Saturday, March 29, 2008

Creating mythology, part one

I was reading a post on Maclean's the other day about the mythology of TV shows, that is, the stuff in the background that informs the story. As the guy put it, "a Batman story is about him fighting a bad guy, the Batman mythology is all the stuff about his parents and his childhood and various lovers/sidekicks/wards."
What I found interesting was his comment about how shows without a "real" mythology (one created by the writers) will often get one filled in by the fans, and I instantly though of Fanon. To quote one more time, the fans "extrapolate from individual episodes they've seen and apply these mythological elements to the characters and the whole series."

Reading that, I can't help but think of all the things I believe about any given series without having anything to back it up other than a line or two, or even just a feeling. Like, on Sushi Pack, I can easily see Maguro being the one who encouraged Tako to paint, or that the events in Deep Freeze happened after a big fight between Mochi and the other members of the Legion, where she accused them of not understanding her. Or my theory about how there are actually three sets of Care Bears in existence at any given time, simply based on the AiCaL line about Grumpy having a "Grandma Grumpy."

Oddly enough, this also got me thinking about The End of Flutter Valley. I've written about how I got slightly obsessed with that storyline, but what I wrote there was only part of it. Based on what little the writers gave us the viewers, I put together my version of what the Bee Society must have been like, both before and after the events in the episode(s). At one time I intended to write it up as a semi-epic fanfic, but in the end I couldn't put it all together, and then I lost my inspiration. But because it never really left my mind, here was my general plan:

(This took a lot longer than I thought, so I've decided to split this treatment into three parts: what came before TEoFV, what happened immediately preceding and following it, and the far future.)

It all starts with the initial incident between Flutter Ponies and Bees. No one knows what it was anymore, and I never really came up with a good reason, either, so I figure it was probably something stupid between the two queens. But whatever it was, the Flutter Ponies banded together and kicked out the bees and that was that. One of the assumptions I'm making here is that all the queens are named Bumble, and that they gain a title after their reign is over, usually caused by their death (I wouldn't have mentioned this explicitly, but that is how I see it). Anyway, after the initial conflict, I jump ahead a few generations, so that none of the bees or flutter ponies (whom I see as having a longer lifespan than the bees, but again, that's not really dealt with) remember the catalyst, but merely that there is bad blood between them. The main story I pick up on deals with Bumble from TEoFV as a young princess and her mother, the current Queen Bumble. Naturally there are the seeds of who Bumble would become as an adult, mostly shown in fights with her mother, who is attempting to bring the kingdom back from the disaster her own mother, Bumble the Vindictive (who spent her lifetime fighting to regain Flutter Valley, which ultimately lead to her death), left it in, which mostly manifested as trying to trade with nearby towns and forbidding her daughter from visiting Flutter Valley. Meanwhile, I'd also introduce the young Sting and Pointer, with Pointer being the leader of the younger bees, still being trained in Bee things, like flying and building hives and making honey and stinger fencing and stuff like that. And Pointer is always going after Sting for not being good at flying, and Sting goes off by himself and gets really good at fighting (this is important later on), and somehow there's a late-night mission where Sting finds out that Pointer is afraid of the dark and the two make an unfriendly truce: Pointer lays off Sting as long as Sting keeps his secret.
I did actually write out a part where Bumble attempts to run away from home and the Queen explains why they have nothing to do with Flutter Valley, but it doesn't really flow well. Later, the Queen goes on a short trip to negotiate with a large kingdom, but does not return (it wouldn't be mentioned in the story, but her party met up with bandits who killed them all). In the interim, Bumble takes advantage of her mother's absence and has a number of things set up strictly for her amusement, including a tournament. After a few in-air rounds, she decided it would be easier to watch on the ground, which leads to Sting both participating and winning (of course), and on a whim, she made the winner her future right-hand bee and bodyguard. This was the start of things getting more tense between Sting and Pointer (since Pointer obviously was the runner up, and thus made future captain of the guard, also on Bumble's whim).
Once it was obvious that the Queen was not returning, Bumble became fully-fledged queen, and made good on a childish promise to only do what she wanted once she was queen, which lead to the state that Bumbleland is in during The End of Flutter Valley. And her mother would surely roll in her grave if she knew that her daughter destroyed the trade agreements she worked so hard at creating! For in my version, the bees reputation for being mean and tough comes from the fact they routinely sack and loot the nearby towns.
Speaking of her mother, later on she's referred to as Bumble the Clever, which is actually a bit of a misnomer, for while she did do a lot of good for the kingdom, she was very no-nonsense and not creative at all, mainly evidence on the names she gave the bees (in my version, the current queen has to name all the bees she births; Bumble the Vindictive named all hers after tough-sounding weeds like Gorse and Mugwort, and apparently Bumble the Clever named hers without any thought. I mean, really, Sting, Pointer? Makes you wonder what the others were called...)

Next: What happened after Bumble reformed, and how the events in The Magic Coins affected Bumbleland and Flutter Valley

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