Whoosh! Issue 43 - April 2000

IAXS project #667
By Edward Mazzeri
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
5866 words

Author's Note: Grammarians' warning: This article does to linguistics what Xena: Warrior Princess does to history (and myth).

Introduction (01-11)
     Group Effort (03-05)
     Continuity (06-07)
     Development (08-11)
Inspiration (12-17)
Focus (18-37)
     Xena (19)
     The Gabrielle-Xena Relationship (20)
     The Xena-Gabrielle Relationship (21-23)
     Gabrielle (24-34)
     Pairing (35)
     Breaking The Pair (36-37)
Words (38-72)
     More Words (39-41)
     Chervil (42-70)
     Subsets (71-72)
Notes (73-75)
Music And Lyrics (76-85)
References (86)

The Mirror Of Virtue

"Gabrielle, stop searching with your eyes."
   -- Xena, LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407)
Voted most likely to destroy nations

Good friends.


[01] Ever notice how the only time Gabrielle stops talking is when Xena tells her she is the best? For example, in THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN (49/303), Xena calls her "Bard, Amazon Princess, Best Friend", and Gabrielle just looks at her with a thoughtfully endearing expression, momentarily silenced.

[02] Gesture, posture, facial expression, and body language reveal more than words can say. When Tara the Forgiven taunts them with "You two are such suckers!" for believing in each other, they can only smile at each other. Words are not enough.

Group Effort

[03] Xena: Warrior Princess (XWP) is a group effort in the small details, such as the carving on the dice the soldiers were playing with in RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205) and the chakram pattern on Lao Ma's doorway in THE DEBT (52-53/306-307). More striking is a detail concerning the gem in Solaris' mouth, which became a guiding star in FINS, FEMMES, & GEMS (64/318). In the episode, it was referred to as "the North Star". Fomalhaut, meaning 'the mouth of the fish', is the alpha star of the constellation of the Southern Fish, which was and is a navigational star for those south of the Equator. This last detail is fairly obscure, but instantly noticed by those with an interest in astronomy, linguistics, and folklore.

[04] Furthermore, the mentioning of specific trees are winks for botany lovers. They gave us the oak Perdicus was hiding behind in RETURN OF CALLISTO, the poplar from behind which Lao Ma's messenger emerged in THE DEBT, and the perfectly apt sign to Laurel erected by Gabrielle in A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215), where they follow the philosophy that Centaurs do not eat hay and giants would not know how to read Greek, and they apparently can read Quenya.

[05] On the other hand, with so many hands and so little time, occasional inconsistencies make it through to the aired version, like the half-second's view of pneumatic tire-tread marks in THE KEY TO THE KINGDOM (78/410) for the second unit's start of the Joxerdrag.


[06] Details begin to to form story continuity when they coalesce and add even more meaning by being taken in the context of other details. One example of this is the music that was playing as one of the Crusader's men was walking down the fateful staircase in the tavern [CRUSADER (76/408)]. Another is the glance that Gabrielle gives the soldier when he says "She's amazing" as they watch Xena lead a group to draw out an ambush at the dam outside Actus, just after the dragonfly flew past the camera lens (a nice touch from Gaia) [PAST IMPERFECT (77/409)]. Thaumai means "gaze at, wonder at, be surprised by, behold, marvel, regard with wonder". The thaumaturgical Xena was seen in the scene where the apple Xena tosses to Gabrielle in A FAMILY AFFAIR (71/403) as a welcome back.

[07] Continuity allows other threads to suggest themselves, extending the context. For example, somewhere in the Xenaverse, if there is a tavern called the Wooden Shamrock, we just know that the innkeeper would have to be Meg.


[08] With continuity combined with time, threads have the opportunity to develop and evolve over the long term, e.g., the "Ballad of Joxer the Mighty" never stands still. But the opportunity for development allows the writers to play with expectation versus surprise: e.g., for everyone waiting for Xena to say 'I do', the writers obliged (twice) in LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407), but not necessarily in the usually intended way.

