XENA E-XINE ROOKS/RING ISSUE

Volume 2, Issue 4, April 19, 2001

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Today's issue includes:

1. Feature Article -- Interview with fanfic bard Rooks

2. Xena quote

3. Featured FanFic and Short Review -- "The Bubble Bath," "Paybacks: The Bubble Bath Part Two," The Uber Zone: "I Found My Heart in San Francisco"

4. Xena News -- "The Last Day"

5. Featured Xena Links -- Last Day of Filming; various

6. Xena: Warrior Princess Episode Guide -- "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "Return of Callisto"

7. Special Section: THE RING

8. Feedback

9. PRIVACY/NO SPAM POLICY!

10. Subscribe/Unsubscribe Information

11. Credits

12. Archives

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This is the first in a new series of issues dedicated to individual bards.

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Shameless Advertising

CDs

Original TV Soundtrack "Xena: Warrior Princess - Lyre, Lyre..."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004T9VK/thexenaexine

Video Games Xena: Warrior Princess for the Sony PlayStation, by Universal Interactive Studios

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002R28Q/thexenaexine

Books

Life Lessons from Xena, Warrior Princess : A Guide to Happiness, Success, and Body Armor http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0836267672/thexenaexine

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1) Feature Article

"An Interview with Rooks"

by Staff

4/14/01

Famed fanfic bard and incisive, insightful reviewer of every episode of X:WP, Rooks, may have been assumed, as most bards, to be female. This is not the case. To assume, as we know, can make an ass out of you and me. Some of the finest feminist writing has, in fact, been scribed by men. He has had his problems with the series over the past few years...but, haven't we all? He graciously agreed to answer our questions as avid readers of fanfic:

"In your article for Whoosh, you mentioned that your inspiration for writing Xena fanfic was the emotional connection between the characters. Is that what first drew you to the show?"

Yes. In looking back, I think it was the visual cues that affected me most; the way Gabrielle was hold Xena's arm, or the way Xena would sort of casually hug Gabrielle. They "looked" right together, and that drew me in to get more of the emotional connection they shared. Fanfic at that time was great because it really focused on what I saw as simply *more* of the emotionalconnection I saw on the show.

"Is writing Uber a more attractive prospect these days than writing regular X/G stories?"

In a way yes, because I think it lets you take the parts you want from the Xena/Gab relationship and toss the rest. I actually think this is one of the weaknesses of Uber fiction - I can't really read Uber anymore, because I don't recognize the characters at all. I think these days, most of the Uber stories out there are simply romance stories between a tall brunette woman, and a short blonde. Usually one of them is an abuse victim - it doesn't matter which. I simply don't see Xena and Gabrielle there, at least not in the same way as I see them in a story like "Towards the Sunset". Maybe this is just because of my own shifting understanding of the characters on the show. I can't really go back to writing a romance story that focuses on Xena and Gabrielle anymore, because I no longer see them as lovers.

"Has the direction of the series in the last two seasons made it difficult to find the inspiration to write X/G fanfic, especially of an alternative nature?"

Oh yeah. In Season 5 Xena seemed to have an active dislike for Gabrielle most of the time, thrusting her off in Joxer's direction. It really killed any creative spark I had.

"You haven't written Xena fanfic in a while, do you see yourself writing it in the future?"

I have two stories in mind right now - one is a Janice and Mel story that I've written about 75 pages of, and another is a sci-fi Uber tragedy. I have no idea if I will finish them. I'd like to finish the Janice and Mel story before the show ends, but I'm not sure if I will. I'd need to get in a totally different headspace, and my life has changed a lot since I started writing fan fiction. I have other avenues to focus my creativity now.

"Given that the genre is female dominated, were you ever apprehensive about revealing to people your gender? Why or why not?"

