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  • Hazards of Love Plot Summary

    Mag 1 2009, 5:50

    In the beginning, Margaret leaves her house and goes to explore the nearby forest for the first time. There, she finds William, in his fawn form, who’s been wounded somehow. She helps him out and saves his life. As the sun sets, he turns to his human form, and stuff happens.
    She goes back home to her castle and is bored out of her mind, and decides to go back to the forest to see William again.
    Time passes that is not covered by the narrative, but in which falls deeply in love with human-by-night William.
    She returns home one night and one of her sisters notices that she’s bulging a little bit more, and finds out that she’s pregnant. She drills her with questions, like how long she’s been pregnant and who the father is. She can’t handle the accusations, so she flees back to the forest to meet with William again. They spend the night together, and William’s mother starts to become angry at his absence. Her rumbling footsteps are heard throughout the forest. For the time being, William ignores it and enjoys his time with Margaret.
    The forest queen, william’s mother, approaches where he and Margaret are. He starts talking to her before he even sees her and right away begins begging for more time with Margaret. The queen complains that she saved his life, and without her he’d be nothing. She’s upset that he spends the day as a fawn, but now spends his nights with Margaret. She agrees to give him one more night with her.
    During the interlude, they enjoy the rest of their night together.
    The rake tells his story in his head or to a bystander or something. Who it’s to isn’t important, but he tells the tale of how he was married, had four children, the last of which died and killed its mother in childbirth, and then murders his children to get back the sexual freedom that he desired.
    We then see that the rake is combing the forest, looking for victims of his endless lust.
    He sees Margret and without a second thought, knocks her out and throws her on his horse. As he meets the Annan river, blocking the path to (his home?) a fort on the other side, the queen approaches him and thanks him for the good deed he has done unknowingly in freeing her son from the influence of Margaret. She also tells him the backstory of William. He was abandoned in the forest, and dying, so she took him in and made him into basically a were-fawn. He turns into a fawn by day, and a human by night. As thanks, she takes the rake to the other side of the wild river where he plans to rape and kill her.
    William chases after the Rake only to see him fly away to the fort. He speaks to the river, begging it to allow him to cross, even offering his own life as a trade.
    Margaret awakens in the fort with the rake, and he starts talking to her. He tells her that he’s tied her up and there’s no point in fighting, because he’ll kill her. She screams for William, and the rake tells her that no one can hear her.
    At this point, though it is not covered in the narrative, I assume that the Rake rapes and kills Margaret. As he sees how good and pure she was, the guilt from killing his children hits him, metaphorically presented as the ghosts of his children. The lack of reaction from the characters to the ghosts is proof of this. The rake throws Margaret into the river and flees the fortress.
    William finally crosses the river only to find margaret’s lifeless body floating at the shore. He lays with her at the shore and allows the waves to catch him and drown him. This can be seen as he makes present tense actions through most of the song, and then starts to mention living forever in the water. He decides killing himself is the only way to be together with her forever.
    His death is proved by the tense switch in the last narrative line of the song. “But with this last long rush of air, let’s speak our vows in starry whisper/and when the waves came crashing down, he closed his eyes and softly kissed her”
    The entire song is in first person up until the point that the wave hits, at which point it switches back to the narrator.

    Theory: After being horrified at what he’d done, the rake renounced his life of crime and began telling the tragic love story to any who would listen. The Rake is our narrator, as he and the queen are the only ones to have seen and heard of the entire story and still live. The narrator and the rake are both played by Colin. More evidence.
    The Hazards of Love