Page 1 2 
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
The Beldam
 Login/Join
 
little. yellow. different
Member
Picture of Psi
posted
Hi

Read Coraline this weekend (it took a while to get to it down my 'to read' pile so sorry I'm so far behind!)

I just wondered if the Other Mother was a representation of a particular mythic being and if so, from where? The fact that she is also referred to as 'the Beldam' (which means 'Good wife' I think) suggests to me that she is. Anyone with greater knowledge know anything more?

I'm so busy I don't even have time to have a sig.
 
Posts: 3190 | Location: Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, UK | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Companion to owls
Member
Picture of cloverheart
posted Hide Post
I thought the Beldame was actually "belle dame", having heard Coraline before reading it. I assumed it was an old fashioned way of adressing the woman of the house or something.
I think I remember having read at the FAQ over in www.mousecircus.com about it, but can't remember the answer red face
I dont know if it is based on a specific mythic figure -I beleived the explanation that she's psome sort of spider. Neil mentioned on another interview that he knew a lot more about the Other Mother than he put into the book, all her motives and resources and her motives and her origin. Only part of it made it into the book, though. I venture, maybe Neil is thinking he might start a series of books for children...

 
Posts: 11802 | Location: home? | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
You're right about the "beldam" definition although the connotative meaning has developed nastier overtones than it had originally. (The OED dates it ~15thC; the roots are French).

I've no idea if the OM is rooted in any specific mythos. I don't think so, but I could easily be wrong on that.

If you don't want to ask Neil as a FAQ, here's another conference specifically about Coraline: http://engaged.well.com/engaged/engaged.cgi?c=inkwell.vue&f=0&t=156&q=0- (non-members can post in via one of the hosts).
 
Posts: 759 | Location: Boston, MA, US | Registered: February 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
little. yellow. different
Member
Picture of Psi
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by clover:
Neil mentioned on another interview that he knew a lot more about the Other Mother than he put into the book, all her motives and resources and her motives and her origin. Only part of it made it into the book, though. I venture, maybe Neil is thinking he might start a series of books for children...


Oh that would be great! I felt that Coraline was a little too short and it left me wanting to know if it was going to be part of a series (not necessarily all about Coraline, perhaps similar adventures for other children). I think this is very much my failing though, not Neil's in any way, I've just got conditioned into expecting long and episodic stories from fantasy authors. I mean, as a child I don't remember wanting more stories about Goldilocks after enjoying the 'first' one!

I'm so busy I don't even have time to have a sig.
 
Posts: 3190 | Location: Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, UK | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Village Elder
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Psi:
I mean, as a child I don't remember wanting more stories about Goldilocks after enjoying the 'first' one!


*tangant*
have you read "Locks" - Neil's take on reading Goldilocks as an adult?
 
Posts: 13129 | Location: Tucson | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
little. yellow. different
Member
Picture of Psi
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by GMZoe:
*tangant*
have you read "Locks" - Neil's take on reading Goldilocks as an adult?


No. Sounds interesting, where can it be found?

I'm so busy I don't even have time to have a sig.
 
Posts: 3190 | Location: Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, UK | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
http://www.endicott-studio.com/coflocks.html

Also in the anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon, ed. Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, Avon, 1999

As an adult, and an adult understanding how a child learns stories, and a father reconsidering the thought of a little girl wandering into someone else's house...
 
Posts: 759 | Location: Boston, MA, US | Registered: February 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Administrator/Colporteur
Member
Picture of Dweller in Darkness
posted Hide Post
More on the beldam or beldame:

from http://www.amboyz.org/articles/f2mwords/f2mab.html

"BELDAME: (historical) a grandmother, any remote ancestress; a post-menospausal woman with virilization of her secondary sexual traits, such as facial hair and rough voice; eg, Macbeth's witches (see bearded woman)"

I haven't been able to find any evidence to back up this definition at this time, but the description certainly sounds like Gaiman's villain.

