16

In Season 3's "Point of No Return", Lady Morella agrees to "see" for Londo. During the session, he inquires if he is to suffer the terrible fate he has himself foreseen. She responds that he has three chances to avoid that fate. I'm paraphrasing from memory because I can't find an exact transcript:

  • "You must save the eye that does not see."
  • "You must not kill the one who is already dead."
  • "If you fail those, you have one last chance. You must surrender to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you."

I do not recall this prophesy ever being alluded to or mentioned ever again in the series. Londo's actual fate is pretty unenviable:

Being implanted with a mind-controlling "keeper" by the Drakh, essentially turning the Centauri Republic into a client state and himself into a puppet Emperor, and being powerless to stop the republic he loves from being destroyed by his own actions. And in a moment of stolen lucidity, he and his best friend murder each other.

So it can be presumed that he ultimately failed all three of the conditions in the prophecy. (But arguments that he actually escaped a worse fate by fulfilling one of the conditions I would be interested in hearing!)

What were the three events foretold in this prophecy, and what could Londo have done differently in each case to avoid his fate?

This page states the opinion that "the one who is already dead" is Morden,

who Londo did in fact kill (or ordered killed), and who is under the mind control of the Shadows anyway and officially declared dead by Earthdome,

but I think it is more likely to have been

Lord Refa, whom Londo blamed for the death of Adira, and lured to his death. Refa is "already dead" morally and has been half-poisoned by Londo, but in getting revenge, Londo makes himself a servant of the Shadows and corrupts the Centauri Republic.

Or it could even be

Emperor Cartagia, who was certainly insane (his mind is "already dead"), and was assassinated by a conspiracy led by Londo, leading indirectly to Emperor Mollari's ascension.

But as to the others, I am completely stumped. I'm hoping a true fan has thought about this already to the Nth degree of detail and has a zinger of a theory waiting. Bring it!

Footnote: I am not inclined to accept the theory that "the eye that does not see" refers to

G'Kar's eye that was plucked out on the order of Cartagia. That interpretation makes no sense on several levels. It saw perfectly fine until the moment it was plucked out; its artificatial replacement saw just fine; and poetically, G'Kar turns out to rival Delenn as one of the wisest and insightful characters of the series.

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    I thought the one who is already dead was Sheridan. Note that it's his actions that prevented the all out attack of the Alliance on Centauri Prime – Valorum Apr 14 '15 at 7:26
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    With regards to the third prophecy, I'm reminded of a scene where Vorlon ships are hovering above centauri prime, as if preparing to annihilate the planet. Londo pleads for Vir to chop off Londo's head and put it on a stake for the Vorlons to see. The rationale being that the Vorlons are about to destroy Centauri prime due to Londo being tainted by the shadows. – Abulafia Apr 14 '15 at 8:20
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    The Eye does not see – Izkata Apr 14 '15 at 12:11
8

The prophecy is alluded to again in the closing novel to the Legions of Fire trilogy, Out of the Darkness, which covers most of the story of Centauri Prime after Londo took the throne. This is not admittedly in-the-show canon, but it's mostly canon as far as the creator Joe Stracynzski is concerned.

In the lead-up to the moments surrounding what was shown in War Without End and just after his storytelling moment from In The Beginning, Londo has a meeting with Vir and then G'kar. He's drunk out of his mind already, and after some final instructions to Vir, chats about the prophecy with a baffled G'kar over dinner and more drink. (I initially thought all of it referred to Londo directly, I was apparently mistaken).

"Everything. Babylon 5... The Shadow War... the fate of Centauri Prime... all about me."
"Very egocentric," G'kar observed.
"That does not make it wrong," Londo pointed out. He seemed to be enjoying the effect the alcohol was having on him. All his words were slurring, one into another, and it was with difficulty that G'kar was able to understand what he was saying. "It was in her predictions you know. The one about the man already dead... that was easy. That was Sheridan. She also told me that I have to save the eye that does not see. Until an hour ago, I thought that referred to you."
G'kar was completely lost, but he was not about to admit it. "But now you no longer think that."
"No. I think I misheard her. I think she referred, not to the 'eye' as in orb, but rather 'I' as in 'I, myself'. Because I had all the hints, all the warnings that I needed. It was all there, right in front of me. Morella tried to warn me... and the techno-mage... and Vir, Great Maker knows, over and over again. They all tried to make me see. But I did not...
Out of the Darkness ch 24, p 219

There's a bit of back and forth snark as Londo claims he had to save himself. He hasn't been in specific recent danger (unless the Drakh setting off some of their fusion bombs after all other plans have fallen apart counts), and it's been a while since he has. What he is likely referring to is enduring all this time under the Drakh's control. His first few weeks after bonding with the Keeper were filled with thoughts of suicide, until he finds a side-project he considers worth living for.

