Q: Since the animation is symbolic I have finally carved out a good block of time to watch it and watch it again. I love it and it will really challenge my Lenten study group since it generated a multi-night discussion with my husband. I understand the message from most of the characters but I fear I may become a pest to you as I dig into themes to guide the discussion in my parish. So with much apology here goes.

I read the background booklet and am aware of the “starting in the middle” storyline but I am really confused about the title, Red Queen. If the “original” story is to have the Great Elohim and his Son, who is the Red Queen? What does she symbolize? This is important to fit her into why Strawinsky prays to her to save his friends.

A: Hi Jackie, thanks for your email! Yes, I had quite a few questions about the Scarlet Queen over the last few months. In my opinion the Scarlet Queen symbolises the Holy Spirit. She’s definitely not a reference to Mary or Jesus. I’m from a Lutheran/Evangelical/Protestant background.

The original story has the Great Elohim which is a reference to God. He is the principal ruler/king of the land. Then there’s the Son, who in the last episode appears as a wanderer preaching the coming kingdom and then dies and resurrects to save the kingdom. And then there’s the Scarlet Queen who in other episodes occasionally appears as a dove. So, the three can be seen as a symbol for the trinity. There’s nowhere in the story a specific literal acknowledgement that the Scarlet Queen is the Holy Spirit and Olaf Franke, the original author, once told me that she could also be seen/described as “God’s love”. I personally though prefer to see her as a reference to the Holy Spirit.

I’m aware that some people strictly oppose that the Holy Spirit is portrayed as female. My response usually is that this is a parable and not a doctrinal/theological statement. There’s another parable in the Bible about the lost coin where a woman searches for a lost coin and then celebrates when she finds it. In this parable God is portrayed as a woman. This is not to say that this is a statement that attributes any gender to God. It’s simply a story that illustrates God’s love and persistence in searching for the lost. The story of the lost coin actually appears in the first episode of Strawinsky where the Scarlet Queen searches for a lost coin and celebrates when she finds it.

Hope this makes sense? Let me know if you have any further questions. Very happy to answer them!

I’m hoping to be able to work on the other episodes in the coming years which hopefully will make it all much clearer… 🙂

Q: Our church is Episcopalians and Lutherans. We also acknowledge God as having no gender, represented by both male and female so I am even more excited about using this film for Lent. Perfect. When you explained the Red Queen as the Holy Spirit in this parable the whole story fell into place. I know I will be asked why she is a Red queen. Do you know?

strawinsky_dvd_engA: Excellent, that’s great! 🙂

The Scarlet/red colour signifies royalty. That’s really all of the symbolism I see in the colour.

Maybe the people in your parish can find some additional meaning and purpose behind the colour?

Q: Wow. Great idea for discussion. Thanks. And hurry up and make the next story. – Jackie

Interested to see the full animation? Get your copy of the “Strawinsky and the mysterious house” DVD!