A leaf on the wind (pelennor_fields) wrote in fireflyfans,
A leaf on the wind

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Book's role

I've been running over this in my head, and I think it'd be interesting to hear what others think.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what Book's role on the ship was? I don't mean in a moral-compass-voice-of-reason sense, I mean in a day-to day sense. Obviously, he boards on Persephone as a passenger in "Serenity", then again refers to himself as being a paying passenger in "The Train Job". But he's then referred to as the crew's chaplain in "Bushwacked". As far as we see, there's nothing to denote this other than the fact that he's a shepherd and was on the ship, but both he and Mal could have simply stated that he was a passenger. While the word "chaplain" implies that it is, in fact, Book's position on the crew, the fact that he abstains from arguing the phrasing says a bit more. We see him helping out with manual labor a few times, but that doesn't mean anything- helping your roomate bring in the groceries doesn't make you a bagboy, after all. And when we get to Serenity, Mal specifically states that he listened to and relied upon Book's counsel, and when Book dies does name him as a member of the crew. I know it's a very emotional moment and Mal is speaking with affection, but again it presents the implication that Book had a role on the ship apart from "passenger". And even if Book was indeed just a passenger, how did he keep paying room and board, and why would the ship wait for him when he was off visiting abbeys on other worlds like in "Ariel"? Does this mean, in anyone else's mind, that Mal broke down and allowed Book to stay on as the ship's official chaplain for Jayne (the only character I can recall seeing praying with Book) and anyone else who wanted one?
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