BLUE SUN ROOM

The Guild, Serenity, Mal, and Inara

POSTED BY: BYTEMITE
UPDATED: Monday, June 16, 2014 19:43
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Monday, August 10, 2009 6:49 AM

BYTEMITE


So after digesting some of the "More about Sex and Inara" thread that Mal4Prez posted (here: http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=12&t=38801), I've been trying to sort through some ideas I have about Mal, Inara, and their lifestyles/careers.

I thought I'd throw some of these ideas out into the ring and see which ones survive and which ones get torn apart by tigers.

So, houses of the guild. Obviously they'll all have some things in common, like no forced prostitution and the rules on subscription fees and client payments. But do they all same policy on relationships, or might there some that might be more traditional and strict than others? And by traditional and strict, I mean geisha-like, having to retire to marry, versus the opposite end, French courtesans who could have spouses AND practice. Could individual Guild Houses have their own culture (more Christian, more Buddhist, less strict, more strict, etc.)? Could differences among Houses lead to widespread confusion over whether Companions can have relationships, as is suggested in the scene cut from War Stories?

I believe I've heard that Joss describes Companions as being like Greek Hetaerae, who upon marrying had to give up their privileged status. But it could be he was just using Hetaerae as an analogy to the privilege they enjoy.

Priestesses. What might being a Guild Priestess entail? To me, it sounds like the Priestess may put more emphasis on the spiritual and counsel side of the profession than on the money-making, and likely act as the administrators and diplomats of the guild. If Inara were to fulfill her dream of becoming a Priestess, and if a priestess has the option of not maintaining a client database, would this disenfranchise Inara as much as teaching, choosing to leave the guild, or being kicked out would?

Finally, Serenity. Both Mal and Inara love the ship, but I really think that as beneficial as the ship has been to him reconstructing himself, it's also become a destructive factor in his life. Out of Gas shows that it's a risk just flying in her, let alone the kind of jobs they have to take to keep her flying.

I've said before, that I think Mal needs to give up Serenity before he gets himself killed, and that Joss would write Mal giving up Serenity as symbolic of Mal finally healing from Serenity Valley. And, in starting a relationship with Inara, there would likely have to be some compromise in regards to career/lifestyle that both would need to make. Serenity is the biggest one I can see.

The only problem is, neat as that sounds, if Mal becomes landlocked, even if he's healed enough that he doesn't drive himself crazy with restlessness, how can this be balanced with the travel requirements of Inara's career? As a Rim-traveling companion, or even as a Guild ambassador to the Rim, she would need to travel.

That's all I can think of for now, but as things are discussed, I may come up with more.

EDIT: Another reference thread. http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=2&t=37626

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Monday, August 10, 2009 7:51 AM

UNABASHEDVIXEN


What would they call the show/movie if there was no more Firelfy-class Serenity?

I agree that Mal would eventually give up the ship, but to me that would end the series.

I like the idea of different Houses having different cultures - Inara's house, Madrassa, was on Sihnon, so it makes sense that she subscribes to Buddhism, but on Londinium, for example, maybe there was an overarching Christianity. In terms of dating, Kaylee asks Inara in the series what the Guild rules are, and Inara says it's complicated. This suggests Guild-wide policy on the matter, but maybe not.

I definitely agree on the House Priestess being an administrator/diplomat type. Maybe she would also keep a client roster, but of very select and important clients only - I would think it would be a big deal to retain the services of a House Priestess, considering what a big deal it seemed to be in Heart of Gold.

I wish we had seen more of the training house in the BDM - maybe more questions would have been answered.

Okay, I confess I hit "reply" to this post before seeing who wrote it - I'm not stalking you I swear!



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Monday, August 10, 2009 8:08 AM

BYTEMITE


Mal and Inara are a common topic of mine, don't worry about it. :) Just means you and I like the same things.

Quote:

What would they call the show/movie if there was no more Firelfy-class Serenity?

I agree that Mal would eventually give up the ship, but to me that would end the series.



Exactly. Ride off into the sunset on a horse, pan camera down to one last look at Serenity. Is there really any other way Joss would've done it?

Aside from the "Everybody dies" option.

Quote:

In terms of dating, Kaylee asks Inara in the series what the Guild rules are, and Inara says it's complicated. This suggests Guild-wide policy on the matter, but maybe not.


Could be that it's complicated because of MANY different ways of interpreting the rules, and it's likely still all mired in bureaucracy and forms even if you find a house and some priestesses to submit your forms to who might be favourable.

Or it could just be NOT ALLOWED, though I think a lot of us would be disappointed in Joss for going that way. It's the obvious answer. Joss rarely is obvious, he likes to twist.

Quote:

I definitely agree on the House Priestess being an administrator/diplomat type. Maybe she would also keep a client roster, but of very select and important clients only - I would think it would be a big deal to retain the services of a House Priestess, considering what a big deal it seemed to be in Heart of Gold.


I agree, although I think if a Priestess opted to not keep a roster, that might also be respected. But that could just be me hand waving.

Then again, maybe having a roster might not be such a big deal. I'm sure if a companion felt like working but now and then didn't feel like sex, he or she might still be able to engage clients who specifically just want comfort or companionship or even just someone to listen. The engagements might not always be about sex.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 9:02 AM

MANGOLO


I don't think Mal would ever give up his ship. Like any of the great captains of history, his ship defines him. Maybe he'd be in port more often as he ages, but 'keep flyin' is his credo.


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Monday, August 10, 2009 9:19 AM

KIMBER


If Mal gave up his ship, I would think he'd live on a ranch =) As for the guild, I think it frowns upon dating because that means less clients...but I think if Inara made her mind up, no guild would keep her from being with Mal.

Kim

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Monday, August 10, 2009 9:24 AM

PLATONIST



That may be true in other fictional stories, but not in a Whedon verse, Joss likes to take everything away from his characters, leave them with nothing, and see where that takes them. It's more likely Serenity will go down in a fiery ball with a narrow escape for the crew.

And, by the same token, Inara will probably never be a House Priestess, because that’s the life she left behind, like Simon.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 9:38 AM

BYTEMITE


Well, no, I didn't say House Priestess. That sounds to me like the title of whoever is directly in charge of a specific house. Like an Abbess. I agree that wouldn't be for Inara, she's definitely a traveler now.

But there has to be other positions of authority in the Guild. Houses, as I suggested, may have different cultures, but to completely not be talking to each other and the highest authority in a guild is the mother of one house? That wouldn't work.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 9:46 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by Mangolo:
I don't think Mal would ever give up his ship. Like any of the great captains of history, his ship defines him. Maybe he'd be in port more often as he ages, but 'keep flyin' is his credo.




