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  • Hal_10000
    replied
    My Take

    On this fascinating discussion:

    (1) Keep in mind, Londo is very old-fashioned. His hair, his attitudes, his reliance on prophesy, his sense of honor. Cartagia *specifically* rejected old mores by cutting his hair short and Kiro scoffed at prophecy. Many people have dreams of being killed or being about to die -- I certaintly have. Londo remembers his because he is superstitious. Others don't because they aren't.

    (2) One of things JMS hit again and again was *context*. We knew from day one that G'Kar would kill Londo. What we didn't know was the context. We knew that Sinclair and Delenn would be on Babylon 4 after it vanished. We didn't know the context. And without all the details, you can't live your life in a bunker. If you a vision of being killed by Narns, you can't then pass up your chance at power because of it. If you have a vision of being murdered in your own throne room, you can't refuse the crown.

    (3) Remember that B5 was a 45-minute show with an ensemble cast. it's possible Cartagia or Refa had vision of their deaths. But the show wasn't about them. It was about Londo. You only have 45 minutes x 110 episodes to tell the story. And you have to focus on what's important.

    The prophecy aspect -- and its harking back to Shakespeare and Greek tragedy -- is a wonderful aspect of B5. The Sybil always gave ambiuguous answers -- seers always have. It's how you keep a high batting average. But prophecy often leads to overconfidence (think of the Scottish Play) or bring about the very events that cause it (Oedipus). B5 was absolutely steeped in classical literature. It's why we love it.

    Leave a comment:


  • I love Lyta
    replied
    Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino
    Irresistable nitpick:

    When Londo asks, "What do you want?" and Luc replies with "Tell me a story", Senna admonishes Luc for his impertinence. Londo's reply is addressed to her, not Luc. "He did a far better job with that question than I did."

    Regards,

    Joe
    WHOOPS! You're right.
    Ah, brain degeneration from old age and alcohol abuse is not something that goes lightly on you...

    Leave a comment:


  • Joseph DeMartino
    replied
    Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow
    Can't change destiny, eh?
    What can I tell you? Life's a bitch and then you go beyond the Rim.

    Joe

    Leave a comment:


  • SmileOfTheShadow
    replied
    Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino
    A theory Sheridan demonstrates by going to Z'ha'dum with the hope that doing so will avoid the future he saw on Centauri Prime, even if it means his own death and the loss of a future where he and Delenn married and had a son.

    Regards,

    Joe
    Can't change destiny, eh?

    Leave a comment:


  • Joseph DeMartino
    replied
    When Londo told the boy in his throne room he can give one order and then asks:"What do you want?", and the boy orders him to tell him a story, Londo says:"You did far better with this question than I did."
    Irresistable nitpick:

    When Londo asks, "What do you want?" and Luc replies with "Tell me a story", Senna admonishes Luc for his impertinence. Londo's reply is addressed to her, not Luc. "He did a far better job with that question than I did."

    Regards,

    Joe

    Leave a comment:


  • Joseph DeMartino
    replied
    ...AND then of course there is a theory that if you try to avoid a certain future event by all means you are actually working towards it happening in the first place.
    A theory Sheridan demonstrates by going to Z'ha'dum with the hope that doing so will avoid the future he saw on Centauri Prime, even if it means his own death and the loss of a future where he and Delenn married and had a son.

    Regards,

    Joe

    Leave a comment:


  • I love Lyta
    replied
    Well, Londo wasn't able to make much of the shadow ships in the sky of Centauri Prime before he saw it happen in real life either.
    So I think mostly it's hard to determine for them when and where the situation is going to take place and what really comes of it.
    And in Refa's case I also agree that it would be simply due to blind ignorance in anticipation of his plan coming to fruition.
    How often have I seen Poker players risk everything on a great hand not realizing that someone else might have an even better hand...
    AND then of course there is a theory that if you try to avoid a certain future event by all means you are actually working towards it happening in the first place.

