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If the One Ring Don't Fit... (Should Villains Go to Trial?)

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Mindfire, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I don't have a problem with execution in the face of a heinous enough crime, in theory. In the real world, I oppose capital punishment in practice because of bias and the risk of mistake.
  2. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    We could put him in the highest room of the tallest tower. And make him wait for his prince to come.

    Kidding aside, yeah, you'd probably have to put him in a separate part of the prison, though on the other hand, medieval prisons weren't exactly known for their cafeterias and basketball courts like most modern prisons have. Still, I definitely wouldn't put up a fight for the top bunk if the Dark Lord was my cellmate.
  3. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

    I don't understand threads like this. The question asked is: "If the dark lord was defeated but wasn't killed, will there be a trial?? (Paraphrased).

    The answer is: Depends on the world building of your universe. You decide if the people would execute or not. You decide if their moral fabric allows for the civility of a trial or the brutal call for immediate blood.

    This does raise the age-old (actually,about 100 years) question of "Should you world build or write the story and let the world building evolve with your work."

    Why? Because as a reader I know when the author is feeding me his personal ideals disguised as slop, even if I believe in those ideals. I hate it. Take Terry "Democracy Now" Goodkind. After the third book I thought I was reading a presidential campaign disguised as fantasy. I don't want that. I want a story. Since when has stories been about the resolution of good over evil? When has a story needed the right decision made for it to feel complete?

    People are fascinated by stories about Genghis Khan, but if we were to live around his time we would think him the devil incarnate (depends on which side of the fence you stand). Are you going to tell me that his story is bad because the ideals and morals of his rise to power were not in line with our personal belief?

    Another example: Romance of the Three Kingdoms. That 2,000 (guessing) year old story is all about loyalty, betrayal, jealousy, and death. Yet it's one of the oldest stories that we can read. Do your (using the term loosely) morals allow for jealousy? How about betrayal? Do you think the world at large would want that to happen to them (jealousy, death, betrayal, and all that bad stuff)? Then why has it survived the ages?

    Don't let personal beliefs dictate the story. It's the same rule as "don't fit the plot to your character." People will see right through it.

    Now that I got that all written down, a disclaimer: "No rule is written in stone, unless you believe in the Ten Commandments." (Paraphrased
  4. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

    More interesting to me is the guilt of your "hero" characters after killing the possibly innocent orcs, lizardfolk not to mention the endangered creatures in the form of wyverns, dragons, dire bears or whatever.
  5. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    This is one of my things. While the historical events happened about 1800 years ago, the story itself was written about 600 years ago.

    That said, there has been some major values dissonance with the work. For instance, a good number of people seem to have drifted away from Liu Bei as the good guy - he bases his claim solely off of his bloodline, is vaguely incompetent, murders his own son and, oh yeah, commits cannibalism. Even with that said, the focus of the work is the importance of the state, order over chaos - the rule of law being the requirement for everything else.

    If China had the concept of presumed innocent, I'm certain they would have hauled Dong Zhuo in front of a court (instead of stabbing him in the neck with a halberd). Even without that concept, I can think of at least four characters being hauled in front of what is basically an appeals court, and one of them at least getting off.
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Whether or not real world societies of these types had advanced theories of justice, your fantasy world can have them.
  7. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    I am not sure if I completely concur with this. If your story purposefully has a strong moral theme, your personal beliefs if anything should inform the story's development, because it is the message you want to get across in the first place.

    As for the OP, my climaxes are often battles to the death, so the antagonist ends up dying anyway. I wouldn't have a problem with jailing a villain for life as their ultimate punishment for once, but that raises the question of why the people following their orders haven't received the same courtesy and end up dead instead.
  8. Heh, somehow this reminds me of Heinlein's Glory Road, where the multiversial empire's model of goverment was basically "rule by experience," their leader being an ongoing amalgamation of all their previous leaders. So, if there was a problem with the provinces, she would listen to everyone involved, then point at one of them and go: "Look, this will all sort itself out if you just take that guy outside and shoot him." And then they did exactly that, and the problem went away.

    The protagonist was mildly horrified by this, but apparently everyone else had long since accepted that this approach usually worked out for the best.
  9. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

    You have to take into account that after dark lord whatsit died the chances are there will be civil war. Those people who supported him will not just go "oh well good whilst it lasted" and slope of back under a rock. Someone else will want to be in charge new King thingy is unlikely to have an easy time.

    Who has this trial- who do the judges work for/ who are the jury if there is one?
  10. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

    Cao Cao all the way!

    Didn't know about the cannibalism though, and nice catch with the timing. I knew it was a book about the historical events so I assumed it wasn't 1800-1700 years ago like the events themselves. Of course, most of what I know about the whole thing comes from the video games -_-
  11. Well, usually dark lords have some sort of supernatural power that lets them rule. Nobody really supports them (except a few minions); they rule because they're effectively invincible, and some people would rather be on the dark lord's side. But if the dark lord goes away, those people no longer have a super-powerful sugar daddy on their side, and they become vulnerable to ordinary justice.

    When dark lords have real support, it's because they've got realistic power—that is, the power to convince other people to follow them. Guys like Hitler, for example.
  12. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    I'm a Sun Clan loyalist, personally. Far more meritocratic than any other faction, and they cast the longest shadow on the social, cultural and economic development of China.

    As for the cannibalism, Liu Bei is running through the woods and comes across a farmer. The farmer recognizes him as the Imperial Uncle and that he's in danger, so he takes him into his home. Not having any food, the farmer kills his own wife and serves her to Liu Bei. He then tells him what he's done. Instead of taking the usual route (freaking the eff out), Liu Bei rewards him with gold and thanks him for the meat.

    Odd duck, that one.
    Zero Angel likes this.
  13. Ivan

    Ivan Minstrel

    The trial is the golden opportunity to debate morals in open dialogue. It can either give clarity and affirmation, or open provoking questions, about the righteousness of the hero and the good side.
  14. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

    Well could you imagine how rude it would have been to refuse? "I just killed my wife for this a--hole and he said he was too good to eat her? Last time I have him over for dinner!"

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