Tag Archive | Orb

Orb Clips

As we can see on page 630-634 and page 655, the orb’s offerings consist of 6 ‘clips’ or ‘visions’.

The first two shown are important historical landmarks in the real world:

(1) The landing of Viking 1 on Mars on July 20, 1976.

(2) Seminary Ridge and Cemetary Ridge at the time just around the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War.


(3) The story referenced earlier in the text with the two cave-children who die.

(4) Clip #I: A girl named Audra Toland drowns (Cas searches for and finds the body later)

(5) A baby named Alvin Alex Anderson lies in his crib in Wichita, Kansas.

(6) Clip #6: Xanther running (possibly to rescue the cat, but probably not, because in the orb, she is smiling.)

As Cas mentions on pg. 636 The first orb visions were “historically cross-referenced”, which suggests to me that the orb orders appear in the book the same order that they appear to the characters. So why name the girl’s drowning Clip I? Because it was the first vision they could definitively prove?

Cas and Apollo

In Ancient Greece, the Greek God Apollo was the God of the Sun, healing, music and prophecy. In “The Familiar” Mark Z. Danielewski uses font in a purposeful way to display hidden character traits and character meanings. One character he does this with is Cas. Cas’s font is Apolline, a french name originating from the Greek masculine name Apollo, meaning the sun or God of the sun.

The fact that Cas’s font is referencing Apollo and the sun are siginificant for two reasons. One, the sun is a spherical, orb-like, planetary object that is the center of the our galaxy. It gives life and light to all living beings in our galaxy. Cas’s narrative references an orb that she can see into and gain information from. She and Bobby also get into many situations where there are fires involved because of the technology being used. This fire destroys rather than gives life, like the sun does. The sun could be a reference to both the spherical shape of the orb and the heat and light that these fires cause. Second, Cas is receiving information from the orb  and therefore could have special, mythical medium powers. The God Apollo was the God of prophecy because he would gift certain human women with the gift of sight and they would become his oracles. In a sense, Cas has become one of Apollo’s oracles.

In Cas’s chapters there is also reference to other ancient Greek characters like Circe and Artemis, who happens to be Apollo’s sister. I wonder how Cas is connected to Circe, Artemis, Treebeard, Merlin and the other characters. Are they involved in this project as well?  Cas’s name is also “The Wizard.” Why do you think it is significant that she be called “The Wizard” instead of something like “Apollo” or “The Oracle”?