The Dying of the Light – Heroes season 3

October 21, 2008

The poetic references in Heroes abound.  A few weeks ago I talked about Mohinder reciting a William Butler Yeats poem.  Now in tonights episode we get another poetic reference.  The episodes title, just as we see the prone yet powerful figure laying in his bed (no names, it’s a spoiler!) is “The Dying of the Light”.

This is a reference to possibly the most famous work of Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) which is about the passing of his father.  The form of the poem is that of a vilanelle an originally French style that was adopted into the English language sometime in the 1800s.

It’s structure is particularly complex.  It has six verses.  The first five have three lines and the last four.  The first line of the first verse becomes the last line of verses two and four and the third line of verse six.  Also the last line of the first verse becomes the last line of verses three five and six.  Phew!

All that said this is the complete poem:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I would imagine you almost certainly recognise at least parts of the poem.  It’s very famous, and probably one of the few poems I could almost recite from memory.

One of the things I love about Heroes (which is getting fewer all the time) are these little literary references that appear time and again in many episodes.  It adds that little bit of extra depth to the show.


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  1. It’s going to be interesting to see how Arthur’s power pans out and who is going to be left to oppose him.


    I thought the promo last week said (or maybe I read it somewhere) that we were going to learn why Claire was special this episode. But all we saw her healing power again. Did I miss something?

    And how exactly did Daphne race into Level 5? Don’t they have security, scans, locks?

  2. Some interesting questions there. I don’t remember them saying that about Claire, but it could just have been marketing stuff in the trailer. I thought her time had passed slightly since the whole ‘Save the Cheerleader Save the World’ thing.

    As for how she got to level 5- your guess is as good as mine!


  3. I said this when watching Heroes this week in the UK. As much as I like some of the characters and the actors, they’re now serving the actors instead of the story. Which is pointless. Not going to include spoilers, but two main characters should be dead now, because their story arc was done. No matter how popular they were, it was over, they’d done the journey. This new stuff is just weird, or a completely different character with the same actor! Mad. New people please. Still liking it, but I want more new faces with new stories, not everything has to be one story.

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