[09] The entire troupe is painting on a canvas, adding touches with each episode to a continually developing painting. A worthwhile thesis topic would be a comparison between Elizabethan acting companies (including the Shakespearean ones) and modern television series (including Xena: Warrior Princess), their parallels and contrasts, and what, if anything, has changed. The enthusiasm, spur-of-the-moment changes, inventiveness, tragic and comic themes seems similar in both ages. (Of course, having Salmoneus stand up for a total of 20 minutes, and Gabrielle for a total of 40 minutes of poetry and story (Sal speaking profitably each time Gabby changes scrolls) is a modern innovation, isn't it?)

[10] There are other Xena resonances to all parts of the universe, every day. For example:

  1. Shintaro and Tombei walking the forests of medieval Japan in The Samurai (TV; Japan; 1967);

  2. walking past a Mehndi Body Painting Kit in the local bookshop;

  3. seeing a still in the newspaper of Danielle Cormack painting the townhouse in Siam Sunset (1999);

  4. opening a language primer at random at a quotation of a Vedic hymn to Mitra 'friend', guardian of faithfulness [Note 01]), having the line avo devasya sanasi, first read as the Devi (or the Light) brings Xena, but apparently to be translated as 'the favour brings gain', from 'dev- div-' shine, light, sky, heaven, god, goddess, divine, gift and 'san' gain (as in health, sanity);

  5. hearing a song [Note 02], sung to the personification of love,

    La dolcezza m'accompagne
    E mi rammente la mia sorte

    Your sweetness accompanies me
    And reminds me of my destiny

    You know, the usual things.

[11] All these examples of resonances are what programmers would call instantiated objects, with their common characteristics derived from an ancestor or base object. In the case of XWP, that ancestor object, the ambrosia that brings life to everything it touches, is the concept of love. More below.


[12] Looking for a thread to bundle a miscellany of thoughts together with can be a difficult task. Being spontaneous, to allow expression of the creativity of the subconscious, can sometimes reveal that thread. Allowing randomness to exist bypasses the restrictions that jaded everyday assumptions put upon the universe. Connections that were not thought of before become visible. So then, in a quest for 'love in the Xenaverse', and a branch to hang a favorite shirt on, opening a dictionary at random, we alight upon:

Dis-nomos = lawless, unrighteous

[13] Not a likely name. Imagine a poet or priestess called Diana Disnomos. How much market-stall credibility is there with a name like that? Further down on the same page is:

Dis-xynetos = hard to understand, unintelligible

[14] This is better. It has an X in it, sounds suitably legendary and mythical, and could apply to the cryptic Xena. Further down, there are more Xs:

Xynos = belonging to all in common Xyna legein = to speak for the common good Gaia xyne panton = earth, the common property of all

[15] There might be a pattern here, but this is becoming pretty obscure. There doesn't seem to be much to do with love here, on the face of it.

[16] Opening the dictionary at random somewhere else, we do get something with phil- (love) in it:

Pros-philes = dear, beloved Pros-philo-neikeo = to vie with another in anything Pros-philo-sopheo = to speculate further upon, to philosophise with another Pros-phoitao = to go or come to frequently, to resort to a place Pros-legomai = to lie beside Pros-mytho-logeo = to talk or prattle with one

[17] These sound like they could be different ways of describing Gabrielle. And that might be the clue to follow: focus on something straightforward to start with, and examine it from various perspectives, from various angles and viewpoints.


[18] Just as there were dialects in ancient Greek, e.g., Doric as chanted by Gabrielle in THE TITANS (07/107), Ionian for the researches of the historical (and not really so gullible) Herodotus, Aeolian for the songs of Sappho, and other dialects, there are multiple perspectives available in XWP for approaching the subject of love.


[19] If we looked at love and Xena, we would very easily drown. This is a deep pool, with many stones and layers under the surface, many of them interlocking and overlapping. Best leave the exploration of this for another day.

The Gabrielle-Xena Relationship

[20] From the Xena side of the Xena-Gabrielle relationship, even Gabrielle as anchor for Xena's ship during life's storms, like in THE PRICE (44/220), ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313), IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/124), and a host of other episodes, is still too close to the complex web of tapestry that is Xena to be treated fairly and adequately here.

