Alright then creampuffs, cupcakes, and other baked goods. By popular demand, we’re back to talk about the theories created by Act 2 of season 3 of Carmilla series. With so many more subtle clues and a whole other myth to play with, I couldn’t resist. It’s like candy. You can read our theories based off of Act 1 here as we’re going to be starting by building off of them and then moving forward.
Remember, this isn’t necessary the theory that’s most plausible. It’s about the theory that’s most interesting!
Act 2. Not as straight forward as Act 1. All the headaches and copious note making.
Where We Left Off – How’d I Do for Accuracy?
So we left ourselves with this chart the last time we chatted:
We went over a bunch of different theories but ended with the biggest/craziest. For various reasons that I’m not going to recap but I still think are interesting (again, that post is here. Read it and come back!), we left with the idea that the gods were going to move into avatars to create the circle that would capture the Dean. This was the original board of governors but because the whole board is dead, our Team Library was going to have to make a new board.
JP was Enki, Mattie was Ereshkigal, Carmilla was Hastur/Dumuzi, and Perry was Inanna. As there was never a fourth god mentioned in Act 1, Inanna was really our only god left so we slid her from column 5 into column 4 considering how nicely she fit. We said that the student board rep was the body that the Dean got put into and because Danny is all vampired up, this position was going to be taken by Laura. There was also a pretty strong probability that Laura/her heart was the fourth talisman.
That’s basically the cliff notes version of 15,000 words of theory. Thanks to everyone for telling it me it was convincing but quite frankly, I was expecting to be very very wrong when act 2 aired.
I wasn’t as wrong as I thought.
Look at all of the green that I’ve used to signify things I got right. I was a little bit in shock while watching. The rationale for all of these choice is explained better in the first post, we’re just going to summarize it here.
Let’s go over – Things I Got Right
- The word is the book, the blood is the sword, the chalice is the locket. There was quite a bit of discourse as to whether the locket was the chalice or the liar’s heart presaged. Based on Mattie calling it ‘the third talisman’ and later discussion of what the liar’s heart is, we now have confirmation that the locket is ‘the chalice’.
- We also lined up all of our board members correctly so that they were in the same column as their talisman. Considering column 4 is evil, I’m very pleased that we got Vordie in the right place.
- Mattie is the voice of Ereshkigal. The gang summoned up Ereshkigal and poof, Mattie appeared. Coincidence? I think not. We even posited that Mattie would still have some Mattie in her and not be all death goddess. That said, new Mattie is inconsistently intangible which was a bit of a twist (one second she can touch Carm’s hair, the next she’s flickering away).
- I TOTALLY CALLED THAT THE LIBRARY WAS ENKI. BOOM. YEAH. 100 POINTS TO ME. This was actually confirmed out of canon by the interview that Steph/Elise/Natasha gave and by several comments on Ellen’s answer tumblr blog. Considering that was pure conjecture, I did all the fist pumps.
- If the library is Enki then that means Enki is using JP to some extent as a human body. The Dean even says “…once we realized that [the library] thought it could use [JP] to spy on us”. So, to some capacity at least, JP and the library/Enki are connected.
- Not on the table but we also correctly predicted Laf’s role in all of this, albeit at the wrong time in the plot. Based on the original myth having non-gendered individuals get Inanna out of hell, we theorized that Laf would go around Hollstein’s back and get Inanna out of the pit as a way to try and save Perry. They ended up doing exactly that, running into the pit and grabbing Inanna/Perry without Hollstein permission.
Let’s Go Over – Things That Aren’t Confirmed Either Way
This would be the yellow section. The show hasn’t really said if it’s right or wrong. There are really four things to talk about here: the student rep, prophecy 1, the avatar theory, and Hastur/Dumuzi. We can talk about all of these in length later but for now:
- The student rep
- Despite mention of the Board and their role with the talismans/gods, there has still been no reference made to why the student rep position exists. This is also linked to the fact that we have some information but not all the information on the fourth talisman.
- Again, the best we seem to have right now on the student rep position is to give Inanna more say on the board or simply it’s a law required of universities. That said, we do know that Inanna was put into a corpse and not a living person so there’s less likely to be a connection there.
- Prophecy 1
- It’s all Prophecy 2 all the time with little to no mention of the dead, the ocean, the bones, and the great grass plain. It makes me want to bang my head on something. Quite frankly, I panic every time someone says the word blood, bones, dead, or heart and talking more about prophecy 1 would reduce this panic and give us answers. But no. The show is just avoiding it. Boo.
- The Avatar Theory
- Despite the fact that we technically have 2 vampires (mattie and JP) who are proven directly connected to gods of the original prophecy (Ereshkigal and Enki), there has been no evidence that the show is going to go for this theory. As we’ve hit the end of Act 2, one would think that the characters would start talking about forming a new board so that they could actually use the talismans. Yet, not a peep.
- This makes me think that the show is going in a different direction. Granted, they’re pretty distracted by the fact that they have no fourth talisman but still. I’d expect it to be foreshadowed a little. Plus, Carmilla’s been co-oped for other jobs and while she technically could still be in that role, it’s far less likely at this point.
- Despite being one of the key gods of the original myth, THERE HAS STILL BEEN NO DIRECT MENTION OF DUMUZI AND HARDLY ANY OF HASTUR AND I’M GOING TO PULL MY HAIR OUT.
So that’s where we stand there. These could be true they could be wrong. We just don’t know.
Let’s Go Over – Things I Got Wrong
This is really an error in my sliding the Dean to the left. Based on Act 2, she definitely doesn’t belong there. I stand by my choice at the time as it was the most interesting and it fit perfectly in our table but, now that we have new information, it’s fairly evident that she really doesn’t belong there. There’s someone else who needs that spot.
So let’s undo our slide and cha cha Inanna right off the table.
Where Do We Stand Now?
So I’d like to make a few alterations to our table based on the above.
- Remove Inanna from our table as she doesn’t belong there. We’ll talk about who does in a moment.
- Remove the avatar theory row. It’s still very interesting but in an effort of giving us a clean slate for more interesting theories, I’m going to let it go. Should the show decide to go that route, we’ve covered it in our Act 1 theory anyway. Let’s try something new here. Why? Because we can.
- Enki/library gets to stay because they’re one god
- I’m standing by my Hastur/Dumuzi theory and they’re going to stick around as well
- I’m removing our initial guess for the ‘liar’s heart presaged’ now that we have more information.
All things considered, there’s still a lot here that looks like it was right.
So we’re back to the beautiful, uncomplicated table that we made mid-theory 1 with a couple of alterations. Everybody on board? Great.
Let’s wreck it in a new way this time.
Are The Talismans Dead in the Water?
Our Library Trio is currently operating under the assumption that they can no longer use the talismans and have reverted to alternative options such as shock collars, poison, and yoga.
But are they right?
The first set of information we’re going to work with is perhaps the most joyous. We actually get some kind of information on what ‘the liar’s heart presaged’ actually is. Finally. Mattie tells us in ep 18 that the fourth talisman is “the human heart given to the covenant. The heart of a Silas board member.” As the only human on the board, the heart was supposed Vordenberg’s.
Booyah. Got it. Points to me.
Now there’s nothing in Sumerian mythology that I’m aware of that is specifically called the covenant unless you want to talk about Abram and the Bible so for now I’m going to work with Mattie’s next sentence and assume that ‘the covenant’ is just a poetic way of saying ‘Silas Charter’ or ‘agreement to stop Inanna from taking over the world’.
So theoretically, the board would have gotten all of their talismans, killed Vordie Sr, stolen his heart and then wham blam, the Dean is taken care of. Now, this is a problem for Hollstein as Vordenberg is very dead and they don’t have any spare Vordenberg hearts lying around.
(FYI Jordan accidentally confirmed that he’s not coming back in the NYCC interview so I’m going to have to kill all of the theories where Laura is moving in time to get Vordie’s heart. sorry).
So, in canon, Hollstein basically puts aside the whole ‘Talisman to trap the Dean’ plan because they can’t get a Vordenberg heart.
I’m not going to do that. I have the benefit of knowing that this is a scripted story.
Mostly because you don’t spend all that time building up the talismans to not use them. I’ll give the show a pass on the ‘not actually evil apples’ and the ‘under-whelming fish blood’ but I’m sticking to my theory that the talismans are coming back and still have a use.
There are several other reasons for this:
- From a writer’s perspective, it would be a little weird to effectively make the whole first act a quest to find the talismans and then never again use the talismans. I mean, they could do it but I hope they won’t.
- We see the book, the sword, and the locket pop up all over the trailers in scenes we haven’t seen yet. Why would Team Library be hauling them around if they were just evil, emotionally-charged paperweights?
