Last year’s Interstellar was an eagerly-awaited movie among casual viewers and movie enthusiasts. Even though Interstellar wasn’t as impressive as Nolan’s previous movies, or as my friends say, lacked the “WOW” factor, it was an inspiring work of science fiction that managed to explain some big questions through established scientific theories. It’s not an odd thing to have inspirations from myths that are famous around the world. Recently, I’ve been reading the Irish mythology of Bran, and couldn’t help but noticed the similarities between the events of Bran’s story and Interstellar. Bran’s journey is a popular one, considering it deals with the idea of searching other worlds. It is possible that Nolan had drawn inspiration from it during his thought process and even if it is not, it’s quite interesting to search through the connections of these two works of fiction…
Voyage of Bran
For those who are not familiar with Bran’s story, here is a synopsis:
Bran Mac Febail embarks on a journey upon the visions he had conceived one day. He was promised a land where there is always summer and has an undying source of food and water, by a strange woman. The next day, he gathers a band of men, and begins his journey.
He meets a man, riding a chariot over the ocean, who claimed that he was riding his chariot over a flower plain. Then, they visit the island of joy, where everyone laughs without much of a reason. One of his crew member lands on the island, and he bursts out laughing. Bran and company continue their journey without him.
They reach the land of women afterwards, where they spend a year with the women. After a year, they decide to return home. The leader of the women warns them not to go back and instead continue their journey. If they are reluctant to do so, she advises them to retrieve their friend from land of joy, and when they reach home, never to step foot on the land. With that in mind, Bran sets off for Ireland.
Bran retrieves the man from land of joy and returns to Ireland, only to see that the port has changed a lot. He inquires to the people at the port about his family. A man replies to him that he had heard of a man named Bran who set off on a journey years ago. Amidst these arguments, one man from Bran’s crew, out of impatience, jumps from the ship. The moment he set his foot on the sand, he was incinerated and turned into a pile of ash, like he had died a long time ago. Bran realizes that a year on women’s island is equivalent to 100 years back home. So, without making any more mistakes, Bran informs the people on the shore of his identity and their story. Then he returns back to the sea, searching for the other worlds…
Cooper vs. Bran
Most of have seen Interstellar, and with the outline of Bran’s voyage, it’s easy to draw the connections:
- According to Irish mythology, when this world comes to an end, humans will travel to a different one, which is the basic plot of Interstellar.
- Bran had visions of a promised land, while Cooper is given directions through Murph’s Morse code and binary data.
- Bran begins his voyage in a ship, while Cooper begins his on a spaceship (obviously)
- Bran visits different islands, or worlds, so does Cooper
- Bran returns home, only to find his world had changed and the same thing happens to Cooper
- Bran continues his journey to the promised world in the end, so does Cooper