Whoosh! Issue 41 - February 2000

CHAKRAM LEVELS
IAXS project #745
By Edward Mazzeri
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1566 words



Round Things I: Women in the Round (01-09)
Round Things II: Round and About (10-20)
Conclusion (21-22)
Afterword (23-25)
Biography



Chakram Levels




Round Things I: Women in the Round


Disappointed that no one bought more place settings, Xena plots
revenge on all reception guests

Xena contemplates yin and yang-ness in CHAKRAM.

[1] One of the things I like about Xena: Warrior Princess (XWP) is that it is so intertwined with so many things on so many levels - for example, the simple chakram.

[2] Folklorists might say that the motifs of "roundness" and "woman" are often found together in the stories that are being told generally around the world. There has also been a development in the presentation of these motifs in popular culture, as if it is all becoming a little bit clearer with each telling.

[3] At the beginning of things, Abbott and Costello went to Venus [Abbott And Costello Go To Mars (Charles Lamont, 1953)]. In meeting the progenitors of the Bride of Chaotica, they encountered the concept of woman, though nothing much of consequence was done except, after a harrowing, pleasant interlude, escape.

[4] When vessel CD-51 reversed polarities and landed on the Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1953), Altair IV, there to meet them was the mesmeric Miranda, all innocence and wonder, though there was something dark lurking under the surface.

[5] When the Jupiter II strayed off course for Alpha Centauri and was Lost In Space (TV, 1965- 1968), the chief biologist aboard, Maureen, ended up being chief cook and bottle washer in charge of hydroponics, though her daughters would later become distinguished reporters for ISN [Babylon 5 (TV, 1994- 1998).

[6] When the round-saucered Enterprise went on her five-year mission, her husband and symbiont, the captain, was appreciative of her superb efforts and communicated with her almost daily [Star Trek (TV, 1966- 1999)]. Her children, the Voyager [Star Trek: Voyager (TV, 1995-)], with its captain and adjunct, and Deep Space Nine [Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (TV, 1993-1999)], with its many-skilled and multi-layered Dax, also achieved success in their own ways. Indeed, Seven of Nine's alcove had some interestingly round things in it, and her characteristic trait of opening up a belly, oops, a can of worms for her captain was physically embodied in the science officer in the Deep Space Nine mirror.

[7] Next to the worm was the counterbalancing wormhole, descendant of the great Time Tunnel (TV, 1966- 1967), at the console of which was Dax's own great great ancestor, the intriguing Catwoman [Batman (TV, 1966-1968)]. The wormhole's own thematic children, the Stargate [Stargate SG-1 (TV, 1997-), has the resourceful and many-skilled Samantha, Captain Carter, in its company, and the Hellmouth of Sunnydale has the resourceful and many-skilled Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (TV, 1997-), who incidentally chakramed a demon with a cymbal in her opening story.

[8] Jumping through the roundness of jump gates and jump points, we slide through alternate realities to Babylon 5 (which, from some points of view, is itself round, as well as straight, and cigar-shaped, depending on the alignment of your subtext-core field generators), where we meet the well-rounded Delenn, and Ivanova, and even the Talia-Lyta telepath, living in the shades of darkness, between the darkness and the light, all a long way from Venus.

[9] Rotate your viewpoint in this story space, and collapse all of these instances into one, and we have a Xena with her chakram.


Round Things II: Round and About


Size DOES matter

Diana brandishes her round killing thing, though she doesn't know how to use it.

[10] When Diana, in the episode WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115), refers in her aristocratic dialect to the chakram as glyny thanator, "round killing thing", she is more correct than she sounds at first.

[11] The poetic word glauke is a word most often encountered as describing Athena's eyes and is often translated as "gray" or "blue". Originally it was a brightness word, not a hue word, and was applied to the sea, in the sense of "shimmering", "sparkling" (or "silvery", like a Robinson spacesuit). Shimmering like a chakram.

[12] Over time, the most characteristic trait of the sea as seen from a distance, its color, blue-green- grayish, became attached to the word glauke, so the phrase glaucopis Athena changed meaning from "bright-eyed Athena" to "gray-eyed Athena". In a separate development, the most characteristic trait of the sea close up, its thundering horses, was applied to Poseidon.

[13] Interestingly, glauke comes from a group of words whose shared concept is "round".

[14] There is the already-met glaukos, "gleaming, as of the sea, of owl eyes". "Owl" was the shorthand for "Athena" in ancient times. Glaukos has taken on the connotation of brightness.

