[When we last left this series, I was getting into why, exactly, I had been drawn into the realm of popular culture when discussing medieval literature. Now, let’s take a look at what I actually want to investigate in the Thesis itself.]

Why I’m Writing a Thesis on Battlestar Galactica:

Part Three

Thesis Statement

There is one quality that all medieval literature tends to have: heroes. These knights are strong, honoured, chivalrous, daring, and whether it’s Malory or Chaucer, Beowulf (Yes, I know it’s not strictly medieval, but that will be addressed within the Thesis. I’m sure. I would mess up this run if I made note of it here) or Chrétien, they’re omnipresent within these stories. While some are more complex than others, there is a fairly stock image that people have in mind: hero swoops in, shows off, saves the day, capiche.

But, this is not to say that there is no depth within these characters: that image is often false. There lies within the world of the medieval hero certain dividing lines, lines that separate some heroes from the rest of their brethren. In Beowulf, as an example, the title character (Or one of the two characters named Beowulf, gotta love the Beowulf poet) is heroic until the very end…but those knights that were supposed to support him, assist him, abandoned him in his time of need. They, the story explains, were ignoring the very principles they were supposed to be following by leaving one of their men behind to die.

That divide then, between real heroes and false ones, echoes further into the texts of Arthurian Legend. One of the primary concerns of these texts is the concept of celestial and earthly chivalry battling it out for supremacy within this universe. Some knights believe in the holy spirits, the more religious elements of their world; they are the ones who combust up into heaven when they complete the grail quest, as opposed to those who get stuck back on Earth due to falling into its clutches of lust and love. But which one is more fulfilling, and represents the greater purpose? Does abandoning the religious path immediately force you away from true heroism, true purpose? Or is it in fact just a different path, an equally righteous one at that?

Now, all of these themes are prevalent within medieval literature, and is all based on past research and all of that jazz. However, in my view a Thesis is designed to expand a research base beyond its existing mould. As a result, I want to take these themes and principles and see how they’ve grown and adapted themselves into contemporary popular culture. And, specifically, I want to view how the ideas of heroism and chivalry adapt themselves into the environment of Ronald D. Moore’s 2004 reimagining of the 1970s television property Battlestar Galactica.

*Cue Crickets*

Okay, so this might seem a little weird on the surface, but this series is incredibly complex and diverse. It is, as much as any literary text, lousy with allusions to political events and past thematic traditions of literature from the medieval period. Does this sound like a stretch? It does? Well frak. (Frak is the swear word of the universe of Battlestar Galactica. True story).

[Editor’s Note: There was all sorts of actual Thesis argumentation I left out here, that’ll have to wait until I actually start writing. But rest assured, I did make some key arguments linking Battlestar Galactica to Medieval Literature.]

Indeed, this is all not without challenges. First off, there needs to be analysis of what has happened, or not happened should that be the case, between Medieval literary works and 21st century television. There must have been something in between that shows the development of the hero. I would think that the best approach would be to find some iconic heroic figures from the period in between and perhaps draw some sort of line. It might require some fancy footwork, but I think it would be for the best if it encompassed a range of vision over the past six centuries or so.

Plus, we run into the problem of there being very little secondary material to use when referring to a majority of modern television shows, specifically something like Battlestar Galactica. I believe there is likely to be some fringe material I can refer to, but it is likely to be limited in scope. As a result, I will either have to rely on sheer ingenuity of analysis, or find more general sources that will prove the point I am trying to make.

But those are questions for a later time. For now, this is what I refer to as my Thesis Statement. This is, in a nutshell, what I want to investigate. This was all written with only the intrinsic knowledge set before me by studying this stuff fairly extensively over the past three years. In time, it will be supplemented with scores of new articles, books, analyses, and all of the other glorious things I come across while researching these topics.

And that process starts soon…I hope.