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Ravens (in the Tower of London)

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Sorcha (nordie) | 6 comments And now I'm onto episode 228!

Does everyone know the significance of the Ravens in the Tower of London? There are 6, and it is said that if all 6 were to leave the Tower, then the British Monarchy will collapse.

There are in fact 8 Ravens (only 6 are released daily into the grouds), all have names, and all have their feathers clipped to prevent them flying away.

And if you dont believe in the superstition - there was a time when 4 of the ravens had left (and needed recapture). What happened? Charles and Di got a very public divorce; Fergie was photographed in a bikini whilst on holiday, having her toes sucked - by someone not her husband; Edward being a general wastral plonker (and ongoing rumours of him not being entirely straight); Andrew doing shady deals with middle eastern despots (which he continued doing for another 20 years but no one was watching him); rumours of how ginger haired Prince Harry takes after his father (and how that isnt Prince Charles); a near constitutional crises with the divorce(s) being played out in the tabloid press; Charlie being found out to have been having an affair all along with someone else's wife........Oh Lor!

message 2: by Zoe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zoe Sorcha - If you're looking for a really good book with the ravens (as minor characters, of course) try Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia, #1) by Deanna Raybourn . It
s the first in a Victorian mystery series, very good, but one of the protagonist's brothers abducts a raven, and they go into the legend of the ravens (as they knew it at the time). Great fun.

Kathryn (kapope) | 4 comments Slightly less on the "nevermore" side of the spectrum, but I found this book fascinating:

In the Company of Crows and Ravens by John M. Marzluff

To sum it up, crows and ravens are super smart. They have rituals. They use tools. They have complex social systems. I'm hoping they might be able to solve global warming for us.

Sorcha (nordie) | 6 comments Personally I like neither crows nor ravens. They are far too smart for their own good and I've never liked a bird that can fly but which prefers to strut around on the ground instead.

Plus there's a cultural memory/suspicion with us Celts of the crow family as Harbingers of death and doom. Which is possibly one of the reasons that Poe chose a Raven, rather than a Parrot or a Budgie, as the voice of "Nevermore".

The crow family are carrion feeders, therefore were well known to hang around battlegrounds waiting to feed.

The crow is also one aspect of the Morrigan (, a celtic war goddess who could take multiple forms.

Kathryn (kapope) | 4 comments Oh, I love this -- adding layers of information and meaning. Thank you!

message 6: by Zoe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zoe Oh, yes, the Morrigan is well featured in the Alchmyst, the story of Nicholas Flamel (sp? Goodreads is being testy right now and won't let me link to it).

But the native americans are a little more forgiving in their legends about the crows/ravens. My aunt has been lately travelling to many Native American sites (the southwest, the pacific northwest) and sending picture books of Native American Folklore - they are pretty much of the assumption that the average creature was once better off, but through it's own stupidity or hubris, is now not so much.

They are creepy smart, but I'm fine with that. As part of a species that is supposed to be kick-ass intelligent and often comes up horrifically short, I look for potential stimuli elsewhere.

Heather Ordover (craftlit_heather) | 5 comments Mod
The Morrigan is nicely depicted in those goofy Druid novels I've read recently (and posted on here). I didn't know that about the ravens leaving and everything going phhhhffffffttt for the monarchy. Zowee!
I guess I should pay more attention to the big black birds in the tree outside my office window...

message 8: by Boria (new)

Boria Sax | 2 comments I've written a book on this entitled City of Ravens: London, its Tower, and its Famous Birds.

Hope some of you enjoy it.

Heather Ordover (craftlit_heather) | 5 comments Mod
OOOH! Thank you !!! I'll pass that along to the listeners!

message 10: by Boria (last edited Nov 21, 2011 10:23AM) (new)

Boria Sax | 2 comments And thank you. :-). Briefly, the ravens appear to have been brought to the Tower in 1883, when they were used as props by Beefeaters telling tales of Gothic horror to tourists. They were, however, sponsored by the Earls of Dunraven, who believed their castle in Wales was the orginal residence of the raven-god Bran, actually an ancient king. Initially, so much anger was deflected against the ravens, who were said to have eaten beheaded Lords and Ladies, that many of the ravens were killed by visitors. The attitude changed in World War II, when the ravens were used as unofficial spotters for enemy bombs and planes. The legend that "Britain will fall if the ravens leave the Tower" dates precisely from July 1944. My book contains a lot more detail and extensive documentation. It closes with a proposal for supporting a nest of wild ravens at the Tower, who would provide a presence yet remain at liberty, representing the natural world and generating new stories. Here is one recent review:

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