MovieChat Forums > The River (1984) Discussion > Was Gibson's Character Stupid?

Was Gibson's Character Stupid?

I would say Mel Gibson's character was stupid in this movie because he acted out of his own pride rather than what was in his family's best interest. Because your people are burried somewhere is no reason to stay. If it were, nobody would ever relocate. If he owed more on the farm than it was worth, why not take the offer to sell out, start over, and in the process, do what was best for the community.

His decision to stay was just this pigheaded pride because Scott Glen's character was his wife's previous lover. He might have sold to anybody else. Glen was right; some day there would be too much rain or too much corn. Gibson's Hollywood victory at the end was to be realistic, just temporary. Eventually, he would have lost out to Glen.


pig-headed? maybe not... please just read the following.

Paganism: The Ancient Democracy

The ancient Scandinavian society was made up of houses (id est kins, families), tribes and nations. The latter was defined as a "greater tribe" and was made up of a union of lesser tribes. The lesser tribes were each and all made up of a union of houses. The foundation of the ancient society was common ancestry, so the individual was loyal first and foremost to his house, then to his tribe and finally to the greater tribe. The stronger the blood-ties were the stronger his loyalty was.

The men were always considered to be forever tied to their house (and thus tribe and greater tribe), but the women could become part of another house, through marriage with a man from another house. For that reason, when it became normal to use surnames (in late Antiquity), the women always inherited their husbands' surname when they married, because the wife joined her husband's house and not the other way could never become a part of another house; not even if he was enthralled by members of another house, because thralls were not considered to be a apart of the house. Thralls were merely property, just like the livestock2. If a thrall ran away he would become an outlaw without any rights.

The thralls in ancient Scandinavia made up about 10% of the entire population, and the rest fell into two categories; they were either nobles or free men. The definition of a noble was "a free man with an óðal (allodial) property", and that was basically all that made them different from other free men. The Scandinavian3 word for noble, adelig, even derives from the word óðal. Scandinavian adelig (noble) is basically the same as "óðal-ish" or "óðal-y" and adelskap (nobility) is basically "óðal-ity".

Today you only need to run a farm in Norway for 20 years before you can claim it as an óðal property4, but in the Pagan past the house (kin/family) needed to own and run a farm for several generations before they could do so. A married member of the family had to be born, marry, live and when he died be buried on the property (north of the farmhouse) and be reborn (as a new member of the house) before the property became an óðal property. The reason for this was that in order to become noble the free man needed to be elevated to the divine, to learn the ásamál ("language of the gods") and basically become a god or goddess. The house's grave mound, located to the north of the farm5, was a portal to the realm of the gods, and until this portal was "unlocked" and "opened" there existed no mystical link between Heaven and Earth on the property. If no such link existed the gods and goddesses could normally not take part in the lives of the living, and if the gods couldn't do so the living could not be elevated to the divine.

In the Scandinavian language the husband is amongst other things called ektemann ("true man") and in the past the wife was also called ektekone ("true woman"). That is because unmarried noblemen were not seen as complete ("true") human beings. Even the noble man was not complete until he was united with a noble woman in marriage, and vice versa. The marriage was an initiation ritual elevating man to the divine, changing her into Freyja and him into Freyr (and we know this mystery best from the fairy tale about Cinderella). We therefore still call fine, rich and upper-class wives in Scandinavia by the name Fruer (sg. Frue), and in Germany by the name Frauen (sg. Frau). Today both Frue and Frau means only "wife", but these titles derive from the name of Freyja (proto-Norse FraujaR, proto-Germanic Fraujaz). This was a title used on the women who had been elevated to the divine! These women had become Freyja on Earth.

So the Pagan wedding ritual was an initiation ritual that elevated them and made them divine, but this was obviously only possible if the house (kin/family) they married into was noble (id est lived on a property with an unlocked and open gateway to the gods). The men and women on Earth needed access to Ásgarðr (a.k.a. Troja/Troy) in order to be elevated and become divine.

When we know this it becomes clear to us why the Scandinavian noblemen were called díar ("gods") if male and dísir ("goddesses") if female, and how the god could take his goddess, Freyja on Earth, to the fields and have her bless the crops, as is described in the records of history.

With all of this in mind, it should be fairly easy to understand why only the married men of the noble houses were allowed to veto, vote and speak at the ancient þing ("parliament", "thing"). Only the noblemen were influenced by the divine forces, and only the married noblemen were themselves elevated to the divine. Only they were gods6, so naturally only they were allowed to influence the course of the nation. Only they were truly good human beings.

there's more on this around, but maybe this has something to do with the underlying theme of the story??



Now, the Greeks called this system democracy, id est "the rule of the people", and we can always argue that not everybody had the right to vote in ancient Scandinavia, and therefore it was not a true democracy. However, not everybody in the modern so-called democracies are allowed to vote either, but we still call them democracies. Today you need to be 18 years old, and everybody younger than that is left out. The individuals younger than 18 are not allowed to vote because we believe that they are too young, too inexperienced, too irresponsible, too easily manipulated and basically too stupid and ignorant to know what is best for our nations. They are simply unfit to vote. In the Pagan past they believed that those who had not been elevated to the divine were unfit to vote, but apart from that the system is identical; in either system only a portion of the people is allowed to vote.

