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Dictionary Definition

godchild n : an infant who is sponsored by an adult (the godparent) at baptism [also: godchildren (pl)]

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English

Etymology

From god + child

Noun

  1. A child whose baptism is sponsored by a godparent. In some cases the relationship is maintained indefinitly, with the godchild being treated much like a niece or nephew.
    • Mary stood as godmother for little Arny, her godchild.

Translations

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Extensive Definition

, known in the English editions as God Child, is a gothic shōjo manga by Kaori Yuki.
Count/Earl Cain was originally serialized in Hana to Yume and became popular through online scanlation in the United States. The series is divided into two parts. The original manga was completed up to volume 5 where Kaori Yuki placed it on hiatus in order to complete her other manga Angel Sanctuary. After the completion of Angel Sanctuary, Count Cain was resumed and published under the new title, God Child, which concluded in 8 volumes, making the Cain Series 13 volumes in total. God Child is currently licensed in English by Viz Media. "God Child" made its first appearance in Viz's magazine Shōjo Beat, where it ran monthly until its last appearance in the June 2006 issue. The arc is also serialized in volume format by Viz. The first five volumes, titled as The Cain Saga, are being released by Viz as a prequel to God Child.
Although generally known as a gothic series, God Child gathers elements from many genres including mystery and suspense, horror, shōnen-ai, psychological and historical. The series is praised for its twisted plot, morbid humor, dark yet flamboyant style, and excellent artwork and an examination of depravity of human nature. The manga, being set in the Victorian Age, has Gothic Lolita fashion.

Plot summary

Earl Cain is the story of a nobleman with an interest in poison from 19th century England. Cain inherited the title of Earl of Hargreaves when his father (supposedly) died falling into the sea when Cain tried to poison him. As he fell, he cursed Cain to a life of solitude. The story follows him through many mysteries involving poison. Most of the stories focus on human nature and emotional/social conflict. Some parts of the story develop out from the actual events taking place in London, like the Jack the Ripper case and Queen Victoria's 60th coronation. Some of the chapters revolve around Cain's past and Riff, his servant whom Cain is very intimate to and sees as one of his family. Later in the manga, the plot becomes more connected and details his struggle against a secret society established by his father named Delilah (in which the name overshadows the secret revealed by the end).
There are 8 volumes in total. All 8 have been released as of January 2008. There are 13 volumes in the Earl Cain Series.

Characters

Main characters

:Cain is a young English nobleman who is also known as the Earl/Count of Poison for his fondness in collecting and storing different kinds of poisons which he calls his "children". Cain's childhood was filled with both physical and mental abuse inflicted by his father, Alexis. He was whipped on the back daily because Alexis claimed that Cain was a cursed child, and the abuse was the only way he could be forgiven by God. Cain's stepmother, Lenora, tried to kill him because she thought that he was getting in the the way of the love Alexis never had for her. Cain became Count at the age of twelve after killing his father. (Cain is named after the biblical figure, Cain, for the fact that he was the first human to kill a relative, though, in this case, a brother named Abel). He has green-gold eyes (they're actually green, but there is gold in them because he is a child born of the incestuous relationship). To outsiders he seems like a wealthy, incorrigible playboy. The only people he trusts are his head butler Riff and Mary Weather, who people consider to be his half-sister through Alexis's relationship with a maid. The manga based his physical appearance on British actor Rupert Graves. Cain is so beautiful that he can pass for a woman at need.
Riff is Head Butler for the Hargreaves. Riff is Cain's personal servant and does everything for him (including tying his shoelaces and making his tea). Riff was the first person Cain has ever trusted and the only one who's allowed to see and touch his scars on the back. (Quote: "If you betray me, I will go and die" - Cain to Riff; from "Kafka") Riff was a medical student originally, but his house burned down and his entire family died. It was through Alexis, a friend of his father, that he received the job of being a servant. Later on, the story reaveals a secret about Riff's concealed past.
Cain's adopted little half-sister; her name is also romanized as "Merryweather". First she was believed to be the daughter of Cain's father and a maid. Her mother committed suicide by swallowing poison, and Mary lived as a street fortune teller before Cain found her. After that, Mary is often threatened to be killed by "Delilah." Near the end of the story, Cain reveals secretly to his Uncle Neil that she doesn't share the same bloodline as him. She was fathered by the head of servants in Cain's house who died before she was born. Nevertheless, Cain loves her as his true sister despite knowing the fact. Mary is very outgoing and strong-willed, and often annoyed by Cain's relationships with women. Cain hands the title of Earl/Count to Mary Weather toward the end, making her the head of the Hargreaves family, and Mary is determined to live up to his expectations. At the end of the story, we find out that years after Cain and Riff's deaths, she is pregnant with Oscar's child. She waits for Cain, hoping that he'll keep his promise to have a tea party together in the garden.

