Monkeys and Dragons with Petals

Image Credit: Wikia
Image Credit: Wikia

Happy New Year, everyone! Over the holidays, I came across a news blurb about the Aquamarine Fukushima in Iwaki, Japan. The aquarium is featuring a display of “monkey-faced” orchids to celebrate the year of the monkey in the Chinese zodiac. While the Chinese lunar new year doesn’t begin until February 8, I thought this would still be an interesting first post of the year here–particularly because it ties in with an upcoming scene for Reflection: Thorn of the White Rose.

You see, the “monkey-faced” orchid’s scientific name is Dracula simia. No, that’s not a typo. There actually is an entire genus of orchids named “Dracula.” While the name is most frequently associated with vampires, the Latin meaning is “little dragon.”

In the scene from book 3, we see Echidna tending to her prized orchids as…well, I can’t tell you exactly what is happening in that part of the story yet. But my point is, orchids are Echidna’s favorite flowers, just as roses are Nerissa’s. When I include such details in the story, the motivation behind their inclusion isn’t arbitrary. In the case of Echidna, orchids were chosen not only because they are perceived to be exotic and elegant flowers (and notoriously regarded as high maintenance), but also because of the tie between the genus name and the fact that the dragon is the symbol of the country of Marise. It’s a subtle detail, but for anyone who takes the time to look deeper, I’ve planted a lot of connections and hints about the plot within the character and city names and chapter titles. And sometimes I just bury little puns right in the text. ^_- It’s not something that would stand out to anyone, but it’s ok if the hints all go unnoticed at first since everything will be revealed in the end anyway.

As a reader, do you ever notice those small details in stories?


    1. I think that’s the case for a lot of people. Everyone reads on different levels, and they look for different things from a story. I read as much between the lines as I do the actual text, so I especially like stories that are like onions–built with layer after layer of plot.

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