The word is from Middle English, a combination of a Middle French word, "bel," meaning "beautiful" and a Middle English word, "dam," meaning "woman," basically, and is defined by Merriam and Webster as a synonym for grandmother.


 
Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I also read beldam as another version of "belle dame." I took it to have a possible connection to Faerie, as in the Keats poem "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," where La Belle Dame is a sort of faerie demon lover. Text of poem at:
http://www.bartleby.com/126/55.html
 
Posts: 37 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: September 24, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Airyk
posted Hide Post
you people are the biggest buncha english nerds. I'm HOME!

"I've got so much sin its seepin' outta my skin"
-Burden Brothers
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Houston Tx | Registered: October 08, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Yeah, OK, you're home, so close the door already, awright? Here, have an OED, and watch out for Dweller's Linguistics League -- they've been doing low flyovers in Worlds' End lately.
 
Posts: 759 | Location: Boston, MA, US | Registered: February 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Administrator/Colporteur
Member
Picture of Dweller in Darkness
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by lwinfrey:
I also read beldam as another version of "belle dame." I took it to have a possible connection to Faerie, as in the Keats poem "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," where La Belle Dame is a sort of faerie demon lover. Text of poem at:
http://www.bartleby.com/126/55.html

Well, you're right, in an extended sort of way. It's a variation or combination of the words that, with only small changes, eventually became the Modern French words "belle" and "dame."

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
--Hector Berlioz
 
Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Beldam means a witch, a hag, an ugly old woman, my mother-in-law...
 
Posts: 383 | Location: brooklyn | Registered: September 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Firekeeper's Sister
Member
Picture of VegaRiad
posted Hide Post
Oh. I'd always read it as "bedlam," and assumed it meant she was a form of or source of insanity. Dyslexia at work there.

Should have taken it as a clue that the Faerie girl was using the word, since Bedlam Assylum wasn't established till, hmm, whatever century it was that they started establishing insane assylums, and the implication was that the girl was far older than that.


-Natalie
----*-*-*-*----
I have heard the Languages of Apocalypse,
and now I shall embrace the silence.
 
Posts: 2775 | Location: The bottom of a small bowl of imaginary winged serpents | Registered: March 11, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Bedlam means insane asylum and/or lunatic.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: February 28, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Administrator/Colporteur
Member
Picture of Dweller in Darkness
posted Hide Post
Its use as "lunatic," the noun referring to one who is criminally insane, is obsolete. That's one step past archaic and well out of the bounds of standard English usage. It is still used to refer to insane asylums.

And, for the purposes of this conversation, it's still pointless, since we're talking about the Beldam.


__________
AJGraeme
"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
- G.K. Chesterton

My moderator voice is red.
 
Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
It's like an Oreo cookie, only not
Member
Picture of Chiaroscuro
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by VegaRiad:
Oh. I'd always read it as "bedlam," and assumed it meant she was a form of or source of insanity. Dyslexia at work there.


I did the same thing. I did not know the definition of, "beldam," so I really learned from this thread. Thanks to whomever opened it! Smile


------------------------------
Boil up some Mt. Dew, it's gunna be a long night.
DeviantArt
Blog
 
Posts: 776 | Location: The black hole known as Michigan | Registered: April 15, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of slothflyer
posted Hide Post
here's a perfect definition:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/beldam
 
Posts: 11 | Location: Gamaliel, KY | Registered: March 21, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Domina Flamma
posted Hide Post
DRUNK SPAMMIN", OH YES, ME!


~~~~~~~~~~~

Yellow!

~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Posts: 650 | Location: the BFE of Tennessee | Registered: October 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I haven't read it yet, but it's on my short list! I say this just to qualify my

After going ahead and seeing the film, I also wondered about "beldam", specifically because the word reminded me of Keats' poem.

When the free dictionary described it as being used at least, partially, to mean grandmother, the first thing that came to my mind was the grandmother we only meet at the conclusion of the story. A link? She's connected with the doll, at any rate.

Book-informed folks can support or crush this one at will, starting...
now.

-Phase
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: February 12, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2  
 


© YourCopy 2001