Symbolism

 

It's no secret that I strive to instill multiple layers of meaning within my work. In fact, it's really no secret that any writer does this. But what may come as a surprise is that some of the meaningful allegories were not intended, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this either. If you want to get mystical, Carl Jung called it the collective unconscious, but that's enough spooky for now.

Probably the most obvious example of symbolism is the institution of the Seven Saints, each corresponding to one of the Seven Virtues and each opposing one of the Seven Evils. This comes to light near the very end of E1, but plays a slightly larger part of E2's plot, and so on throughout the rest of the series (as yet unreleased, unfortunately). Each Saint has a Beloved, because we've got to love one another. But though this element of the plot is profoundly religious in nature, in keeping with my principle of inclusion (and my own nature, frankly), I wanted each pair of Saint & Beloved to cover a different dimension of the spectrum. Now this treads into major spoiler territory, but suffice to say, they collectively represent the spectrum in its entirety.

Because E2 is unfinished, I don't want to spoil the Saint/Beloved pairing as yet... even though I've already revealed E3 and on. Oh well. Each Saint also corresponds to one of the Seven Rays, which is referenced by the color of their wings. This is exemplified in their use of the "Light of Righteousness" to smite their adversaries... with all seven colors of the rainbow. Jovial, no? In that light, the "Sainthood" could just as well be seen as a glamorized subversion of spiritual principles. It all depends on your angle, as good symbolism does.

The names of the characters themselves were also considered carefully... well, from E2 onward anyway. As for E1, being the good little churchgoing kid that I was, I pulled a fair few from just the Bible's table of contents. But when I actually looked up the meanings of these names years later, it made a little more sense. Ezra means "assistance," for example. Sure, it's pretty general, but it does suit his role at least. You may remember dialogue where Luminaya mentions that he renamed Akiko to Leah because "she has endured much." Leah means weary or delicate. Also, Boaz's mother Nina outright says that his name means "strength" in a flashback.

Leonardo, being the Saint of E1, is not surprisingly a messianic allegory, which is attested in his rebirth as a Saint following his descent into the Bottomless Pit. His name, essentially "lion brave" or lionheart, alludes to the "Lion of Judah," a point consolidated in Zavier's line: "How can a Savior know what He rescues His people from unless He Himself experiences it?" Leonardo himself is depicted as a silly manchild who matures greatly over the course of the story, gradually coming to terms with his destiny... to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders and carry it to the summit of humanity's iniquity, Mt. Golgotha itself - indeed, another name for the very Calvary where Christ was crucified. He's even "pierced" by Emperor Fiyara and briefly presumed dead, until he rises in flames like a phoenix from its own ashes.

Many other names simply play on personality traits or simple aspects of the characters themselves. For example, Dirk means "power of the tribe" (he is the Goth Lord, after all). Trevor means "from the famous land" (Haine). In E2, Monique means "solitary," alluding to her lonely nature. Elwyn means "magical friend" and also shares etymological roots with Alvin, Pica's father in E1. The inseparable Nadine and Nika, in E5, mean "hope" and "victory," respectively. I'm not going into all of them here, but I would really encourage you to go and look up the names of all the characters for yourself, even the non-player characters. It could lead to some fascinating discoveries!

What of the simple abbreviations for each installment of the series? E1, E2, and so on? They couldn't possibly hold any meaning, could they? Well, that's what I thought, until I happened upon the so-called "Revelation 12:1 prophecy". Not just the scripture itself, but what some believe to have been its fulfillment, a perfect alignment of celestial bodies over Jerusalem on September 23rd, 2017, that was said to have heralded the opening bell of the Tribulation. And, well, given what we've been through these last couple of years, that honestly doesn't sound too far off.

So it is said, the planet Jupiter (king of the gods) appeared in the "womb" of the constellation Virgo about the time a certain comet from the "loins" of Leo passed through. That comet was codenamed "E1," the conception comet. E1, the conception comet from Leo, entered into Virgo, the virgin, or Mary... which Hiram confuses with Maire's name on one occasion, in E2 (and indeed this has far more to do with the plot itself). The fulfillment was said to have occurred nine months later, when Jupiter exited Virgo.

 

The thing is, I had been using E1, E2 and so on to refer to the Elements series long before I knew about this alleged prophecy. It has its opponents, and rightly so. You can look it up if you want, I'm not saying it has any real significance, or that it doesn't; just that it struck me for its parallels to the progression of my own work, completely unaware of it (and well preceding it).

Now if you need a more secular metaphor, E1 - E4 are actually real-world symbols for female hormones: estrone, estradiol, estriol, and estetrol. Of course, this was also unintentional. And to my knowledge, there are no corresponding substances for E5, E6, and E7. Phew.