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Written by Larry King except as noted
All copyrights belong to Straczynski and P.T.E.N./Warner Brothers
Send me mail if you think you've figured out what one of the prophecies means.
"Assuming it means anything!
Captain John Sheridan
This page is organized in the order that episodes were shown. If you haven't seen them all, you should be able to avoid spoiling shows you haven't yet seen!
Text written by Larry King. Additional material quoted from Joe Armata, Cindy Collins, Elizabeth Elliott, Maria Montalvo, Matthew Murray, Jeffrey Newman, Doug Quinn, and Cheryl Thompson, by permission. And additional thanks to Aaron Brezenski, Jesse Chang, Ed DeLoach, Ken Eleftherion, Allison Geiselbrecht, Elef Gkioulekas, Eric Gross, Bill Haverberg, Dave Hill, Scott Lawrence, Steve Marting, Robbie Mouat, Christopher Novosad-Russo, Lew Stead, and Steve Tanner.
Londo tells Commander Sinclair that many Centauri have dreams or visions in which they see their own deaths.
Londo's vision involves himself and G'kar, their hands wrapped around each other's throats, killing each other. Londo believes this event will happen twenty years in the future.
Londo actually had been having this dream before he ever met G'kar! He recognized G'kar upon meeting him. Since then, they have developed a deep hatred for each other.
Dialogue between Sinclair and Kosh, perhaps on this subject:
Kosh: They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass.
Sinclair: Who, the Narn or the Centauri?
The Soul Hunter recognizes Delenn as a member of the Gray Council, ruling body of the Minbari. When he gets close enough to glimpse into her soul, he exclaims, "You would plan such a thing? You would do such a thing? Incredible!"
When Commander Sinclair comes to Delenn's defense, the Soul Hunter is even more suprised. "Why do you fight for her?" he asks Sinclair. "I have seen her soul. They are using you!"
After Sinclair finally saves Delenn, she awakes and smiles at him. "We were right about you."
When the Soul Hunter feels the human gambler beginning to die, he tries to describe to Dr. Franklin what he senses:
"It comes. Over your shoulder. A Shadow. The long slow exhalation of the spirit. Can you see it? Can you see it, Healer? If only you could see."
As the gambler finally dies, the soul hunter And when the gambler finally dies, the Soul Hunter finishes: "Quick flash. The deep blue of pain. Dull, muffled. Slower, now. Closer, now. Gone, now! Gone! If you could only see."
Question: are the Shadows somehow related to the souls of other races?
Delenn and eight others are present at the Minbari "Rebirth" ceremony. Delenn recites the prophecy of Valen, the spiritual leader of the Minbari one thousand years ago.
"Will you follow me into fire, into storm, into darkness, into death?"
And the Nine said, Yes.
"Then do this as testimony to the One who will follow,
who will bring death, couched in the promise of new life,
and renewal, disguised as defeat.
(Lennier begins given out the fruits to the participants.)
(Delenn, looking at Londo:) From birth,
(looking at Vir:) Through death and renewal,
(looking at Garibaldi:) We must put aside old things,
(looking at Sinclair:) Old fears,
(looking at Ivanova:) Old lives.
(Delenn, to a very nervous G'kar:) This is your death:
the death of flesh,
the death of pain,
the death of yesterday.
(Delenn turns to all.) Taste of it!
Taste of it! (Londo eats his fruit.)
Be not afraid, (Vir eats his fruit.)
(looking at Sinclair:) For I am with you, till the end of time.
When Lady Ladira, the Centauri seer, arrives on Babylon 5, she says it is a place full of death, doomed to destruction.
At the end of the episode, Commander Sinclair is skeptical about her claims. She lets him see her vision:
Babylon 5, alone in the night. As fire breaks out all over the station, a lone shuttle flies out of the docking bay. The hull bursts into flame as multiple explosions occur. Finally one large explosion destroys the station.
During this entire process, a quarter of a million voices seem to be heard, screaming rational and irrational things at one another. But one military-sounding voice is saying, "Blue Alpha."
Sinclair asks Lady Ladira, "This . . . is it a vision of what will be, or what might be?"
She replies, "The future is always changing. We create the future, with our words, with our deeds, and with our beliefs. This is a possible future, Commander. And it is my hope that you may yet avoid it."
Jack (Garibaldi's aide) used the code name Blue Alpha.
In Lady Ladira's vision, the phrase "Blue Alpha" is clearly heard.
Perhaps it's Jack's people coming through the wall in B^2 . . . .
Question: What is this "Blue Alpha" all about? Garibaldi's evil aide Jack called himself this in Chrysalis. It sure seems an unlikely phrase to use by accident!
Susan Ivanova is very upset at Harriman Gray when he wants to do a psychic scan on her. Later, she is asleep in her quarters and has a dream.
. . . . Susan sees her mother standing between the two masked men. The men give her mother some sort of injections and she slumps over . . . .
. . . . As Susan's mother loses consciousness, she says "Only one way out" . . . .
. . . . Suddenly it is Susan, rather than her mother, who is being held by the men in masks . . . .
. . . . Susan repeats her mother's words: "Only one way out . . . .
But is there more to this dream than that? Why does Susan see herself in her mother's place in this dream?
Sinclair and Garibaldi board Babylon 4, which is experiencing odd time distortions. Sinclair has an odd vision of the future, or what seems to be the future. (It is possible that Garibaldi may be seeing this vision at the same time.)
In this flash of the future, Sinclair sees himself and Garibaldi on what appears to be a Babylon 5 under attack.
Garibaldi and other Earth Force officers are using flamethrowers to ward off the attackers. Many civilians are panicking and running through the area.
No attackers are seen . . . . but we do see a wall panel being cut by a blowtorch. "They've burned through levels seven and eight! Can't stop them they're everywhere!" says Garibaldi.
Sinclair is perplexed: this is perhaps the reaction of today's Sinclair, suddenly thrust into this time. Or perhaps the future Sinclair himself does not understand.
Garibaldi concludes that the attack is hopeless, and he decides to remain as a rear guard so Sinclair can escape. "I've rigged the fusion reactors. There's not much time," Garibaldi says. "Get going! I'll hold them as long as I can."
Sinclair protests. Garibaldi firmly says, "Look, this isn't a conversation! Jeff, it's okay. I finally understand. This is the moment I was born for! Now go!"
And, despite his reluctance, Sinclair is carried away by the mobs of civilians trying to escape.
The wall comes down, light pours through. Garibaldi says either "They're coming through!" or "He's coming through!" (it is drowned out by the noise). As Garibaldi furiously attacks the invaders, the vision ends.
When Zathras first sees Jeffrey Sinclair, Zathras is startled and seems to recognize him. But then, shaking his head, Zathras sits back down and says, "Not the One. Not the One."
"Not the one what?" Sinclair asks.
Zathras seems to be speaking to himself as much as to the others. "The One is hurt. Must find. Zathras must find. Help."
