Icarus Juniper [he/him] is the son of the brother from the Juniper Tree, a gruesome fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, where a young boy (the brother) is killed by his evil stepmother as he stands between her daughter and the inheritance.
Icarus is a guy who is accepting of his destiny, even though he regards it as gruesome. In order to get himself past the general disgust he has for his tale, Icarus makes jokes and writes music, often with a very dark tone. That has given him a reputation of being a rather grimm and sarcastic sort of guy, a claim he flaunts proudly.
Otherwise, Icarus is generally rather determined, loyal, and caring towards people he bothers caring about. Those people include his family, and in some odd circumstances, even friends.
On first impressions, Icarus is the chill older-brother figure. And people aren’t wrong about that.
To many, he is one sensible guy in the room. He thinks before he speaks or acts. He’s reasonable, always looking for a middle ground and sensible decisions in strife. In tense situations, Icarus always seems to be able to say something useful, whether it’s a comforting phrase or a bright idea.
Snark and sarcasm goes hand in hand when it comes to this guy. Icarus' speech is often riddled with sarcastic and snarky commentary, as Icarus likes to speak his mind. He's a very straightforward and open person – there's no doubt in what he thinks about anything.
Although sarcastic, Icarus is surprisingly calm. He's seemingly unfazed when it comes to anything. Difficult situations and odd occurrences don’t trip him up. Rather, he tends to lend an open mind towards such events, and if problematic, will try to rationally solve it.
However, he pulls this off in a way that looks like he doesn't care. In a sense, this nonchalant nature of Iccy is essentially his defense mechanism. He thinks that if he's calm and relaxed, he'll look nonthreatening and generally an approachable person. It's his way of making people like and trust him – by giving himself a sense of predictability and order.
Unfortunately, that external calm masks a storm. Behind, Icarus is a tense, worried young man.
For Icarus, life is stressful. Dude has a truckload of family problems, leading to his abandonment issues and general melancholy. Being one born-to-die has also led to some alienation and ostracisation. At every turn, Icarus finds something to worry about. He can’t envision a fulfilling and stable future for himself, and that thought terrifies him.
Although he gets good grades and has a good circle of friends, Icarus still feels empty. The poor guy suffers from a lack of motivation and a loss of his will to live. As much as he wants to protect his friends and family and be a good solid support for them, Icarus isn’t certain on what he wants to do, what he wants to achieve or what his purpose for himself really is.
However, Icarus hates being pitied or being worried about. It irks him. He feels patronised. It makes him feel pathetic, which makes him think he’s more detrimental to others than helpful. Also, as an older brother figure, it’s his job to do all the fussing-over stuff.
So he would do no matter what to make others believe that he’s okay. Thus, he disguises his feelings of unease and confusion and fear of the future so he could make people trust him properly.
This, of course, leads onto his sense of false self-confidence. Icarus tries to act like he's capable of anything, so he can radiate confidence. Through practise, Icarus has found the perfect balance between compassion and self-confidence. He’s not seen as a weakling with a heart-too-pure, neither is he seen as cocky and abrasive. Rather, Icarus portrays the chill older-brother figure role with grace. Someone aware of himself and his own intrinsic value, but also someone who visibly looks after others.
Unfortunately, Icarus can get so wrapped up in the idea of “conceal don’t feel” that he refuses to deny that anything is going wrong. He gets panicky, he gets stressed. His anxiety gets the best of him.
Finally, Icarus finds his story way too provincial. He dies, gets revenge and returns to life in the span of an afternoon. There’s no chance to get out and explore the world, meet new and interesting people. Icarus feels trapped in the boredom and predictability of his story, which is already set in a place he is far too familiar with (his home). However, the thought of escaping from his current life and doing something just for himself scares him. It’s unnerving to him, as he doesn’t like the idea of uprooting everything that previous generations worked for.
