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Illumination Page 30: The Gift

Illumination Page 30: The Gift published on 90 Comments on Illumination Page 30: The Gift

And with this page, Skin Deep goes on hiatus until October! Why? Because I have TWO conventions back to back!

THIS weekend (September 19th and 20th) I’ll be at Rose City Comic Con right here in Portland, Oregon! Table Q14!


The weekend after that (September 26th and 27th) I will be at Topatocon in Easthampton, Massachusetts! Table L8!



Um… Well, that was a sudden shift in mood…
So, if green is earth magic, and if we’re going by the regular standards here, then blue is water and red is fire. Is Merial going to teach Colin how to move water around?

Normally one would expect earth to be browns, and greens to be plants.

In the Chinese Five Elements system (Wu Xing), green is associated with the element of wood, which relates to the time of spring, and growth and expansion.

Wow, so mad, Ravi… I guess that’s what happens when an immortal’s long-laid plans get a spanner thrown at them. I wonder how he’s going to fix that… and if that means Colin really does have the ‘curse’.

That would also explain why the ‘curse’ is popping up again now, when a sphinx has shown up again at long last and other crazy things seem to be happening, too. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens next…

Okay, now I trust Ravi.

That is, I trust him again.

Nope, he’s still really untrustworthy. Immortal beings with an age old plan tend to have a really low regard for trivialities such as lives or collateral damage.

It worries me how Ravi said Paul has nothing. I mean, sure he might not have whatever earth magic is being referred to, but WOW THAT IS SO RUDE.

Not really.
It seems that the Elemental Magic is tied to having the Curse.
Paul does not have the Curse, so as a consequence he has no Elemental Magic.
Paul has nothing.

Still rude.

agreed, it just makes me feel bad for poor Paul to be refereed to as “having nothing”

If Finn family Tradition has become the eldest Finn is the guard, then why wouldn’t Ravi have known of this already?

Guessing gaily, Ravi probably assumed that Finn paterfamilias James and alchemical practitioner Mary knew what they were doing. Of course, such things might have come up in casual conversation with such an old ally of the Finns, but given that Jim has avoided Ravi due to his attitude to personal space, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Paul has even bigger issues with this, and won’t go near him. Tobias is too much of an angsty, handheld-game-obsessed teen, and Colin is too much of a hyperactive kid, to be interested in old farts and their old shops full of old things (and Ravi might not talk of such matters with such younglings anyway). And maybe…

Ravi: I assumed your father knew of Paulbert’s unsuitability – I would have mentioned it and commiserated with him… but I haven’t seen him in a while… more than two decades, actually… of course, he has been busy with his wife and family… …perhaps I should extend him an invitation so that we can catch up!

Jim: Great idea. I’ll go and tell him now. Keep the hair.


Mary: We’d rather not, thank-you. That fellow has little idea of personal space. Right, James?

James: Oh, he’s not that bad, and maybe I ought to go and see him, even if this is a family day out; it’s been, what? – twenty nine years since I last talked to him… cripes, has it really been that long…? Come along, Jim. …You too, Paul.

Paul & Jim: :-(

James: In fact, we all ought to go. Ravi is an old family friend and ally, and we’ve been avoiding him for far too long.

Tobias: …

Mary: *palpable discontent*


>:=|We shall have to see!>

I wasn’t talking of the current Finn children, Greenwood.
I was talking of the Finns of Jimothy senior’s day and earlier, the 1800’s and earlier.

Oh, that? I expect Ravi would have noticed this trend, and I expect that all the previous eldest Finns simply had the required earth magic (it’s possible that the required earth magic was extremely common in the Finn line, or appeared to be a magical legacy received by every firstborn, to the extent that it didn’t seem an issue that would have to be addressed). I also expect that Ravi assumed that, in the event that the eldest Finn didn’t have the required earth magic, alternative arrangements would be made – he assumed that the family Finn had always understood this basic necessity.

Certainly, it seems that nothing like this has ever happened in the past… otherwise Ravi would have lead off with a “Not AGAIN!!” and then begun complaining about the past instance(s) where this particular wheel had fallen off the wagon.

I wonder if the magic was originally intended to manifest more often than is does. Considering a gryphon’s long lifespan, there probably hasn’t really been that many generations since Phineas the Red. As it is, there has been enough time between the last curse-bearers and Jim’s generation for pretty much every fact about the curses, save that they exist, to be forgotten. Ravi obviously never thought that that would be able to happen.

My guess is that, when the first Gift-less generation of Finns came along, they decided to assign guardian duty to the first-born until the next Gifted came along. Over the years, stop-gap became tradition, like that kingdom in LotR that was ruled by a guy with the title of Steward. When Jimothy came along, Ravi assumed that he would be the next guardian, and so never mentioned it. Unbeknownst to Ravi, the Finns had forgotten the significance of the Gift, and were continuing the stop-gap measure past its need.

Just thought of something utterly comical for the next page.
For Jim’s hair to NOT grow back almost instantly, as it has been doing so far in the series.

Yeah for some reason I kinda expect that… I don’t know why though.

Ravi is VERY UPSET that these people are NOT FOLLOWING THE SCRIPT. How could they DO this to HIM???

It’s worse, actually.
The Script has not been followed for some long while.
Paul or Jim did not think it was anything out of the ordinary that Paul was to get the guard duty.
The Real Trouble has yet to start though. Telling Ravi about Bloodcarver and the Brothers Grimm.

I’m going to yell at you about something you had no way of knowing about! The attack your hair! Also your meant to be talking about the ultra rare sphinx in the room, remember? Get it together Ravi.

Lets try that again…

“I’m going to yell at you about something you had no way of knowing about! Then attack your hair!”

Also, you’re meant to be talking about the ultra rare sphinx in the room, remember?