I wouldn't say that I was ever apprehensive, but I was aware that it made a difference. When I first started writing, I didn't really have a good grasp of just how many women there were writing fan fiction out there. I used my standard handle - not to disguise my gender or anything like that - and I started getting messages that assumed I was female. I had no problem telling anyone who wrote me that I was male. Lunacy knew I was male very early on because she and I chatted a bit, so if you look back at some of her reviews of my stories, she refers to me in that way. But I never really made a point of saying "I'm a guy!" in my stories. Not that I don't think it is an issue - I don't think I'll ever understand what it means to write a female character in the same way as a woman might, but at the same time I think part of me wanted to bust down some stereotypes.

"What do you hope readers come away with after reading your fanfic?"

I hope they come away with feelings of catharsis, or at least satisfaction. One thing that I've always tried to do is give a real emotional conclusion to my stories (this is also one of the reasons why I don't write serials). It's just my own personal preference - I like to read stories that tie things up, emotionally speaking. Maybe not plot-wise, but that's a different issue :).

"Some of your stories have tended to be a bit darker than typical X/G fanfic. How has this been received by your readers?"

Good and bad. For the most part, if people don't like a story they just don't respond, so you have to guage audience appreciation by number of emails you receive. People really like "Something I Need", I think because it's not necessarily anti-relationship. My most recent story, "One", received the least amount of feedback I've ever recieved on a story (with the possible exception of a tiny little companion piece I wrote for one of L.N. James' stories - but it was so short that's understandable). One person said it made her feel sick, and that she would never see Xena and Gabrielle in the way that I had written them. However, of the few people who responded, most of them were bards - and bards whose work I really admire and respect. So in a way, that feedback was more satisfying.

"Do you see X/G alternative fiction (where X&G are depicted as lovers) as a logical extension of the series, or as a total alternative to the show itself?"

I used to see it as an extension of the series, but now I see it more as an alternative. I think fanfic was a response to the romance in season 2, but didn't really deal with many of the dark and subtle issues between Xena and Gabrielle. Then, when those issues blew up in season 3, fanfic totally went its own way.

"What fanfic story did you first read, and who wrote it? How did it impact you?"

I believe it was The Eleusinean Mysteries, by Baermer. What really grabbed me about that story was this one moment where Xena confesses that she's scared to really love Gabrielle in the way she wants to. I think that dynamic is quite typical of fanfiction now. I think the emotion of the line really affected me more than anything else - the feeling that their love is something new and passionate, something you can't really use logic to deal with.

"Was your decision to write your own Xena fanfic solidified when you first viewed the show or did the idea come after reading the fanfic?"

I had a story idea after watching the show, but I didn't even think about putting it onto paper until I saw there was other fanfiction out there. I wouldn't say one story or another inspired me so much as just the fact there were stories out there did.

"Who is your favorite character to write? Why is that?"

Gabrielle, easily. I find so much complexity in her character, whereas Xena's motivations tend to be quite obvious. Also, I think I relate better to Gabrielle, and I find her easier to write. Plus, there's something about her story that just really appeals to me. I tend to enjoy the coming of age story much more than the redemption story, at least in general.

"What is it for you personally about XWP and the characters of Xena and Gabrielle that has inspired such interest, energy, creativity and devotion on your part."

I think their relationship with its raw energy really inspired me, but I also think that reading different stories and view of the show has inspired me as well. It really is participating with other people that feeds my creativity.

"Do you see a clear difference in the way you approach your fan fiction and the way you approach your reviews of the series itself?"

Yes, I think so. When I write a story, I don't sit down and try to do something that will fit into the world of the show, for one. Usually, I think my stories will take one element of the show and spin it off into something new. For example, one of the things that has interested me on the show, and has been reflected in some of my stories is the reason why Xena and Gabrielle stay together. But I don't think what I wrote would ever really fit on the show... I took some things and ran with them, and ignored others.

"With the series rapidly coming to a close, what future do you see Xena fanfic?"

It's already become a vastly different part of the fandom than when I first started. I think what's here now will outlive the show for a while anyway, mainly because I don't think the bards are really using the show for inspiration anymore (I'm talking alternative bards here, not Ares-Xena bards etc. The Ares/Xena fiction may very well die out for all I know, but I'm not at all tapped into that part of the community).