- The Dean really seems to want them. Of everyone, the Dean seems to know the most about these things and, as Carmilla finally figures out at the last second of Act 2, if the Dean wants the talismans than they still must be good for something. Sidebar: if Ereshkigal or the library would just tell our nerds what’s going on, things would be so much easier for all of us. Carmilla’s the one of the air of mystery. Not them.
- Keeping the talismans lets me keep my table
Long live the table.
So if we assume that, in order to make the other 3 talismans work, Team Library is going to need a fourth talisman.
The question becomes which human heart ‘given to the covenant’?
Please. Like we’re going to talk about that giant question mark now. Put a pin in the question and we’ll get there. Look at column 4. You know the drill. We’ve got to fill it in first and there’s really only one big question left.
So we know that Inanna isn’t our fourth god.
Despite some really sketchy team-playing, I’m going to have to thank Laf for grabbing The Dean because she is a fountain of new knowledge and tells us all kinds of things in her evil monologues.
The Fourth God
One of the themes of Carmilla has always been inconsistent narration and seeing other sides of the story as something more than black/white and good/evil. We see this in s2 when, only after Mattie dies, does Laura show us a clip of Mattie and Carmilla being playful sisters. We even get Laura’s confession when her father first shows up in s3 that her videos ‘might not have been the most representative’. We’ve seen Carmilla’s backstory as Carmilla told it, Mattie told it, Vordie told it, and even bits from Ereshkigal and the Inanna. They’re all a little different based on the viewpoint of the teller.
This theme is actually going to come up a few times in how we go over what might come next.
But for now, let’s talk about inconsistent narration in terms of the original binding of Inanna into human form with blood magic. We’ve heard Laf’s version of the book and we’ve examined the poem that still exists today.
But now we get the Dean’s version of events in e23 – “All I wanted was the return of what was mine. And Ereshkigal and Enki and the Valley Men bound me to a corpse and made me subject to fools.”
DID YOU CATCH THAT? DID YOU? EVEN AFTER THE ‘I LOVE YOU’ DISTRACTION?
That’s a different list than the one Laf and the Book gave. Ereshkigal and Enki are the same but the Dean includes the ‘Valley Men’ while the book did not. To which I say thank you and pull out the portion of my brain dedicated to useful things like the names of all 151 original Pokémon and ancient Sumerian history.
Literally. It’s not even myths this time. It’s history and geography. So Sumer, as most of you know, was an ancient area of Mesopotamia. What you may be less familiar with is that sumerians inhabited an area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that was fertile for being a flood plain and having lots of access to water. This area was literally a bunch of low-lying valleys between the mountains and rivers and the people who lived there were “The Valley Men”.
We’ve found our Valley Men who helped capture the Dean.
So it turns out that another one of our Act 1 theories was true. The fourth talisman is not made by a god but it comes from humans to represent humanity as they worked together with the gods to keep the world safe from the Dean. As I said last time, it’s very poetic and true to mythology. We only went with the Inanna theory because it was bigger and slightly more off the wall.
So there is no ‘god’ per say to stick in this category.
But don’t think we can stick ‘humans’ in our table and call it a day. Oh no.
If there’s going to be humans involved in capturing the Dean back in 3000 BC then there’s really only one human that you can give the job to. I spent all of Act 1 hoping that I could get away with not talking about this myth because it’s one of my least favourites but Ellen has been telling tumblr people to take another look at this story.
I should have known better.
Of everything, this is the one myth they mentioned back in season 1 and even when I clocked the relationship between Hollstein and the myth, I was hoping it was lost in the new push for the ‘Inanna’s Descent to Hell’ myth. But no. So here we are.
Okay. Let’s do this, creampuffs.
It’s time to talk about Gilgamesh.
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Way back in season 1, you may recall that the only reason Carmilla could even read Sumerian was because she wanted to read the Epic of Gilgamesh in its original form. This was the first hardcore reference to mythology in Sumer.
So what is The Epic of Gilgamesh exactly?
It’s widely touted as one of the first recorded stories. It’s a Sumerian story/myth/’epic poem’ about an ancient king named Gilgamesh who was semi-divine in nature and undertook a series of supernatural quests. Basically, Hercules before Hercules was a thing. The oldest version they’ve found is in 5 incomplete tablets from ‘Old Babylon’ but the more common version is made of 12 tablets from an ancient Assyrian library.
What Carmilla viewers may be interested to know is that Gilgamesh is ‘the fifth king of Uruk’ which, for those of you taking notes, is Inanna’s city. So we immediately have a link between Inanna and Gilgamesh. They share a city. Yes. So we’re not totally batting at invisible balloons here. That’s also going to come up later when we talk about Countess Karnstein again.
The tablets are missing some pieces but here are the cliffs notes of what goes down in the original story of Gilgamesh:
- Gilgamesh is super strong, super handsome, and great at building ziggurats and whatnot. He’s also just the worst king. Think evil dictator frat bro. So the people beg the gods to help them.
- Their solution to this problem is a tad odd. They create a ‘wild man named Enkidu’ who is the only person who can match Gilgamesh in strength/handsomeness etc. They put this guy in the forest where’s he’s found by a trapper who first mistakes him for a wild animal. Using the power of sex to domesticate him (really), Enkidu loses his wild persona and becomes outraged when he hears about Gilgamesh’s evil ways.
- So naturally to settle this, Enkidu and Gilgamesh wrestle fiercely for a long time. Gilgamesh wins.
- They become total bros. Boys are odd.
- Now that they’re super strong bros, they decide to do some quests. They go kill a monster living in a cedar forest. As you do with new bros. They visit some gods and get some heavenly protection. Enkidu gets adopted by a god. They camp in a forest and Gilgamesh has some bad dreams so Enkidu comforts his new bro by telling him that the bad dreams are good signs.
- The bros fight the monster. Gilgamesh almost backs out and falls for the monster’s lies. Enkidu is like “no bro. he’s lying”. So Gilgamesh kills the monster. They cut down some really big trees and make a really big gate for Gilgamesh’s city. Then they ride the river home with their big trees and monster head.
- Inanna apparently finds this extremely hot and tries to make a move on Gilgamesh but he’s like, “nope. Bad things happen to all of your lovers. Remember Dumuzi? You locked him in the underworld. No thank you.” – this refusal is actually a big deal for reasons that we will discuss once I’m finally through this bromance.
- As expected, Inanna is mad and demands that the gods send a giant bull to kill Gilgamesh, otherwise she will “raise the dead to devour the living”. Sounds familiar…
- So the gods send the bull (who is also Ereshkigal’s husband) but Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the bull with the power of bro.
- Enkidu makes the mistake of throwing a piece of the dead bull at Inanna so he gets cursed and has some bad dreams. The end result is that after 12 days of lying in bed, he dies.
- Gilgamesh is very very sad. Like, to the point where you wonder if they weren’t just bros but bro bros of the gal pal variety. He tears his clothes and hair, makes huge gifts for his dead bro to take to the underworld, and a funeral statue. He damns up a whole river so he can bury Enkidu under it. Bro.
- Gilgamesh then just wanders around the wilderness in his grief. He decides that he would like to immortal and goes on a journey to see Utnapistim (Noah from the Bible) who was given immortality by Enlil after the Great Flood. Instead, he is given the chance to be young again. He does a quest for the vile of youth but a snake steals it while he’s bathing.
- Then, on a 12th tablet which may or may not be part of the original story, Enkidu suddenly isn’t dead and he goes to the underworld to get some of Gilgamesh’s things for him. Enkidu gets trapped but Gilgamesh gets the gods to crack open the underworld and Enkidu’s ghost pops back out.
Wow. Again, not my favourite myth but there’s some good stuff in there for our theorizing. As I’m sure you all noticed, Gilgamesh spends quite a bit of time interacting with Inanna. Now, we know from Laf’s initial explanation of Sumerian myth, that the recorded versions we have today are not exactly what happened in the Carmilla world. Rather, our versions of the myths are more like mirrors or prophecy.
So I’ve got an empty fourth column that needs a human and literally the most famous Sumerian human popped right in front of me. So here are my reasons why I’d like to put Gilgamesh into our fourth column of the table with the other ‘gods’
- Our source myth flat out tells us that Gilgamesh and Inanna interact. This means that Gilgamesh and Inanna have overlapping time periods so it’s feasible that Gilgamesh was around for whatever went down.
- Gilgamesh is basically the only human (besides his bro) to defy Inanna, if anyone is tying her into mortal flesh, it’s him.
- Ellen keeps telling everyone to read Gilgamesh so you know he has to fit in somewhere.
- The prophecy explanation given by Mattie specifically states that they need ‘a human heart’ so we have to have a human involved in the sacrifice. Gilgamesh is the biggest and most well known Sumerian human there is. He is shown to interact with the gods and, historically gods are picky and don’t interact with just anyone.