I seem to recall most great Captains in history and literature either go down with their ship or end up alone, spurned by the Gods, and thinking of better days until something falls off their ship onto their head and kills them.

I guess it goes back to that old Roman phrase, when the heroes would return and were given a rite of triumph. Memento mori. The Romans didn't think you could have a legend where the hero was glorified in conquest without seeing the end of it, when the hero is forgotten and reminded of their own mortality.


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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:03 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Well, no, I didn't say House Priestess. That sounds to me like the title of whoever is directly in charge of a specific house. Like an Abbess.

The only context in which I've heard the term "Priestess" used is "House Priestess." This is clearly established in canon, that there is a leader of each House referred to as a Priestess.

The use of "Priestess" as a more general title seems to be your invention. I must admit that I'm not sure what you mean by it, and why you needed to make the correction to Platonist. Can you explain more what you mean?

Anyway, my impression of the Guild is one of well defined central authority. It's likely that each House has its own culture, but it seems that the rules of the job, so to speak, are pretty clear and strictly defined. The rules put on Inara in her contract (where was that posted? Anyone recall?) are pretty detailed, and nothing in canon suggests that that rules are not universal. Within the Guild, I mean.

It's like any modern franchise. Part of the success of Starbucks is that any store you walk into, you know exactly what you're getting for your money. And this has to be a sensitive thing in the sex trade. There clearly is need for the Guild to separate itself from regular whoring, and those rules put on Inara suggest that they are serious about protecting their brand.

That's probably not what you're looking to hear, Bytemite. I find that you often throw these ideas out there when you have a specific idea of how you want to set things up in your fic world, and I never seem to see things your way. Sorry!

As to Mal and his ship... another topic. I'll get to it in a separate post.

ETA: Bytemite, am I remembering wrong, or have we talked about the movie's Visual Companion? I seem to recall that you hadn't read it. If you haven't, you really should. A lot of the Guild's structure and philosophy is described in there, as well as the lifestyles of retired Companions, etc. In fact, I really need to read up on it too to refresh myself, but I'm not sure where my copy is at the moment...

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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:18 AM

UNABASHEDVIXEN


Inara's contract, from the show (made for The Train Job) is in the companion too - the first volume. I recall thinking I needed to get a magnifying glass though...

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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:23 AM

BYTEMITE


Oh, no worries about me. I'm working on Plan Bs, always preparing contingencies. Talking things over often helps me decide which direction I want to go if I'm hedging on something.

The only time we ever hear Priestess in canon is in terms of the House Priestess, it's true. It could be that companions are considered Priestesses as well, albeit apparently a step lower than a House Priestess. Certainly, Inara talks about her shuttle as a sacred place of union, and it seems like hierodule elements are a part of her career.

As a side note, I am highly amused just imagining Mal's reaction if he ever heard Inara describe the shuttle that way in his earshot...

Anyway. Even though the companion profession clearly has these elements, even though I concede that they MIGHT be considered priestesses, I'm not really sure companions are a religious figure in a legal sense. I don't believe they have legal authority to perform rites and rituals.

I do, however, think there may be men and women in the guild who DO have legal authority to perform religious ceremonies. Them I call Priestesses. And I also believe there may be High Priestesses, to help organize the guild on an inter-house level.

Nope, don't have the companions yet, but I mean to pick up both the series and the movie companions when I have the money to. <_< Or maybe for a Christmas present for myself.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:30 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by UnabashedVixen:
Inara's contract, from the show (made for The Train Job) is in the companion too - the first volume. I recall thinking I needed to get a magnifying glass though...

*
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OK, I really need to find that book! I'll dig through my basement tonight.

OK, as to our boy and his ship... Here I have a problem that my requirements for good character arcs and my requirements for happy endings and my requirements for an entertaining story are all different, so I can't settle my mind.

Of course, Mal "healing" and settling on a nice little ranch would be a proper kind of closure for him. But that bores me to tears. I agree with others here - it would have to be the last episode. Um, unless Joss pulled a Jossian miracle and made it interesting. Which he could surely do. I can't. I can't even imagine it. It's not entertaining, so I don't consider it. I have to keep the ship in play.

The happy-happy-lovey-dovey option has Mal and Inara finding love without compromising themselves or their chosen lives. I don't see this happening either, not in any easy way. I think they'd only find a life together after some big serious changes and hard knocks push them both out of their present paths. So then Inara keeping her job and Mal maintaining his... um, whatever it is he has/needs/will have, would be meaningless.

Let me try to explain more - I think that over seven seasons,

Select to view spoiler:


if Inara survived



some serious shakeups would have gone down. On the order of Buffy dying and coming back different and Spike getting a chip then a soul. You know, but without the witchcraft and stuff. But big serious season-long character changing arcs would have made the question of Inara's career moot. Could she work from Mal's ranch? Not an issue, because in season 4 the Guild turned out to be a secret rebel organization and she's no longer any part of it...

(Please, I'm not seriously suggesting that plot. Go with the spirit of it, not the detail.)

So, really, the whole question of: would Mal leave his ship or not? is overly simple to me. The real question is the nature of the serious shit that would happen to him, to them all, to change the game before the end. Sure, he might leave his ship, but why? What's the situation? It all depends on that.

Hmm. So I guess I see no solution for Mal and Inara if they live in a vacuum. Thank goodness the complicated Firefly `verse is there to push them around and make things different!

God, that is a terribly complicated response to a simple question. Sorry again!


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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:35 AM

BYTEMITE


Oh, and the companion papers thread.

http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=2&t=37626

I see you just posted, one sec and lemee see what you've written.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:54 AM

BYTEMITE


Complicated, but again, gives me something to think about.

...Heck, what COULD shake them out of the paths they're on? It'd almost have to be something systematic, because they're both too stubborn to let anything personal that might change their minds like, I dunno, FEELINGS maybe, get in the way of how they've chosen to live their lives.

And with Mal, there's not like any sort of systematic collapse that would remove criminal activity from the verse. Taken a notch lower, Mal loses his ship... Then what? He can't really buy another one, but maybe you're right, maybe I STILL don't see him giving up the risky criminal lifestyle. There's not a whole lot else he CAN be, or else he wouldn't have become a criminal in the first place.

It's starting to seem more and more like a completely hopeless doomed relationship, even if Inara's secret DOESN'T put an end to it first.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:56 AM

BYTEMITE


Ooh, I think I know a way to make that interesting though. Should I say it? I think I might use it, it could be spoilers. <_<

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Monday, August 10, 2009 10:59 AM

MAL4PREZ


Yep, that was the thread I was looking for!

Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
The only time we ever hear Priestess in canon is in terms of the House Priestess, it's true. It could be that companions are considered Priestesses as well, albeit apparently a step lower than a House Priestess.

This confuses me. Why use the same title if it's something different?

Are you using the term "Priestess" to separate the spiritual leaders from the business side of things?


Quote:

Certainly, Inara talks about her shuttle as a sacred place of union, and it seems like hierodule elements are a part of her career.

As a side note, I am highly amused just imagining Mal's reaction if he ever heard Inara describe the shuttle that way in his earshot...

Oh yeah - that'd be a good face he'd make LOL!

Quote:

Anyway. Even though the companion profession clearly has these elements, even though I concede that they MIGHT be considered priestesses, I'm not really sure companions are a religious figure in a legal sense. I don't believe they have legal authority to perform rites and rituals.
Hmm. I don't get that meaning out of the term "House Priestess." They do lean Buddhist, so while there's a strong spiritual side that the Priestess surely is there to represent, I don't think the Guild is as dependent on "rites and rituals" as, say, a Catholic organization would be.

Which kind of ceremonies do you have in mind?



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Monday, August 10, 2009 11:05 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Complicated, but again, gives me something to think about.

...Heck, what COULD shake them out of the paths they're on? It'd almost have to be something systematic, because they're both too stubborn to let anything personal that might change their minds like, I dunno, FEELINGS maybe, get in the way of how they've chosen to live their lives.

And with Mal, there's not like any sort of systematic collapse that would remove criminal activity from the verse. Taken a notch lower, Mal loses his ship... Then what? He can't really buy another one, but maybe you're right, maybe I STILL don't see him giving up the risky criminal lifestyle. There's not a whole lot else he CAN be, or else he wouldn't have become a criminal in the first place.

It's starting to seem more and more like a completely hopeless doomed relationship, even if Inara's secret DOESN'T put an end to it first.

I really have to run, but wanted to say... an example of what I'm imagining is River. Mal would have kept on keeping on if he hadn't had the Tams show up, then the Operative after him, then Miranda. Completely outside events that got in his face and made him change. And suddenly his little ship and his thieving ways aren't just a way to hide, but offer him a way to shake the whole damned `verse up.

So maybe he doesn't need to leave his ship. Maybe he just needs more outside events to redefine his life for him. And redefine himself. He found his hero again, which he never would have done by himself.

Clearly, Joss had a similar plot in store for Inara. Big game-changing shit. A good fic will dig into that - not just have Mal and Inara in their bubble, and the writer forcing some favorite ending on them, but have the wider `verse do it.

Gotta go! Write more later, I'm sure. Curious as to your ideas...

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Monday, August 10, 2009 11:33 AM

BYTEMITE


I think I've addressed your question about why have two different titles of Priestess, but if not, like I was saying, a House Priestess I think of as more like someone actually running a guild house, maybe by committee if the house is big enough. Whereas a priestess would be more like a companion, but legally authorized for performing ceremonies. And a High Priestess would operate between houses as necessary, devoted to facilitating communication and cooperation between guild strongholds and resolving disputes.

What kinds of ceremonies? I think of the sort of ceremonies that other priestesses of the sacred feminine could preside over. Coming of age ceremonies, fertility rituals, fertility IMPROVING rituals, blessings of marriage unions for clients or companions/former companions... I can think of a lot of aspects in the companion profession where some sort of guild new-age ideas might enter into the equation, and where the guild might seek to invest legal authority into a priestess figure.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 12:12 PM

BYTEMITE


As to Mal... I don't know. I really see his heroism as THE most likely thing to get him killed. Granted, he'll make us all cheer or cry by the end, but still, dead.

And I don't know that he didn't have heroism before River or Simon, in fact I think that's one of the positive (and rarely occurring) sides of Mal that Inara became attracted to. I think he operated as a hero in the limited capacity that he could.

The movie may have made him larger than life, but I doubt he'd really become important in the verse after Miranda. For one, he'd have to keep quiet about it, he couldn't take credit for it and wouldn't want to. And while I do think some people would be smart enough to figure it out, it's not a platform Mal can use without serious repercussions. I see him post-movie as still very much the little fish, but he does at least have an ace (River's psychic ability). I don't really see him leading armies again or rousing the population at large into casting off the Alliance.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 3:47 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
The movie may have made him larger than life, but I doubt he'd really become important in the verse after Miranda. For one, he'd have to keep quiet about it, he couldn't take credit for it and wouldn't want to. And while I do think some people would be smart enough to figure it out, it's not a platform Mal can use without serious repercussions. I see him post-movie as still very much the little fish, but he does at least have an ace (River's psychic ability). I don't really see him leading armies again or rousing the population at large into casting off the Alliance.

But that's not the point. Mal being a hero is not about stepping up on a larger stage or leading armies. It's about him taking action for something besides day-to-day survival. Come on, it's all over the script: it's about him having *belief* again. Miranda gave him back the belief he'd lost in the war. (And, like Book, I am so not talking about God.)

We've been talking about Serenity as a place to hide, where Mal avoids "real life" (whatever that is), and as such it was something he'd have to put behind him if he really wanted to get out of Serenity Valley. But when River brought him a cause, his ship became something else. *He* became something else, by fully rediscovering the leader he'd once been. His ship was no longer on inescapable reminder of the war. It became the means of achieving something important. It was redefined.

Yeah, I think that in the end location is meaningless. Mal can heal on his ship as much as he can anywhere else. And, as far as storytelling, the ship is a helluva lot more interesting than a stationary locale!


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Monday, August 10, 2009 3:53 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
I think I've addressed your question about why have two different titles of Priestess, but if not, like I was saying, a House Priestess I think of as more like someone actually running a guild house, maybe by committee if the house is big enough. Whereas a priestess would be more like a companion, but legally authorized for performing ceremonies. And a High Priestess would operate between houses as necessary, devoted to facilitating communication and cooperation between guild strongholds and resolving disputes.

Um... ok. Seems complicated. Seems like a different naming system would be a whole lot clearer than making them all different shades of Priestess.


Quote:

What kinds of ceremonies? I think of the sort of ceremonies that other priestesses of the sacred feminine could preside over. Coming of age ceremonies, fertility rituals, fertility IMPROVING rituals, blessings of marriage unions for clients or companions/former companions...
Seems beyond the Guild's business, especially the business of fertility and marriage. But we've already been over that one a'plenty.

