Mark Juniper [he/him or they/them] is the son of Marlinchen from the Juniper Tree, and is destined to follow in the footsteps of his mother. He also sides with the Rebels.
Basically, Mark is an incredibly childlish guy who's ridiculously energetic, hospitable and a huge flailing dork. He's also dedicated to making people around him be happy and comfortable, sometimes even at the cost of his own happiness.
For Mark, being Marlinchen is a huge part of his identitiy and despite how terrible his destiny is, Mark feels like he has to go through it, or else he wouldn't have a clue who he actually is.
Mark Juniper is Marlinchen. The most perfect Marlinchen Juniper in generations, some people say, the most accurate reflection of everything his role stands for.
Such is due to the fact that Mark is acutely aware of his destiny – and has shaped his whole life in preparation for it, developing a personality that would facilitate the transition into this role.
To serve as the next Marlinchen in the Juniper is to experience loss. It’s to watch your family fall apart before your eyes, it’s to shred the innocence of your childhood, and it’s to sacrifice your freedom for the greater good of your story.
And to lose those things, which have previously been a constant in Mark’s life, is a horrifying realisation for the poor boy.
He clings to the things that his destiny wants to take away, as Mark’s desperate to experience more of what he has in life before it’s taken away from him.
Such clinging is a source of constant anxiety for the boy. He’s worried whether people secretly hate him, whether he’s still dutiful and kind enough to be Marlinchen, whether– basically about anything. In fact, i you want the definition of “no chill”, you would look immediately for Mark Juniper. At any time of day, you will find him in a panic.
Despite his anxious, panicky nature, Mark aims to be likeable. He has a childlike innocence and a hospitable streak. His excitable and enthusiastic nature means that he’s easily able to converse with other people, as he has enough assertiveness and confidence to speak his mind and approach others. He’s generally a witty guy – fond of puns and ironic remarks.
His hospitable nature reinforces his approachability. Mark introduces himself to people by offering baking, and although frequently nervous, is never seen without a smile.
There is no doubt that Mark aims to be a people’s person. He has a natural compassionate streak. Although he might not understand what others are going through, he will try to help – even if it’s just listening them out or offering baking.
Friends and sympathy are some of the things he craves the most. And so, he hopes that with this personality, he won’t lose anyone or scare anybody away.
Hardworking is yet another one of his traits: he’s first to volunteer for community work, he’s an industrious child (baking, knitting, sewing frequently), he’s got a rigid, organised schedule. However, Mark's also very much an absent-minded person, which is rather frustrating when paired with this natural diligence. This absentmindedness is something Mark finds annoying: he wants to be seen as responsible and trustworthy, but such constant forgetfulness undermines his work ethic.
A strong sense of predictability and order is always present in Mark’s life. He likes things to be neatly arranged, he likes to know exactly where everything is, and he likes his surroundings to be impeccable and immaculate. This is present in Mark’s fondness for cleaning up places, whether that be his dorm room, or whether that be in taking part in environmental community clean-ups. He finds the monotony of chores and housework comforting, and can sometimes lose himself in these repetitive tasks.
Still, Mark clings to the idea of childhood. The burden of responsibility and adulthood is not a kind thought in his mind, and so he tries to avoid it at all costs. Although now he’s lost his rose-coloured lens, Mark has a naive optimistic streak: a solid support against his fear of the future.
Because, despite everything, Marlinchen is a scared child.
And Mark, as we know, is the perfect Marlinchen.
Body-wise, Mark tends to be on the slim side, being rather angular and awkward. While he's of average height, he's quite skinny so he appears taller.
His hair is curly and volatile, often to the point of messy. It's black, often likened to the feathers of the carrion crow. He usually stuffs his hair into a beanie which causes severe hat hair. It should be noted that while wearing the beanie, the ends of his fringe tend to point upwards, resembling a pair of devil horns (
and guess who's possessed by a demon later on?)
He has a small pointed nose all of the time, and intense brown eyes. He sports a toothy grin most of the time that visibly shows his coloured braces.
Interests, Hobbies & Skills
Baking, Knitting and other domestic activities
Pop Culture & Cheesy Sci-Fi
As the next Marlinchen, Mark has an affinity with avian creatures.
- He talks to birds more than he should. Actually, he doesn't really talk to birds. He can just vaguely decipher what they're saying. Think of a person who took a language at high school speaking to a native speaker. It's basically that.
- Birds understand him though. Very well.
- They're pretty much his only friends at this point.
Fairy tale – The Juniper Tree
How the Story Goes
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 receiving 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 fratricide, she re-attaches 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. Jewellers and blacksmiths and various other craftsmen hear this song, and offer the bird gifts.
The bird flies home, drops a pair of shoes into the girl's hands, a golden neck chain into the father's hands, and an anvil on top of his stepmother's head. The Juniper Tree bursts into fire, and the boy returns, well, alive and happy.
