“Did you hang something from the tree, Evie, so the wood sprites don’t get you?”
I am unapologetically in love with Parade’s End–from story to acting to cinematography. But one of my very favorite elements is the mythology of Groby Tree, especially the talismans that hang from its branches. The tree was sacred as the symbol of Tietjens and as such Christopher “would pull the house down if he thought it incommoded the tree.” Marriage vows were made under the tree “for thirty miles round” and, villagers would hang offerings from it–bells, spoons, dolls, pocket watches, compasses, bows–as if part of some old pagan ritual: “Christopher said that one of the chief indictments against Joan of Arc had been that she and the other village girls of Domremy had hung rags and trinkets from the boughs of a cedar. Or maybe a thorn? Offering to fairies. . . “
It’s an entirely romantic idea, and I’m besotted with it both aesthetically and sentimentally.