- File Size: 1373 KB
- Print Length: 32 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: March 3, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007GQYZZ2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#8,377 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
- #9 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > LGBT
- #14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy
- #17 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Lesbian Fiction
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The Witch Sea Kindle Edition
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Again, The Witch Sea wasn't bad or terrible, but the story is not happy; there are unfairness and pain, characters struggling with their past and future, and so little hope for something better.
However, I would highly recommend it. It is sapphic, it is sweet and it very well-written
The change and growth in Meriel as the story progresses is emotional and dramatic. But it's the unexpected ending that got me. Ms Deimer's writing reminds me of the best of Poe. Stories like "Masque of the Red Death" and "Silence a Fable" have the same imaginative lyrical and poetic qualities that Ms Diemer pours into her storytelling.
The evolution of Nor's over just a few pages, and the effect she has on Meriel is heart-warming to read, even if the ending is dark and unexpected. It's a passionate story and I recommend it.
The author captures the tone of the curse perfectly. And her protagonist's loneliness and confusion are perfect. What's best is that the protagonist doesn't express her angst through dialog - she emotes it.
I really liked this story. Enough that I'll buy it again in the 2013 "Heiresses of Russ: The Year's Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction". This story deserves to sit on my bookshelf.
This is such a profound little story, I really don't want to spoil the magic for other readers. But a lot of people seemed to miss the social allegory completely, so I'm going to explain it (because I think it's really, really important).
***** SPOILER ALERT *****
IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ THIS STORY - DO NOT READ FURTHER! READ IT FIRST, AND IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE THEME, THEN READ MY REVIEW (and feel free to disagree with my assessment).
"The Witch Sea" is an allegorical tale of generational discrimination. This story can be applied to any bigotry (racism, sexism, homophobia). The message isn't meant for the oppressed. It's meant for the oppressors. It illustrates that hate is a burden that negatively affects the hater just as much as the hated, and letting go frees both sides.
A young witch named Meriel lives by herself in a lighthouse on an island. She is tasked with maintaining a magic spell that keeps Galo the Sea God trapped on land. Meriel has to keep mending this spell (a net across the harbor) because it degrades over time. She was taught from birth by her mother and grandmother that keeping the net is her duty because Galo is evil and will destroy all of humanity. Meriel is isolated and unhappy. Defending the world against the evil Sea God is her reality.
The Sea God and his subjects are described as sad and longing for the sea. Every night they stand on the beach and call out to the sea, but they can't return because of Meriel's spell. Galo (who may once have been as strong and vigorous as Grandma described) is now a tired, old man.
Then one night a seal slips through the net. The seal transforms into a woman named Nor and visits Meriel. Now Meriel becomes self-aware of how miserable her existence is. But she's confused, because of everything she's been taught by her mother and grandmother. Is it true? Is the Sea God really evil? What would happen if Meriel just let go of the net? The more time Meriel spends with Nor, the less she wants to maintain the net. When Meriel realizes that she loves Nor, she has to choose. Because she can't love Nor and keep Nor's people imprisoned. If she did, she wouldn't really love Nor. So Meriel consults with her grandmother's ghost. But Grandma repeats the same message Meriel has heard all her life. Grandma has nothing new to say, except "Kill the seal" which Meriel can't do.
Since compromise is impossible, Meriel has to confront that everything she knows might be wrong. She will end up like her grandma if she does not - a bitter old ghost. So Meriel drops the net and the Sea God returns to the sea, and all the grateful sea creatures follow. Nor is the last one on the beach. She thanks Meriel, and then also returns to the sea. The end.
There's a lot of symbolism in this story. Lighthouses warn ships of danger and are generally symbols of protection. Having the witch live in a lighthouse symbolizes that she believes she is protecting all of humanity from the danger posed by the Sea God.
The net represents institutionalized hatred. The net has to be constantly maintained, because barriers between human beings naturally break down.
Example: if a kid hears his parents refer to certain people by a slur, and his grandparents say that same thing, the child grows up thinking its normal. If those people wanted something (gay people wanting to get married, for example), he might feel like he had to prevent it -- that it was his duty to maintain that net of discrimination and all of human civilization would be ruined if he didn't. Believing things that we've been taught all our lives -- that doesn't make anyone a bad person. We're not evil because we learned bigotry from our ancestors.
However, at some point when we're adults, the burden of maintaining those beliefs takes a toll. The people that we hate take up so much of our thoughts that there isn't room for anything else. We become obsessed with what we're trying so hard to diminish. It's a bitter, lonely way to live - isolated from everyone but those who share our exact same prejudices. But confronting your family and denying what they taught you - that's hard. In the story, Meriel was worried that her mother and grandmother would be disappointed, even though they were dead. The idea that the net kept the world safe from a ravaging Sea God was deeply ingrained in her. But once she dropped the net and the Sea God slipped away into the ocean (out of her control), Meriel was free. The burden of confining the Sea God was taken from her shoulders.
Nor returned to the sea too, as Meriel had no control over her, either. Nor showed Meriel a capacity for love that the net restricted. To fully embrace that capacity, Meriel had to drop the net. This allowed Nor to leave, but if Meriel truly loved her, she had to let Nor go.
That's my take on this story, which is one of the better short stories that I've ever read. If you think I've got it wrong, or that I've missed something, feel free to let me know. Here's my favorite bit:
******************* from p69
"What part of you thinks this is right?" she asked me then, and I could hear tears in her voice but dared not look up at her. "What part of you, Meriel?"
I pointed towards the door, terrified that if I spoke, I would speak the truth.
The door crashed against the frame when she slammed it behind her. I waited until enough time had passed, until I felt certain her coracle had entered the cold and empty bay. Then, when I knew she had gone, I whispered it into the air, because I could not keep it inside of me any longer.
"No part of me," I told Nor's ghost, and I sat, hollow, beside the dying fire.
I like the progression of Meriel’s character throughout the story. At the beginning she keeps the web going because she promised her mother that she would. She feels like it’s her duty but, as she starts getting closer to Nor, she questions whether or not she’s doing the right thing. She begins to question everything that her mother had told her about the sea folk and about why they keep the web together. The ending was sad, but I think I would’ve done the same thing.
I would recommend this to fans of short stories and fantasy.
This was a lovely piece, about a girl who lives alone on an Island maintaining a curse in order to stop the world from ending. It's a genuine story of self-exploration with fairy-tale setting. The story explores the idea of keeping up traditions and hatreds without fully understanding why, about learning how to accept other people's differences, making a change in life and cost of free will. Even in such a short story, I fell in love with every character - all of them were engaging and completely fascinating to read about. "We are all monsters", indeed.