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Notes and Errata of Mark of the Asphodel

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Poison
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mark_asphodel
So, while contemplating my rhubarb crop (all one plant of it) this afternoon, something occurred to me-- where are the herbal-based poison plots in FE fandom?  Hell, I remember a damned good Gundam Wing 'fic that hinged on tainted rhubarb jam.  Harry Potter was littered with such, though of course the plants in question were a little more fanciful.  But I can't even remember coming across a bad batch of mushrooms in a Fire Emblem story.  Can't recall anyone accidentally ingesting rhubarb leaves, or confusing wild carrots with hemlock, or decorating a wedding cake with lily-of-the-valley and white oleander.

There is a void here that needs to be filled.  Discuss?

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Something about this is really familiar, but I can't quite place it...

I'd be interested in this, though. Especially considering the kind of situations that would require foraging in FE.

Mm. Do let me know if you place it.

Perhaps there is an assumption that Back In The Day, people were more aware of what plants would kill them? That's the only thing I can think of, really.
Logically, though, if you sent, I dunno, Eliwood off into the woods to gather plants to eat, he'd have no idea what was okay to eat and what wasn't.

Poison in general, despite the canonical basis for it (Lundgren comes to mind immediately, and one of Izuka's plots in FE10) doesn't seem to be a favored thing in the fandom at all. Perhaps just because there are so many more ways to die in battle that would be perceived as more "noble"?

Perhaps. It's very hard even for trained people to necessarily spot everything (especially with lookalike plants and fungi), and you're quite right about sending someone like Eliwood off to forage. Even if you've seen the illustrations in botanical texts, that won't necessarily help you identify something in its habitat.

Perhaps just because there are so many more ways to die in battle that would be perceived as more "noble"?

But poison is so fun! With so many mythical and historical precedents!

Poison is fun!
I've yet to really think of anything, myself, where it could be utilized. I have to deal with it by default for Elphin, but aside from that, nothing's really made its way into my mind.

Perhaps, also, it's just another case of the FE fandom not being very into external plot. The majority of what I've seen anyway is more on a very personal level - relationships, rivalries, that kind of thing. And poison, even accidental "oh hey I thought that mushroom would be tasty" things, are more of an external influence that would need to be explained.

Perhaps, also, it's just another case of the FE fandom not being very into external plot.

I still find this state of affairs SO WEIRD.

I had a story wherein the party's horses got into some oleander, and I can't remember why I gave up on it, along with a few other plot bunnies.

I think, though, as a whole most people aren't related into the botanical aspect of things--most people simply aren't interested in researching plants and such.

Seconding Ammie's interest in the foraging aspect of FE's lifestyle, though.

ETA: On the topic of poisons, though, the situation with Hausen's poisoning brings things like the Borgia family to mind (or even Madame Bovary's suicide with arsenic, if that at all makes sense).

Edited at 2011-06-06 02:21 am (UTC)

as a whole most people aren't related into the botanical aspect of things--most people simply aren't interested in researching plants and such.

Very likely the case, yeah. But, for me-- well, I'm about the poison plants like you're about the leeches. :)

Leeches are cool, man, but so are poisonous plants. I should just stand in my geek corner and geek out about things.

Well, when I did my research for poisons (for Hausen and Lyndis's situations in-game), herbal wasn't really an option. i.e., no way could a bunch of Sacaens fall for that, and I highly doubt an entire tribe could be poisoned by the Taliver via herbal methods. (Unless the tribe had never stayed in that spot before and did happen to eat something bad, which would be hilariously ironic and terrible, but let's not go there. Or rather, I won't go there.) As for Hausen, it sounds like very deliberate poisoning that's just doesn't strike me as being herbal in any way.

But. The mushrooms idea? Someone talked about that once, though I can't recall who it was. It'd have been quite some time ago. Rhubarb leaves, lily-of-the-valley, etc., are interesting ideas. I thought of using lily-of-the-valley in a story of mine, but it was going to be a ~mystery~ and I never did write it. (What. Me not write something? well I'll be.)

I think random poisoning is kind of not something people think of often. i.e., it seems the fandom as a whole thinks of poison and immediately thinks of poisoned weaponry.

The kentlyn comm, which seems to be relatively dead these days as everyone is busy, did a "Poison" challenge. Someone wrote about poison ivy, another about a poisoned weapon, blah blah et cetera.