Quote:

I can think of a lot of aspects in the companion profession where some sort of guild new-age ideas might enter into the equation, and where the guild might seek to invest legal authority into a priestess figure.
I really don't get what that means. Too general a statement for my nitpicky brain! Well, and not enough separation of church and state for my vision of the future.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 4:12 PM

BYTEMITE


I for one think that Mal DOESN'T find belief through Wash and Book's death. I think he's driven entirely by revenge and righteous anger to go to Miranda, to sic the Reavers on the unwitting Alliance peons, and in broadwaving the message. I don't see any new belief in Mal at all, and if so, in WHAT? Not God, obviously. Not himself, and not his crew, I'm pretty sure he already believed in those. A cause? What, like the same Independents cause that tore him down before?

I really just don't see it, and that has always felt tacked on to me. But then, I do realize that I am in a minority thinking that.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 4:20 PM

BYTEMITE


Maybe it is beyond the guild... Although we do see Inara helping someone with a coming of age ceremony in Jaynestown.

My vision of it is someone acting in more of an official capacity, but same general idea.

And no fertility rituals? What about elderly gentlemen? I'd think they'd pay for future Viagra delivered under the guise of religious ceremony. I'd think a lot of younger men might, too. Women would be trickier, but I'm sure there's a market.

Marriage, maybe not so much the actual "dearly beloved" and "do you take" parts, but presence at weddings, especially if it's a client or a companion, that I do see. And I can imagine the guild coming up with some fancy ritual that basically says "we approve, companions you have contracted with will not interfere with your new life, good luck."

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Monday, August 10, 2009 4:52 PM

TDBROWN


A note of interest...

Out of Curiosity, I looked up the word "Madrassa", as in House madrassa. It's a variation on an Arabic word, meaning "Public School". Take from this any meaning you want .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrasah

"Might have been the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one." -Mal

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Monday, August 10, 2009 4:55 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
I for one think that Mal DOESN'T find belief through Wash and Book's death. I think he's driven entirely by revenge and righteous anger to go to Miranda, to sic the Reavers on the unwitting Alliance peons, and in broadwaving the message. I don't see any new belief in Mal at all, and if so, in WHAT? Not God, obviously. Not himself, and not his crew, I'm pretty sure he already believed in those. A cause? What, like the same Independents cause that tore him down before?

I really just don't see it, and that has always felt tacked on to me. But then, I do realize that I am in a minority thinking that.

Hunh. Did you watch the same movie I did? That speech to the crew, the whole "I do not hold with that..." as in he does not hold messing with people and trying to make them... better. (and here he takes a significant look at River.)

That's not a belief Mal chose to stand up for?

*scratches head*

Yeah, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one, cause I'm a little astounded. Mal's rediscovered *belief* was not a subtle theme of the movie.


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Monday, August 10, 2009 5:01 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Maybe it is beyond the guild... Although we do see Inara helping someone with a coming of age ceremony in Jaynestown.

That was hardly a formal "ceremony" requiring any kind of legal standing as you've discussed for your Priestesses.


Quote:

And no fertility rituals? What about elderly gentlemen? I'd think they'd pay for future Viagra delivered under the guise of religious ceremony.
There hasn't been one iota of the show suggesting that this is a service the Guild offers. I mean, invent it if you want for your fic, but it ain't canon. Companions are hired for sex and companionship, not to get impregnated, and not to help someone else to get impregnated.


Quote:

Marriage, maybe not so much the actual "dearly beloved" and "do you take" parts, but presence at weddings, especially if it's a client or a companion, that I do see. And I can imagine the guild coming up with some fancy ritual that basically says "we approve, companions you have contracted with will not interfere with your new life, good luck."
Sure, they'll have a party, a happy going away deal, but do you believe this is happening so often that the Guild needs specially ordained marriage officials? It makes no sense!

I'm trying, but I just don't see any of this as practical. And it's certainly not canon. (Not that ideas have to be canon to make good fic.)


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Monday, August 10, 2009 5:01 PM

TDBROWN


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
I for one think that Mal DOESN'T find belief through Wash and Book's death. I think he's driven entirely by revenge and righteous anger to go to Miranda, to sic the Reavers on the unwitting Alliance peons, and in broadwaving the message. I don't see any new belief in Mal at all, and if so, in WHAT? Not God, obviously. Not himself, and not his crew, I'm pretty sure he already believed in those. A cause? What, like the same Independents cause that tore him down before?

I really just don't see it, and that has always felt tacked on to me. But then, I do realize that I am in a minority thinking that.

Hunh. Did you watch the same movie I did? That speech to the crew, the whole "I do not hold with that..." as in he does not hold messing with people and trying to make them... better. (and here he takes a significant look at River.)

That's not a belief Mal chose to stand up for?

*scratches head*

Yeah, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one, cause I'm a little astounded. Mal's rediscovered *belief* was not a subtle theme of the movie.


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And let us not forget, "Someone needs to speak for these people." Revealing the Truth of Miranda became important for Mal, part of the "I don't hold to that" thing.

"Might have been the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one." -Mal

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Monday, August 10, 2009 5:12 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by TDBrown:
And let us not forget, "Someone needs to speak for these people." Revealing the Truth of Miranda became important for Mal, part of the "I don't hold to that" thing.

"Might have been the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one." -Mal

And, in the last showdown:

MAL: I know the secret. The truth that burned up River Tam's brain. Rest of the 'verse is going to know it, too. 'Cause they need to.

OPERATIVE: Do you really believe that?

MAL: I do.

OPERATIVE: You willing to die for that belief?

MAL: I am.

Huge, pivotal moment of the movie. And not an accident that the "belief" word was used here, in the chat with Book, and by Inara when she described the Operative as a believer. AND when Book dies!

As I said, it was not a subtle theme! I hadn't thought so, anyway.



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Monday, August 10, 2009 5:29 PM

PLATONIST


Okay, now that we've firmly established that the movie is about "belief" can anyone tell me where the mindset that for Mal and Inara to be together, Mal would need to give up Serenity.

Doesn't she love the ship as much as him? It's their home. I've watched the show, read the comics, have all the Companion books, have every format of the movie and I still don't see this as an issue between them. She never asks him to give up his ship for her.

Now that her secret has been confirmed, in several panels, wouldn't she want to be near Mal and his crew, who she considers her family, as much as possible in the time she has left?
And that would mean being on Serenity.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 5:42 PM

MAL4PREZ


Easy there Platonist - the belief discussion is not so off topic! It's an offshoot of the idea that Mal would need to leave Serenity in order to leave Serenity Valley. It's not that he'd have to settle on a ranch to be with Inara, it's that he'd likely do better with her if he was all healed and stuff. Hence my thought that he does not need to leave the ship in order to change, to get better.