Get it together Ravi.

“Oh, look, we have at least one kid every generation who happens to be several feet taller and more intimidating than the rest, with strange hair that refuses to stay short. There’s no way this could be connected to our sacred family duty to have a family member guard a freaking Phoenix Egg!”

Also, with this new knowledge, it seems very ominous now to have two Gifted in one family… It’s possible either the Egg’s going to be under attack and need more than one Guardian, or Finn might be destined to die.


Well, considering that these seemed to be the only features, it makes sense to think it’s a mischievous curse and not a mystical help. Jim has never shown anything like Earth-related powers, so it’s not like it’s obvious. Also, being a bigger gryphon means precisely jack and shit when the apparently more popolous race in the Avalon are Nemean Lions.

The Finns home is NOT in the LA.
It’s in the countryside of Merseyside

Didn’t know that, but my point still stands. If one of the most common species are indestructible and super strong lions, greater than usual physical prowess kinda doesn’t matter. Magic powers do, but if those who have them are unaware they aren’t as useful, to use an euphemism.

Maybe the tradition of the oldest being coming guardian stems from the tradition of the oldest bested with the gift becomes guardian. It’s possible that a really really long time ago there was no gifted Finns for years so naturally the oldest ordinary Finn became the guardian and the gift was forgotten. Also Jim does say on page 3 of Illumination that no one remembers when was the last time anyone had the “curse”.

Oh! I just thought of something, Phineas the Green was the guardian after her dad and both she and Jim share the same gift of Earth!!!! No wonder Jim felt connected to her. Also she must had siblings to help her guard the egg, so that’s why it’s the oldest gifted. There has always been siblings to help protect the egg.

Colin and Jim WILL LIVE!!!!!

So Jim has “earth magic”, Merial can manipulate water and turn people into sea creatures, Michelle has the power of light and healing, and Greg gets nothing?

Speaking of whom, when are we going to get to see Greg and Michelle being cute together again? It’s been years since Homecoming!

Ravi knows how really, really important it is that egg be well-guarded. and that Paul is not magically up to the task. Still, his moodflip is impressively intense.

…what’s he going to do with Finn’s hair, that I’m eager to see. :)

…Well, he has done something to Jim’s hair… apart from clipping it off… :)
Look at the two last pics: all the hair on Jim’s arms stick out like on the tail of an angry cat! Wohoo!

And Jim is truly a Scouser, the way he’s cursing Ravi! I’ll forever hear his voice with that accent now. Up to now, i’ve imagined Public School English, with a few Americanisms thrown in here and there.

More than that.
Look at the left shoulder of Jim’s vest.
Jim almost lost it and dropped the Medallion Illusion.

Yeah. Actually, i think he’s more composed as usual – in “The One-Eyed Bear” he talks nicer, but he is a lot closer to reveal his true shape: first when he’s attacked by the Demon (and escapes by cutting his hair), later when he’s scared by the car hidden in the corn…

So does that mean Colin, if I’m thinking this right, has water magic?

Ugh, this is a cruel place to leave a hiatus. I want to know mooooore.

Ok, ok, So. If green hair= earth magic, would red hair=fire magic, blue=water (or possibly air?) and so on? Does that mean Colin would also be suitable to be the guardian (according to Ravi).

Also, didn’t Jim say at some point that he’s the first with the colorful hair in a long time? Which… may explain him not being picked as the guardian. If there hadn’t been someone with the ‘curse’ in generations, it would have been easy for the magical requirement to be forgotten and to fall back on a simpler ‘the eldest is the guardian’ method of things.

He did indeed.
Page 3, frame 2 of the current story.
“I’m the first to have it in, well, nobody can really remember the last time anybody had it.”

(Double post but…I have to say it)

I think I have it! It’s crazy, but I’m almost certain of it! Jim has Earth Magic, but what exactly is that magic manifesting in him? Well, he’s super tall and he has lots of green hair! He’s a bleeding TREE!!! He’s representing a TREE!!!

I must be getting old. I love Ravi and I hate Jim’s attitude and whining. Yes, I understand not everyone likes hugs and needs personal space but I think about it this way:
-Jim is the spitting image of Ravi’s friend, maybe he just misses Phineas.
-I find in real life that older folks tend to get in my space more. They kiss hello, they hug, they shake hands. I just always assumed that at one time it was more acceptable or that it was a cultural thing so I’m a little more forgiving.

Fun fact, the official name for the type of Egyptian Sphinx Michelle’s dad was is an Androshinx. Some call the Grecian Sphinx a Serasphinx, although the name is a bit less official than the one used for the Egyptian version. Also to consider, Egyptian Sphinxes are usually portrayed as benign guardians and stood as a symbol of sovereignty, while their Greek counterparts are seen as being rather aggressive and was prone to testing the minds of others (with a high risk if you failed the test). Michelle may have the body a Grecian sphinx, but from what I’ve seen so far her personality is closer to the Egyptian archetype.

I consulted quite a few sources on this one.

I know in DnD the Grecian style sphinx(the female one) is called a Gynosphinx, to differentiate it from the aforementioned Androsphinx.
Never heard the term ‘Serasphinx’ before(and clearly neither has google, all it brought me was someone’s twitter and wanting to know if I meant ‘serra sphinx’).

My head-canon about the curse is that the elementals haven’t “marked” any of the guardians after the great war because there wasn’t a need for that level of magic.

The extended-family picture is missing, but it seems like some of Jim’s cousins are also cursed. Something big is coming.

It just occurred to me to speculate as to whether the different color Gifts manifest different secondary aspects. Jimothy the Green got tree-ish height. Finneas the Red got blazing floof. Colin the Blue will get something else, and there would something else again for Whoever the White.

Anyone else care to speculate?

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