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2024 Reader Question 137

2024 Reader Question 137 published on 13 Comments on 2024 Reader Question 137

Some heraldic creatures draw comparison between themselves and the totemic spirits of the Americas and Africa, which isn’t an unfair comparison, since they’re also symbolic creatures. The main difference is that heraldic animals have very little natural magic in them, while totem animals are almost all magic.

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13 Comments

Are there heraldric American Bald Eagles, or would they be bald eagle totems? Do both of them exist, and how would they be different?

The only officially registered U.S. heraldry is assigned to governmental entities. Yes, some of them do feature the bald eagle.

There are unofficial-to-semi-official registries (aka Colleges of Arms) such as the one associated with the Society for Creative Anachronism. S.C.A. heraldry only allows the use of specific plants or animals iff they were known to European pipples before the cutoff date of 1600 (or 1650).

Other than that, some Americans feel motivated to research their genealogies and officially register heraldic designs (“arms”) with the College of Arms of whatever European country their ancestors came from. I don’t know what America-specific critters they may be allowed to use.

It is a total mystery to me how these heraldic creatures came around. Sometimes, they are hardly even mythological.
Here in the Nordic countries, in all our national Coats Of Arms, we all have… Lions! The animals that are at least (until Zoo’s) 2000 km away! Why on earth lions?
Not even normal lions. They all came out… a bit different.
I think the Finnish one is the most different…
Another webtoon sortof nailed it:
https://satwcomic.com/coat-of-arms-hd
…Had it been ravens or wolves or a sea serpent or something, but noooo… Lions! Aaargh!

Yes, the lion is foreign to Scandinavia, but it’s also foreign to most of Europe, as well. Its legend had painted it as both ferocious and regal, an image that appealed to rulers all over Europe. There were so many that it became necessary to do bizarre things to make them distinguishable from each other. (If you want to climb into the cage to split his tail and tie a knot in it, I’ll wait outside and throw you some Band-aids.)

Other critters, such as wolves and bears, were used to denote mere ferocity. Even the Greeks considered a mother bear to be more dangerous than a lion.

A wild boar is also not to be trifled with. A boar spear can be distinguished from an ordinary hunting spear by the cross-bar firmly attached behind the head. Without it, the injured boar was likely to advance the length of the shaft, impaling itself further, to get at you.

The limb placement of that Norwegian “dancing” lion (in the linked cartoon) is blazoned (verbally described) as rampant, which translates as “climbing”, but it’s often used in context that suggests fighting. The situation gets more complicated when they have him “maintaining” (holding) a sword, or an axe, or whatever.

Quick question: did Zech have trouble getting used to walking on two legs when he first got his medallion? I assume he was born a centaur and got his medallion later. In a similar vein, would an Unturned centaur or some other species with a similar body structure to a centaur have issues getting used to thier new stance?

Question! Are Stone Monkey’s a thing? Like, Sun Wukong and three others are supposed to be the four “Intelligent Stone Monkey’s”, according to Journey to the West (of which, only one other shows up in the story). Which suggests there’s more Stone Monkey’s. Alternatively, they could just be the Monkey’s/Monkey Demons that Sun Wukong was King of before being imprisoned by Buddha underneath a mountain.

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