Whoosh! Issue 21 - June 1998

A Member Opinion
By Tracy Barnett
Copyright © 1998 held by author
1339 words

Love and Love Lost (01-02)
Take Me... (03-08)
Nobility and Heroism (09-12)
Diminishing the Bard (13-14)
Goodness Abused (15-20)
Something to Believe In (21)
Indelible Images (22-24)

Whither A Hero?

Love and Love Lost

Gabrielle, these naps of yours are really getting out of hand!!

"Don't you leave me, Gabrielle!" Xena exclaims as she tries to save Gabrielle in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?

[1] It has been said that the most powerful thing in the universe is love. Not the "love" of sexual attraction and release, not the "love" of the mother for her child, and not even the "love" of a worshiper for their god(s), but an unconditional, self-sacrificing, compassionate, forgiving kind of love that is so alien to our way of life, it's often thought that only angels and divine beings could grasp the concept.

[2] XWP should have been a story about that kind of love and that kind of love's power to redeem. The scenes we have been witness to in the third season, however, are ones of division (known as "The Rift"), of jealousy and self-hatred, of murder, rape and betrayal, of lies and hatred, and fear and humiliation.

Take Me...

[3] Where has the heart of our story gone? Where is the angel of the Xenaverse now? Where is the self-sacrificing Gabrielle, her instinctively generous nature summed up by her plea, "Take me"....

[4] "Take me..." -- as she stepped up to slavers and offered herself as sole captive. [SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)]

[05] "Take me..." -- as she placed herself between a murderous warlord and the mob that would stone her. [SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)]

[06] "Take me..." -- as she challenged the wrathful warlord to spare the lives and livelihood of a village. [TIES THAT BIND (20/120)]

[07] "Take me..." -- as she used her body to shield an Amazon princess from a murderous rain of arrows. [HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110)]

[08] "Take me..." -- as she reluctantly dressed in the leathers of a hero to finish an errand left undone. [THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)]

Nobility and Heroism

Boy, it's too bad you guys don't use water to bathe with

Gabrielle comforts the dying Horde in THE PRICE.

[9] Gabrielle never stopped to worry that these actions could cost her her life. The heroism she exhibited came from that noblest of qualities: love. She aspired to turn away from violence and revenge, to protect life. Where is the compassionate Gabrielle who...

[10] --Freely gave to ease the suffering of a horrendous, unrelenting enemy? [THE PRICE (44/220)]

[11] --Left the side of her traveling companion for fear of causing harm should she freeze again during a life-or-death situation? [THE PRODIGAL (18/118)]

[12] --Taught others all she knew about storytelling and helped them believe in themselves, so that they might win a competition and that which was most precious to them? [ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF THE PERFORMING BARDS (13/113)]

Diminishing the Bard

[13] Now we must witness the bard who revered life become what she most wanted to diminish in the world: one who takes life and seeks revenge. Where is the forgiving Gabrielle who... unquestioningly accepted the goodness of the one called Destroyer of Nations (Xena), and who forgave Callisto even after the madwoman kidnaped her, threatened her life and murdered her husband [CALLISTO (22/122), RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), and A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214)]?

[14] This noble young idealist managed to maintain her code of ethics even in a world full of violence, greed, fear and death, and all of this without possessing the physical prowess of a warrior or acquiring the cynical view of a world without hope for goodness. But it seems that this young woman had to fall for thinking herself a bright light shining for all to see, and for her "sin" of believing that, given the choice, mankind would (or could) turn away from darker impulses, and that through her example, the world could be saved from hatred and violence, vengeance and fear. She was an example of true courage. A hero without the title or recognition, not because she did not deserve it, but because she did not want it.

Goodness Abused

I can have a child but I can't get rid of the BGSB?

Hope enters the world in GABRIELLE'S HOPE.

[15] But her belief that "love conquers all" was used against her in the third season...

[16] --As her body was forced to bring forth an evil being into the world, an evil without any of her mother's goodness. [GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305), MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311)]

[17] --As her heart was turned against her best friend in a fit of jealousy, where only the betrayal of her loved one to a ruling tyrant could cause enough hurt to assuage her feelings. [THE DEBT (52, 53/306, 307), FORGET ME NOT (63/317)]

[18] --As her talents were ridiculed in her struggle to right the wrongs of the world with her words and the magic of a scroll. [THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310)]

[19] --As her soul was torn apart when deciding the fate of Crassus; losing the one she loved or losing the ideals she held to be true, resting on that decision. [WHEN IN ROME... (62/316)]

I've really got to talk them into letting me wearing sunglasses!

Was that flash of the ring accidental or on purpose?.

[20] --As she was used until there was nothing left but the shell of a once spunky, vibrant young woman, a woman who once sparkled, but now casts a smile that never quite reaches her eyes. [FORGET ME NOT (63/317) et al.]

Something to Believe In

[21] I wanted to be the person that Gabrielle was. I wanted to be that hero, the one who would run into a burning building without a thought for my own safety to help save the lives of others. I wanted to be that hero, the one to stand up to a bully twice my size, without a gun or sword, and say, "No. No, I won't stand by while you make others run in fear". I wanted to be that hero, the kind of hero Gabrielle was, but not because I was strong and had "have many skills" or because it was my job. I wanted to be Gabrielle and follow her example of doing good because it was right, with no thinking, no agonizing over the decisions. I wanted my idealism about the world to be as open and trusting as hers was, not the dark and depressing every man for himself mentality that seems to pervade the world.

Indelible Images

[22] But, this season, I've been shown that that idealism, Gabrielle's idealism, is naive and foolish, that her view (and mine) of the world is unrealistic and, therefore, not a mature and grownup view. Instead, I am left with horrible images that are mine to keep. These images are in my brain and I haven't the technology to erase them: Gabrielle slapping Xena; Xena dragging Gabrielle behind a horse; the rape of an angel by a fire demon; the back of a once proud Amazon Queen, unwilling to watch an execution she might have prevented. These images are mine, forever. I do not want them, but I must continue to carry them in my memory.

[23] This silent hero is being attacked in a forum she cannot leave, by her creators, against whom she can not defend herself. I want my Gabrielle back. I want the most powerful thing in the universe to come back to the bard I called my hero. I want to watch her story unfold; the original story of a dark, skilled warrior hero (Xena), for me, became the story of a hero (Gabrielle) with love, compassion and forgiveness telling the story of her friend, a hero with strength, skill and determination.

[24] Give me back my hero.


Tracy Barnett Tracy Barnett
Born and raised on a farm in Iowa, I'm just a country hayseed at heart. I work for a small company doing everything from painting, to bookkeeping, to janitorial duties, but I spend most of my free time reading. I was once happy to be a XWP fan, but I now have serious misgivings about whether or not the series loved will ever come back.
Favorite episode: THE QUEST
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "You promise me you won't turn into a monster?!" Xena: "I promise." CALLISTO (22/122)
First episode seen: THE GAUNTLET (H12/112)
Least favorite episode: most of third season

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