Not long after that reveal, he refers to G'kar as his greatest fear, knowing and accepting that his own vision is going to come true. Londo finally gets drunk enough to reveal the Keeper to G'kar. As Londo is the only pawn left that the Drakh have (it's been a bad day for them), he asks G'kar's help in denying the Drakh any further control over Centauri Prime. Moments later he is letting John and Delenn go, and fulfilling the final portion by letting G'kar kill him, and creating the vision he feared for so long.

Even though his intent in asking Lady Morella for her visions was to avoid this fate, he seems to believe now that he could only have redeemed himself - and the Centauri - by enduring it.

This is however, only his inebriated interpretation, but seeing as it's his prophecy, it may be the more important one. Other interpretations may still be valid; I like Vir's input mostly, that a prophecy is a metaphor that might come true.

(Lots of theories are out there, and JMS has occasionally added fuel to the fire by dropping lines like "G'kar's eye that could not see Cartagia's glory", but has never made anything canon that I know of. I think he likes the debate.)

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    I strongly doubt it being the "I" that cannot see because closed captioning for the episode says it as "eye". Besides, they are presumably speaking Centauri then and I doubt that there would be a homophone in that language that matches that of English. – Thunderforge Apr 15 '15 at 0:47
  • @Thunderforge - shrug Take it up with Londo. Or JMS. This is really the only in-story commentary I've found. – Radhil Apr 15 '15 at 3:46
  • Told by a drunk Londo? He has no idea what the signs are, and he has never been very good at navigating. – Erick Robertson Jul 17 '15 at 21:31
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    I'm going to be terribly amused if I went through the trouble to dig out that dusty old paperback and this answer slowly gets downvoted to the bottom simply because nobody likes what it says. – Radhil Jul 18 '15 at 13:19
  • +1 for research. But I don't like it. In addition to @Thunderforge's comment, I don't like the answer that Sheridan was the one who is already dead. When did Londo save him? The only time I know Londo saved Sheridan was just before his death. But the terrible fate Londo referred to was a separate prophecy by the Technomage: millions of Londo's "victims" crying his name. By the time Londo saved Sheridan, it was too late to stop that from happening. – wberry Aug 6 '15 at 23:03
2

According to "Asked & Answered Volume 5", JMS has made the following comments about Lady Morella's prophecy.

  • "You must save the eye that does not see."

JMS says:

There's another way to look at this...

I.

Eye.

We never actually saw how she spelled or meant this.

Given Londo's background, one could almost make the case that the discussion was about him. Not saying that's it, but it's a possibility and a subtext.

  • "You must not kill the one who is already dead."

  • "If you fail those, you have one last chance. You must surrender to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you."

JMS says:

The goal was to redeem himself. Sparing Sheridan was part of that. Then he had to surrender himself to his greatest fear: his death at the hands of G'Kar.

Long before I read these words, it lined up with my impression of what JMS was saying within the context of the show itself - namely, that Londo DID manage to avoid the fate he begged Lady Morella to prophesy for him; he achieved his redemption at the end. While his final days may have been somewhat inglorious, he achieved a measure of satisfaction and self-mastery on his way beyond the Rim.

  • "We never actually saw how she spelled or meant this." Unless you watched the episode with closed captioning, and then you saw it as "eye". Make of that what you will. – Thunderforge May 31 '16 at 5:04
  • If you refer to Asked and Answered v5, I'm pretty sure JMS waves off the closed captioning version. – TML May 31 '16 at 8:12
  • Could you please add that quote where he mentions closed captioning? That would dispel the major criticism that I have about this answer. – Thunderforge May 31 '16 at 15:25
2

If we take this as a timeline of opportunities then in order.

  1. "You must save the eye that does not see." What eye does Londo have the opportunity to save?

Towards the end of G'kar's imprisonment Cartagia declares he doesn't like how G'kar looks at him. Keeping in the theme of the Long Night of Londo Molari, where one of the main points were that he could have said something, anything, even if it did nothing. But he didn't. He didn't when G'kar was tortured and he didn't when Cartagia was contemplating G'kar's look. At that point, a single clever word would have saved G'kar's eye. Later in the cell G'kar declares that he can see into people better now without the eye that with. It was an eye that did not see, and Londo was unable to save it.

  1. "You must not kill the one who is already dead."

This is pretty obviously Sheridan. During the flash forward in War Without End we see Londo contemplating Sheridan's life and whether to kill him. At this point he is the man who is already dead. Also, this will be a trial as he has the keeper to prevent this choice, but it is the one of only two choices we see Londo make post keeper.

  1. "If you fail those, you have one last chance. You must surrender to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you."

