Thursday 18 November 2010

The Ancient of Days - Symbol or Criticism?

For a long time I thought about the tattoo of William Blake's "The Ancient of Days" (see the picture on Wikipedia) and its significance for Lucas North.
My problem, as far as I detected so far, lies in the ambiguity of this picture.
1. Did Lucas North have this picture tattooed on his body because he had a strong craving for a strict power who did give order to humankind and the whole universe?
2. Did Lucas North have this tattoo, because he followed William Blake with his criticism of all systems, also the law and religion building father figure of "The Ancient of Days"?
This is the dilemma I could not figure out during series 9 of "Spooks".
The first assumption seems to be confirmed by his search for approval through the father figure Harry Pearce.
The second assumption at the end is more what I think really lead Lucas North / John Bateman on to give up his work for MI-5 so easily and to follow his love for Maya.

What still lets me doubt assumption 2 is the correct interpretation, is that Lucas North in case of his felt unease with systems could have chosen another figure from William Blake who directly stood for criticism. "The Ancient of Days" is the force behind rules and their builder. He does not question or doubt them in any way. So why chose him to permanently and prominently anchor him in ones life?


  1. Given that he chose that tattoo while he was in prison (we assume), which is a system with strict rules, did it also have a relationship to that somehow?

  2. @servetus
    Very good point! I always wondered who in the Russian prison without paper and ink had the exact copy of "Urizen, the Ancient of Days" by William Blake to make this excellent tattoo.
    Perhaps Lucas' absolute memory helped and he painted the picture somehow. But that would make him ingenious.