But Sinclair and the others insist on an explanation. "Great war. Terrible war. Much killings. Everyone fighting," Zathras tells them. "A great darkness. It is the end of everything.
"Zathras warn, but no one listen to poor Zathras, no. Great war. But, great hope of peace! Need place. Place to gather, to fight, to organize, to help save galaxy on the side of Light! So they tell me. Must have, or it is the end of all.
"The One leads us. The One tells us to go: we go! We live for The One. We would die for The One. We pull this place through time to save us all."
Later, after Sinclair has left Babylon 4, Zathras sees a strange suited figure. Smiling, he realizes that this is indeed the One. But when this figure takes off his helmet, we see that it is a much older Jeffrey Sinclair . . . . presumably the same person as "our" Sinclair, after many years of hardship and a dose of time-travel.
Question: Zathras calls this Sinclair "the One", yet the younger Sinclair is "not the One". Does that simply mean that the younger Sinclair is not yet the One? And can we conclude that Zathras' "the One" is the same as "the One who will follow, who will bring death couched in the promise of new life, and renewal disguised as defeat" in Valen's prophecy?
JMS apparently confirmed that Sinclair was indeed "the One" after this show aired. Indeed, even article in TV GUIDE at the beginning of Season Two said "Sinclair was revealed as the One at the end of the first season of Babylon 5". However:
"Sinclair is 'The One' -- right?"
Question is, the One *what*?
Apparently Delenn's transformation is very relevant to Minbari prophecy. Hedronn, very annoyed at what Delenn has done, says to Lennier:
"The Council knew that our people, and yours, were not ready for this information. It could unravel our entire society. So we could not tell our generals the reason for the surrender. We had all memory of the examination erased from Sinclair's mind, and we let him go. It has been our secret. Now it is yours."
Londo was hoping that Elric, leader of a group of Technomages, would give him some endorsement which could be used to aid his quest to be Emperor.
But Elric instead leaves Londo with the following prediction:
"You are touched by darkness, Ambassador. I see it as a blemish that will grow with time. I could warn you, of course, but you would not listen. I could kill you, but someone would take your place. So, I do the only thing I can. I go.
"Oh, I believe it was an endorsement you wanted. A word or two, a picture, to send to the folks back home, confirming that you have a destiny before you.
"Well, take this, for what little it will profit you. As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds the sounds of billions of people calling your name." Londo asks him nervously, "My followers?"
Elric replies instead, "Your victims."
. . . . He sees a great, fiery star with a hand emerging from it, reaching toward something . . . .
. . . . He sees Centauri Prime from orbit . . . .
. . . . He finds himself standing on the dusty or sandy surface of a planet, shielding his eyes from the sun as a group of Shadow ships fly overhead . . . .
. . . . He stands, dressed in ceremonial clothing, his head bowed, as a crown is placed upon his head . . . .
. . . . He sits on a large throne, dressed in elaborate white clothes. He is aged, decrepit, and ill. Surveying his surroundings, he sees a Narn, his face aged and wrinkled, wrapped in a dark cloth. It is G'Kar . . . .
. . . . Londo once again sees the great hand, stretching further and further from the star, grasping at something . . . .
. . . . He is back in the throne room, in a struggle with G'Kar. They are both trying to strangle each other. Londo begins losing the struggle, and he begins to fall back, as . . . .
. . . . he wakes up. He is quite disoriented, and picks up a small clock nearby, to check the time. "It has begun," he says.
Question: Elric said he saw Londo's hand reaching out of the stars. Is this Londo's hand we see in this dream?
Although there have been black-garbed "Rangers" sited since The Long Dark, Garibaldi finally corners one in this episode. The Ranger turns out to have a personal message for Garibaldi: a video from his old friend Jeffrey Sinclair, former commander of Babylon 5, now the Earth Alliance ambassador to Minbar.
But Sinclair has been doing more than just his ambassadorial duties. His message to Garibaldi says:
"My job on the Minbari homeworld is more than just representing Earth. The President doesn't know about that part yet, and . . . . I don't think it would be wise of you to tell him.
"There's a great darkness coming, Michael. Some of the Minbari have been waiting for it a long time.
"The bearer of this message is one of my rangers. Some are Minbari. Most are humans. They have been drawn here to learn to work together and prepare for the fight ahead. They are my eyes and ears. Where you see them, you see me.
"I wish I could tell you more . . . . I wish I could warn you. But the others don't think it's time yet. Stay close to the Vorlon, and watch out for shadows. They move when you're not looking at them."
Questions: Why must Garibaldi stay close to "the Vorlon"? Does this mean any Vorlon, or Kosh specifically? Is this somehow "prophetic", or is it just good advice? And don't the Shadows we've seen move easily even when one IS looking at them?
When he arrives at Babylon 5, the aged Centauri Emperor Turhan says that he wants to see a Vorlon before he dies.
As he lies dying at the end, he looks up and sees Kosh. Having seen his dreams of peace crumble in the past few hours, the emperor turns to Kosh and asks, "How will this end?"
Kosh's answer: "In fire."
Delenn is summoned before the Grey Council, but they are now at cross-purposes. With the Shadows aiding the Centauri in their war against the Narn, Delenn wishes to persuade the Council to take a stand against the Shadows. But the Council considers Delenn to be an outsider now that she has undergone her transformation against their orders.
When she realizes that her expulsion from the Council is a foregone conclusion, Delenn berates them for doubting her destiny:
"You know me. You know I believe in the task that is before us the Great War that is coming.
"I have not turned my back on you. In trying to help, I have sacrificed all that I was and all that I am. We can no longer allow ourselves to be separated by names and borders. Our two sides must unite or be destroyed.
"Do not make my sacrifice a vain one. Allow me to finish what I started. In the name of our friendship, the future of our people, let me remain with Babylon 5."
"Your claim that your are fulfilling prophecy is presumption of the highest order!" he tells her.
Question: What signifance does the Grey Council attach to Babylon 5? And precisely what prophecy might Delenn be fulfilling?
After being expelled from the council, Delenn seems defeated. Lennier tries to console her, and she in return suggests that he not remain with her . . . . as she wishes to protect him from danger.
But he protests, and promises to stay by her side. Finally, she says,
"Very soon now, I will be going into darkness and fire.
I do not know if I am fated to walk out again.
If it is your choice to come with me, then I could not wish for a better or braver companion."
Remember that part of the Minbari litany when Delenn says,
Will you follow me into fire, into storm, into darkness, into death?
And the Nine said "yes".
Then do this in testimony to the One who will follow . . ."
In Babylon Squared, Zathras calls future Sinclair "The One" and says that he (and implied others) will follow The One anywhere (paraphrasing . . . sorry).