"You've played a role in shaping the Xena fanfic community and have many fans, what have you learned by your time spent in this online community?"

I have many fans? Well, I think I have a few fans, but that's probably it :). I've learned, for one, that it's a heck of a lot more fun to participate in all aspects of the show, rather than just as a fan fiction writer. Talking with other fans is a much better way to get to understand the characters than writing about them, I have found, and I'm proud of the stories I have written since I started to do that. Also, for me, I'm much happier just being a fan than a "famous" bard. I don't know how Missy Good does it.

Rooks' fanfic and episode reviews can be found at his site at: http://www.rooks.ca/xena/

EDITOR'S NOTE:

More in sorrow than anger, Rooks removed his fanfic site and stories from the web as he saw the series self-destruct, but we are happy to report that at least one classic short story of this bard is once again available online:

"SOMETHING I NEED"

The superbly written, stark, darkly erotic contemplation of Gabrielle's particular needs and a rationalization of just maybe why she stays with Xena after her admission to Najara that the warrior's dark side does indeed frighten her. A fanfic classic.

http://www.jadent.com/rfx/Night%20Music/Something.htm ==============================================

2) Xena Quote

Brunnhilde:

"The Ring is too powerful to fall into udeserving hands...and so are you."

~Valkyrie about to become Eternal Flame to prove her love to Gabrielle in "The Ring."

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3) Featured Fan Fiction

Guest critic Brian Davis' fanfic pic:

"The Bubble Bath" and "Paybacks: The Bubble Bath Part Two" by Katelin B.

http://ausxip.com/fanfic/bubble.html

http://ausxip.com/fanfic/paybacks.html

Review: This is the ideal short vignette and sequel for anyone who loved the bath scene in "A Day in the Life", but wanted to know what happened when Minya wasn't around. Steamy in every sense of the word, Katelin B.'s imaginative Xena erotica is also rich on characterization; she never forgets who the characters are as people. "Paybacks" is a direct continuation of "The Bubble Bath". Both show Xena and Gabrielle at their most playful and sexy....with a particularly mischievous side of the bard emerging in "Paybacks"..... Highly recommended. These two pieces are really two halves of the same story; I give "The Bubble Bath" and "Paybacks" together **** stars.

Star Rating

***** Truly superior in every way; a fanfic classic

**** Excellent; fine writing and characterization

*** Good, entertaining read

** Not as bad as "Eternal Bonds"

* The peasants crucified in "Livia" had more fun

WARNING: Graphic sex (with no 'redeeming social significance')

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UBER ZONE

"I Found My Heart in San Francisco"

Book One: "Awakenings"

by S X Meagher

http://ausxip.com/fanfic9/foundmyheart1.html

Reviewed by Sue and Bacchae:

A charming, compelling and epic Uber all about the trials and tribulations of two college age women, one of whom is straight, engaged and naive but drawn to the worldly and very gay other. Jamie and Ryan become best friends, but don't want to risk ruining what they have by crossing that line. Angst Warning in effect for this first 'outing.' This one looks to be a monumental achievement as the author promises a book length novel for every letter of the alphabet! Remarkably, we are up to Book 8 now, H.

Sue gives it **** 4 stars...Bacchae gives it ***** 5.

Star Rating

***** A must read for any Hard Core Nutball!

**** It is well worth your while to read.

*** It's better than getting pinched in the neck by Xena.

** Maybe a pinch from Xena isn't such a bad idea...

* Cut off the blood flow to my brain now!

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4) Xena News

"The Last Day"

by Staff

April 9, 2001

CNN worldwide news network thought the final day of shooting was a signficant enough event to cover. I choked up as I watched LL, looking very melancholy, receiving last minute hair, make-up, and costume adjustments before the cameras ceased to capture her special dark magic for the final time. A costumer was seen reverently cradling Xena's leathers (which LL had sworn to wear when she got into her car to drive home) and gently laying them to rest in a simple costume basket. (I guess the studio knows just how much money they can make by auctioning that.) See the Links section for further information.

