(urth) Honor

transentient transentient at gmail.com
Thu Nov 24 08:44:12 PST 2005

On Nov 24 2005, at 3:05 AM, Roy C. Lackey wrote:
> After the ship sailed, it was attacked. He acquitted himself well  
> against
> the attackers (self-preservation is a great motivator) and was  
> wounded. The
> captain took back command of his ship. When Able was well enough  
> he, along
> with his magic hound, attempted to take control of the ship again by
> intimidating the captain. When the captain dared to resist, he was  
> killed
> and his body thrown overboard. Able cleaned up the crime scene and  
> appointed
> the mate as the new captain, thus ensuring the new captain's future
> cooperation. Able had no authority to do any such thing. His  
> treatment of
> the captain was entirely self-serving, criminal, unknightly and
> dishonorable.
> Surely a man deserves at least as much consideration as a horse. Would
> anyone care to defend Able's treatment of the captain?
> -Roy

True, he essentially murdered the captain and stole his boat. Someone  
could probably argue that the line was still blurry there, that the  
captain could have gotten out of it with his life and his ship, or  
that the environment Able stepped into when he first set foot onboard  
the _Western Trader_ was suitably cutthroat that if he had not taken  
such measures to demand respect immediately, he would have been taken  
advantage of and possibly killed himself. I don't think so myself,  
but i do think the idea is that Able's aspirations towards Knighthood  
would have never gotten started if he hadn't conducted himself in  
such a manner. If you despise this idea you are well entitled to.

What I think is the main thing is that Able was not yet a knight at  
all - this was early in his development and he still had lots to  
learn. I find that to be an interesting take on the heroic paradigm.  
Instead of a hero who grows in power and wisdom while having an  
unshakable moral center from inception to apotheosis, which I think  
of as fairly typical in fantasy (anybody reading David Zindell's  
books? Danlo / Valashu comes to mind), Able has no moral center at  
the beginning of the story, or through most of the first book. I  
think when you are assesing Able's character you really have to take  
into account whether you are looking at him pre- or post-Skai.

He also kind of reminds of Cu Chullain, who was a nasty individual  
who did great things for small reasons.

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