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His spirit sometimes roamed to a dark and horrible place. A place he felt he had been before, where his feathers had not been blue, but raggedy and black. A place in which he had been possessed by uncontrollable urges for which he knew he must now pay until the phonqua was completed."
—Narrator, The River of Wind

The Striga
Chinese Striga 1
Description
Species: Blue Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Gender: Male
Family
Family and Relatives: N/A
Book Appearances
Appears in: The River of Wind, Exile, The War of the Ember
Details
A dragon owl of the Middle Kingdom; a former hagsfiend in a past life

The Striga, also known as Orlando, was a male blue snowy owl and former dragon owl from the Panqua Palace. He fled from the Middle Kingdom into the Southern Kingdoms seeking a more meaningful life without the influence of "vanities." He was also known as Orlando by the owls of the Middle Kingdom. He is the main antagonist of book 14, Exile, (while Nyra is in hiding) and the secondary antagonist of book 15, The War of the Ember (upon Nyra's return, she takes over as main villain again).

Physical Description

The Striga's feathers were turquoise, and his eyes were pale yellow. He plucked his long tail feathers until they were suitable for flight. Bell notes him to look like a mixture of Spotted and Snowy.

History

Before the Books

In his past life, the Striga had been a hagsfiend named Orlando along with all the other Dragon Owls of the mock court in the Middle Kingdom. Theo sought to give the hagsfiends the illusion of power, so he lured them to the Middle Kingdom and created the mock court in the Panqua Palace. In there, they were pampered and surrounded by vanities that would render them harmless. As a result, their feathers grew longer and they were weighed down by their sheer excess of feathers, which turned them into Dragon Owls, thus taking away the ability to fly. Orlando, however, overcame the illusion of these vanities and plucked off his own feathers in an attempt to escape from his phonqua and redeem himself. He resided in the Southern Kingdoms for nearly a moon cycle gathering followers in his journey to rid the world of vanities. This group eventually came to be known as the Blue Brigade.
Ru cover 13

The Striga on the Russian cover of The River of Wind

The River of Wind

The Striga first appeared when Bell, Soren's daughter, became lost and hurt. She was found by Orlando, now named the Striga, who nursed her back to health. He believed his chance at redemption would come by rescuing Bell and in doing so, avoid his own phonqua despite his actions in his past life. Later, both he and Bell were captured by the Pure Ones and taken to the Desert of Kuneer. He was then interrogated by Nyra, who wanted to know where the chaw of chaws had headed to. Through her own deductions and by drugging the Striga with a serum, Nyra ordered for a slink melf operation to be carried out that would ensure the assassination of the young king, Coryn and his uncle Soren. Later, the Striga and Bell were rescued by Cuffyn, an Elf Owl, who put the light guard left behind asleep with bingle juice. After returning Bell to the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, he guided the forces of the Guardians back to the Middle Kingdom on the River of Wind. Despite his previously honourable actions, the Striga killed off the remainder of the slink melf, but was accused of acting out of pride and anger by the H'ryth. The H'ryth also proclaimed that his phonqua was not yet finished but he allowed the Striga to return with the Guardians to the Great Ga'Hoole Tree.

Exile

With the arrival of the Striga at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, the annual Harvest Festival was subdued to a great extent out of respect for the Striga's deference from vanities. The Striga started a Blue Feather Club at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree that was at first assumed to be just one of many passing fads. However, the Striga's malign influence began to take a more sinister turn when the metaphorical cleansing of vanities became a literal one
Ru cover 14

The Striga on the cover of Exile in Russian.

where books and even owls were being burned because of their supposed vanity. It was also during this time that the Striga began to influence Coryn's decisions with the same tactics that he himself was subdued by in the mock court: flattery. Slowly, books from the library went missing which prompted Otulissa to remove some of the most important books and transport them to the Palace of Mists. The great harp also was mysteriously sabotaged several times. He often took what he called "contemplative journeys," but in reality he would help the Blue Brigade deal with offenders to their beliefs during their raids for fripperies. Eventually, he ordered the exile of the band while they were out on a weather interpreting mission to study windkins when they were seen talking to "scrooms" by Tarn, a Burrowing Owl in service to the Pure Ones.

He was later exiled when the band came back.

The War of the Ember

The Striga then joined with Nyra and the Pure Ones to gain revenge on the Tree, as seen in Coryn's vision of them in a cave together. They devised a plan to hatch hagsfiend eggs using the Dragon Owls who escaped from the Panqua Palace. This scheme was overheard by a puffin named Dumpy. The Striga had in his mind becoming mates with Nyra, which she had no intention for. He also seemingly thought of her as being too straightforward and wondered how she managed to survive without using the power of strategy like he did. Despite insulting Nyra in his head, he stayed with her as her power far exceeded his own.

During the War of the Ember, the Striga came to Nyra's assistance as she battled Coryn, while Soren arrived to help his nephew. In the end, Nyra was ultimately killed by an ice splinter from Soren and fell into the lava before the Striga could help. He cowardly tried to flee, seeing that they'd lost with Nyra's demise, but chopped Coryn's left wing off when he tried to follow. In return, Soren sliced off the Striga's head with Ezylryb's old battle claws. The Blue Snowy Owl now lays in hagsmire with Nyra.

Gallery

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