A Walkthrough the Card - PoP Thanedd Coup: Northern Realms
All of the Northern Realms cardshave the overarching theme of the Aretuza Academy for young sorceresses. Its connection to the Thanedd Coup is rather apparent because the academy is located on the island. No harm was done to the students during the coup, as those have been relocated earlier to make room for the mages arriving from all over the kingdoms to hold council.
School life itself followed strict rules: Adepts were not allowed to leave the island and visitors only had restricted access. Albeit strict, it probably was not that bad, considering the rather lavish form of self-study depicted on the Aretuza Adept card.
Tissaia de Vries
We start with one of Aretuza’s rectoresses: headmistress Tissaia de Vries. During the Thanedd Coup she was the one who freed the Nilfgaardian supporters after it became obvious that the Northern supporters clearly had no intention to give them a fair trial. She also helped the Geralt and Yennefer escape the fighting which emerged afterwards. Tissaia died on Thanedd on the same day, but by her own hands when she slit her wrists. Whether from guilt about her actions or to escape the Redanian army marching on Aretuza to help the Northern supporters, her reason behind this are not entirely clear.
Considering her flavour text “They will not enter here. No one invited those royalist lackeys, who carry out the orders of their short-sighted kings!” – Tissaia de Vries , she definitely does not feel aligned to the North and its rulers – but likely not to the Empire of Nilfgaard either. It is not too far of a stretch to assume that the good of Aretuza and its students are where her loyalty lies.
This is also strongly indicated by her expression: she seems shaken and desperate standing amidst the slaughter around her. Though certainly not helpless: her hands are still glowing with magic, she might very well be the one who had to kill them in self-defence. The dead bodies likely belong to both factions involved in the conflict, even though we can only tell for sure regarding the elven body in the upper left corner – the Scoia’tael were smuggled in by Francesca who supported Nilfgaard during the Thanedd Coup.
Leticia was born as illegitimate daughter of the Temerian King Gardic. As it is sadly rather common practice among royals, this marriage was none of love but had been arranged. His actual wife Vulpia gave him an heir to the throne, but the king had plenty of other affairs – a rather common practice as well. And before you ask: no – my marriage has not been arranged so far, but let’s stay on topic, shall we? Leticia’s mother Carezza was banished after becoming pregnant, as rumours about the real father emerged and gave birth to her daughter in exile and was sent to Aretuza Academy as soon as she was old enough. I do feel bad for poor Leticia.
However, she certainly did make the best of it, by following the words written in her flavour text “You cannot control what the world throws at you, but you can decide on how to react.” – Leticia Charbonneau and ultimately became headmistress of Aretuza due to her hard and dedicated work.
As for the artwork: I love her dress! Especially the sheer black ornamental black parts look wonderful. She can be seen teaching a probably very basic levitating spell to her students, the background of noble wood and filled book shelves really emphasise her position as teacher. Now you might ask: why use apples? I have a theory: back in school when I learned simple maths we used apples as well. Easha! You can surely come up with a simple arithmetical problem for our readers.
Let me think…
Question: Vilgefortz has 3 apples. Easha has 4 apples. Easha kills Vilgefortz to get all his apples. How many apples does Easha have now?
Answer: The correct answer is 8 apples, as I am the one who snatched the one from the Garden of Eden to bring sin to mankind and blamed it on Eve.
Easha! >.< We better move on to the next card…
Practice Makes Perfect
The flavour text A lesson a day keeps mediocrity away. is a rather obvious reference of the English saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ The usage of apples in Leticia’s card persists in this card –and even more so the artwork as it literally shows the very same scene from a different perspective: The hand is Leticia’s, so we are seeing the classroom and her students through her eyes.
Writing of the students, I do love their expressions: the one at the right with a joyful, proud but concentrated smile who already manages to levitate the apple shortly after it was explained to her – much to the disbelief of the student next to her. The student in the back looks rather curious as well, but I wonder where her apple is? Is it covered by the head of the student in front of her? Or did she eat it as she was not aware it would be needed for practice and considered it a healthy snack provided by the school? I hope Leticia won’t scold her too much. A healthy mind needs a healthy body after all.
This student looks a bit older and naturally more knowledgeable and well-versed in the art of magic compared to the beginners depicted in Practice Makes Perfect.
The importance of knowledge is underlined by her flavour text Knowledge beyond measure is a sorceress’s greatest treasure., which is in fact a quote of one of Hogwarts’ four founders Rowena Ravenclaw. The words “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.” are engraved on her diadem which has been made into one of Voldemord’s Horcruxes later.
If you compare the Aretuza students to its counterpart of the Ban Aard academy, both arts are composed with a distinct contrast in mind: While both students are depicted casting a spell, the female student does so with a smile, her hands point upward. The water she manipulates is a symbol of healing and calmness. I contrast to this we have the male student with a determined expression, palms facing downwards while he is wielding a fire spell of battle and consuming flames. The voice lines also differ: While the one from Aretuza complains about tests and asks her teacher whether she is doing well, the one of Ban Ard brags with his skills while also having difficulties to remember the incantation.
While this ends the discussion of the Northern Realms cards, we will shed some light on the opposing Nilfgaardian party of the coup in the next episode of A Walkthrough the Card.
You can read about the other cards of the new Price of Power – Thanedd Coup expansion here: