FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

The Shepherd

POSTED BY: SHADOWORBUST
UPDATED: Thursday, October 20, 2005 14:55
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Thursday, February 24, 2005 5:58 PM

SHADOWORBUST


I was watching the episode Serenity the other day, and I noticed, that the Shepherd never actually says his name.

Quote:

Book. I'm called Book.


Now, it's a mite thin by some's reckoning, but I figure that Book could be an alias. Anyone else notice this?

----------
"As surely as the bullet rips through the victim's flesh, organ, and bone, it shatters the image of the man who pulled the trigger." -Max Payne

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Thursday, February 24, 2005 6:04 PM

THEGREYJEDI


I thought he said something like "Paul Book." Mayhaps I are wrong.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005 6:24 PM

TLACOOK


nope. Just "Book" and definitely an alias.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005 8:07 PM

ROCKETJOCK


It's an old principle in magic. Never give your true name. If someone asks who you are, say something like "I'm called..." or "people call me..." True names have power.

The Lone Ranger thought a lot of it too. Whenever traveling in disguise on the old radio show, he'd never actually lie about his name (he was a good guy, good guys don't lie.) If asked, he'd say something like "Some folk call me Tex", or whatever.

Not that I think Book's practicing magic. Although he might qualify as some kind of Ranger. Special Forces, maybe...


"You know what the definition of a hero is? It's somebody who gets somebody else killed." -- Zoe

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Friday, February 25, 2005 3:04 PM

THIEFJEHAT


Quote:

Originally posted by RocketJock:
It's an old principle in magic. Never give your true name. True names have power.



OMG I never noticed that he never actually stated his name. He does say exactly "I'm a Shepard from the Southdown Abbey....Book....I'm called Book" and never at any other time in the remaining episodes does he make mention of a name again.

The only indirect event would be of course his Ident card. But again, we do not see it.

I'm a huge fan of the Books of Magic comic series and when I realized he never gave up a true name I about jumped out of my seat at my keyboard! You're right though, magic isn't a variable in Firefly. But it makes a great parallel to his shadowy past that is continually eluded to.


This just added another small gem into the beautiful artwork that is the Firefly Pilot! I love the pilot!

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Friday, February 25, 2005 3:12 PM

INEVITABLEBETRAYAL


Quote:

Originally posted by ShadoworBust:
I was watching the episode Serenity the other day, and I noticed, that the Shepherd never actually says his name.

Quote:

Book. I'm called Book.


Now, it's a mite thin by some's reckoning, but I figure that Book could be an alias. Anyone else notice this?




The issue isn't what his name is. Is what his identity is. The "I'm called" thing is just Joss's westerny-speak. It's littered all over the series. You may have noticed it from the more obsessive types on the board.

_______________________________________________
I wish I had a magical wish-granting plank.

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Friday, February 25, 2005 4:10 PM

INDIGO


Quote:

It's an old principle in magic. Never give your true name. If someone asks who you are, say something like "I'm called..." or "people call me..." True names have power.


Fellow magic user RocketJock?

I agree though, magic and any supernatural isn't a part of the Firefly-verse as I can remember. Though I suppose, Book and religious belief come close?

My thought is that this man has tied his current identity, his "new" life (since the Abbey), to his talisman... his Book. He has become the wandering mendicant, the Shao-Lin priest, the "Man-with-No-Name". One of the first things that religious/spiritual questors do is give up thier name/identity and become a "tabula rasa" to the world - a blank slate that the rest of thier experiences gets written upon.

I used to be confused, now I'm just not sure.

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Friday, February 25, 2005 4:23 PM

EMBERS


Quote:

Originally posted by Indigo:
My thought is that this man has tied his current identity, his "new" life (since the Abbey), to his talisman... his Book. He has become the wandering mendicant, the Shao-Lin priest, the "Man-with-No-Name". One of the first things that religious/spiritual questors do is give up thier name/identity and become a "tabula rasa" to the world - a blank slate that the rest of thier experiences gets written upon.


except of course for his 'ident-card'
which magically earns the respect of the Alliance
giving him priority emergency health care...

