Kick-ass Mothers

At the end of the world, it might be a good idea to take along your mom. As anyone who’s come face-to-face with a mama bear knows, there’s nothing quite so focused, driven, and deadly as a mother protecting her offspring. A few examples include:

Sarah Connor – Sarah Connor takes motherhood to a whole new level – one that includes semi-automatic machine guns, grenades, and biceps that can crack nuts (and I don’t mean the kind that grow on trees). In Terminator, she’s a timid, fearful woman who exemplifies the archetype of the Maiden, but in Terminator 2, she’s grown into a fierce, resilient and resourceful warrior. Protecting her son is Sarah Connor’s primary reason for being; her mission consumes her, separates her from her sanity, and makes us want to watch more.

Ellen Ripley – in Alien and Aliens, the theme of motherhood appears again and again, but a pivotal scene cut from Aliens revealed that Ripley had a daughter whom she lost. To quote Entertainment Weekly

“Weaver had been bitterly disappointed by her experience with Alien’s first sequel, Aliens, after Fox cut two minutes of footage she considered crucial to Ripley’s relationship with the space orphan Newt.

”I think (Aliens director) Jim Cameron is sort of upset with himself that he let that happen,” she says. ”It was a little scene after I woke up. I’m sitting in this fake patio, and Paul Reiser comes in and says, ‘I didn’t want to tell you before, but your daughter died two years ago, and this is all I have left of her.”’ Reiser’s character then handed Ripley a picture of the daughter she’d left at age 10, who had become an elderly woman during her mother’s space travels. (The photo was actually of Weaver’s own mother.) ”I based her whole trauma on the fact that she’d lost her family. She’d paid horribly for her success in surviving the alien.”

The grief that Ripley carries catapults her into protecting Newt, who then calls Ripley ‘Mommy’ at the end of the movie. The penultimate battle of Aliens – between Ripley and the Alien Queen — is essentially two mothers, squaring off and protecting their children. WATCH OUT!

The Bride – while not exactly apocalyptic, Kill Bill 1 & 2 gives us The Bride, a mother on a mission: to exact revenge on those who have made her life hell. She succeeds in her quest, and discovers that her daughter (whom she presumed was dead) is still very much alive. The movies conclude with the Bride and her daughter laughing and leaving to start a new life: freed from the bonds of her vengeance, the Bride can construct a happier life as the archetype of the Mother, no longer needing to identify herself with the archetype of the Killer.

Boudica – what list of fierce moms would be complete without a nod to Boudica? While the other mothers on this list are characters of fiction, Boudica was born in approximately 25 AD, a time when the armies of Rome were destroying the Iceni way of life. When her husband died, she was whipped and her daughters, raped – and in reply, she raised a massive army, set fire to cities, and almost drove Roman forces from Britain. An estimate 80,000 people perished. Even when her defeat was imminent, she did not relent, but fled; some sources say she killed herself so that she wouldn’t be captured and taken to Rome for display.

Skookumchuck out!

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