Members of Delilah

:Also known as Jezebel, depending on the translation.
Cain's brother by adoption. Jizabel is a sadistic doctor and works for Cain's father in the secret society Delilah. He loves to collect human organs and always keeps the organs of his deceased mother and sisters at hand. It is revealed later that Jizabel is actually Cain's half brother: his mother was Alexis' mistress. As a child, Jizabel was a vegetarian who genuinely cared for life, but was forced to eat his pet sheep by Alexis. He craves for his father's love and thus hates Cain because Alexis spends all of his attention on Cain. He is unofficially "Death" in Delilah's Major Arcana until later in the series (he had no desire to undergo the bothersome regeneration necessary to join Major Arcana officially). Although his schemes to destroy Cain seem ingrained to his life, he helps Riff with a drug to keep him 'alive'; although he does threaten that he will die if he doesn't betray Cain, because if he doesn't, he won't give him the drug. Later Riff 'dies' (read Riff), and then comes to tell Cain Jizabel's true intentions. Jizabel was actually trying to slow down the process of his 'death'. Reasons to this is yet unknown, and not 100% accurate of whether he was trying to help Riff and Cain, or gather more information. However, in the final Godchild manga, he dies while giving the last of his 'life blood' to Riff. The mangaka, Kaori Yuki, claims that Jizabel is her favorite character. Jizabel's last name could be seen as a reference to Benjamin Disraeli, the possible namesake of Bill the Lizard from Alice in Wonderland.
Cain's father. The only person he ever loved was his sister, Augusta, despite his marriage to a woman named Lenora. He resolves to make life impossible for Cain, because he blames his son for the insanity and death of Augusta. As the leader of Delilah, he is the "Card Master" and assigns members within the group their ranks. By the end of the story, he appears to be suffering because of the plot set down by his sister. He was killed and afterward possessed by the spirit of Augusta. Alexis creates the 'deadly dolls' throughout the manga to attempt to create a new body for his deceased sister Augusta.
Also known as Ida of Lunacy (see Godchild, vol. 3). A gypsy who performs on the streets. Half of her body is burned and she is an outcast even amongst her own people, given her short, fair hair (often concealed by a wig of long black hair). She is the loyal bodyguard of the "Card Master" (Alexis) and wields crescent-shaped blades as well as a crossbow. In the third volume of Godchild, she threatens to kill Jizabel when he tries to strangle his father in a macabre game. In the final volume of God Child, she dies along with Alexis, wishing to be with someone who had given meaning in her life. Straightforward and seemingly unemotional, she obeys her orders without question and refers to the moon as her only friend. Her rank in Delilah is the "Moon" of the Major Arcana.
A mysterious figure with white hair and dark round glasses referred to only as White Owl by the members of Delilah. His rank in Delilah is "Foolish One" or just the number "0" ("The Fool" of the Major Arcana), however his true name and abilities remain unknown. He does not participate in any of Delilah's assignments and tells Cain in the last volume that his job is only to act as a "witness" to the end of the world. He is last seen looking at the fall of the cardmaster along with other cardmembers, saying that with the organization in other countries, they are not entirely gone for good, and that they shall meet again with a new lord of darkness at the end of the world. He is a talented violinist and frequently makes references to musical terms in his speech. During a talk with Cain, he was revealed to be the one who played "Zigunerweisen" at the funeral of Cain's grandfather.
The "Ace of Swords" of Delilah's Minor Arcana. He is able to build coffins perfectly suited for the victims he has killed. His mother was wrongfully imprisoned by her mistress, who believed her husband was falling in love with her. As a result, his mother gave birth to him in jail. While dedicated to his missions, he ends up falling in love with Marjorie, the daughter of an abused, deceased mortician. He dies in a fire that burns down Marjorie's house, but manages to tell her to live a happier life with her aunt in a letter that also reveals to her his real name: Grifford.
:The high priest who initiates members of Delilah into the Major Arcana via a ceremony that reveals the member's deepest secrets. While performing this ceremony for Jizabel, he discovered secrets about him that has led to Cassandra attempting to take Jizabel's life a number of times. In public, he appears as a socially active gentleman who is well known in the charity circle. In Volume Five he loses his body after betting with Jizabel, who transplants Cassian's brain into it.
She appeared to be a fortune teller at the beginning and fell in love with Cain. But later she is revealed to be already dead but only resurrected by Delilah as a "doll". Upon learning the truth, she chooses to sacrifice herself in order to protect Cain against Jizabel. Cain is devastated by her death since she is the first person he could love who is not blood-related to him, though he later realizes that the reason he was so intensely attracted to her was because her blue eyes eerily resembled his mother's and Suzette's.
She is actually a child-version of Cain's cousin Suzette (also known as Judith) resurrected by Delilah, but has a completely different personality from Suzette. Mikala is told by Alexis that she is born for Cain, and that Cain belongs to her only, perhaps contributing her to psychotic and obsessive personality. She is able to summon poisonous spiders and uses them as weapons to force Cain into submission. To Alexis, Mikala's ultimate purpose is to have Cain's child and the child is to become the container of "Delilah"'s (Augusta's) spirit. However since Mikala dies before anything could happen, the plan fails. She still believed that she was loved by Cain even at the final moments of her death.
One of the lower members of Delilah who is working for Jizabel. He is actually a man of 35 with a young boy's body. Cassian was a circus clown who was bullied by others because of his appearance. He decided to join Delilah hoping to get an adult body in exchange. He obeys Jizabel well, even if it means killing innocent girls in order to rip out their eyeballs (see God Child, vol. 1). In Volume Five, he gets a brain transplant that puts him in Cassandra Gladstone's body. Though Cassian despises Cassandra, he accepts Cassandra's body as it will free him from his obligation to Delilah; he departs soon afterward. He returns to Jizabel in the last volume, hoping he could save him from Alexis, but fails. He is last seen carrying Jizabel off to bury him in more "natural surroundings" that he loved so dearly.
The Hermit of the Major Arcana, Zenopia is an elderly doctor whose interests lie in human research and stays in an isolated environment doing rather unthinkable operations for Delilah's experiments. He appears merry and good-humoured, even as he and Jizabel transplant Cassian's brain into Cassandra Gladstone's body.
A beautiful elegant high-class woman who holds the rank of Justice in the Major Arcana; however, she is also quite monstrous and bloodthirsty. She wears a blindfold over her eyes, which she uses to perform hypnosis on the person who gazes into them. A skilled psychiatrist, she is responsible for surpressing Riffael's memories and true personality and then unsealing them when Alexis returns Riffael to Delilah. In the end, she is killed by Riffael, but not before unlocking "Riff" which eventully kills Riffael.