The Xena-Gabrielle Relationship

[21] Looking at the Xena-Gabrielle relationship from the Gabrielle side, if Xena is seen as a mother lion and Gabrielle her kitten-cub, then Gabrielle is forever being rescued from scrapes that only a cub could end up in: buried in FORGIVEN (60/413), burned in BLIND FAITH (42/218), enshipped with Cecrops in LOST MARINER (45/121) and slavetraders in TSUNAMI (65/319), and various tied-up and/or dangly positions on cliffs, rope bridges, altars and suchlike.

[22] Indulgently, the lioness allows her cub to climb over her in ALTARED STATES (19/119), jump on her (playfully) in A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215), stand up to her in THE EXECUTIONER (41/217) and otherwise hone her skills upon her. Always a nonchalantly watchful guidance, you could say.

[23] The dynamic of this relationship is slightly less complex than the others, but still too complex to be easily glossed here.


Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who Present, Past, & Future sees
Whose ears have heard,
The Holy Word,
That walk'd among the ancient trees.

[24] So, let's look at Gabrielle as an individual and as a person.

[25] What Gabrielle actually does, and how she behaves, reveal the depth of her soul and of her interrelationship with others. Her deeds speak for her.

[26] Gabrielle's main life thread is that of the Comforter, all the way from the time on the parapet during the evening summer thunderstorm [GIANT KILLER (27/203)] to the campfire scene after the siege of Actus [PAST IMPERFECT (77/409), and beyond.

[27] There are several ways to categorize and classify her behavior. Each category offers a different viewpoint and is a different way of seeing her.

Created by Andy Warholius

Will the real Gabrielle please tell us something?
[28] She tries to be mindful of others, choosing not to harm them, even at turning points in her life where she herself has been harmed, sparing Callisto in RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205) even though she has been emotionally scorched by her, continuing the thread of innocence begun by DREAMWORKER (03/103); at other turning points, she chooses action over inaction and she even goes out of her way to help, offering water to dying members of the Horde in THE PRICE (44/220). This is Philadelphia, love of brothers and sisters, of brethren, by extension, of all humans. When she goes against this grain, there is no inner comfort.

[29] She is a friend in need, beginning with the dungeon chakram-in-a-hat-and-whip-is-a-belt fashion statement by the tomato stall in THE BLACK WOLF (11/111), in her attempt to rescue Xena; imitating Xena to protect a village in the Lord Seltzer episode when Callisto's knockout dart first makes its appearance; and continuing strongly throughout the series, graduating from tag-along to ally to partner in the process. This is philos, friendship.

[30] Digressing slightly, it is good to see that so many people ave input into the show --- even the small discovery that a Scottish word for 'talkative', "gabby", exists adds yet another layer of texture to the Xenaverse, though (given New Zealand's history) this should not be so surprising.

[31] On the subject of tomatoes...they used to be called 'Love-apples', and on the subject of apples, the apples Gabrielle are so fond of munching on are the variety called "Delicious". A whole essay could be written (and probably has) on what Gabrielle puts in her mouth.

[32] She is Goodfellow, the life of the party, playing Moonlight Charades by the campfire in FORGIVEN (60/314), and generally being the spice in any grouping. This is Agape, translated as 'love- feast' in the old days, and potentially translatable nowadays as 'party animal', as in GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204).

[33] Gabrielle's zest for life allows her an outlet for physicality and strong emotions, in an angry, warlord-y way against the world in TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208) and, more personally, in THE BITTER SUITE (58/312); and in more positive ways in improving her combat and stage skills in various episodes. She is not shy to express herself, even against a warrior princess: 'You used my SCROLL!' This is a quality not translated by any one word, but is shared by bards and good actors. It makes her a good and effective teacher. Let's call it joie-de-vivre, a love of life. 'Smell the flowers, listen to the seagulls', to paraphrase the start of ULYSSES (43/219).

[34] Her sense of justice leads her to be a defender of Xena in SINS OF THE PAST (01/101) and THE FURIES (47/301) and various other episodes; of Meleager in THE EXECUTION (41/217); of Hope in various episodes; and of other people to a lesser degree as she comes in contact with them. This is philosophy, love of wisdom (in a spiritual sense).


