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August 16, 2005

The Scrolls of Pythia

Roslin: ... Who is Pythia?
Elosha: One of the oracles, in the sacred scrolls. 3,600 years ago, Pythia wrote about the exile and the rebirth of a human race. And the lords anointed a leader to guide the caravan of the heavens to their new homeland and unto the leader they gave a vision of serpents, numbering two and ten, as a sign of things to come.
Roslin: Pythia wrote that?
Elosha: She also wrote that the leader suffered a wasting disease and would not live to enter the new land. But you're not dying... are you?

- "The Hand of God", Season I, Episode 10

I was having a chat about Battlestar Galactica with the Neighbour of the Flea regarding the end of the show's first season (spoilers follow). The whole adventure has struck me as mind-numbing, fantastic. Visually flawless, internally coherent, faithful to the camp original series and yet the only speculative fiction, arguably the only television drama, to adequately respond to the moral challenges that have become more obvious since September 1, 2001.

And yet I was not happy with the season finale. I could not understand, let alone agree with, Commander Adama's decision to remove President Roslin from power let alone her imprisonment in the brig. The act struck me as unconstitutional, unjustifiable and unwise. Now, the Neighbour of the Flea thought Adama's decision was entirely sound given the President had interfered with a military command decision, was terminally ill, acting under the influence a psychotropic medication and believed herself to be an instrument of prophecy. Given what we know at the end of Season One, or even what may have been revealed in Season Two on the Sci-Fi channel (no spoilers for us foreigners, please), I have only one reply to make.

I affirm my belief in the literal truth of the Scrolls of Pythia.

Pythia was an ancient Colonial oracle, believed to have been one of the writers of the Sacred Scrolls some 3,600 years ago (CT). Her writings are both obscure and yet well-known: obscure, in that her entire writings are not widely studied among modern Colonials, but well-known in that extracts are widely quoted, often out of context such as the following quote:

"All this has happened before. All this will happen again."

Season Two, Episode Three spoiler on the following link: Political Space would call me a "scroll-thumper". So say we all.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 16, 2005 08:54 AM

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I think it's important to remember that Adama is not the Lorne Greene "God-Father" figure. He's as flawed a figure as anyone else around him. Well, maybe less so than Tigh or Baltar (or Roslin), but he's not omniscient, he's not all-wise, and he's liable to make mistakes, or prioritize things differently than we would.

Which is one of the very cool things about the show.

Posted by: ***Dave [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 16, 2005 12:07 PM

I quite agree Adama is a flawed figure and this is a strength of the show. My objection is not to Adama making a poor decision but to making a poor decision I do not believe is consistent with his character. Perhaps I underestimate his hostility to prophetic thinking. Or perhaps I do not share an assumption on the part of the writers that the show's viewers will "know" prophecy cannot literally be true.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 16, 2005 12:16 PM

Flea, when Roslin pushes me out the airlock before getting the Galactica back on course to follow her insane vision quest, be assured the last word ripped from my collapsing lungs will be a defiant Adamaaaaa.....

Posted by: Neighbour Of The Flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2005 01:58 AM

Maybe you just think the Sacred Scrolls aren't good enough for you!!!

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2005 10:40 AM