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Old 09-23-2013, 09:56 PM   #1
Spurlock
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ToD Question

Alright, this is a problem that's troubled me for some time. It the beginning scene in ToD, with Lao Che and co., the exchange is a diamond for the priceless remains of the first emperor of the Tang (Tang right? Not Song, or Manchu or something?). My issue is Indiana desires the diamond, not the remains. As an archaeologist, doesn't it make sense for him to actually desire the remains to be put into a museum, not a diamond with no explained value other than being shiny. If I understand Indiana, diamonds don't matter much to him, and he's really after preservation, and keeping valuables out of the hands of evil. And this whole exchange completely goes against his beliefs.

So what's up with that?
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurlock
Alright, this is a problem that's troubled me for some time. It the beginning scene in ToD, with Lao Che and co., the exchange is a diamond for the priceless remains of the first emperor of the Tang (Tang right? Not Song, or Manchu or something?). My issue is Indiana desires the diamond, not the remains. As an archaeologist, doesn't it make sense for him to actually desire the remains to be put into a museum, not a diamond with no explained value other than being shiny. If I understand Indiana, diamonds don't matter much to him, and he's really after preservation, and keeping valuables out of the hands of evil. And this whole exchange completely goes against his beliefs.

So what's up with that?

Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:17 PM   #3
Montana Smith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurlock
Alright, this is a problem that's troubled me for some time. It the beginning scene in ToD, with Lao Che and co., the exchange is a diamond for the priceless remains of the first emperor of the Tang (Tang right? Not Song, or Manchu or something?). My issue is Indiana desires the diamond, not the remains. As an archaeologist, doesn't it make sense for him to actually desire the remains to be put into a museum, not a diamond with no explained value other than being shiny.

Unless, of course, it was the Peacock's Eye.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:21 PM   #4
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In the first three films (ignoring KOTCS for this), Indy is a dynamic character. In TOD, the diamond is instrumental in portraying this.

In Raiders, he is obsessed with getting the prize - the idol in the introductory adventure, the Ark in the main story. Leaving Marion in the tent to continue his recovery of the Ark is the primary demonstration of this. And while he later pronounces his willingness to destroy the Ark to try and save Marion, he is shown to be weak - he can't follow through with this. In contrast to the later films, he's the most static in Raiders.

In Crusade, he's also obsessed with the prize. In the teaser(s) it's the Cross of Coronado - "It belongs in a museum!" It's shown that he inherits his obsession from his father, who spent his life obsessed with the Grail. While Indy's motivation for most of the film is simply rescuing his father, at the end he is shown overcoming his obsession (with his father's help) and letting go of the prize for the sake of family.

In both of films, the change in the character is done in a subtle way. In Temple of Doom it's very explicit. Fast forward to the village in India, and Indy's primary motivation is simply to get to Delhi until he learns about the Sankara stones - gigantic diamonds. While he shows sympathy for the plight of the villagers, he explicitly uses the phrase "fortune and glory" to describe his motivations in setting off to Pankot. When he takes the stones from the temple, his motivation is portrayed as greed - there's no indication that he would actually return a stone to the village! It's only when he discovers the enslaved children that he starts to think of helping others, and after his recovery and the plea from Willie to get out of there, promises "All of us" and goes back after the children. Finally, he returns the stone to the village, respectful of the villagers and dismisses the potential "fortune and glory" of the Sankara "stone".

Keeping that in mind, look back on the opening scene. He's indeed trading away an artifact for "fortune"; presumably the diamond is worth more than Nurhachi's remains.

...

It should be pointed out that there is also a later bit of reconning. In The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones the diamond is claimed to be the Eye of the Peacock, a treasure Young Indy hunted for in 1919. If this connection is accepted, it puts a very different spin on Indy in Temple of Doom. In this case, Indy's interest in the Nurhachi trade is not simply for profit embodied in a gemstone, but for a notable artifact in its own right, one that he's been in search of for 16 years. While this is a nice connection to make, it someone devalues the character evolution portrayed in Temple so I'm on the fence about it. (As a fan of YIJC I find it provides a bit of closure for long suffering Remy, but it detracts from the strength of TOD's story.)
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:28 AM   #5
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And you have to bear in mind that Indy is more of a burglar than an archaeologist. A working knowledge of history and culture serve to give him access to the richest locations. He measures the value or artefacts not only in monetary value, but in the pride it brings him to acquire them first.

