Halloween Masquerade Costume Series #2: The Cursed Sisters, Part 1

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After three years of black and purple mourning clothes, Linnetta’s gown for the masquerade ball — a playful representation of a demon princess — was a blaze of glory. She felt as if its crimson lining was burning her skin, and her cheeks glowed with, if not perfect good health, a fair imitation of it considering all she had gone through. Even after so many near brushes with death and grief, no one was as beautiful as she was tonight: such thoughts consoled her on such a difficult evening. Linnetta bowed her head demurely as she made her entrance at her father’s side, ignoring the buzz of voices. It was distasteful to hear people placing bets on when she was going to die, but she had gotten used to it.

Linnetta found herself trapped in polite conversations with Lady Someone-or-another, and then Duchess So-and-so, and (so it seemed, in the rush of masks and spangles) every woman at the ball; in her absence from society, Linetta had forgotten most of the titles she ever knew, but she’d lost none of her charm. She didn’t really want to talk about her sisters, but whenever a conversation partner made sympathetic noises about her unfortunate loss — five sisters, and so young! — she made grateful noises in return, so each nosy woman could leave feeling like they had comforted poor bereaved Linnetta without actually sharing in her tragedy.

The cursed sisters all should have been there that night, and Linnetta felt their absence keenly, as if she saw them from the corner of her eye. The masked faces were all focused on her, trying to predict the manner by which the youngest and fairest daughter would meet her end, and wondering if it might even be tonight. Linetta ignored them, taking refuge in a cluster of acquaintances. She couldn’t even lose herself in the dance, for it’d be unseemly to be too carefree at her first appearance after her long illness, and the period of mourning.


… Don’t worry, I’ve written the whole story out in advance this time. In terms of site news, no one has guessed the correct singer / group that I learned to draw gold from. (Hint: look at my about this page link for an idea of possible dates – this isn’t a trick I picked up recently). Also, I’m going to put up a poll tomorrow for week 3 of costumes: please post any suggestions in the comments.

Halloween Lord of the Rings Costume Series #1: Eowyn’s Blue Dress with Silver Ties and Embroidered Edging

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So! Today officially starts day one of my Halloween costume month extravaganza. I foresee a lot of elves in my future, but I like Eowyn and couldn’t help but start with something she might wear. The dress isn’t intended to represent any specific costume from the movie – as much as I like the movie costumes, I won’t just be reproducing them all week because that would be boring – but it is vaguely based on this white gown that I loved.

I will try to re-read as much as I can of the Lord of the Rings trilogy this week, but keep in mind I’m not a LOTR geek in the same way that I am, say, a Final Fantasy geek. My mom tried to get me to read The Hobbit when I was younger, and it didn’t hold my interest until I was older for some reason. Although I have read the LOTR trilogy too, of course, it really has been quite some time. So if I draw an elf dress in some specific shade of purple that the Silmarillion says is reserved for mourning a nephew or something please do forgive me.

Here’s the poll for week 2 of Halloween costume possibilities. I dropped the bottom three results from last week, added the suggestions from yesterday’s post and added one of my own… Please vote!

White Dress with Blue Tunic and Forget-Me-Nots for September

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Finally, another birthday dress! I want to fill in the months I never got around to this year as well, but for now I will start at the current date. September’s birth flower (one of them, at least) is the forget-me-not, and its birth stone (again, one of them) is sapphire, making it easy to pick the dress’ predominant color. Adding the necklace on top of it all was kind of gilding the lily, but oh well.

It is only September 4th, but I’m starting to think about October. Last year I did a month of Halloween costumes, and I had so much fun I’m thinking of doing another theme month. I could do another month of random costumes like I did last year, or I could do something more narrowly focused. For example, Brian suggested a month of famous witch costumes – the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch, Willow, the Grand High Witch, Minerva McGonagall and so on. If anyone else has any other ideas, leave a comment! I’ve got all month to think about it.

Granmammare’s Blue Gown from Ponyo

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Brian and I went to see Ponyo the other day. It was gorgeous and lushly animated, and for someone like me who loves the sea, the first sequence was just a delight, with the jellyfish and spider crabs and all. Just in terms of the setting and visuals, it’s easily my favorite Ghibli movie, and I’d love to see it again just for how pretty and filled with life everything was. I enjoyed the story, too: Ponyo and Sōsuke really seemed like actual kids and they were so much fun to watch, and if none of the characters were really tremendously deep, they were sympathetic and sweet. All the little details really made the movie special: the octopus trying to figure out a sliding glass door, the sprinkler system Fujimoto used on land, the way Lisa presented the ramen to the kids. The story is a loose adaptation of the Little Mermaid, and if you’re the kind of person who likes this paperdoll blog I bet you’ll enjoy the movie too, so go see it! For an actual review, try Ebert’s review of it or the Star Crossed Anime Blog review.

It reminded me most of Spirited Away, but somehow not as coherent: things that seemed to have a lot of significance were too casually introduced and dropped. Granmammare and Fujimoto were humans, then gods and protectors of the seas, and somehow produced thousands of magic goldfish children, the moon itself drops out of orbit and pulls all the water towards it, and a five-year old’s pledge of love is enough to set the world back right, despite the fact that the environmental changes must have caused horrendous damages and losses of life. (If the moon was essentially making the highest high tide ever, I couldn’t help but wonder what the low tide elsewhere was looking like…) These things felt to me like they were trying to cram some depth and mythology in; things like boys who are also both rivers and dragons worked in Spirited Away both because it was established as a whole different world and because it had a more mature feel to it, but Ponyo seemed to bounce between being light-hearted and solemn. It also seems to me that Ponyo herself is on track to becoming one of those tedious anime females who attaches herself like a millstone to the neck of the male lead character, happy to be entirely without her own goals or thoughts as long as he’s around. Ugh, about the only one of those I’ve ever liked is Misa from Death Note. Well, I like to think that it doesn’t happen quite that way and that she finds joy as a human in addition to Sōsuke’s existence… These are all really just minor quibbles, though — things that weren’t addressed in the movie that bugged me. I still loved it anyways!

This dress is an adaptation of Granmammare’s blue gown – it’s just flat blue in the movie, but of course that’s not quite so much fun for me. Anyways, it changes shape a few times in the movie, so I like to think it can be pretty much whatever she pleases.

I like all of the Ghibli movies, but in general I prefer the ones that skew a little bit older – Only Yesterday and Princess Mononoke over Ponyo and My Neighbor Totoro, for example. I can’t choose between Porco Rosso and and Whisper of the Heart, so they will both be my favorites.