At least twice, Cassandra’s father has reportedly considered the idea of sending her to a convent. I’d like to examine that idea in two aspects. In this first blog post, I will consider what it says about the culture of Corona, particularly in terms of its religious life.
A “convent” is defined as either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, monks or nuns; or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and the Anglican Communion (although the Orthodox Churches also have nuns, the term “monastery” seems to be preferred for their communities); since about the nineteenth century, the word in English is almost always used for a community of religious women. Therefore, we may assume that Corona is nominally a Christian country, and one most likely in the Catholic or “high church” tradition.
This is, of course, reinforced by the fact that Rapunzel’s coronation ceremonies (the real and the dream ones) and her wedding are conducted by various bishops in typically “high church” vestments, apparently an alb, a stola, a chasuble, and a miter, though, oddly enough, they also seem to wear bands, which were generally worn by “low church” clergy (except in France) and which are never worn OVER Mass vestments. At any rate, these are not generally the canonical vestments for a coronation or marriage, which generally call for the celebrating bishop to wear an alb, a stola, a cope, and a miter — formerly a dalmatic was worn as well. Kings in Lutheran countries were generally not crowned by bishops, but by themselves, so Corona may be presumed to be a nation in the Catholic tradition, though possibly it has some sort of non-Roman hierarchy, in the Anglican, Gallican, or Febronian manner.
There is a certain oddity in that the Christianity in Corona seems decidedly toned down. Though there are bishops and convents, there do not seem to be any actual churches in Corona, something wildly at odds with historic nations, particularly in Europe. The Cross is rarely seen; the Crucifix, never. This is in strong contrast with the ubiquity of the Sun symbol of the Corona Monarchy , which appears even on the Bishop’s miter. Rapunzel has her coronation(s) in the throne room of the castle, rather than in a church or chapel. Her wedding does seem to be held in something like a church, but one that has only pews and an organ: no sacred images, no pulpit, no altar, no tabernacle, not even stained glass windows. As far as anyone might guess, it could be a concert hall.
Wherever Corona is, it has very little to do with the lands that created the actual fairy tale. The Rapunzel of Schulz and the Brothers Grimm is distinctly a Christian product; Disney’s Tangled might as well be populated by Zoroastrians for all the traces it shows of that ancestry.