Women of SF: Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

No 34 in Godard’s list.

Ambassador Delenn travels a difficult path over the course of Babylon 5.  She begins the show as a powerful and mysterious member of the Minbari government.  Her desire to promote understanding between humans and Minbari leads her to undergo a dramatic change and become a minbari/human hybrid. (Don’t ask how. There was a triangle thing and a cocoon involved and that’s as much as I can tell you).  Finding herself an object of suspicion to both sides, ejected from the ruling council of the Minbari and faced with the oncoming Shadow war, Delenn has to work to rebuild her life and regain her sense of wholeness.   What’s interesting about Delenn is that her character is based on tension, particularly between her moral and spiritual goals and her more impulsive, violent tendencies.   She is extremely religious (she belongs to a religious caste) brave, compassionate and puts great value on life.  But, like most of the Minbari, she has an edge and, when challenged, can be very ruthless.  As a consequence of her violent side, she has to deal with her guilt over her role in the start of the brutal Earth v. Minbari war which ended 10 years before the show’s start date.  She can also be secretive, but gradually opens up and reveals a more playful side in her romance with the station’s Captain, John Sheridan.  Delenn and Sheridan marry at the end of Season 4 and their relationship is refreshing in its equality.  The show represents them as two people for whom work is crucial and who give each other space to do what they need to do.  Croatian actress, Mira Furlan, plays the role with absolute conviction throughout the series and gives us one of the more intriguing women in science fiction television.

Classic quote:

“John!  It pleases me that you care for what I have become.  But never forget who I was, what I am, and what I can do.


2 thoughts on “Women of SF: Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

  1. I remember that old series!! It was a pretty good show at the time, and I always wondered why Mira never did too much after that until “Lost” came along.

    Her character was always so interesting, and I liked the way historical themes were always woven throughout the plots. Makes me want to watch a few old episodes again.

  2. I love Babylon 5 – have it all on DVD and have watched it repeatedly. I particularly like the way each character develops and ends up in a completely different place by the end of the show.

    On the whole I think it did better than average with its female characters too.

Comments are closed.