- Despite seeking immortality, Gilgamesh never achieves and does die. How he dies, is pretty much a mystery. That’s perfect web series fodder.
- They share a city. Inanna is god of Uruk while Gilgamesh is king of it. Whatever she’s doing is going to affect him first so he’s bound to get caught up in it.
- Uruk is the most powerful city of all of the cities of Sumer. This, despite the name city-states, has always historically given Gilgamesh the position of being ‘king of sumeria’ and leading all of the Valley Men.
- Gilgamesh is actually the king after Dumuzi and has a seriously strong metaphorical resemblance to him, we’ll take about this later, but it’s another connection between Gilgamesh and Inanna.
- Let’s look at what we actually have in column 4. Vordie. The liar’s heart. Bones. The liar’s heart we’ve covered, as it is required to be of a human who is bound ‘to the covenant’. Bones, which we’ll discuss more later, are often demonstrated to be a sign of humanity and death. Once our heart stops beating, all that’s left is ash and bones. As we said last time, this seems to be a point towards the humanity of this character. Finally there’s Vordie. Who gets his own bulletpoint.
- Vordie spent most of the time we knew him spinning tales about his great adventures. The golden apples. The deer men in great forests. Slaying giant beasts. All the things he described have strong parallels to the things Gilgamesh actually did. Like Gilgamesh, he chased immortality in golden apples/Noah’s potion but never obtained it. Gilgamesh kills monsters so Vordie says he does. Gilgamesh befriends tree people in forests, so does Vordie. In fact, Vordie calls himself the lesser son of greater fathers. Greater fathers such as Gilgamesh perhaps? After all, there has to be a reason why it’s Vordie’s family on the board/team bind-the-dean. Vordie seems to aspire to be everything Gilgamesh was and there’s a definite link between the two. Put a pin in this this please. We’re going to need it.
So there are some definite links between Gilgamesh and the fourth column. We know for a fact that the Dean said she was captured by the Valley Men and Uruk was the greatest of the valley cities. With Gilgamesh as Uruk’s king, it only makes sense that he’d be the leader of the Valley men.
So I’m going to add him as our first human representative on Team Bind-The-Dean
It’s so filled in and pretty.
Not that this helps us identify who/what ‘the human heart given to the covenant’ is. Since we decided that the talismans are still going to be relevant to our plot, our fourth talisman is still giving us headaches. As the Dean said, we don’t have another Vordenberg heart lying around.
We need a new one.
Sidenote: what was the board’s plan when Vordie died? He doesn’t seem to have any kids so… hypothetically there must be an alternative plan???
Right now, we don’t know.
What we’ve got is Gilgamesh on Team Bind-The-Dean leading us to Vordie on the board and an old man heart. But if nothing else, Act 2 has given us lots of peripheral information to work with. Lots of little one-liners that could mean everything or nothing at all to give me headaches and make this job significantly harder than the last time.
So we’ve just added Gilgamesh to our team. Can we use that information to connect in any of our existing characters? Maybe start making some links?
Why yes. Yes we can.
Useless lesbian vampire. Get over here. It’s your turn.
What’s Up With Carmilla Karnstein?pt 2
In our Act 1 theory we spent a good chunk of time explaining how there has to be something going on with Carmilla. The cliff notes version to jog your memory is that both Vordie Sr and the Dean are interested in possessing her. That means both an ancient trapped god and a board member want her. In fact, the Dean only raises her after Carmilla has already died and Vordie Sr dug her up (we never find out who actually murders Carmilla).
Now for a number of reasons including Carmilla’s crazy life-death cycle and some cool theorizing/conjecture, we’d put her as our Hastur/Dumuzi avatar.
Remember, as they’re both shepherd gods and a lovecraft god has no busy being in ancient sumer, we’ve said that Dumuzi and Hastur are effectively the same god. Again, go check out the first theory if you need details.
However, this time around we’ve chucked the avatar theory out of the window to make room for other things. While Carmilla still could technically turn out to be the Dumuzi avatar, for the purposes of this new theory and making it as fun as possible, she’s once again a free agent. No place on our table or job to do.
Because right at the last second of Act 2, the Dean clears up exactly what Carmilla’s job was on Team Dean. In ep 23, the Dean refers to Carmilla as her “darling deadly girl. Her high priestess.” Then in ep 24, the Dean reveals that each gate demands a sacrifice of something that the dean holds dear, in the case of the sixth gate, it’s the life of a high priestess.
So Carmilla has a promotion from simple Vampire to the Dean’s ‘High Priestess’. That’s not just another nickname, it’s an actual title with some actual Sumerian history behind it.
So temples/ziggurats in ancient Sumerian were each designed to worship a god and were serviced by a number of priest/priestesses depending on the temple. Each was led by a single priest/priestess who was referred to as the high priest/priestess and could speak with the god directly. The most well known of these figures is Enheduanna who was a daughter of King Sargon II, was one of the first females poets, and super obsessed with Inanna.
Wow. If only Carmilla was the daughter of some kind of king, loved poetry and served Inan- oh. Well that’s a nice connection between our Countess Karnstein and the best known historical figure to hold the position.
Now, we’re talking about the ancient Sumerian version of a high priestess here and it’s hard to say what the high priestess role would have looked like by the time Carmilla came around in the 17th century. However, we’re looking for links between characters and there is one very specific role for the high priestess of Inanna that links directly to Gilgamesh.
Um. Let’s use the phrase ‘Technical difficulties’.
For my own sanity and for the children we’re going to keep this G-rated as much as humanly possible. So basically every year during the autumn equinox the high priestess of Inanna and the king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk had to engage in a ‘sacred marriage’ to represent the relationship between Inanna and her husband Dumuzi.
Now this is why it was actually a big deal for Gilgamesh to turn down Inanna’s offer to be her lover. As the King of Uruk, Gilgamesh would have needed to enact this ceremony every year with Inanna’s high priestess. By turning her down, he’s turning down everything this stands for. He’s turning down his symbolic role as Dumuzi, Inanna’s husband, and is therefore turning the goddess of love down as her husband. That’s not a good thing.
Hypothetically, this relationship between the high priestess that the king of uruk also gives us some context as to why the Dean chose Carmilla and why she’s the high priestess in the first place.
Vordenberg chose her.
Assuming that he really is heir of Gilgamesh, theoretically he would be king of Uruk if the city still existed. This means that it would be his job to participate in the sacred marriage. Which ew. But sure. It’s well established in canon that Vordie Sr had a thing for Carmilla and had, effectively, chosen her. So Carmilla fits the role of what the Dean needs in her high priestess – the ability to fulfill this ceremony and get Inanna back her control over the king. This explains why the Dean is only interested after Vordie is and why she raises her at all. The Dean needs a high priestess for the sixth gate (and bonus worship) and Carmilla already fits the role.
Either way, with Carmilla as a high priestess and the history of the high priestess role with Gilgamesh and his heirs, it helps solidify our Vordie-Gilgamesh relation.
Also this sacred marriage involves literally inserting a dagger into a chalice which on one hand, is the least subtle ‘technical difficulties’ reference ever, but considering two of our talismans are a chalice and a sword, it seemed at least worth mentioning.
Someone stick the Dean in the locket and stab it with the blade of hastur please and thank you.
Now here’s an interesting aspect of this whole ‘sacred marriage’ ceremony, while it was generally expected that the high priestess choose the King of Uruk to perform the ceremony with, technically, she could choose anyone she wanted to.
So theoretically Carmilla could…. Put a pin in that and we’ll come back to it once we actually hit the theorizing portion of this piece.
We’ve got other things to talk about relating to Carmilla first.
Namely, the sword. The sword. The sword. The sword. The first thing to address here is why Carmilla fainted back in act 1. We’d used it as part of our avatar theory but it seems more likely that it is proximity to the sword that did her in. I’d just assumed that Carmilla had touched the sword off-camera during the ‘middle earth experiment’ montage but from the Dean’s description, we can assume that she didn’t. If the Dean is telling the truth then the sword still wants Carmilla’s soul even though she didn’t actually kill anything with it.
Which really… does everything in this show want Carmilla’s soul?
- The Sword
- First off, we’ve got the sword. Apparently because Carmilla tried to kill the anglerfish god with it, the sword is now claiming her soul as payment. Should Carmilla touch the sword then it will try and suck out her soul.
- That’s right. Those burns? They’re burns on her soul, not her skin.
- The Dean
- The only reason Laura doesn’t die during the fight scene is because Carmilla touches the sword and the Dean has to get it away from her. Why? Because the Dean sword could “suck out her soul prematurely”. The Dean can’t have Carmilla losing her soul, she needs that soul to open the sixth gate.
