Thursday, January 31, 2013

Imbolc Eve, the goddess Kali and Kara Stanton

The sabbat of Imbolc is approaching - or, in some parts of the world, already here. We're getting ready to celebrate the approach of spring and, in the Irish-Celtic tradition, pay honor to the fire goddess Brigid (or Bride, pronounced "breed"). Even though that grumpy groundhog almost always sees his shadow and forecasts six more weeks of winter's chill (in the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), Imbolc always fills me with hope that spring is just around the corner.

Actually, this winter's hardly been harsh at all. I went for a walk the other night and it was 50 degrees (F) outside, temperatures I'd normally expect in late March at the earliest. I can't even really complain about the winter of 2012-2013, and the winter of 2011-2012 was similarly mild.

But though this time of year is traditionally reserved for Brigid, I am feeling the spiritual vibrations of another goddess today: India's Kali.
Not too long ago, I finished a breezy, humorous novel by Sonia Singh called Goddess for Hire. The Indian-American heroine of that novel finds out at the age of 30 that she's an incarnation of the goddess Kali.

She gets a powerful sword and sets out to vanquish evil. Another pop-cultural incarnation of the warrior woman who slays her enemies in a quest for justice? Kara Stanton.

Stanton seems to divide Person of Interest fans: we love her or hate her. Personally, I love her, the ex-Marine, CIA-trained assassin who shoots to kill without blinking an eye or smudging her lip liner. She's not evil, per se, but she is amoral. She'll do anything to survive. She reminds me of Scarlett O'Hara when she goes to dig up the neighbor's field because she's starving, exhausted, staring up at the sky and shouting, "As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again!" Kara's just determined that nobody's going to fuck with her anymore.

This the promo for the episode that airs tonight. I'm scared. I'm not really worried about Reese - they're not going to kill off one of the series regulars mid-season. However, I do think there's a good chance Stanton, Mark Snow or both of them are going to die tonight. I will really miss Stanton if she finally gets killed for real.

That's assuming she can be killed. I kind of think she's another incarnation of Kali, a death goddess. That's my hope: that Stanton lives to BAMF it up another day, whether it's as part of a redemptive arc (i.e. she decides to start working for Reese and Finch on a contract basis, like another POI chick I love, Zoe Morgan) or as the villain.

If Stanton does die, I may (against my better judgment) have to start watching Annie Parisse's other show, Fox's The Following. It just premiered on Monday last week, and I've only seen the first episode, which didn't even have Parisse in it. It's about a serial killer English professor and his murderous disciples (kinda like Kali's Thuggees) who kill based on tortured extrapolations on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. I'm disinclined to like the series because a) it gives me the creeps and b) it links one of the greatest figures of 19th-century American literature with gruesome killings and mutilations. Here you can read Laura Miller's article about specific ways in which The Following disses the creator of "The Raven."

(I'm rooting for the Baltimore Ravens in the Superbowl, by the way, because the San Francisco 49ers were not named after a poem.)

So please, Kara Stanton, don't leave me. I'll still have Joss Carter and Zoe Morgan, plus that psycho Root (played amazingly by the talented and oh-so-lovely Amy Acker, whom I cannot wait to see in Much Ado About Nothing). But they've already killed off the dutiful Alicia Corwin, and can you ever really have enough strong female characters? Of course not.

Note to self: write The Following parody in which crazed Jane Austen fans go around yarnbombing things, but with embroidery instead of knitting.

The other goddess I'll be thinking about today is Kore/Persephone. The copy of Cora: The Unwilling Queen that I won from GoodReads arrived in the mail today, directly from the home of its author, Amy Hutchinson. I know I need new books like I need more holes in the head, but I still can't help but squee! when they arrive.

Hungry for more pomegranate-laden books about Persephone? Check out this batch and also this one.

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