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Old 03-18-2010, 09:23 PM
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Default The 'Why We Love Neytiri' Commentary Series.

Hello fellow members of the Neytiri clan.

This thread is for the commentaries in the Why We Love Neytiri series. I first posted them in the A-F forums in an attempt to help explain why we love Neytiri so much. I thought the People on this forum might enjoy them as well. Feel free to comment on them.

Why we love Neytiri-Part I


One of the strongest images Pandora evokes in us is that of Paradise. Aided by the superb technology of ‘immersive 3-D’, we feel as though we are on that pristine world—are a part of it—if only for a brief time. We are flying on an ikran’s back over the lush landscape or down the sides of floating mountains during the day, and running through the forest and touching the bioluminescent plants at night.

We feel a kinship with the Na’vi. They work together for mutual benefit and safety during the day, and laugh and tell stories around the flickering lanterns at night. Men, women, and children all have their place, and each person is celebrated—each belongs. It’s a magical world, and we feel we have found our true family with the Omaticaya. We yearn for a life as free and real and innocent as theirs. We want to live in the moment, enjoy simple pleasures, be accepted and cherished for who we are, and feel connected to the source of our being.

In short, we want to return to the preternatural beauty and innocence of Eden. This is represented in general by Pandora, and in a more specific way by the Na’vi. Yet upon further reflection, there is still something missing from this idyllic view of existence. Yes, it is a return to innocence. But something is still missing—and that ‘something’ is a woman to share this pristine world with. Yes, Ninat is the best singer… and Beyral is a good hunter, but neither of these women represents the missing piece to the puzzle. Neither of these women will satisfy us.

It’s only with Neytiri that we find the missing half of the golden amulet. And this is because she represents the return to the innocence of Eden (which could also be a metaphor for childhood), but with the maturity and intelligence of adulthood. This is what sets her apart from all other women, Pandoran or Terran. This is what makes her an even more powerful conduit for our emotional expression than the entire moon of Pandora in all its splendor. She is absolutely authentic in every action, nuance, and thought. She is a goddess clothed in blue flesh. And she has learned to walk the fine line between the terror and wonder of being a fully actualized person.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:24 PM
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This is for you, the Neytiri clan. I hope you like it.

Why We Love Neytiri-Part II


We love Neytiri. We love her physical strength and courage and grace—and the beautiful curves of her supple and radiant feline body. We love her smile and her playful laugh. And we extol her virtues to the rafters. We’re happy to worship her from afar, because in doing so we don’t have to risk being rejected by her. We are aware—if only subconsciously—that if we ever came face to face with a woman of that caliber, we’d likely melt into a quivering puddle of protoplasm.

And therein lays the crux of the problem. We’re sensitive and perceptive enough to understand Neytiri’s magnificent attributes and praise her endlessly for them, but we’re not yet able to embody those qualities strongly enough in ourselves to feel worthy of such a woman. We are like Salieri working with the supremely gifted Mozart. The unsophisticated throngs around him can’t begin to understand the depth of Mozart’s talent (just as many people can’t begin to understand why we find a 10 foot tall, azure-skinned, alien cat-woman so captivating!), but Salieri can. And though he’s considered an accomplished musician in his own right, he knows that compared with Mozart he’s but a candle-flame compared with the sun.

I suspect we’re all feeling a bit like Salieri with regard to Neytiri. We simply haven’t seen anything like her before, and we’re understandably enthralled and more than a little confused by her. She’s spun us around and turned our world upside down, and most of those around us have no understanding of what we’ve experienced and would laugh at us if they did. But we have an opportunity Salieri didn’t have, for we’re not blinded by jealousy or envy—we’re blinded by love… and a sense of pure wonder that takes all our hopes and dreams, and weaves them together into a magnificent tapestry of unmatched beauty.

In the movie, AS GOOD AS IT GETS, there is a memorable scene that helps illustrate my central point. Jack Nicholson plays a crusty, curmudgeon having dinner with Helen Hunt’s financially needy character. She has put up with a fair amount of verbal abuse and inappropriate behavior from him because he’s providing the medical care her sick son desperately needs. But at one point he says to her, uncharacteristically, “You make me want to be a better man.” To this she replies, “That’s maybe the best compliment of my life.”

