August 14, 2022

‘Tikna mora o beng’

On Sunday, the Shelbys and co were back. Peaky Blinders made its long-awaited return with a tense and moving first episode that picked up right where we left off at the end of the last series and featured a moving tribute to the late Helen McCrory a.k.a. Aunt Polly.

But by the end of the episode, many fans were left asking only one question: what’s wrong with Tommy’s daughter, Ruby, and what was the significance of her feverish mutterings?

In the climax to the season opener, Tommy is on the phone with his wife Lizzie, who informs him they cannot travel to see him in America because their daughter is ill. Tommy is obviously worried by this, but his concern turns to outright panic and horror when Lizzie tells him Ruby had been having visions of a green-eyed man and saying the Romani words “tikna mora o beng.”

Viewers quickly tried to work out what this meant.

Well, it doesn’t look great for Ruby, as some worked out. When roughly translated from Romani language, ‘tikna’ means little girl or daughter, while “beng” is a supernatural being, and can be the Devil himself.

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“Mora” means friend, but seems to be derived from the Latin “mors” – which means death.

The conclusion? Tommy believes his daughter has been cursed.

And a green-eyed man? Well, green eyes are famously the symbol of jealousy and envy, leading some fans to wonder whether Michael could have a part to play in Ruby’s fate.

After receiving the news of Ruby’s visions and mutterings, Tommy tells Lizzie to get Johnny Dog’s wife to put a black madonna around Ruby’s neck for protection from curses.

Tommy has always been under the impression that he comes from a cursed family, and he has often experienced visions. Aunt Polly meanwhile was well-versed in the mystical. She was able to read tea leaves and also had visions, with Tommy believing she was gifted with ‘second sight.’

As a family with strong gypsy roots, the supernatural and superstitious matter to the Shelbys and Tommy.

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Usually, Tommy would consult Aunt Polly on this matter, but she is no longer around to advise him.

So the season opener finished with Tommy rushing back to England to be with his family, and continue his latest business venture – trying to source a distributor for his opium in Boston, but we won’t go into that here.

Only time will tell what the fate of Tommy’s daughter is. One thing’s for certain, it doesn’t look like things are getting any easier for him and his family.

Viewers of the episode also praised the show for its emotional tribute to McCrory. The show’s writers had planned for her character Aunt Polly to feature in this series before the actor’s sad passing last year.

So the show paid tribute to her in its own way, with her character being killed off and being given a touching funeral by her co-stars and onscreen family.

The episode was then dedicated to the memory of McCrory, with only birdsong playing over the closing credits.

The whole episode was a fitting tribute to McCrory, whose spirit and presence will never leave the show.

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