In episode 3 of Matthew and Diana’s big adventure in the 16th century, Diana begins her magic lessons with Goody Alsop and the local Gathering of witches, with surprising results. Matthew continues to deal with the chaos caused by his sudden disappearance from Berwick and reappearance in London with a witchy wife. He turns to his religion to help him cope with the murder he committed in episode 2 and finds a new target for his anger. But he has to appease the Queen, who isn’t okay with his recent activities.
These troubles are offset by a visit to the Queen’s astrologer, Dr John Dee (Struan Rodger), who gives Matthew and Diana a lead on the location of the Book of Life, and a visit from Matthew’s vampire nephew. The long-awaited and much-anticipated Gallowglass (Steven Cree) is finally here!!
The episode begins in Oxford, England in the present day, where vampire and Congregation member Domenico Michele (Gregg Chillin), who is normally in Venice, has come to check the body of an unusual murder victim. Once he gets a look at the condition of the body, he asks the officer on duty (Tosh Wanogho-Maud) to send him a copy of the post mortem report.
In 1590 London, Matthew prays at his private altar, then visits Father Hubbard to ask his forgiveness for the death of witch Tom Caldwell. Hubbard knows that Caldwell died by Mathew’s hand and isn’t ready to forgive the death of a member of his flock so easily. But he listens when Matthew explains that Cecil had already determined Caldwell’s guilt, so he hoped to save Tom further suffering by killing him quickly. Matthew continues, admitting to the priest that he’s prayed for God to forgive him. Now he’s come to ask for Father Hubbard’s forgiveness as well.
Father Hubbard is moved by Matthew’s show of humility before God and himself. “His death truly weighs on you. Your witch has changed you.” Matthew says that it has nothing to do with Diana. Then he sweetens the deal by offering to inform his father, vampire nobleman Philippe de Clermonte, of Hubbard’s generosity. Hubbard says he’ll consider putting aside his grudge against Matthew, absolving him of his sin, now that there’s something in it for him. “Philippe’s gratitude is a rare currency.”
This is a fascinating conversation, since Matthew does need to make amends with Hubbard for the sake of their political arrangement, but he’s also sincere in his need for spiritual forgiveness. He’s a devout Catholic and as a vampire, Hubbard is probably the only confessor available to him. Original 1590 Matthew seems to have been a practicing Catholic, but to also have been more confident in the rightness of his actions, with less need for confession to soothe his soul. During the last 400 years, Matthew has become more self-aware and introspective. And committed more acts he’s been unable to reconcile himself with. The guilt he’s currently feeling is out of proportion with Caldwell’s death, which, as he said, was inevitable.
As Diana watches Jack slurp down eels for lunch, she receives a note from Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, who she met in episode 2. Pierre (Milo Twomey), Matthew’s male servant, brings the note to her and finally officially gets his name from the books. Mary has invited her over for an alchemy playdate, which she arranges immediately.
As the two women work with their fire and brimstone, Mary brings up Diana’s search for an elusive alchemical text. She mentions that John Dee, the Queen’s astrologer, has a remarkable library and suggests that he could be of assistance. She tells Diana that Dr Dee is looking for patronage- they should mention her name.
Dr Dee welcomes any friend of Countess Pembroke, so before long Diana and Matthew pay him a visit. Once they are in his library, he introduces his new scryer and assistant, Robert Ainslie (James Allenby-Kirk). Dr Dee explains that they are very busy with their work, since his previous assistant, Edward Kelly, left them in a mess. Kelly is talented, but unreliable. He abandoned Dr Dee in Bohemia.
As Diana wanders through the shelves, she notices a small wax cylinder inscribed with a seven-pointed star and the names of angels.
Diana: “Sigillum Dei.” [Or “Seal of the Truth of God”]
Dr Dee: “The designs dictated by the angels, Mistress Royden, to aid my conversations with them.”
Matthew realizes bringing Diana here might have been a mistake, because he might never get her out again. Diana asks if Dr Dee minds if she takes a closer look at the shelves. Matthew dutifully chats up Dr Dee so that Diana can
indulge in one of her bucket list fantasies search for the Book of Life.
Matthew really comes through for Diana in this scene. It’s nice to see them acting as fellow academics again.