In [All Alone in the Night], Delenn is told to appear before the Grey Council and is then dismissed from it. Afterwards, when Lennier swears to stay with her on Babylon 5, she tells him she's not sure of what her path will be, only that she is going into fire and darkness. He swears to follow her, anyway. (sorry, but I'm paraphrasing again memory not Sherry's strong point)
Finally, Shadow ships were described by Sheridan's friend, Jack, as a darkness against the stars, . . . and Kosh tells the emperor that it will all end in fire.
So who IS the one who will follow? Some of the evidence points to Sinclair, but other bits seems to indicate Delenn. Yet neither seems to fit all the facts above. One reassuring note is the fact that that Minbari ceremony was indeed a ritual of renewal. Maybe it was meant to be prophetic of the great renewal and the Dawn of the Third Age?
Reply from Straczynski, 19 April 1995:
"So who IS the One? Some of the evidence points to Sinclair, but other bits seem to indicate Delenn. Yet neither seems to fit all the facts above."
What you have here in your message are two pieces of the puzzle. You're confounded by the fact that somehow they don't quite seem to fit into one another. That's because there's one last piece missing in this part of the picture, which fits in between them. The intent is to put this piece into clear view in year three, probably between episodes 8 and 11 approximately. At that point, the question of the One will be fully answered.
This account is taken from repeated watchings by myself and Allison Geiselbrecht, from Matthew Murray's account in the Lurker's Guide, and from newsgroup posts by Matthew Murray, Eric Gross, Dave Hill, Aaron Brezenski, and Steve Marting.
Sheridan is lying down in his alien prison, barely able to keep from falling asleep. Soon, he succumbs, and has a dream...
. . . . Sheridan looks confused.
. . . . Ivanova, now with a raven perched on her right shoulder, says, "Do you know who I am?" It may be her voice, oddly accented, or it may be Delenn's voice. Sheridan slowly turns right, as if becoming aware of something . . . .
. . . . and as he turns around, he is bathed in red light and finds himself somewhere else, apparently a corridor on Babylon 5. He looks up at a catwalk about ten feet above the floor.
. . . . On the catwalk is a figure in dark clothing, gripping either the railing or some sort of rod. Harsh lighting sets this figure off, suggesting an interrogator or master not unlike the aspect of Knight One and Knight Two when they interrogated Sinclair. But the figure is actually a second Sheridan, with a face so stern to be almost unrecognizable. He shifts his gaze to the right . . . .
. . . . and sees another figure on the platform Garibaldi, also bathed in the white light, and with a small white dove sitting on his shoulder. "The man in-between is searching for you," Garibaldi says.
. . . . We now see Sheridan standing on the floor in dim light; it would appear to be the first Sheridan. Yet he is now wearing a Psi-Cop uniform black turtleneck, leather strap, and jacket although the "psi" badge is partially off-camera. Sensing another person behind him, Sheridan turns . . . .
. . . . and sees a tall woman wearing a black veil.
. . . . We see a closeup of the woman in the veil: her heavy lipstick and bright hair suggest Talia, but this is just a trick of the light. For when the woman speaks, we realize she is Ivanova again. "You are the hand," she tells him.
Now Kosh is standing behind Sheridan in the corridor, and Sheridan is back in his normal uniform. Sheridan starts to turn toward Kosh.
. . . . In what seems like a simple switch of camera angles, Sheridan now appears to be sitting down in front of a backlit wall with an organic look not unlike that of the Streib ship's interior. "Why are you here?" Sheridan asks.
. . . . With less of the usual high-pitched musical dissonance preceding his voice, Kosh replies, "We were never away. For the first time, your mind is quiet enough to hear me."
. . . . Sheridan is back in the corridor, standing. "Why am I here?" he asks, in a tone that makes the question sound unconnected to the previous one.
. . . . "You have always been here," Kosh says . . . .
Sheridan finally gets a chance to confront Kosh and ask him about the dream and specifically, why Kosh was in the dream and knew about the dream afterwards!
Sheridan says, "You're the one who popped into my dream when I was in that alien ship a few weeks ago. It felt like like you called to me."
"I sought understanding," Kosh replies. "I listened to the song. Your thoughts became the song."
Oddly, Sheridan doesn't ask Kosh what in blue blazes he's talking about. Instead, he merely asks, "Has this ever happened before?"
To which Kosh replies, "Once."
The obvious question here is, when was that "once"? This has not yet been clarified. The Lurker's Guide suggests that it may be the time Kosh scanned Talia, but that seems to be something totally initiated by Kosh . . . . whereas it seems that Sheridan may have been responsible for this vision, at least partially.
Note that the Song is a recurring motif for the Vorlon. In this episode, Dr. Jacobs says that Kosh's ship sang to him. And long ago, Kosh told Talia to "listen to the music, not the song."
Up to now, John Sheridan believed that the Icarus, an archeological exploration ship, had been destroyed years previously. Sheridan's wife, Anna, was on board that ship. But now he learns that the sinister Morden was also a passenger on the ship! He interrogates Morden, hoping to learn what happened to Anna's expedition.
Delenn and Kosh, realizing the evil that Morden represents and not wanting to provoke the Shadows, tell Sheridan what really happened to the Icarus. They explain that the ship had landed on Z'ha'dum, apparently the home-world of the Shadows. And the unsuspecting archeologists awoke this ancient evil.
Delenn tells Sheridan, "Once awakened, the Shadows could not allow them to leave in case they would warn others. Those who would not serve were killed."
(Morden, who does serve the Shadows, is the only known survivor of the Icarus.)
"But were they all killed?" Sheridan asks. "Delenn, maybe some of them were kept alive as prisoners. Anna might still be alive!"
At this point, Delenn completely changes the subject, and returns to her demand that Morden be released. She says that the new alliance will have only one chance to stop the Shadows, and they must not let the Shadows realize how much they know.
Question: Is there actually a chance that Anna is alive? And considering how Delenn changed the subject, might she actually suspect this?
After Morden is released, a furious Sheridan demands that Kosh teach him how to fight the Shadows. Kosh agrees. But when Sheridan states his intention to visit the Shadow homeworld itself, Kosh says,
"If you go to Z'ha'dum, you will die."
Sheridan defiantly replies, "Then I die. But I will not go down easily, and I will not go down alone."
Question: Is Kosh's warning an actual prophecy, or is it just his expectation of what would happen on that dangerous world?
Sheridan is invited to join Delenn and Lennier for a Minbari ritual dinner. One of the traditions of this ritual is that a bowl is set aside for Valen, the ancient Minbari prophet, in case of his return.
Question: Do the Minbari actually believe that Valen will return? Up to this point, Valen has certainly been portrayed as a mortal, and he founded the Grey Council ten centuries previously!
In Eyes, Susan Ivanova had a dream regarding the Psi-Corps, in which she took the place of her mother, a telepath.
In All Alone in the Night, John Sheridan had a dream containing a variety of bizarre scenes. In one of them, Ivanova asked Sheridan, "Do you know who I am?