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Say Goodbye

http://community-2.webtv.net/Sub_Rosa/AnotherXenapage/page5.html

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Special Announcements

From fanfic bard, DSBauden:

Petition Lou Gehrig's Disease

Hi everyone,

This is a plea from me to you to sign this petition to George Bush for the use of stem cells to be used in the research for Lou Gehrig's disease. My mother died from this horrific disease two years ago and unfortunately, my siblings and myself, have a fifty percent chance of getting it as well. If I could have you sign this petition to increase my chances as well as my seven brothers and sisters to beat this disease, it would really mean the world to me. http://www.petitiononline.com/stmcll/petition.html I don't usually send this kind of thing, but with all of you on my lists, I thought just once I would ask. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this. You guys are the best!! But you already knew that ;) If there are any other lists out there that you can pass this on to, I would greatly appreciate it. The more the better!! Take care everyone! Di

**MAJOR FANFIC ANNOUNCEMENT**

A new list and organization has formed to try to preserve XWP fandom materials long-term. Here's the official announcement: The Xena-archivists list is for those interested in learning more about and participating in XAS (Xena Archiving Society) and its Xenaverse Digital Collection. "The mission of the XAS is to preserve, for future generations, the imagination and creativity found within the Xenaverse. Fan fiction of all types and genres, as well as artwork, videos, sketches, montages, wallpapers, fanfic covers, and many other methods of expression are being gathered." [from the Xena Archiving Society Mission Statement by Shadowriter] We are currently still in the organizing stage of XAS. Once we have finished developing the guidelines for the collection, we will begin the actual collecting and off-line archiving of materials. Xenites interested in volunteering for archiving duties, web site related activities or just interested in providing input about this endeavor can visit: http://xas.adahost.com/ for information about how to join the e-mail list and to view the offical mission statement. XAS is currently also running a logo contest to determine what logo it will use in the future at its web site and in connection with anything associated with the society. All Xenaverse artists are invited to participate. For rules, prizes, deadlines and other information go to http://xas.adahost.com/logo.html

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5) Featured Links

Screengrabs for E! News

(Updated by Carol Stephens and Judi Mair)

Screengrabs from the E! News Weekend visit to the last day of shooting on the Xena set.

http://members.nbci.com/xipinfo/misc/ENews040601/ulthm.htm

As always the best information source on the web is: The Australian Xena Information Page

http://ausxip.com/index2.html

Also at The Australian Xena Information Page is a marvelous page dedicated to the end of the series. Anything and everything written, broadcast or photographed about the series finale is included. Screengrabs, many video downloads - including the entire E! coverage of the shooting of the final episode - and articles are provided. (Ed. note: Make sure to have a box of Kleenex handy while viewing this page, many tears are guaranteed to be shed.)

http://ausxip.com/goodbye/index.html

The Lawless Files, part of the Australian Xena Information Page

http://ausxip.com/lawless/index.html

The ROC Files, part of the Australian Xena Information Page

http://ausxip.com/rocfile/index.html

Black Beauty A stunning final image...

http://www.primenet.com/~outback/fanclubs/xenablackhorse.jpg

The Gift

(We're totally verklempt on this one, folks.) People Mag piece on the wrap party and an extraordinary present from the crew to the co-Stars that embodies their working relationship and what they accomplished. A perfect, touching, meaningful, well-deserved tribute. It gave me chills, it's so...uber. Yin/Yang forever bound. http://ausxip.com/articles18/people_magazine0401.html

NO spoilers. A wonderful interview. Must read!! Missy Good speaks. Sappho script is mentioned.

http://www.newsguy.com/features/heroines.htm

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6) Xena: Warrior Princess Episode Guide

by Bacchae2

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

Yeehah. GJWHF An acronym we know by heart. One of almost everyone's favorite eps. A great Halloween tale.