As Diana looks closely at the books, Robert Ainslie asks if she’s looking for something in particular. She says that the book she’s searching for is “written in an unknown language… [and] may have belonged to the magician Roger Bacon.”
Ainslie replies that Dr Dee has a book that fits her description, which he acquired from Emperor Rudolf in Bohemia. When Diana asks to see the book, Ainslie asks if she’s able to read its obscure language. She tells him that she has a scholarly interest in the book.
Alas, Dr Dee informs them that while he was in Bohemia, that Edward Kelly stole the book they’re looking for and replaced it with a lesser book. Dr Dee didn’t notice the crime until he unpacked his crates of books upon his return home to England. Diana asks him to describe the missing text in more detail.
Dr Dee: “It was a rare text, larger than this one. It contained many mysteries which Edward could understand with, uh, divine assistance… Rudolf took great interest in both [Kelly] and this book. Edward said it contained a secret method for obtaining immortality.”
Could the “divine assistance” be the help of a witch who understands the spells and the “secret method for obtaining immortality” be a euphemism for becoming a vampire?
Matthew offers to exchange the replacement book with Dee’s missing book and then return Dr Dee’s property to him. Dr Dee agrees to the arrangement and leaves to have the book wrapped for travel. Diana asks Matthew how they’ll accomplish the switch. he admits that he hasn’t figured out that part of the plan yet.
That night Jack has a nightmare about “the Tall Man”. Diana watches from the door while Matthew soothes him back to sleep. He promises not to let any harm come to Jack, something he was unable to do for his first wife and biological son, through no fault of his own. Afterwards, Diana follows Matthew back to his workspace, where he’s unsuccessfully attempting to find information on his contacts in Bohemia so he can ask them to swap the books out. Diana suggests they swap the books themselves, but Matthew thinks the political and witch trial situations on the continent make the trip too risky.
Matthew is beginning to get worked up, so Diana changes the subject, asking how Jack is and telling Matthew he’s a good father to the boy. She instinctively uses his affection for Jack to ground Matthew in his humanity before he gets carried away in the stress of their larger goals. Matthew notes that he’s out of practice as a parent and he can’t imagine what Jack went through before they took him in. Diana points out that they’ve hardly had time to settle into being parents since they took in Matthew’s emotional support street urchin. Matthew says, “I’ve been doing what I must, to keep us safe.” He sends her back to bed, telling her she knows where to find him in the morning.
The next day, he takes her to practice magic with the local witches. Goody Alsop meets them at the door and firmly sends Matthew away, letting him know that a gathering of witches can protect his wife just fine. Once they’re inside, Diana stands in the middle of several witches. Goody Alsop quickly casts a circle, the traditional safe space for performing magic.
She instructs Diana to observe the room with her “witch’s sight” and describe what she sees. She means Diana should open her third/psychic eye or intuition and describe what she senses that she didn’t notice with her normal human senses. When Diana opens herself up in this way, she’s able to see shimmering, colored threads of light throughout the room. Goody explains, “That is the warp and weft of all life in the cosmos made visible. A weaver selects and shapes something new. That is how a weaver creates new spells. Each element has its own threads. So we must discover your element.”
She’s saying that witches usually respond to one element (earth, air fire, water) in particular that they work most of their magic through. Now Diana needs to find the element she’s most comfortable with.
As Goody speaks, she grasps an air thread and ties it into intricate knots. Susanna Norman (Aisling Loftus) sits in the corner and observes. Goody continues, saying that she is sensitive to the element of air. Marjorie Cooper (Amy McAllister), who stands opposite Goody, works with the element of earth. Lizzie Jackson (Victoria Yeates), on Goody’s right, is a water witch. And Catherine Streeter (Lois Chimimba), on Goody’s left, is a fire witch.
The witches will use their powers to make the threads visible. For this test, Diana just needs to pull on the thread that feels strongest to her. “The whole world is in your grasp, Diana.”
Threads appear and disappear, with Diana reaching for them, but unable to quite catch them. It’s like a game of keep away. After a minute, Goody stops the test. Diana asks if she did something wrong. Goody looks at her appraisingly and says she wonders…
Kit writes in his room, not knowing that that tragedy is about to strike. As he tosses another discarded draft toward the trash, Matthew enters. Kit makes a joke, but Matthew ignores it and asks, with deadly seriousness, what Kit knows about Bohemia. Kit says that he only knows that the emperor is a madman.