- This is perhaps the most subtle but during Mattie’s speech we learn that the goddess of death also wants Carmilla’s soul. There are a few instances of this:
- During ep 18, Mattie looks right at Carmilla while delivering Ereshkigal’s message and says, “she doesn’t like that you keep what isn’t yours.” For everything else, she addresses Laura but that line is said straight to Carmillla.
- Look at how upset Mattie looks when she says this. Her words are calm because they’re Ereshkigal’s but the usually unflappable Matska Belmonde is literally ringing her hands as she says them. What could have Mattie concerned? The Deaht of her little sister.
- Shortly after Mattie says, “You do have one thing she wants. Something that’s hers that she’d like sooner than later… [Laura’s] death? Something like that.” This implies that she’d settle for Laura’s death but it’s not what she really wants.
- She also says that Carmilla will be seeing the underworld soon enough.
- Remember, Carmilla died before she was turned into a vampire. Mattie says as much when she says that ‘Mircalla Karnstein’ is somewhere inside her. Because she died, she belongs to Ereshkigal but Inanna tore her away. Ereshkigal once possessed Carmilla but she was torn away. The queen of the dead wants back what was hers. Carmilla’s life.
- During ep 18, Mattie looks right at Carmilla while delivering Ereshkigal’s message and says, “she doesn’t like that you keep what isn’t yours.” For everything else, she addresses Laura but that line is said straight to Carmillla.
- This is perhaps the most subtle but during Mattie’s speech we learn that the goddess of death also wants Carmilla’s soul. There are a few instances of this:
All in all, this isn’t shaping up well for our broody vampire. Her soul is shaping up to be the most valued commodity on the market.
Of course, Carmilla would disagree. We all know that the thing most important to Carmilla is one Laura Hollis. Too bad she’s missing. Which begs the question:
Where In The World Is Laura Hollis?
At the very end of Act 2 when Carmilla is trapped and Laura has no way to get away from the Dean lunging at her, Laura simply vanishes. Moments later, she re-appears in a dustier version of the library wearing a different coloured shirt.
So so so many questions here.
Excellent.. Cue gleeful writer chuckle.
Let’s start with how Laura vanished. While Danny and Theo are looking around confused, the Dean doesn’t even blink an eye at Laura’s disappearing. She’s certainly angry, perhaps more so than we’ve seen, but she doesn’t seem at all confused. I’ve heard a couple of different theories here.
Some people are saying that Laura must have used her Dad’s secret device that he left behind. However, both of Laura’s hands are visible and in the air when she vanishes. No device in sight. There’s no way she could have pushed a button.
Some people are saying Ereshkigal moved her. While not impossible, we’ve yet to see Ereshkigal interact with Team Library directly. She’s worked solely through Mattie and Mattie was just temporarily taken out of play by the Dean and her ‘dust from the grave of a hanged woman’. So while it could be her, we have no evidence for it.
On the other hand, we do have some evidence that the Library poofed her away.
- The library is Enki. As the god of mischief and a god older than Inanna, he both has the power and the skill set to do something of this nature.
- The library has been invested in keeping Team Library alive for the entirety of season 3.
- Thus far, no outer power (such as the Dean) has been able to work inside the library.
- Based on the twitter feed, we can see that the Library has been actively keeping Laf away from the fighting by distracting them with fountains. If it’s protecting Laf, it could be doing the same to Laura.
- Laura’s tweets, despite being jumbled, keep talking about books and towers and temples and places with a thousand doors. All of which sound like references to the library.
- In the piece of script released last Friday, the Dean is threatening to turn the library into kindling and sell it on Amazon. As the Dean wasn’t at all surprised when Laura disappeared, just miffed, it’s likely that she knows exactly who took Laura. This threat could be her outrage at Laura vanishing by the library’s hand.
- The library has already demonstrated the ability to control both space and time with its magical door. This thing is basically a TARDIS.
- Carmilla’s tweets also imply that she thinks the library is the one to take laura.
So I’m going to work with the assumption that the library is the one to poof Laura away. Could be another option but we currently have the most evidence for this one.
So the next question is where did Laura go?
I certainly don’t know. But I can theorize.
What we do know is that she’s still in some version of the library. It’s covered in dust, spider webs, and looks pretty broken down but it’s definitely the library. If we assume that the library works kind of like a TARDIS then we have two options.
Space or time.
Since Act 2 literally cut after this moment, one of the only things we have to go on here are Laura’s tweets. For those who don’t follow the transmedia. Laura’s twitter has been posted cryptic messages that don’t make a whole ton of sense. They’re upside down. Backwards. In weird letters. Full of emojis.
Roughly trying to translate them, we get things like:
- So this is more? A greater of additional amount of degree. Mehr
- Temple of 1000 doors overwhelmed
- If a woman jumps up she falls back down
- Round and around. ??? mulberry bush ?? right swirl
- To go left one has to go right three times and again
- To pull the correct book from the correct shelf to open it in the correct place
- And think home
- Thousand doors yes
- A woman once lived in a desert
- In her tower she kept all the knowledge in the world
Ellen. You seem great. But I’m a little resentful right now because gagioJegje&oigh(*)
Alright. So, 1000 doors are referenced twice. Let’s start there. My immediate thought (and of a lovely anon on tumblr) is that this is a reference to The Neverending Story and the temple of a thousand doors that is literally a maze of doors. To me, this just sounds like the library in general. The reference to the tower with all the knowledge in the world also sounds like a library reference.
That or the tower of Babel but at this point I’m not convinced that the library isn’t also the tower so let’s just put them together and call it a day.
The ‘temple of 1000 doors overwhelmed’ sounds like a reference to Team Dean invading and overwhelming the library.
The references to ‘home’ have a certain Wizard of Oz vibe in my mind. Very ‘click your heels three times and think of home’ to be there. This is connected to the phrase about pulling the correct book. Theoretically, this means that there is a way to get home if one knows how to do it. You just have to find the right way.
Let’s not talk about the fact that Laura comes back with blood on her hand just yet.
Interesting to me is the reference to the woman who lived in the desert. In Sumerian myth, there’s an old lady who helps hide Dumuzi in the desert from Inanna and as, a result, Inanna kills her and her son to help water the deserts. However, I’m not sure how that relates at this point.
Which, this is all well and good, but it doesn’t tell us much about where Laura went.
Let’s cover our two theories and see if one works better than the other.
- Space – Laura is in exactly the same place in the library but the library itself looks different. Some people, therefore, are theorizing that she’s shifted through space to an alternative version of the library. Then there are two theories within this theory:
- She’s in an entirely alternative universe with a different Carmilla/laf/timeline. She’s essentially jumped from one universe to another.
- She’s in a mirror version of the library. Sumerians describe things as either in ‘The Great Above’ or ‘The Great Below’ so the thought is that Laura just flipped from the Great Above into the Great Below version. The Great Above is basically our world while the Great Below is the mirror of our world that is the Sumerian underworld. Sort of like falling into an identical library that’s just in the underworld. A mirror of itself. The Carmilla/laf/timeline remains the same.
- Time – Laura is in the same library and in the same universe. However, she’s moved in time. Again there are two theories here:
- Laura moved backwards in time to before they set-up camp in the library (maybe even earlier)
- Laura moved forward in time to the future.
I don’t hate any of them and we don’t have enough evidence to really squash them but, for the purposes of this theory, we’ve got to make ourselves pick.
Looking between the two space options, I’d choose the mirror version over the AU. This is simply because not only do AU’s make things tricky but the show has demonstrated no previous grounding for alternative universes. There’s just no evidence for it. As cool a theory as it is. On the other hand, concepts like the Great Above and Great Below are both grounded in mythology and are directly referenced by the Dean – “you think I care about the Great Above or the Great Below?”
We also have the time travel theories. The Library’s door has literally shown us that it has the capabilities to move time as Laf knocks on the door and opens a “”futuristic sci-fi dystopia” so we know that it can bend time. In addition, time jumps would be very Doctor Who which fits the show’s themes.
Between the two, I’m inclined to say that Laura would jump forward over backwards. Here’s why:
- We know from the official trailer that Laura meets laf in the rundown library. If laf had seen Laura in the past, then they probably would have brought that up.
- Same goes for Carmilla and Mattie. In the act 3 trailer we see both of them with Laura in the broken library. If this was in the past then Carm would have to know that Mattie is a ghost before the season even starts and she’d remember seeing future Laura in the past.
- Some people want Laura to have gone back and time to have left herself the runes that are scattered around the library. While I 100% approve of the Doctor Who Bad Wolf reference, as I said last time, the vernacular of the runes doesn’t match Laura’s speech patterns at all. By which I mean, Laura isn’t one to call anyone “idiots” or “the vampire and the college drop-outs”. That just isn’t her voice. It’s much more Mattie/Mel/Betty.
