What Am I?
Welcome to Forget Me Not, a small personal dedication to "Starbuck" Kara Thrace from the hit television series Battlestar Galactica. Starbuck is a character that I really didn't care for when I first started watching the series, but as the show went on, especially in the last season, I began to really appreciate her. She became one of my favorite characters from any show on TV. This isn't a huge shrine to every aspect of her character. Through this tribute I analyzed the parts of Starbuck I found most appealing. I wanted to write about what made me start liking her so that maybe others could appreciate her too. Having said that, this page is intended for people who have seen the Battlestar Galactica series and is full of spoilers for all four seasons, so read with caution if you are new to the show. I hope you enjoy the read.
Forget Me Not is the approved fanlisting for Kara Thrace at The Fanlistings Network. It currently lists 5 fans from 3 countries (0 pending).
A fanlisting is essentially what it sounds like: a growing list of fans. Starbuck is an amazing character, and I aim to list fans for her from all over the world. You do not have to have a website to join. If you have an appreciation for this dynamic character, explore the link below and get added to the list of fans.
Join - Get added to the list.
Codes - For those joining with a website.
Listed - Starbuck fans from all over the world.
The fanlisting was last updated on March 29, 2017.
Personality & Past
Kara is very rough around the edges to say the least. She's a hard-ass, she goes after what she wants, and she doesn't put up with any crap. At first I was turned away by those characteristics as I felt she was just really obnoxious. Who would know that her rough exterior was actually a defense mechanism? I draw that conclusion, anyway.
Kara had a rough childhood. Her father left her and her mother when she was young, and her mother physically abused Kara growing up. There is a flashback of her mother slamming Kara's fingers in by a door. One could probably break down from such abuse, but I think it made Kara stronger. I think she's so hard on the outside because she doesn't want to get hurt anymore. Kara doesn't have the heart of stone she would like people to think she does. At several points in the series we get to see Kara's softer side with people like Admiral Adama, Sam, Lee, and Kat. In varying levels, they are able to bring out the real Kara, and it's when she's like that that we see her really happy.
I think Kara's past has other affects on her personality, too. Kara was never good enough for her mother. Even surpassing her mother's career and becoming an officer in the Colonial Forces, Kara never got the satisfaction of her mother being proud of her. I think it pushed Kara. Because she never felt good enough, Kara put a hundred and ten percent into everything she did, and was hardly satisfied otherwise. It also made her stubborn, never wanting to give up until she got everything she sought for.
Kara has a connection with piano music, and it's largely due to her father who was a pianist. Not much is revealed about Kara's early life with him, but they were apparently close enough where Kara finds solace in music when she's down. Music is often the switch to Kara's flashbacks, and oddly enough, music plays a huge role in Kara's destiny.
A Place to Belong
Being a Lieutenant in the military was arguably the most important thing in Kara's life. She loved her job, she was very good at it, and she took it very seriously. I think many things attributed to her dedication to Battlestar Galactica - a sense of duty, a love of flying, and a hatred for the Cylons to name a few – but I think the biggest reason she was so dedicated was because the military gave her a place to belong.
After a terrible childhood, she found somewhere she was finally accepted. A natural in the cockpit, Kara quickly became one of the best pilots in the Colonial Fleet and earned the respect of her superiors. She eventually became a Flight Instructor, and fell in love with one of her students – Zak Adama. Zak didn't have the touch he needed to fly vipers, but because Kara was in love with him (They were engaged.) and she knew how important becoming a pilot was to Zak, she passed him in Basic Flight even though he wasn't ready. Zak died on his first viper mission, an event that would cause Kara guilt for years. Zak's death brought his father, (Bill) Adama, and brother, Lee, into her life, however, who both treated her like family. Kara eventually transferred to the Battlestar Galactica where Adama watched over her. For the first time in her life, Kara had a family.
Kara grows extremely close with both Lee and Adama. Lee and Kara are best friends and lovers. Adama is a father to Kara. This is evidenced by him continually going out on a limb to defend Kara to Colonal Tigh. It's also evidenced by the complete trust he has in Kara. Adama gets Kara to do his most important jobs because he has complete faith in her.