He correctly guesses that Matthew is asking because he’s traced the Book of Life to Bohemia and advises Matthew to stop worrying about the book, in favor of more pressing matters. Matthew wonders if Kit is referring to William Cecil, then asks what Cecil knows about Diana. Kit isn’t sure how much Cecil knows about Matthew’s wife. He says Cecil keeps his own counsel, but the spymaster has noticed that Matthew is acting strangely.
Diana and Goody work with herbs by the fire as they discuss Diana’s test. Goody says that she’s never met a witch like Diana. Most weavers are born with the ability to work with one element. Diana appears to have talent with all four of the elements. Diana thinks back and remembers that she’s already called forth all four elements on her own. Goody jokes, “No wonder you’re such trouble.”
Diana says Goody sounds like her aunts. She misses them and wishes she had a way to let them know she’s safe.
Back in the 21st century, Em casts a circle and does a scrying spell. She calls on the spirit of Diana’s mother, her friend Rebecca Bishop. A column of smoke rises from the candles. A figure takes shape, but Em swipes it away. Despite the precautions she took when casting the circle, an unwanted presence was able to enter.
William Cecil pays Matthew and Diana a visit at the Lodge to get a look at Matthew’s secret wife and question them on their marriage. Matthew tries to explain that they weren’t keeping the marriage secret- Diana, as a foreigner, just needed a little time to get used to London before meeting the Queen. Before he leaves, Cecil informs them that Queen Elizabeth expects to see them both at Whitehall tomorrow. Matthew’s marriage to a witch has caused the Queen to doubt his loyalty to her.
Diana is shaken. She thought she’d be excited to meet the Queen, instead dreading the occasion. Matthew assures her that he won’t lose the Queen’s trust so easily.
He heads back to Kit’s rooms to redirect the bulk of his anger and fear at someone who isn’t his wife. He accuses Kit of being poison and willing to betray anyone for money. Kit shows, again, that he’s used to Matthew’s tempers, because even though Matthew blindsides him with the accusations, he doesn’t miss a beat when he replies, telling his friend that he’s done everything he can to help.
Matthew is already in a rage and accuses Kit of telling Cecil about Diana in order to get rid of her. In the midst of his tantrum, he reveals the depths of his fears to Kit. He’s still barely showing this side of himself to Diana. Despite Matthew’s words in this scene, Kit is still the one he trusts to be strong enough to take his unacceptable emotions.
Unfortunately, at this moment it’s partly because he views Kit as disposable. He knows that even the first time around, as Matthew Royden, he lost Kit to death not long after this.
Matthew: “You could have gotten her killed. Lies come sweetly to you, don’t they? What, did you think that if she was gone, everything would be as it was?”
Kit: “Cecil did not hear of Diana from me.”
Matthew: “I am nothing without Diana! And if you can’t accept that, then you are no friend of mine. Stay away from her. You stay away from us both.”
This is, of course, exactly what Kit warned Diana that Matthew would do. He just hoped that Matthew would reject Diana instead of himself.
Kit storms into Cecil’s office, demanding to be know who told Cecil about Diana, since it wasn’t him. Cecil refuses to tell Kit, on the grounds that Kit should have been the one to tell him. Kits swears that he wouldn’t have betrayed Matthew, but Cecil is certain that he would, under the right circumstances. In an ironic twist, Cecil will let Kit suffer Matthew’s wrath as punishment for his dereliction of duty.
Mary Sidney comes to Diana’s rescue, arriving at the Lodge with everything needed to help her dress for her visit with the queen. Diana will need to appear in front of Queen Elizabeth as the perfect, but not too perfect, wife and loyal subject. Mary advises Diana to wear a dress that’s a year old so as to appear frugal and serious.
Matthew advises Diana that the Queen will keep them waiting. The Queen will ask the questions and Diana should keep her answers short. The best course is to flatter her and give her what she wants. Her motivations are much like anyone else’s.
Once they are presented to her, the Queen tells Matthew that he looks bad and marriage doesn’t suit him. Matthew apologizes for waiting to introduce Diana. The Queen doesn’t buy his excuses, but decides to speak with him and Diana alone. She speaks to Diana first, accusing her of turning Matthew into a traitor. Diana replies that Matthew is as loyal as he ever was.