It has nothing to do with what Inara would want from him. (This is carried over from many discussions on other threads, so probably wasn't so clear.)


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Monday, August 10, 2009 5:57 PM

BYTEMITE


Oh! You misunderstand what I mean about a fertility rite. No, that's not what I'm saying here, about surrogate companions (think we had that conversation before).

In a fertility cult, a fertility rite was just a symbolic ritual, not necessarily about the priestess involved becoming pregnant, but rather as an emulation of the natural world, to produce some desired outcome through the magic of sex.

Weird, yes, but something I can see companions as being involved in.

Or, in the more usual use of the term fertility, and the example I used before, the idea of companions using their skills to treat impotence, or maybe disorders of the orgasm.

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Monday, August 10, 2009 6:01 PM

BYTEMITE


But... that's not a belief! That's the problem I have. That's not a renewed faith in anything, or a change of faith, or discovered faith, it's not a belief in the context of the way the word belief is being used.

That's like saying "I believe I should eat some chocolate cake" is a belief. It's something I'm DOING. Just because the word belief is used... I still don't know what Mal suddenly apparently BELIEVES in. And when he sends the message, what, is that belief GONE now?

Doesn't make sense!

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Monday, August 10, 2009 6:09 PM

BYTEMITE


The reason I've come to believe Serenity isn't a good place for them to stay is because staying on Serenity is dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that it's as much of a threat to a long-term relationship between Mal and Inara as so many people seem to think inara continuing as a companion should be.

They do love Serenity, I've never denied that. But that doesn't make it suitable place for them... Or Mal's lifestyle suitable for Inara.

She doesn't like that he's a criminal either you know. yeah, she might call him a Robin Hood when he's not around, but I can't believe she's quite so delusional as to think that Mal's thievery is ALWAYS noble. And I think the possibility that Mal could go off on a job and come back bleeding or dead is a frightening prospect for Inara, enough so that she feels the need to pray for his safety.

And Serenity is a big part of Mal's career and lifestyle, is symbolic of his inability to move on after the war, and in many ways represents some of his more self-flagellating qualities that keep him from being more than a petty thief.


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Monday, August 10, 2009 6:13 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

A note of interest...

Out of Curiosity, I looked up the word "Madrassa", as in House madrassa. It's a variation on an Arabic word, meaning "Public School". Take from this any meaning you want .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrasah




Neat! You know, I have thought that there must be a lot of Middle East influence on Sihnon as well as Indian and Chinese.

Inara's name, in Arabic, means "ray of light."

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 2:04 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Good discussion. Lots to think on.

Here's my two cents on the topics.

The House Priestess is likely the administrative head and public face of the House. She'd hire staff, manage disputes between Companions, offer guidance and generally run the House. Greet clients, schmooze clients and government officials, represent the House in public and at gatherings of other House Priestesses.

I can see too that she would maybe keep a very select clientel or even none at all depending on her other duties at the time.

I don't see Mal leaving Serenity. Maybe taking on more difficult jobs that stick it to the Alliance, but not all out personal war.

It would take even more changes in circumstances (defeat of the Alliance maybe?) to let him settle down on a planet or moon.

As to belief. I think it's believe in himself. He was shattered after the war and he never fully healed (dah!). He regained belief that what he does matters. He may not necessarily fight a literal war but from now on he'll be openly fighting his, his own way.

He'd been slipping below the Alliance radar being a "petty thief" and now I can see Mal being more open and honest, both personally and in dealings. It's like he has gotten his self confidence that was shattered in the war, back to some extent.

BTW I see a young Mal as a very self confident, maybe even brash and reckless young man before Serenity Valley. But smart and clever, in the things he does and the ultimate leader that inspies others to do great things. That's not the Mal we meet in the pilot.

He's reckless in the pilot, but in an almost self destructive way. He saves his ass and the crew's all the time but you can tell that the part of his heart that believes devoutly isn't in it.

I'd go on but I have to go to work. Work gets in the way of important things doesn't it?



http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/








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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:15 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
In a fertility cult, a fertility rite was just a symbolic ritual, not necessarily about the priestess involved becoming pregnant, but rather as an emulation of the natural world, to produce some desired outcome through the magic of sex.

That makes more sense! It still doesn't quite fit my own personal notion of the Guild - I don't see it so formal about "rites and ceremonies" - but that could be my own bias.

I haven't read much fic that delves into the spiritual side of the Guild. I'd like to, I think it could be quite interesting. Especially if it really explores the Buddhism aspect.

Re belief: NCBrowncoat says it well. Mal found belief and faith in himself, and in a cause worth dying for. You can't fit the dictionary definition of belief better than that!

Re the ship's danger: we've been over this one too, haven't we? I see the danger as inherent to the world they live in, and I don't think that settling on a ranch would be so much safer. The settlers we've seen are not removed from the slavers/thieves/bullies of the `verse. They actually seem more helpless, since they can't fight back dirty or leave a bad situation.

This thread has also got me thinking that Mal brings a lot of it on himself. I think a safer way of life will come from changing his own ways, not from choosing a new locale.

ETA: NCBrowncoat said "He's reckless in the pilot, but in an almost self destructive way. He saves his ass and the crew's all the time but you can tell that the part of his heart that believes devoutly isn't in it."

That's totally how I see it! He lost his first fight with the Operative because his heart just wasn't in it. That changed by the end of the movie.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:41 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Mal found belief and faith in himself, and in a cause worth dying for. You can't fit the dictionary definition of belief better than that!



I'd say this more describes Mal as having found a cause he believed in, not a belief like the one he lost in the Valley. Back then there is a faith in God, and the whole system of trust and justice and ethics attached to it. He still adhered to some of the ethics but clearly distanced himself from the entire concept of faith and belief AND from taking on causes because both his faith and his cause had failed him.

In the movie, he believes in the cause of making the Miranda secret public and in protecting River from the Operative. That second cause may outlast the other, but it's still not a kind of healing faith or belief that a person can base a life on, find peace in.

I don't think Mal has let go of his self-destructive anger in the movie. Sure, he talks about love, but that speech is not vastly different from the "That's enough" closing line of the pilot eppy, in terms of what we know about Mal afterwards. We already know Mal loves Serenity. That's not a revelation for those who've seen the series.

I didn't come out of the movie with the idea that Mal - the Mal from the series, not merely angry exposition!Mal from the movie - had grown in a significant way. He goes through an small arch from "stay away from all causes" to "this cause is worth fighting for" but it changes nothing about his overall mental state or life situation.

