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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Assad K
    December 19, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    Alan Moore sure exercises some nasty fates on Stormtroopers…


  2. BerserkRL
    December 19, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    Leia seems to have a low bar for what constitutes philosophy.


  3. Daibhid C
    December 19, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

    Being created by George Lucas will do that to you…


  4. Marionette
    December 19, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

    So is the hero's journey just for guys? Because it seems to other anything female to such an extent that I can't really see it working with a female protagonist.


  5. Matthew Blanchette
    December 19, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    …that's a pretty low blow. Never mind that's it's aimed at the wrong person, considering who actually wrote the above scene…


  6. jane
    December 19, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

    The important thing to remember about the journey is that everything in it is a metaphor. The Goddess/Temptation doesn't have to be set up as a Madonna/Whore dyad for a male hero, though it often is in ancient (and not so ancient) mythology.

    The Mother archetype is apt, but not necessary, for the underlying purpose of "purging, balancing, and initiation of the mind into the nature of the visible world." It is the realization that the body of the Universe is what gives life, and demands death. Material existence is simultaneously good and evil — or better yet, beyond good and evil. The boon of union with the Universe as the jewel of the Divine is amor fati, "life enjoyed as the encasement of eternity." The mystical union of Love and Death is often portrayed as a Wedding, because it's an apt metaphor, but it doesn't have be heterosexual — or sexual at all.

    For example, in Curse of the Black Spot, the Meeting with the Goddess is portrayed with the Siren as the Goddess. The Doctor, Avery, and Amy Pond all willingly submit themselves to a process that looks like Death but are completely infused by Love.

    The Siren is both Healer and Destroyer — and, as we find out, the Power of the Other Side; she is also the "father" of the spaceship. Amy agrees to take care of Rory, which is her "at-one-ment" with the Siren; she becomes Rory's Siren and responsible for bringing him back to life. The Siren isn't really a woman, of course — it's a computer program, which in itself is an interesting metaphor for the Universe — but a projection realized from the subconscious of the pirates.

    Likewise, "temptation" can come in many forms. Going back to Black Spot, it's in the form of Treasure. Avery succumbs to temptation; Amy does not. Usually Amy's temptation rears up in her attempts to resort to violence, which often leave her in the form of a monster. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's Angel who's Buffy's temptation.

    For Rose in Season One, her Father becomes temptation — the desire to keep him from dying. Nancy is Rose's proxy for Meeting with the Goddess, which is actually the field of nanobots. Her "at-one-ment" is with the Doctor, accepting his values; her apotheosis comes from looking into the Heart of the TARDIS.

    But the Campbellian framework is better suited for identifying the nature of the kinds of work that happen on the path to Ascension, rather than charting out the exact path. Consider The Beast Below, which overtly borrows the Belly of the Whale iconography. In this episode, Amy's memory is erased, and she has to recover it — she has to remember, which is of course a huge theme in Moffat's era. The Belly of the Whale, in Campbell's view, is framed in terms of Death and Rebirth, which allows the Hero to leave behind the Ordinary World and fully step past that threshold into the Special Place. This reference lets us deduce that forgetting=dying and remembering=rebirth; it coincides with Amy letting go of her previous morality (don't passively try to protect the Doctor from making a hard choice) for the morality of the Doctor's universe (make the hard choice yourself, if so inspired.) This comes into play at the end of the season, where Amy's remembering of the Doctor confers his rebirth — and likewise, where the "memory" in the Pandorica (i.e., hope) confers the rebirth of the Universe itself. Interestingly, Amy quips at the beginning of Beast Below that she's been "dead for centuries" after opening the episode "floating in space."


  7. Daibhid C
    December 20, 2013 @ 5:44 am

    Which is why I didn't say "being written by Lucas". The joke was, in part, intended to be the absurdity of my treating her as a real person whom Lucas had created, and whose personality was therefore set in a manner Moore could do nothing about.

    Actually, in I think this scene she's being bitingly sarcastic about Han's trite observations rather than actually believing they constitute "philosophy". And I would have pointed that out earlier if it hadn't interfered with my cheap jibe.


  8. Matthew Blanchette
    December 20, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    To be fair… Lucas might have written worse dialogue, but at least he would rewrite it several times and enlist the help of less-tin-eared colleagues to not have it sound as blocky and unspeakable as what Moore wrote for the characters.


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