The Queen thinks that a man can only be loyal to one woman at a time, so Diana commands Matthew to obey the Queen. Queen Elizabeth finds this clever, but sees it as a sign that Diana is a clever, potentially dangerous witch. Matthew reminds the Queen that witches have never betrayed her. The Queen says that Matthew didn’t give Tom Caldwell the chance to betray her.
It’s a circular argument.
She asks why Diana wanted to see Dr Dee, so Matthew explains that they’re looking for a particular book, now in the possession of Edward Kelly. The Queen is interested in the Philosopher’s Stone, which Kelly has supposedly successfully created. The Queen sent messengers to bring Kelly back to England, but he refused to return with them. Matthew offers to prove his loyalty by going to Bohemia as the Queen’s emissary and bringing Kelly back so that he can make her the Philosopher’s Stone and give her immortality.
That night before bed, Matthew and Diana discuss the difficulties of the upcoming journey to retrieve Kelly and the book. The trip will take months and Matthew would rather not interrupt her training for so long, but Diana won’t accept such a long separation. Plus, she is the one who’s connected to the book, so she needs to be there.
At her next session with the gathering, the witches slowly give Diana one thread at a time so that she’s able to catch and knot each of the first three elements.
First air: “With knot of one, the spell’s begun.”
Then water: “With knot of two, the spell is true.”
Then earth, which gives Diana a little trouble before she finishes the knot. Not her strongest element: “With knot of three, the spell is free.”
With those three elements and Diana’s own energy, Diana is suddenly compelled to throw her arms above her head, as huge tree branches grow from them. She becomes a Tree of Life for a few moments, then collapses into her companions’ arms, back in her own body again. Goody Alsop says it was a Rowan tree. Susanna, a powerful earth witch who seemed to sense the spell forming, adds that it was a crossing between worlds.
Goody Alsop: “A union between opposites. You are truly a weaver.”
Diana is frustrated that she didn’t get through all four elements to complete the spell. Goody assures her that soon she’ll complete her forespell and her familiar will be revealed. She encourages Diana to learn patience.
Susanna waits for Diana outside and tells her that she is undoubtedly a powerful witch. Diana wonders why she’s still unable to control her magic, if she has so much power.
Susanna: “Magic feeds from all aspects of your life. Everything is intertwined.”
In some ways, Susanna is simply repeating back to Diana what Diana has instinctively known and told everyone else since we’ve met her- her life, her magic, her relationship with Matthew and the Book of Life are all bound together. But what Susanna implies here is that Diana won’t have full control of her magic until she also settles the other two aspects of her personal trinity knot. She needs strengthen her relationship with Matthew and they each need to continue work on the individual issues from their pasts that keep them from getting closer.
And they need to find the Book of Life so that they can understand its apparently profound connection to Diana. The Rowan tree symbolizes life, the first woman (the Celtic Eve) and protection. The Book of Life is rumored to be the first grimoire, potentially the spellbook used to create the other species. Identifying Diana with the Rowan tree seems to give credence to that story and serve as a prophecy that she is the weaver who can bring creatures back from the brink of extinction.
Diana tells Matthew about her magic lesson in another late night talk. He’s encouraging, assuring her that she’s making progress. These intimate, supportive talks are a good sign for their relationship after Kit, along with Matthew’s Elizabethan era issues, came between them in episode 2. It’s not so great that Matthew felt he had to choose between Kit and Diana in order to keep Diana safe and develop this sort of closeness with her, but at least he’s prioritizing their relationship.
Their candlelight chat is interrupted by a noise near the entrance. Matthew signals to Diana to stay still and quiet while he takes a knife to check out the intruder. He and the intruder dart toward each other as Matthew reaches the doorway. They each stop short of hurting each other, but Matthew is faster on the draw, resting his knife against his “guest’s” neck.
Gallowglass: “One day I’ll beat you to it.”
Matthew: “But not today.”
They both burst out laughing. Matthew drops the knife and they throw themselves into each other’s arms, continuing to smile and make exclamations of joy. Gallowglass calls Matthew “Uncle” and picks him up.
I feel the same way about seeing Gallowglass.
But we have literally never seen this side of Matthew. Who is this happy creature?