And that’s the core of Neytiri’s underlying power and charm over us—she makes each of us want to be a better man… a man worthy of her and the ideal she represents. For us she symbolizes the summit of female perfection. As such, she inspires and beckons each of us to let go of our limitations and become the loving, creative, and courageous man we were meant to be.

When Jake’s original purpose for being with the Omaticaya is discovered, the sense of betrayal on Neytiri’s face wounds him in a way no weapon could. These people have trusted him, taught him—accepted him as one of their own. And she has loved him, risked her life for him, and been willing to garner disfavor and loss of status in the Clan’s eye by joining with him. And now Jake feels as worthless as an empty husk. By his actions he has rained down destruction on them, and many have died. Grace needs their help. And the woman he loves has told him to leave and never come back. He takes a long look at himself—and he doesn’t like what he sees. He feels like a tree whose roots have been ripped out of the ground. He is a boat without a rudder; an untethered balloon.

The look of disappointment and betrayal in Neytiri’s eyes sears his soul in a way nothing else could. He has been unmasked as a pretender, a paper tiger—someone unworthy of her love. And if he is not able to redeem himself in her eyes, he will be unable to live with himself. His old self is too limited. He has to change, to become something more. And his only path to redemption is in the monumentally dangerous and difficult task of taming Toruk, the Last Shadow. But he accepts this colossal challenge, because only by accomplishing it can he stand and face Neytiri again. Quite simply, she has made him want to be a better man.

Why to we love Neytiri? It’s simple, really. She ennobles us. At one point Jake says, “All I ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting for.” What Neytiri represents is that single thing—that one lofty ideal—worth fighting for. She makes each of us want to be a better man, and we are all the richer for it.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:30 PM
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Why We Love Neytiri-Part III



This commentary was inspired by a member of the Neytiri clan, but the more thought I gave to it, the more I realized he had merely voiced something that was undoubtedly on the minds of all of us. How do you go about finding your earthly "Neytiri"? And what do you do when you long for a relationship, but “terran” women just don’t seem to measure up to her standard? I’m no expert when it comes to matters of the heart, and am on my own journey (note my forum name). But I will do my best to offer some direction and balm for those of you who are plagued by these and similar questions.

In Plato’s ‘Myth of the Cave’, several men are bound together in a dark and dank cave facing a wall. A source of illumination is located behind them, and as objects pass by, shadows are cast on the wall. Since they can’t turn their heads, the men are forced to look only at the blank wall in front of them. The play of dismal gray and black shadows is the only reference point they have for the construction of their world view.

But miraculously, the shackles fall away from one of the men and he is able to stand up and move around. He sees the light source behind the men, and the true forms of the objects that create the display of light and shadow on the cave wall. He doesn’t have to speculate about what they are anymore. And he also observes the plight of the imprisoned men. He sees clearly that the shadows cast on the wall aren’t reality at all, but only a very limited perception of it.

When he tries to explain what he has seen to the other men, they don’t believe him—primarily because they simply have nothing similar in their experience that allows them to understand what he’s describing (sound familiar?). Thus, they are forced to continue living as they have been. But since it’s the only life they’ve ever known, they don’t experience distress. He, on the other hand, can no longer be satisfied with the shackled life because he had seen the higher, more sublime reality behind it.

What has been referred to as the ‘Pandora Effect’ or the ‘Avatar Blues’, is simply the disconnect experienced when the beauty and harmony of Pandora and the Na’vi people are contrasted with the images of selfishness, egotism, military madness, and corporate greed in the modern world. But even more powerful and disorienting to many is what I would call the 'Neytiri Effect'.

After seeing AVATAR, we are all looking for a Neytiri-like woman (which I will refer to from now on as an NLW). Our previous images of women, and what they can be, have now been revealed as hopelessly inadequate—just as the flickering shadows on the cave wall were revealed as only partially true and thus no longer satisfying to the freed prisoner.

There are many amazing and beautiful women out there, no doubt many of them in this forum. But Neytiri has set the bar so high, it’s now nearly impossible for them to measure up in our eyes. They haven’t changed; our perception and expectation of them has. We’re searching the world over, looking for an NLW in much the same way Diogenes was searching for an honest man.