    Btw, I know it's not really on topic, but this fits in here best of all threads.
    Sunday I saw In the Beginning again and noticed something that even slipped by my attention when I read the last book of the Legion's of Fire trilogy.
    When Londo told the boy in his throne room he can give one order and then asks:"What do you want?", and the boy orders him to tell him a story, Londo says:"You did far better with this question than I did."
    I coudn't help it but grin.
    Last edited by I love Lyta; 12-13-2006, 12:50 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Joseph DeMartino
    replied
    So, maybe there are Centauri who don't put much stock in the idea of being able to see their own deaths, because life has moved on, culture and technology have advanced, they don't really think they need that mumbo-jumbo anymore, and they think the idea of general seership among the populace is nonsense.
    Which would fit with JMS's consistent refusal to make aliens culturally, linguisitcally and religiously monolithic. Humans are endlessly diverse in all these areas, why shouldn't aliens be?

    Part of the answer, of course, is lazy writing and bad metaphors. if you think of alien planets as stand-ins for countries, instead of big places that might contain many countries, just as Earth does, then you're apt to think in broad terms about "culture" and "character" and write in cliches. (All Klingons are warriors, the Ferengi are mad about money and profit, etc.) This is the same impulse that makes bad and lazy writers of "mainstream" shows and movies write about Germans as if they were all heel-clicking robots obsessed with efficiency, Frenchmen as beret-wearing beatniks mumbling deep thoughts and Americans as cowboys.

    Lord Kiro is pretty dismissive about Lady Morrella's powers, Refa is a pragmatist and an opportunist who believes in himself and what he can touch and feel, and doesn't concern himself with anythying else - and Cartagia's whole reign is one big assault on Centauri tradition and belief. It makes perfect sense that they would ignore even such dream-warnings at they may have received.

    Regards,

    Joe

    Leave a comment:


  • moreorless
    replied
    Originally posted by AmyG
    It could also be a cultural thing. Look at how many people currently scoff at herbal remedies and alternative medicine, but how many other people swear by them. People scoffing at it doesn't mean that it's ineffective. I know someone who thinks that the suggestions "Keep a positive attitude" and "Laughter is the best medicine" are "too new agey." This person was forced to use acupuncture for a very painful condition at one point...and it worked. Yet he still scoffs at it, and at other alternative treatments. So, maybe there are Centauri who don't put much stock in the idea of being able to see their own deaths, because life has moved on, culture and technology have advanced, they don't really think they need that mumbo-jumbo anymore, and they think the idea of general seership among the populace is nonsense.
    Lord Kiro certainly doesnt seem to put much stock in them in signs and portents.

    Leave a comment:


  • AmyG
    replied
    It could also be a cultural thing. Look at how many people currently scoff at herbal remedies and alternative medicine, but how many other people swear by them. People scoffing at it doesn't mean that it's ineffective. I know someone who thinks that the suggestions "Keep a positive attitude" and "Laughter is the best medicine" are "too new agey." This person was forced to use acupuncture for a very painful condition at one point...and it worked. Yet he still scoffs at it, and at other alternative treatments. So, maybe there are Centauri who don't put much stock in the idea of being able to see their own deaths, because life has moved on, culture and technology have advanced, they don't really think they need that mumbo-jumbo anymore, and they think the idea of general seership among the populace is nonsense.

    Leave a comment:


  • moreorless
    replied
    Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino
    It also depends on how much is "seen" Cartagia has a dream where he spins around and someone he's never seen before stabs him in the chest. Refa sees himself being set upon by Narns in a dungeon, but has no idea where he is, when it happens or what brings it about.

    When the event happens Cartagia probably doesn't "see" Vir. He's a nobody, why would Cartagia pay any attention to him? Not seeing, he can't recognize Vir and therefore has no way of knowing that this might be the day he foresaw. Besides, Cartagia dies in an exact replica of the Centauri palace, something built specifically to surprise him when he comes to Narn. So if he had visions of his death he would have assumed that he died on Centauri Prime and viewed a trip to Narn itself as perfectly safe. Finally Cartatgia was a total Looney who thought the Shadows were in league with the ancient gods and about to confer godhood on him while his world burned. I doubt he would give an more credence to an old dream that contradicted that dellusion than he would to anything else that did.