Kara eventually confesses what she did to Zak to both Adama and Lee. They grow angry at her, but aren't able to stay that way. When Kara is pulled into a moon and declared missing in action, Adama and Lee put everything they have into finding her, even leaving the fleet open for attack while doing so. Kara doesn't just need the Adamas; they need her too. I think she realizes this, as she cried in the sick bay after returning to the fleet and seeing how happy the Adamas were about having her back.
Home, Sweet Home
Near the end of the first season, President Roslin sends Kara to Caprica in search of the Arrow of Apollo, which would show them the way to Earth. On Caprica, we get to see Kara's old home, a run-down apartment overlooking a parking lot. Her apartment reveals a lot about her life, and about Kara as a person.
The apartment was located in Delphi, a city in Caprica surrounded by a rain forest and mountains. It was home to a large space port and military base. Kara's apartment was a studio. It had no AC and had faulty heating. It was also a complete mess. Kara didn't care about her apartment.
I feel like Kara's apartment was just a place for her to stay. Her home and her life was at the military base, and when she was away from that, I think her home might have been with Zak. She didn't put any effort into trying to make her place look nice or presentable for others, keeping only the things she needed to live.
Kara painted a lot. Her paintings were littered throughout the apartment and covered the walls. Kara was a true artist, and I think she might have vented her frustrations, her passion, and her feelings out through her art.
To the left of one of Kara's paintings, a painting of the Mandala, which would hold special significance to Kara in later episodes, is a poem:
Methodically smoking my cigarette
Every breath I breathe out the day
With every delicious sip
I drink away the night
Stroking my hair to
The beat of his heart
Watching a boy turn into a man
What meaning could Kara's poem hold? It's a pretty simple poem, but I think it's significant to Kara and shines light on her life before the Cylon attack. We can't know who the poem was written for, but I like to think it was for her fiance, Zak Adama. With that in mind, my interpretation of the poem is this: Kara loved Zak, and he was her life. She went through the motions of every day and lived life, but he was what was important to her. He was her life.
Returning back to her apartment, Kara collected an old jacket, a box of cigars, and keys to her Humvee, which she used to escape Delphi. I think it says a lot that there wasn't much in her apartment that Kara wished to keep.
Hear My Prayer
Although she hides it well, Kara is actually deeply religious. She prays to the gods of Kobol, particularly Artemis and Aphrodite, in times of desperation. Why those two gods, and why at all?
I think it makes a lot of sense that Kara prays to Artemis and Aphrodite. In Greek Mythology, Artemis was the goddess of the wild and of hunt. Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and love. I think the two represent two sides of Kara that make up her being. Although she is tough and a warrior, Kara is a beautiful person deep down, who cares about people. It's easy to see why Kara might feel like she needed either of the two goddesses.
Bill and Lee Adama, who Kara looks up to and considers family, are very sound, realistic thinkers. They don't make plans grounded by religion, and have a tough time backing up President Roslin's plans and desires when she has nothing more to go on than feelings inspired by her religion. Although Lee supports the President, his reason for doing so is because he believes in government. It makes sense that Kara would not outwardly share her religious beliefs.
They are there, however. She prays to the Lords of Kolbol in desperate times of her life: when she thinks Lee is dead, when she's stranded on a moon, and when she was in Cylon captivity.
Although she believes in the scriptures, Kara is just as shocked as everyone else when the scriptures start playing out in Season One and Two. Near the end of the series is when Kara really puts her faith in the scriptures, and her destiny starts playing out.
Her Destiny Begins
Kara's character is one heavily controlled and influenced by destiny. Kara often goes with her gut feeling rather than rational thought, and acts on instinct. She feels like her destiny has already been written, and that there's nothing she can do about it. Even still, she has constant inner battles with what she is and what she is meant to do.
