A Discovery of Witches’ most recent episode hints at Philippe’s incredibly long life and explains the mythical origin of Diana’s name.
Matthew and Diana finally made it to Sept-Tours, the De Clermont family home in France, in last week’s episode of A Discovery of Witches. However, the dynamic between Matthew and his stepfather Philippe was tense, even shading into hostile at times. Even worse, Philippe seemed decidedly suspicious of Diana. He even let another, unknown witch into his home who then tried to magically take her memories from her as he watched. Luckily, Diana was able to defend herself, but needless to say, the incident didn’t improve Diana or Matthew’s feelings toward Philippe. However, things change drastically between the trio in this week’s episode.
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Episode 6 picks up right after Diana has killed the witch who was attacking her. Matthew is furious at his father for failing to protect Diana and Diana is furious at Philippe for testing her with this other witch. But Philippe observes that their union is dangerous and the witch’s death won’t be the last one it causes. Then later, he provokes Matthew’s blood rage, ensuring Diana understands how dangerous his son can be.
Ultimately, however, when none of this causes Diana to waver from her commitment to Matthew, and Philippe recognizes her as the witch in an ancient prophesy whose power will usher in a new age for creatures, Philippe changes his attitude towards Matthew and Diana’s relationship. Philippe performs a ritual accepting Diana as a De Clermont and, later, he takes her and Matthew to an ancient temple in a clearing in the woods.
Philippe explains that the temple is dedicated to Diana’s namesake, the goddess Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon. When Philippe was a child, brides would go to temples like it to ask for the goddess’ protection. But while Philippe recognizes Diana has been named after the Roman version of the goddess, he indicates his origins go back even further than ancient Rome. He utters a prayer on Diana’s behalf where he invokes Artemis, the Greek name for the goddess.
Philippe’s familiarity with this ritual suggests that he can trace his roots all the way back to ancient Greece. What’s more, when he completes the prayer, he seems to somehow commune with the goddess in a way that enables him to summon a white stag. This is a testament to Philippe’s longevity and his sheer power. And when the stag walks away, Philippe indicates Artemis has accepted his prayer and will extend her protection to Diana.
It’s interesting to note that another Greek goddess, Hecate, was often associated with Artemis, and Hecate later became a goddess of witchcraft. In this roundabout way, the choice of the name Diana for A Discovery of Witches‘ main character — and Philippe’s choice to bring her to a temple for the goddess Artemis — all have some degree of symbolism that points to Diana’s powerful abilities as a witch.
A Discovery of Witches Season 2 stars Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, Alex Kingston, Valarie Pettiford, Lindsay Duncan, Edward Bluemel, Aiysha Hart, Daniel Ezra, Aisling Loftus, Trevor Eve, Owen Teale, Malin Buska, Gregg Chillin, Tom Hughes, James Purefoy, Steven Cree and Adelle Leonce. New episodes are available to stream every Saturday on Sundance Now, Shudder and AMC+.
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