This story is seriously macabre.
How does Mark come into it?
Mark’s mother, Marlene “Marlinchen” Juniper, was quite possibly the worst Marlinchen anyone could have seen. She was an outspoken rebel who refused to listen to society. She would wear outrageous clothes and swear a lot. She was the kind of person in high school who would have started a biker gang if they had motorbike licenses.
After high school, she went through her Marlinchen destiny bitterly, reluctantly and regretfully. Aiming to separate herself completely from the Juniper destiny, she went to university and graduated top of her class with a business degree. Soon after she married the hot foreign student she met during uni and everything was great, they had a kid named Mark, and Marlene was pretty sure that her fairytale legacy days were over, that her brother would end up remarrying soon so her son wouldn’t have to end up being the next Marlinchen.
But, her brother Mac ended up being so attached to his first wife that he never remarried, and Marlene was essentially forced to have her son relive her life simply because she didn’t want to risk the Juniper Tree from disappearing from people’s memories.
Mark grew up as a pretty chill kid. But of course, knowing that you’re the next Marlinchen is always a burden, so from a chill kid he went to a teenager with no chill.
Mark on Destiny
The text below is technically outdated but somewhat correct, so it has been left in, but struckout.
As one of the most well-mannered and well-behaved Marlinchen over the last century, Mark knows that he’s suited for his destiny. He’s respectful, hospitable and basically everything you need to be a good Marlinchen. One problem: he is a guy.
One of the reasons why Mark’s so unsure about accepting his destiny is not because he thinks it’s embarrassing for having a girl's destiny, but because he doesn’t want to be that guy who takes a destiny that’s respected but also written for a girl away from a girl. His mother had always raised him on feminist ideas so him taking opportunities away isn’t exactly something he’s comfortable with.
That’s something that clashes a lot with another opinion he has about his destiny – he’s going to be a good Marlinchen and one of the most accurate Marlinchens (personality-wise) in the century. Mark knows that his mother, his great-aunt, and all the other Marlinchens before him went through with their destinies despite not having the right personality, so he should, as well.
But soon, his cousin’s dad, his uncle just got married. His uncle’s new wife has a daughter his age who seems to be a perfect future Marlinchen. Mark has always viewed himself as the next Marlinchen and not just Mark, but he’s not quite sure whether he’s willing to fight her for the Marlinchen role.
The thing is, Marlinchen has been a burden that he has carried for his life, and something that has really become to define him. It's something that his whole personality and his whole self has been shaped around. Having the honour of being the next Marlinchen taken away from him feels like having a chunk of himself ripped out, which is why he's so desperately clinging to the Marlinchen destiny.
- holy hell where do i start
- Red converse // red shoes at the end of the tale.
- Mark can communicate with birds // Marlinchen's brother turns into a bird.
- Mark's fond of baking and other domestic chores // Marlinchen does such things in the tale.
- Is generally a really domestic and industrious person // blah blah blah dated and slightly-sexist undertones of feminine duty in the tale
- Mark is a Biblical name, derived from the Roman name Marcus.
- Most translations of the Juniper Tree give the sister in the tale a name starting with M (Marlinchen / "Little Marlene" being the most common, but I've also seen Annmarie and Margery).
- Due to the heavily religious imagery, a religious name seemed suitable.
- He's longsighted and wears glasses. He also happens to be red-green colourblind (inherited from his mother), which means he can't see the colour green too well and the colour he sees most vividly is blue.
- There's a meaning behind this colourblindness.
- Basically, red symbolises growing up and maturity, while green symbolises youth.
- Mark clings to the idea of staying a child.
- Thus, his difficultly in telling the difference between the colours parallels with his confused concept of what maturity really means.
- 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.
- Mark has an undiagnosed anxiety and paranoia condition.
- He's typically referred to as "Icarus' kid cousin", "the younger Juniper", "Mini Juniper", or any variation of those type of nicknames younger siblings get.
- People who are inclined to speaking German also do bestow upon him nicknames with the German "-chen" suffix.
- While Mark's anglophile tendencies are actually a vestigial relic from his earlier days as an OC (during 2013/4, when British culture was put on a huge pedestral on the internet, especially on Tumblr), it could also be read as a nod to the fact that the majority of tales in the Aarne-Thompson Type 720 ("My Stepmother Killed Me, My Father Ate Me") are indeed from the UK.
- In real-world terms, Mark would be from Hanover (or, Hannover, depending on which spelling you prefer), Germany.
- The first King in the House of Hanover was a German prince who was brought to England to rule, just as the fairytale trope "My Stepmother Killed Me, My Father Ate Me", is Germanic in origin but carried over to the UK.
- Mark's birthday is April 25th, the date commemorating St Mark the Evangelist (who he is named after).