What Is Harrowing In ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’? Sabrina’s Determined To Destroy It
This post contains spoilers about Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Hazing can become a common practice within sports teams and schools, and it turns out that the witches’ world in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is no exception to these methods of bullying. When Sabrina started classes at the Academy of Unseen Arts, the Weird Sister orphans made it clear that her status as a half-witch wasn’t exactly welcomed at the school. The trio’s methods of trying to weaken Sabrina’s will were actually time-honored traditions at the Academy, so what is harrowing? Sabrina plays a part in ridding of the school’s deadly hazing routine.
If the fact that Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) had to attend the Academy on the weekends wasn’t enough of a drag, her first night there proved that her magical training isn’t going to be an easy ride. After Quentin, who Sabrina believed to be another student, warned her not to show her fear, the Weird Sisters kidnapped her from bed to spend the night in the witches’ cell. While Harry Potter and friends often ended up in cramped magical quarters accidentally, Sabrina was taken to the cell in order to fulfill the witch tradition of enduring the horrors the Greendale witches experienced centuries before. Her cat Salem snuck into the space to keep her company, but the Weird Sisters’ next challenge confirmed that they weren’t just targeting Sabrina for their own amusement.
After she spent another night facing the hanging tree and hearing false, tortured voices of her loved ones, Sabrina discovered the real scoop about the Weird Sisters’ cruel focus on her from Quentin. Revealing that nothing in the woods could hurt him now, Quentin, apparently a ghost of some kind, led her to a graveyard where he and other children were buried. Sabrina realized that the children were "harrowed," which is simply defined as being disturbed, and that Prudence, Dorcas, and Agatha were trying to drive her to her death.
No surprise, but not much is considered too extreme in this particular universe of witches, and Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) wrote off the abuse as school culture, saying, "Good harrowing forages the weak." Boarding school lends itself to antics, but unlike any mere mortal hazing patterns, students lost to harrowing were forever bound to the Academy because they died there. As per usual in the Spellman household, Hilda and Zelda pointed Sabrina toward the best solution, believing that the harrowed kids longed for revenge against everything the Weird Sisters represented.
In the Weird Sisters’ final harrowing test of Sabrina, the teen witch turned the tables, reminding the girls that the original Greendale 13 wouldn’t want witches to fight against each other. Before Sabrina was hung from a tree, the harrowed ghosts appeared, causing the Weird Sisters to take Sabrina’s place in the nooses. As the ghosts recited, "Light as a feather, stiff as a board," Sabrina called for the end of harrowing, and the panicking Weird Sisters agreed. Father Blackwood later scolded ringleader Prudence for letting Sabrina humiliate the sisters like that, but putting an end to the bullying was only the first of Sabrina’s subtle effects on the world of witches throughout Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Season 1 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is currently streaming on Netflix.
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