[35] At the end of THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN (49/303), observe how the two reformed convicts are standing in a position mirroring the stance of Xena and Gabrielle, as equals to equals. Mirroring of posture is a powerful, though non-verbal, communication. The Xena- Gabrielle pair are being honored by imitation. Loved by symbolic stance. Further, it is obvious that Gabrielle is at ease and comfortable in Xena's company, and Xena in Gabrielle's. Let's call this 'Delighting in your company', to borrow from an old folk song. Xena and Gabrielle form a unit and a unity.

Amphipolis Class of '03 (BC)

Mirror, mirror

Breaking the Pair

[36] Aphrodite once discoursed to her son Cupid upon the subject of love, of how there are many types: jealous love [FORGET ME NOT (63/317)], unrequited love (still to come?), and others besides, too numerous to recall.

[37] There is even selfless love: sacrificing herself to save another, as in the season-ender SACRIFICE II (68/322). There is no greater love than that.


[38] Allow all these behaviors to exist, and occasions will arise naturally where the words 'I love you' will be said, and will have to be said. Let us examine these occasions, using the words to reveal some of the layers of the mirror that is the XG pair (though describing them like that makes them sound like humanity's version of the chromosome of spirit).

More Words

It was not chastity that made me wild, but fear
that my weapon, tempered in a different heat,
was over-matched by yours, and your hand
skilled to yield death-blows, might break
with the slightest turn - no ill will meant -
my own lesser, yet still somewhat fine-wrought,
fiery-tempered, delicate, over-passionate steel.

[39] The show is, understandably, somewhat laconic when it comes to amatory declamations. It fits the characters: Xena is not one to prattle, and Gabrielle prefers deep issues to stating the obvious.

[40] Laconic, from Laconia ('snowy'?, leuk- shining, bright, or 'wolfland'?, lik- tear apart with the teeth), the name of the land where the Spartans lived.

[41] Spartans were taught not to waste anything, including hot air. Once the herald of an invading army delivered a message to the Spartans, declaring (heralds being immune from military action in those days), 'If we defeat you in tomorrow's battle, you're going to regret it!'. The response that was taken back was: 'If'.


[42] There is a herb, kharein-phyllon ('delight- leaf'), a relative of parsley, carrot, hemlock and other umbellifers, whose edible leaves add a delicate parsley- anise flavour to soups and salads. It is presumed by modern botanists that the ancient name of the herb refers to the aroma of the leaves, making it akin to basil (or kingsfoil, also called athelas), or perhaps like the mint or boronia of other lands, but since the geographical range of the plant more or less corresponds to the area covered by Xena and Gabrielle in their travels, and the growth pattern of its young leaves is very like the pattern of the leaves on Xena's breastplate ornament, another origin for the name begins to suggest itself. (Perhaps it might even be linked in some way to the origin of the chakram.) Kharein is one of the Greek words often translated as 'love'. It wouldn't be all that surprising to discover that Xena has been wearing the Mycenaean equivalent of 'Lovable' all these years.

[43] There are a Horde, a Pomira, of ancient words rendered as the modern word 'love' (or some equivalent for variety of scripting). In the ancient world, their meanings hovered around the concepts of light, bright, happy, dear, family, beauty, desire. Think the Poteidaia market place in the morning.

[44] Phil- be fond of. Related English words are fool, fun, fondle, faint, folly, feeble, where they combine the ideas of 'happy' and 'pliant', like a talkative sidekick willing to walk and take notes. 'Now I know why you ride the horse,' says Ephiny to Xena in an early episode. This word has been unspoken so far in the series, though it has been embodied numerous times, most notably in Gabrielle herself.