Subtext Rating: Nothing but sub. They just wanna. From the bard's sensual setting of the scene to the obvious dyke duo with whom she shares a sensuous dance to the lusty eager request of her partner to, "Do it, Gabrielle." Bite me. How ingenious to reformulate the god of lustful exuberance and excess as an immortal vampire and his bacchae as the brides of Dracula. Feral-eyed babes. Those seductive sapphic sisters who draw our innocent little Gabrielle with their siren song. True, the relatively harmless god of wine and pleasurable good times is translated into something more akin to the traditional devil than even that which we saw in the series' christian mythos era, but the vampire analogy is a fascinating one, especially in light of the more than merely symbolic lesbian overtones. Xena and Gabby, the vampire slayers come to prevail only by giving themselves over to the wild debauch in one of the series' most sensual scenes. Soul sisters in a purely orgasmic response. The first out and out blatant eroticism we were given in their relationship. Xena displays her now absolute trust in Gabrielle by allowing herself to be taken by her as bacchae. Yummy. What a formidable pair of sister vamps. Orpheus points out to Xena: "Your selfish desires." Enumerate and elucidate please. Gabrielle gives great neck, a real tongue twister and fangs for the memory.

Just For Fun:

http://community-2.webtv.net/Sub_Rosa/AnotherXenapage/page2.html

*********************

"Return of Callisto"

With a vengeance.

On a sudden impulse Gabrielle decides to marry her formerly arranged betrothed from her old homestead. He has changed (literally, though transformed by his loathing of the Trojan War in which he fought, he is played by a different actor than the rude bumpkin from the pilot ep from whom Gab was, quite understandably, running away) and Gab, always the nurturer, figures he needs her more than Xena...and since he's the one declaring himself... Really, the poor boy, though sweet, is just a plot device. They had to get rid of Gab's pesky virginity. And in a 'nice' way. But, like all spouses of a lead heroic figure, he is already condemned as surely as any expendable Red Shirt. Re-enter the psychopathic Callisto bent on revenge. And we have the series' first major tragedy.

Subtext Rating: ROC rocks RoC. Or verse-a vice. Will the real love story please declare itself? Gab simply felt that he needed her more. And she needs to be needed. But the "now I know what love is" line has to be dealt with as well (one might say that since Gab talked about Xena on her wedding night that Perdicus 'understood' and was accepting of her in all her facets and, thus, the prompt to acknowledge the complete and unconditional thing that love really is, 'cause I sure don't think Gab was talking about sex at that point)... Interesting, the way they had her say to him that she'd never been with a "man" before. Then the "have you?" is rather curious, with a beat before she adds "with a woman"...almost a subliminal same sex ref. Yeah, Gab needs to be needed and Xena is, at worst, sullen and aloof and pushes her away (for her own good) and tried hard to fight the physical attraction at times (because of Gab's age? and innocence). Gab felt protective toward him just as Xena feels towards her--the relationship seems much more fraternal than what X&G have. Xena is devastated by her 'best friend' marrying. Clearly read upon her features, the impassive mask she attempts vainly to keep in place while saying goodbye to her bard, is the war she wages within herself to reveal her true feelings. And can't we all identify with that? Curious that all Gab can seem to talk about on the wedding night is Xena (as Brunnhilde would later complain: "Is Xena all you ever think about?!"). There's a clue for ya, Perdy boy. Xena, kissing Gabrielle goodbye, at the paltry ceremony with only two friends/witnesses in attendance is maid of honor and gives the bride away (the very last thing she wants to do) and Joxer is best man (no comment--though I'm biting my tongue)--that kiss is more filled with love and passion than Gab and Perd's perfunctory ceremony ending peck. And the way Xena says, "Goodbye, Gabrielle" with such finality (and it won't be the last time), her heart is clearly breaking. You know she intends never to return because she just cannot bear it. It is written in her face, her body language, her expression, her voice. It could not be stated with greater clarity. Gab's angry defiance in goading the WP to teach her to fight with a sword to avenge her husband of one night's murder by the deliciously twisted Callisto {don't worry, more on her to come, as we plan an issue dedicated to the Wild One} is one of their finest and most passionate moments of interaction on screen together. As with so much in the chemistry between these two, it has an undeniably sexual intensity. Xena's prayer to the chaste goddess moon (Artemis/Diana, in effect) is one of the series' most poignant and beautifully heartfelt moments. Only for her dear beloved best friend's soul and pain will the proud and godless warrior kneel and humble herself. The love story in this ep was not between Gabrielle and Perdicus.