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Friday, February 25, 2005 4:44 PM

INDIGO


Quote:

except of course for his 'ident-card'
which magically earns the respect of the Alliance
giving him priority emergency health care...



Yep, hence my basic... oh, I don't know... leeriness toward him. A complex and intriguing character to be sure.

I used to be confused, now I'm just not sure.

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Friday, February 25, 2005 5:01 PM

SHADOWORBUST


Quote:

Originally posted by InevitableBetrayal:
The issue isn't what his name is. Is what his identity is. The "I'm called" thing is just Joss's westerny-speak. It's littered all over the series. You may have noticed it from the more obsessive types on the board.

_______________________________________________
I wish I had a magical wish-granting plank.



I know that there's a lot of 'westerny-speak' in Firefly, but there's not often that Joss has someone say their name like that, when it's really thier name. There's more ways to say it that's a lot more like in the old west.

----------
"The two saddest people in the world are those who grow up too fast, and those who stay young too long. The former misses the transition that explains everything, and the latter miss what may yet come." -Jack T. Ripper, fictional musician

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Friday, February 25, 2005 6:35 PM

ROCKETJOCK


Quote:

Originally posted by Indigo:
Fellow magic user RocketJock?



Yes, actually. Born-again Pagan. Jesus saves, Moses invests, Thor sacks, pillages, loots and burns. Lots more fun!

Like to repeat for the record though, I'm not suggesting a literal use of magic here; not in any D&D/Buffyverse sense anyway. But any spiritual quest, such as Book's, has a certain magic of its own...

"Hermanos! The Devil has built a robot! Andale!" -- Numero Cinco

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Friday, February 25, 2005 6:38 PM

INEVITABLEBETRAYAL


Quote:

Originally posted by ShadoworBust:
I know that there's a lot of 'westerny-speak' in Firefly, but there's not often that Joss has someone say their name like that, when it's really thier name. There's more ways to say it that's a lot more like in the old west.



For your thesis to be plausible, you'd have to show that Joss used another instance of "I'm called" when it was in fact a pseudonyum. Just the fact that Book said "I'm called" doesn't mean anything in itself. If Joss hadn't established it in the Firefly lexicon as meaning something specific (for instance, the only-bad-guys-wear-hats thing) then it doesn't necessarily mean anything at all. Just because something is different doesn't mean it's somehow deeply significant to the character. That's another thing you might notice about the more obsessive types--they see hidden meaning in things where it just ain't.

_______________________________________________
I wish I had a magical wish-granting plank.

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Friday, February 25, 2005 6:58 PM

KAYSKY


Quote:

Originally posted by ShadoworBust:
I was watching the episode Serenity the other day, and I noticed, that the Shepherd never actually says his name.
Quote:

Book. I'm called Book.

Now, it's a mite thin by some's reckoning, but I figure that Book could be an alias. Anyone else notice this?



I personally think "Book" is an alias of some sort. I think he is somehow tied into the Alliance and that he is on the ship because of the Tams.

Hopefully, the movie will give us some more insight into his character.

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Friday, February 25, 2005 7:07 PM

INEVITABLEBETRAYAL


Quote:

Originally posted by ShadoworBust:
I know that there's a lot of 'westerny-speak' in Firefly, but there's not often that Joss has someone say their name like that, when it's really thier name. There's more ways to say it that's a lot more like in the old west.



Also, Simon tells Kaylee to call him Simon; Inara tells Mr. Higgin to call her Inara, and I don't hear anyone kick up a fuss. Mal said the skyplex was "run by a fella called Niska" and no one's hyperventilating about that. Mal tells Warrick Harrow he's representing a "fellow called Badger". In addition, if you look at the script notes, they're littered with notes like "a grizzly fellow called MARCO is their leader". Long story short, there's absolutely nothing supporting the idea that the phrase "I'm called Book" means anything other than what it seems to mean: one person telling another person his name.

Don't lets look for hidden meanings in every line of dialog.

_______________________________________________
I wish I had a magical wish-granting plank.

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Friday, February 25, 2005 7:25 PM

SHADOWORBUST


I don't look for hidden meaning in every line of dialogue. I just notice things that could be, and try to provoke discussions.

