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Old 03-18-2010, 10:33 PM
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Neytiri_Quest Neytiri_Quest is offline
Neytiri_Quest is dreaming again
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: at Neytiri's side
Posts: 101

Here is another offering to the Neytiri clan. I hope you like it.

Why We Love Neytiri-Part IV

Neytiri, the soul of sacrifice

As neytirifanboy mentioned in his outstanding commentary on Page 4 of this thread in the AF forums (which I recommend to all members of the Neytiri clan), part of Neytiri’s appeal is that she doesn't have any super powers. If Buffy the Vampire Slayer is our girlfriend and saves us from some danger, we're grateful but not surprised. She was probably able to do so without even blinking an eye or breaking a nail.

But since Neytiri is just a ‘normal’ and vulnerable Na'vi woman, her courage in the face of danger is magnified. She can be injured; she can be killed. So the risks she takes to defend her home and the ones she loves are all the more impressive. No, she doesn’t have super powers—yet no one on this thread would doubt for a second that she would leap between a helpless Jake and a charging thanator in an attempt to save him. That courageous effort would be like a mouse attacking a lion, but she would joyfully do so—and without thought for her own safety. Why? Because beyond all of her other superlative qualities, she has an unending capacity for self-sacrifice.

This notion of self-sacrifice is well illustrated in Hans Christian Andersen’s marvelous short story, ‘The Little Mermaid’. In the Disney movie based on this classic tale, the little mermaid barters her marvelous voice to become human so that she can be with her love, the Prince. She has only a short time to entice him to fall in love with her, or else she will lose her voice forever and be a slave to the Sea Witch. She is thwarted at every turn by the Sea Witch’s enchantments and tension builds. But it’s a Disney movie… we all know things will turn out right in the end. And this is exactly what happens. After some thrilling heroics, the Sea Witch is defeated and the Prince and the Little Mermaid go off together—presumably to live happily ever after.

But in the original story, when her fins are transformed to legs, every step she takes involves severe pain. It’s as though she were walking barefoot through a briar patch with sharp thorns cutting deeply into her feet and legs with each step. But she bears this pain gladly because her sacrifice is for the object of her love—the Prince, and the chance to be with him. In this true version of the story, she isn’t able to entice the Prince to fall in love with her in the span of time allotted. And the penalty for failure is that, as the sun sets, the little mermaid slowly dissolves into sea foam borne on the wind. She sacrificed everything she had for a chance to be with him—and she failed.

As sad as this version is, I like it even better than the Disney adaptation because it demonstrates the sheer magnitude of a woman’s capacity for self-sacrifice in the quest of a noble goal. We see this same trait early in AVATAR when Neytiri puts herself in harm’s way and attacks an entire pack of vicious viper wolves to save Jake from almost certain death. We later see this when she attacks Tsu’tey—likely the best warrior in the entire Omaticaya clan—and hovers over Jake’s helpless body with knife in hand to protect him. The next leader of the Clan gives a half-hearted growl and backs away, because he knows she is willing to die to defend Jake, and would be a fierce opponent. She is 100% committed to defending him.

At the Tree of Voices, Neytiri appears uncertain of her worthiness and Jake’s commitment to her. She praises the virtues of other women in the Clan. But it is not from a sense of unworthiness that she does this. As much as she desires Jake, and as worthy as she feels of him, it’s essential that he chooses her. She has already chosen him, but her self-sacrificing nature is so pure that she wants to give Jake the opportunity to pick from the best and most worthy women available. Above all else, she wants Jake to be happy, even if it’s not with her.

Later, when Jake’s original intention for being with the Omaticaya comes to light, Neytiri appears to desert him. Yet I would contend that she did nothing of the kind. Yes, she was confused; yes she felt betrayed. But this in itself would not have been enough to keep her away from him for long. I believe that her focus for self-sacrifice simply changed. It was now the Na'vi that needed her most at this critical juncture. Their home, their safety—indeed, their entire way of life—was being threatened. And now her self-sacrificing nature took the form of forsaking the man she dearly loved—and had just mated with for life—to be with her people in their darkest hour, helping in any way she could. The agony of that decision must have been staggering.

The level of self-sacrifice the Little Mermaid put forth was astounding. But I believe Neytiri went beyond even that. For whereas the Little Mermaid’s sacrifice was centered around her own happiness (being with the object of her love, the Prince), Neytiri’s choices, which often entailed great personal loss or danger to herself, were oriented around those she cared for most—Jake and the Omaticaya. Nothing she did was ever done purely for herself.

That’s why we love her so much. We’ve never seen anyone quite like her before. And we know that if we were ever fortunate enough to find a woman like that—who loved us like that—we would have found a mate for life. And we would face life’s joys and sorrows as though they were the same, ever with a song in our heart and a smile of inner peace on our face.

Yes, we love Neytiri because she is filled with laughter and beauty and grace. But it is this transcendent capacity for genuine self-sacrifice that endears her to us most, and is the unfailing source from which all those other magnificent qualities arise.

"Music is a free-spinning wheel, attached to nothing." ~David Lindsay

Neytiri Love Poems (by me!)

The 'Why We Love Neytiri' commentaries

Last edited by Neytiri_Quest; 03-26-2010 at 02:34 AM.
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