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they call him Ravi Two Emotions

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“Not the best sense of time” he says.
Seconds later, he confirms this by stating six generations of Opinici isn’t a long time.

And more angry Ravi. This seems to be his second favorite emotion.

In a human timeline, this would have been in the span of about 120 years or so.

Phineas the Red
Phineas the Green (daughter) {Human could have one at 20}
? (grandchild) {Human could have one a 40}
Jimothy the Elder (great-grandchild) {Human could have one at 60}
James Finn (great-great-grandchild) {Human could have one at 80}
Jimothy the Younger (great-great-great-grandchild) {Human could have one at 100}

Now, this is assuming that one child is born every 20 years, but it’s not that long. However, even in *this* short a time, things could be lost between generations.

I get the impression that Ravi may not have been the best at explaining all the subtle details of his “gift” to boot.. He seems like the sort to just expect it all to make so much clear sense…

Gryphon generations are much longer. Just taking the current Finn clan into account, the oldest son (Paul) is only a few years older than Jim, who’s about 20 right now. James and Django were carnie barkers during the dustbowl in the 1930; if we assume James was a teenager/young adult at the time, then he’s in his mid- to late-80s by now. I also want to say there was a Reader Question (or maybe something on Patreon?) that confirmed the Finns didn’t start having children until their 60s.

If we assume 60 or so is (more or less) the regular age gryphons start having children, we go from 120 years to 360, so it’s safe to assume it’s been about 300~400 years since Ravi first bestowed his Gifts.

So yeah, big surprise they forgot. Most people don’t know what was up with their family back in the 1600s.

Birth/hatching dates have been given.
James 10 Mar 1905
Mary 15 Jun 1909
Paulbert 18 Jun 1978
Jimothy 31 Oct 1984
Tobias 09 Aug 1989
Colin 28 Oct 1995

I don’t know if it’s typical for gryphons to have their first children when they’re in their 60s or 70s, but it might compare to Homo sap mostly starting theirs at about a third of their (classically “three-score and ten”) life expectancy.

Also, I think Ravi’s math is off the mark. If the caverns date back to the 1400s, that’s about three full life expentancies, or ten 60-yr generations. The actual number of opportunities for lost information from one generation to the next is probably closer to ten than three.

Dude you just confirmed that I share a birthday with Tobias (albeit I was born when he turned five). And that Colin is older than my boyfriend….

He was adorable at first but now I just want someone to slap him. :(

Martha is rapidly losing patience with Ravi’s attitudes

It’s James who is becoming disgruntled with Ravi’s behaviour.
First up, as soon as Ravi actually meets the Finns for the first time, he’s seriously invading their personal space.
Second is his activating the ‘gifts’ in Colin, totally oblivious to the problems Colin will cause.
Then there’s the brief discussion at Fingol.
And now, there is his complaining that mere mortal families would forget information, in the very caverns that the Finns were tasked to protect.

Ravi, my pal, my dude, I think everyone you could have feasibly berated for that has been dead for a while…

I guess Ravi is that one relative that gives you something for your birthday and keeps asking you all year round if you’ve been using it, taken to its logical, albeit supernatural, solution.

I don’t ENTIRELY blame Ravi for being angry here. Let’s look at the math here…

If Phineas the Red was the “first generation,” and his daughter the second generation, and if we go with Jim being “fifth generation,” that means Jim’s grandfather — Jimothy the Elder — was the grandson of Phineas the Red, and the son of Phineas the Green.

Barring some awful accident, that meant Jimothy the Elder knew his redheaded grandfather and green-haired mother… and yet, he saw NO reason to tell his sons about the family gift? And we didn’t know whether Jimothy the Elder lived to see Jim born with green hair (just like his mother)!

Clearly, IF Ravi was correct about it only being five generations… wow, that’s downright irresponsible.

But if Ravi counted wrong, and it’s actually more like six to eight generations… well, that’s less of a surprise.

Oops, Ravi said “removed.”

Okay, then that makes Phineas the Green the “first” generation, which means Jimothy the Elder would’ve been her grandson and the great-grandson of Phineas the Red.

Still, that’s not much “removed.”

I’m not sure if I’m detecting a plot-hole, or a reveal here. The chief way(s) such lore could get lost: (A) griffons were illiterate (until recently)… oral knowledge has its limitations; and/or (B) something catastrophic occurred, disrupting the flow of knowledge from one generation to the next.

The least likely one is (C) the griffons didn’t think ‘The Gift’ was all that terribly important, so nobody bothered to take notes… or create an oral meme.

Ravi would have a major snit if (C) was the case.

Or (D), magic was more common at the time of Phineas the Red, so nobody took much notice of his fire powers, thinking it was his preference to work with fire. The red hair stood out more, though. Also (E), they worked in secrecy and it backfired.

There’s also the possibility of (F), whatever reasons there were for the Gift in the first place were thought to have been dealt with, so the importance of maintaining the information appeared to have lessened. Especially if Ravi had already gone into hiding or was otherwise unavailable, and was not around to point out that the knowledge needed to be maintained.