Now those other examples are all well in good, but for the fact that, with the possible exception of Niska, it's established elsewhere that what their names are. Book is the only one among them with only a first name. "The only people with first names are rock stars, and the Pope." Of course, he is religous, he might be the Pope.

Now add all this information together with the fact that Book is a character that's a complete mystery, and that he's got a great many secrets, it's plausible that he might give an alias. Am I saying that this is exactly what Joss wanted people to think? No. But is it possible? Yeah, it is.

BTW, you have a point with me having no cause to say that "call me..." wasn't a sufficient western term. The word choice however is slightly suspicious in his cercumstance. Like I said before, all I'm doin' is tryin' to make people think.

One further addedum: I get obsessed over a lot of things. Thankfully, so far, the things I get addicted to only hurt me finacially.

----------
"The two saddest people in the world are those who grow up too fast, and those who stay young too long. The former misses the transition that explains everything, and the latter miss what may yet come." -Jack T. Ripper, fictional musician

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Friday, March 4, 2005 4:39 AM

SHAWNEE


Is there anyone else who doesn't entirely trust the Shepherd? I think he's up to no good.

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Friday, March 4, 2005 5:15 AM

EMBERS


myself I think he is good, and is wanting to do good...
I believe his 'confession' to Inara at the end of the first episode was a true one. He left the Abby hoping to do good, and instead he is on a ship which is forcing him to remember his past:

because MY theory is that he was a big important General (or politician) in the Alliance, and he helped defeat Mal...
and he signed off on the experiements done to River and other brilliant children...

so my theory is that he is guilty for the past,
and has secrets to hide from everyone around him.

JMPO and I am almost always wrong
(I've never guessed where Joss was going correctly before...ever)

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Friday, March 4, 2005 6:55 AM

BATMARLOWE


Since we know Book has a mysterious past and it's a heck of a coincidence that a religious man would actually be named "Book" I think it's safe to assume "Book" is an alias. As far as the use of the word "called" goes, Americans use the word "called" to mean a name different from your actual name. Like Oz's name is Daniel but everyone calls him "Oz". However the British use "called" the way use "named". So that may explain so much use of the word "called" in the Whedonverse considering what an Anglophile Joss is.

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Friday, March 4, 2005 7:41 AM

ZEEK


I tend to think Book is probably an alias. Though his being a shepherd or his cover of being a shepherd works here. Lots of priests I've known have gone by titles like Father Mike or Father McGlenn. All they use is one name, first or last. So Shepherd Book isn't an oddity in the verse most likely.

The one scene that makes me want to believe he's actually a shepherd is the story about the "natty thing" that wash misses. Not that a good covert op couldn't make up stories on the spot but it just seems so real to me. Like Book really does have a past as a shepherd that he can tell stories about. He's obviously got some other stuff in his past too though.

I like the theory that he's part of the underground movement that helped get River out of the academy. Not that it explains "I don't give half a hump if you're guilty or not. So where does that put you?" or his alliance speedpass ident card, but I still like the theory.

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Friday, March 4, 2005 8:06 AM

SHINYSEVEN


For all we know, part of becoming a Shepherd is taking a new religious name--the Abbey might have had a Shepherd Revelation, a Shepherd Grace, etc. FWIW when I write stories I usually assume that his first name is Ignacio.

And I think that he started out *pretending* to be a Shepherd and then became one by in fact praying and comforting his flock.

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Friday, March 4, 2005 10:50 AM

GRRARRG


hmm...
shortly after Firefly ended, Joss created a god-like character on Angel (played by Gina Torres, no less) who's power over the world was only taken away when someone said her name.

Not that Book's real name would have that kind of power, but something along the lines of the Lone Ranger bit would not surprise me at all. So, would Jayne be Tonto?

I'm pretty sure it's not his birth name, but not because of the way he introduces himself - although that does seem to support the theory. It just seems to corny for a shepard's name to be "Book." It's probably just a nickname given to him at the abbey that he grew to like more than his given name, because it allows him to separate himself from his past life. Kind of like Saul's name was changed to Paul (except that was a bit more than just a nickname) - Saul ruthlessly persecuted and killed Christians shortly after the death of Jesus; after he becamse a Christian, his old self died and he was born anew as Paul (to paraphrasically apply Paul's own writings to himself).