If the bar for an acceptable relationship were set at 3 feet, we’d simply hop over it at the proper time and live a relatively happy life. Well, the 'Neytiri Effect' has changed all that. Now the bar is set at over 7 feet, and we’d need the talent and training of an Olympic athlete to even think of making that jump. This huge gap is almost impossible to overcome, and we’re left with a sense of frustration and depression because of it. The problem is that we’ve now seen the ideal woman (or at least an image of her); we’ve seen the true form behind the flickering shadows—and we don’t want to settle for anything less.

Here are a few recommendations for coping with the 'Neytiri Effect' (which I’m trying heed as well):

First, realize that finding an NLW is unlikely, hurtle the 3 foot bar, and make the best of that situation. This is the “realistic” approach, but probably won’t be satisfying in the long run.

Second, try to use your current (or future) relationship as a training ground for a more Neytiri-like relationship somewhere down the road. The more you can learn about yourself and the nature of relationships, the more likely you are to be ready for an NLW.

Next, try to transform your current (or future) relationship into a Neytiri-like one by learning to see your woman as representing Neytiri—essentially as an incarnation of the Goddess from ancient cultures. A way to understand this is to stare at a bright blue light for several seconds, then look away. You’ll notice that for a short time everything you see will have a blue tinge to it, courtesy of the powerful effect the light bulb had on your eyes.

The more we reflect on the beauty, nobility, and other attributes of Neytiri, the more likely we are to see our women in a more positive way. Rather than noticing the differences between them and Neytiri (and how they fail to measure up to her standard), we can now start noticing the similarities between them and honor and celebrate them for those similarities. If we can start seeing them through Neytiri-colored glasses, my belief is that they will start becoming more like her in our eyes.

An last, we can hold out for an NLW and risk having a life filled with loneliness and unrequited longings. But if we do this, we must ask ourselves a very simple question: If an NLW showed up, why would she be interested in me? After an honest assessment of our lives, we can then begin the process of developing those qualities in ourselves that we so greatly admire and respect in Neytiri. So that one day, if an NLW does appear, we will be worthy of her (see Why We Love Neytiri-Part II).

So my advice is to cherish the relationships you have, trying to see as many Neytiri-like qualities in the women in your life as you can. But always hold in your mind’s eye the image of that sublime azure beauty we’ve all come to love so fiercely.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:33 PM
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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.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:35 PM
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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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Old 03-19-2010, 02:15 AM
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That was just amazing... I agree

Only one thing... Eyes that are too large? Breasts that are too small? Not to me! I find her perfect in just about every way, physically and otherwise.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
That was just amazing... I agree

Only one thing... Eyes that are too large? Breasts that are too small? Not to me! I find her perfect in just about every way, physically and otherwise.
Thanks, Human No More! I appreciate the kind words. And I agree with what you said about her eyes and breasts. I find them to be perfect, too. I was simply pointing out what others have said.

For most of us on this list, none of her so-called 'imperfections' or 'anomalies' (tail, pointed ears, blue skin, etc.) matters. And that's because we see the incredible beauty of who she is, which is independent of any physical considerations. In fact, we find all those physical aspects of her beautiful mainly because they are a part of her, whom we love.

Implicit in the commentary is that those who view aspects of her physical or emotional self as 'imperfections', simply don't see her, and are unable to move beyond appearances.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:48 AM
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For most of us on this list, none of her so-called 'imperfections' or 'anomalies' (tail, pointed ears, blue skin, etc.) matters. And that's because we see the incredible beauty of who she is, which is independent of any physical considerations. In fact, we find all those physical aspects of her beautiful mainly because they are a part of her, whom we love.