The protagonist in the Juniper Tree was described as "red as blood" and "white as snow". Likewise, Icarus has inherited the bright red hair and pale skin. His face and faces are dotted with a hella lot of freckles, and he has brilliant blue eyes that contrast sharply with his skin. He's white-Germanic.
Body-wise, he is quite well-built, being tall and fairly wide. Icarus is also incredibly strong, able to lift several people at once.
Hobbies and Interests
Known for being affable and likeable, Icarus Juniper has a solid presence at Ever After High. He has a tendency to get involved with as many student organisations as he can - most prominently in the music and volunteering spheres. While this is because he cares about those pursuits, it's also to fill up his time and keep him from being alone with his depressing thoughts.
Since childhood, Icarus Juniper has played piano, and this is the skill most people would associate with him. It's calming, it's soothing, and it's the first hobby that he would cite if others asked about him.
He's very proud of this skill and flaunts it - when he books rooms for student events, he tends to book rooms with pianos in them, so he can flex his skills. Although he has no preferred genre, he tends to play pieces with folkloric or a fairytale basis, so people in the room feel at home.
With incredible memory when it comes to music, he has a repertoire of pieces that he has learnt from heart. Still, in his backpack, he always carries a binder of sheet music, so he doesn't have to resort to those ones.
Lifting / Working-Out
Just so you know, Icarus is swole.
As he's destined to be the next bird-brother in the Juniper Tree, Icarus is expected to carry not only the heavy burden of his family, but the heavy weight of an entire millstone. For this to happen, his piece of fairytale magic, his "Magic Touch", is the ability to lift with the strength of six strong men. However, this Magic Touch only applies specifically to "lift", so he still has to work out, so you will see Icarus at the gym often.
In Ogre-stra, Icarus is in the percussion section, and is known for being on the Student Executive Board.
Along with Obsidian Tunnel, Damon Gale and Auliver Midas, , Icarus is in Ever After High's all-male a caspella group, where he sings bass. Usually, he maintains the beat, though has gotten the occasional solo. His singing voice, as per destiny, has to be incredible - enough to stir the audience into throwing expensive items onto the stage.
Icarus somehow had the responsibility of being the current president of 'the Future Dead Students Support Group', more colloquially known as the Dead Epics Society, a social support club dedicated to students destined to die.
However, after the events of Way Too Wonderland, the group has lost a lot of traction, and meetings became rare. Still, Icarus puts it on his CV, does his best with it, and continues to support and be a source for students once in it to vent to. He is working on expanding it, through more outreach and awareness programs, and is trying to get in contact with proper mental/emotional health professionals, though the school is actively hampering on his effects. He also hosts fundraisers for families affected by destined loss.
Fairy tale – The Juniper Tree
A mother wants a baby. Once the baby was born, the mother died from happiness. Her husband soon remarried to a woman who wanted to kill the son because he would interfere with her daughter recieving the inheritance.
The stepmother offers the son an apple from a chest, then slams the lid on the boy's head, which tumbles into the chest. Afraid that she would be accused of her murder, she reattachs the head onto the boy and places the apple in his hand. Finally, she finds her daughter, telling her to ask the boy for the apple. If he does not respond, she should box him on his ears.
The daughter asks her brother, who (naturally) does not respond. So she boxes his ears, and his head falls to the ground. She bursts into tears.
Her mother comforts her, saying that they will disguise the body by making him into blood pudding. At dinner, Marlinchen, the girl, is still in tears, but the father devours the pudding with gusto.
Later that night, the girl goes to the Juniper Tree outside the window, crying tears of blood. Suddenly, a beautiful bird escapes from the tree, singing a song. Jeweleries and blacksmiths and various other craftmen hear this song, and offer the bird gifts.
The bird flies home, drops a pair of shoes into the girl's hands, a golden neckchain into the father's hands, and an anvril on top of his stepmother's head. The Juniper Tree bursts into the fire, and the boy returns, well, alive and happy.
This story is seriously macabre.
How does Icarus come into it?