I also sense a certain amount of (G), Ravi didn’t provide much of an instruction manual and just assumed that everyone would “just know”.

F, something else happened that caused lost information; a lot of secrets of important trades and things rom the middle ages and even the Rennaissance era were lost because the only people who knew things died or were lost before they could write down or pass on their secrets, or because coded ciphers were separated from their keys which have subsequently never been found. Natural disasters like fires or floods could have destroyed early writings, and perhaps, considering the setting, something more magical was to blame as well.

I think it’s a mix of B and C: it was kept a secret in the family, passed from one Gifted to the next rather than the details being known family-wide. Then the flow got interrupted somehow and the family was left with scraps while they were busy with something else.

Well Ravi maybe it’s because no one (cough you cough) wrote it down. Speaking as a historian, if everyone a thousand years ago had kept a diary my life would be much more interesting! But nope hardly anyone was literate and libraries burned down like it was going out of fashion, and I take this as a personal insult.

Honestly, I figure that one of the parents ‘in the know’ died when the child was VERY young. That’s all it would take. One parent dying with a young child, not having imparted the knowledge to their child or spouse at the time of their unexpected death. I highly doubt this is the type of information you would pass on in any form other than orally.

*flips back* Cave has been in the family since the 1400s. 600 years. Give or take. Ravi speaks of Michelle ‘looking just like her after centuries’ so has some concept of the time. But little of the lives of the gryphons. When they may or may not have raised a family. Or which ones hit troubles and died. It’s not like the Finns seems to have a huge clan centered on their house. And if Paul is some 30ish or so, born before Ravi’s return. that’s a good 300-400 years or so for the curse to have stopped. And it may have been more important to note the Finns were guardians then how they guarded. Especially if things were really quiet during that time. And then different elements, someone a natural with water might not realize the earth and plant connection of green. With no training going forward.

*ramble ramble ramble*

Oooh! Oooh! Ask James if he remembers how the wiring and water pipes go!

James Finn: *stares at handbasin cold tap, from which water is trickling slowly; rubs brow* Riiight… this one is supplied from one of our two cold water tanks… I think it also supplies the… er…

Ravi: *touches trickle of water* You have four cold water tanks, including the one connected to this tap, which is empty… and required a… booster pump, perhaps… *runs out into corridor* …yes, I think that is what it is, the power to which appears to have failed. The dead wire runs along here… *traces along wall with finger* to this junction box here. And look, the wall panel that conceals it is screwed! *produces stubby screwdriver, unscrews panel* Yes… yes, terminals in the junction box are loose! *opens junction box, checks wires, tightens terminal screws* They can work loose like this if they are not done properly – the alternating current jiggles them, you see.

Booster pump: *stirs into life*

Tap: *begins to run properly*

Ravi: *frowns, touches incoming wires as he closes junction box* And I must say, whoever put your ring circuits in really did not appear to understand what they were doing… this so-called ring main appears to have more spurs than a jousting tournament!

James: ;v;

>:=)>

Finally, thank goodness. Shake them. Every time they deny any responsibility attendant to their nobility, I hate them more.

I hope when we find out how they forgot they had a **really** good reason (like everyone but an infant was killed) and that the enormity of their failing crushes one of them. Someone should either litterally die from shame, or forswear all wordly comforts to serve those they abandonded by neglecting their oath and gift.

Dude, chill out. Ravi’s acting more and more like a chessmaster upset about his unwitting pawns not following his harebrained scheme to the letter. The Finns have always guarded the cave, and for what they knew that was their job.

They’ve never denied responsibility. They still guard the “egg”, after all. What has happened is that Ravi’s “gift” was lost for centuries when he returned to India, and information has been lost and/or mutated over time.

Ravi did not return to Liverpool until shortly before Jimothy was born; nobody since Phineas the Green has had the “gift” until Jimothy. So, Finns born without the gift have continued to guard the egg, and over time, the concept of the next guardian has mutated from “the nextborn Finn with the gift” to “the firstborn male Finn” (which in this case is Paulbert).

As Vaal says, Ravi’s upset that his pawns have not been following his scheme to the letter. He conveniently has already (seemingly) forgotten that nobody has had the “gift” since Phineas the Green, and he seems to NOT have noticed that there is no mention of anyone named “Ravi” in the recorded history of the Finn family.

In other words, over the last few centuries, they’ve forgotten about HIM, and they’ve forgotten about his “gift”, but they haven’t forgotten about their job guarding the “egg”. They might not have kept a written history out of fear that the wrong person (e.g. a human) might accidentally discover the books and learn about the egg, the gift, and the fact that “mythological creatures” still exist.

Even if they did keep a written history, acid-free paper wasn’t invented until about the 1950s. Depending on quality, acid-free paper can last for 500 to 1000 years, but paper that is not acid-free turns yellow, becomes brittle, and deteriorates over time.

I’ve not seen any books more than about 200 years old that weren’t incredibly fragile, kept intact only by very careful handling (e.g. wearing latex gloves to keep natural skin oils off the paper) and climate control. The best storage will have a temperature of about 65F/18C, and 40% relative humidity. Too much humidity and you end up with mold and “foxing” (the brown spots that form on old paper). Too little, and you end up with the pages and binding being excessively dry and brittle.

