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New! Tor.com #Charmed Article, Magical Creatures, and a Paracelsus Footnote
Calling #FolkloreThursday and #Charmed fans! Yay!
Hello, everyone! I’m so pleased to mention you can read Five Fascinating Magical Creatures that Debuted in the Original Charmed on Tor.com. I wanted to write this post as a follow-up to talk about my love as a fan of classic Charmed and the new show that debuted in Fall 2018.
Classic Charmed gives me a lot of fond memories. It was a show that broke a lot of ground for both female empowerment and the positive depiction of magical women and, if you read my Music Monday post, you’ll see why it appealed to me.
After watching the new Charmed show, I have a lot of feelings about what could still be done to bridge the gap between the two. I do feel both are strong shows—certainly, the new Charmed explores powerful interpersonal relationships, contemporary themes, and authentic practitioners—that approach story and setting very differently. Classic Charmed’s narrative arc had more space and the stakes swelled with each season, but they were small and more personal in the beginning. The new Charmed, on the other hand, has a LOT of story in every season that significantly changes the world, the characters, and the stakes are very high.
That (ultra-high stakes) is an approach I fear will smother the show by the end of a third season.
Though I regard each show to stand on its own merits and can be critiqued separately, I want to point out that all of the actresses did a great job exploring witchiness from their characters’ perspectives. I do think there is one improvement that can be made to satisfy both older fans and new ones while giving a little oomph to the possibility of more seasons. One word: CROSSOVER! Why not lean into the parallel/alternate universes aspect they’ve already introduced? Wouldn’t that be awesome! Hell, I’d write a crossover miniseries (2-6 episodes) that bridges the best of both shows while introducing a new wrinkle going forward. Do I have ideas? Hah. YUP!
Regardless, I hope the crossover idea would be/has been considered for many, many reasons. There’s a really powerful statement that can be made by showing the true power of witchy sisterhood is not only intergenerational, it’s also intersectional.
More on Paracelsus
In my Tor.com article, I mentioned Paracelsus when talking about gnomes. Paracelsus is/was a key and controversial historical figure, both as an alchemist and physician, but he was also extremely misogynistic and racist even among his contemporaries because he drew from medieval perspectives. For example, there was a pervasive medieval view shared by physicians, such as Ambrose Pare, that women were responsible for the birth of monsters.
Here’s just one example of Paracelsus’s views:
“Relying on a medieval association between the basilisk's deadly gaze and the putative ability of menstruating women to damage mirrors, the genuine Paracelsus links contagious disease to the deleterious action of the female imagination. —SOURCE: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32118521/”
As another: Paracelsus was also a polygenist whose racist beliefs were mired in the hateful conviction that other races were subhuman and did not have souls. See: Studies of Skin Color in the Early Royal Society: Boyle, Cavendish, Swift by Cristina Malcolmson.
Since Paracelsus was the figure who’s often attributed with assigning elemental creatures to the four elements, I wanted to do my writerly duty and provide this footnote. Thanks for your patience!
Again: Thanks so much for reading and supporting my Tor.com article! And thanks for reading this follow-up! Feel free to chime in the comments here and at Tor.com. I’d LOVE to hear your perspectives on Charmed, magic creatures, and research for writing. Yay!