DWM Newsletter #5

Happy belated Hallowe’en!

You find us getting spooky in some spooky woods right now… and on that note, before you read on, beware of the scariest things of all – which are spoilers, obviously! This time around, spoilers will be up to and including THP season 3, episode 15, which was released last Thursday 27th October.

Latest from The Hidden People

We learned a lot about the legend of Morgan/Morgana last time! To add to the interesting picture constructed on “What the Folk(lore), I present some further Morgan trivia for you.

My (Katie’s) first encounter with a version of the character Morgan was when I read T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, aged 9-ish! So, I looked at Wikipedia to see what other versions were out there… and I counted 367 fiction series, books or short stories from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries listed there that contain some version of the legend of Morgan!! I might have miscounted, though. There were a lot.

In the 19th century, the ratio of depictions of Morgan as a morally good character to evil Morgans was about even. However, in the 20th century, the ratio seems to be about 18:1 evil to good. The 20th century idea of Morgan seems to be fearsome and terrible.

In the 21st century, catering to all of us geeks who are so into our folklore, loads of books featuring Morgan have already been written. And it seems that she has now come a long way to being rehabilitated into lawful society, with ‘only’ a ratio of 88:73 evil to good. 😊 This is very interesting to me. Could it be that these more positive interpretations of this powerful female mythological figure reflect a gradual shift in attitudes towards strong women?

Back to our Morgan, though. Tara Browne, who played our version of Morgan so gloriously, is an accomplished singer (check out her “Star-Spangled Banner” from Newsletter #2).

Morgana’s debilitating scream, however, was performed by me. I trained as a classical singer – very convenient for soundtracking a fantasy story! - and so you can occasionally hear my vocals pop up from time to time in THP. See, for example:

· the voices of fate in the soundtrack of season 3, episodes 7 and 8;

· the adapted excerpt from Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingoldplaying during the scene between Alfie and Garrett as they await the pleasure of the “Intended” (the cult) in episode 6. Here, I programmed every instrument in the orchestra and then sang along to it;

· the eerie vocals in the Arcadia nightclub music, which appears in numerous episodes from seasons 1 and 2.

Artists’ Corner

Stepping Sideways
As everyone in the cast and crew (and any listeners paying close attention) already knows, I (Chris) love episodes that tell stories adjacent to the main plot but that are focused on different characters doing their own things. Sometimes, they feature supporting cast in lead roles, like the poignant “Here’s Not Here” episode of The Walking Dead. Sometimes, they feature entirely new leads intersecting with the main cast along the way, like the incredible “Ghostfacers” episode of Supernatural or Vince Gilligan’s groundbreaking “X-Cops” episode of The X-Files. I call these “sideways” episodes.
We have a history of doing sideways episodes on The Hidden People going back to season one’s “Chirality,” which did not feature any of our main characters and only one main cast member (Jordan Lopez playing Fack instead of Mackenna). Each season after has also had a “fetch episode,” though season three’s “The One with the Fetch” was more a gimmick episode than a sideways one. But never fear: “Fata Morgana” was our most sideways episode yet because the leads of the episode were completely new characters!
The reason to go sideways--other than being bored and wanting some variety in the writing--is to expand the world. Sure, we have Mackenna and the team teleporting to other countries and even other worlds, but you still only experience the story from their perspectives and primarily from Mackenna’s, as she is both our audience corollary character (that’s a topic for another newsletter!) and in the most scenes. Because of this, we only see the lives of others based on how they relate to Mackenna as they cross her path. Despite knowing the world is vast, it still feels like only a few people in it matter.
Vic and Mike in “Fata Morgana” have their own lives, though. They have been making What the Folk(lore) for years, and they have the episode titles to prove it (my personal favorite is “Fae it Ain’t So,” courtesy of Megan Burnside). They have existed this entire time without ever knowing or meeting Mackenna, and they don’t realize they’re inhabiting her world. This total disconnection from our existing characters lets us see that the world is much bigger than them.
Of course, while the world is bigger than Mackenna and company, their story is still so important that it bleeds out into the lives of strangers, and we see that when Vic and Mike stumble into the offshoot realm of Arcadia. We get to feel the size and scope of this vast world because of our sideways episode, but we end up using it to reinforce just how significant Mackenna’s story is in a way we couldn’t if we just stayed with her the entire time. By stepping sideways away from Mackenna for a bit, we actually get to make her even more important.

Coming up next week and FAN ART!

Our Hidden People image this week is also your sneak peak!

In the next episode, we get to hear Mackenna and Shaylee take some time to lean on the strength of their relationship. In honour of this, we present this lovely picture of them by Hidden People listener Anna.

Image description: This is a colour hand drawing in marker pen on paper. Against a grey, cloudy sky there is a leafless tree on the far left-hand side; we see the edge of the trunk, the top of some roots creeping out to the right at the bottom of the page, and a thick branch stretching all the way across the top of the page. From the branch is suspended a two-person swing made from rope and wood. On it sit Mackenna, on the left, and Shaylee. They are facing inwards, touching noses, and smiling at each other. Mackenna is white, with long, straight, black hair, several ear piercings, a black choker, a grey long-sleeved top with fishnet forearms, black jeans and grey boots. Shaylee is white, with red, curly hair pulled back, and wears an inside-out jogger top over a blue t-shirt and blue checked trousers with trainers.

Anna’s live tweet-responses to THP episodes are always such great fun to read - we love them! Anna tweets from @rosemarycat5 if you want to join the fun, and find more of her art at https://www.redbubble.com/people/Rosemarycat5. Anna is also currently writing and producing a debut audio drama of her own, which, coincidentally, happens to also feature a protagonist called Mack! It’s called Before The Tone and will release early next year. Check out @KnaveOfHeartsAD on Twitter and tumblr for that.

That’s it for now – but, Patreons, check out our next post for your behind-the-scenes bonus!

Until next time,

The DWM creative team

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