Now Ivanova finally explains her true connection to the Psi-Corps. She is a latent telepath! She has been hiding her abilities since she was a teenager.
Side note: In Ivanova's dream in Eyes, there were two figures wearing the traditional Greek "Comedy" and "Tragedy" masks. The actor wearing the Tragedy mask was Macaulay Bruton.
Bruton played Garibaldi's aide in Season One, and turned out to be a traitor. There was a implication that he was tied to Psi Corps at the time; his role as Tragedy may suggest this as well. Andy Lane quotes JMS as saying that Bruton's appearance in Ivanova's dream is "an Easter egg, left where it can be found on later viewings." A more obvious give-away is the fact that he is perfectly calm about receiving telepathic instructions from Bester in Mind War but this wasn't a give-away at the time, since this show occurred so early in the series that the viewers hadn't realized that telepathy was still seen as creepy by most "normals".....
As Sheridan plummets to almost certain death, the only thing that can save him is Kosh. But Kosh would have to leave his encounter suit, in front of dozens of witnesses, and that's something he really doesn't want to do.
Delenn pleads with Kosh to save Sheridan:
"Kosh, you know what's at stake. If you are going to do anything, you must do it now!"
Kosh does indeed save Sheridan . . . . . implying that he understands what Delenn is referring to.
Question: Why is Sheridan himself so important? Does Delenn truly know that Sheridan is indispensible in the coming War, or is she being influenced by personal feelings for him?
Another question which is often raised with regard to The Fall of Night: what, exactly, is the historical relationship between the Vorlons and the religious beliefs of the "newer" races? Nearly all of the peoples who saw Kosh saw him as an angel-type figure from their own belief systems. Some have interpreted this as suggesting that many races' religions were actually created by the Vorlons. But Straczynski seems to suggest otherwise:
David Endawi arrives from Earth, asking the ambassadors what they know about the Shadows. He speaks to Londo and shows him a video of one of the Shadow ships.
Londo recognizes the ship from his dream in The Coming of Shadows. He proceeds to describe the dream to Endawi: saying that he saw a future in which there were so many of these ships above him that "they blot out the sun".
But Londo also verifies two facts about his dream which up to now were just speculation:
One, the world that he is standing on when he sees the ships is indeed his homeworld, Centauri Prime;
Two, Londo had never actually seen a Shadow ship at the time they appeared in his dream.
I will tell you a true and secret thing, re: Londo's dream, and looking up into a blue sky to see the ships passing overhead.
Ever since I was a kid, I've had that image in my dreams, of standing out in the open and looking up as strange dark ships pass overhead. It's always been an unnerving image, and I really wanted to use it here to see if it would have the same effect on others.
The other single most recurring image is to be standing at the bottom of a long set of stairs, in a basement, and the door at the top of the stairs is thrown open, and there's gunfire, and guards, and flares in the night beyond, and more ships firing down.
Don't be surprised if this shows up as well, someday . . . .
Lennier makes an odd statement about Valen, the Minbari prophet who founded the Grey Council one thousand years ago.
According to Minbari belief, Valen was "Minbari, but not born of Minbari."
Lennier does not expand on this remark.
When G'Kar freaks out under the influence of the psychic stimulator known only as "dust", he seeks out Londo Mollari. G'Kar manages to see glimpses of Londo's mind while under the influence of the "dust".
Most of what he sees are facts known already to the audience. G'kar sees Londo being assigned to Babylon 5. He sees Londo's dealings with Morden, and realizes that it is indeed Londo who is responsible for the Narn-Centauri War. It is when G'kar demands more information from Londo that he enters what seems to be a vision state, and sees three people:
Much of this dream seems to make sense. The vision of G'kar's father is probably G'kar's actual memory. The second Narn is much more mysterious. . . .
The third, however, certainly seems to be Kosh. Even more than in The Fall of Night, this seems to show that Kosh is perfectly willing to manipulate the "lesser" races' religious and cultural beliefs to attain his (presumably) good ends.
Note that Kosh's "I have always been here" was heard earlier in Sheridan's dream, and is still unexplained.
Also, we now understand whom Kosh was referring to when he told Sinclair, "They are a dying people we should let them pass," in Midnight on the Firing Line. Apparently he was referring to both the Narn and the Centauri.
Yet Kosh is not simply "letting them pass"!
Lady Morella, widow of the late Centauri Emperor Turhan, visits the station and stays with Londo Mollari and Vir Cotto.
Londo is eager to have her prophesy his future: but unlike his earlier desire to have Elric promise him a throne, he is now hoping that he will not turn out to be destined for the throne . . . . as he now fears that such a future will exact a terrible price.
But Lady Morella's prophecy is not entirely pleasant:
Now, if you have failed all the others, that is your final chance for redemption.
Vir is amused, then astonished when he realizes she is serious. Finally, Londo manages to protest, "But Lady Morella, we cannot both be Emperor!!!"
"Of course not," she agrees. "One of you will become Emperor after the other is dead."
Well, for 1, the only strong association I can make is to the Eye that was saved in Season 1. On the one hand, I have a suspicion that this is too obvious, and we have yet to see what the "eye" refers to. On the other hand, JMS is a faithful disciple of Anton Chekov's rule of drama: no rabbits out of a hat; if a gun goes off in Act 3, it should be seen on the wall in Act 1. (We most recently saw this with Sheridan's father, where he was introduced a few eps before his *real reason for being in the show was revealed.) From that point of view, the Centauri jewel being the "eye" would make sense.
For 2, there are just so many juicy suspects!
Morden, who is legally dead.
Kosh . . . . . . . . . .
Talia, who is dead, but who was "backed up" by Kosh, and who may yet show up, maybe restored into a new body ?? (maybe she's already here in the new and improved Lyta?).
Lyta, who may have died on her ship waiting for the Vorlons to come (or whom the Vorlons may have killed, maybe even with her permission, to create the new Lyta). I can't help remembering Talia's parting words to her in Divided Loyalties: You're a dead woman, Lyta Alexander! A dead woman!
Refa, who has half a deadly poison in him now (I don't buy this one, but others do).
Someone, especially one of the monks, who may have undergone death of personality and construction of a new one (as seen in Gethsemane). This could even be one of the command staff, but then the characters claiming to be their relatives would have to be in on it, or at least themselves have had their memories altered.
Another survivor of the Z'ha'dum expedition besides Morden, assuming the Shadows killed the souls and reused the bodies of the explorers (dare I say . . . Anna?)
Maybe a piece of Vorlon technology? Their ships are, in some sense, alive.
Someone we haven't met yet.
