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The Potter Armorial, Part Two. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The Potter Armorial, Part Two.
2.       Personal Arms
Appropriately, we begin with the achievement of the late Albus DumbledoreCertain elements of his achievement may be noted. Firstly, there is the ‘canting’ element, the use of a ‘visual pun’ in his arms (in this case, the three bees, Or, in chief of his second quarter), which is very common in Wizarding heraldry. Secondly, in recognition of his services in defence of the realm, his escutcheon surmounts two wands, proper, crossed in saltire, which we will see again in many of these achievements. Thirdly, also in recognition of his manifold and great services, he was awarded supporters. Fourthly, as in the case of his dexter supporter and his crest, we see a common usage in Wizarding arms, the partitioning of tincture (per fess and per pale, respectively). Fifthly, we make our first acquaintance with an element of certain achievements that, like a cap of maintenance, may at the armiger’s option be displayed beneath the helm, the academic cap pertaining to his dignity as a Doctor of Magic. Sixthly, we see depending from the escutcheon his Order of Merlin, First Class, which is a military one as witness the crossed wand and sword. Seventhly, there is represented the chain of office (a collar of Ms, the Muggle equivalent of which is obvious, from which depends a woolsack) as Chief Mugwump, which, during his term of office, would have encircled his shield. Finally, we see represented the ribbons and devices of a Member of the Magical Privy Council and of the Wizengamot, which in his lifetime would also have depended from his escutcheon in a strict representation of his full achievement.
By contrast, we next look at the very new arms of Creevey. Colin Creevey and his brother, Dennis Creevey, Muggle-born Wizards, did both by their signal services in the late conflict rise at a bound, as it were, from sons of a non-armigerous father, to armigers in the degree of esquire. In creating arms for this newly armigerous family, several considerations came into play. Firstly, it was important that the arms not create a false impression of descent or relation with the armigerous Creeveys or the Lords Sefton; accordingly, certain charges (the fret, for instance) and tinctures were ruled out. Secondly, as the prospective founders of what are anticipated to become two new families of note, the Creeveys of Brewood and the Creeveys of Coven, Mr Colin Creevey and Mr Dennis Creevey were in want of simple arms that would lend them in future generations to quartering. Thirdly, it was important to distinguish between the brothers by means other than mere cadency brisures, as they are reasonably expected to found new lineages in our world. Fourthly, it was considered important to design arms, if possible, that lent them readily to marshalling with the arms of the heraldic heiresses to whom the Creevey brothers are married.
Accordingly, a simple, traditionally Midlands scheme was determined upon, primarily of sable and argent. Mr Colin Creevey wished to matriculate arms in right of his father, and Logres King of Arms raised no objection to this. In consequence, the elder Mr Creevey being still living, Mr Colin Creevey’s arms display a label. Mr Dennis Creevey’s arms are differenced, as the founding arms of Creevey of Coven, Staffs, by replacing the crescent, Gules, in the chief of Mr Colin Creevey’s arms, with three fleurs de lis of the second in the chief of Mr Dennis Creevey’s arms: appropriately, as he is married to the former Mlle Gabrielle Delacour. This last is a very instructive example of the considerations nowadays being attended to by the College of Arms in light of the renewed connexions with Continental families since the end of the Rebellion. As participants in the suppression of the Rebellion, both Creevey brothers were awarded the crossed wands mentioned in the section on the arms of the late Professor Dumbledore, although supporters were neither sought nor granted. It may be noted as well that the tinctures of the crest recall the Hogwarts house colours of Gryffindor House.

Another instructive example of devising new arms for a previously non-armigerous and Muggle-born Wizard may be found in the arms of the distinguished artist and civil servant, Mr Dean Thomas. As an example of canting arms, the arms devised for Mr Thomas are notable. The tinctures recall his Hogwarts house affiliation. Mr Thomas was born in Tower Hamlets, London, and is a noted fan of West Ham FC, and his arms clearly echo those facts; in conjunction with the motto granted him, Turris fortis mihi deus, they take on a deeper meaning, and are exceptionally appropriate for one who was a ‘tower of strength’ during the late Rebellion.
At this juncture, it is appropriate to revisit the issue of marshalling arms. As same-sex marriage is and has always been part of the warp and woof of Wizarding life – Wizarding marriages, barring the discarded and miserable practise of ‘arranged marriages’, being based very much on the interaction and indeed the interlocking of the magics of the parties without regard to their sex or such Muggle concepts as ‘orientation’ – the marshalling of Wizarding arms has been by accolete of the escutcheons, that is, by displaying them side by side, rather than by impaling the arms. There is in any case quite enough quartering that wants dealing with, without further complicating matters. Accordingly, it is peculiarly appropriate, when making a new grant of arms to a married Witch or Wizard, to consider where possible the arms of his or her spouse: in Mr Thomas’s case, those of Mr Seamus Finnigan. The resulting arms accole (or accolete) are, in such cases as those of Mr Thomas and his spouse, displayed together so as to surmount a single grant of crossed wands, with their respective crests and mottoes displayed properly and severally with each respective escutcheon.
These considerations were not present in the instance of a grant of arms to the previously non-armigerous Wizard, the product of a mixed marriage, Severus Snape, OM, he being unmarried and without issue. Professor Snape is descended of the Muggle family of Snape, who are not recorded as armigerous, and of the Wizarding branch of the Princes of Knippax, which family also had no recorded arms. The arms designed for Professor Snape and accepted by him, reference (notably in tincture) his Hogwarts house, of which he was long the distinguished Head, the geographic origin of his ancestors in Bedale and in Knippax, his profession as a premier Potions-maker, and the trade of his Muggle father. The augmentation by a label is an honour connected with his service as an intelligencer and agent in the Rebellion. His crest is again a geographic reference to his Yorkshire roots, and the motto is canting.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: March 17th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Knew I'd get some use out of this icon!

Wemyss, I hope this was all a labout of love; the prose is gorgeous and the arms are amazing.

I don't know if you have much use for coding or programming languages, but blazoning is a fine example of this; I've been hooked since you started this series and it surely must be one of the first examples of a (machine-readable)code; music notation is the other that springs to mind. Please don't see these comments as an insult; absolutely none is intended, I was just fascinated and was wondering why.

Anyway; I think I may have questions in the future, nothing too arduous, but I'm swamped right now and brain activity is pretty low.

About Snape's arms though; I get the Yorkshire rose, the caludron, the potions cup, but the ram (is that a canton?)? Is this the reference to his father (i.e. wool spinning) or is that the (I have no idea of the technical term) woven-looking thread part on the right? And the top symbol?

I loved the canting motto; the humour in these is an unexpected joy.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 17th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

A labour of love, indeed. And, Thank you.

The canton is the square addition - wh in this case happens to be same colour as the field of the shield - in the upper right (viewer's left) corner. Its charge, a 'fleece', seems apt for honouring a spy for the Order, as its connotations range from Jason's quest to the premier Habsburg order of chivalry to the spy's risk of becoming a sacrificial lamb to the deep-cover agent's risk of being hanged for a sheep as well as a lamb even by his own actual side if his cover is intact.

The top symbol is a water-budget (bouget), in origin two skins or leathern buckets of water joined by a carrying yoke. Along with the 'woven-looking thread part', technically known as a 'fret' (and God knows Severus is fretful), these are references to his mill-labourer Muggle forebears. The ermine of the cross raguly, quite as much as the cauldron and the chalice, are references to the Prince family, as with the motto's sly humour.

It IS fun, isn't it. Glad it has enthralled you.
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