- In the trailer, we see that Laura sees Carm in the broken library but then we also get a dramatic reunion hug in the trailer. This implies that Laura will eventually be returned to her proper timeline. Again, if Carmilla had met Laura in the past then she wouldn’t be so worried. She’d remember
If the time travel is confusing you, don’t worry. You’re going to get a diagram soon.
The tweets referencing things such as jumping up and falling down or going left to go right, all imply that Laura has to go in the wrong way to eventually go the right way. Not only am I getting Game of Thrones flashbacks, but this kind of movement typically is suggestive of time travel. One has to leap forward or back in time to find what they need in the present. However, with a small stretch, you could also make them work for a pocket universe such as our mirror theory.
So they’re not the most helpful in differentiating.
What we have left is that either Laura dropped into an underworld mirror version of the library or Laura jumped forward in time and then back again.
But we’re all about the big theories here so let’s do something more interesting.
Why say either? Why not use both? Both. Yes. Both is good.
What if Laura travels to the future where Laf and Carmilla are currently living in a mirror version of the library in the underworld because the Dean has already released hell on earth and this mirror world was the only way that the library could save them.
I went full sci-fi. This is what you get for letting a genre writer make your theory posts.
Okay. So here’s the timeline before Laura goes poof. Laura (the gold line) is happily existing perfectly in sync with the normal flow of time (the black line). These diagrams are going to get very technical as I was challenged to add a ‘highly technical diagram’ to this post.
So Laura is in sync with normal time but then the library grabs her and she is poofed over to the future.
The red star is the poof. See. Very technical.
So what happens is that the black line goes on without Laura. Things are still happening it’s just that she’s skipped over them. When she poofs into the broken down library, she’s rejoining the normal timeline. However, because she was gone, everything that happened during the break occurred without Laura in it. She’s been removed from the timeline. Now, we know from the trailer that Laf, Carm, and Mattie are all still hanging around when Laura rejoins the timeline.
We’ll get to why Carm’s not dead in a few. A reminder though, that we know Carmilla makes it to the final gate and doesn’t die (or stay dead) at the sixth. We’ve seen the Dean opening the final gate with Carmilla/laura/mattie/laf/mel/kirsch watching.
However, back to time travel, it’s likely that during the time where Laura was absent from time, the Dean opened up the gates and everyone who was in the library got flipped to a mirror/underworld version. I’ve marked that with a blue pin for you.
Why do I think the Dean got the gates open and the Library flipped them to The Great Below while Laura was gone?
- Laf looks real surprised to see Laura when she shows up. This implies that she’s been gone for a while.
- Laf also still has the talismans (laura didn’t bring these with her) which implies that they were never able to use the talismans for anything.
- Laf is wearing a biohazard suit and pulling off gloves. They’ve clearly been working on something or else, the hell on earth is too noxious to really go outside in.
- We get a shot of Laf in the rundown library looking absolutely devastated for the camera. What could do Laf in? They lost Perry. That’s all Laf has cared about this season and if the Dean opened the gates and got her power, it’s likely that Perry has been lost for good.
- The library looks really run down, like there was some kind of larger battle that we didn’t see going on down there.
- The chairs are all covered with sheets and Laura’s camera has been allowed to gather dust and cobwebs. We know from s2 that Laf is the one to set up the camera and an Ethernet cable in the library so it couldn’t have existed before Laf did, further squashing our ‘time travel to the past theory’. More importantly, someone would have needed to take the time to cover those chairs up. If Laura is gone, right after telling Carmilla she loves her, do you really think that Carmilla would want to live in that space full of memories of everything she lost? Instead, it’s been carefully preserved but never touched.
- Laura’s shirt is blue. It was red when she left and blue when she reappears in our broken down library which is also shrouded in blue light.
We’ll talk about the implications of blue in a minute. Just trust me here.
So the timeline proceeded without Laura and bad things happened. The library flips into an underworld version to preserve Laf/Carmilla/mattie who are living in its walls. As the library is a god, this is semi-feasible. It could exist in Ereshkigal’s realm with her permission. Laura goes to the future, finds out what went wrong, cuts her hand open, and poofs back where we get another dramatic Carmilla hug of reuniting.
You can tell because the reuniting library isn’t run-down like our futuristic library is.
So Laura pops right back with her newfound knowledge and rejoins her proper time stream slightly after she left it. The scissors are the bloody palm cutting to get back. As Laura’s hand is bloody in both the future and reuniting scene, I’m guessing this is some kind of bridge device.
However now that Laura is back and has new knowledge, everything about the original ‘normal timeline’ changes. She wasn’t even there the first time. Now Laura’s back and has bonus knowledge. So, our Team Library now does things that they wouldn’t have done in the first place. This effectively creates a new “normal timeline”.
Thus the new black line moving in sync with Laura’s.
The twitter feed has been mentioning pockets which is exactly what we’ve been left with – a pocket timeline. Everything that would have happened after Laura disappeared is no longer going to happen. However, it had to have happened somewhere because Laura had to go there to get her information. It’s a classic paradox.
Basically, everything between those green ferns no longer happens (I also added the crossed out sign in green to be more technical). Instead, the timeline follows the new jutting off black/yellow line where Laura is a part of it. The part between the ferns is a leftover pocket timeline.
Time travel. Always making paradoxes and quandaries.
It’s everything I wanted when I had nothing but vague suspicions of time travel. I don’t even care if it’s true. It’s just fun to write. Mirror universes plus time travel? Yes please.
With Laura back, they can stop the Dean before hell on earth is unleashed and then the library never has to flip them into the underworld.
Of course this does beg the question
Why Does The Dean Even Want to Go to Hell?
It’s hard to understand a character unless we understand their motivation and, thus far, Inanna has been really cagey about why she wants to unleash the apocalypse. She gives us some vague words about making the world quieter but she spends even more time talking about how much she doesn’t care about the world.
Plus, this woman is great at creating a convincing argument so can we really trust anything she says at face value? Perhaps she’s just giving the argument that her listener might best understand.
However, unleashing hell is a lot of work to go through for not caring about something.
Except, we do know that she cares about something. We just have no idea what that something is. The Dean twice references that “they took something that was hers” with the implication that she’s just doing all of this to get it back.
So, questions – what does the Dean love so much that she’d do all this? Who are they? What did they take? How did they take it?
Now the first instinct is to go back to the original myth and look at why Inanna wants to go to hell in that version. The problem is that the original myth is equally cagey. There is zero consensus among scholars as to why Inanna wanted to go to hell. Some say that she just wanted to. Others say that she was mad with the need for more power and the underworld was the only place she hadn’t conquered yet. Others say it’s because she wanted to mourn the death of Ereshkigal’s husband (the bull that Inanna sent to kill Gilgamesh).
It’s this last one that best demonstrates the quandary of Sumerian myths.
The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Descent of Inanna have no concrete timeline. They manage to exist in this circle without end where there is no sequence to events.
Let me explain.
- In Inanna’s Descent, Inanna goes to the underworld and this results in Dumuzi having to take her place there.
- In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh refuses Inanna’s advances because he knows what happened to her last lover, Dumuzi, and doesn’t want it to happen to him.
Sounds pretty straightforward right? Descend first. Then Gilgamesh.
- When Gilgamesh turns Inanna down, she threatens to go to hell FOR THE FIRST TIME. She’s never been to hell before this point. If she’s never been to hell then how can Dumuzi be in hell as a result of Inanna going to hell?
So Inanna both has and has not been to hell. Gilgamesh is aware of what happened to Dumuzi but also nothing could have happened to Dumuzi because Inanna hasn’t been to hell yet.
Further exasperating the problem is that the most common reason for going to hell is that Inanna wants to mourn Ereshkigal’s dead husband.
- In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh kills Ereshkigal’s husband
- In Inanna’s Descent, Inanna goes to the underworld to mourn him.
Looking at these events, The Epic of Gilgamesh would need to be first and The Descent after. That’s the complete opposite order of what we said the first time. So basically, we’ve got events that say the stories happen in differing orders and therefore there are no concrete timelines or reasons for anything.
Thankfully, I don’t have to slavishly follow the myths. Remember, in the Carmilla world these original myths are close to what happened but not 100% accurate. So I can play with them.
That makes my theorist heart smile.
So what do we know? Let’s start there. We know the dean has to go to the underworld to get back what is hers. We know that someone ‘took’ this thing from the Dean and hide it there. We know that she’s spent millennium trying to get that thing back.
So we need something that the Dean loves enough to spend centuries trying to find it after it was taken from her and stashed in the underworld.