Supporting characters

:Cain's friend and Mary Weather's "self-claimed" fiancé. Although he is from an aristocratic family, Oscar is disowned by his father and therefore tries to win back his father's attention by marrying Earl Hargreaves's sister. In truth, Oscar had a fiancée whom he loved dearly but died in an accident and he claims that Mary is the spitting image of his fiancee (although we find out later that it is actually Cain who looks exactly like her). Oscar often provides humor to the manga through his various unsuccessful attempts to win Mary's heart. Although he is not so bright, Oscar is very loyal to Cain and truly cares for Mary. In the "Mortician's Daughter" arc, he is very nearly killed by the Coffin Maker (in a case of mistaken identity). At the end of the final volume, Oscar is married to Mary Weather and she is pregnant with his child.
Cain's uncle, Alexis' cousin, specifically the son of Cain's grandfather's sister. He is Cain's legal guardian and has a tendency to become upset with Cain's behavior and course of action. He and Cain are often at odds because Cain believes that Neil's strictness derives from caring more about Cain's inheritance than Cain himself. Alexis reveals that Neil loved Augusta and claims that Neil only took care of Cain and stopped the rest of the family from disposing of him when he was born because Neil saw aspects of Augusta in her son. In God Child, vol. 3, Neil admits to Cain that he loved Augusta, but confesses the real reason he chose to take care of Cain was because when Cain was an infant, Neil felt as though Cain seemed lonely and was touched when the infant reached for his hand. The two end up on considerably better terms afterwards.
A medium who can talk to the dead who first appears in the Butterfly Bones arc. Clehadol comes from an old French aristocratic family that has declined. He initially appears to be working for Alexis, who offers the medium the position of the "Magician" of the Major Arcana, and is suspected as a member of Delilah by Cain. While he does work for Delilah on occasion, he does it strictly for money, and will not take the "Magician" position due to his distaste of the aristocracy. He later allies with Cain against Delilah and provides useful information on the organization to Cain.