[15] There is glaphyros, "hollow(ed), as of a ship, a cove, a cave, a lyre". Lyres were originally made from tortoise shells. The connotation of roundness has stayed with this word.

[16] By extension, glaphyros can also mean "polished, finished", like a work of art, perhaps; and, when applied metaphorically to a person, it can mean "subtle, critical, nice (as in niceties), exact" (like an artist, or artisan).

[17] There is glapho, "scrape at the ground, as a lion". The motion is an arc. There is glene, glyny, "pupil of the eye", the apple of one's eye; though compare the gl- words in English, which relate to the quality of light: gleam, glimmer, glitter.

[18] Other "round" words are gloutos, "the rump, the buttocks", for obvious reasons; gnathos, "the lower jaw", from its curve; even glokhin, "arrowtip", because they look like a tongue; and glossa, itself so- called because it is "something round and moist", "glossy", in fact.

[19] Collapse all these meanings into one ancestor, and we get a chakram and her Xena.

[20] It looks as if once there was a gl- word that meant both "gleaming" and "curved". It would have been an apt term for a chakram. Over time, as chakrams became rarer and were forgotten and the skill of their use entered folklore, the associated meanings of "bright" and/or "round" became the main meaning in daughter words.


Conclusion

[21] For the word-thinkers, where the ancient poets sang of "glauke-eyed Athena", modern scriptwriters and reviewers can talk of "chakram-eyed Xena", and we would all, in the many-layered Xenaverse, know exactly what they mean.

[22] For the picture-thinkers, the ancient image for love and beauty (by extension the Goddess of Love), a picture of a woman looking in a mirror (usually abbreviated to just the mirror), which has now become the symbol of the planet Venus, is just one layer of a Xena: Warrior Princess sidekick moment, sitting alone in a tavern and looking thoughtfully at her reflection in a shining chakram, before deciding to hand it back.


Afterword

[23] There is a phrase, gluke-melon, "sweet-apple", a term of endearment, translated as if it derives from glucus, "sweet (like tree sap)", akin to English "glue" ("sticky") and the source of the modern word "glucose". But tree sap is shiny too and comes in round-edged shapes.

[24] In light of the above, an alternative derivation suggests itself: "bright-apple", bright like a dewdrop in the morning [CRUSADER (76/408)]; and bright as in "She had a... light" (the woman witness in court in LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407), talking about Thalassa, which, ironically, also is the name of the sea). The melon, "apple", part of the word refers to roundness as well, though a different type of roundness.

[25] Chakram-tomatoes for lunch, anyone?



Biography

Edward Mazzeri Edward Mazzeri
Occupation: Living on the bed of an old, long-gone Gondwana river, just across the Strymon from New Xenaland, and now at the same distance from (but on the other side of) the equator as southern Japan, northern Africa and, by an interesting coincidence, Los Angeles, he currently works in a city office where he can look at the time on a Xena clock. Interest 1: "If Tapert's old enough to make 'em, I'm old enough to watch 'em." Interest 2: Recent news that the nail- tailed wallabies are (feebly) bouncing back in numbers (with a little bit of help) has stirred up thoughts of starting a Sugarglider or Feathertail page - not to mention one for bilbies, numbats, wombats, koalas, the various rock wallabies, bunyips and for things with no name (such as the onychophorans, the turpentines of the shale country, Angophora costata, that flower at the start of KING CON (61/315), the banksias and boronias, the just- rediscovered giant roughy, and even Wolf 359...)...
Favorite episode: Some are like video clips, others like lyric poems, some are like epics - interwoven with tragedy, comedy, tragi-comedy, and the visuals, soundtrack, the scenery, the actors, the directors, the props, the enthusiasm. So, which dish at the yumcha banquet is the dishiest? All episodes make some contribution of 'delicious wit' (David Martindale, "Xena: TV's Warrior Princess", Biography magazine, April 1999) to the feast. Amazed by the examples of synchronicity arising from the show. For example, IF THE SHOE FITS ... (80/412) aired the same might as the serio-comic Twanky double-episode of THE BILL, and the next night, there was the talking mirror scene on THE NANNY. Arranging such coincidences deliberately would be almost impossible if consciously attempted.
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "Just because someone wrote that on a piece of parchment doesn't make it true. Tell him, Xena". LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407); Gabrielle: "Xena!" Various episodes; Xena: "Gabrielle!" Various episodes.
First episode seen: DREAMWORKER (03/103)
Least favorite episode: None.

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