We’ve talked about perspectives and about understanding villains. Our goals and dreams are the results of the stories we tell ourselves and there’s nothing more revealing than the information that slips from our tongues. We’ve seen multiple stories of the binding of the Dean this season.
It’s not just about what we say. It’s also about what we don’t.
We’ve even already talked about this one but I love it enough to make it explicit.
When Laf reads the binding story from the Book of Lives, they say that the Dean was bound by Ereshkigal, Enki, and Hastur.
When Inanna tells the story of her own binding, she says that she was bound by Ereshkigal, Enki, and the Valley Men.
Again. Their lists are different
The question is why.
The Book of Lives leaving out humans makes sense. It’s a story written by gods and they’re unlikely to give any praise to the help of humanity. But the Dean leaving out Hastur? Why? She doesn’t once accuse him of binding her, as though she holds no blame in his direction. If he was involved in her binding, as the book says, she should be as angry with him as she is with everyone else. Yet she leaves his name off her list.
I have been wondering where our missing Shepherd god was. This could answer that.
The god who, in the original myth, is ultimately trapped in the underworld perhaps plays the same role here. Already trapped. Already gone. We’ve seen both Enki and Ereshkigal interact with our story but Hastur/Dumuzi has never shown up. Why not?
Carmilla always has been a love story
Perhaps even more than anticipated.
The Dean wants Dumuzi/Hastur back.
The myth and the canon Carmilla paint the Dean as the evil goddess of war. Full of vengeance and doom. But we so often forget that Inanna is the goddess of both love and war. Ironically, I wrote an original short on her character months ago looking at this exact topic. The acts of war and anger that Inanna enact always come from her love side. Either she loves something so much that she ends up destroying it or she loves something so much that she’ll tear the world apart to get it back.
In the original myth, despite being the cause of his capture, Inanna spends stanzas mourning Dumuzi’s passing.
In ep 23, The Dean even tells Carmilla that love is nothing more than a prelude to ‘crushing loss’. She takes a minute to wax poetic about it. She’s called Hollstein’s love ‘doomed’ a number of times.
Perhaps she’s speaking from experience.
Sidebar: if it’s not dumuzi then it’s probably her “mes” down there which is basically her power
I’d love to think of the Dean as nothing more than a power-hungry evil monster but isn’t it so much more interesting to think of her complexly? To see her side of the narration? To wonder what would drive the goddess of love to go to war? This story has been all about unreliable narrators and seeing more than we’re shown. After all, the Dean says herself in ep 22, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” implying that she’s changed over the millennium.
I would like to propose, in the interest of our giant theories, that perhaps The Dean is so intent on getting to hell to get Dumuzi back. After all, why else would she leave him off her list when the book so strongly states that he’s part of binding her away?
Perhaps she doesn’t blame him. Perhaps she refuses to.
Wouldn’t it be neat if the villain was simply driven by her own love story?
After all, what do you think Carmilla would do if Laura had been locked away in hell? She’d burn the world down. She’s already threatening to burn the library to ashes.
The parallels between the Dean and Carmilla are a story for slightly farther down our list.
Of course, none of this means anything if I can’t fit it back in the original myths. Otherwise, it’s just neat conjecture. We’ve already established that we need something that the Dean loves enough to spend centuries trying to find it after it was taken from her and stashed in the underworld. Does Dumuzi/Hastur fit?
As her husband/lover and with the Dean’s possessive streak, he’s very likely to be something that she considers ‘hers’. But was he ever taken away in our original story?
All we have to do is a little re-organizing. After all, the original order doesn’t make sense anyway.
In The Descent story, Dumuzi has a series of bad dreams that someone is coming to take him away. He calls these people the “hungry men”. In the myth, it’s the demons from the underworld who grab him and drag him away. What if it wasn’t the demons? What if that was just something humanity said to make themselves feel better.
What if it was the Valley Men? Everything else fits.
The New Myth: Sticking Them Together
Here’s the story I propose. We’re just re-arranging the pieces of the original myths:
- With their sharing of the same city as goddess and King, Inanna and Gilgamesh come into conflict with each other. The two start fighting. Perhaps Inanna kills Enkidu as she does in The Epic.
- As a tactic to hurt Inanna, Gilgamesh rallies the Valley Men and they go and capture Inanna’s lover/husband Dumuzi just as his prophetic dreams warn. They throw him in the underworld as an eye for an eye after the death of Enkidu. According to the myth itself, once you’re in the underworld you are trapped there and can’t get back out so Dumuzi is stuck.
- Angered, Inanna demands that the gods give her the great bull (ereshkigal’s husband) so that she can avenge Dumuzi’s death and send the bull to kill Gilgamesh. If they don’t give it to her, she’ll descend to the underworld (exactly what she threatens in the myth)
- The gods say no. They’re not about to sacrifice Ereshkigal’s husband for this.
- So Inanna does exactly what she says she will. Screw the consequences. She’s getting her husband back. After all, in the original myth Inanna goes to the underworld regardless of the cost. She’s just confident that she can pull it off and doesn’t care if the world burns.
- The other gods however are not on board with the world burning. Neither are the Valley Men/Gilgamesh who started this whole mess. They all band together to try and find a way to stop the Dean from unleashing hell on earth. This is where the Dean’s list of binders comes from – Ereshkigal, Enki, and the Valley Men.
- So where does Dumuzi fit? Our shepherd god has always been against unnecessary slaughter and tells Inanna that getting him back isn’t worth destroying everything.
- It’s not quite the time for Hollstein parallels but come on. You really don’t think Laura would tell Carmilla not to kill everyone to save her after Carmilla goes on her ‘burn the library rampage’?
- When he sees that Inanna won’t stop, Dumuzi has no choice but to lend his power to the binding and ensure that the world doesn’t end. This is why Inanna doesn’t blame him. She knows him well enough to understand that it’s something he had to do. She just doesn’t care. She’d get him back at any cost.
- So that leaves us with the Dean bound and trying to get back to the underworld, Enki and Ereshkigal setting up further ways to stop this, the Valley Men participating, and Dumuzi still trapped in the underworld.
- Which also explains why we haven’t seen him at all. He’s still stuck down there behind the last gate.
I like it. It takes pieces from the original myths and slings them together while offering a decent motive for the goddess of love and war to want to unleash hell on earth besides ‘she’s just evil’.
I like it even more as a writer because of the parallels to Hollstein.
And cupcakes, you know I love me some parallels.
Blue Shirts and Fourth Talismans
Since the Dean announced that Carmilla is her high priestess, we’ve had a non-refutable link between Inanna and Carmilla. In fact, being a parallel to Inanna is literally Carmilla’s entire job description. The role of a high priestess is to interact with the goddess directly and act as her voice on Earth, a physical manifestation of the goddess’s glory. We’ve already talked about the sacred marriage ceremony in which the high priestess is literally supposed to play the role of Inanna in her marriage to Dumuzi.
But there’s even more than that between them:
- It clicked when the Dean makes a job about Carmilla being more forceful in her relationship with Laura and Carmilla responds with, “what can I say. You inspire me.” Carmilla was being sarcastic but that doesn’t mean there’s not a truth wrapped up in there. Writers love to do that.
- There’s the high priestess role that we already discussed. The literal physical manifestation of the goddess.
- Both would watch the world burn to get back what is important to them. Whether that’s hell on earth or a tiny journalist.
- They have similar speech patterns. It’s so easy to see where Carmilla has learned to talk like the Dean. Back in s1 when Carmilla first gives Laura the speech about giving up, sounds exactly like what the Dean says now. This isn’t a story about believing in people and changing the world.
- Both also use a lot of sarcasm
- Both also use a lot of pet names
- More so than even Mattie, Carmilla seems to understand the Dean. She’s the one keeping everybody calm and from breaking the circle. Even Mattie comes close to setting the Dean free until Carmilla cuts in. She understands how the Dean talks and thinks and manipulates. Even the Dean admits in episode 24 that Carmilla was always the first to catch onto her plans.
- In very different ways, both have talked a lot about possession and what is theirs. The Dean’s entire goal is to get back what belongs to her and she explicitly tells Carmilla that she considers Carmilla to belong to her. This is a mirror to the way that Carmilla tells Laura that “you’re mine. Mine to love or not. Save or not…”. They’re very different types of expression, which is the point of a parallel, but the underlying theme is still there.
- If we’re right and Dumuzi is behind that last gate, they’re both overly invested in helping the person they love. Say what you will about romance but Carmilla wasn’t even dating Laura, a girl she’d known for a couple of months, before she hurled herself off a cliff to her death to save her. That’s a tad extreme.
- Both are pretty apathetic about the state of the world. They think there’s little of consequence in it except for the few things they hold dear. Granted, Carmilla is working away from this mindset.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? Slowly as we’ve gone through the seasons, Carmilla has become less and less like her mother. The underlying characteristics are still there but since Laura’s influence on her life Carmilla has been losing the pieces that tie her to the Dean. They’re still there, never erased, but different.