Implicit in the commentary is that those who see aspects of her physical or emotional self as 'imperfections', simply don't see her, and unable to see beyond appearances.
Well said. I find her physical, non-human aspects some of the most attractive things about her... Humans just don't compare, she's on a completely different level
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:53 AM
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Well said. I find her physical, non-human aspects some of the most attractive things about her... Humans just don't compare, she's on a completely different level
This is actually part of an upcoming commentary I'm working on, which delves into the attraction we have for these non-human elements of Neytiri.
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:46 PM
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Well, that was almost certainly the best thing I've ever read on a forum. It's all so clear and logical, yet beautifully written. Thanks for writing it!
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:13 AM
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Well, that was almost certainly the best thing I've ever read on a forum. It's all so clear and logical, yet beautifully written. Thanks for writing it!
Thank you so much for those kind words, stdout! That is high praise indeed. And it's a pleasure to write for people as appreciative as you.
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:04 AM
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Neytiri_Quest, thank you so much for writing that! Parts of it brought tears to my eyes -- it was eloquent and beautiful.

Oel ngati kameie, ma tsmukan.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:28 AM
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Neytiri_Quest, thank you so much for writing that! Parts of it brought tears to my eyes -- it was eloquent and beautiful.

Oel ngati kameie, ma tsmukan.
You're welcome, reaper217! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for the kind words.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:45 AM
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‘Eylan
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Default Why We Love Neytiri-Part VI-a

One of the benefits of writing Neytiri: To Sylwanin, Dying Young was that I felt there was enough material there to inspire a commentary as well. But after the stimulating and thought-provoking discussion that resulted from observations and insights posted by Tawtsamsiyu and others, I felt the subject of that commentary had been covered pretty thoroughly. There no longer seemed a need for it, and I felt that all the postings spawned from the poem could be viewed as an informal version of that planned commentary.

However, two nights ago I was further contemplating the poem and the impact Sylwanin’s life and tragic death must have had on Neytiri. I fell asleep, and when I awoke the germs of the following commentary were waiting in my brain’s ‘Inbox’.

Special thanks go to Tawtsamsiyu for his part in sparking many of the ideas that follow. As always—this is for you, the Neytiri clan. I hope you like it. It turned out to be so long I had to break it into two pieces, Part VI-a and Part VI-b.


Why We Love Neytiri-Part VI-a

Hope Springs Eternal



Neytiri and Sylwanin

After the young Neytiri witnessed the brutal murder of her beloved sister at Grace’s school, she no doubt went through a period in her life characterized by anger, fear, guilt, bitterness, remorse, and a plethora of other emotions. She could have succumbed to this immense burden and lived the rest of her life in sorrow, anger, and fear. But she didn’t.

To honor Sylwanin and her sparkling, sunshiny personality, Neytiri became a skilled and accomplished member of the Omaticaya. She dedicated herself to others, pushing herself to the limit so that one day she could be a worthy Tsahìk —a role that would have fallen to her sister. And though she was the daughter of the Olo’eyktan and Tsahìk of the clan, she never set herself above others; never expected special treatment from anyone.

This is yet another reason why we love Neytiri. There is a wellspring of strength, joy, and optimism at the core of her being that cannot be stemmed, even by the most difficult and painful of circumstances. It is like a fire that may smolder at times, but which never goes out. It is like a perennial flower that has been left parched and withered by the harshness of the season before, yet is ready to burst forth into blossom when the first signs of spring fill the air. And just as the perennial flower is strongly and deeply rooted in the ground, Neytiri is strongly and deeply rooted in Eywa.

This resilient nature was shown in Neytiri’s first meeting with Jake. Much of her joy was still absent, and her mistrust of Sky People was high. Yet, she still listened to that voice of eternal optimism within her—which I believe is why she hesitated to kill Jake. She then heeded the omen of the atokirina landing on her arrow and spared his life. No one in her Clan would have blamed her for killing the uniltìranyu, or ‘dreamwalker.’ In fact, most would probably have praised her for it. But something she never lost was that most precious of qualities—hope.

Neytiri viciously struck Jake down with her bow soon after saving him from the viperwolves. But he didn’t take the hint, and started following her along the giant tree branch that ran dozens of feet in the air. She pushed him away to show her displeasure, but was careful not to push him hard enough to send him plummeting to the ground far below. This was because of that inner reservoir of hope. Though she may not have realized it at the time, she believed—as Anne Frank did—that all people are, at heart, basically good.