Others

:Cain's aunt and real mother. She lost her mind after giving birth to Cain, and later jumped out of the window of her institution when Cain went to visit her for the second time; she had mistaken him for Alexis. However, when Cain came to her side as she lay dying, she apologized and warned him to watch out for his father. By the end of the story, her spirit appears to be the real wicked one who has plotted and been responsible for Cain's suffering. The name of Alexis' secret society Delilah refers to her. In the final volume of Godchild, her motive for causing Cain's suffering was that she wanted to create strife between Cain and Alexis and she was in love with Alexis.
(Appearance in "Little Miss Muffet")
Also sometimes named Judith. Cain's cousin (daughter of Augusta) and his first love, who, in truth, is his half-sister. She planned to elope with her lover by faking death, but he was only after her money and left her buried alive (with her ring that was later taken from her grave to create Mikala). She killed her love and committed suicide when she found out her lover's betrayal. Later she was resurrected as a "doll" by Jizabel and named Mikala.
''(Appearance in "The Stake" (Flashback))
Clyde was the younger brother of Riffael Raffit. He was one of the few people who knew before that Riff had a hidden cruel side. He tried to convince Riff's fiancé, Lucinda, of this, but she didn't really believe him. Despite this, Lucinda fell in love with Clyde and ran away with him on Riff and hers wedding day. In Riff's first story, he says that Clyde came home a year later, as he had been having money problems and had come to ask for help. In the ensuing argument, Clyde burned down the house in his fury, killing himself and his parents. It is revealed at the end of the story that Clyde was right all along, and when he had tried to convince his parents that his brother was a murderer, Riff burned the house down, but not before Clyde killed Riff with a gunshot. Riff was then revived by Delilah. Later, Lucinda appeared again, blaming Riff for Clyde's death. (See Lucinda below).
(Appearance in "The Stake")
Riff's former fiancé who eloped with his brother Clyde. Because of Clyde's death, she wears funeral attire. Originally meant to be Mary's governess, she is told by Cain that she may leave if she cannot get along with Riff, as Riff cannot be replaced while she is replaceable. Lucinda planned to kill Cain so that Riff will feel the same pain she did when Clyde died, as she believed he was responsible for his death. When her plans fail, Riff tells her to leave, as while he will spare her life now, he cannot be sure of the future when he sees Cain threatened.
(Appearance in "Mark of the Red Ram")
Cain's fiancé and a victim of Jack the Ripper. Emmeline is the sister of Cain's childhood friend, Gilford. Emmeline used to be a shy and chubby girl who had low self-esteem due to her appearance, but resolves to become the perfect daughter only to please her parents and live up to the family name. She loves Cain but he does not return her feelings, although Cain feels very guilty because he is partially responsible for her death.
(Appearance in "Black Sheep")
A beautiful French maid who cannot speak English, she is hired to work for the Hargreaves family by the previous butler before Riff. A man who wanted the head butler's position, Mr. Stein, convinced her to try seducing Riff so that he would leave, but Riff was not interested. Later, she is mysteriously killed and Mr. Stein tries to place the blame on Riff, but Cain proves otherwise. Later, it was revealed her death was due to her triggering a trap when she tried to steal the Hargreaves' treasure.
(Appearance in "Mad Tea Party")
Alice, Lorina, and Edith were friends with Victoria Mayfield, a daughter of a noble family. A killer named the "White Rabbit" targets Lorina and Edith early in the story, and eventually shows up in the Mayfield family's party for Alice. Cain engages the White Rabbit to a duel, turning him to a hero in Alice's and Victoria's eyes. Later Cain exposes the killer to be Baron Mayfield, Victoria's father. Victoria, in a fit of anger, killed Lorina when Lorina disagreed with her. To prevent the truth from being discovered, Victoria's father had Victoria, Alice, and Edith's memories erased through drugs and hypnotism and then posed as the "White Rabbit" to kill Alice and Edith. While he succeeds in killing Edith, he winds up killing his own daughter by mistake instead of Alice, having fallen victim to his own drugs.
(Appearance in "The Crooked Little House")
A dark-haired and crippled girl who Mary meets when their tutor, Madame Flemming, disappears. Bertha is her housekeeper and guardian as both of Rebecca's parents are dead. When Mary visits her house and mentions Cain's habit of locking her up, Rebecca assumes that Mary is as lonely as she is, and decides to take Mary to her secret room of life-size dolls. Those 'dolls' turned out to be real people, Madame Flemming and Rebecca's mother being two of them. With Bertha's help, Rebecca originally plans to turn Mary into another doll, but Cain's interference indirectly sets the house of fire. Madame Flemming stops Rebecca from escaping and she, along with Bertha and the rest of her 'dolls', supposedly perish.
(Appearance in "Scold's Bridle")
