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Glee: Queen bees, missing kings, and the faerie court

9 May

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about Glee and its faerie courts. Faerie mythos is completely not my department of expertise, so I’m mostly throwing this out there for you all to continue to be excellent in comments, but there was some truly fantastic stuff going on regarding Puck, Kurt, the prom crownings and gender in last night’s episode.

Because one of the things that came out of the series of crownings that took place, and how they took place, is that kings mean less than queens. Not only has the prom queen title always been more important to the girls of WMHS than the prom king title has been to the boys — as evidenced by the way women have consistently pitched strategies for winning the times to the boys, but not the other way around — but the prom queen title has always come with a lot more power, whether to wound or to elevate.

Certainly, it’s the prom queens and queen bees who confer that power in “Prom-asaurus.” Santana and Quinn, in a strange, and incredibly messy, plot overrule the will of the people (let’s face it, their people, even if they’ve both significantly fallen from grace over the last three seasons) to declare Rachel the victor. Not only does it not remove any of their true power (they are acting as regents here), it makes them more powerful, not only by declaring Rachel queen, but having a secret they could always choose to use against her later.

Meanwhile, with Dave Karofsky (who was only ever prom king because of Santana’s machinations) is missing from the scene, and Kurt is left to crown both Finn and Rachel, passing on his own power (because the shame of what was done to Kurt went both ways; he shamed that audience that tried to mock him in recognizing his power when he accepted that crown last year) to his brother and his closest friend for a single night in merely symbolic form.

Rachel and Finn still don’t really learn anything from the events of the prom, but Kurt’s blessing of magic will be enough to get them to New York, one imagines. Certainly, Rachel hopes so as she grabs her tiara (not a full crown like Kurt had, she is a lesser power) from Kurt to fasten it on her head herself. But Kurt still retains control of their power, taking their scepters for safe keeping as the dance begins.

Interwoven with this, we have Puck, who opened the door for Kurt’s entrance into faerieland (Dalton) in S2, and has been struggling with his own powerlessness this season, crowning himself so that he can crown Becky queen of the anti-prom. It gives them the power to attend the prom proper and to be part of the broader WMHS world that Puck has felt increasingly marginalized from and that Becky, while a central figure of (and a queen bee like Santana and Quinn herself), has always existed in with her power overlooked, misunderstood or condescended to by too many of her subjects (something which, by the way, brings up some narrative parallels for Kurt and Becky, which I should totally tackle another time). Of course, granted her power, Becky then pulls of the thing Puck’s never been able to do: spiking the prom punch, and we all know the power of libations and food in faerie.

All this talk about crowning of course, raises the question that Deconstructing Glee raised earlier today: is Kurt still pregnant? I’m not sure, but the answer may depend on whether Finn and Rachel are ready to go out into the world on their own under his aegis.

And finally, of course, there’s Blaine, and who’s always been faerie and onion and changeling, showing this time what is, we think, his true form. But whether that means he’ll rule at prom next year or never rule again remains to be seen. It depends on what Glee ultimately decides to do with its arguments about authenticity vs. performativity and how those things intersect with power and gender.

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7 Responses to “Glee: Queen bees, missing kings, and the faerie court”

  1. dontturnitoff May 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    Largely irrelevant comment:

    “Dave Karofsky (who was only ever prom king because of Santana’s machinations)”

    I’m not sure this is true — there seems more reason to think that Dave was quite deliberately elected Prom King opposite Kurt’s Queen. At Scandals, Dave talks about not wanting rumors of his being gay to follow him around his senior year. The ONLY indication we have that there were any such rumors is that he was chosen as Kurt’s King — Santana wasn’t elected, why do we think her campaign was successful in getting Karofsky elected? But Karofsky HAD been walking around WMHS with a red satin jacket and a beret, escorting Kurt Hummel around all week: seems likely he was taking some heat from the jocks for his “reformed” behavior, for his sudden interest in being Hummel’s protector, and Prom King is how he was given his come-uppance. The campaign to write-in Kurt would have been a pretty big deal, and I can’t imagine there wasn’t a specific intent to pay Karofsky back for “turning gay,” as well.

    (If Karofsky hadn’t openly changed his behavior, if it was still assumed he was a bully to/hated Kurt, then we could assume his being King was meant to punish Kurt even further, but Karofsky had clearly pitted himself against the status quo and on the side of Kurt Hummel in the weeks preceding Prom.)

    Okay, done with my Karofsky mimblewimble.
    Carry on with the relevant commentary…

    • Anna May 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

      I think he was deliberately elected and had a chance to claim his power in that moment, but he abdicated by running out and failing to own his identity like Kurt did. He was then in exile from the court (left McKinley) and tried to reclaim status elsewhere as the stranger. That didn’t work out well for him, but that’s another story.

    • laura May 10, 2012 at 5:44 am #

      I had assumed that RM meant that to be interpreted as “it was Santana’s idea that she and Dave run” or something simple like that.

      • dontturnitoff May 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

        You’re probably right. I’m a desperately unhappy Dave Karofsky fan, though, so my focus can get a bit narrow.

  2. DeconstructingGlee May 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Someone commented on the post saying that the key can be a Jewish symbol for pregnancy — so now we’re chatting about it being Rachel’s baby 🙂

    I don’t think Glee is going to veer far off celebrating authenticity — and we’ll see an inheritance of power (from Kurt crowning royalty this year, to Blaine wielding some power next year that will be in some way related, but possibly not quite equivalent). That said, I don’t think it’s going to be an easy journey from here to there, and we may find ourselves wanting a break from the Blangst in S4.

  3. Jeff May 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    A thought came to me when you mentioned the faerie court. One could also see Rachel and Finn as the king and queen of the Seelie Court. Which would have Puck and Becky as the rulers of the Unseelie court.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Glee: Love is not a victory march « Letters from Titan - May 23, 2012

    […] all the metaphors and symbolism we’ve played with and tried to decode this season — faerie foods and mystical pregnancies — and I wonder if every time Kurt kisses Blaine it’s like […]

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