Tsu’tey

Tsu’tey’s emotional journey after Sylwanin’s cruel death must have been somewhat similar to Neytiri’s. Before the incident, he was probably carefree, exuberant, and full of laughter—a brave warrior who was clearly taking his role as future leader of the Clan seriously. Having grown up around the charming, effervescent Sylwanin, he would likely have fallen in love with her from an early age. He would have been proud to think of himself as one day being worthy of such a fine young woman; his step would have been light, and his days would have been filled with optimism and joy.

Then one day she would have come to him, imploring him to join her and two of their friends in an attempt to stop the Sky People from killing their trees and spoiling their land. He would have thought she was making a jest—since her nature was so gentle, nurturing, and non-violent. Or he would have shrugged off her appeal as a fruitless venture with volatile and potentially dangerous consequences.

After Sylwanin’s death, and that of the other two friends, the light would have gone out of Tsu’tey’s eyes. He would have been almost as overwhelmed by guilt, anger, and sadness as the young Neytiri. And his resentment and mistrust of the Sky People would have been as great as her own. Yet he would have envied her because she had at least been at the Compound and in a position to try and stop the Terran demons; his duties that day had placed him too far from the Compound to be of help.

He could not even have the satisfaction of knowing he had done all he could to prevent the tragedy. He never even had the chance to say goodbye to his lady love as she died. He would have been a distraught young man, so torn up inside that he would have subsequently been only a shell of his former self.

But he would have shouldered his burden and continued his role as future leader of the Omaticaya, learning all he could while teaching the younger members of the Clan. And from the moment of Sylwanin’s death, he would have been fiercely protective of Neytiri, seeing her as a ‘little sister’, and his last connection with Sylwanin. But he would have forgotten how to trust and how to laugh.

It is to his credit, however, that even though he openly showed his resentment of Jake—a representative of the Sky People—Tsu’tey did not interfere with his training by Neytiri; nor did he question the decisions of the Tsahìk or the Olo’eyktan. Though his anger and guilt and broken dreams were always bubbling just beneath the surface, he was enough of a man to swallow his pride and accept Jake. He showed this after Jake passed his test of manhood and became one of the People. Tsu’tey’s hand was one of the first placed on Jake’s shoulder, signifying his acceptance. This was not the act of a man consumed by jealousy and hatred.

His anger and outrage were apparent, however, when he learned that Neytiri had mated with Jake. For this ruined his chances of ever pairing with Neytiri as the future Tsahìk. It could also have been viewed as an insult to the Omaticaya, and must have been a terrible shock to him personally. Yet again, to his credit Tsu’tey controlled himself and did nothing disruptive.

When Jake’s deception was revealed prior to the destruction of Hometree, and Tsu’tey went to kill the ‘demon in a false body’, it could be argued that this was done more in an effort to protect the Clan than as an excuse to eliminate a rival. And when Neytiri leaped to the helpless Jake’s defense, Tsu’tey quickly backed down. When Jake returned as Toruk Makto, he again showed his manhood by placing his hand on Jake’s shoulder and saying, “I will fly with you.” In doing so, he abdicated his new position as leader of the Clan, and took a lesser role at Jake’s side. Not many men could have shown this level of humility. And, of course, we all know how bravely and loyally he fought in the final battle.

Tsu’tey is both a likeable and tragic figure when seen in this light, and is deserving of our respect and admiration. He certainly displayed elements of strength, humility, and loyalty. But there was a step he was unable to take within himself—a step Neytiri was not only able to take, but to transcend. For Tsu’tey, though largely able to control his emotions and actions, was never able to completely let go of the bitterness, anger, and sorrow Sylwanin’s death had embedded deeply within him—Neytiri was. (Continued)
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Neytiri Love Poems (by me!)

The 'Why We Love Neytiri' commentaries

Last edited by Neytiri_Quest; 03-26-2010 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:47 AM
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Default Why We Love Neytiri-Part VI-b

Why We Love Neytiri-Part VI-b

Hope Springs Eternal



Neytiri

According to Greek mythology, Pandora, the first woman, opened a box (or more accurately a jar or urn) that unleashed all the evils of the world. She did so from curiosity, not malice, yet the damage was done nonetheless. It’s interesting that the moon Neytiri was born on was named Pandora by the Terrans. And according to Colonel Quaritch’s description of what existed outside the walls of the human Compound, it was such a hostile, inhospitable environment that it was aptly named.

