Addressing again the question of the Vuvalini possibly leaving behind their boy children in the Green Place/Bog when it soured. I realized I had written a long thing on this when I was peeved at fan interpretations and then it sat in my drafts folder. I was pondering on that today and I realized an important connection….
Valkyrie wears crow feathers. Her bike is COVERED in crow feathers. The only place we see any substantial amount of crows (perhaps any crows at all) is the Bog. I believe the only other humans we see bedecked with crow feathers are the Crow People/Air Fishers. She must be going back and visiting their male kin in the bog periodically for some reason. Where the hell else would she get all those feathers? It pretty much subverts the idea that the Vuvalini women split from the men of their society out of some sort of ill will, rejection or toxic cultural imperative if they continue to maintain contact.
Consider: Furiosa and Valkyrie doing the forehead touching as kids because after how easily the gesture came to them in the movie there's no way in hell it wasn't totally their THING.
Two girls grow together at the water’s edge. Their playthings are slings and wrenches. In the hottest hours of the day when no one can work, they grapple in the shade of green trees, and laugh into each other’s hair when a mother scolds them for rolling into a tentpole. Their brows touch as they whisper secrets to each other by the evening fire.
Two girls crouch on the long tails of their mothers’ bikes and learn to balance over the dunes. They rejoice in the strength of their legs in a footrace, the burn of their muscles when climbing the eastern tower to take a watch shift, the keenness of their eyes when they learn to shoot.
One girl’s blood comes, and the other’s does not. This does not set them apart from each other; “many mothers” doesn’t mean by birth, and half the Vuvalini can’t have or don’t want children. Anyway it’s been years since they’ve seen a reliable man, so it seems like a moot point.
Two girls are taught what their names mean, taught to fight, to use their anger. There is no sense sheltering them from the knowledge of the dangers around them. The generation before them was born before the cusp of the apocalypse and they have old world names. Here and now, names must be sharp.
Two girls are just old enough to join in the hunt when a herd of feral water buffalo come looking for their oasis. Together they bring down a bull, and before the dust cloud clears they press their foreheads together, thinking of new boots, horn drinking cups, meat for weeks. It will be the last bounty the Wasteland delivers to them.
Raiders come to the Green Place.
The Vuvalini do not mourn until they know for certain a sister has died. The Wasteland takes and takes, but once in a great while, it gives back, and it is in that hope they choose to live.
One girl steals her mother’s bike in the night and rides west, until Maddie catches up, knocks her off balance, pins her in the sand and says she’s crazy, she couldn’t do anything, she doesn’t get to decide who lives and who dies.
(But she does. It’s what her name means.) She presses her face into the sand and howls.
One girl still takes watch shifts in the eastern tower, but she looks west.
One woman shoots every crow she can, but still more come. She plucks their feathers for her bike and her shoulders, bleaches their skulls in the sun. She keeps watch in the eastern tower for birds as much as raiders, and soon enough the birds have won, and she climbs it to act as bait instead. She no longer waits for someone to return from the west, now that there is no place to return.
One woman pushes herself up from dust and tire tracks in the night, coughing. She is splintered, but she can ride, and she will put Maddie’s body on the back of her bike and go west until she finds the place where her Furiosa went seven thousand and two days ago and where she is now, she must be, looking east and wondering because she didn’t see it happen, and she will press her brow to hers and they will both be home.