And, to get *really sneaky, when Lady Morella made those prophecies, the crew hadn't yet done the time loop thing, so she was prophesying based on the *current likely future! (Remember, Lady Ladira did the same back in Season 1, when she foresaw the destruction of Bab 5, which happened in Timeline A, the one where the crew doesn't do time loops.) So, perhaps the one who is already dead refers to someone who is now dead in Timeline A (which could be Sheridan, Garibaldi, Ivanova...) yet who still lives in Timeline B (the current timeline)! You can hardly blame poor Lady Morella for seeing someone who is already dead, yet being killed again somehow.
(Did JMS mention he used to write murder mysteries?)
One possible mis-reading of this prophecy: is the word really "eye"?
Further question: When Lady Morella emphasizes that the Emperor prediction will not change, doesn't that imply that her first prophecy is subject to change?
In the ten months since Delenn was expelled from the Grey Council, the Centauri have conquered the Narns and moved on to initiate small wars with many of the other races. Evidence of Shadow activity has grown. And now the Earth Alliance itself is engulfed in civil war. Yet the ruling Minbari council remains isolated on their starship, declaring that the affairs of other races are of no interest to Minbari.
Despite their edicts, Delenn chooses to visit them. She berates them for doing nothing during the war. [ Note: The Lurker's Guide points out that she seems to be behaving inconsistently. During In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum, Delenn was clearly in favor of not yet fighting the Shadows. Presumably she sees a difference between the strategy she and Sinclair have set for the Rangers not yet joining battle but preparing for war and the Grey Council's strategy, which she feels is no strategy at all. ]
Delenn accuses them of no longer believing in Valen's prophecy. She refers to the current war as the very threat that the Grey Council was created to combat. It would seem that her words have a powerful effect; unlike their last encounter, none of them speak to disagree with her.
Delenn takes the ruling staff and breaks it, declaring, "The Grey Council shall be broken, as was prophesied." She walks out of the room. The five Worker and Religious Caste members of the Council follow her, leaving the four Warrior Caste members in possession of the Council room.
Question: How can Delenn be so certain that the current war is the one in Valen's prophecy when the Grey Council feels it may not be? Are they really being blind, or is she perhaps seeing things the way she wants them to be?
Suddenly, Delenn seems filled with doubts and uncertainties. Lennier holds firm to the prophecies he has learned: he points out that the two halves of the Minbari soul, Minbari and human, have become united against the ancient enemy.
But Delenn wonders whether they really understand the prophecies. And even if they do turn out to be true, she wonders if any of her group will survive what is to come: according to the prophecy, there will be "fire and darkness" after the two halves of the Minbari unite.
Now that Delenn has broken the Grey Council by the strength of her own convictions, many of the Religious Caste of the Minbari seem to follow her with unquestioning loyalty. Marcus comments that his brother "believed in the Rangers, and believed in Delenn". Even the members of the Nightwatch comment on how the Minbari "think she's the second coming or something". Yet Delenn's own self-confidence seems to have strongly deteriorated since Comes the Inquisitor.
Question: Has something happened to change Delenn's view? Is she simply humbled by the attention? Now that she is de facto leader of two-thirds of the Minbari race, is she under a lot of pressure? Or, perhaps, has she discovered some facts about Valen or his prophecy since again having access to the Minbari religious caste?
As the soi-disant "King Arthur" departs Babylon 5, Marcus makes what seems to be a throw-away comment. Indeed, it is so clearly a throw-away comment that presumably JMS means something very specific by it . . . . .
Marcus makes a comparison between the crew of Babylon 5 and the Knights of the Round Table. He assigns "Arthur" to Sheridan, "Percival" to Franklin, "Gawain" to Ivanova, "Merlin" to Kosh, and "Galahad" to himself. The person corresponding to "Mordred" is obvious, he jokes.
Then he asks, "But who is Morgana le Fey?"
Notes on Arthurian legends: There are two main versions of Morgan le Fey's genealogy.
Since "Morgan" is no longer a woman's name, modern versions tend to call her "Morgana". Perhaps Straczynski's use of "Morgana" suggests we should focus on the modern genealogy.
In any event, several possibilities come to mind:
According to Lady Morella's prophecy in Point of No Return, Londo has three chances for redemption. It certainly appears that he's blown one in this episode. From his happy demeanor and defense of his people against Morden at the beginning of the episode . . . . . he has again fallen into his evil ways.
"The galaxy can burn. I no longer care," he says, defeated.
So presumably one of Lady Morella's warnings referred to the events of this episode. But which? It's hard to see. There was no "eye"; Londo didn't kill anyone, and the "greatest fear" prophecy is specifically stated by Morella to come last.
There have been two suggestions that I know of:
Kosh's original warning to Sheridan, "If you go to Z'ha'dum, you will die," did not seem to have any conditions riding on it.
Yet, after Sheridan's confrontation with Kosh, the Vorlon reiterates his prediction / prophecy / threat in a new way. Finally conceding to Sheridan's request for immediate assistance in the space war with the Shadows, Kosh says:
"I will do as you ask. But there is a price to pay. I will not be there to help you when you go to Z'ha'dum."
Sheridan, not surprised, says, "I know. You already said if I go to Z'ha'dum, I'll die."
"All right, if you want to withhold your help when the time comes, that's fine! I'll go it alone."
Kosh replies, "You do not understand. But you will."
Certainly we understand why Kosh will "not be there" after seeing this episode. But why does Kosh add the "now" to his warning? This seems to imply that, up to this point, there was an option in Kosh's mind which involved him accompanying Sheridan to Z'ha'dum, and Sheridan surviving the experience.
So was Kosh's original warning some sort of scare-tactic rather than an actual statement of fact?
An interesting scene occurs during Interludes and Examinations. Sheridan, distraught about his inability to convince the non-aligned worlds to join his war, is pacing back and forth, lecturing to Delenn. He comments, "This war is not about territory. What do the Shadows want?"
Not expecting an answer, he continues his monologue without looking at Delenn. Meanwhile, she seems to undergoing some complex internal debate. . . . . perhaps as if she knows the answer to his question, and is wondering whether to share her knowledge with Sheridan!
In any event, she remains silent.
Compuserve posting by Elizabeth Elliott, 23 June 1996, addressed to "all shadow haters":
I don't care if the Shadows go around killing everybody and are described as creatures that come 'straight from hell', I think they are beautiful creatures who are just trying to survive in the universe like all other species. Their high-pitched screams are filled with emotion, and I know you are probably thinking what a load of rubbish this is but it's my opinion, so there. Doesn't anyone else think the same way about this poor, despised race?
In Sector 14, occasional location of Babylon 4, Garibaldi picks up a transmission from Ivanova. Set eight days in the future, it involves a distress call sent by her, describing a Shadow attack on Babylon 5.
In this vision, Ivanova says that Garibaldi has rigged the fusion generators to explode. At the end of this scene, Babylon 5 is indeed destroyed.
But this episode makes it clear that this is a "possible" future, and the mission of Sinclair, Sheridan, and company in War Without End is to make sure this future does not happen.