Gallowglass eventually expresses his confusion, since he was with 1590 Matthew Royden in Berwick. From his perspective, Matthew uncharacteristically disappeared without saying a word or even paying his bill.
And now he finds that Matthew is living with a witch. When they’ve just returned from starting witch trials. You can see how Gallowglass might wonder if Diana is there solely for revenge.
Before they continue with the explanations, Gallowglass needs to give Matthew a message from Philippe that was brought by courier. Matthew opens it immediately. Philippe commands that Matthew and Diana travel to France and present themselves to him. Big Daddy Vampire has heard about their secret marriage (from Hubbard and probably others) and is not pleased. He demands an explanation, in person. Gallowglass isn’t Philippe’s biggest fan, but he agrees with the clan leader this time. If Matthew and Diana aren’t in France within the week, Philippe will come to England.
Don’t make Philippe come over there.
Even later that night, Diana finds Matthew sitting by the fire and fidgeting with the coin that was embedded in Philippe’s wax seal. Matthew explains that Philippe includes a coin in the seal of his letters, every time, as a test of loyalty. He expects his minions to return the coins the next time they see him, rather than spending the money. As Hubbard implied early in the episode, a strong relationship with Philippe is meant to be worth more than gold, but like gold, it’s not easy to acquire or keep.
Matthew: “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen his handwriting. Last time I saw him, he was so broken by what the Nazis had done. He couldn’t even hold a pen. And he loved to write.”
Matthew becomes emotional as he finishes. Though we haven’t met Philippe, it’s already clear that he’s a larger than life figure. The idea of a man like that, reduced to a broken shell who can’t even hold his own pen, never mind all of the other things he’d be unable to do, is tragic. It’s also clear how much Matthew loved his father and how huge this loss was in his life. He’s still grieving, as is Ysabeau.
Diana tells him that though this visit may open up old wounds, it could also help heal them. Matthew is certain it will make his heartbreak worse before it gets better. Diana assures him she’ll be there for him.
This is what was tearing Mathew apart last week. Philippe is so close, yet so far away, creating such a temptation, yet Matthew doesn’t want to alter the timeline where he doesn’t need to. He clearly has unsettled business with his father and pushed Hubbard into contacting Philippe to give himself an excuse to visit. When he went to Hubbard to ask for forgiveness, manipulating the priest into giving Philippe the information that would cause him to order Mathew to Sept-Tours was one of the sins that Matthew needed cleansed. Offering to put in a good word for Hubbard with Philippe is payment in kind.
Matthew moves on to worrying that he and Diana will need to travel through a war zone. Diana remembers the specifics of this period of French history better than he does and tells him hostilities have settled down, now that the Siege of Paris is over. She’s confident she can handle the journey.
Matthew muses that he was always told that mating was destiny. “They” said that when he found his mate- Diana- he would just have to accept it as fate. But he’s discovered that’s not how it works at all. “In every moment, for the rest of my life, I will be choosing you, over everything else.”
I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to mate, so he misunderstood what everyone else was saying they felt when they met their mate.
I’m going to choose to believe this is a badly worded declaration that he falls in love with her all over again continuously, so staying with her is effortless. That it doesn’t feel like fate or destiny because he would choose her all over again, every time.
But honestly, after more than 30 years, I don’t wake up and choose my husband again every morning, as if I’m in the market for a replacement at all times. That we’ll be there for each other, til death do us part, is a foregone conclusion. Your relationship isn’t solid if you have to question that commitment.
I think this is a signal that Matthew and Diana’s relationship isn’t as solid as they think it is. Which is already obvious, given the way he shut her out and blamed her last episode. He’s still keeping secrets and underestimating her this episode.
Goody Alsop doesn’t approve when she learns Diana is about to leave on a long and dangerous voyage. She’s waited a long time for Diana to fulfill the prophecy, so she has a stake in this as well and wants Diana to focus on her lessons. Diana explains again that her intuition and emotions are linked to her magic and Matthew. Everything in her is urging her to go.
Goody can’t argue with that, so she encourages Diana to practice her knots while she’s away. Diana promises to keep up with her magic and to pick up with her lessons when she returns. Goody is worried, because her foresight can’t see where this future will lead.
Matthew uses a globe to show Jack where he and Diana will travel. Jack asks to come along as well, but Matthew draws the line at bringing a child with them. Diana agrees. She asks Jack to stay and help protect Francoise. Then she gives him two small paintings of herself and Matthew to keep him company while they’re gone. She had them made just for him.