Which, I think, is the reason so many fics that pick up after the movie reflect it like that.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:43 AM

BYTEMITE


Yes, that's how I see the House Priestesses. Although the way you've describe their going between Houses, maybe I wouldn't need a higher organizational occupation... Though I still like the idea of it.

It's funny how differently I seem to see the movie from everyone.

If Mal's suffering from something during the series, I don't really see it as a lack of self-confidence or a real questioning of the choices he makes. He has some low opinions of his self-worth, maybe, but when he acts, I think he definitely does so with confidence.

I've known people like Mal, just maybe not QUITE so angry all the time. They're all about decide-and-act, I'll hear just enough of the details so I understand the situation, then we're done talking, my decision is final. If the situation changes or turns out to be different from represented, they quickly adjust on the fly, but again, it's a decide-and-act mindset. Don't agree? I'm right, you're wrong, you get the boot.

But if you start talking to them about FEELINGS? Oh lord. That is really just not their strong point. They CONTINUE to try to do the decide-and-act, and if you're trying to explain why you're upset about something, they don't realize you're just asking them to sympathize and listen, they think you're asking them to tell you what to do. *shakes head* It's funny, if completely annoying.

But it works the same way for their own feelings. What's the problem, how do I fix it. Can't fix it? Bah. Move on, other things to deal with more important than emotions. When they actually do have to soul search, they become awkward and/or frustrated because they don't have a lot of experience dealing with their emotions and sorting through them. Often they just end up again deciding "no, I'm going to feel THIS way, okay all better," and it usually doesn't work.

Anyway, my point is, I think that Mal has a lot of confidence in how he acts. Sometimes, that confidence CAN be a facade, him putting on the captain face, and underneath he CAN actually have doubts and low self-esteem. The problem is, he deals with that, like with everything else, by decide-and-act. His mindset has become "I'm a criminal, I'm a bad man, this is what I do, this is where I am, this is what I have to be." He does NOT listen to anyone who tells him otherwise.

I seriously doubt that the Miranda broadwave would increase his confidence. Two of his friends/"soldiers" just died. And this after deciding he would protect them no matter what, because they're part of his crew. I think he'd see it as a failure on his part, which reinforces the "I'm a bad man" mindset and makes him less likely to risk what he has left on fool quests and crusades. Not that I think the Miranda broadwave was, but I think that's how Mal would come to see it after.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:44 AM

PLATONIST


Well stated ncb, I especially like your description of Mal, pre and post war, and the change in him after Miranda. The movie wouldn't have much of a purpose if it wasn't about something and it did show an arc for Mal. The belief in one's self is a good place to start.

Mal's choices: I think one of the things that the movie illustrated well was that once Mal embraced his former self and confronted his failure (one he feels as a personal lose) at Serenity Valley, he was able to regain his believe that he could do something meaningful (speak for others) and use his leadership talents by setting up the Alliance in the process.

Mal and Serenity, I'd like it to be his choice to leave, maybe if he found work he was comfortable with...ranching? But, that would be the end of the story as far as the one we call Firefly, second generation stories would ensue. But until that time, Inara's issues are left unresolved...and so forth.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:48 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Mal found belief and faith in himself, and in a cause worth dying for. You can't fit the dictionary definition of belief better than that!



I'd say this more describes Mal as having found a cause he believed in, not a belief like the one he lost in the Valley. Back then there is a faith in God, and the whole system of trust and justice and ethics attached to it. He still adhered to some of the ethics but clearly distanced himself from the entire concept of faith and belief AND from taking on causes because both his faith and his cause had failed him.

In the movie, he believes in the cause of making the Miranda secret public and in protecting River from the Operative. That second cause may outlast the other, but it's still not a kind of healing faith or belief that a person can base a life on, find peace in.

I don't think Mal has let go of his self-destructive anger in the movie. Sure, he talks about love, but that speech is not vastly different from the "That's enough" closing line of the pilot eppy, in terms of what we know about Mal afterwards. We already know Mal loves Serenity. That's not a revelation for those who've seen the series.

I didn't come out of the movie with the idea that Mal - the Mal from the series, not merely angry exposition!Mal from the movie - had grown in a significant way. He goes through an small arch from "stay away from all causes" to "this cause is worth fighting for" but it changes nothing about his overall mental state or life situation.

Which, I think, is the reason so many fics that pick up after the movie reflect it like that.



Exactly exactly exactly what I think. And said SO much better.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 5:08 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Mal found belief and faith in himself, and in a cause worth dying for. You can't fit the dictionary definition of belief better than that!

I'd say this more describes Mal as having found a cause he believed in, not a belief like the one he lost in the Valley.

Again to quote Book: “When I talk about belief, why do you always assume I'm talking about God?”

This is a different discussion you bring up, AR. I wasn’t arguing that Mal is completely healed and fixed at the end of the movie, with a whole new lifelong belief to replace his lost faith in God. But he certainly has found *a* belief, countering what Bytemite posted: “I for one think that Mal DOESN'T find belief through Wash and Book's death. I think he's driven entirely by revenge and righteous anger to go to Miranda, to sic the Reavers …”

That’s what I’ve been after – this idea that he was operating under nothing but revenge and righteous anger. I don't agree with that!

On to what you’re saying...

As Book says when he dies, it doesn’t matter what you believe, just believe. Mal’s made that step, seen that there is something in life worth fighting for. You may see this as no great change in his “overall mental state or life situation”, but I do. Very much. The war taught him that fighting for a cause will lead only to betrayal and loss, and he’s been a hallowed out, empty man living a directionless life or several years. He’s been avoiding any cause like the plague. But now he’s taken a huge risk in letting himself fight for a cause, and he won. That’s a step in the right direction. That allows him to take more steps.

As a person who lived without direction for several years myself, I can tell you that taking that first risk is the hardest damn step.


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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 5:20 AM

PLATONIST


I don't want to completely disagree with you AgentRouka, but, one of the things I took away from the movie, was that Mal, because of his investing in a cause and having a triumphant outcome has the confident tools to apply to up and coming obstacles that life will surely throw his way.

Is he completely healed and perfect now, no, but are any of us? He certainly has a better outlook, "We'll get through it soon enough".
I have a poster up in my classroom that says, "You can't change your past, but you CAN change your future" and a lot of my students ask me how to do that.

I tell them it means that once you've identified your mistakes you can learn from them, and you can do it differently next time, but that’s not going to happen until you try again.

