Tuesday, February 6, 2024


In my first, and primary, post yesterday, we got into some cats toward the end and I mentioned a book I am currently reading to my son.  In the book, the main protagonist (once called Rusty, but now Firepaw) has joined ThunderClan.  I wrote how ThunderClan reminded me of Thundercats, a cartoon I watched as a kid.

Leo, who comments on this blog, also watched it, and he started off a comment with "Thundercats, Ho!"  This is the call that Lion-O gives as he sends a beacon into the sky from his sword and calls for all of the other Thundercats to gather.  For those who missed out on this great show, here is the intro video that has Lion-O's call:

Keep in mind this "Ho!" call.

The "Robin Hood" clip I posted last night of Lady Kluck playing football in her escape to the forest was still up this morning.  I played it again, and following that YouTube recommended the first part of the Xanadu finale, likely because I had searched for it, viewed it, and inserted it into my post "Needing new shoes to roller skate in Xanadu".

I was up for the spectacle, so I played that again as well.  Probably because I had just yesterday watched that Thundercats intro and was reminded of the "Thundercats, Ho!" call by Leo, I suddenly noticed that the call "Ho!" is also used in the Xanadu finale - quite extensively!  I am going to post the video again below, and then underneath call out the various spots I thought were interesting.

In the beginning of the clip, we have Gene Kelly's character Danny McGuire open things up.  He begins skating around, encouraging everyone to join him.  You hear him say "Everybody!  Come on!".  Starting at the 0:20 mark, he begins shouting "Ho! Ho! Ho!" like he is Santa Claus.  This is our first instance of "Ho!".

At about the 0:50 mark, Danny gives a big rising motion for skaters sitting on the sidelines to get up and join him, even saying "Up!"  He is leading a procession, basically, at this point.

Then, from about 1:25 to 3:25 (two full minutes!) it is people chanting one of two things:  "Xanadu!" and "Ho!"  I mean, it's kind of strange - there is just a lot of time and build up with everyone repeating these two words while skating around.  Of course, Olivia Newton-John finally makes her appearance, the chanting stops, and we get on to singing.

Because it is what I do lately, I thought there might be something Elvish to this word "Ho".  It turns out there is, and I think it fits in nicely with this symbolism of "Xanadu" being representative of Tirion-Valinor.

"Ho" in Elvish can mean:

"away, from, from among" and also "shout"

Actually, when I saw "shout", I was reminded that that people at Bountiful exclaimed "Hosanna!" after feeling Jesus' wounds, and so "Ho!" can also be short for Hosanna.

But, the "away, from, from among" really caught my attention.  In my story, people will be invited to leave this world and to be gathered to Holy Places, with Tirion being one of those places (as Jerusalem re-built) along with the New Jerusalem in Eressea.

Going back to Bountiful, Jesus says some things that I have mentioned in other posts but will quote again here because it is extremely relevant to our Xanadu discussion (who would think we'd ever be cross-referencing Xanadu and the Book of Mormon?).

In 3 Nephi 20, toward the end of that chapter, Jesus discusses the gathering of his people that will take place as Jerusalem will "be inhabited again with my [Jesus'] people, and it shall be the land of their inheritance".  This, and early words, seems to infer that Jerusalem-Tirion is vacant at the moment, or at least doesn't have anyone living there that Jesus would call his people.  

As part of this gathering, Jesus says how it will take place.  I am not going to quote the whole chapter or even all of the relevant parts, but will pick up where Jesus quotes the exact same words or scripture that Abinadi (Faramir) was interrogated by Noah's priest about and then references a cry to that will happen:

And then shall they say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!

And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.

For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward.

I've bolded the phrase above that I think is relevant to our "Ho!" phrase.  Above, the call that Jesus refers to (in quoting Isaiah, it seems) is to depart, to 'go ye out' from somewhere.  My guess, obviously, is that this place the invitation to depart from is our own world.  "Depart" in Etymonline gives us the definition for departing that is fairly straightforward in "go or move away, withdraw".

I mean, to me I think based on this wording you could substitute "Ho!" for the call above, and we would have the same thing.  People would hear "Ho!" and they would understand it in the same way as written in 3 Nephi 20 if they understood it as an Elvish call.

In other words, what I think these crazy people roller skating around in Xanadu are doing is replicating the call that Jesus is talking about to those at Bountiful.  They are to "Ho!"  And where do they "Ho!" to?  Xanadu!

Interestingly, Xanadu can also be broken down into Elvish components that make sense, particularly given my story here of two primary Holy Places.

"Xan" is similar to "Axan", and I don't think a stretch to say that it could be a variant of that word or root.  Axan means "law, rule, commandment".  

"Adu" means double, as in two.

I am going to join those together meaning something like "The two [places] of law and rule".

Isaiah is quoted by Nephi in 2 Nephi 12, where he mentions Zion and Jerusalem as two distinct places and that the 'law' will come from Zion, and the 'word of the lord' will come from Jerusalem:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

As I wrote a while back in my post, A different take on the "Mountain of the Lord's House" (and I think in a few other places - this particular post was a bit dated on some of my views, particularly as I hadn't yet thought through the notion of two Holy Places and where they were), my interpretation of "the mountain of the Lord's house' being once again at the top of all other mountains is the reuniting of all of Earth's worlds and lands, such as Aman-Valinor, Eressea, Numenor, etc., with Aman-Valinor at the 'top'.

It is in that land of Aman where both Jerusalem and New Jerusalem are to be rebuilt and built, respectively, and the same places people will gather 'up' to. The Holy Places.

So, back to Xanadu, I think the name itself supports this notion of two places from which law, rule, and commandment come from.  Thus, with the chanting of those people as the roller skate around, they are repeating the call or cry to gather out and go to Holy Places - Jerusalem  and New Jerusalem.

The really crazy thing is that I don't think it is much of either a linguistic or thematic leap to see all of that in both the name of Xanadu or what is going on with the video clip (including the "Ho!" calls), once you get past some of the strangeness of the scene. 

Going even back to Thundercats, Lion-O is using "Ho!" in a way that isn't far off the Elvish definition, or in terms of how I think the story goes in some fashion.   A beacon is set in the sky, a call of "Ho!" is given, and the Thundercats come.  Also seems to fit in a general, broad strokes kind of way.

And I won't get into Santa Claus here (who Gene Kelly was personifying in his Xanadu opening) because I want to put a wrap on this, but that is another interesting avenue to think through.  Maybe we view his own "Ho! Ho! Ho!" in a slightly different way, and perhaps Gene's character even gives us some clues as to the identity of that Being (I mean the real Santa Claus, of course).


  1. I remember "ho now" and "what ho" being fairly common in older English. Did a search on Google Books and found a book from the 1850s titled "Westward Ho!"

  2. jason:

    Given the title and time period of the book, I was expecting it to be based on pioneers and their westward trek across the US (I was picturing a western novel with covered wagons, basically). So I was pretty surprised to see, when I looked it up just now, that it actually starts off in England, and involves rather the westward sailing of ships across the Atlantic to the New World back in the 1500s!

    Anyway, ships sailing west across the sea off to explore a New World fits pretty well here, obviously.

    I guess there is even a real town in England that is named "Westward Ho!", established about 10 years after the book's publication and meant to draw in tourists based on the book's popularity.