The Murgala

In western fairy tales images of Nature are common metaphors for grander themes. Roses are often symbols of the heart in European stories, the flower representing the bond between two lovers. But black roses represent something different.

The Black Rose of the Murgala

In the Phantammeron I wanted to fill my books with old European myths. The Murgala, or black roses, represent rejected love, doomed love, unfulfilled and vengeful love. The dark Eternal Night’s tears created the Murgala when the golden-haired Secret Spring rejects his love early in the book. Later the roses form a type of perversion in the shining gardens that grew in Abrea, and are connected with the witch Anissa who will use them to lure the Shadow back to this fallen place of his father’s unrequited love.

That type of flower then becomes a source of revenge against Phantaia and the new life that had sprung up from the soil. At the end the Shadow ironically picks one of the black blooms and tries to give it to Ana who rejects it. And yet the roses come to represent something new and unfinished and almost beautiful in their own right…..something that lives on with a new purpose beyond love after the characters have passed on and book two starts the tale anew.

That everlasting concept then connects the story back to Western ideas of Nature and fate as things that live long past our time, long after we die, and that have meaning beyond story and even our Modern culture. For the romantic or anti-romantic ideals of roses are themselves eternal and extend beyond our limited time here and even our narrow views of them. That’s the true meaning of dark roses how and why fairy tales live on, carrying those timeless messages through myth to be reinterpreted by younger generations.

Phantammeron Excerpt on the Murgala

“But before the Endless Night departed, he had dripped down upon the hill the dark tears of the Glourun, which he had shed for her. From them grew black satin roses born of the seeds of his darkness, so that the Secret Spring might remember him. He then departed the Hill of Abra, vowing never to return.

But the Murgala had remained, a reminder of his cursed and doomed love. And so, would those roses lie fallow yet rise up by their own evil will, to entrap and ensnare in their large blooms and thorns all those who might seek to penetrate those gardens and harm the sacred spring that dwelt there. But upon the birth of the One Tree, its first lights were cast upon the Murgala’s dark leaves. And they were burned by them.

They then died until only a small patch of the sinister roses remained at the base of the hill. There, under a bluff, they hid in the shadows within a secretive part of the garden. And so, had they survived, fed by the darkness and hidden from the light of the tree, waiting until it should wane or die when their evil vines might grow forth again unchecked, stretching their black and tangled stems about the garden and claiming that hill as their own, as they had in ages past.”

Excerpt From Phantammeron Book One by Mitchell Stokely

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