Gallowglass tells Diana that he’ll be staying behind. His father was killed in France. Until he makes peace with that, he refuses to go back there.
Gallowglass: “Diana, forgive my earlier reticence. It’s obvious to me now that Matthew has pledged himself to you. Matthew will need you at Sept-Tours. You must be his anchor. Otherwise, he may lose himself.”
Gallowglass did not use the very important word “mate” here. We’ve only heard vampires mention mating and their mates a few times in the series, but that’s the word they use. And they quickly and easily recognize the signs when a vampire is mated- the pheromones are a big “taken” sign. Gallowglass is saying that at first he was confused because he didn’t realize that Diana and Matthew are a serious couple because the signals that tell other vampires that a couple are mates are missing in them.
After watching them together, Gallowglass realized that Matthew is serious about Diana, even though he hasn’t mated with her. This situation is straight out of the book, though it’s been adapted. In the book he confronts Matthew for treating Diana so badly, since Diana thinks they are fully mated, so Matthew is essentially lying to her about this as well.
The TV scene ends with Diana looking concerned, but it’s not clear if she picked up on what Gallowglass was telling her about her relationship with Matthew. In season 1, episode 5, Matthew gave her the impression that they’re irrevocably vampire married, but Gallowglass is telling her that isn’t this case. Kit essentially told her the same thing, but Diana didn’t listen because she saw him as a jealous rival. Matthew also just told her, in so many words, that they aren’t really mated, because he can still leave her- he chooses to stay, every single day, and if the going gets too difficult, he can walk out, the way he just walked out on Kit without even listening to Kit’s side of the story.
As they row out to their ship, Diana tells Matthew that maybe they were meant to see Philippe on this trip. “Maybe it’s one of the reasons we’re here.” That wording could make Gallowglass, who’s accompanied them this far, suspicious.
Back in present day Venice, Domenico pays a visit to Gerbert, who is sulking after all of his losses at the end of last season. He came so close to getting rid of the de Clermonts. Then Satu freed Meridiana from centuries of enslavement. Juliette was killed by Diana instead of killing her and Matthew. The rest of the Congregation sided with Baldwin instead of Gerbert and Peter. And Diana and Matthew escaped into the past just as Gerbert, Satu and Peter were about to capture them.
Without Juliette and Meridiana, Gerbert has lost his two favorite slaves and weapons.
Domenico is uninterested in Gerbert’s surly mood. He says that the information he’s come across could bring the whole de Clermont dynasty to its knees. The body he examined in Oxford in the prologue died from a vicious, uncontrolled feeding. There were multiple bite marks and the body was torn apart. Domenico hasn’t seen anything like it in centuries- it matches rumors about the de Clermonts’ infected bloodlines.
Gerbert says he’ll need more evidence, which Domenico is working on. We already know he’s waiting on an official report. Gerbert is still confused about what Domenico wants from him.
Domenico explains that he’s opening negotiations. He wants rule over Venice back. Before Gerbert took control away from Domenico, Venice was the “center of human civilization.” Now Gerbert has has turned it into a flooded tourist trap. In return for the means to destroy the de Clermonts for good, Domenico plans to restore Venice to its former glory.
Good luck with that. Does he plan to find a witch who can levitate Venice and turn it into a cloud city?
In this episode, another layer of Matthew’s is anxieties exposed. In his long life, he’s lost his human family and then lost members of his vampire family. His worries for Diana and now Jack are slowly gnawing away at him, taking him back to earlier losses. He’s very aware of how little medical help there would be for them during a crisis in this time period and how little control he has in a superstitious country ruled by a powerful monarch.
He doesn’t want to burden Diana and Jack with the worry, so he tries to keep too much of it to himself and eventually it pops out as anger instead. Diana is slowly helping him express his fears and let others support him. The reality is that even in the 21st century, Matthew was emotionally isolated in many ways without Diana, attempting to contain the terrible truths he knew rather than make them public. He thought he needed to shoulder the burden nearly alone until he understood what was causing the decline of creatures and how to halt it, as if the problem was his fault. It would’ve made more sense to make his findings public so that other creature scientists could share the work, but that’s never Matthew’s first instinct.