I mock you with my monkey pants

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Friday, March 4, 2005 11:38 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


It does make sense to me for him (Book) to change his name to separate him from his past, which I think we all agree he doesn’t like.

Book is a good name for a man of god because they are meant to be an extension of the word of god, represented in the “good book” sometimes shortened to just, “the book,” or, “this book.”

I try not to say, “I’m called,” because the truth is that I’m often times not. I used to be called, “Frodo,” you can’t introduce yourself as that. So I had to say, “My name is Chris.” Book seems to be the kind of person who would be very aware of the difference and say, “My name is Book,” if that were his name.

An interesting thing is that telling people what you are called is often a better indication of who you are than your name, even though people often associate names with identity. In high school there was a kid called, “Mike,” his name was, “Jimmy.”

[Edited to make it less likely to incite riots.]

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Friday, March 4, 2005 6:04 PM

DARKJESTER


I knew a guy in school in Scotland named James Harris. All the teachers called him Hamish (at his request), but all his mates called him Eggs. Don't know why we called him Eggs, don't know why he didn't like James. The only way I knew his "real" name was overhearing a teacher use it during a formal reprimand.

I also think that Book changed his name to separate himself from his past. Hopefully we get some info on Book in the movie. And NO, I am not asking for spoilers!! I'm happy to wait for September. Unless they happen to have a test screening in the midwest...?

MAL "You only gotta scare him."
JAYNE "Pain is scary..."

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Friday, March 4, 2005 6:32 PM

SIMONWHO


I think there's several pivotal bits that give some indication of Book's previous identity. Obviously whoever he was, it was someone who still retained enough clout to get the military to take special care of him. It's also worth noting that he kept his real identity card. If he truly wanted to be a humble preacher, nothing more, then why didn't he destroy it? Clearly he doesn't want to/isn't able to fully let go of his past.

There are also two choice character moments: Book boards Serenity because of how she looks (assuming Kaylee is right). Perhaps he had some connection with craft design in his past. Also he insists to River that you don't fix the Bible, it fixes you. Evidently he felt the need to be "fixed" - something that suggests he was a bad person, rather than someone who did bad things.

When Oppenheimer witnessed the first nuclear bomb test, he said "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" (a religious quote, incidentally). What if Book was involved in the design of some weapon of mass destruction (like the ones that blew apart Serenity Ridge)? I think that he was "a bad guy" during the war is a bit simple for Joss, he normally likes a complication factor of nine.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005 2:25 PM

INTHEBLACK


Wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that he was something to the Tams' father. Some sort of covert bodyguard perhaps. Their family seems to have the weight to warrant priority treatment for their trusted minions.

He don't care whether River is guilty or innocent, but he'll protect her anyway 'cause that's his job... kinda, sorta. Or maybe his job is to protect Simon, and River is gravy.

One thing's for sure, he ain't no simple shepherd. Man has a Past with a capital 'P'.

Shiniest gorramn show in the 'verse!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 10:23 AM

SKARVY


I don't know if anyone else hasn't touched on this but I beleive that Book has to be somesort of ex-cop figure. When he shows knowledge about Niska in the Train Job, Police procedures in The Message, The way he shoots and is always calm and confident, Early recognizes him and Early is a bounty hunter which might mean he recognizes him from law enforcement of some type by reputation or Demeanor (im not sure). The scene when they boarded the alliance cruiser when he was wounded. Combined with a few other choice scenes I beleive that he was involved in Law Enforcement in some way and then something bad happened and he went to a monastery and know is where he is trying to atone.

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Friday, April 29, 2005 6:06 AM

PHILJONES


On imdb.com it says that his name is 'Shephard Meria Book'.. not sure how that affects this disscussion

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Friday, April 29, 2005 6:27 AM

DIETCOKE


Quote:

Originally posted by PhilJones:
On imdb.com it says that his name is 'Shephard Meria Book'.. not sure how that affects this disscussion



I think he was explaining what people usually call him. It's his nick name. They call me Book.

