The Hunter's Moon in Gargoyles
article by: Vashkoda
issue date: 9/2/03
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The Hunter's Moon in Gargoyles:
The conclusion to this three-part episode-indeed, the last episode of season two-begins as "a full autumnal moon shines above the Paris skyline", with Charles Canmore telling his children, "Tonight is the Hunter's Moon. Our Moon, my children." He then reminds them of their family's age-old tradition: to hunt and destroy the demon (who we know as Demona), and to continue the hunt should any other gargoyles be found. He intones, "It is our destiny as Canmores…a sacred trust. Until all gargoyles are dead, we can no more stop hunting than breathing the air."
Of course, the audience recognizes that this 'tradition' is rooted in lies and vengeance. The original hunter, Gillecomgain, was nothing more than the king's assassin, a man who took the triple claw mark scar Demona gave him as a child and made it his emblem. When he confronted Demona one last time, he befell the same fate he had visited upon MacBeth's father. Now short one assassin, the king himself takes up the hunter's mask, telling his young son Canmore, "There will always be a hunter, my son. And there will always be the hunted." At this point, the hunt was no longer even about gargoyles, but against the king's supposed rival for the throne, MacBeth. But he met resistance from Demona's clan of refugee gargoyles as well as Macbeth's army, and when his royal father was killed, Prince Canmore accused Demona of being the cause. When he grew into manhood, he roused his English allies to help him defeat Macbeth, on the pretense that gargoyles were evil and that Macbeth was willingly harboring them. When at last Macbeth and Demona both lay dying on the field, Canmore announced, "Her kind was an abomination! They did not deserve to live. "
And that is the true origin of the hunt.
As a child, Robyn saw the wisdom of abandoning the old tradition: "Just because our ancestors hunted gargoyles doesn't mean we have to. " However, when her father refused to listen and instead met his death atop Notre Dame, the hatred between their family and Demona was rekindled. Similarly, the Hunters meant little to the Manhattan clan until Angela was almost killed, and Goliath cried for vengeance. Angela, on the other hand, wisely considered what the feud had cost them already-the loss of their home and their revelation to the world-and pointed out, "that's why we should let it go." Jon Canmore, too, felt compassion for the homeless clan, until he believed they had killed his brother, and cried, "[Jason] was right about them. They're all evil, and they will all pay!" His words were confirmed when he discovered Demona's plan to wipe out humanity. Goliath's clan too, sought vengeance, when they believed Elisa had been killed.
Though the feud had started between Demona and Gillecomgain, it now encompassed the distant descendants of the Canmore family and Goliath's clan. The rest of Demona's race were truly innocent of any wrong, and did not deserve to get involved. When Robyn tried to include all of them in her warped definition of evil, Angela corrected her in what is one of the best lines of the series: "We're not demons, and we're not monsters. We're gargoyles, and we're going to teach you to respect the name!"
Appropriately enough, because of the requirements of Demona's spell, their final confrontation took place on the night of the Hunter's Moon. Thankfully, Jason Canmore and Elisa resurfaced at the hospital and used their influence to get both sides to stop. Jason told his brother, "These gargoyles are not our enemies. We've got to stop…before it's too late." But Jon accidentally shot his brother when aiming for Goliath, paralyzing him from the waist down. Rather than accept the blame himself, he accused the gargoyles, crying, "I will have my revenge! The hunt is not over!" Robyn, on the other hand, saw helping Jason as her new priority, and realized that gargoyles weren't all evil when Goliath almost sacrificed his race to save humankind from Demona's spell.
At the hospital, Jason asks if they've found Jon, but Elisa regretfully announces, "No. He and Demona are still out there, hunting each other. " This bittersweet ending is made bearable by the fact that at least one feud has ended-the one between billionaire David Xanatos and Goliath's clan.
And then of course, there's the kiss. ;)
Facts about the Hunter's Moon:
In the Northern Hemisphere, the harvest moon is the full moon coming either before or after (whichever is closest) the autumn equinox. Equinox is Latin for "equal night", because on that date, the sun is directly above the equator, making both day and night exactly 12 hours long all over the world. The hunter's moon is the next full moon directly after the harvest moon.
What makes these full moons special? You'll notice that the moon looks extraordinarily big and orange on these two nights, and that it spends more time in the sky. This means there's enough moonlight for the farmer to work late into the night harvesting his crops, and a month later, for the hunter to go out into the now barren fields and hunt rabbits, birds and deer. Because of the large amount of food coming in around this season, it's also a traditional time for feasting! Native Americans have also traditionally called the September and October moons the harvest and hunter's moons (although they don't always fall on these months). They have other names for these moons as well (because of the color, one other name for the hunter's moon is the "blood moon").
What causes the moon to look differently on these dates? The phenomenon is due to the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to its yearly path around the sun. This angle is the same reason why the hemispheres go through opposite seasons at the same time (this also means that in the southern latitudes, the harvest moon takes place around the spring equinox!). Because the moon rises at such a shallow angle, it spends more time close to the horizon, where a visual comparison with objects on the ground gives it the illusion of being bigger than usual. Because low to the ground, moonlight also has to traverse through more of the atmosphere, refraction caused by particles in the air can also make the moon seem bigger, and more orange (the same phenomenon that creates golden sunsets and sunrises!).
The moon also spends more time in the sky during this part of the year. After the spring (vernal) equinox, the moon rises about 90 minutes later each night, until the difference eventually dwindles to an average of 50 minutes. After the autumn equinox, the moon rises only 10 minutes later each evening, allowing it to shine through most of the night.
This year, the harvest moon will take place on September 10th. The hunter's moon will be on October 10th.
Images credits & copyright:
Gorebash. Station 8: Gargoyles.
(http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/) - July, 2003
Stankewitz, Daniel. Gargoyles-fans.de.
(http://gargoyles-fans.de) - July, 2003
Olijnyk, Michael Stefan. Full Moon Guide.
(http://my.inil.com/~mikeycad/MOONS.html) - August, 2003
The Names of the Moons.
(http://members.aol.com/carinsntme/moon/names.htm) - August, 2003
Cooley, Keith. Harvest Moon Page.
(http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/harvest/) - August, 2003
Francis, David. Ask A Nerd: Moon.
(http://www.bowdoin.edu/~dfrancis/askanerd/moon/) - August, 2003