The Daily Quirk is lucky enough to be a part of the Blue Lily, Lily Blue Tarot Tour, where different blogs will be featuring a tarot reading of a card from the limited edition Maggie Stiefvater Major Arcana tarot deck from November 1st-22nd. Read more about the 22-card limited edition decks and enter to win one of your own (along with copies of all the books in The Raven Cycle series) on our giveaway page! You can also check out a more traditional review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue for more of my thoughts on the newest book in the series.
I’ll admit I don’t know much about tarot, but when The Daily Quirk was tasked with using The Hanged Man card to do a “reading’ on The Raven Cycle series, it was such a cool idea that I decided to take on the challenge. Before I do that though, check out The Hanged Man card, illustrated by Maggie Stiefvater as part of the limited edition Major Arcana tarot deck:
For the tarot-naive readers like myself, The Hanged Man card generally represents contradiction and sacrifice; the man puts himself in an uncomfortable position but his reward is knowledge and enlightenment. How does this apply to The Raven Cycle? Lots of ways, really, and The Hanged Man even makes an appearance in a tarot reading with Adam in The Dream Thieves. But I’m going to play favorites and focus on how it applies to my #1 Raven Boy, Gansey, and his search for Glendower.
Richard Campbell Gansey III is a contradiction by nature – he’s wealthy, privileged and confident; you want very much not to like him. In fact, when Blue first meets Gansey in The Raven Boys she finds him arrogant and off-putting. But then she, as well as readers, realize that Gansey is actually kind and humble, with much more depth than you would guess based on appearances.
From the beginning of the series, Gansey has been on a quest. His life’s goal is to wake a sleeping Welsh king, a king who legend says will grant a favor to whoever rouses him from his centuries-long sleep. It sounds a little crazy, sure, but Gansey is single-mindedly committed to this goal. He’s so committed, in fact, that his day-to-day life basically revolves around finding Glendower. Gansey is all about action – he’s just not comfortable idling when there’s a sleeping king to be found.
One of the basic truths we’ve known since the beginning of The Raven Boys is that Blue has foreseen that Gansey is going to die within the year. Another is that Blue’s family of psychics have predicted that if Blue kisses her true love, he will die. I don’t think any of us believe this is a coincidence!
And then there is an interesting turn of events in Blue Lily, Lily Blue which gives the gang access to some insider information from a source very close to Glendower. Said source is completely looney, but I happen to think this person knows what they are talking about. This person spews a lot of crazy, but in the midst of the crazy there are a lot of references to Gansey as a knight; a king, and Blue his…queen? Blue’s likeness is found on some pretty ancient Glendower-related memorabilia, which is pretty odd, right? Not to mention we find out more about Blue’s father, and he also has some interesting connections to Glendower’s story.
The previous books drove home the point that time is circular, not linear. So keeping this in mind, let’s consider the Hanged Man card as it pertains to Gansey and his quest. Gansey has been going full-steam ahead looking for Glendower. He doesn’t know that he’s supposedly going to die. He does know that Blue’s true love will die if she kisses him. He also knows that he and Blue are flirting with dangerous territory when it comes that. But what if those predictions are not what they seem?
What if Gansey takes a page from the Hanged Man and kisses Blue? A sacrifice, certainly, if he thinks it might kill him. But what if it doesn’t? What if “death” isn’t what we think? What if kissing Blue, which makes zero sense if Gansey ever wants to find Glendower, is actually directly related to a means of finding Glendower?
And when I say “finding Glendower,” I’m thinking there’s more to it than just that – Gansey, Blue, and even the rest of the Raven Boys are deeply connected to this myth. I don’t think Gansey stumbled on this area of interest by accident – sure, there’s the story of his near-death experience with bees that apparently initiated his quest, but I think it runs deeper than that, and it’s no coincidence that Blue happened to be the perfect person to help Gansey find what he has been looking for. I’m thinking about circular time here, folks.
Maggie Stiefvater has proven herself a master of dropping subtle hints for eventual major revelations. So many of the twists and reveals in the first three books of the series were both surprising and completely not. They seem to come out of nowhere but then, when you take a minute to think back (or re-read), you realize they have been there all along.
What does that mean for my Hanged Man prediction of the future of The Raven Cycle series? Well, probably that I’m totally wrong, because whatever Stiefvater has up her sleeve is most likely going to sneak up on me out of nowhere. And it will make total sense, of course, and I will say, “how did I not see that coming?” But I won’t, and that’s the magic of this series. Perhaps the reader is the true Hanged Man of The Raven Cycle, where the only way to win is to surrender to Stiefvater’s storytelling.
And now that you have read The Daily Quirk’s tarot reading, be sure to stop by the other blogs featured on the tour. You can find them all on Pinterest!