Study Guide

The Scorpio Races Tradition and Customs

By Maggie Stiefvater

Tradition and Customs

All entries must train within 150 yards of the shoreline. (12.8)

Puck says the reason for this rule is to keep the water horses from running all over the island, but it also ensures maximum bloodshed between the training participants.

When you traffic in monsters, that's the risk you run, that you'll find one too monstrous to stomach. (15.24)

The Scorpio Races is almost like working with the mafia on a yearly basis. Sometimes a horse comes along that fits into the crazy "loose cannon" mold, and that's where all the drama comes from.

Outside, the Scorpio drummers beat closer, louder, and there is laughter among them. (22.35)

Pretty much everything about the races is dramatic and foreboding. Are there Scorpio kazoo players? No, there are drummers, drumming a beat that gets your pulse racing.

Every year the Scorpio Festival is held a week after the horses emerge. (24.12)

The emerging of the capaill is a seasonal event, like butterfly migration. Maybe the tradition arose as a way to keep their populations under control as well. Not all the capaill survive either.

I think about the Scorpio Festival tomorrow, how the riders' parade this year will be me and Mutt and insane Kate Connolly. [...] "Mr. Holly, nothing about this month is turning out to be normal." (27.11)

If everything was the same year after year, we wouldn't have a book. Drama arises when tradition goes awry, and that's exactly what happens in The Scorpio Races.

"You have to go finalize your registration." (28.15)

The Scorpio Races have a lot of fun traditions—like the Scorpio Festival—but they also have some crappy ones, like paperwork.

"Have you ever made a sea wish before?" (28.20)

There are plenty of superstitions mixed in with tradition when it comes to the Scorpio Races. This one is the equivalent of getting the king cake baby on New Year's Eve.

"It's the riders' [blood]. You'll go up and put a drop of your blood on there to show you're riding." (32.22)

Ah, here are the races's pagan origins coming into focus. We can't imagine many modern-day sports having a blood ritual before they begin.

"There are rules on paper and rules too big for paper." (32.77)

It seems that the rules too big for paper are the rules excluding women from the race. We're not sure of the legality of the Scorpio Races in general, but we imagine it's not a good idea to write down your discrimination tactics.