The daughter of a noble family and so miserable about her appearance that she quickly falls for Jizabel's supposed 'beauty medicine'. She gets along with Mary, wishes for Cain's affection, and believes that beauty is an answer to everything. By taking the medicine, she turns more 'beautiful', but also grows more selfish and neglects her friendship with Mary. Eventually, the medicine is revealed to be a form of parasite eggs, which causes her so much pain she ends up killing herself. Through her death and Mary's capture, Cain is lead back to Jizabel, who has been collecting the girls' eyes for research.
(Appearance "Scold's Bridle")
Violet Maria Taylor, known commonly as Viola, was a young woman whose fiancé was stolen away by her more attactive younger sister. In a scuffle to throw acid at her sister's face, Viola ended up getting the acid on herself and scarring her own face. She wears a mask known as the Scold's Bridle and believes Jizabel is collecting the eyes of girls in order to perform a spell to restore her beauty; in truth, she becomes the last victim of his research project.
(Appearance in "Butterfly Bones")
The son of Cain's Uncle Leonard. He kills his mother, Abigail to protect Lukia, his half-Japanese half-sister, because she is the only one who genuinely cared about him. It is revealed that Alexis had told Emile how to kill his mother and, due to the guilt, he later commits suicide from the shame. He claimed before he died, that he did not want to stain Lukia from the blood on his hands, which was why he did not allow her reach out and save him. Alexis proves to Cain that he is still alive by causing Emile's suicide, leaving his son with the haunting words, "You can't save anyone."
(Appearance in "Butterfly Bones")
The beautiful daughter of Cain's Uncle Leonard and his uncle's first wife, a Japanese woman named Tohko. Lukia, like her mother, is shunned and abused by her step-mother, Abigail. During a seance requested by Abigail, Lukia ends up acting erratically and leaves her family believing that she has been possessed by her vengeful mother, who committed suicide when Lukia was a child. Abigail attempts to have Lukia killed during a second seance, but instead she winds up killed instead while Lukia regains her senses. Cain proposed marriage to her in hopes of finding Abigail's murderer. It is later revealed that her step brother, Emile, killed her stepmother because, although she was his mother, Abigail caused Lukia's mother to commit suicide.
(Appearance in "Bloodberry Jam")
A kind old lady in denial of her granddaughter Kitty's death, she mistakes Mary for her and invites the Hargreaves to her house. She loves life and treats all her servants like family. George Parcy is her nephew and only living relative, and he wants to sell her house for his personal benefit. When he is murdered, a maid named Ann confessed to Cain she did it to protect Lady Grace's world. Later, it is revealed that Ann and the rest of the servants were actually protecting Grace, who killed George after he accused her of causing Kitty's death by telling her to fly out the window with Peter Pan.
(Appearance in "Lion Crest")
A young lady who first met Cain in a bar, the two shortly discover her fiancé Colin Rufus Palmer's body in the streets. She comes from a rich family, which consists only of her strict brother Dudley. From appearance she is a flirt, wears heavy makeup and expensive dresses, disregarding of proper manners and considered a burden to both her brother and fiancé. While researching Colin's death, Cain realizes that Dudley is responsible, and Dudley freely admits to it. He had seen Colin beating Eliza, hence her reason for the thick makeup, and in a fight between the two men, Dudley killed Colin. Eliza, realizing that her assumption about her brother hating her was wrong (he broke one of his legs when they were young trying to protect her), promises to wait for him until he is out of jail so that they can live happily once more.
(Appearance in Bloody Maria")
A woman who frequently stays indoors due to her poor health, she employed Jizabel as her personal doctor at a time when Cain was seeking him. When the story went out that her models, all young boys with blonde hair resembling her dead son's, always end up disappearing, Cain disguises himself as a blonde commoner to get inside the house. Maria's tenderness to him temporally lowers his guard, but soon he realizes that it was indeed Maria, and not Jizabel, who has done the murders. She commits suicide after Cain points out her selfishness even as a mother.
(Appearance in Solomon Grundy's Sunday)
A woman in funeral attire carrying a doll, she meets Cain aboard a train. Related to the Mother Nursery Poem about a man who was born and died on the same week, she tells Cain the story of how she fell in love with a man who had lost his memory. A week later, he remembers his memories and becomes a harsh man who only desired money. He wants his Sapphire ring back as she had hidden it away as a symbol of their love, and upon her refusal throws away her medicine so that she dies on the train. The ring was actually hidden in the doll she carried, and Cain sets up a poison so that Ester (actually Edward) dies when he tries to take the ring.

External links

godchild in German: God Child
godchild in Estonian: Godchild
godchild in French: Comte Cain
godchild in Italian: God Child
godchild in Japanese: 伯爵カインシリーズ
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