I wrote about wolfsbane/monkshood/women's bane/devil's helmet. Sadly I could not find ALL the information I wanted, like, for example, what exactly happened if you touched it. There was info on like, if you rolled around in it? Or ate it. But not if you came in contact with it for just a little while. Boo.

So yeah. Maybe I should write that mysteryfic. I do totally owe sain a chaptered 'fic before she gets back from Berlin. Might wanna get started on it uhhh before she gets back. :|

Would definitely like more "natural" poisons, though. Or even more 'fics with poisoned weapons that didn't read all LOL POISON PURE WATER OKAY CURED. XD I mean. IDK. Not that that's wrong. Just. It's cool to feel like the character who is poisoned is actually in some kind of DANGER.

I would like to add that I feel poisoning via eating the wrong thing is just not as interesting in a one-shot where it's pretty obvious that someone is "eating something bad" and then later falls ill and/or dies. :( In a longer story, it might work really well, though-- as in, if there are scenes where people are eating and foraging regularly...nobody would even really NOTICE when the characters were eating something bad. Or rather, there might be small hints, but not anything that makes it blindingly obvious like Matthew out picking shrooms and then falling ill or dying or whatever shortly after.

is just not as interesting in a one-shot where it's pretty obvious that someone is "eating something bad" and then later falls ill and/or dies

Very true, unless the one-shot is composed as a mystery so the reader doesn't necessarily catch on (kinda like 'Red Chestnuts,' hah). But you could have offhand references to people getting sick, having died, etc.

it seems the fandom as a whole thinks of poison and immediately thinks of poisoned weaponry.

Yeah.

IDK. I have a number of things where plants and fungi are cross-referenced (mushrooms in To Freely Serve, Red Chestnuts, the stuff Elice is using in Asylum) but as I said to Sriya above, that's my particular bent. I'm just surprised that's so rare!

But not if you came in contact with it for just a little while. Boo.

Hah. That's a case in which I'd be sorely tempted to just... experiment.

Maybe I should write that mysteryfic.

Yes!

Just. It's cool to feel like the character who is poisoned is actually in some kind of DANGER.

Also YES.

Also, a thought has occurred to me that most of the younger generation (people under 40) don't really seem to garden or know anything about gardening. They also don't seem to cook or know anything about cooking. (This amuses me.)

Though there are exceptions, I do find that, for gardening especially, it's pretty rare to find people who know anything about plants. Not that it takes a lot of knowledge to write about them, but if you really don't know ANYTHING it takes SOME research...which people aren't as likely to do I think.

I was all like, YEAH GOTTA FIND OUT WHAT SOIL THESE THINGS THRIVE IN, AND WHAT KIND OF CLIMATE... (Etc etc.)

But I like plants, so it wasn't as if I didn't find it interesting anyway.

hat most of the younger generation (people under 40) don't really seem to garden or know anything about gardening

This, sadly, does appear to be true. Ditto for cooking. Lost arts, I guess.


Also, a thought has occurred to me that most of the younger generation (people under 40) don't really seem to garden or know anything about gardening.
...You mean there are people my age who don't know how to garden? D: D: D:

*has been gardening since she was little*

They also don't seem to cook or know anything about cooking.
D: D: D:

what are they teaching kids these days.

I once lost myself on a website dedicated to flowers and their climates and what they meant in 'flower language' and it was lovely. :D

Well, it makes sense. I'd say in general people tend to gravitate toward city living, and for a lot of people, that means no real garden. If you're in a suburb you can keep a small one, or if you're lucky, a nice-sized one. But apartment living folk don't get that opportunity. A potted plant is their best bet. (I don't keep potted plants in the house because my cats eat my FAKE flowers so I know they'd destroy the real deals.)

Also, we can buy whatever we want at the grocery these days. Whereas even 50 years ago it was pretty common for lots of people to keep at least a tiny garden to have tomatoes when they were in season. Now people just forego that trouble and spend a little extra at the store. You don't have to even can/freeze food, since most food is available year-round at even Wal-Mart!

But as far as cooking goes, it works something like this:

Women used to stay home and clean house/cook dinner. Wars occurred, women went to work. Men came back. Women were like BITCH WE WANNA MAKE MONIES, so women went to work, also. So who's there to cook food?

Honestly, when I got home from a hard day of work, cooking a full-on meal was at the VERY BOTTOM of the list of things I cared to do. So then "TV Dinners" became insanely popular and in a lot of families, they mostly consume things like boxed mashed potatoes and boxed scalloped potatoes, pre-made rice dinners, pre-frozen hamburger patties and meatballs, things like that. The rare times the parents DO cook, the kids probably aren't around to watch, or don't learn much.