[45] Indeed, by a pleasant coincidence (who is the goddess of coincidences?), the phil- set of phrases and terms seem to be the stars that delineate the constellation of Gabrielle and outline her character to a theta: philoskypon loving a staff (from Ephiny's mother, for the first three and a half seasons, at least), philositos fond of corn (=food), fond of eating (various episodes), philorrox loving grapes [called 'cherries' in A A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222)], philornithia fondness for birds [the swan-chasers of CRUSADER (76/408)]; philorthos loving what is straight or right (no subtext for the defence counsel, here!), philoporistes loving autumn fruits (apples in various episodes), philoprotos fond of being first [like the race in A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) or telling stories about a wooden boy in IF THE SHOE FITS (80/412), philosopheo lover of wisdom (as distinct from philosappho a friend (or fan) of Sappho's) e.g., her we're-all-descended-from-fish theory in THE PRICE (44/220), philoploos fond of sailing [TSUNAMI (65/319), and ULYSSES (43/219)], this fondness developing quite naturally into stunt-octopus eating [ULYSSES], which in turn leads to the corrective cameo appearances of the squid [THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER...(56/310)] whose ink, I like to think, was used to write on the scrolls with. Philoplektos usually braided [described as 'Macedonian tresses' in BLIND FAITH (42/218)], philopeustes fond of inquiry, curious (Isn't she always? Falling out of the scout tree on hearing Xena say in IF THE SHOE FITS... (80/412) that she had a step-father; or working out who the noisy monster was in TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208)], philoparabolos venturous [like asking 'Does an Amazon Queen beat a Warrior Princess?' in HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110); or reading Doric rhymes aloud in a cave in THE TITANS (07/107) -- but she was younger then; now she is brave enough to follow her own philosophy], philopaigmon playful [(the play ambushes of A DAY IN THE LIFE, the charades of FORGIVEN], and philoxenos loving strangers, hospitable. That famous word again, xeno-, xena-, meaning guest, out-of-towner, ambassador, a person given hospitality and treated with respect, like a welcome swallow.

[46] Agape, the modern and an ancient Greek word for 'love', and modern English technical term in philosophy, agape has as many applications as the word 'love' itself has in English.

Love - the unconditional 'I love you' of WHEN IN ROME... (62/316).

[47] Dear - as in Dear Friend. So far not spoken. Embodied in A FAMILY AFFAIR (71/403). More suitable for a poem or a letter. Gabrielle hasn't had a need to leave Xena a note, since she can always talk to her directly (unless either or both of them happen to be dead at the time, and even that won't necessarily stop them communicating). And Xena is not the writing type, anyway. What would she write? It would instantly become scripture: like Xena's letter to the Amphipolitans ('Dear Brethren'), Xena's letter to the Potideians ('Dearly Beloved, ...'), Xena's second letter to the Corinthians ('Oops! Sorry about the siege! Ignore my first letter.').

Pleasing - the 'she likes what she does' of A DAY IN THE LIFE

[48] Worthy of love - the true and transparent 'I love you' of the ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE II (70/402) vision, unstained by any murky intentions (pure as the driven snow, you could say, even if Callisto gets in the way)

Beautiful - the nutbread-induced reality-revealing 'You're beautiful! ' exclamation of ALTARED STATES (and seconded by the entire planet)

[49] Desirable - as in libido. So far not spoken, though there is plenty of innuendo, and much smoke over Fan Forest. One of the banks of Story River, the artificially reinforced one, seems as if it will forever prevent this from happening on screen. Ironically, the technical term for a reinforced riverbank is 'dyke', but that actually has no bearing on the matter currently at hand. The other bank of Story River, passing near the suburb of Fashion Trendside, might, perhaps, consider allowing something, one day, maybe. After all, if Ally and Dax can, why not Ivanova and Buffy? But that has no bearing on the matter, either.

[50] Pleasure, placate, agreement, mutual understanding the helping hand in the rain of THE BITTER SUITE (58/312), so far not spoken. Xena catches the fish, Gabrielle fries them. They both look after the fire. Nothing to say. No need to.

[51] A tapestry of related words meaning face, nose, joy, mild, soft - the love supplied by the family: this is the plaintive 'I love you' of THE DEBT II, and the truth-fever recollected request 'Take me with you' of ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313).

Delight, delicate, lash, lasso, lace, latchet, entice, elicit: this is the (perhaps instinctive) 'I love you' attempt to elicit a response of MATERNAL INSTINCT (57/311).

[52] Pothe = fond, desire for one, longing after: a possible meaning for the place name Potideia (if you're in the place, your biggest desire is to leave). Surely no one can describe Gabrielle as 'potty' (in the colloquial sense of 'crackpot', like a divinely-inspired prophet (or bard)). On the other hand, bards are, by tradition, usually (divinely) inspired, and there has been no clue offered in the series so far as to who Gabrielle's divine inspiration actually is (at least, not usually visible to non- subtexters).