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7) Special Section by E.J. Rain

The Ring

The most ambitious episode(s) since "Fallen Angel." (Or that little bittersweet musical based on the Tarot!) Every bit as overarching as the Rainbow Bridge to Valhalla.

Rainbow Bridge

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/rackham.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring/ring17.jpg

The ingeniously interwoven ancient bardic tales, The Niebelungen and Beowulf, are presented on a triptych tapestry as grand as any Wagnerian opera. This trilogy came as a surprising grandiose treat as the series was winding down its final season. Inspired and Inspiring. Inspired by the producer's fondness for a Dark Horse comics adaptation of The Ring Cycle--but was some of the grand design (of sets and costumes and the comic's artwork) further inspired by the Golden Age illustrations of the great Arthur Rackham? As are many productions on the operatic stage. You be the judge.

The Rhinemaidens

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring61.jpg

Frolicking

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring1.jpg

Could Rackham's famous torturously twisted trees have inspired the unique creation of Grindl as a walking arboreal nightmare?

Guarding the Ring

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring30.jpg

Fafner (the Dragon guards the gold of the Niebelung)

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring41.jpg

They could've slacked off altogether this season as they descended into tv oblivion and became video history and just phoned it in. Instead we were given one of the best trilogy of series episodes in tv history. This was truly mythology for adults. And the subject at its heart as the trailor announcer intoned and left no room for doubt--"True Love." As Gabrielle flings her arms about her errant soulmate and demands, "Don't ever leave me again" as only a lover has any right to do. Any questions? That should put them all to rest.

X&G perchance...? (Waltraute and Brunnhilde, sisters and valkyries)

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring56.jpg

A little bird told me. As the crow flies...mangy stool pigeons (Wotan's/Odin's Ravens)

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring55.jpg

The valorous Brunnhilde, outted by Odin, makes the supreme sacrifice for love by truly burning for it (much as Gab did in "Sacrifice") and she does it for the sake of both soulmates, thus proving, finally, the purity of her love. The L word (Love) is bandied about in such dialogue dense intensity that it began to sound like a tennis match. Does anything more needs be established?

The Anguished Brunnhilde

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring26.jpg

Post Kiss Bliss

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring48.jpg

Is there any more heroic image in all the series than that brave little bard running down that mine shaft and flinging herself upon the back of the monstrous beast? And, thank heavens we didn't have to live through another Twilight of the Gods. Even though prescribed by the myth. By placing the emphasis on love (and its denial or renunciation) instead of on mere magical rings, dragons, hero's quests, gold and sirens, it never gets lost in the trappings as many modern productions of The Ring may seem to. This is a vibrant retelling, full of passion. This incisive version of The Ring saga (apart from the inclusion of Beowulf, ironically no longer the hero in his own tale--not with Xena around) is a lesson in revitalizing and reshaping myth and incorporating new elements to keep the meaning of the myth alive. Joe Campbell would've loved it. It's a rediscovery of deep truths and an appropriate metaphor for the true depth of X&G's journey together as one of the great epic love stories to rival any in world lit. Tristan & Isolde, Lancelot & Guinivere, Xena & Gabrielle...

A curiously androgynous charming prince (looking more like Callisto in IOM) about to awake the sleeping beauty with a kiss...

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring47.jpg

Brunnhilde sacrifices herself in the flames of her lover's pyre

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring63.jpg

The intense character driven Gab trilogy ("Who's Gurkhan?," "Legacy," "The Abyss") and The Ring Cycle made me proud of the show once again and excited by what it could achieve at its best--filmic quality gems like "The Debt," "Ides of March" and "Fallen Angel," "Destiny" and "The Quest" when everyone was engaged in great storytelling and in supporting and not losing sight of the real story, the love story at the show's heart and soul.

