MMFR, Time, & Furiosa
I’ve noticed that a seemingly large amount of fandom has taken to the idea that everyone in the wasteland measures time in days. It is the only way (oops) anyone bothers to mention time and it’s passage in the movie, so this makes sense. It also really makes sense for War Boys—the Half Lives—those whose time is slipping away so fast and each new battle is awaited as an opportunity to fly glorious into Valhalla. So, like, that is awesome. And each person who takes time to calculate the time they want to convey in days… well that’s excellent and shows how dedicated they are to keep that world alive in their work.
The first time I saw the movie; however, I had a very different reaction to Furiosa’s use of days to convey the amount of time she spent in captivity. First of all, I come from a world that measures time in years, months, weeks. I assumed this was the same in this world, unsurprisingly. As I started to get into the fandom and learning backstories, it made sense to me too that a dedicated military man (Joe) would likely stick to time as he knows it best and is more comfortable using.
So Furiosa’s use of days to convey her time meant two things in particular to me. One, that this was the Vuvalini measurement of time, as the other women took it in stride as if this was normal. The other thing that this conveyed to me was just how much Furiosa hated her captivity, ticking off each day at a time, like a prisoner tally’s their days in the same cell. And I had the head canon that continuing to mark time in days was a silent defiance against Citadel, a way to always remind her of her heritage, keep her grounded in her roots, and defy the cultural norm as precedented by those within Citadel who held her captive. As she was conforming to War Boy culture, she kept this thing to herself to keep connection with her past… The more I consider War Boys though, the more I’m starting to also develop the head canon that maybe they did pick up measuring time solely in days from Furiosa, that maybe when she became a War Boy and began to have some modicum of agency, she verbalized her method. Because while other Imperators and Joe himself would find purpose in measuring time in weeks, months, years—not being half-lives and all, many War Boys don’t expect to live on more years, months, or even weeks. Hearing a comrade constantly using days to measure time would probably sit so right with them…
I’m getting off point.
This idea that she kept this method of time measurement in spite of Citadel having another also really resonated with me when she makes the comments, “plus the ones I don’t remember.” So much is left unsaid about that. Things she blocked out because of the trauma? Days she spent recovering from injuries? I also have the head canon though that this includes days she forgot to mark. Days she became so entrenched and caught up with her new culture and her new crew that she forgot, for days or a week, to mark the number of days it had been. The days that Citadel had been home and not The Green Place. Because outside even head canons, there’s some pretty convincing evidence in the movie that at least her crew, for some time there, became something like family.
Using days for all of the wasteland continues to set this world a part from our own, and it really feels right. I hope this in no way is read to invalidate, even a little bit, the use of days to measure time in the Wasteland, by everyone. I often feel conflicted in my own head canons. In the end, my choice that Citadel didn’t use days and the Vuvalini did is a reflection of my putting greater importance on Furiosa’s character than the world at large. I just love what that small difference in culture can say about Furiosa as a character and how she dealt with her time at Citadel.