That’s all Mal did, was to try again.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 5:23 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
In a fertility cult, a fertility rite was just a symbolic ritual, not necessarily about the priestess involved becoming pregnant, but rather as an emulation of the natural world, to produce some desired outcome through the magic of sex.

That makes more sense! It still doesn't quite fit my own personal notion of the Guild - I don't see it so formal about "rites and ceremonies" - but that could be my own bias.



Remember in Jaynestown, where Inara insists on performing a tea greeting ceremony and pretty much forces Magistrate Higgins to leave?

I see a LOT of rituals and references to rituals and hints of rituals that I recognize with Inara, actually. I think they're common to companions, and I think there may be positions in the guild that delve more deeply into the ritualism and spiritualism.

Quote:

I haven't read much fic that delves into the spiritual side of the Guild. I'd like to, I think it could be quite interesting. Especially if it really explores the Buddhism aspect.


Me too! When I tried to write House Madrassa in one of my fics, I took as much inspiration from descriptions of the Forbidden City and Buddhist symbolism as I could, and really played up the belief Buddhists have in reincarnation. I think Inara's faith and spiritualism are a very important part of her, that we don't see as often as we do with Book simply because of the slight separation Inara has from the crew in the series.

Quote:

Re the ship's danger: we've been over this one too, haven't we? I see the danger as inherent to the world they live in, and I don't think that settling on a ranch would be so much safer. The settlers we've seen are not removed from the slavers/thieves/bullies of the `verse. They actually seem more helpless, since they can't fight back dirty or leave a bad situation.

This thread has also got me thinking that Mal brings a lot of it on himself. I think a safer way of life will come from changing his own ways, not from choosing a new locale.



Well, it's definitely true Mal brings a lot of it on himself...

The one time we really get a close look at how a family on the Rim might live is in the Heart of Gold episode. My impression is that yeah, sometimes some of their patrons might get annoying or too grabby and have to be ejected, but that the fight they have with Rance Burgess actually isn't business as usual.

You have Reaver raids, and slaver raids if you're not careful, and crime, and sometimes even Alliance power-trips, but my actual impression of the Rim is that despite all the hardship, there are actually long periods of peace and quiet.

Which is an impression I DON'T get with Serenity and her crew. It feels like they're always scrambling to get to the next world a few hours to a day or two away and get jobs and NOT get shot. Their lifestyle seems much higher stress than do the lives of settlers, based on accounts I've read from my ancestors moving out here to Utah.

Pioneers had Indian raids, federal government raids (the state looks down on polygamy, you know), even environmental stress and tension/politics within neighbors and the Mormon church. But really, actually? It was a hard life and hard work, but danger was more like in getting a bad cold or a snake-bite than with people.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 5:29 AM

BYTEMITE


I just don't understand how anyone can really call the movie a TRIUMPH for Mal. Two people he really cared about and who he had taken under his protection DIED.

I sure don't see it as a triumph. Pyrrhic victory, maybe, but not something that would make anyone say "Glorious! Let's do that again, Whee!"

If Mal had known Book and Wash would've died, would he have done it anyway? Maybe, but he'd have thought it over more too, I think. I think he'd come away from Miranda with a lot of regrets.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 5:43 AM

PLATONIST


It's a "personal" triumph for Mal, B. That’s all I’m saying.

At the end, the Operative is asking Mal how he dealt with his loss at Serenity. Mal's strength as a leader is restored by the Operative's admiration.

Unfortunately, there are always consequences for your actions, whether they are well intended or not, like Wash and Book, but that doesn't negate the impact of what he did for those on Miranda.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 5:54 AM

BYTEMITE


Huh, I guess I just don't see Mal as ever thinking that Wash and Book's death could make the Miranda broadwave worthwhile. Guess that's just a way you and I differ in regards to how we characterize Mal.

So, but we started talking about Mal and Serenity before this. I'm open to hearing alternative ideas, because like in my very first post, I recognized that Mal NOT having a ship would make it impossible for Inara to stay around. And I very much want her to stay around!

I just can't figure out how he can possibly heal on the ship when the environment is such a stressful one that forces him to take dangerous and criminal jobs.

I mean, I GUESS being with Inara could heal him, but that's soooo cliche. Plus that depiction would conflict with my belief that a relationship can't fix you, a person has to fix themselves before they can function in a relationship. I'd rather write Inara helping Mal to work through his issues, and Mal helping Inara with her troubles, and THEN they get together because then everything's right. Much more stable foundation.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 6:14 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Remember in Jaynestown, where Inara insists on performing a tea greeting ceremony and pretty much forces Magistrate Higgins to leave?

I see a LOT of rituals and references to rituals and hints of rituals that I recognize with Inara, actually. I think they're common to companions, and I think there may be positions in the guild that delve more deeply into the ritualism and spiritualism.

I've never said that there weren't ceremonies, clearly there are. But what we see Inara do is not such a formal ceremony that a specially trained, legally licensed, differently titled Priestess is required. This is part of every Companion's basic training.

But yes, I can see that there might be more formal ceremonies going on elsewhere in the Guild. I am still leary of the need to "invest legal authority". Again with the separation of church and state.


Quote:

I think Inara's faith and spiritualism are a very important part of her, that we don't see as often as we do with Book simply because of the slight separation Inara has from the crew in the series.
Agreed! It's a shame we never got to see more of that in the series.

Quote:


Well, it's definitely true Mal brings a lot of it on himself...

The one time we really get a close look at how a family on the Rim might live is in the Heart of Gold episode.

Who do you mean? Rance and his wife? I don't count them, as they were not the average settlers. Far from it!

We've seen plenty of average families though. The dead in Bushwhacked, the townspeople preyed on by bullies in OMR, the trod on clay workers in Jaynestown, the sick miners in The Train Job, the doctorless villagers in Safe. You think these people all have the option of settling at a safe, productive ranch and chose their difficult lives instead?

Surely, real life doesn't have near as much as ongoing danger and raids and killing as portrayed in the series. But this isn't real life. It's Joss's fictional world, and in his world, "Settlers got plopped down with a few supplies and maybe a mule. Some of them make it. Some of them."

"I sure don't see it as a triumph. Pyrrhic victory, maybe, but not something that would make anyone say "Glorious! Let's do that again, Whee!""

No one's saying this, Bytemite. No one's saying he feels good about the whole thing. Experiences that lead to personal growth are often unpleasant. Doesn't mean there isn't growth, and it doesn't mean that bitterness is the only possible outcome. He will always have cause for grief, but he can also feel good about himself that he didn't take it lying down. He fought back.

ETA: by the way, you say he was "driven entirely by revenge and righteous anger". What is righteous anger caused by, other than one's beliefs being crossed? How can one be righteous without belief?