What makes the modern democracy so despicable is first and foremost the fact that today anybody can vote, regardless of their loyalties, origin, lawfulness, intellectual capacity, health and general demeanour, as long as they are at least 18 years old. There are no quality tests. [[[ OPINION OF ORIGINAL ARTICLE WRITER, AND NOT GIVEN TO FACT{ Even morally bankrupt drug dealers, serial rapists, incurable pedophiles, vile sadists, disgusting homosexuals, sharebrokers and all the other degenerates and criminals of our societies are allowed to vote! Muslims, Jews, Freemasons and Christians, who all hate Europe and see us, our European nations and cultures as inferior and primitive, are allowed to vote! Utterly simple-minded individuals, who barely know what culture is, are allowed to vote! } END ]]] Even aliens who didn't even care enough for their own nations to stay home are allowed to vote! All that these individuals need in order to influence the course of our nations is to be at least 18 years old.

The ancient democracy is very different, because in this system only those who have a close and intimate relationship to the country they live in have the right to vote. Only those who have something to lose if things go wrong are allowed to vote. Only those who are connected to the nation by blood are allowed to vote. Only the noble, good and enlightened sons of our nations were allowed to vote in the ancient democracies.

Now, I already hear some women whining about the fact that only the noble men were allowed to vote, but I will remind you of the fact that the husband and wife was seen as one. They were a unit. The wife was expected to influence her husband, give him advice and help him make the right choices, just like Frigg and Saga does repeatedly in relation to Óðinn in the myths. Remember that if the man was unmarried he was not allowed to vote in the first place. Unmarried noblemen were not only seen as too irresponsible and immature to be allowed to vote, but they didn't have a wise Freyja by their side to give them advice either, and therefore they weren't allowed to vote. The husband represented his family, and voted on behalf of both himself and his wife. They were one vote, and were represented at the þing by him. "One family, one vote". No wife, no vote.

Unlike in the rest of the Pagan society there was no democracy in the house (kin/family) itself, because we all know that you cannot give the children in a family the right to veto, vote and have a say in what the family should do. When they are older and wiser they can give advice, but the head of the family has to be in charge.

Democracy works only if only the married noblemen are allowed to veto and vote, like in the ancient democracy. If others are allowed to have a say too it will be nothing more than a despicable ochlocracy ("the rule of the mob"), like the so-called democracies of today.


I kind of agree with you, wmwithrow. He did seem stubborn and just hanging onto the land for sentimental reasons and not practical ones. As long as the offer was really good, he should have sold out but you would be surprised at the number of people that live like that.

They just won't leave their property no matter how much money their offered. For example.... right now Donald Trump is building a golf course and some guy's property is in the way of building it. Trump has offered the guy loads of money to sell but the guy just won't do it. This is actually a true story... some people are just wierd like this.


For some people, ancestral connection and love of where they live is worth more than money. You can't rebuy that. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. He loved that land with his heart and soul. It was where he belonged. It isn't easy to give up the one place on Earth you feel you most belong. For him, cash wasn't enough of a motivator to sell his heart and soul. This wasn't real estate to him. It was his home. There is a huge difference between the two.


MY land. Not yours; not for sale.



Well, yes. That was true; however, look at the larger issues. He was upside down in his mortgage. Glenn's character would have offered him several times what the place was worth, allowing Gibson's character to start over with a lot of cash in his pocket. But he can't take it because his people are burried there? More importantly, he can't take it from this guy because his wife had a relationship with Glenn's character before marrying him.

Gibson makes it THIS year in a sort of tacked on Hollywood ending. But Glenn was right: Someday there would be too much corn or too much rain and he would just wait. Time was on his side. Did Gibson's character make the best long-term decision for his family?


Selling off land for quick cash is a bad idea in the long run. They're not making any more land, and Glenn's character wanted to put VALUABLE FARMLAND UNDER WATER FOREVER IN ORDER TO MAKE ELECTRICITY (and simple profit).

Also, the US farmer in the 70s-80s was screwed over by banks and his own government because of such offers of 'quick cash'.

Gibson's character is representative, as is Glenn's. There are far larger issues about American farming--the growing of FOOD--than simple get-rich-quick schemes. Those schemes, yes, fail everyone in the long run.

Gibson's character saw the past, present, and future, and took a stand against bad progress and what I like to call 'bad improvements', so common in our modern, gutless, and cynical age.


"however, look at the larger issues."

You have your issues mixed up. I can see you'd be bought off easily by the promise of cash, and happy to see thousands of acres of FARM LAND, land that produces FOOD, under water so that you could make some quick cash.

What's sad is that people like you may take over to the ruin of us all.


Gibson makes it THIS year in a sort of tacked on Hollywood ending. But Glenn was right: Someday there would be too much corn or too much rain and he would just wait. Time was on his side. Did Gibson's character make the best long-term decision for his family? Or, did he just do what felt right to his ego? Would his decision have been different if it had not been for Glenn's prior relationship with his wife?

Is this the best long-term business decision for his family? Or, was it an emotional, non-business decision?


It's obvious that you have never had land to love or a deep heritage. So sad for you.


But Glenn's character was right. Someday there would be too much rain or too much corn and he could afford to wait. Prudent financial decisions and capital allocation are a heritage in and of themselves. The hydroelectric power was a better value than Gibson's farm. Any cash flow analysis projection would have proven that. Consistent year after year profits for the utility and the net present value of the money Gibson would have received would have both been greater than long-term cash flows from his farm.


Stupid and stubborn.


Yes, you are. Selling the property would have been the long-term, prudent financial move for his family. Like Glenn's character said, there would be too much corn or too much rain at some point and he could wait. Gibson's short-term success did not a long-term strategy make.


I was referring to Gibson's character, not you. Get a clue.


Selling was NOT in his best interests. The guy at the bank said Gibson owed them more than the farm was worth. That means if he sold, he would be left with nothing.