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Friday, April 29, 2005 6:36 AM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


Quote:

Originally posted by SimonWho:
What if Book was involved in the design of some weapon of mass destruction (like the ones that blew apart Serenity Ridge)? I think that he was "a bad guy" during the war is a bit simple for Joss, he normally likes a complication factor of nine.



Hello,

I think the bombs that blew up Serenity Ridge looked pretty conventional to me, along the lines of weapons our military uses. (Have you seen footage of cluster bombs and whatnot? Or Fuel-Air Explosives? Pretty scary stuff.)

However, I agree that Book was an important Alliance person. I agree that he's not proud of his past. I agree that he's not been able to let go of his past completely.

I am not sure whether his passage on Serenity is coincidence or not. I wonder sometimes if he wasn't drafted from retirement to do a job... and then elected not to do it.

--Anthony



"Liberty must not be purchased at the cost of Humanity." --Captain Robert Henner

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 8:41 AM

CHEESYPOOF


It's not just that Book said that he's called Book, a lot of characters do that. It's his long hesitation; it sounded like he was making a name up on the spot. He said "Book...I'm called Book." It was spur of the moment, and the hesitation, which was probably scripted, gives it away. No way Book is his real name.

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 10:31 AM

EARLY


Quote:

Originally posted by embers:


because MY theory is that he was a big important General (or politician) in the Alliance, and he helped defeat Mal...
and he signed off on the experiements done to River and other brilliant children...




Not sure about the signing off on experiments thingy, but I often thought he might be the Alliance general that won the battle of Serenity Valley. That could be interesting.

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 10:17 PM

BATMARLOWE


I do think Book is formerly Alliance. And we can tell from the Identcard scene that he must've been high-ranking or some kind of Special Op. And I think he joined the monestary to atone for some sins we'll find about sometime. But I don't think he made up the name on the spot. I think that's a name he chose for himself as he went through his spiritual quest. But I could be wrong.

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Thursday, August 4, 2005 2:15 AM

REDNAX


Latest JW interview throws a little light on the Shepherd (warning mild spoilers in interview).
http://www.infocusmag.com/05augustseptember/whedonuncut.htm

Quote:

Is it a certainty at this point that Shepherd Book [the mysterious preacher character who haunts both “Firefly” and “Serenity”] once did the bidding of evil men?

Select to view spoiler:


I would say. Yeah.

You think we’ll ever see that story?
I’m not ruling it out. Obviously, one doesn’t like to speak of sequels without carrying nine rabbits’ feet, crossing one’s self and knocking on wood, but that is a thread that is not lost to me.

Quote:



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Thursday, August 4, 2005 3:16 AM

FREMDFIRMA


There are reasons beyond the magical/supernatural not to use a real name - our day and age is a right good example.

Stalkers.
Identity thieves.
Jerks from your past with a grudge and an axe to grind.
Data harvesters.
Psychotic Ex's.
Alphabet agency no-necks with too much power, not enough oversight, and attitude problems...

Not having your name makes it a LOT harder for these types of people to get in your face, your life, or your business.

I've used a set of aliases for almost fifteen years now, and they offer an excellent level of protection from the scum listed above.

Think of why you don't just chuck your main, personal e-mail into sites that demand it (an immoral and nasty practice) for access.

Same basic principle... ok ?

Now, if Book ever had any involvement with government, military, or law enforcement, he would surely know just how much future hassle could possibly come of using his real name, and would not do so except in circumstances most dire.

Mal uses a set of aliases too (Captain Harbatkin?)for many of the same reasons, no doubt.

So when you think about it, it only makes sense that "Book" would indeed use an alias.

-F





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Sunday, September 4, 2005 3:16 PM

MASSDARK


In think perhaps Shepard Book played a major part in the battle of 'Serenity Ridge'.

In the deleted scenes on the DVD box set Simon Tam looks up the battle and it mentions a General who turned the tide of the battle. After the battle the troops were just left to die, so
perhaps the said General had a breakdown. He was so guilt ridden that he turned to religion and solitude for the next five or so years. After entering the world again, he looks for a ship and finds one in the spaceport called 'Serenity'! He sees this as a sign and joins the crew hoping to repent or something of that ilk.