They’re parallels because they’re put in the same circumstances but choose to act differently.
Carmilla chooses to act differently simply by choosing Laura.
She even chooses differently by letting Laura choose if she wants to choose Carmilla back or not.
As we’ve discussed, one of the key roles of the high priestess of Inanna is to engage in the sacred marriage ritual with the King of the City of Uruk who plays the role of Dumuzi. In this way, the goddess can transfer and receive power. Traditionally, the role of Dumuzi was filled by the King of Uruk however, technically the high priestess could choose anyone she liked to play the role and take the place of the King.
The King being Gilgamesh and his descendants.
If only we had one of those for Carmilla to – oh. We did. Vordie. After all, he only got his position on the board because he was filling the role of the Valley Men and Dumuzi.
And who did Carmilla reject? Vordie.
Perhaps part of the reason that the Vordenbergs are so angry with Carmilla, outside of the slaughter thing, is that by not choosing them she denies them a portion of their power. After all, the choice lies with the high priestess. Not the King. Not Inanna. The High Priestess.
And who does the high priestess choose? Laura.
Obviously Carmilla is still technically a high priestess (otherwise she couldn’t be sacrificed at the sixth gate) so who she chooses to love matters. By choosing to love Laura, Carmilla effectively chooses her to play the other part of this sacred marriage cycle. She passes over the traditional choice of the King’s heir and picks someone new. This essentially should transfer the role and power of Gilgamesh, as a symbol for Dumuzi, to whomever she chooses.
And what power could Gilgamesh possibly have?
He’s sitting nicely right there in our fourth column. The one with the missing heart because the last descendant of the last choice is dead.
But Carmilla has made a new choice. She’s replaced Gilgamesh.
She’s chosen Laura.
Laura is now the one with the heart that matters. She belongs with the “bones” and the “liar’s heart presaged” and the leader of the Valley Men. There are so many one liners pointing to it that it hurts me a little:
- Two episodes this season have the word heart in them. “Raiders of the Lost Heart” is the one where Carm/Laf dive into the knife room but who is the one feeling lost in that episode? Laura. She would normally be the first to dive in but she’s standing aside. She’s spent the whole episode waiting for the people she lost to come back. She’s lost herself. We also have the “Heart of the Matter” this is the one where mattie says about a hundred things that raised red flags to be heart related. More on all of these in a mo’
- Laura considers herself ‘The Woman of the People’. This parallels Gilgamesh’s role as the leader of the Valley Men. The students are her valley men and Laura is their leader. She always has been.
- Mattie calls Laura, “the Holly Girl” when speaking for Ereshkigal. I wasn’t expecting to use my biology here but sure. Holly is actually a type of drupe and a colloquial term for the part of the drupe that holds the seeds is “bones”.
- Sidebar but holly is also considered a heraldry for truth and a protection against evil spirits. Both very Laura Hollis. It’s also what Harry Potter’s wand is made of which I’m telling you just because it amuses me.
- Also a plant, Laura’s tweets mention mulberry bushes. Now on one hand, I’d like to say that it’s a reference to the song “all around the mulberry bush” but I’d also like to point out that mulberries in mythology represent death. Most famously in Metamorphoses where Thisbe commits suicide with a sword after Pyramus is killed by a lion due to Romeo and Juliet reasons. I mention this because sword and lovers. Take this as you will.
- The Dean burns up journalist prof Cochrane so that all she has left are bones and then tells Carmilla that she’s missing the point. Then she tells Hollstein that their relationship is doomed.
- Inanna also has a thing where she constantly threatens “all that will be left are bones”.
- What’s left of Cochrane is just bones once her heart/soul has been sucked back out. Arguably, this could be a metaphor for Laura losing her heart and only remaining as bones.
- Ereshkigal specifically says that she doesn’t like Laura’s “tiny, broken heart.”
- Mattie describes the fourth talisman as “a human heart given to the covenant.” We’ve assumed that this is the charter but what if it’s not? After all, what is a sacred marriage if not another word for covenant? By loving Laura, Carmilla is offering Laura the chance to engage in this covenant with her.
And there’s the kicker. We’ve seen lots of little one liners relating Laura to hearts and blood and bones (some of which I can’t show you because my internet decided to cut out while typing this so I can’t go back and research). However, a covenant works two ways. Both parties have to agree.
Its back in season 2 that Carmilla offers her end of the deal with a “I love you” uttered in the midst of a break-up.
Since then, we keep hearing about Laura’s broken heart. (my internet is down so i’m doing this by memory so i definitely missed a few)
- You kiss me and it cracks me open
- It breaks my heart that you hate me
- Your tiny broken heart
Not only that but Laura’s broken heart seems to actively anger Ereshkigal as it’s one of the things she uses to explain why she doesn’t trust Laura. As someone invested in keeping Inanna locked up, a broken talisman would not bode well for the entrapment plan.
Remember, we still have the Dean calling Hollstein doomed at every chance and she’s always implied that the prophecy means something not good for them. She’s been trying to get her hands on the 3 other talismans as though she knows that they could potentially be used and we see in the time travel flashforward that, without Laura around, the Dean seems to have won. In fact, if we look at the tiny preview of act 3 in the end card of act 2, the Dean even lets Carmilla get up and walk around while she yells at the library about taking Laura.
As if Laura matters.
Why would Laura matter if her heart was broken? Why would she matter if she didn’t take up Carmilla’s offer of the covenant?
She matters because she did. She matters because Laura’s heart is no longer broken since the moment she dropped the friends act and admitted that she loved Carmilla too. Laura accepted Carmilla love and told Carmilla that she loved her. She accepted the covenant. Her heart was healed. She’s suddenly a viable fourth talisman.
And we have more than the Dean’s anger and ‘doomed’ talk to prove it.
After all, Laura’s shirt turned blue.
In fact, if you watch the trailer you can see that it stays blue even when she poofs back into her proper time stream. So what in the world does blue mean? Here’s the thing, you don’t just change colours like that for no reason and if it was just to signify that she was somewhere/when else, then the shirt should have changed back when Laura comes back.
But it doesn’t. It stays blue.
Her shirt started red (see i love you pic above). For those who don’t know, this is colour most associated with Inanna as she is related to the planet Venus and called “the red lady of heaven” and “red faced.” This also gives another explanation as to why the Dean called Carmilla her “red right hand”. Red was also for destructiveness and aggression, blood and rage and divinity. All things that work well with Inanna and Carmilla.
Up to this point, Laura has been existing in their world. She’s played on their terms and tried to work within the chessboard given to her. She’s been denying her love of Carmilla and struggling to play within Inanna’s game.
So she is red. Laura is everything that is red.
But then she turns blue.
She kisses Carmilla and says she loves her, healing her heart while taking on the chance to become the fourth talisman. Then mere hours later she is poofed away and her shirt turns blue. Blue in sumeria was used to represent Kings and divinity. Laura has just been given the role of a King in our story so it fits. But it’s more than that.
In Sumerian, the colour blue was actually denoted by saying “lapis lazuli” which was a rare rock that was one of the few blue precious stones available. It’s rarity is part of what made blue a colour for kings. However, lapis lazuli is specifically mentioned a number of times in our myth Inanna’s Descent. She takes off two items of lapis at two separate gates as part of her sacrifice to enter the underworld.
So blue represents something that Inanna had to give up.
And what’s the biggest thing she’s given up? Dumuzi.
In fact, the blue/red scheme is explicitly known to be an illusion to Dumuzi and Inanna in Sumerian culture. The red/blue duality is the dominant colour combination in reference to them and across Sumerian art it always represents the fundamental dualities of the heaven mixing with the earth. The divine with humanity.
Carmilla as Inanna as a vampire is divine. Laura as Gilgamesh/Dumuzi as a human is human.
What we have here, colour-wise, only further reinforces the parallel of the covenant. Blue is for Dumuzi. By accepting the covenant, Laura has moved herself from the red of Inanna’s world and rules, to her own side where she is blue, taking the place of Gilgamesh to represent Dumuzi in this relationship.
After all the murderous vampire/god coming to rescue her peaceful human from trouble sounds like a familiar story, does it not?
If you look at the lighting after Laura poofs away, she’s moved to a library that is entirely bathed in blue tone light which is the colour of Dumuzi. Now, if we’re right and this future library is a mirror or part of the underworld, then there’s a certain missing god who is in the underworld that she could talk to.
Perhaps get some advice from Dumuzi himself?
By turning laura’s shirt blue, it’s a visual representation of laura’s role in everything to come and of her acceptance of this position. This is why it stays after Laura poofs back. Her heart is still healed, she’s still playing this new role.
