Thursday, April 29, 2021

Episode 3 Shadows House


What are shadows? Or on the other hand rather, Shadows? We're just on scene three of Shadows House, however, the response to that question as of now looks as though it could be alarming. Emilio is still learning her way around the Shadow mansion, guided primarily by Mia, but this week her first lesson is interrupted by the ringing of the alarm bell, a sound that informs living dolls that there's a “phantom” or a “scorch” about. Those words are frightening enough before we learn that they both refer to animated soot that has gathered in large enough quantities to become animated, and not in a friendly way.
The ramifications of this are bad. We definitely realize that forceful feelings (named "terrible" in this scene, which recommends that any limited feeling isn't viewed as great) can make the Shadows discharge sediment, however past to this scene the supposition that was that the living dolls were intended to clean perseveringly to keep the house, indeed, clean. But now that assumption turns out to be far too innocuous, because when there's too much soot, it gains sentience, becoming either scorch (smaller accumulations) or phantoms, a fabled larger soot monster that none of the dolls in Emilico's group have ever actually seen. That's probably a good thing because the scorches are plenty dangerous all on their own – not only do they scamper about like evil versions of Miyazaki's soot sprites, if they land on a living doll, they can kill her and control her body.

That is nearly what befalls Rosemary; ensuring Emilio, gets devoured by a singe, which expeditiously covers her whole head and fledglings insect legs, leaving Rosemary's body to hang like a hanged man. That Rosemary could actually die from this is suggested by Mia's reaction to it – she says that Rosemary will “hang” if they don't do anything, and she doesn't seem to be using the term as a metaphor for being punished. It's also clear that the “soot sickness” that overtakes Rosemary after Emilico's quick-thinking frees her is caused by breathing in the scorch – her skin is bluish and she's moaning like a zombie, meaning that the inhaled soot is simultaneously controlling and killing her; that in itself suggests that the living dolls are not “dolls” at all, because living or not, no doll needs to breathe in order to survive. This implication is also present when Emilio mentions that she can't read yet and Mia tells her that she was “born” knowing how to, raising the possibility that the living dolls undergo some sort of process transforming them from people into dolls. Mia simply managed to retain different memories from her previous life than Emilio did.

This infers lines from Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 1: "No, no, I am nevertheless sorry excuse for myself:/You are bamboozled, my substance isn't here;/For what you see is however the littlest part..." It appears to be progressively likely that the living dolls are, indeed, yet the shadows of themselves, the littlest piece of who they used to be, their substance gone. Whoever Lord Grandfather, who breathes life into the dolls, is, he's probably not entirely human himself, and Kate's newly discovered ability to manipulate soot speaks to an idea that the Shadows are not the human beings in this situation. But then why is it so important to convince Emilio that she and the others are living dolls? What makes it worth the trouble to come up with a reason why “dolls” can age, as they clearly can? There's definitely something rotten in the Shadow House.

I started to ponder a week ago which job the names of the characters may play in the entirety of this. Sarah, whom we met a week ago, is the fancy woman of Mia, all things considered, and the name "Sarah" signifies "princess" while "Mia" can be the ladylike possessive in a few sentiment dialects, implying that Sarah named her living doll "mine." Given that the name “Emily” means “rival” (and “Emilio” could be read as “little or child rival”), I think maybe we ought to be paying attention.

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