As Metamaiden put it, it feels like Diana’s main roles in this episode are to soothe people and manage Matthew. She also does a little magic and alchemy on the side. 😉
Philosopher’s Stone- from History.com – “According to legend, the philosopher’s stone was a substance that could turn ordinary metals such as iron, tin, lead, zinc, nickel or copper into precious metals like gold and silver. It also acted as an elixir of life, with the power to cure illness, renew the properties of youth and even grant immortality to those who possessed it. The philosopher’s stone may not have been a stone at all, but a powder or other type of substance; it was variously known as “the tincture,” “the powder” or “materia prima.” In their quest to find it, alchemists examined countless substances in their laboratories, building a base of knowledge that would spawn the fields of chemistry, pharmacology and metallurgy.”
The Weavers’ Forspell
Goody Alsop mentioned to Diana that she needs to have patience as she learns magic- that she would eventually complete her forspell and her familiar would be revealed. The forspell is a weaver’s first formal spell, as opposed to haphazard magic done by untrained witches who don’t have control of their magic, which is most of what we’ve seen in Diana up until the Rowan tree scene. From The World of All Souls: The Complete Guide by Deborah Harkness:
“Weavers of old cast their forspells as part of a ceremony that reveals the shape of their talents. The ceremony, which relies upon the support of other witches, helps the weaver to face her fears so that she can work her magic freely, and the ritual casting of the forspell often results in the appearance of the weaver’s familiar. Since the ceremony requires surrendering oneself to the unknown, it can be a frightening experience. Knowledge of this ceremony, like knowledge of the very existence of weavers, is hazy at best among present day weavers.”
What we saw in this episode was Diana working on the control she needs to complete the forspell all at once. Though Deborah Harkness doesn’t seem to count the plant world as allies or familiars (as they are in the real world), she implicitly treats them that way, with Diana having a particular affinity for certain trees in the books that shows itself again here with the appearance of the spirit of the Rowan tree. Eventually Diana’s ally/familiar from the animal world will also reveal itself as a spirit she can call on to help her in times of need.
Kit and Matthew and Diana
As is typical of the TV daemons, we haven’t been told if Kit has daemon talents beyond being a writer. As far as the series is concerned, being a daemon mostly equals mental illness or intense quirkiness. But in the books, they have their own characteristics, generally in the form of super genius or immense talents, whether it’s artistic ability, like Kit, or mathematical/ financial/ computer skills like Hamish and Nathaniel, or superior intuition, like Sophie. Daemons are often unstable and therefore unpredictable, just as geniuses can be in real life. They live on the knife’s edge of peak of human ability and risk falling off at any moment.
I bring this up now because at the end of S2Ep1, Kit warned Diana that Matthew would end up treating her badly. There’s no indication that in the TV show Kit was trying very hard to break up Matthew and Diana.* He just wanted to continue his own previous closeness with the vampire. It was clear during Kit and Diana’s fireside chat that nearly everything he described had happened between him and Matthew and probably between Matthew and other women.
And now the worst has happened, as if Kit had a premonition, but wasn’t sure who it would happen to, so he hoped Matthew would leave Diana. Kit insists on his innocence when he confronts Cecil, his boss, about it, so I think we can depend on the fact that someone else told Cecil about Diana. After all, she hasn’t exactly stayed hidden. Matthew’s accusation was wrong, just another incidence of him needing a scapegoat for his rage and choosing the easiest target.
So Matthew has thrown away another friend who had his back and a useful creature to have as an ally. Kit is despairing, because Matthew was his world. Since Kit clearly understands Matthew, possibly better than anyone in Matthew’s life, and he predicted this rejection, what does this mean for Matthew and Diana in the long run?
Supposedly vampires mate for life, but on the TV show, out of the dozen plus vampires we’ve met, none are currently with a mate. The permanency and devotion of vampire mated pairs may have been overstated. Or Matthew may be incapable of a lifetime commitment. At some point, Diana may realize she’s become the usual target for his rage and decide she’s had enough. Just because she’s strong enough to handle what he dishes out doesn’t mean she should spend the rest of her life and energy doing so.
*Book Kit and TV Kit are two different people, since TV Kit is a composite character standing in for the entire School of Night. No wonder he’s unstable.
Images courtesy of AMC and Sky One.
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