It's stretching the info a bit, but it does explain his pull/knowledge in the verse.


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Sunday, September 4, 2005 3:51 PM

WORKEROFEVIL


I believe Book is genuine about being a shepherd and not playing a part. However, I also think he used to be a high ranking Alliance figure. One who had power over determining punishments of people and who let that power go to his head and abused it. I believe this because of the scene in Objects In Space. River sees him saying "I don't give a damn whether you're innocent or not. So where does that put you?" Or something to that effect. So, at some point he was in a position where he had the power to determine punishments for criminals or people accused of crimes.

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Monday, September 5, 2005 4:12 AM

REDNAX


Quote:

"I don't give a damn whether you're innocent or not. So where does that put you?"


This line reminds me of Tommy Lee Jones' character (Jerrard?) in "The Fugitive". This character was a Federal Marshall responsible for capturing escaped prisoners - he had a similar attitude to his quarry's innocence.

Maybe Book has a similar role with the Alliance?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
My Firefly / Serenity blog:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A4300796

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Monday, September 5, 2005 8:55 AM

CARBONEL


For me the problem is that Book's inner thoughts seem so completely out of line with his outward persona in OIS. For all the other characters, River 'reads' something that is very much in line with what we already know (Jayne is feeling guilty, Mal is suffering an existential crisis, Simon misses his old life, Inara wants to be taken seriously). But the Shepherd seems to have some kind of nasty anger going on that is completely at odds with his external persona.

What Book actually says is "I don't give half a hump if you're innocent or not! So where does that
put you?" His use of the sexual swearing of 'half a hump' is jarring because (1) On the outside he is talking in a very dignified way about celibacy (2) We've never heard him use this kind of language before, and (3)It's delivered in such a horrible, sneering way.

For my money, there's a very dark secret hidden within Book that can't be explained simply by saying that he's a lawman tracking River and Simon, or that he's turned to Shepherding in penance for previous crimes. Whatever he's hiding it's something that's going on inside of him right now.

"The cat talks?"
"The cat never shuts up."

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Tuesday, September 6, 2005 7:34 PM

RHONIS


The Shepherd is like so many of Whedon's characters... wonderfully complex and paradoxical. In two of the earlier episodes of "the signal" podcast, there's a segment on him (cut into 2 parts, I believe show 2 and 3), that goes through what we know about each episode. With everything I've heard/read/seen, the best theory on Book, in my opinion, is this:

He is responsible for the end of the war. He might even have assassinated the commanding officer(s) of the Independents. At the very least, he was very high up in the Alliance, and is a highly trained warrior with excellent knowledge of the underworld.

Notice the looks he gives the captain here and there... and notice how the captain defers to his judgement.

Also remember when Mal asks him to explain exactly how a Shepherd knows these things, and his explanation was basically I might tell you, someday. He knows Mal was a Browncoat, so he's likely waiting until he becomes closer with him before revealing his alliance ties.

Either way people, we'll know in due time. There's going to plenty more movies, if not a rekindled TV show.

I do have one question though... in all the interviews and reading I've done, notice how NO one is talking about reviving it as a television show... why the hell not? Or is there a better thread to talk about that within?

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Saturday, September 17, 2005 5:08 AM

JAIF


First off, IMO I thought Book was a nickname and an obvious evasion to avoid saying his real name. I think the crew accepts that without a problem because they all understand someone escpaing their past.

Second, my guess is that it was Book's family name that the Alliance saw on the ident card. If not family name, then maybe he was at one point tied to the ...grrr, can't remember the name... corporation, and left after things became increasingly brutal.

Those are just guesses, of course. But his identity is such that an officer on a cruiser immediately recognizes him, and gives him complete care and absolute freedom for everybody around him (in other words, no harrassing serenity). That's big stuff, whatever it is.

-Jeff

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Saturday, September 24, 2005 6:50 PM

KIZYR


It's too bad I'm breaking in pretty late on this discussion. Shepherd Book is definitely my favourite character on the series (Kaylee coming in a close second). And all throughout I've been trying to piece together clues on what I know about him.