Note: We have twice before seen "futures" involving the destruction of Babylon 5. In Signs and Portents, Lady Ladira shows Sinclair a dream of the station exploding. In Babylon Squared, Garibaldi and Sinclair witness a future in which Garibaldi is rigging the fusion generators on Babylon 5 to explode.
When Sinclair contemplates the danger facing Babylon 5 during War Without End, he recalls both visions together: we see the firefight involving Garibaldi inside the station, followed immediately by the exterior view of the station exploding and the lone shuttle escaping. Juxtaposed in this way, with Garibaldi pushing Sinclair to safety and the shuttle escaping, it gives the impression that Sinclair is probably on that shuttle.
On the destruction of B5 can I assume that the vision of B5 being blown to bits in SIGNS & PORTENTS is the same possible future we saw in BABYLON SQUARED and in WAR WITHOUT END? Or was the vision from SIGNS & PORTENTS fortelling a different future that's still out there?
Yes, the vision of B5 blowing was the same as the one from Signs.
In Babylon Squared, Zathras calls the aged Sinclair "the One." And now we see the aged Sinclair, from his point of view.
And Zathras reveals something more about "the One" . . . .
"All is three. As you are three. As you are one. As you are The One."
(To Sinclair:) "You are the One who Was."
(To Delenn:) "You are the One who Is."
(To Sheridan:) "You are the One who Will Be."
(To Sinclair:) "You are the beginning of the story."
(To Delenn:) "You are the middle of the story."
(To Sheridan:) "You are the end of the story that creates the next great story."
"In your heart you know what Zathras says is true. Go now."
Another point here. Zathras names Sinclair, Delenn, and Sheridan, in that order. Could this relate to the words "The man in-between is searching for you" from Sheridan's dream?
On that topic, note that when JMS was specifically asked whether Zathras was the man in the middle, he responded:
But the one in the middle of the Three here is Delenn, and JMS says nothing about her. . . .
But perhaps this is not something we can really figure out yet:
During Delenn's flash-forward, she sees herself standing in a darkened room. Next to her, sleeping in a bed, is John Sheridan. Delenn seems very happy and contented. She picks up a small water-filled globe and toys with it.
Just then, the door opens. Light streams in, and a woman's voice says, "Hello!"
Delenn looks up in amazement, and drops the globe. It shatters, and her vision ends.
Comments: Many have speculated on who the "woman at the door" might be. The two most common suggestions are Anna Sheridan and Talia Winters two females who haven't been seen in quite a while.
The voice is not Talia's. Many viewers think it is the voice of Melissa Gilbert. Since she is the wife of Bruce Boxleitner (Sheridan) in real life, the idea that she might play his on-screen wife is at least plausible.
But Anna vanished (died?) on Z'ha'dum. It seems possible she might have survived, but why would she be in the vicinity of wherever Delenn and Sheridan might choose to have their nightly encounter?
Far less has been said about the symbolism of the globe. Surely a contented Delenn toying with a globe could be a Delenn full of hubris, ripe for an unpleasant surprise . . . .
John Sheridan's trip to the year 2277 takes up a good amount of screen time, and the entire story cannot be repeated here. But the key details are as follows.
Sheridan finds himself 17 years in the future, in a royal court on Centauri Prime. Londo is now the Centauri Emperor. But he is aged and tired much like the dream he had in Coming of Shadows.
Londo tells Sheridan that the Shadows were indeed defeated, but that after this defeat, Sheridan's allies did nothing to assist the Centauri. As a result, Centauri Prime is overrun with evil minions of the Shadows, and the planet is devastated.
Sheridan is put in a cell with Delenn. He learns that in the future, several events will take place:
Then Vir enters. He picks up the royal Centauri medallion which Londo wore.
Jeffrey Sinclair, accompanied by Zathras, pilots Babylon 4 back through time. Using the Triluminary which Zathras brought from Epsilon 3, Sinclair biologically transforms into a Minbari.
The Minbari, fighting alongside the Vorlons 1000 years previously are greeted by the Minbari Sinclair, who introduces himself as "Valen".
Two Vorlons accompany "Valen". Presumably they greeted him when Babylon 4 first arrived in the past, though whether they had any way of foreseeing the station or what it meant is unknown.
So Sinclair is Valen, the great prophet of the Minbari. Thus we may conclude that there are three founts of knowledge availabe to him:
Finally, some interesting tidbits on what is in store for Sinclair / Valen:
No, B4 survived the prior shadow war, but in very bad shape; didn't last much longer after that.
As for Valen, he died about 900 years ago, our time. He lived to be well over a hundred years old.
He lived close to a hundred years as a Minbari; they're a long lived race, and they did all they could to maintain his health as one of their truly great figures.
But on the other hand . . . .
Valen did not have any children. And there's some difference of opinion over exactly what Valen's final fate was.
In Hunter, Prey, Sheridan asked Kosh about the time that the Vorlon had appeared in his dream. Kosh told him,"I listened to the song. Your thoughts became the song." Sheridan asks, "Has this ever happened before?", and Kosh replied, "Once."
Several things in Walkabout seem to resonate with these themes. When the new Vorlon learns that the old Kosh may be preserved, the camera immediately cuts to Cailyn's song. And Kosh seems to be preserved in Sheridan the one whose thoughts "became the song".
Lyta Alexander is especially close to the Vorlons; her connection to them began during The Gathering, the original Babylon 5 pilot episode, when she made telepathic contact with Kosh. Could this be the "Once" that Kosh referred to?
At the end of Shadow Dancing, John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, and Delenn discuss the dream which Sheridan had in All Alone in the Night. They apparently explain the meaning of the spoken lines of the dream, though not the symbols.
Many on the internet have challenged this dream interpretation, but JMS had specifically promised that the dream would be explained in the third season. So presumably the explanations are true . . . . but perhaps not complete?
But it makes more geometric sense to see three people in this: Sheridan is "the first hand", Anna is the "other hand", and Justin is the "man who has come between them."
The following JMS quotes seem to side with the first of these interpretations:
Several of these "dream interpretations" seem incomplete, or at least very unsatisfying. One wonders if Sheridan's wearing the Psi-Cop uniform might suggest something more than just an alliance with Bester perhaps that the alliance will corrupt him? Similarly, the Ivanova quote may suggest that her powers go deeper than we yet know note her reaction when Sheridan falls into the pit!
And the symbols the raven, the dove, the funeral veil, the catwalk are still unexplained.
Thus perhaps some of these questions are still open. One old question, however, is closed:
When I saw "A Late Arrival at Avalon," Marcus's line asking "Who is Morgana La Fey" got me to begin speculating that Anna Sheridan was alive and that she was working for the Shadows. My question is whether or not Marcus's line was intended that way i.e. as foreshadowing that a significant female figure not presently on the scene (Anna?) would arrive at B5 to play Morgana to Delenn's Lady of the Lake?