    Similarly even if Refa had had some kind of flash showing his own death, he almost certainly would not have connected them with his trip to Narn, which in his mind is his trap being sprung on Londo. As far as he's concerned, he's in control. He's in no danger from anyone on Narn, least of all the Narn themselves, since he is surrounded by armed Narn security. Why worry?

    Regards,

    Joe
    Indeed, if you look at Londo's own vision its ultimately very deceptive aswell. I'd say his(and possible other centauri's) death dreams are more like a test, if you try and act immorally to avoid them you end up inflicting suffering on others and yourself. The dream is one of the main reasons Londo is afraid of the Narn afterall which leads him to act as he does in season 2-3, accepting the dream by saving G'Kar and becoming emporer ultimately saves his people.

    I'v no idea if it was part of JMS background of the characters but if Refa and Cartagia did have the visions you say it could actually explain their behaviour aswell. The former would probabley view his as taking place after the Narn defeat the Centauri so have a desire to defeat them where as the latter is obsessed with killing off anyone he see's as a threat.

    Leave a comment:


  • Joseph DeMartino
    replied
    It also depends on how much is "seen" Cartagia has a dream where he spins around and someone he's never seen before stabs him in the chest. Refa sees himself being set upon by Narns in a dungeon, but has no idea where he is, when it happens or what brings it about.

    When the event happens Cartagia probably doesn't "see" Vir. He's a nobody, why would Cartagia pay any attention to him? Not seeing, he can't recognize Vir and therefore has no way of knowing that this might be the day he foresaw. Besides, Cartagia dies in an exact replica of the Centauri palace, something built specifically to surprise him when he comes to Narn. So if he had visions of his death he would have assumed that he died on Centauri Prime and viewed a trip to Narn itself as perfectly safe. Finally Cartatgia was a total Looney who thought the Shadows were in league with the ancient gods and about to confer godhood on him while his world burned. I doubt he would give an more credence to an old dream that contradicted that dellusion than he would to anything else that did.

    Similarly even if Refa had had some kind of flash showing his own death, he almost certainly would not have connected them with his trip to Narn, which in his mind is his trap being sprung on Londo. As far as he's concerned, he's in control. He's in no danger from anyone on Narn, least of all the Narn themselves, since he is surrounded by armed Narn security. Why worry?

    Regards,

    Joe

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by DeMonk
    It still leaves me with the question: If the Centauri have these excellent seers, why don't they put them to better use? Adapt policies to their input maybe?
    Perhaps because, as somebody said, when prophecy doesn't come true, it's just a metaphor?

    Prophecy is rarely clear. Take Lady Ladira's prophecy for Lord Kiro, that he'd someday be killed by Shadows. Obviously the policy he should have followed would have been to stay in bright light always but as things turned out, that wouldn't have done him any good.

    Lady Morella's prophecies for Londo have been endlessly debated-the eye that does not see, not killing the one who's already dead and submitting to his greatest fear. I can't think of one that's clear cut with no alternate meanings.

    Jan

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  • DeMonk
    replied
    Originally posted by Jan
    ... We also don't know how much 'death visions' are discussed in Centauri society. Wouldn't it make for depressing dinner conversation? It seems that prophecy in the B5 universe is pretty inescapable, too.
    Jan
    That would depend on how they view death.
    Even here, some people who had a near death experience or mediums are not afraid of death any longer. They live according to their perception of truth... that death is simply a transition to another form of life. Who am I to say they're wrong? I have no idea.
    I have to admit though that the Centauri do not seem to be a very spiritual people.
    And yes, prophesy in the B5 universe is pretty inescapable, down to a broken arm and a pregnant lady.
    Marie Christine

    Leave a comment:


  • DeMonk
    replied
    Originally posted by Radhil
    (a) ... If it were that common you'd think it'd come up more, and Londo may have been *ahem* "generalizing" for the sake of not appearing insane to a foreigner...."
    Yes, I can see Londo doing exactly that.

    It still leaves me with the question: If the Centauri have these excellent seers, why don't they put them to better use? Adapt policies to their input maybe?

    Marie Christine

    Leave a comment:

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