(urth) Honor

Michael Straight mfstraight at gmail.com
Thu Nov 24 14:33:58 PST 2005

On 11/24/05, Roy C. Lackey <rclackey at stic.net> wrote:
> Would
> anyone care to defend Able's treatment of the captain?

In the first part of the first book, there is a lot of stuff Able does
that I think is morally wrong and do not defend.  But I think much of
it makes sense for the character, and I so I don't see these episodes
as a failing of the book.

1.  The way Able treats Touk and his family right after he gets
embiggened.  He acts here in ways that our society would consider
bullying.  From Able's point of view this is at most a day or two
after he was there with Ravd, who was pretty harsh in interrogating
the villagers.  So it's quite possible he's trying to act like he
thought Ravd was acting.  Also, he's what, 14 years old?  I have no
trouble believing a 14-yr-old who was suddenly as strong as Able would
behave like a jerk and a bully, especially at first.

2.  Able's treatment of the captain.  Able is a 14(?) yr old boy and a
modern American.   Living with the poor in the countryside would be
pretty rough for a kid like that - dirty, uncomfortable, etc.  But the
conditions on a sailing ship would be far worse.  The captain's cabin
was probably the only place on the ship that seemed at all habitable
to Able.

That doesn't excuse the way he started making unreasonable demands. 
But again, I think at this point he's trying to get people to accept
him as a knight by acting like one -- except at this point his main
idea of a knight is a big strong guy who lords it over peasants.   And
I think things escalated out of Able's control, to the point where he
thought he had to kill the Captain or be killed.    I think he was
wrong, that he should have found a different way to resolve the
situation.  But I thought the characterization made sense and made for
interesting reading.

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