(urth) Honor

Chris rasputin_ at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 27 02:28:18 PST 2005

Roy said:
>Note that Able said that he wouldn't wait because he was determined to
>implement the more common perversion of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others
>before they do unto you."

I can see why you'd think this, but on the other hand if that was his 
intention it's hard to explain why he goes so far out of his way to warn the 
captain off from fighting him. It would have been prudent, in that case, to 
let the dog stay hidden - he would still be able to claim "self defense" 
afterward. So what is the purpose of the things he says in the passage you 
quoted below - to ease his own conscience later? I will grant that some 
surface plausibility, but really anyone who can plan and manipulate someone 
into getting themselves killed in self defense is probably beyond such 

>Just before the section of text Chris quoted below is this:
>"I told Gylf to let him [the captain] see him then, and he did. He had been
>lying in a corner where it was dark and he came up out of there like brown
>smoke but all solid and snarling.
>     "'I can kill you if I want to,' I told the captain. 'I beat you 
>and I can beat you again. Gylf could kill you, too, and you won't stand the
>ghost of a chance against both of us.'"

Roy said:
>The captain had barred the door behind himself when he entered the cabin. 
>was alone with Able and Gylf. Able knew that the captain would not accept
>the terms he then offered --he said so -- which were the same terms that he
>had dictated before; the captain must knuckle under and leave Able in the
>captain's cabin. He also had no doubts about the winner of a fight against
>the captain. He said so. Both versions of the terms he demanded amounted to
>the same thing.

No, there is a difference between the sets of terms. In the first instance, 
it ends up being clear to everyone on board that the captain knuckled under 
and gave back the cabin (and the possessions he had stolen) when confronted. 
In the second instance, the captain is left with some ability to play it off 
as having reached an agreement. The hope appears to have been that the 
captain would take the opportunity to save face rather than fight a battle 
he couldn't win; Able obviously misjudged how personally the captain took 
it, and the fact that perhaps he (and his dog) looked a little weaker than 
they really were.

You might suspect that Able deliberately feigned that weakness to lure the 
captain into making such a move. I think there might be something to that, 
actually. It seems rather elaborate but the reasoning might be that if the 
captain were really bound and determined to attempt to kill him, he would 
take the opportunity there (and not some other time when Able might be taken 

> >He stood up and Gylf growled. I was afraid he was going to grow into the
> >black thing that had killed the outlaws, and I told him not to.
>BTW, Able didn't want Gylf to turn into that big "black thing" because *he*
>was afraid of it. It wasn't out of concern for the captain or any sense of
>fair play.

I agree, and further, Able didn't seem to think Gylf *needed* to be the big 
black thing.

Returning to the problem of why the body needed to be disposed of so 
particularly, could it have something to do with the wounds inflicted by 
Gylf? I can't remember, at that point, if Able had resigned himself to the 
rest of the crew knowing much about the dog.

>The captain may not have had a reserved seat in the church choir, but he 
>definitely a victim of naked, unprovoked aggression on the occasion of his
>first encounter with Able. It was Able who initiated physical hostilities 
>that first meeting, after the captain ordered him off his ship. If you want
>to say that the captain's display of a sword to punctuate his order made
>Able feel threatened and therefore justified in using force to gain the
>advantage, then you must grant the captain the same consideration in the
>second encounter. That's what Able was doing when he called up Gylf;
>punctuating his demands with a show of force.

I pretty much agree up to the last sentence. It seems that Able wanted all 
the cards out on the table. If there was a show of force, it was strictly 
for the benefit of the captain - and he would have been better served, 
ultimately, if he'd taken more account of it.

>The captain had two choices -- submit or fight. He had been forced to
>submit, on pain of death, the first time. He was within his rights, as
>ship's captain, to execute Able for his crimes -- and Able's actions *were*
>criminal -- after fate allowed him to regain command of his ship.

Actually, I don't know about this. The captain would be considered one of 
the merchant class, miles below any type of aristocracy. I suspect that in 
the medieval order of things even the lowest, landless knight would consider 
the captain little more than a skilled peasant, even on his own ship. The 
captain would be within his rights to execute the members of his crew, but 
then they're even lower on the social scale.

But that raises the question of whether Able would count as a legitimate 
knight in that society, even though Disiri did knight him. Knights from 
other countries still count as knights even when they're not on ground ruled 
by their own sovreign, but this situation is less clear.

>He was within his rights, as a man, to retaliate against the man who had 

He was bullied and humiliated, which makes it within his rights as a man to 
steal and attempt to murder? Sorry, there isn't much about the captain's 
attempted payback that is at all manly, or within his rights as far as I am 

>What the captain may have been guilty of is failing to recognize the
>hopelessness of his position in the second altercation.

Failing to recognize his inability to beat Able, by itself, would have 
caused him no difficulty. What the captain may have been guilty of is 
attempted murder.

>That's one way to look at it. Call it whatever you like, but the captain's
>death is on Able's hands, if not his conscience. And if I were St. Peter,
>keepin' score, he ain't gettin' into Heaven. <g>

A death is on your hands to some extent even in an undisputed case of self 

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