Kara is told she has a destiny by Leoben in the very first season. Since that episode, destiny is a very important element in Kara's story. She finds that almost everything means something, and that many things in her life that just were to Kara are actually pieces of a large puzzle.
One of the first things Kara finds tied to her destiny is the Mandala. She finds that a pattern of circles she had always drawn as a child is actually the Eye of Jupiter. She sees the Mandala a couple more times after and is drawn to it. Chasing a Cylon Raider only she was able to see, she dove into the first Earth through a Mandala to her death. Right before she dies, she tells Apollo that she will see him on the other side and to just let her go. He witnesses her viper's explosion.
At first I thought Kara had lost it, but looking back on everything, I don't think Kara would have been able to lead the fleet to Earth had she not died. In Kara's life especially, everything happened for a reason.
Resurrection & Purpose
After two months go by and the fleet has mourned Kara's death, she reappears in the fleet in a viper in immaculate condition feeling like she was only gone for six hours. She exclaims that she has been to Earth, and that she is back to lead the fleet to it. This event is really the beginning of her destiny becoming fulfilled. She "feels" Earth, and loses more and more of the feeling as the fleet doesn't believe her and jumps away. Admiral Adama ends up trusting her enough to give her a small group and allows them to search for Earth. Even though she becomes unsuccessful on the mission, Kara knows that leading her people to Earth is her life's purpose.
Along the way, Kara becomes hugely responsible for bringing the group of Cylons the fleet ends up aligning with into the fleet. Through them, she encounters their hybrid who tells her that she is the Harbinger of Death. She learns that she is destined to lead her people to salvation and destruction. It's then that Kara starts to really wonder what she is, and what it all means. She even finds her dead body on the first Earth.
You are the Harbinger of Death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their End. End of line.
The hybrid was right. The first Earth is found through Kara's raptor that she brought back, and the second is found by Kara inputting jump coordinates. She used numbers for notes of a song that Kara and her father used to play when she was younger, the same song that happened to “switch” the Final Five into knowing they were Cylons.
It's weird how it played out, because when I first learned that Kara was the Harbinger of Death that would lead her people to their end, I imagined that she'd end up wiping out the human species somehow. It ended up being a lot more literal, though. Kara ended up leading her race to their technological end, and ending the way they lived life. They started life on Earth much simpler, without their technology, and without war.
Lee Adama - Kara and Lee are obviously attracted to one another, and they obviously care about each other. They don't let anything get between them. Kara and Lee were drawn to each other even when Kara was with Lee's brother Zak, and even after they both married different people. Putting their romantic relationship aside, though, I think Kara and Lee care about each other on a much deeper level. They are best friends, and no matter how mad one makes the other, they always find a way to fix their friendship.
Bill Adama - Kara looks to Admiral Adama as a father figure. In the first season, Kara felt heavy guilt around Admiral Adama. She had a romantic relationship with his son Zak who died in a flying accident. Kara was Zak's flight instructor and passed Zak for basic flying because of their romantic relationship even though she knew he wasn't ready. Kara blamed herself for Zak's death for the longest time. The Admiral and Kara had a falling out due to this, but after Kara got lost on a mission, the Admiral realized how important Kara was to him. Since then, Admiral Adama treated Kara like his own daughter. I think Adama is one of the few people who actually get Kara, and she is one of the only people with his complete trust and support.
Leoben Canoy - It's said in the show that Leoben knows Kara better than she knows herself. He sees that she has a destiny, and he thinks it's his destiny to help Kara reach hers. Leoben sort of becomes the face of Kara's destiny as she has nightmares and visions with Leoben that somehow connect her past to her future. It's never really explained how Leoben knew Kara was special, but the two were connected from the very first season. It's fun to watch their relationship go from hatred and mind games, where Kara was killing Leoben over and over and Leoben was deceiving Kara, to a sort of mutual respect.