Nor is he, or was he intended to be, a positive role model for modern children. As role models go, Indiana Jones is more suited to the sons of empire.

As InexorableTash elaborates, Indy's rehabilitation begins during TOD. Pretty sure it's because Lucas found he had a character on his hands who was very popular with children, yet now too much of a rogue for his own sensibilities. (Han Solo also went through such a transformation).
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurlock
the exchange is a diamond for the priceless remains of the first emperor of the Tang (Tang right? Not Song, or Manchu or something?).
Nurhachi was the 1st emperor of the Manchu, not the Tang. (Lao Che even says it.)

---
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:13 PM   #7
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As Montana said (with link), it wasn't just a diamond, Spurlock, but rather a historic artifact to which Indy had a very personal connection. So, worth a trade for a little jug of emperor's remains.

Nice try, Leo Che.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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Well the Peacock's Eye story was only conceived after the movie (presumably, since the first scene in LC gave Lucas the idea for YIJC), so the original meaning is different from the current. I guess it was more to demonstrate Willy's greed than Indiana Jones'.

Thanks then, I never really saw him as a changing character, more as the same ol' Indy always fighting for good. One last question then, if he began with strong morals, as scene in LC, is there any explanation for his change of moral from then to ToD?
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:50 PM   #9
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I never liked the explanation that The Diamond was the Peacock's Eye, I think it undermines the lesson of that episode. Indy gave up searching for it so that he could go back to school, something I think that is very important in the growth of his character.

The Fan Film I'm working on offers a different origin to The Diamond, but I don't want to spoil too much
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:27 PM   #10
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Does the Expanded Universe ever explain what happened to Lao Che?
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:41 PM   #11
Lance Quazar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InexorableTash
In the first three films (ignoring KOTCS for this), Indy is a dynamic character. In TOD, the diamond is instrumental in portraying this.

In Raiders, he is obsessed with getting the prize - the idol in the introductory adventure, the Ark in the main story. Leaving Marion in the tent to continue his recovery of the Ark is the primary demonstration of this. And while he later pronounces his willingness to destroy the Ark to try and save Marion, he is shown to be weak - he can't follow through with this. In contrast to the later films, he's the most static in Raiders.

In Crusade, he's also obsessed with the prize. In the teaser(s) it's the Cross of Coronado - "It belongs in a museum!" It's shown that he inherits his obsession from his father, who spent his life obsessed with the Grail. While Indy's motivation for most of the film is simply rescuing his father, at the end he is shown overcoming his obsession (with his father's help) and letting go of the prize for the sake of family.

In both of films, the change in the character is done in a subtle way. In Temple of Doom it's very explicit. Fast forward to the village in India, and Indy's primary motivation is simply to get to Delhi until he learns about the Sankara stones - gigantic diamonds. While he shows sympathy for the plight of the villagers, he explicitly uses the phrase "fortune and glory" to describe his motivations in setting off to Pankot. When he takes the stones from the temple, his motivation is portrayed as greed - there's no indication that he would actually return a stone to the village! It's only when he discovers the enslaved children that he starts to think of helping others, and after his recovery and the plea from Willie to get out of there, promises "All of us" and goes back after the children. Finally, he returns the stone to the village, respectful of the villagers and dismisses the potential "fortune and glory" of the Sankara "stone".

Keeping that in mind, look back on the opening scene. He's indeed trading away an artifact for "fortune"; presumably the diamond is worth more than Nurhachi's remains.

...

It should be pointed out that there is also a later bit of reconning. In The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones the diamond is claimed to be the Eye of the Peacock, a treasure Young Indy hunted for in 1919. If this connection is accepted, it puts a very different spin on Indy in Temple of Doom. In this case, Indy's interest in the Nurhachi trade is not simply for profit embodied in a gemstone, but for a notable artifact in its own right, one that he's been in search of for 16 years. While this is a nice connection to make, it someone devalues the character evolution portrayed in Temple so I'm on the fence about it. (As a fan of YIJC I find it provides a bit of closure for long suffering Remy, but it detracts from the strength of TOD's story.)


Very, very well-put.

I never liked the "Peacock's Eye" retcon. Sure, it's a nice bit of fan wankery, but definitely undercuts the character arc from "Temple of Doom."
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