What's already been brought up is:
1) his ident-card gets him royal treatment
2) he knows way too much about crime
3) he's a damn good fighter
4) he is really a shepherd, though he may not have been all his life
5) he doesn't give half a hump if you're innocent or not

So where does that put him?

I figure due to #1, he's not revealing his true name to anyone. So Book has to be an alias, no other way around it (speaking of which... do they ever mention Wash and Zoe's last name(s)?). Due to #2 and #3, I figure he had to have been in either law enforcement or law-breaking. I'm leaning towards law enforcement.

Now, because of #4 and #5 things start to get interesting. Throughout the entire series, right from the pilot, it always seemed like he was trying to get out and atone for something. He may have been a preacher, but he never gave off the holier-than-thou aura--more like the we-are-all-sinners one. I mean, he may have gotten flustered around Inara in the pilot, but by the end he's asking for her advice.

The question, now, is what he's making up for. He had to have done something bad in the past, and I definitely agree that the alias is a way to both escape from his past and find some way to correct whatever wrongs he's done. Now, whether he has any previous connections to any of the Serenity crew... I think that's up for grabs.

One last bit (spoiler for the comics)

Select to view spoiler:


His punch to Mal's face, and eventual decision to leave, lead me to believe that he really is looking for atonement. I figure he originally thought that working with semi-legal former rebels could work out to that end, but now his doubts outweigh his faith. That solidifies my notion that he doesn't have a past connection with any of the Serenity crew.



KF

~Kaiser Farooque

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 11:11 PM

TANTRICLOKI


Shepard is following the japanese tradition; become a mighty warrior (operative) kill thousands for you daimayo; then later in life repent for you life as a killing machine and retire into monkhood

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Sunday, October 9, 2005 4:37 PM

JEANLUCPICARD


I just wish we found out about Book before he died.... that was the bad part about Serenity.... cool Book with his wierd past dies.... and I won't even mention Wash... I mean honestly what honor is there in a giant spike popping through the window and killing you?

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Monday, October 10, 2005 3:13 PM

KIZYR


Please mark your spoilers! For the love of the 'verse, hit EDIT on your post there and put that line in Spoiler tags. Don't go and ruin the movie... KF

~Kaiser Farooque

ZOE: Preacher, don’t the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killing?
BOOK: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps...

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Monday, October 10, 2005 3:16 PM

JEANLUCPICARD


You mean firefly fans here haven't seen it....

I do that on Startrek.com... I'll do it here too... I jsut figured everyone knew.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 6:41 PM

KIZYR


This isn't startrek.com, if you haven't noticed. The movie's much more recent than the last Star Trek.

Besides which, not all Firefly fans have seen the movie. There are a lot of fans who frequent this site in countries where Serenity hasn't yet been released (the UK release was just last weekend). Take a cue from the rest of the site and where people are considerate enough to mark spoilers, particularly major ones. It's a very simple courtesy you can do; you can still go back and hit EDIT there. KF

~Kaiser Farooque

ZOE: Preacher, don’t the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killing?
BOOK: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps...

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005 1:46 AM

HANNIBAL


Regarding Shepherds ID-Card.

First post so i might be missing something, but actually the reason why Shepherd gets the treatment in Safe is explained at the end of the episode. When the Tams enter the dining room you can overhear the following conversation between Mal and Shepherd:
Mal: "[...] (couldnt quite hear the start of the sentence, might be "To think") Shepherds sister is a companion..."
Shepherd "A good girl, too"
[laughter]

Might be wrong since the subtitles say:
"Mal: The shepherd says --
[Continues, Indistinct]"

But still it would be an explanation, lets just assume that there is a big age difference between Shepherd and his Sister or that the keeps herself young.

Well if Shepherd doesnt give a decent explanation for what was happening why would Mal allow Shepherd to stay on the ship? Mal doesnt have a liking to relgion and Shepherd doesnt exactly have any purpose/duty on the ship. There is no reason for a Freerunner to have a shepherd, so practically in terms of crew managment he is as useless as River, but she comes in a Package with a Doctor. Shepherd is more or less just dead freight. Why would Mal allow him to become a part of the crew unless he knows that he is of a certain use?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005 1:46 AM

HANNIBAL


Regarding Shepherds ID-Card.