Sam Anders - As Kara's husband, Sam sort of has an on and off relationship with Kara. Even though she pushes him away, Kara obviously loves Sam. She told him once that if she found out he was a Cylon, she would kill him. Oddly enough, though, Kara is one of the only people to stick by Sam's side after he realizes he's one of the Final Five. Regardless of how Kara treats him, Sam is always there for her, and I think Kara realizes that. One of Kara's softest and most real moments on the show is when she is saying goodbye to Sam. It was beautiful and it was sad.
In the very last episode of the series, there's a flashback to the night Kara met Lee. The two start talking about fear, and I think in just that couple minutes of dialogue, Kara's entire character is explained. That scene is the reason this page even exists, because it's that scene that made me appreciate Kara.
Lee: You're tempting fate.
Kara: If I have a fate then it is set and thinkin about it isn't gonna make it happen any faster.
Lee: Flying when you're thinking about dying isn't a great way of doing business. You're gonna get scared, you're gonna start second guessing yourself.
Kara: I'm not scared
Lee: But you said you think about dying every time you get into a cockpit.
Kara: Uh huh.
Lee: Well, hello...
Kara: It doesn't scare me, Lee. That's what you don't get.
Lee: What, so it's Kara Thrace: fearless warrior, right?
Kara: No. I know fear. And I get scared. Just not in that way.
Lee: So what does scare you?
Kara: ...Being forgotten.
Kara has been through so much in her life and has lost so much. She doesn't long to be thanked or recognized for her actions; she simply wants to have made enough impact in someone's life to be remembered.
After the second Earth is found and Lee and Kara are on its surface, I think Kara realizes that her destiny has been fulfilled. She says a final goodbye to Lee and tells him that she will not be coming back. She then disappears into thin air. Lee gets to live and enjoy Earth because of Kara, someone I think he actually wanted to share his life on Earth with. While he can't, I know to Lee, Kara won't be forgotten.
In Battlestar Galactica, the Original Series, Starbuck was the call sign of a man. I never watched that show, but I found the uproar that occurred when it was first announced that Starbuck would be a woman in the reimagined series interesting, and have done a great deal of reading on it. Dirk Benedict, the actor that played the original Starbuck, was actually one of the stronger voices against casting Starbuck as a woman.
The original Starbuck played by Benedict and the reimagined one that was Kara Thrace share a lot of personality traits. The original Starbuck was an arrogant, smart-aleck, womanizing, viper pilot known for his skill in the cockpit. If you change the sex of womanizing, you pretty much have Kara in the first two seasons. The original Starbuck even drank and smoked cigars like Kara.
Katee Sachoff, who was chosen to play Starbuck, went into the miniseries expecting to be hated. In her acting, she gave the character so much depth, however, that she not only quieted many of the Original Series' fans who were against her being cast as Starbuck, but made Starbuck one of the most interesting and beloved characters on TV. She was nominated for multiple awards, and won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television in 2005.
Sachoff was relatively unknown before she was cast as Starbuck, and Starbuck remains the role she is most known for, but her career has soared since Battlestar Galactica. Her most notable roles since Battlestar Galactica include Dana Walsh in 24 and Vic Moretti in Longmire. Sachoff remains one of my favorite actresses.
Tribute & Credits
This site was actually a spur of the moment thing. Like I said at the beginning of this page, Kara wasn't a character I liked a whole lot at first. In fact, she was just sort of there for me throughout most of the series. She began to become really interesting near the end of season 4, though, especially in the very last episode. It's there where I truly appreciated Kara, and everything in her character just kind of fell in place for me. I like Kara a lot now, and I kind of wanted to explore the areas of her character I like best. I hope you found it interesting.
Some legal information: Forget Me Not was created and is maintained by me, Todd, and is part of Nightbringer.net. This shrine was made for fun and is entirely non-profit. Sadly, I don't own Starbuck or Battlestar Galactica. They are property of SciFi. Please don't sue me. I'm just a fan with too much time on his hands.
And if you run a Battlestar Galactica tribute and would like to exchange links or affiliate, you can contact me through e-mail. My affiliates and related sites are linked below. Check out my Eight shrine's links page for more BSG sites.