Almost every time I look out of my window, I glance over the busy street, the never-ending avenue of green trees, tall and wise, tilt my head a little higher and focus on the beautiful structure I call The Castle. Up on a hill, and as far as the eye can see, it’s the very last thing in sight –anything further is the pink and blue sky and the heavens above.
The truth is, it’s probably nothing. A large house maybe, a boarding school, even. Yet, what would life be if you didn’t fantasize about the possibilities once in a while? It’s a pleasure drifting from the heavy reality and black letters on blue lined pages to a world where you look out and all you see at night are the glittering lights emanating from the beautiful castle that probably has a story that’s rich in daring escapades and forbidden love that’s been around for a thousand years. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe.
Castle’s are a dream. All the princesses have castles, it’s the status quo. Cinderella moved to a castle after her betrothal, Belle lived in a castle in captivity with talking teacups and continued to do the same after being with the beast (now a handsome prince, of course), Ariel, layers under the surface of the ocean, lived in a beautiful castle and Ana and Elsa lived in a castle in Arendelle with eight thousand salad plates, shortly before Elsa built her own ice castle with her bare hands – literally.
However, not all castles are bright with happy stories. Castle Black has been up and standing for thousands of years, and has seen all the blood and swords that the Game of Thrones has to offer. Home to the sworn brothers of the Night’s Watch who guard the realm and the Seven Kingdoms by standing to protect them against the wildlings, giants and white walkers who live beyond the wall. Castle Black has seen things that have never been seen before, be it white walkers climbing up the walls, a giant or Samwell Tarly’s wildling lady love, Gilly. It has also been a witness to many infamous deaths, like that of the King beyond the wall, Mance Rayder, or Jon Snow – who until the end, by virtue of his trusting nature, had lived up to the inexorable phrase:
Some “castles” have been the result of great devotion and loss. An enchanting story that began in the year 1607 when Prince Khurram (who later became known as Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan), son of Jehangir, and grandson of Akbar the Great, was strolling through Meena Bazaar in India when he laid his eyes on a girl of endless pulchritude selling dainty glass beads and silk. They were soon married and shared an exquisite love. She was a Persian princess, who was compassionately given the title Mumtaz Mahal by her adoring husband, meaning “the jewel of the palace”. While on her deathbed, when giving birth to their fourteenth child, Shah Jahan promised her that he would never remarry, and that he will build an alluring mausoleum over her grave. This is now known in the books of history as the Taj Mahal, which was built in twenty two years with twenty two thousand workers to construct the masterpiece. It is not a castle per sé, but it is one of the seven wonders of the world built for a princess deserving of immense love and admiration.
Although there are many stories derived from many castles, be it fiction or fact, it allows one to ponder over the mindset of the people who live within them. It is often that we find that stories are related in extremes, like a joyous princess in her 15 by 15 meter wide chambers with white curtains hanging from a high roof and blowing in the wind, partially onto a semi-circular balcony overlooking the countryside, coffee shops, bakeries and fountains. At other times it could consist of nothing more than a suffocating dark room with old wooden cupboards and the same four dresses that have been worn for the last year, leeching off any happiness or dreams that the prisoner may have had at the beginning of the incarceration. It could presuppose an abandoned tall tower in a castle keeping someone captive, depriving her of all goodness that the free world has to offer beyond the confinement, like Rapunzel in Tangled.
It is ordinarily said that “if you have nothing good to say, stay silent” and I have come to believe that the same principle applies in respect of one’s interpretations. That being said, I hope the princess living in the castle far away from the comfort of my room, but close enough to see and dream about, is living a life of true happiness, surrounded by fairy lights, cinnamon sugar coated donuts and bedding as soft as marshmallows – happily ever after.