Kissing the Ring

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring54.jpg

The Opera. It's a tetralogy. Four parts, actually, like Lord of the Rings, a trilogy preceded by a prologue. In order: "Das Rheingold," "Die Walkure" (The Valkyrie), "Siegfried," and "Die Gotterdammerung" (The Twilight of the Gods). I've sat through the Cycle, more than once. C.S. Lewis counts Rackham's famed illustrations for the saga, calling them "the very music made visible," as an early childhood influence on the man who would create his own fantastical realm in Narnia. (Mr. Lo Duca, in scoring the Xena eps, does hit the sublime Wagnerian chords with great subtlety, the underscoring of muted horns, without going wild by quoting "Ride of the Valkyries," e.g.--or "Apocalypse Now" as the non-operatic generation might recognize it).

Ride of the Valkyries

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring28.jpg

Wait...Listen for it...

Audio:

http://files.midifarm.com/midifiles/general_midi/classical/valkyrie.mid

Another inspired to create his own fantasy world was George Lucas as the Ring's influence is manifested in "Star Wars," e.g., the incestuous twins Siegmund and Sieglinde mirror Luke and Leia and Darth Vader has a Wotan (Odin) like stage presence. Unknown to these two sets of twins, Wotan/Darth Vader is their father. The Force/The Ring/The Power of Love. Moved by the lovers, the valiant Valkyrie Brunnhilde disobeys her father/her god and is punished by enchanted sleep in a ring of fire. How charming that this same character actually becomes the Eternal Flame in the X:WP retelling.

Eternal Flame

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring32.jpg

Brunnhilde lying enchanted in the flames

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring34.jpg

Brunnihilde is transposed into the very flame itself (and gives Gab a much sweeter and more gentle rush than the rude intrusion of Dahok's fire.) In the opera she will give up her godhood for love just as she fights and kills her sister valkyries for Gabrielle. The hero Siegfried (son of the twin lovers) wakes the sleeping valkyrie, his soulmate, but is later overcome with amnesia through a spell and coerced into a marriage to another. In this state he attempts to destroy the thing "he values the most."

Xena...you've changed... (Xena's inner dark hairy evil covetous dwarf? Alberich, the Niebelung, who steals the Rhinegold is the mirror of Xena's soul, a Dorian Grey attic portrait of the Warrior as a young woman...who renounced love.)

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring2.jpg

The Ring must be cleansed of its curse by returning it to the Rhinemaidens. It survives the lovers' funeral pyre and is recovered from the ashes. Grimhilde, a mere footnote, is a valkyrie never seen on stage in the opera, she is only alluded to. But she has the great distinction of serving as a means to bring a memorable monster into the mix in the Xena ep. In the end, the New World Order, a golden age is born from the ashes of Valhalla in the foretold Gotterdammerung, the order of the gods is ended and the world will now be ruled by love alone. And You Are There!

Freia or Freya (goddess who tends the golden apples which provide youth eternal for the gods without which they will begin to age... She also gives us her namesake day of the week, Friday; my favorite day since that's when I got to see X:WP)

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring5.jpg

The Norns (the three Fates of Norse mythology; literally fading into oblivion here as the thread breaks and the reign of the gods comes to an end...)

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring51.jpg

A woman and her horse

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring27.jpg

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring24.jpg

Valkyrie, Valkyr-eye, aye-aye

http://www.artpassions.net/cgi-bin/show_image.pl?../galleries/rackham/ring22.jpg

Check out the other Rackham illustrations for The Ring. They're all here.

http://www.artpassions.net/rackham/rackham.html

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8) Feedback

Comments on the Ephiny Issue:

"How, I mused, will these crazy xine editors ever coax a whole issue out of the scant material available on one recurring character? HA! Without apparent eph-ort, these fine fans have eph-iciently done just that! Lest I eph-use I would be remiss if I failed to give my words of admiration for the eph-ervescent issue. There were fanfic links new to me as well as many wonderful memories rekindled of the show when it was still made of the stuff which inspired the deep devotion for which XWP is now legendary. It was eph-ing beautiful! Thanks thanks thanks to Sue, Bacchae, Countess, Lady Adrell and Brian for a most eph-ective blending of material. Eph-ectionately, Cindy"