Reply from Straczynski, 25 October 1996:
Justin, Anna, and Morden reveal the Shadows' motives at last. They tell John Sheridan that the Shadows seek "evolution" for the younger races . . . . by which they mean a ruthless conflict resulting in much death and destruction . . . . which will, they believe, lead to a rapid evolution of the younger races.
This is not the place to analyze the logical flaws in attempting to evolve a biological organism via space-borne weapons of mass destruction. But the meaning with regard to the plot is clear: The Shadows feel that their ideals of "competition" and "evolution" obligate them to destroy any attempt (such as the Babylon Project and the Rangers) to create alliances between different species.
There are at least two blatantly unexplained points here:
When Londo looks up in the sky of Centauri Prime, he is dismayed to see a fleet of Shadow vessels the same fleet he saw in his dream in The Coming of Shadows. But these ships are here by the invitation of the Centauri Emperor, Cartagia!
Morden tells Londo that some of the Shadows are relocating to Centauri Prime because of the attack Captain Sheridan made on their capital city on Z'ha'dum.
The irony here is clear:
In War Without End, Sheridan saw that the future Centauri Prime had been devastated by the Shadow War. He tried to avoid this horrible future by ignoring Kosh's warning and going to Z'ha'dum. And this action was directly responsible for the Shadow occupation of Centauri Prime.
We have heard these two questions before. Morden, the emissary of the Shadows, asks each ambassador "What do you want?" in Signs and Portents. When Sheridan asks Kosh this in Hunter, Prey, Kosh whirls on him and says, "Never ask that question!"
By Z'ha'dum, Sheridan seems to have learned better. In his farewell message to Delenn, he says, "This isn't what I want but what I want is not important."
On the other hand, Sebastian, inquisitor for the Vorlons, asks Delenn and Sheridan "Who are you?" Sheridan twice asked Justin this question, yet the Shadows' liaison refused to give him a straight answer.
And now, the mysterious Lorien appearing as an odd light formation sports two tentacles which reach out towards Sheridan. And it repeatedly asks him, "Who are you? What do you want?"
Question: Does this mean that Who Are You? is the Vorlon / Order question, while What Do You Want? is the Shadow / Chaos question? And does this signify that these two races are somehow both represented in Lorien?
Some time ago, JMS suggested that G'kar was a Cassandra figure in the story of Babylon 5.
(See appendix for the text of this post and a review of Cassandra's story in Greek history / mythology.)
In part, Stracznksi wrote,
Okay, five points to the person who can supply that answer, and see the connection.
Although Straczynski stated that John Sheridan's dream in All Alone in the Night had been "correctly" interpreted in Shadow Dancing, there are some noticeable correlations between that dream and the scene in this episode when Sheridan returns to Babylon 5:
As this episode closes, Emperor Cartagia is annoyed by the way that G'kar stares at him. He asks Londo for advice; Londo says that whatever Cartagia chooses to do is the best, and leaves.
Cartagia then gives the order to pluck out one of G'kar's eyes. (We have of course seen the one-eyed G'kar before: in Londo's dream in The Coming of Shadows, and in the flash-forward in War Without End.)
Apparently this has a major significance for Londo, though he doesn't know it yet. When Lady Morella warned Londo about his future, she said he only had three more chances to "avoid the fire" which he was approaching. "You must save the eye that does not see", she told him.
Yeah . . . would've been nice if Londo had at least tried to do something about the eye that did not see Cartagia's splendor. . . .
"Saving the eye that does not see" was the first task Lady Morella listed; the second was "You must not kill the one who is already dead". However, these two need not occur in this chronological order. It's still unknown whether Refa's murder in The Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place was Londo failing that latter test.
If it wasn't, it's interesting that in early Fourth Season, we are repeatedly told that Sheridan is dead. Indeed (as the Lurker's Guide points out) he is The One who is already dead! Yet this doesn't quite fit the prophecy: if the future which we see in War Without End will really come to pass, then Londo will never kill John Sheridan yet it seemed likely from Lady Morella's phrasing that Londo would fail these two tests.
Obviously, one cannot "kill" someone who is literally "dead". Who, then, is "dead" in some other sense?
Morden is a man long thought dead, and indeed legally dead, per In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum. His deal with the Shadows might be thought of as a death of his personhood. In Z'ha'dum, he ought to have been killed by the nuclear blast; when he reappeard in Hour of the Wolf, he was in pretty bad shape. And he is doing the will of the Shadows "Flesh does as it's told!" and thus his will is dead as well.
So when Londo has Morden killed, might this be "killing the one who is already dead"?
If so, it's not immediately apparent why Londo would have been "redeemed" had he spared Morden!
Morden threatened that the "allies of the Shadows" would make Centauri Prime pay for Londo's actions. This is strange: first, since Morden doesn't know that the Shadows may be leaving, why wouldn't he expect the Shadows themselves to be the avengers? Second, won't the Shadows and their allies be much angrier about Londo's destruction of their base on the Island of Salini than about the death of one human servant?
But perhaps somehow Londo killing Morden will lead to the devastation which the Shadow allies will wreak on Centauri Prime, as seen in War Without End.
So far, Londo has killed Refa and Morden, and either could be the "one who is already dead". But JMS has not confirmed either possibility, so perhaps we haven't yet seen this part of Lady Morella's prophecy!
When Lennier and Delenn are talking, Lennier refers to Valen's prophecies. Delenn is quite dismissive. She reminds Lennier that Valen was Jeffrey Sinclair, and claims that therefore Valen had no knowledge of the "future" past August 2260.
As mentioned above, Zathras who clearly did have knowledge of the future was a companion of Valen. (Indeed, Zathras knew that Sheridan was "the One who Will Be", which suggests that he had knowledge of the future even past that which Kosh had since Kosh could not see past Sheridan's trip to Z'ha'dum!) So we may speculate that Zathras informed Sinclair's prophecies.
Yet Delenn does not seem to think so. Hence, when she reserves the light of honor in the new Gray Council for "the One Who Is To Come", she may be using prophecies she no longer believes in to influence the less-informed Minbari!
During Londo's near-death experience, he has a brief conversation with President Sheridan.
In the course of this conversation, we see Sheridan wearing a sequence of different outfits: some of which we have seen before, and some of which appear new:
Historically, the title of "President" has rarely been associated with a specific dress uniform. Nonetheless, John Sheridan has consistently worn the same uniform during his tenure as President of the Interstellar Alliance throughout the year 2262. So it's odd that this uniform was not one of the outfits worn here!
As seen above, Straczynski verified that "the eye that does not see" refers to G'kar's lost eye.
But so what?
Lady Morella told Londo that one of his remaining chances at redemption would be to "save the eye that does not see". JMS said it "would've been nice if Londo had at least tried to do something about the eye that did not see Cartagia's splendor."
