The Site

Letting Go

This shrine was created in December 2015, and revamped in August 2017 as part of the Flower Garden Layout Marathon hosted at The Rose Keep. A documentation of its creation process can be found at Song Cradle, the network’s repository. The previous layout can be viewed at Memory Prison.

This was originally meant to be a one page shrine, as Idike’s appearance is very short, and the series is quite casual, which is not something I would usually analyze in so many words. As I put this together, however, my love for Idike and fairy tales took over, and demanded to be given the space it requires to fully unfold. In the end, I am surprised myself how much there was to say about a subject so short-lived, and am glad that this old love of mine is safely archived in my own words at long last. With this, a long-standing wish has been fulfilled: I briefly ran a fanlisting to Idike around 2005/06, with plans to expand once more confident in my language skills.

Dornenkaefig (Dornenkäfig) is German for Cage of Thorns. It was important to me to emphasize the motif of thorns as it is central to Idike’s writing, and the original tale is called Dornröschen (Little Briar Rose). I wanted this particular combination, yet the separation of words and the of-construction in English mitigate the impact of names to me. As Grimms’ fairy tales are German folk tales, the choice is hopefully not too odd in this specific case.

The two colours in the layout represent the thorns and heathers that are symbolic of Idike’s story.

Managing Pain

Idike has been dear to me since my early teens. I love narratives with well-written flawed female characters in major roles, especially those that lash out in their pain because they do not know how else to handle – and give voice to – their own agony. I find myself drawn to the sharp self-awareness in such characters, no matter how stuck they are. Understanding and acknowledging the source of your self-inflicted anguish is an important step towards understanding, and hopefully being kinder to yourself – even if you are frustrated at your own inability to pull yourself out of the pit, even if your feelings are misplaced.

Dealing with criticism is difficult, as is stepping out of the self-pity and self-disdain that have accompanied you for so long. It is difficult to let go of the familiar so as to step into the unknown. It takes a lot of strength and courage not only to admit that you were wrong, but to let down the defenses you have built – to learn how to communicate with others even if it hurts, to admit that you need help, and to accept that help even if it feels shameful. It is only fitting that Kaori Yuki elevated the princess from a passive prize to an agent, and that Lui’s words in Little Briar Rose and Rapunzel leave no doubt about Idike’s active role in her own rescue.

In the dark forest
of your mind,
show me where
the wildflowers grow; Pavana Reddy & Matt

When I first read Ludwig Revolution, Idike touched me in her fixation on the truth, and the desire to be seen as who she truly is. She completely rejects love built on false premises, and desperately wants her efforts and accomplishments to be acknowledged – precisely because she is constantly praised for something she is not, and for qualities she does not consider part of her essence. Though so often mistaken for praise, calling someone a genius is the quickest way to dismiss someone’s efforts and struggles, as excellence then becomes the standard and ceases to be an accomplishment.

Back then, the raw female cries of Acknowledge me! See me for who I truly am! Love me as who I truly am! touched me more than anything. I still think that Lui’s rebuttal was immensely harsh. But he does have a point, even if it is a lesson I am still learning: You cannot base your sense and image of self solely on the opinion of others, and you cannot go through life attaching equal weight to each of those opinions.

Many years later, I now understand that there is another facet to her struggle with perfection that resonates – must have always resonated – with me: the way she tried so hard to be perfect just to gain her father’s approval. I embrace both the silent way Idike has fought (in part with herself) for so long, and how she is able to cry openly when she can no longer take it. In retrospect, perhaps the most personally heart-breaking moment of the tale is when she hears that she might not be her father’s daughter – that no matter what she does, she may never be accepted after all. The indifference she could bear, but not the absolute certainty of the futility of her actions, because that certainty makes her lose her very reason of existence. And that is another thing that requires a lot of strength: letting go of something you have chased until it has become a part of you, trusting that you will eventually be fine. Somehow, you will be fine.


Special thanks to everyone who cheered me on as I worked on revamping the layout for the marathon, especially when I was despairing due to lack of inspiration!

Thanks to Masao for her unbreaking patience as things broke (two words: URL rewrite), for her valuable input on certain design elements, and her pointers on how to write more efficient CSS; to Elysa for taking the time to explain Photoshop clipping masks to me, which did wonders on the lovely wreaths around the site; to Sophia for the random fancyBox3 outline fix, and for the authentic heather stamp (we are totally certified botanists); and to a certain last-minute good luck turtle who always reblogs the most inspiring poetry that happens to be exactly my aesthetic, and who pointed me to Lisa Glanz’ generous free resource pack, which in turn heavily inspired me (even if this project ended up using other resource packs more).


If you would like to link this shrine, feel free to use one of the following buttons and direct it to Please do not direct-link buttons.

If you own a site with thematic ties to this one (Kaori Yuki series, fairy tale connections, princesses, self-doubting female characters, perfectionists, and so on) and would like to affiliate, please message me!

Related Tales

The following are shrines under the Wither and Bloom Network umbrella that might be of interest to you if you enjoyed what I have written on Dornenkaefig. Thank you for the visit!

In my dreams I am kissing your mouth and you’re whispering ‘where have you been?’
I say, ‘I’ve been lost but I’m here now.
You’re the only person who has ever been able to find me.’ Sue Zhao