This is the biggie, what is Londo's greatest fear? At first it is the vision of his own death. In season 1 it is what drives his conflict with G'kar personally and professionally. But there is a bigger one. What does Morden use to keep Londo in line and part of the Shadows plan? Fear of what someone else will do in his place. his biggest fear is letting go of control, letting someone else take up the burden. Every time he has done so he has paid the price, often loosing loved ones (Adira, Urza, Janno), or seeing Centauri Prime hurt (Reefa, Cartagia, Virini). The unknown of what will happen if he lets go is his greatest fear.

Without the final 2 there is no hope for Londo to avoid the fire he fears. And it is not his personal fire, but the destruction of all that he loves, Centauri Prime. Without the final 2 there is no way for him to push of the Drak and place Vir in place to take the Emperorship.

Bonus What were the 2 chances that he missed?

  1. I have read this as when Morden first contacts Londo, and Londo has the opportunity not to be their agent.

  2. This is obviously the Coming of Shadows when Londo "Just picks a target". Vir warns him this is a bad idea, and he has the greatest opportunity to prevent the destruction of Centauri Prime, and avoid being their tool.

  • The one who is already dead is Morden. He also died on Z'Ha'Dum when they made him into whatever he is. If it was Sheridan, then saving him would have redeemed him and he would not have needed to give in to his final fear at the end. Londo destroyed the Shadow ships on the ground so the Vorlons would not attack. Had he not done that, he could have made a deal with the Shadows instead. After warning them of the Vorlons, he might have set up a situation which he could co-opt later. – Erick Robertson Jul 17 '15 at 21:36
  • Except that whether or not he destroyed the Shadow base the Vorlons would have attacked. The Shadows knew the Vorlons were coming and were betting that they wouldn't attack because Centauri Prime was too populated. The only reason they didn't was Sheridan drew them off to the battle at Coriana 6. Sheridan is the only one who was already dead. Morden never died, he was listed as dead after the Icarus incident, but he never died. Even if he had decided not to go against his keeper and kill Sheridan, to save his people he would still have had to surrender to his greatest fear, giving up control. – Tyson of the Northwest Jul 17 '15 at 21:50
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    Lady Morella said, of "must surrender to your greatest fear": "If, at the end, you have failed with all the others, that is your final chance for redemption." I think it's clear the greatest fear is that he dies like he saw. So why did he have to go through with that if he didn't fail with all the others? If he did not kill the one who is already dead, then he has taken one of his "three chances to avoid the fire" and he need not suffer his final chance. So I think it's clear that he did kill the one that is already dead, since he had to die at G'Kar's hands. So it can't be Sheridan. – Erick Robertson Jul 22 '15 at 1:19
  • I think you're spot on with the first and third. I also think you're spot on with the two chances he missed. That's truly the bonus question here! – Erick Robertson Jul 22 '15 at 1:26
  • +1 for Bonus 2. The other missed chance, could be lots of things. But the fate Londo is trying to avoid is the one foretold by the Technomage: millions of Londo's "victims" crying his name - not Londo's own death. To me, this eliminates Sheridan from consideration as "the one who is already dead". As to G'Kar's eye, it's just not clear how doing otherwise would have helped the Republic. – wberry Aug 6 '15 at 23:10
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The one who is already dead is most likely John Sheridan. He died at Z'ha'dum. In the future when he and Delenn are Londo's prisoners Londo lets them go dispite his masters wanting them executed.

In season one Londo "saved" an Eye that does not see. Londo, with the help of the Shadows, recovered an ancient Centauri artifact called the Eye, but that happened before the prophesy.

  • Yes on the Sheridan, no on the Eye. From the long night of Londo Molari, he had the opportunity to save G'Kar's eye but he said nothing. And Later G'Kar explained that he see's into people better without it, it was an eye that did not see. – Tyson of the Northwest Jul 13 '15 at 23:06
  • How in your view did Londo have a realistic chance of saving Sheridan from going to Z'ha'dum and his death? And how would doing that, OR saving G'Kar's eye from being plucked out on the orders of Cartagia, have saved the Centauri Republic from destruction? – wberry Apr 23 '16 at 19:47
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The one who is already dead was Morden, not only was he believed dead by earth, but he was in the blast radius of the Nuke detonation at Z'hadum (and had his flesh burned away)

It wasn't Sheridan, because not killing Sheridan didn't get him out of having to die at G'Kar's hands, he still had to surrender himself to his greatest fear knowing it would destroy him.

The part about the eye was G'Kar's eye, he wasn't able to save G'Kar from losing his eye.

  • How in your view would not killing Morden (ordering his execution on Centauri Prime), OR saving G'Kar's eye from being plucked out on the orders of Cartagia, have saved the Centauri Republic from destruction? – wberry Apr 23 '16 at 19:45

protected by Praxis Apr 23 '16 at 1:59

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