[53] Tlao = willing, as Gabrielle was in THE QUEST (37/213) arc. A part of this was in the decision and responsibility component of the I love you of WHEN IN ROME... (62/316). Gabrielle willingly chooses to follow Xena.

[54] The next group of love words are still mostly unspoken so far in the series, and are included here for completeness, showing possible avenues the series might wander down.

[55] Khara = joy, delight (English care, Italian caro, French cherie), e.g., glossis kharein = through love of talking. This word is used in the vision sequence in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE II: You're the best thing.

[56] Kharagma = marking, inscription (e.g., stamped marks on a coin), by imagery, one's character. What Gabrielle does with the scrolls (except on off days), on the one hand, and what impact Gabrielle's character has on Xena's, on the other. Used several times in the series when explaining how and why Xena changed.

[57] Kharieis = graceful, beautiful, lovely, dainty, elegant, akin to English charity, and the dancing Graces of mythology, the Charites. There are two derivatives of this word:

[58] Kharma = source of joy, delight (giving rise to English charm). This is the source of the laughter and happiness at the end of A TALE OF TWO MUSES (74/406). A related word is kharmophron = heart delighting.

[59] Kharme = joy of battle, the juices of A DAY IN THE LIFE, which, practically speaking, are not entirely useful for cooking with, even with chervil.

[60] Khairo = rejoice, take delight in, glad, by association, a greeting (welcome, farewell). This is conveyed in various episodes by the tone of voice used in calling out the names: 'Xena', 'Gabrielle'. See? Interestingly, by serendipity, it seems, this word can also mean flowing hair (as of a horse's mane), and fair hair (as of a sidekick), though how these meanings came to exist in the ancient language is obscure.

[61] kharops = gladeyed, light-eyed, sparkling with joy, like the meeting in the forest in A FAMILY AFFAIR. Interestingly (again), this word can also mean blue-eyed, and (again) the origin of this meaning is obscure.

[62] khaieo = to long to do a thing, to have a need of. Embodied in ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF THE PERFORMING BARDS (13/113) (bard qualifications), A TALE OF TWO MUSES (dancing), and used in Gabrielle's conversation with Najara by the swan lake in CRUSADER about the direction of her life.

[63] khite = delicate, soft, dainty, luxuriant. The It's perfect!, of Gabrielle's hair (FINS, FEMMES & GEMS). It is, actually.

[64] Eroto- heat, movement, energy. This word, well-known worldwide, is related to English 'fire'. By metaphor, its meaning was extended long ago to passion, the driving force of one's life.

[65] erao = to love, to be in love with, desire passionately, lovely, charming, beloved

[66] himeros = desire, love, yearning (as opposed to hereros?)

[67] Besides the obvious fan-fiction possibilities of this word, there are two things which arouse Gabrielle's passions in XWP: the defender (this role has become so natural now that, in LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN, cutting to Gabrielle sitting next to Xena as defence counsel requires no exposition at all, and, in fact, is expected); and her other passion is her scrolls (hinted at strongly in THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) and THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER, and made explicit at the beginning of A TALE OF TWO MUSES).

[68] melo to be an object of care, to care for, to take an interest in, be anxious about - this is the I love you of ONE AGAINST AN ARMY. The word is related to the more general mello to think of doing, to be about to do, to intend. A seemingly related word, meliphron (honey-mind, sweet-thought), which is usually translated as 'sweet to the mind', 'delicious', could easily have originated with Xena actually calling Gabrielle "blonde- brains".

[69] lampo brilliant, splendid, beauty of face, shining, light, glowing - this is the light of Xena's prayer in RETURN OF CALLISTO and of her memory of Thalassa in LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN.

[70] khaire, lamptir niktos feebly rendered in English as 'thou that lightest up the night' from Aeschylus, usually explained as describing the heartfelt homesickness- inducing sight of the beacon fires near unto one's home, this could really be read as Xena saying to Gabrielle 'Oh dear darling! You're the light of my night.' or, in another context, 'Oh, dear! The campfire!'

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