What Sets ‘Wednesday’s Sirens Apart From the Sirens of Ancient Myth?
If you watched Netflix’s Wednesday and thought the whole siren plot seemed familiar, that’s because you’ve almost definitely, uh, heard it before. Picture this: You’re an ancient Greek warrior, and you’re sailing back home after a long and brutal war with the Trojans. You’ve heard tales of the sirens, but you were sure they were just old myths. Wives’ tales, even. But after seeing the demigod Achilles fight during the war, you’re starting to believe that supernatural things really can and do happen. You’ve been told sirens live on rocks in the middle of the ocean and sing with the most beautiful of female voices. You’re really into music yourself, and you’re getting pretty sick of Gregorian Chant, so you decide that you want to take a listen to these sirens.
However, you’re also a smart guy who survived the decade-long war with the Trojans by avoiding unnecessary risks. You’ve heard that while sirens sound like beautiful young women, they most certainly are not. They are creatures that use their song to lure sailors to their deaths. It’s said that their music is so irresistible that sailors will fling themselves over the gunwales and swim out toward the sirens in order to listen more closely—only to be devoured by the creatures once they get there. So you come up with a bright idea to tie yourself to the mast of the ship, and command all of your men to put wax in their ears so they won’t hear the song. You sail towards the sirens’ rock, and their song begins to fill your ears.
And it’s a bop.
Seriously, best song you’ve ever heard. And they’ve got albums and albums worth of this stuff. These things could go triple platinum with no features in a day. You beg your men to untie you, screaming that you’ve just found the hottest act of 1100 BC. These girls could win Grammys, and you need to meet them and convince them to let you manage them. Your cries quite literally fall on deaf ears. Your crew members sail closer to the island, and then sail right past it. But you get a glimpse of the sirens just before they disappear into the mist. They are hideous creatures with the heads of women and the bodies of birds. Their island is strewn with the bones of ship and sailor alike. They look at you hungrily. Finally, their song dies away and you come to your senses. You realize that you were inches away from death, but part of you still wants to sail back.
The sirens from Wednesday are not at all like that. But then again, they kinda are?
Who are the sirens in Wednesday? How are they different from Greek myth?
The sirens of Wednesday are not nearly as bloodthirsty as the sirens of ancient Greek myth, but some of them can still be pretty sketchy. At the Nevermore school, the sirens are a clique of students that call themselves “The Scales,” no doubt intended as a double entendre—a reference to the things they have on their skin and the things they sing all the time. Due to their mythological nature, the Scales are supernaturally talented musicians and make up the majority of the members of the school’s singing clubs and bands.
While they are capable of dropping bangers, their music isn’t exactly “magical” in the traditional siren-sense. It is hinted that their singing has some sort of manipulative quality to it, but most of their supernatural powers manifest in conversation. Sirens retain the essence of the sirens of myth as they are supernaturally good at the art of persuasion. Like your average hot person, sirens have the ability to make people really want to do things for them. As such, sirens are able to manipulate their way up the social ladder and use others for personal gain. Because of their less than stellar reputation, the students of Nevermore tend to avoid sirens all together, leaving them to pal around with the only people they can’t manipulate: each other. Some of the more altruistic sirens wear magical jewelry and trinkets said to dampen their powers of persuasion, but the effectiveness of the jewelry is up to speculation.
As for what they look like, they look like any other teenager—except for the eyes. They’ve got these really freaky Cillian Murphy “eye-fuck your soul” kind of baby blues, and that’s a pretty easy way to spot them. They also change drastically when they come into contact with water, in a nod to their mythological counterparts. However, they are less “evil Big Bird” and more “Little Mermaid,” and they sprout scaly mermaid tales when they dive into the deep. They also grow webbed hands, which are decidedly less charming. In episode 2, we get a glimpse of their transformation abilities while the students are engaged in a boat race to win the Poe Cup. This is the only time that they ever show their true form—when it works to their advantage. Bastards.
Okay, so when does their album drop?
Honestly, whenever they decide to stop being petty and start using their abilities for good. But don’t be fooled into thinking that will happen any time soon. They are currently led by Bianca “Queen Bee” Barclay, the first siren that we ever meet in the series. Her interests include making snarky comments, pointing fencing swords at people, and manipulating school staff. It’s revealed that she was able to charm her way into the school by using her ability on Principal Weems, but this is a secret that she doesn’t want anyone else to find out.
As for the other school sirens, two notable ones are Kent and Divina, who are both members of the secret society known as Nightshade. We don’t exactly know how these two were able to worm their way into established positions in the exclusive club, but I have a guess: Siren powers. It’s always siren powers. Even if you’re a musical genius, writing an album takes a lot of work. And even then, there’s touring and interviews and the whole nine yards. Something tells me that these sirens, like most manipulative people, aren’t exactly fans of hard work. It’s likely that they’re much more willing to convince others to do the work for them. And while that can get you far in life, it will never take you to the top.
Besides, who would want to listen to that album anyway? I deal with enough manipulation when my phone listens to me and then tries to sell me things online. I don’t wanna be tricked into buying something. I guess these sirens hope their listeners will never spot the difference.
(featured image: Netflix)
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