There’s all kinds of other things to keep in mind, like NOT storing them in boxes (which makes it more difficult for air to move around the book and allows moisture to build up), keeping them away from sunlight, storing it straight up-and-down so the binding doesn’t warp due to gravity, etc.

It’s entirely possible that even if they did keep a written history, the paper it was written on might not have survived (and might have degraded to the point of uselessness before anyone thought to copy it).

People are being mean to poor Ravi.
* cries a little bit for Ravi *

Apparently whatever happened was a huge event even in his immortal existence and no one remembers that it happened. Personally, I think the character comes across as a very caring and generous person who deserves a break for any eccentricities.

earlier it was said that nobody had the curse/gift in generations. this could mean that Phineas the Green was the last one to have it before Jim and thus it was thought that it could not be passed on so it’s details where never told

Griffon Elder: Gather around, younglings, it is time I taught you how to use your gifts given to us by the Great Ravi during an earlier age.

Griffon Youngster: But we don’t have the Gift. Neither does Mon ‘n’ Dad.

Griffon Elder: Hm, Ravi’s spell must have run out of juice. Oh, forget it. Let’s just go out for ice cream.

Griffon Youngster: Okay!

I wonder who will be the one to slap Ravi’s face to bring him to a halt this time, and make him realise how foolish he is being, again.

Illumination, chapter 1, pages 30 – 33.
Ravi gets angry that the Finns have no idea of his ‘gift’, and in fact call it a Curse.
Page 32, Michelle beings Ravi down to Earth in making him realise why his ‘gift’ died out.
Page 33, Ravi brushes off the fact that there is no mention of Ravi in the Finn family histories.

I hope Michelle recalls that detail from page 33, and firmly prods Ravi to remind him of it.

I can understand wax from melted candles surrounding the spaces for them along the walls.
But how did the melted wax get onto the ceiling to drip down, which can be seen in frame 1?

You’ve got me stumped there, Jeni. Vaporized wax does exist right around the flame, but doesn’t travel very far or last very long once the candle is extinguished.

If you hold a lit candle, match, or lighter close to a freshly extinguished candle, you can watch the flame travel along the wax vapor trail to re-light the candle, but only if you hold it close enough. So I doubt that any vaporized wax would travel far enough from the candle to accumulate on the ceiling.

The only logical explanation I can think of is that prior to the caves being wired with electricity, they had to light the entrance with candles as well (and it looks like the candles were not being kept in candle holders). So maybe some of the wax dripped through tiny cracks in the floor to form wax “stalactites” on the ceiling of the level below… (Limestone is porous, after all.)

Without experimentation, we can’t say that this explanation is impossible, just very implausible. But, just like you can say that “mostly dead” is also “slightly alive”, you can say that “very implausible” also means “slightly plausible”. ;-)

I don’t know. I kind of have to agree with Ravi’s rage. He gave their family some huge super powers and it was probably a real struggle for him to do—otherwise there’d be more character with those powers, right? That’s got to be a real shock to find out somewhere in the line a parent neglected to inform his/her kid(s) about this. He’s probably not really angry at James, but for James and it’s probably insulting to find out that a gift he put a lot of effort into to help protect that Phoenix egg was put to waste. I theorize someone died/was killed before their chicks hatched.

Nope. Something a LOT simpler. Things not being verbally passed on, since there’s no easy way to explain them. While Colin somehow figured out how to use the abilities in his version of the Curse when pushed, Jim could not.
We have to assume that Ravi was directly involved in teaching Phineas, and his daughter; Phineas II, in how to use the powers from what would become known as the Finn Family Curse.
Ravi returned to India before Phineas II’s children were conceived. Near as we can figure there have been no more generations with the Finn Curse till Ravi returned to the UK after Paul was hatched and before Jim was conceived.

The Finn family histories seem to be more verbal history than anything written down. Since Jim was not going to be the Cave Guardian, he was never taught any of the remaining info. Paul was.
If the Caves and the Phoenix Egg were supposed to be something to Be Kept Secret, even moreso than the existence of the Avalons, then there wouldn’t be anything written down at all, simply to minimize the risk.

So all it would take for things to be forgotten is for there to be nothing to use to describe the esoteric ability or its use, which only a small few family members have ever had. What was More Pressing was working out how to guard the Phoenix Egg without the powers of the Curse. Those details were passed down.

Well, Ravi, considering the caves have been in use since the 1400s (from looking at the wiki), presumably the time the egg was placed there and you gave your gift, and people don’t normally wait until near the end of their lives to have children, there have probably been more like ten, maybe twenty generations of Finns since then, most of which didn’t have the gift. After a while, it wouldn’t really make sense to teach the children how to use a gift that would probably never come back.

Wait, looking this again, I just processed James saying that Phineas II had a mane. He didn’t say hair, he said a mane. Like, in gryphon form. A feature that is usually exclusive to males. In the middle ages. I mean, if her magic was hair based she would logically need hair, but I imagine she probably got more grief over it than Jim ever did.

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