Whereas when I was little, garden work was mandatory. (We needed that food to live off of, seriously.) I spent hours and hours out in the sun tying up tomatoes, weeding green beans/etc. And then we did canning/freezing every year, not just for the garden food, but all our fruit, too. (WE STAYED BUSY.)

When I was about ~5 years old I think the Easy Bake Oven came out. I wanted one SO BAD. My mom's response? "You have a real oven you can use if you want to bake. Go use it." So I did. (To this day I'm more of a baker than anything.)

I'm sad that so many people can't cook, and don't know the first thing about plants. I'm reminded of my 36-year-old friend/coworker who told me, straight-up serious-faced and meaning every word, that he was going to plant pickles in his garden. (First time he'd ever tried to garden and he was super excited about it, but he honestly didn't know that pickles were not garden food. They don't make pickle seeds. LOL.)

Despite being a bit sad over it (because it's really a shame, just like a lot of the younger generation can't even sew a button on their clothes), I also realize it's not really anyone's fault. If you're not around to teach your kid to cook, how are they going to learn? If you live in an apartment, how are they going to learn about gardening/plants? And so on.

Just like half the world thinks chicken eggs have a baby chick in EVERY EGG. /facepalm

But seriously-- if nobody tells them, how are they supposed to know? :(

I probably go :/ at it because my mom was a stay-at-home mom and was around all the time to cook and things like that. My dad cooked on the weekends and he was the one who taught me how to garden and sew and all that stuff. So there was someone there to teach me.

But even potted plants need to be taken care of. We were always bad with potted plants, but great when we took them out of the pot and planted them.

It does make sense though, but in the age of the internet, you can easily look this stuff up too. A lot of people are just too lazy to :(

*pokes head in*

You're right, I'm surprised there haven't been more herb-based poison plots in FE fic. (Perhaps some people aren't willing to put in the extra research?)

I did write a story a while back where Priscilla and Serra were discussing different healing practices, and Priscilla mentioned Foxglove being used to treat the heart, even though it's poisonous... But that was a silly piece, and I did get questioned by a reader on why I mentioned it. (It was actually to relate to a line at the beginning of the story.)

(Hmm, now I'm getting ideas about Belladonna and how it's associated with madness and werewolf-ism... ;P)

Perhaps some people aren't willing to put in the extra research?

Sadly, I think that's part of it. Seems to be a feature of FE 'fics in general. :/

Hmm, now I'm getting ideas about Belladonna and how it's associated with madness and werewolf-ism... ;P

Nice!

Thanks for dropping by!

I find it funny that you're talking about this right as I'm looking up poisonous plants and flowers to use for the assassination plot for "My Sins Won't Leave Me". (The assassination plot from FE12.)

In one of my fandoms, poison is actually quite commonplace, but that fandom's main character is a collector of strange and rare poisons and he knows everything there is to know about them. So anyone who dies in said fandom is usually poisoned in some form.

But yeah, I think the majority of characters would be more aware of what was good to eat and what wasn't--I'd expect knights and commoners to know especially because, well, if you run out of food, have no rations, and you're in the middle of a forest, you gotta know what's good to eat and what might kill you. But someone like Marth? He won't have a clue. That's why MyUnit Jagen and Cain are there.

But I agree, there needs to be more poison fic. There's so many to choose from!

Yeah, actually the assassination storyline factors in to my current interest. Coldblooded premeditated murder is rather more interesting than just settling things with a duel.

I was thinking of going with poisoned tea or something. Tea was made with tea leaves back then, so what if someone slipped in some hemlock 'by accident'...

I mean it has to be something deadly XD

Coldblooded premeditated murder is rather more interesting than just settling things with a duel.
Indeed!

Tea works. Also flavored wines and liquors... hemlock tastes pretty strong from what I've read.

Though opportunity plays a role here, especially when poisoning someone prominent who might have food tasters. And depending on whether you wanted some poor kitchen boy to get hanged for it...

Using something that builds up slowly over time has its advantages there. That's one thing I loved about the jam story.

Marth could have his tea poisoned every day by something that builds up over time. Like, uh, whatever Lundgren did. "Oh, it's just a passing cold, sire! Drink this!"

That might actually work if Marth needed some sort of soothing tea and the suspicious kitchen boy over there cackling to himself has just the thing for that stubborn sore throat...

The jam idea actually sounds interesting.

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