In considering the Byzantine machinations that we've all come to expect from Pale Horse, it occurred to me to turn the microscope on the enigmatic author himself.
Now, his namesake seems to have an ominous and apocalyptic origin.
However, as Joe Brody so aptly pointed out, in his "Treatise on Four", Pale Horse left out one of the most obvious references to a foursome that have a heavy eschatological significance. Very odd, considering the common belief that Indy IV will be the end of the Jones saga. Also, something of an oversight if the commonly understood origin behind the Pale Horse that we all assume to be true.
In considering references to death as a horseman, I see them wound throughout western civilization. As that phrase came to mind, a light bulb turned on in my head: Pale Horse’s change in avatar: a change to a Sheriff... so not only “western civilization” but truly a western
. When you try to come up with connection between the classical meaning of our enigmatic author and a western, the answer is clear: Pale Rider
If you consider Pale Rider
for its significance you’ll find it to be the last traditional western made by an American icon, Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven
doesn’t count, as it was an anti-Western). Itself a rendition of another Western classic, Shane
, Pale Rider
returns us to classic character in a classic tale, only darker. But is this what Pale Horse is suggesting for Indy IV? No. (Though it has been suggested by others
So, if we were mistaken about the pedigree of the Pale Horse, and this horse is not apocryphal at all... where shall we find the origin of this horse? I believe I found the answer: under Don Quixote
Perhaps this horse’s proximity to death doesn’t come from the rider’s identity as we supposed. No, this "pale horse", Rocinante, found his paleness from the trials of life. It was only then that, Rocinante could become the vehicle for a quest to rediscover an ideal. In Don Quixote’s case it was knight-errantry (represented by a sword), so why not Eden (represented by a flaming sword)? So as we all tilt with windmills (which traditionally also have FOUR arms, to make use of the FOUR winds) set up for us by convoluted comrade, let us consider this alternate and ultimately more logical origin of the Raven’s Pale Horse.
While the “The Edge of Creation” remains, perhaps appropriately, ethereal and unreachable
, there are other Indy IV concepts that are a lot firmer. Some, in fact, are as certain as death
So with my tongue pressed firmly into my cheek, let me just say... "Ride on, my good friend, Rocinante. Ride on."