Initially Lilly is referred to as “The Life Giver”. This is due to her ability to bring creatures to life through her paintings and drawings. She first discovers this when her new rabbit, Jeffrey, asks her to demonstrate her drawing to him and she draws butterflies that fly away from the page. However, the first drawing that comes to life is a spider which scares Saffron during her maths lesson in school.
Her powers were hidden by a charm bracelet, cursed by her aunt Loriana, which was placed on her wrist as a baby to keep her safe from her birth mother, Keren. When she was discovered Alex was charged with removing the cursed bracelet which then freed her powers.
It is later discovered that she is not just a Life Giver but The Ultimate Power as she has control over death as well as life. This is found when she brings Saffron back to life following her death from drowning in a river, then her accidental killing of Alex in defence of Saffron.
Whilst being able to bring Saffron back to life was obviously a good thing, it came at a price. Lilly discovers that the price of putting a life into a person, or animal, is that she uses part of her own existence to sustain them. This means that they are connected to her on a fundamental level and, ultimately, can only live for as long as she does. If Lilly dies then all the lives she created, including Saffron, will also die.
CHILDHOOD AND FAMILY
Whilst her home life is very happy in many ways, she has an excellent relationship with her adoptive mother, she feels like an outcast in many ways. She is not popular in school and never feels quite right.
As both she and her family are unaware she has been adopted, she has no understanding of why she feels so detached. However, when discovering that Keren is her birth mother, Lilly soon reaffirms her loyalty to her adoptive mother, declaring; “You may have given birth to me but you are not my mother.”
RELATIONSHIP WITH JEFFREY
When Jeffrey the rabbit first arrives in Lilly’s life he appears to be a new pet, purchased by her parents to give her a friend. She quickly discovers there is more to him than it first seems as he begins speaking and witnesses her first discovery of her magic.
Whilst initially overwhelmed by excitement at both a talking rabbit and her own developing power, Lilly soon becomes mistrustful of Jeffrey. She senses, correctly, that there are things he is not telling her. However, she is also reliant on him for information as the only resource she has to understand her own magic and the magical world she is discovering around her.
Indeed, his own relationship with Lilly develops from that of a charge, in his role as Guardian, and travels through friendship into an almost paternal role. Lilly depends on Jeffrey for moral guidance, which she then rebels against, and Jeffrey realises his loyalty to Lilly is greater than his loyalty to the cause for which he was sent to her for.
RELATIONSHIP WITH SAFFRON
Whilst Saffron initially appears as an antagonist to Lilly, falling into a bully role, the two soon discover a unique connection and develop a powerful friendship. This friendship is cemented at a deeper level after Saffron drowns in the river and Lilly uses her power to save her life, causing Saffron’s life to become dependent on her own.
Both outcasts at a young age, the two girls felt out of place at school amongst their peers, but also in their families. Where they differed, and what lead them to their later differences, was how they coped and why.
Lilly sees herself as the victim and the one who always loses out, seeing Saffron getting everything she wants. Lilly is plainer, unpopular, and never gets recognition for her talents in a social setting, whereas Saffron is strikingly beautiful, Queen Bee of her social group, and very adept in every class. It’s easy to understand Lilly’s jealously and antipathy towards Saffron.
However, the reason Saffron so carefully cultivated the friendships that she later dropped with relative ease is that, unlike Lilly, she had no home life to offer the comfort and support that she needed to survive day to day.
Lilly was able to cope with her isolation because, even though she never felt like she was truly like her parents for obvious reasons, the close bond and genuine care she had with her adoptive mother, Alice Prospero, allowed her to have a safe place where she could be herself.
Saffron’s home life could not have been more different. Saffron’s father was absent much of the time, and her mother was a cold, cruel and jealous woman who sought to control Saffron’s life offering no affection in return. For this reason Saffron felt the need for a family of peers to give her the validation and encouragement she needed. Whilst the friendships she developed to fulfil this need were effective, Saffron’s desire to go to Lilly’s side proves how they were purely practical and not actually developed through love.
After Lilly works to get Saffron a magical power, believing it would fix all her problems with feeling lonely and inadequate, Lilly discovers that actually it brings her into further turmoil. This leaves Lilly feeling incredibly guilty for causing Saffron such pain and leads her to be very protective of her. Saffron’s power and life are intrinsically linked to Lilly’s giving her no real power or existence of her own.
At the end of Lilly Prospero And The Mermaid’s Curse, they have finally reached a more even footing, with Saffron’s power and ability coming into her own and discovering a love for her own life which she had previously lost.