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Old 03-18-2010, 09:35 PM
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‘Eylan
Neytiri_Quest is dreaming again
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: at Neytiri's side
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I was working on a couple of other commentaries for this series when this one popped into my head. It was like an energetic puppy constantly leaping up and down in a pet store window and staring at me as if to say, "Pick me! Pick me!" And so I did. This tribute is for you, the Neytiri clan. I hope you like it.


Why We Love Neytiri-Part V


I grew up with this description of a bulldog: it’s so ugly it’s cute. Yes, a bulldog looks as if it’s face has been smashed in by a frying pan, but I never saw one that acted self-conscious about its appearance. No, it's not as stately as a Labrador retriever, as elegant as a collie, or as noble as a German shepherd. It’s not even as ‘cute’ as a poodle. But it doesn’t care. It’s simply being what it is. And it will never lose any sleep—or limit itself in any way—by comparing itself to another breed of dog.

This is yet another reason why we love Neytiri. She isn’t trying to be anything other than what she is. Aside from the obvious tail, feline nose and ears, and four-fingered hands, it’s been pointed out that she has a scar on her cheek, eyes that are too large, and breasts that are too small. And yet, for some reason none of this matters to the majority of us. If anything, each of these features, anomalies, or so-called imperfections serves only to further enhance her beauty. Why? Because anything being exactly what it is, is beautiful—and this defines Neytiri perfectly.

When I was in college, I knew a man who was thought to be more than a little eccentric. He was always pleasant, and never seemed to have ulterior motives regarding his thoughts or actions. In short, he didn’t seem to follow the normal ‘rules’ for behavior, and this made him seem odd. He was very open and sincere, whereas most men in my circle of friends were carefully guarded in their feelings—similar to poker players shielding their cards from the view of others while deciding which ones to play. He once told me that someone—no doubt with the best of intentions—came up to him and said, “You need to be more careful with the way you express yourself. You wear your feelings on your sleeve!” To this my friend had replied, “I certainly hope so!”

We love Neytiri because she, too, ‘wears her feelings on her sleeve’. And even if a feeling she is expressing appears undesirable on the surface, she gives herself over to it so fully, that it endears her to us. For we know exactly what her emotional state is at that moment, and there’s comfort in that knowledge. Her frustration, for example, is obvious when she is told by Mo’at to teach Jake the ways of the Omaticaya. Her hurt and disappointment—and then anger—are also clearly delineated when Jake’s duplicity is revealed at Hometree shortly before its destruction. And her grief and sorrow in the wake of this desolation, which included the death of her father and many others in her clan, was sad beyond belief and thick enough to cut with a knife.

Her reverence toward life is written all over her face throughout the movie, and her pride toward Jake as he learns a new skill or properly completes a task is obvious as well. And when have we seen a more pure expression of genuine emotion than the sheer, unbridled élan Neytiri showed just after she and Jake narrowly escaped Toruk’s grasp and came to rest on the side of the huge trees? At first we’re not sure what her reaction is going to be. A moment after their ikrans come to a full stop, Jake starts to laugh. Neytiri hesitates a moment, then throws her head back to join Jake in his revelry and relief. And from the wellspring of her being, a cascade of bubbling laughter erupts—the likes of which we’ve rarely, if ever, seen before. It signifies her pure joy in existence; combined with the full knowledge that her life could have been snuffed out in a brief moment of sharp teeth, piercing talons, and monstrous, beating wings.

And when have we ever seen greater delight than what was mirrored in her honey-drenched eyes at the Tree of Voices when she knew for the first time that Jake truly loved her and had chosen her? We know they mated that night, lit only by the faint fairy-glow cast by the bioluminescent landscape, beneath magical stars and the borrowed light of Polyphemus. And from the script we know that they joined queues, forming a bond stronger than any other kind. From what we know of her, we have no doubt that Neytiri freely offered herself to Jake that night; gave herself completely to him in endless moments of ecstasy and elation. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of such shared intimacy—such real-ness—with another human being?

When Jake returns as Toruk Macto, we assume there will be some awkwardness and a spate of residual hurt feelings from their previous and emotionally gut-wrenching encounter. But this is not so. Neytiri calmly and sincerely explains her reason for leaving him, they each say “I see you” to the other, and it’s as though nothing had happened between them. This is only possible because of her complete emotional authenticity.

Later, when all seems lost in that final, cataclysmic battle, Neytiri shows a very real sense of impending death and defeat. The end seems near, and she’s ready to go down fighting with all the strength and courage and skill she can muster. She will not ‘go gentle into that good night” as poet Dylan Thomas would say. But then—at the bleakest moment—the hammerheads come bursting through the trees, soon followed by the viperwolves. Neytiri becomes like a young child filled with wonder, fascinated by every moment and every action unfolding before her freshly-minted eyes, all the while gasping with excitement. She realizes that Eywa has heard Jake’s plea for help, and she raises her bow triumphantly in the air and glows with a serene joy. In those moments, she is an unobstructed conduit; life is living itself through her, as her.

Yes, we love Neytiri because she is 100% authentic in her every thought, movement, and action. In every moment, and in every way, she is being exactly whom and what she is. She is completely attuned to her surroundings, whether they are filled with joy or fear. And because of this, she is probably the singular thing we’ve seen in life that is utterly and sublimely beautiful.
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"Music is a free-spinning wheel, attached to nothing." ~David Lindsay



Neytiri Love Poems (by me!)

The 'Why We Love Neytiri' commentaries
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