Friday, July 1, 2016

The Successor: The Forest

The comic of Gunnerkrigg Court has many opposites that play against each other, and no where is this more present than the contrasts between the Gillitie Wood and Gunnerkrigg Court itself.

The Forest is a place of magic, myth, full of overt danger and wondrous beauty.  It serves to sharply contrast the Court, but we'll get to that later, but also to serve as the home for the magical in a world that seems empty of them.

Make no mistake that it is a forest, full of the things a forest has, from trees to animals, all living in a way that nature seems to have designated.  Survival of the fittest is the word of the day, and being fast or strong means the resident lives to see another day.  Simple, yes?

This means the Forest is overtly dangerous.  A visitor, when they're allowed, is not safe, no matter how strong and bold.  The Court typically has one representative that is sent into the Forest, and one guard for just this reason.

To anyone on the outside, the Forest is chaotic, with the only rule being Darwin in action.  This is made worse by the presence of magical and mythological creatures next to the variety of animals and plants.  Fairies play in the woods, the Shadow People hide among the shadows of the trees, and then there are the tricksters.

Renard (or is it Reynardine, it's a bit unclear), Ysengrin and Coyote are the real stars of the Forest and represent it's interests and powers.  They are tricksters each, but also wise in their own, sometimes odd, ways.  Renard is the most civilized, as it were, more than capable of interacting with the humans of the Court in a way that is more mischievous than anything else, yet is likable and fatherly when it is necessary.  Ysengrin may be going mad, but his representation of power, animal and aggressive, is at once frightening and fair.  And Coyote, well, he's the most philosophical of the three, but also the most maddening one to deal with.

They are not the Forest in and of themselves, but they show that it is more than just eat or be eaten.  There are layers there, and a world that is no less complex than any other.  It is alive, developing, and growing everyday.

Chaos and survival, passion and mischief, power and philosophy, the Forest is more than just "that other place" or the world of magic.  It lives and breathes, and interacts with the humans of the Court when it could just as easily not, allowing the dynamic and conflict of the comic to exist at all.

Next time, the other side of the Forest's coin.  Until then kiddies.

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