"Another Xine that was a real pleasure to read. Sue, great retrospective article on the importance of Ephiny in the series' history and what her presence meant to you as a true fan. I too loved the development and maturing of Ephiny's character, and she was my favorite of all the Amazons introduced in the series (with the exception of Gabrielle of course, heh). Interesting what you mentioned about Ephiny's willingness to protect Gabrielle against even Xena; it made me think of Najara, another strong woman with the same goal, except where Najara was not only unstable, but also possessive regarding Gabrielle, Ephiny's protectiveness towards the bard was selfless and born of true caring. Bacchae, more perceptive subtext episode reviews. "Remember Nothing" is a true Xena classic, and indeed a very powerful episode with a lot to say about both Xena *and* Gabrielle, and about the transcendent power of their relationship. I am happy to see someone say good things about the often unfairly maligned "Giant Killer". Yes, there was a bit of connection between David and Gabrielle (which is what seems to make many subtexters go ballistic) but I agree that the bond between Xena and Gabrielle still comes out as being of far greater significance. The moment you recount so well of X & G holding hands during the gathering thunderstorm is a very memorable subtext/maintext moment. It certainly stood out in my mind when I first saw this episode in first run that more than simple friendship was being indicated here. And I too got a kick out of seeing Xena at the heart of biblical events--and done like you say, as simply one more bit of mythology for XWP to reinvent and have fun with, not at all like the pomposity of the quasi-Christianity of season five. Lady Adrell, really appreciated the update on what our beloved Danielle Cormack is doing now. Ephiny may be missed, but it's really good to know that this very talented and appealing actress is having such genuine success with her career. And what a delight to hear of all these other Xena alumni working with her outside the Ren Pics world. Ares and Ephiny live and naked on stage, yet. No wonder you want a ticket to New Zealand, heh. And on behalf of my soulmate, The Countess, thank you for including her wonderful Xena poem "The Fort" in the Xine. It's always been a personal favorite of mine among her poems.

Love and spring greatings to all, Brian Davis ( fluffsterbrian@yahoo.com )"

{Editor's Note: due to the sometimes vagrant nature of email we inadvertantly lost the first lines of the poem in our last issue, this oversight will be rectified in the archives. We apologize to the author.}

If you have any comments, suggestions for content, or articles to submit to this Xine, then please contact Lady Adrell at exine@exine.tvheaven.com (We are accepting submissions for featured articles. Send to above address.)

==================================== A Word from Our Sponsors For great Rock `N Roll music, produced by a fellow Xenite, check out Mary Paulson's "Just Because" http://www.swiftsite.com/marypaulson/index.htm ==============================================

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11) Credits

The Xena E-Xine Staff: Chief Editor/Head Reporter/Writer: Lady Adrell Editor/Head Writer: Bacchae2 Assistant Editor/Research: Sue, Cindy FanFic Critic: Staff Website Analyst: Staff Episode Guides: Bacchae2

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12) Archives

To read previous articles, please go to http://exine.tvheaven.com/archive.html Though changes are still being made, the new home of the archives is http://www.xenaexine.f2s.com. The old archive site will stay up for a while for everyone to make the adjustment.

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DISCLAIMER Wagner was not harmed during the making of the Xena Ring Cycle. In fact, they told in less than three hours in much less convoluted fashion what it took him four four-hour operas to confusingly recount (and with Beowulf and Grindl thrown in for good measure).

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You have permission to forward this to other people, and by all means, please do. The contents of this E-Xine may be copied, reproduced, or freely distributed for all nonprofit purposes without the consent of the author as long as the author's name and contact information are included, unless where otherwise stated. Example: Reproduced with permission from Lady Adrell or said author. All contents Copyright � 2001 The Xena E-Xine, except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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XENA E-XINE VOLUME 2, ISSUE 5
LOVE XONGS IN THE KEY OF G