You'd think that the Juniper Tree destiny is short-lived: it's done in the span of a day. However, the emotional and mental repercussions of it are not, and Macintosh Juniper, the previous Bird-Brother, would wrestle with his own psychology for the rest of his life.
Living out the story, with both him and his sister Marlene suffering under his abusive stepmother, Macintosh never quite recovered. The two siblings blamed each other, and fell out of contact. Macintosh did his best to escape the fairytale world, by getting a solid career, by falling in love and getting married. Still, one cannot escape destiny: his wife died of happiness when their son, Icarus, was born, and Macintosh started to hate his son for impeding his happiness, just as his family story had impeded his childhood.
Falling into further depression and drinking, Macintosh's sister, Marlene, quickly stepped up and took the boy Icarus off Macintosh's hands and raised him alongside her own son, Mark. The two grew up like brothers.
For years, Macintosh Juniper never remarried, even when Icarus was about to enter highschool. Soon realising that the fairytale world would place pressure on this family, Marlene made a difficult choice: she nominated her own son, Mark, up as the next Marlinchen. This choice furthered a divide between the two: Macintosh would become more apathetic, Marlene more bitter.
Opinion on Destiny
Icarus felt like his story was not something to escape from. He had always been desperate to live it, get it over and done with, and forget about it until the next generation. When the mere thought of destiny churns his stomach, sometimes the best way to deal with that sick feeling was to ignore it.
For a bit, anyway. The ignoring came to a standpoint when Dead Epics Society became a thing. Through joining this group of like-minded people, Icarus learnt to talk, learnt to accept, and learnt to deal with his deathly legacy. He came to realise the power of conversation and the power of groups. He became emboldened by this. Although he aligned Rebel under the belief that forcing generations of children through abuse and other scarring things was morally unjust, Icarus found power in his story and pride in it, and wanted to use his experience to help out other fairytale children.
However, something happened. During the events of Branches, Birches and Junipers, his father remarries, bringing a new stepsister to the family. Icarus is maddened by this - maddened that his father would just suddenly start caring about "family" again, maddened that this new introduction to the story just wrecked years of work Mark put into his role.
Through this arc, Icarus fully begins to accept his role as the next Bird Brother in the Juniper Tree. He's doing this for his family, he's doing this for tradition, but more importantly, he's striving to act out this role and continue the family legacy in a manner that breaks the cycle of generational trauma.
- The Juniper Tree is a story about the cycle of childhood abuse. The intergenerational trauma of the Juniper family reflects this.
- While Icarus has not endured abuse from a stepmother like the boy is meant to, he has endured abuse in the form of neglect from his father.
- The boy in the story is described to be "a child red and white". Likewise, Icarus has red hair and pale skin.
- Icarus will transform into a waxwing, a bird associated with juniper trees. Given his given name, this is very fitting.
- The bird is the story is a marvellous singer, to the extent that he is able to convince several labourers to give up items in exchange for song.
- For this reason, Icarus is talented in poetry and music.
- In his acaspella group, when Icarus sings, audience members will magically start throwing money and jewellery onto the stage.
- The bird is magically able to carry a millstone (which has to be lifted by six men) around its neck. For this reason, I decided that Icarus would be really, really good at lifting. (What a flex.)
- In the Bible, the punishment for child abuse is to be weighed by a millstone around ones neck and be drowned.
- Icarus, by carrying the millstone, is physically able to rise above his abuse.
- Icarus' name is explained in the "parallels" section. The reason for his surname should be obvious.
- The Juniper Tree isn't actually proper folklore! It was actually a tale written by some guy and given to the Grimms, which makes sense considering the hexload of Biblical references in it.
- Icarus has a currently unclassified eating disorder, and because of this, often never eats in front of people he doesn't trust.
- This eating disorder springs from how as Icarus gets older, he starts to look more and more like his father, who he can't stand. Coupled with his hate for how he looks, along with his self-hatred for not being strong enough to keep his family together & protect Mark, amongst other things.
- He's pretty good at hiding it, even from his family and friends.