The Colors of Random Magic: Black

[Tour host info: This is one post in a series of quick reader notes about the colors used in Random Magic. If you would like this essay for your post during your tour stop, please leave your comments on this page, send a msg via Twitter, or drop an email -- trying to figure out who would like which piece so there are no double posts. You know, so we sort of look semi-organized. Yeah, we're really just winging it, but hey!] Images available: Text: Everyone who’s read the book says that the world of Random Magic is so colorful and vivid that they can actually almost see the world right in front of them, as if it were a movie. It was definitely written that way, since that world actually is a lot more magical and overwhelming than our own world. Everything would be more powerful and startling, including something as basic as the colors surrounding Henry and Winnie as they search for Alice. But a lot of the colors in Random Magic aren’t just there for decoration, but actually have some particular significance. Here are some quick reader notes about the more symbolic uses of color in Random Magic. This post is about the use of the color black: The color of black is the color of night. It’s the color of secrets, mystery, mourning and power. But it’s also the color of renunciation of the world, as is the case with priests or other religious figures, even including modern-day Wiccans. So, although the color black is often associated with evil, or with ill luck -- as in the saying “don’t let a black cat cross your path” -- it’s also a deeply spiritual color, the color of people who have turned their back on the world, or those who are outcasts through no fault of their own. Or it might just be in their own particular nature. Night creatures might not necessarily be evil, so much as much of what they are is hidden from plain view. The Dark Queen, for example, wears black. She may or may not necessarily be evil, but she favors black because night is her natural environment. The De Morgues, as well, are isolated in their castle, in a gloomy, dark nest of spooky places. These characters feel comfortable with their secrets and mysterious ways, isolation and connection to their inner and outer darkness. So, they might not necessarily do you any harm. On the other hand, it’s never a good idea to push your luck. The Black Forest, on the other hand, is an unabashedly unpleasant, vicious and dastardly place to visit. The curt and unfriendly signpost to the entrance to the Black Forest says it all. The Black Forest, well, it embodies all of those non-friendly aspects of night, darkness, and things that go bump in the night, and is best approached with just one point of view: If you don’t have to go there -- don’t. Of course, this doesn’t stop Winnie. She knows her way through the Black Forest…but only because she’s already made it out alive.