Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile AT: Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn Previous Previous Next Next
The Black Arms: Further Speculation. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The Black Arms: Further Speculation.

Previously, we have proceeded cautiously to see what the Black arms, as shown on JKR’s little sketch, may legitimately tell us.  Although I write slash, for deep and convoluted reasons of mine own, my approach to fandom is that of an old and orthodox Baker Street Irregular, and one for whom the Holmesian world is gen with bits of het; and in this more speculative essay on the arms of Black, I intend to proceed by employing the Sherlockian’s attitude to canon and its interplay with reality, and to keep up the game of pretending that the two are one.


In doing so, in looking out arms that have been borne by actual persons with surnames that also appear in the Potterverse, and then connecting those arms to the Black pedigree, we are, let us realise, spurning earthbound reality and soaring into the empyrean of the speculative inane.  Nunc pede libero pulsande tellus.  On the other hand, such is the essence of fandom, and heralds of old certainly assigned arms, retrospectively, to the unlikeliest figures, from Satan to Caesar.


Let us then play.  We begin by finding arms that have been associated with real, Muggle, persons who share surnames with various Black collaterals, and, where there are multiple possibilities, by choosing those arms that most nearly share elements with the Black arms.


The Bulstrodes of Bucks have borne, Sable, a buck’s head cabossed argent, attired or, pierced through the nose with an arrow feathered of the third: between his attire a cross patty fitchy of the last.



Two escutcheons associated with various Crouches are, Sable, on a pale argent three crosses patty fitchy of the first, a bordure of the second,


and, Sable, on a pale argent, a martlet between two crosses formy all of the first, a bordure engrailed of the second. 


I note that the martlet may in fact be a merle, and that the crosses formy may initially have been crosses potent, that it is, ending in crutch-(crouch-)shaped ends, which would have made these canting arms.


Various armigerous Evanses in Wales have borne, Argent, a chevron sable, between … well, between three charges, likewise sable.  One escutcheon attributed to an Evans is, Argent, a chevron sable, between three fleurs de lis of the second.  I have nominated that as the conjectured arms of Lily’s father, simply because of the canting fleurs de lis, lilies of the valley.



In my prior notes, I noted the arms of Potters from Hants and Wilts who have borne, Sable, a fess ermine, between three cinquefoils argent,


and of Potters from Cheshire who have borne, Argent, a chevron gules, between three ermine spots [sable, necessarily].


As I noted in that essay, by reversing tinctures and moving ordinaries about, as was a common early means of differencing arms, it is easy to get from the first, with its obvious resonances with the Black arms, to the second.


In light of the foregoing, I have constructed this ‘heraldic hierarchy’, showing the ways in which these arms resonate with and resemble one another.  It begins with the simple, presumed earliest, conjectural Black escutcheon, simple Sable, a canting shield.  The descending line on the viewer’s left – which is not intended as a line of genealogical descent – shows the two Potter shields; the line on the right shows the steps through which, conjecturally, the modern (1847) Black escutcheon evolved, as reasoned in my prior essay.



The left margin shows similar conjectural stages for the evolution of the Potter arms.  The right margin depicts the Bulstrode shield and the two Crouch variants, demonstrating how easily these could be related to the Black arms.


I note also that it is easy to derive notional Weasley arms that chime with the Black (and Potter) arms and are canting in themselves, by the use of ermine and ermines, and pop goes the weasel: the weasel is of course, like the ferret, a member of the same family as the ermine.




Finally, again recognising that we are long since unmoored even from JKR’s fantasy of the Black arms, it is possible to propose arms for Harry that would clearly reflect his heritage and give a nod to the Blacks, and I have done so, differencing the Black arms as quartered by changing the chevron argent to a chevron ermine.  The arms Harry might matriculate, then, would be as follows: Quarterly, 1st, Sable, a fess ermine, between three cinquefoils argent (Potter); 2d, Argent, a chevron sable, between three fleurs de lis of the second (Evans); 3d, Sable, a fess ermine, between two mullets of the second and a sword proper erect in pale, point upwards (Black); 4th, Argent, a chevron gules, between three ermine spots (Potter). 


I think they are attractive as well as suitable and evocative.  (A slashy note: we have no idea what the Malfoy arms – if any – would be, so I cannot say how these would look impaled with those of Harry’s spouse, Draco.  Ahem.)


And now, truly, we’ve gone more than far enough with this: we have long since left behind even the outer limits of relevancy to the Potterverse, and it is time we were done with this amusement.  I do hope, however, that it has sparked some interest, suggested some ideas, and, one hopes, prevented a lot of tosh from those who fatally insist on sprinkling their fanfic with would-be elegance derived from misstated titles and misunderstood heraldry.


Tags: , ,

4 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 4th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank You.

I don't know that the Bulstrode arms have any real significance (and, yes, it is an arrow through the nostrils).

I've seen arms, mostly in the Marches of Wales, either side the border, that have over 30 quarterings, which is simply ridiculous. I've yet to see anyone become embarrassed by it, though, although God knows why not. Thanks to the use of 'grandquarterings', this cd never happen in Scots heraldry, of course.

Thank you reading and commenting and generally indulging my hobby.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 5th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

As You Will.

Just don't let the Lord Lyon catch you assuming arms.
courtaud From: courtaud Date: February 5th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Did you find arms for the Burkes too?

I find this one the weirdest connection in the Black family tree.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 5th, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, the Shopkeepers?

It is curious, isn't it.

All I know is, that every Burk(e)/Bourke/de Burgh ever born has laid claim to the same arms, if sometimes slightly differenced, these being, fundamentally, Or, a cross gules.
4 comments or Leave a comment