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I think I've got it

So, my guildies and I have pretty much left Warcraft and are giving Aion a try. We're trying to come up with a lore-appropriate name for our guild there, and I was going to make a post (entirely in jest), suggesting that we call ourselves Nike of Samothrace and seeing how many people outside of the guild got it (Every player in Aion gets wings, and as most of you know, that sculpture is better known as Winged Victory. Aion=God in the game's lore.).

However, when I was about to make the post, I couldn't remember the full, lesser-known name of the sculpture. I knew Nike, but I couldn't recall Samothrace, so I went to Wikipedia, as usual.

That's when it hit me. Seriously, it was one of those revelatory moments. I don't care if Ron Moore and the writers intended it or not, given that it fits so nicely, but I kinda think they did, given their tendency to play somewhat fast and loose with mythological references.

I think Kara Thrace is meant to be a loose representation of Nike, the winged goddess of victory.

Our emotionally-damaged pilot transforms at the end of the series. Many fans have theorized that she's an angel, but perhaps it works on multiple levels. I think most of us can agree that it was the story's final transformation for the character: her evolution, out of her chrysalis into her true form. Screwed up or not, she's always been the best flyer they have. She brings home the arc material: the arrow; the path home. In everything but relationships, Kara Thrace is victorious.

She returned on a chariot of fire ... that gleaming, perfectly-intact Viper ... chariot of the gods?

Okay, now here's where I start stretching and reaching. Some of you may disagree with some of my theories here. I'm sort of brainstorming, so cut me some slack.

I think even more than being Nike, the writers may have been specifically referencing the Nike of Samothrace.

  • Kara is damaged goods, like the famous sculpture. Beautiful and full of heart, but not whole. Indeed, she has lost her ability to truly embrace another -- on an emotional level, she has no arms with which to connect and truly love.

  • Sam. Thrace.

  • Sam and Kara's wing tattoos on their arms. They are permanently connected to one another, and yet, neither of them are whole. They are locked together in turmoil, and neither can fly free.

  • By the end, both have transcended their initial corporeal structures. They separate -- Sam almost becomes her damaged parts, given what he has suffered. He takes on the burden of sacrifice for the good of all, freeing Kara from earthly bonds to finally become whole again, and at peace. At the end, each ascends to the light in his or her own way.

I know some of those points are a little fluffy, but BSG has been kind of fluffy with the mythos, and we know it's a hodgepodge of references both recent and ancient. You folks out there can probably come up with more associations.

It was just one of those moments where I looked at the statue and went, "OMG, why didn't I think of that before?" It suddenly seemed so obvious. Even if the writers didn't specifically intend it, to me, it really fits. But I've mentioned the theory to two people I respect, and they both said, "That makes sense." We know that her last name refers at least to Thrace in Greece, which was known for its mercenaries. Samothrace is a region within Thrace ... Apollo, Hera, Agathon, Helo ... all the references, heck, it seems more logical that she's meant to represent Nike than it does to suppose otherwise.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 16th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
You lost me at the point of Sam ... o ... Thrace. That would require them having the foggiest notion where the show was going when Anders was introduced in what, episode 5 of season 1? As they've admitted repeatedly, they sort of muddled through and made it up as they went along. If that was intended they'd have to know where it was going, even back then.

A co-worker made the much more astonishing observation that the ending was an homage to Douglas Adams and the Golgafrinchans - who believed they were fleeing a great catastrophe on their home planet, came to earth, and interbred with or replaced the native species. That didn't impress me much, until he reminded me that both stories include a crazy captain sitting in his bathtub on the bridge. :)
Oct. 21st, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
Sam o' Thrace, like nine o' clock ... Sam of Thrace. He is a part of her. Like I say, I don't care if the writers intended it or not -- it works with the way the story went, in my opinion. I mentioned my theory to my co-worker, Kurt, and we were joking around about coming up with a theory that was better than the writer's plan (speaking generically, of any novel, show, etc.), and the writer going, "Um, yes, ah, of course! That's exactly what I meant ..." :)

*chuckles* I hadn't thought about the Golgafrinchans in a very long time. On a related satirical-British-authors note, I just saw today that there's an audiobook in production for Good Omens.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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