So what we have are Carmilla and Laura, the high priestess and her chosen love who has replaced the King, playing out the roles they were meant to play as parallels to Inanna and Dumuzi.
But Carmilla and Laura aren’t Inanna and Dumuzi so we have to ask ourselves, what will they do differently?
Let’s Do Some Theorizing
So what we’ve theorized so far is that Laura poofs to a future where the library is in the underworld, chats with Dumuzi/futureCarm/furtureLaf and then poofs back with some kind of blood magic. She then uses this information to alter the future. As the chosen one of the high priestess, laura is taking the role of Gilgamesh and his descendants (Vordie), as the fourth member of the board.
This means that the liar’s heart presaged is Laura’s.
After all, the prophecy about finding her match may have been given to Carmilla but it’s still predicting Laura. We could also make the case for liar as she’s been editing her videos to show only her points of view. An inconsistent narration. But above all else, she’s the Gilgamesh replacement because Carmilla chose to love her and Laura has returned that love. Her heart is healed and ready to go.
I have a hard time believing that Laura is about to just rip her heart out of her chest. Could happen. We know that both Carm/Laura survive because of the movie trailer but this could easily be solved by Laura ripping out her heart and Carmilla making her a vampire.
Not only is heart ripping kind of gory for the show with a corporate sponsor but I don’t even think that Carmilla could make Laura a vampire. Vampires don’t work like vampires in this show. Remember, there was zero biting involved when Danny was turned. Instead the Dean uttered an incantation and used her god powers as the “Queen of Blood and Life” to pull Danny’s soul out of the underworld and stuff it back in her body.
Carmilla doesn’t have any god powers and she’s not the Queen of Blood and Life. So how could she make anyone a vampire?
Now the possibility exists that Ereshkigal could bring someone back to life for the right price/wager/game but I really find it hard to believe that Laura is the one who is going to die here.
It could happen but I think it’s less interesting and less neat.
Gods are lazy. They don’t do their own dirty work. With Gilgamesh on the team, I’m inclined to think that the gods made the talismans, gave them to him, and told their epic hero to get going and trap the Dean. After all, this is guy who completed a ton of heroic tasks. This is just another one.
We see Laura carting the 3 talismans everywhere with her, even taking them into the pit. If she’s Gilgamesh then this makes sense. She just loads up on the talismans and the gods tell her to have at it.
That’s going to be pretty hard to do without a heart.
So it’s a METAPHOR
And it’s not like Carmilla can use the talismans for her, Carmilla can’t even touch the sword without dying and getting her soul sucked out.
Let me take this moment to remind you that both Ereshkigal and the sword really really want Carmilla’s soul. I have trouble believing that she’s going to make it past both of those alive. Her odds get even worse when you take into account the difference between metaphor and literal inference.
After all, “the word, the blood, the chalice” were all metaphors. None of them were literal. Why would “the liar’s heart presaged” be the only literal one. We’re not talking about Laura’s literal heart here. We’re talking about her metaphorical one.
And Carmilla is Laura’s metaphorical heart.
The symbol from the second prophecy in Laura’s column is the bones. The bones. The bones are the only thing left when you destroy something’s heart. We’ve seen this in the killing of professor Cochrane and the Dean’s constant threats of doom.
The theme of the show is ‘love will have its sacrifices’ and we need both of our girls to make a sacrifice here. Remember, they’re Dumuzi and Inanna parallels who make a different choice. The Dean would never consent to die to save the world.
Perhaps Carmilla could. Her sacrifice is dying. Giving up her years of life and her happy ending and everything that 18 year old girl at a ball ever wanted.
Dumuzi could only trap Inanna, he could never kill her.
Perhaps Laura could. Her sacrifice is killing the woman she loves. Giving up her heart and her happiness and her dreams of a future in Paris and comic con and everything she’s ever fought to keep.
If Carmilla dies then the sword gets it’s due, Ereshkigal gets her missing soul back, and the fourth talisman is satisfied. It’s a neat bow on a complicated knot. Killing Carmilla, the representative of Inanna, would kill Inanna and maintain that symbolism all the way through.
Laura’s tiny broken heart was healed just in time to get sacrificed.
Laura’s heart was healed. Carmilla found that friend she’d always wanted. They fell in love.
Then they had to sacrifice everything in a blood magic of the worst sort.
The Dean specifically calls Carmilla “a lamb” in late act 2 and while this could be a Dumuzi reference, there’s something to be said for “lead like a lamb to the slaughter” and the sacrificial lamb image.
So we’ve reached a place where Carmilla has to die as the fourth talisman for The Dean to fall.
But don’t think I’m going to let Carmilla stay dead. We all know she comes back. The movie. The trope avoidance. Remember way back in the first episode of Act 2 where Laura plays scrabble against a death goddess for the locket? Mattie offers her a rematch in a “much older game with a prize much closer to your heart”.
I propose that Laura will play against the Death Goddess to get Carmilla’s soul back.
Sidebar: this game is probably the “royal game of Ur” which archaeologists found in the royal tombs.
What we don’t know is whether the Carmilla who comes back is a human or a vampire. After all, Mattie specifically says that she still has Mircalla Karnstein inside her. Due to the movie, it’s probably the vampire but it certainly doesn’t have to be. It would almost be a happier ending if a human Carmilla emerged. They’d get to grow old together as just a pair of normal girls.
Quick other possible theories
- Perry wrestles control back from the Dean. I still really really want this and the super sad Laf speech makes me think that we might get it, especially if the Dean threatens Laf
- Papa Hollis and his army will swoop in at the last second or slightly late to help sweep up any loose ends.
- I have literally no idea what Papa Hollis’s button is supposed to do. Giant bear spray bomb? I’m excited to find out.
- Something in my head is niggling at a time/universe reset but I really hope not.
- If time travel is a thing then I’m standing by my Betty wrote the runes theory because it’s hilarious to me. If not her then Mattie or Mel.
- I’m excited for the dramatic Hollstein pit rescue where they get Kirsch back ad block off the stairs
- Owls. Owls everywhere. Lamps and shirts and always watching.
- Although I said that time jump forward is more likely, I think it would be amazing if they went bad wolf and had Laura write the runes/create herself.
- We finally get our live and in person actual puppy kirsch. good. yes.
- We’re not going to see JP in person again. During one of the interviews/preshows (?) natasha/elise say they never saw him while shooting.
- Mattie gets to hang around as a ghost or Laura cuts a deal while she’s saving Carmilla during the game to get Mattie back. Tiny Hollis still has some guilt there.
- With all the hedging over the bury your gays trope and every single answer being “everyone who dies comes back”, I’ve always put forward that one of our girls die and are reborn either through vampirism or death games or whatnot. Someone dies. I hold to this.
- Could be Danny though. We know Carmilla makes it to the last gate and I have to wonder who the Dean sacrificed at the sixth gate instead of Carmilla. Danny seems to shaping up as the Carmilla replacement so perhaps she’d fit here too? I’d love it if we could get one last moment of heroic Danny sacrificing herself. Part of me doesn’t think that our Danny would ever want to be a vampire, she’s just been treated to the Dean evil-monologue treatment.
- If you wanted to go the less obvious route, the human heart would spin on Laf/Perry instead of Hollstein. This would be very interesting but I set it aside simply because Hollstein are our main characters.
- I personally don’t think we’re going to find out anything more about laura’s backstory (which good). But I know that some of you think she’s the Dean’s daughter because we never hear about her mother. Although I don’t think it’s true and I think her mom was just a person, if you’re going to go theory-crazy on this, personally I’m more inclined to make her a distant vordenberg of the one ancestor that carm didn’t kill.
- For those who read my other stuff, you know I’m all here for god!Laura. We’ve got demigods now and more gods than ever. It could be a thing. Don’t squash my dreams!
- i don’t have time to talk about costumes in depth but the sword necklace that Carmilla wore for most of the season is around Laura’s neck in the pit scenes.
- I NEED ONE OF THEM TO SAY “HEY” AND THE OTHER SAY “HEY” BACK.
So there it is. My second set of theories. Still as off-the-wall as ever. Regardless, I still think that season 3 is going to end very much like s1. Broken and battered but together and trying to start again.
If you skipped part 1, you can still read that and the avatar theory here.
Again, this is purely for entertainment purposes and if nothing else, I hope it got you thinking and that you were entertained. I love this show and, once again, making up large convoluted theories about it is how I’ve apparently decided to show my appreciation to the writers, crew, and cast. Shout-out to all my friends who had to listen to me try and come up with something feasible and all the anons who dropped their opinions in my inbox.
Best of luck to all of you for Act 3. Stay stupendous creampuffs. Aria.