Friday, February 05, 2010

Meanings of the Corps' ring colours

I've been thinking, is there a traditional significance somewhere to green equalling will, blue equalling hope,
orange equalling avarice and indigo equalling compassion?

I understand the link between pink and love, red and rage, yellow and fear and black and death, but I'm not certain of the link for the other colours.

Were green/blue/orange/indigo plucked out of the air and randomley assigned meanings or was it more deliberate than that?  Does anyone know?

I'd imagine that green was picked for will purely because back in the 50s (or whenever) someone thought it would make a good costume.


James Ashelford said...

Bright blues have traditional connotations of purity, probably because of its associations with water. The most relevent here, I think, is the blue nun's habit that the Virgin Mary is traditionally depicted as wearing. And the Blue Corps does seem to recruit exclusively from beings of faith (including at least one ordained saint).

Anonymous said...

Two ordained saints if you count Barry Allen, Patron Saint of the Silver Age.


snell said...

Well, the Silver Age Green Lantern was spun off of the Golden Age one from the I'm pretty sure no one at DC in 1959 was thinking "green=will" so much as "we own the name Green Lantern, let's use it" just like they did with Flah, Atom, et. al.

Saranga said...

@ snell: good point about the trademark.
@ james: thanks
@ jeff: also a good if cheeky suggestion ;)

James Ashelford said...

Just thought of one for the Orange Lanterns. Orange (especially as yellow is already taken) is in the same area of the colour wheel as two of the precious metals: bronze and gold.

Purple, I can't think of an explanation. Traditional connotations are of wealth because its one of the most difficult and expensive pigments to make so its the colour of royalty.

Saranga said...

See, I take orange to be firey, along the same spectrum as red, or I take it to be autumnal. I cannot for the life of me see how they got avarice from it.
Mind you, I think they probbaly just picked striking colours and (relatively) randomely assigned them emotions.

But I'd still like to know if there are any traditional connotations, from anywhere in the world.

Anonymous said...

Appearently railroad signalmen used to carry green lanterns in the old-timey days, (so as not to mess up their night-vision maybe?) and Martin Nodell saw one while on a train, thought it looked spooky and got the idea for the character.

I think the idea of the ring being fueled by willpower is a silver age innovation, part of the attempt to give the character concept a science-fiction, rather than magical origin.