume of Alice Sheldon, a prominent science fiction writer, 1915-1987. Best known for her short stories, among which are "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" and "Love Is The Plan, The Plan is Death," the former of which won a Hugo, and both of which won Nebulas. An excellent, and more complete, biography of Alice Sheldon is available here.

    Winchester Fells: A conservation wilderness area north of Boston.


    Part 2: "Or will you come with me in the car and fly to the world's end?" Lord Peter Wimsey to Harriet Vane, Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

    Part 4: Anthy's line of, "I don't think Juri does 'sidekick,'" is a brief homage to Sam Hurt's Eyebeam comics.

    Part 4: Juri's "I'm not a feminist..." poster: Yes, there is one.

    Part 10: Keiko's song is from "A Mother's Love" by Stan Sakai, as reprinted in the Usagi Yojimbo graphic compilation, Book Three.

    Part 13, section A: "Spoils of Annwn" is an epic poem of the 9th to the 12th century, originally in Welsh, connected to the Arthur mythos. The poet, reputedly Taliesin, is elliptical, mystical, and self-congratulatory; the subject refers back to older Welsh legends regarding a magic cauldron that has been given mythic attributes that include raising the dead. Arthur's journey to these castles in search of the cauldron predates and prefigures the Grail quest of more recent Arthurian literature.

    The castle names may refer to different castles or be different names all referring to the same castle. This castle, it is heavily implied by the names, is otherworldly (and poet Robert Graves apparently associates Caer Sidi and the other castles with the castle of Arianrhod, and also provides translations for two castle names that other sources tag simply as "unknown"):

    Prydwen is King Arthur's ship, both in the "Spoils of Annwn" poem and in later Arthurian literature.

    Part 13, section A: You can view the paintings Miki is looking at here:

    1: "Olympia": by Edouard Manet, 1863. (See some notes regarding this painting and canon Shoujo Kakumei Utena here.). This painting is currently in the Musee d'Orsay, Paris; as far as we know, it has not been stolen.
    2: "The Harem Bath" by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1876. This painting was stolen in 2001 from the Hermitage Museum and is still missing.
    3. "Salomé" by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre, 1895 (Color detail of the painting and black and white print of the painting, showing the sheathed blade). This painting was stolen in 1985 and is still missing.
    4. "Morgan le Fay" by John Roddham Spencer Stanhope, (sometime between 1850 and 1908, exact date unknown). This painting is not thought to be stolen, although I cannot discover its current whereabouts.

    Part 13, section B: We quote from both the libretto of My Fair Lady (book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe) and the original play, Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw.

    Epilogue: Find the line we borrowed from Shirley Jackson! If you haven't already read her Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons, why not?

    Author's Comments

    On Oxford: Some of you may have noticed that Miki and Robert wore academic robes while on campus. I'm not entirely sure whether this is still the practice at Oxford or not, but I figured that the romantic image it cuts is certainly within the Utena paradigm and allowed myself that poetic license. Lord Peter fans will likely recognize a few of the other references.

    On Chess: I had some fun imagining the kind of moves that might happen in an "Ohtori" chess game. I replaced the Queen with the Prince, and the King with the Bride, although the Princes were the checkable pieces. I also gave the Prince the movements of the Knight in addition to those of the Bishop and the Rook, something which one alternate historical set of rules (can't remember where I read this, though) ascribed to the Queen.

    On Driving in Downtown Boston: Never do this if you can help it.

    On the Alumni Event: I hope that Mr. Harnum will forgive me for this reference to his excellent work of fan fiction, Jacquemart. They actually aren't going to go to this alumni event at all; I just included it for the fun of it.

    On Mam'zelle Marie Laveau: I have done my best to present Mam'zelle in as respectful a light as I could, if a touch dramatic. I hope that she and any of her devotees will forgive me for anything they perceive as not being suitably respectful. For more information on Mam'zelle, there are several websites online, although my favorite source is Jambalaya by Luisah Teish.

    On "Aupres de ma Blonde": I drew my inspiration for including this song from yet another Dorothy Sayers' novel, Busman's Honeymoon, which tells the story of the honeymoon of Lord Peter and Harriet Wimsey (née Vane). Peter and Harriet sing this song together. I worked from a translation kindly provided by Grada Schadee to the LordPeter mailing list. The feminization of the original lyrics (so that they apply to Utena) is by Bara no hitomi. And the tune got stuck in my head for days after this. I admit that the inspiration came from, mostly, wanting to provide an Easter egg for my French readers.*grin* Anthy's version of the song translates this way:
    Who sings for the girls
    Who do not have any [female] friends,
    For me does not sing at all,
    Because I have a beautiful [female] one.
    Near to my [female] blonde one,
    how good, good, good,
    Near to my [female] blonde one
    How good it is to sleep.

    What would you give, beauty,
    to have your love?
    I would give Versailles,
    Paris and Saint Denis,
    Near to my [female] blonde one,
    how good, good, good,
    Near to my [female] blonde one
    How good it is to sleep.

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