But the last thing that was left in the urn Pandora opened was hope. For me, Neytiri symbolizes the first true woman, and embodies that underlying quality of hope. She demonstrated this time and again with Jake as her attitude toward him changed from one filled with mistrust, resentment, and frustration to one teeming with pride, joy, laughter—and even love. This was only possible because of her undying quality of hope.

The span of time that occurred between the sequence of events in which Mo’at questioned Jake and sampled his blood, to the moment she announced that Neytiri would teach him the ways of the Na’vi always seemed far too brief and abrupt to me. However, I now believe that this decision was reached partly in an attempt by Mo’at to help her daughter heal the lingering wounds suffered when Sylwanin was killed. She had gotten the measure of Jake, and seen that his heart was good. And she purposely paired the two of them up—not only so the Clan could gain additional knowledge from a warrior of the Sky People—but also as a possible way to help Neytiri complete the final stage of her healing and move into a state of wholeness.

During the next few months, that final healing took place, and Neytiri’s willingness to let hope spring forth and override the painful experiences and attitudes from the past was shown at Utral Aymokriyä, the Tree of Voices, when she fully opened her heart to Jake and freely gave herself to him as his mate for life.

This quality of hope was demonstrated perhaps even more powerfully during the events surrounding the destruction of Hometree. Jake’s duplicity was revealed and she understandably felt used and betrayed. Her home was destroyed by the same race that gave rise to Jake; and her revered father, leader of the Clan, became a casualty of that destruction. Many others were killed or injured as well. Again, Neytiri was devastated, probably on a scale equal to the cataclysmic upheaval her life went through when she saw Sylwanin murdered before her eyes.

Yet amid this soul-wrenching pain, Neytiri maintained her perennial roots—thought of the Clan before herself—and found the inner strength necessary to help her people survive. She no doubt spent most of her time helping the wounded, and consoling those who felt the future of the Omaticaya—and their world—was now filled only with bleakness and despair. By her works, her example, and the sheer force of her indomitable spirit she gave them all—young and old—hope.

When Jake returned, she had already forgiven him; had already moved forward with her life. She was the perennial flower already bursting forth and blossoming once again. And as I mentioned previously, it didn’t matter that Jake returned as Toruk Makto; it mattered that he returned. He could have arrived on a flock of stingbats lashed together, and it would not have mattered to her.

The Hope Diamond, housed in the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., is one of the most beautiful gems in the world—and at 45.52 carats, is one of the largest at well. I’ve been fortunate enough to see this magnificent, multi-faceted jewel up close on 3 separate occasions, and it is stunning. But a large part of its appeal for me is its color—a rare and beautiful deep Na’vi blue.

We love Neytiri because she has an eternal flame of goodness and optimism within her that can never be extinguished, even when the most challenging and excruciating circumstances are thrown her way. She is our beautiful gem; our own beautiful blue, multi-faceted Hope Diamond.

After Sylwanin’s tragic death, Neytiri must have walked a fine line between terror and wonder, and all the dark and lonely spaces in between. Here she could have remained, never fully actualized as the astounding person we have come to know and love. But in time she took that final leap of faith—a step Tsu’tey, with all his strength and determination, could not. She finally let go of all her anger, and fear, and sorrow—and embraced hope.

Nikos Kazantzakis, author of such amazing books as Zorba the Greek, The Saviors of God, and The Last Temptation of Christ said in one of his books:

“What is happiness? To know all sorrows. What is light? To gaze, with undimmed eyes, on all darknesses.”

Because of the love and inspiration Neytiri gained from Sylwanin—and from the events set into motion by her beloved sister’s death—she was able to find the strength within herself to know those sorrows; to gaze upon those darknesses. And throughout her monumental journey, she was able do this because she never lost sight of that eternal beacon of hope.

And to Sylwanin I would say, “You were a shining example of goodness and hope for your sister. You set her feet upon the proper path. You did not fail your sister that fateful day; your death did have meaning. Because of you, Neytiri was in time able to transcend her anger and sorrow, and embrace that shining quality of hope. And in so doing she ennobled us all. And now she has moved beyond the confines of the 3-D theater, and stepped into our hearts and minds—and into legend.”
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