Zara rubbed her face. She stood still. But Aidelle noticed her hand sneak up to the handle. “From the idea. From us. We are here and we keep moving. X exists.” The last bore the tone of a suggestion. Zara turned her big eyes onto Aidelle’s, asking for any affirmation of the idea that X was both hope and hope’s goal.
Zara is an abstract, a work-in-progress. Not as a character: no, I know all about her – but as a persona.
There’s always been something quite mysterious about Zara beyond her not-supposed-to-exist-ence (!); even as an actual character whose perspective we get a glimpse of at the end of WTCB book 1, she is deliberately evasive of the readers. In addition, she becomes the protagonist of the next two books, which slips her into centre stage with ambiguous meaning.
As she is towards Aidelle. Thus, I put my mind to thinking of a flower that had elements of secrecy and mystery – of a darkness behind, but a possibility in front. I already had a few ideas from this.
To begin with it was colours. As I’m not a flower-expert (learning of new flowers is one of the things I already enjoy from this series), I Googled “small purple flowers”. I think, if Zara had a definite favourite colour, it would be around the colour of purple; she’s not a girl who delights in colours that are light and ‘airy’. The direct fact that she dresses in trousers not only contrasts Aidelle’s feminine side and concern with fashion – of which she would have said trousers are not fashion – but also emphasises the future she holds within her.
“Just because something has potentiality, doesn’t mean it necessarily has actuality. Existence is not a predicate. You may return home, you may not.”
Zara gave her a sceptical look. “I don’t aim for home.”
At times, Zara is savage. Not in the way Aidelle is with raw fury, but with a cruel trickery that she unveils to people occasionally. She is stubborn and willing to work for what she wants. In my hunt for symbolism, I kept my eyes out for flowers that not only looked so, but also had a spikiness within their pasts, too.
Zara is a Purple Pansy. From the French word for ‘thought’, pensée, the Pansy could be said to be a telepathic link between lovers – and what a link indeed is Zara between Aidelle and her fiancé. It is Zara who first alerts Aidelle to her time-trapped situation, and Zara who guides Aidelle, even when her own life is sapped away.
I was happy to find out that, in Italy, the Pansy can be known as ‘flammola’ – little flame. This suits Zara for her youth (she is one of the youngest characters in book 1) and for her sharp of tongue.
“When you came here, Zara, you brought me to life. Your fiery heart will flame on and on and on.” (an actual quote from Aidelle)
I chose to stick with the small purple-coloured head because, visually, it has a sharp demeanour whilst being beautiful. In my opinion, although small in size, the Pansy is not a fragile flower. Just as, though Zara’s upper-middle class roots and flowing black locks means she can quickly attract, she chooses to dampen her desirability by becoming a mechanic.
Too, the pansy often has a bright ‘eye’, a bright centre; this I believe links to the intelligence of both Aidelle and Zara.
Finally, purple symbolises memories – an apt match considering that Zara holds a lot of memories within her, a lot of abstract substance that she alone keeps solid. With Zara’s disappearance goes the family held in her memories.