19 times – that’s how many times I ended up going to the cinema to see @Fellowship of the Ring – 19 times! An absolute record for me. A healing experience after the trauma of 9/11. Watching Frodo meet his mentor, come together with his friends and head off on a dark venture saying, “What must I do?” I went back time and time again, loving every minute and hardly noticing three hours go by. And all during this time the thought of “Salomé” remained ever present.
Then, one stormy January afternoon at the movies, the epiphany came. It was the scene where Frodo comes to Lothlorien and hears Galadriel’s voice, later to be called to her mystical grotto (see link below). Watching @Elijah Wood I suddenly thought, “He’s our Prophet – our John the Baptist! Itching with excitement, I rushed home afterwards and immediately called Sharlie. “I found our Prophet!” I shouted into the phone. “Elijah Wood!” There was silence for about three seconds on Sharlie’s end before I heard her enthusiastic, “YES!”
Trying to picture our prophet wasn’t easy. But when Jade called me and excitedly said, “Elijah Wood!” I remembered thinking how big and strikingly blue his eyes were in Fellowship. Our @John the Baptist had to have an unmistakeable attribute about his appearance and I thought, of course it has to be in the eyes! It made sense! The eyes are the windows to the soul and whatever our prophet was going to go through it had to be seen in his eyes.
It was decided: Elijah became our first role model for our Prophet. His piercing eyes, his vulnerability along with his strength became guidelines for building our character. But how did John the Baptist ‘magically transform’ into the Old Testament prophet Elijah of our story?
Well…sitting at my computer one evening, contemplating a poster from Fellowship of the Rings, I recalled a scene in Strauss’ opera “Salome”. Herod is arguing with a group of Jews who want the Baptist to be given into their custody and he says, “I have heard it said that Jokanaan (i.e. John) is in very truth your prophet Elias (@Elijah).” “Aha!” I thought, and immediately began searching Google. Sure enough – I found @New Testament references to John’s being the reappearance of Elijah! This is based on Jewish belief, still very prevalent, that Elijah – who never actually died but ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire – would reappear one day to herald the Messiah. Of course none of this can be ‘proven’, but the association was enough. Our prophet had now become Elijah, returning to Earth after 3,000 years to herald the coming of our Chosen: Salomé! I realized that this was pretty daring and possibly controversial, but I also knew that there was a story here.
This was the key to taking “Salomé” out of the commonplace and into the mythical: the basis of our story would begin in @Old Testament times – and project into a dystopian future world where our @Salomé would incarnate as the Chosen of Saba! And so, at the beginning of 2002, Sharlie and I sat down and began to write…
Next chapter (after our Christmas Giveaway): The House of Saba arises – and another role model for Elijah!
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