First post so i might be missing something, but actually the reason why Shepherd gets the treatment in Safe is explained at the end of the episode. When the Tams enter the dining room you can overhear the following conversation between Mal and Shepherd:
Mal: "[...] (couldnt quite hear the start of the sentence, might be "To think") Shepherds sister is a companion..."
Shepherd "A good girl, too"
[laughter]

Might be wrong since the subtitles say:
"Mal: The shepherd says --
[Continues, Indistinct]"

But still it would be an explanation, lets just assume that there is a big age difference between Shepherd and his Sister or that the keeps herself young.

Well if Shepherd doesnt give a decent explanation for what was happening why would Mal allow Shepherd to stay on the ship? Mal doesnt have a liking to relgion and Shepherd doesnt exactly have any purpose/duty on the ship. There is no reason for a Freerunner to have a shepherd, so practically in terms of crew managment he is as useless as River, but she comes in a Package with a Doctor. Shepherd is more or less just dead freight. Why would Mal allow him to become a part of the crew unless he knows that he is of a certain use?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:33 PM

VISITINGMYINTENTIONS


Quote:

Well if Shepherd doesnt give a decent explanation for what was happening why would Mal allow Shepherd to stay on the ship? Mal doesnt have a liking to relgion and Shepherd doesnt exactly have any purpose/duty on the ship. There is no reason for a Freerunner to have a shepherd, so practically in terms of crew managment he is as useless as River, but she comes in a Package with a Doctor. Shepherd is more or less just dead freight. Why would Mal allow him to become a part of the crew unless he knows that he is of a certain use?


The question of why the shepherd remains on the ship has bothered me quite a bit. Dobson was dead before he reached Boros, and Simon and River had reason and excuse (useful doctor wanted by police) to stay aboard. But there is no reason the preacher shouldn't have gotten off at the destination he'd paid to be transported to.

I think the shepherd's reasons for staying on board are part of the complexities of his own character. Is it part of a secret mission, or a heartfelt desire to help the souls of the "heathen's a-plenty right here", or both?

Mal's reasons for keeping him are interesting. It could be, and seems it must be, that Book is continuing to pay his way. This leads us to wonder where Book's cash comes from. We know how Inara earns her rent money, and the rest earn their way as part of the crew. I think Book has some large reserve of money from a very sketchy past, or else he has a secret, rich and powerful employer.

I think Mal keeps him on in part because he is a man of God. Sure, they make a person feel guilty and judged, but Mal feels guilty and judges himself all the time. An external conscience makes Mal less conflicted within, takes some of the burden off. Mal isn't an atheist; he's angry at God. The shepherd is part of the process of bringing the Mal who died in Serenity Valley back to life.


...That's my take on things, anyhow. I think Shepherd Book is one of the most intriguing characters on Serenity, and I want to know more. Stupid FOX, give me my Firefly back!

---------------------------------------------------
Early: Where'd she go?

Simon: I can't keep track of her when she's NOT incorporeally possessing a spaceship, don't look at me --

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:13 AM

ACG2002


Someone has already commented it here, but I'll bet that Book was a general or something alike during the war and, most likely, he had a great deal to do in the battle of Serenity Valley. He would have become a shepherd to pay for his decisions (that provoked a massacre, after all) and he would have stayed with Reynolds, even though he had no reason to after Dobson was killed and he learnt about his bussiness, because he would feel that destiny had brought him a chance to redemption. Of course, he would not have wanted Mal to know about his past.
With respect to Mal, he probably let him join the crew because he acts as his conscience, in the same way Inara does, and because Book really gave him no real reasons to put him out (less than Simon, at least) Plus Mal tends to get attached to people in the ship, specially since he has nothing else.

Keep flying,
Cris

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Monday, October 17, 2005 6:27 PM

VORPAL


I really like MASSDARK'S idea of the Alliance General from the Battle of Serenity Valley trying to make amends,but I think it's unlikely.I think most of the evidence does point to a man who was some kind of high level Alliance law enforcer or maybe a judge.I think his religious conversion is genuine and the name Book is a definite alias.

VORPAL

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