The Ancient Magus’ Bride is one of the most spellbinding love stories that’s come out in a while, and it’s definitely found a home among the classics of anime history. There are many reasons to love the show, but what fans mention the most is the complex and beautiful world – with its very strong ties to European lore. Here are a few of our favorite references in the show:
🍃Titania & Oberon
Titania and Oberon are the quarrelsome fairy queen and king in The Ancient Magus’ Bride. They’re also the names of the fairy queen and king from Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Giving names and memorable personalities to the fairy royalty, Shakespeare has since influenced their portrayal in many works of fiction. It seems only fitting that the manga artist, Kore Yamazaki, chose to portray them this way as well.
Speaking of Shakespeare, Ariel is the name of a character in another one of his plays, The Tempest. Ariel, who is saved by the play’s protagonist, agrees to help by spying and using magic to cause a storm. The character was originally intended to be male, and the role was played by male actors. Since then, the role has been portrayed by men and women, alike.
In The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Ariel is the little fairy who helps Chise out of predicaments with magic. This character is androgynous, according to the The Ancient Magus’ Bride Official Guide Book Merkmal.
Spriggans are mythological creatures that originate from Cornish lore. They are described as resembling old men with huge childlike heads, and can even turn into giants. It is said that they guard treasures or act as bodyguards to fairies.
Spriggan is the faithful servant of Queen Titania in The Ancient Magus’ Bride. He has a tough demeanor and a serious dislike for humans. However, he does care for those of pure fairy kind, like when he showed compassion toward Silver Lady when she was a lost banshee.
The Sleigh Beggy’s origins are about as obscure as they come. In lore, very little is known about them besides the fact that they are an earthly type of fairy with feet like those of a bird.
Why Kore Yamazaki chose this creature is unclear; however, it does lend itself well to the mystery of Chise’s power.
Around the 13th century, a legend spread throughout Europe about a man named Cartaphilus, who claimed to have struck Jesus on his way to crucifixion. Cursed to live until the end of the world, the man changed his name to Joseph and attempted to live piously. This tragic story is believed to have its roots in a line from the Bible, where an officer struck Jesus (John, 18-20, 22). Numerous iterations of this legend have cropped up throughout the ages, including one known as the Wandering Jew.
Along with the pains of immortality, Cartaphilus of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, is also cursed with a perpetually deteriorating body and is unaware of why he is being punished.
🍃Pilum Murale/Liath Anam
Though it’s not exactly lore, the history behind Elias’s other names is worth noting. Elias earned the nickname Pilum Murale after using his shadow powers to form spikes. The name most likely refers to pilum muralis, which were large, wooden, spear-like objects carried by the Roman army around 2,000 years ago.
In Irish, liath means gray, and anam means soul. Perhaps a gray soul refers to how Elias appears to be neither completely fae nor human.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the word “Magus” rhymes with Vegas. Tomato, tomato, right?
The nickname Robin, which fae beings bestowed upon Chise, likely refers to the common bird, the robin redbreast. However, according to British lore, this bird is not ordinary. It is said that a robin tried to aid Jesus on the cross by singing comforting songs or plucking thorns from His crown.
The name may also represent the fact that Sleigh Beggy are often portrayed as having bird’s feet.
🍃Silky & Banshee (Silver Lady)
According to Irish myth, a banshee is a spirit that mourns the dead. Specifically, they are women who follow a particular family and make a horrific shrieking sound when someone in that family dies.
When Silver Lady was a banshee, the family she followed died off, leaving her with no one to mourn for. That’s when Spriggan turned her into a silky, so that she’d always belong to a house regardless of whether a family lived inside.
A silky is a spirit that protects a house, keeping the place tidy and guarding it over the years. They are said to be clothed in silk and can be temperamental at times. In other lore, beings who perform this role are known as brownies.
Not to be confused with silkies, the selkie is a creature with the appearance of a seal. When compelled to live among people, they can take on human form by shedding their skin. Many stories describe this human form as being very beautiful, and people trap them in relationships by stealing their seal skin so they can’t return to the sea.
Merituuli is a selkie in human form, who is mutually bonded to Lindel as his familiar.
With their origins in Slavic mythology, the vodyanoi are said to be water-dwelling creatures that cause misfortunes like drownings or broken dams. Sometimes described as frog-like old men, other times as oddly-dressed loiterers who constantly drip water, they make their way into many works of fiction. Some stories even portray the vodyanoi as magic-wielding water people.
This is similar to Hugo, Angelica’s assistant and a vodyanoi in The Ancient Magus’ Bride.
What else belongs on this list?! Got any cool theories on what lore you think the show is referencing?
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We love this stuff, so much so, that we made a whole book about it! You can only get it with our Limited Edition of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, which is flying off the shelves like crazy.
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