But now, despite G'kar's loss of his eye, he has allied himself again with Londo. While not friends, the two seem to have bridged a gap; indeed, it is quite believable that their association will grow gradually to the "friendship" Londo refers to in 2277. So exactly what would have been better had Londo somehow prevented Cartagia from plucking out G'kar's eye?
During the Brakiri "Day of the Dead", Morden appears and spends a night sitting with Lennier.
Morden has a dire prediction for the ever-striving young Ranger. He says that Lennier will someday betray the Rangers. Lennier, naturally, refuses to believe Morden.
Morden also says, "I'll be seeing you soon,", which seems to be an additional prophecy: a suggestion that Lennier does not have much longer to live.
President Sheridan was not in the Brakiri section of Babylon 5 during the "Day of the Dead", and thus he met no undead apparition.
Yet, amazingly, he does get a message from the dead.
Captain Lochley's dead friend, Zoe, gives Lochley a message to pass along to Sheridan from Kosh.
Kosh instructs Sheridan, "When the long night comes, return to the End of the Beginning."
Lennier hesitates about rescuing Sheridan from the gas leak.
By the time Lennier changes his mind and decides to rescue Sheridan, Sheridan is already safe. Deprived of the chance to redeem himself, Lennier flees rather than staying to face Sheridan and Delenn.
This fulfills the dead Morden's prediction that Lennier would betray the Rangers....
In the final monologue, Ivanova says, "An expedition to Coriana space found Sheridan's ship a few days later, but they never found him. All the airlocks were sealed, but there was no trace of him inside. Some of the Minbari believe he'll come back some day, but I never saw him again in my lifetime."
The legend that Sheridan might return is also mentioned for a moment in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars.
On the other hand, when Lorien appear to take Sheridan beyond the Rim, Sheridan asks him "Can I come back?" And Lorien replies, "No. This journey is ended. Another begins."
Question: Is it possible that Sheridan might return someday?
Much of the Earth was devastated in the "Great Burn" of 2762.
After this disaster, the Interstellar Alliance abandoned the Earth. But after some time, the Rangers began to secretly contact certain Earth people to keep in contact with humanity's home.
In 3262, various orders of monks kept alive the stories and legends of the old days.
Among these tales are "the prophecies of Delenn III".
According to Brother Michael:
Question: Who is Delenn III? Is she a descendant of John Sheridan and Delenn? Did she hold the position of Entil'zha (Ranger One) at some point after the Great Burn?
Question: Was this actually a prophecy? If so, how could the Rangers know that Earth's greatest need had arisen? Or is this simply a promise that the Rangers will intervene when the need becomes great, couched in the form of a prophecy?
(From a statement on the internet by Michael O'Hare.)
Alfred Lord Tennyson's classic poem was quoted in the episode Parliament of Dreams. Here is the poem in its entirety:
I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known, cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads, you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
The three emphasized bits in this poem are quoted by Catherine Sakai, when she asks Sinclair the following question:
It would seem that, after War Without End, we now know the answer to Catherine's question . . . . .
John Sheridan, the second commander of Babylon 5, was formerly Captain of the EAS Agamemnon. This ship has been seen in the show three times when Sheridan is first introduced in Points of Departure, when it returns in time to help rescue Sheridan in All Alone in the Night, and when he runs into it again under much less pleasant circumstances in Messages from Earth.
This ship is one of the top-of-the-line Earth Force battle cruisers:
The name didn't attract much attention until this little humdinger came along, not too long after The Coming of Shadows:
Of course I've read and enjoyed Tolkien. But as I've said, I have no interest in doing LoTR with the serial numbers filed off. I've dropped references to it in dialogue, but the structure of the story has nothing whatsoever to do with LoTR. Basically, a lot of people have come up and said, "Oh, this is the same as Foundation," or "This is the same as LoTR," or "This echoes a lot of Dune," or "This is obviously a Homeric tale," or "There's a lot of Star Wars here." It uses the same tools as all mythic structure fiction uses. Hence it resonates. But I didn't sit there and think, "Hmm . . . Gandalf left, so I'll have Sinclair leave." That's just plain silly.
It's really a matter of what you bring to the table, that affects what you see in the story.
The roots of the symbolism and structure of B5 go back a hell of a lot longer than this. Here . . . I'll give you one free.
G'Kar is in many ways my Cassandra figure, who in the Greek tales was granted the gift of prophecy . . . all the disasterous things she predicted would come true . . . but she was cursed by the gods that NO ONE would ever believe her. And later, when the war was at its height, she ended up in the service of . . . . .
Okay, five points to the person who can supply that answer, and see the connection.
According to the classical Greek myths, Agamemnon was King of Argos, and the leader of the Greek army in the Trojan War. At the start of the war, he sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the gods in return for a strong wind to bear his fleet to Troy. Agamemnon's Greeks spent ten years besieging Troy, while his wife Clytemnestra plotted revenge for the death of their daughter.
The last year of the Trojan War is described in Homer's Iliad. The Greeks' "Trojan Horse" ruse and the final fall of Troy are narrated in Virgil's Aenead.
It is Aeschylus' trilogy of plays, Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides collectively titled The Oresteia which chronicle the tragic aftermath of the war. When Agamemnon returns to Argos in triumph, he brings Cassandra. Once the princess of Troy, Cassandra is now Agamemnon's concubine and his prisoner. (This is actually after the war, not when the war is "at its height".) She has been given an odd blessing and curse: she has the power to see the future through prophecy, but all she prophecies is disbelieved by her audience.
Meanwhile, Queen Clytemnestra has taken a lover of her own, Agamemnon's cousin Aegisthus. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murder Agamemnon. Then Agamemnon and Clytemnestra's other children, Orestes and Electra, return. Then Orestes kills Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. Then there is a big trial and a debate about whether one owes more to one's father or to one's mother. Then lots of people sing in Greek.
Presumably for the Babylon 5 connection, it is most important to note that Cassandra was "in the service of" actually, a virtual slave of Agamemnon. Does this refer to G'kar being in the service of Sheridan?
There are two main possibilities:
And finally, something really from out of left field . . . .
A while ago, JMS mentioned putting pictures from the series to music, specifically to "I am the Walrus". However, he then decided not to, because the song would give too much away. Here are the lyrics to "I am the Walrus," for anyone who wants to see them, uncut, and correct. (Or at least as correct as a real Beatles fan from rec.music.beatles can get them):
I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together.
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.
Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday.
Man, you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob.
Mister City Policeman sitting
Pretty little policemen in a row.
See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky, see how they run.
I'm crying, I'm crying.
Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye.
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess,
Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your knickers down.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob.
Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.
If the sun don't come, you get a tan from standing in the English rain.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob.
Expert textpert choking smokers,
Don't you think the joker laughs at you?
See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snide.
Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower.
Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna.
Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob.
Goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob g'goo.
On the other hand, could "I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together" refer to the transmigration of souls?
Prophecies and Visions in Babylon 5 / Maintained by Larry King / Updated 9 August 2008
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