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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 6:33 AM

BYTEMITE


Book as shown certainly didn't deserve to die. I use righteous anger in the sense that we can view it as understandable, even the correct emotional response.

Quote:

But yes, I can see that there might be more formal ceremonies going on elsewhere in the Guild. I am still leary of the need to "invest legal authority". Again with the separation of church and state.


Hmm, perhaps, but I think in the future, preachers are still performing marriages as much as county/moon magistrates. If that is so, and we can also view a priestess of the guild as a priestess as we define it today, as having some religious authority... Well, it seems to me like the guild might want to make sure that some of it's men and women are legally certified to perform the guild version of certain rituals or ceremonies. Prevent charlatans from posing as guild members and damaging the guild image or using the guild image to hurt people, you know?

Quote:

Who do you mean? Rance and his wife? I don't count them, as they were not the average settlers. Far from it!


I meant the whorehouse, actually. Nandi as the good caring head of household, the whores as the settler family. Nandi had to fight that time, I imagine on the Rim that yes, you do have to know how to fight, but like I said I don't think they were always in a drawn-gun standoff with Rance Burgess every day, or even every month.

Quote:

No one's saying this, Bytemite. No one's saying he feels good about the whole thing. Experiences that lead to personal growth are often unpleasant. Doesn't mean there isn't growth, and it doesn't mean that bitterness is the only possible outcome. He will always have cause for grief, but he can also feel good about himself that he didn't take it lying down. He fought back.


Like I was saying, I guess I can't see how someone can feel good about a personal milestone if someone they know and care about dies in the process. And if the person in question would undoubtedly feel responsible for the death.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 6:39 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Mal found belief and faith in himself, and in a cause worth dying for. You can't fit the dictionary definition of belief better than that!

I'd say this more describes Mal as having found a cause he believed in, not a belief like the one he lost in the Valley.

Again to quote Book: “When I talk about belief, why do you always assume I'm talking about God?”

This is a different discussion you bring up, AR. I wasn’t arguing that Mal is completely healed and fixed at the end of the movie, with a whole new lifelong belief to replace his lost faith in God. But he certainly has found *a* belief, countering what Bytemite posted: “I for one think that Mal DOESN'T find belief through Wash and Book's death. I think he's driven entirely by revenge and righteous anger to go to Miranda, to sic the Reavers …”

That’s what I’ve been after – this idea that he was operating under nothing but revenge and righteous anger. I don't agree with that!

On to what you’re saying...

As Book says when he dies, it doesn’t matter what you believe, just believe. Mal’s made that step, seen that there is something in life worth fighting for. You may see this as no great change in his “overall mental state or life situation”, but I do. Very much. The war taught him that fighting for a cause will lead only to betrayal and loss, and he’s been a hallowed out, empty man living a directionless life or several years. He’s been avoiding any cause like the plague. But now he’s taken a huge risk in letting himself fight for a cause, and he won. That’s a step in the right direction. That allows him to take more steps.

As a person who lived without direction for several years myself, I can tell you that taking that first risk is the hardest damn step.


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Amen, Mal4Prez that was exactly what I was trying to say and you say it so much better!

I was thinking about something else too....Mal's home planet is Shadow...In a way, he had a shadow cast over him and and he was a shadow of his former self.

Goodness, I love Joss's word play and foreshadowing.

And Bytemite, most of the time personal growth comes during a time of or as a result of great sadness and regret.

Boy, don't I know that one. Most of the big leaps and personal revelations I've had have been the result of bad things that have happened (or even done-Yikes! not that I do a lot of bad things).

For example, my Mom's sickness and death have in s strange way given me more self reliance and confidence. I had to be her advocate with the health care system and after she passed last year I radically changed my life.

I moved out of the family house, put it up for sale, etc, etc.

The same when I got divorced 10 years ago and was spitting mad at my ex for his cowardice (long story). I went into a deep depression but emerged stronger for it.

http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/








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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 6:45 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
I don't want to completely disagree with you AgentRouka, but, one of the things I took away from the movie, was that Mal, because of his investing in a cause and having a triumphant outcome has the confident tools to apply to up and coming obstacles that life will surely throw his way.

Is he completely healed and perfect now, no, but are any of us? He certainly has a better outlook, "We'll get through it soon enough".
I have a poster up in my classroom that says, "You can't change your past, but you CAN change your future" and a lot of my students ask me how to do that.

I tell them it means that once you've identified your mistakes you can learn from them, and you can do it differently next time, but that’s not going to happen until you try again.

That’s all Mal did, was to try again.



Platonist, Mal4Prez--

But how is the conclusion Mal reaches ACTUALLY different from how he has already acted in the series?

When we look at Mal in "Safe"... it's the same cause. Taking care of Simon and River, not leaving them to the wolves even though it would be convenient. He takes up the cause of Nandi even if it's the much more dangerous thing to do and I don't think it's because of the payment.

Without putting it into so many words, Mal is very much already actively supporting small causes "only 'cause it's the right thing to do" (Train Job).

The only difference in the movie is in the scale and in the stakes. Mal is grumpier at the beginning than he is in the series and he ends up back at series grumpy level - not throwing off Simon and River, displaying love for his ship and a "Keep flying" attitude in front of a Tam sibling. It's like the pilot episode, only with crew deaths. There is no actual hope for future improvement, if you think about it. It's all about the status quo, which is why Mal ends as he began in the movie: stuff falling off his ship and whining about it.

Unless Mal is planning on taking on higher stake causes some more after the movie, I don't see him coming away from it in any way improved beyond what he already was in the series. And as Bytemite pointed out, there is as much to be upset about in the outcome as there is to feel triumphant or self-confident about.

I don't see where Mal identifies mistakes or has in any way moved toward something he wasn't already in the series, truly. In what way will the movie experiences help him better deal with all their dead contacts, job shortages, Simon tring to tell him what to do, Inara going away again, Jayne being dissatisfied with their jobs, Zoe's grief, slowly but surely growing too old for his lifestyle? Will he suddenly be fearless in the face of love? Will he no longer get angry and take out that anger on other people?

What about it changes him for the better in a way that he wasn't before?

ETA: I don't think that he's operating on revenge and anger anymore once he's discovered the Miranda secret - but then, really, what choice to they have at that point? They're dead meat. It's only a question of going out with meaning or without. They choose the former. But it's not like Mal was overwhelmed by the rightness of the cause to actually give up everything he still had before. Nor is it like Mal has never taken on any causes since the Valley. He's just disillusioned with organised group effort, like the Independents were, and I don't think that has changed.

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