It totally has happened in real life, numerous times. It's probably the most common way wars can get started, but I suppose I could be presuming a lot. Seriously though, you get a group of people desperate enough, and you can get them to do all sorts of heinous things.
With Thundercats I really get the sense that there's been a lot of tension between these races. We actually see the cats mistreating lizards. When the lizards get a chance to one up the cats they take it. Mumm-Ra comes and helps them rise up by giving them tech and firepower in exchange for making him their new ruler. Slithe is in a similar position, a war lord who uses the lizards' hatred to his advantage in his own quest for revenge, but otherwise doesn't really care about his people. But Lion-O takes the time to see their side. Even after Thundera is attacked, Lion-O doesn't show hatred for the lizards, just for Mumm-Ra. He's willing to talk to them and try to convince them to stand down, to show them that the cats can be good people. The premiere did a good job setting up that major theme, that the best way to end the conflict is through diplomacy. Simply stopping Mumm-Ra probably isn't going to make the lizards hate the cats any less, but Lion-O could stop Mumm-Ra by showing the lizards that they can coexist peacefully, something which many of his own race have a hard time grasping.
I feel this is what helps set Thundercats and Lion-O apart from other action shows and cartoon heroes. He has to win the war by showing kindness to those who might wrong him, by mending the relationships between the races and the nations. We see it happen a lot. Lion-O shows an enemy some compassion, and while it may not work out in the short term, it does work out in the long run. That's what it really means to have Sight Beyond Sight, to see the bigger picture. This isn't just good and evil, this is about racial tensions and a history of conflict that needs fixing, and Lion-O works towards a future where all the people of Third Earth can be allies. It's not about being more powerful than the Big Bad
. Lion-O isn't just The Chosen One
, he's a king, and he has what it takes to be a good one, because he can work towards long term goals that benefit everyone. In contrast we see other rulers who are much more narrow sighted, like Claudus. While he was a good king to his own people, he and the kings before him could have prevented the destruction of Thundera if they had been kinder to the lizards. In short, Thundera had a terrible foreign policy.
Mumm-Ra is the opposite of Lion-O; he exploits fear and hatred, nurtures it, for his own selfish gain. Mumm-Ra doesn't necessarily need to have depth or sympathy to be a good villain. He represents every violent dictator whose rule is based on power, fear, and hatred, because it's easy. These kinds of bad people exist, and you can't always reason with them, but you can stop them from using others. Lion-O can't take the easy way to win though, he has to show that Mumm-Ra's future is not a good one. I won't spoil the end of the season, but it shows that Lion-O's methods start to pay off, and it's one of the reasons I really want a second season. We get some of that in Avatar as well, but it didn't get a whole lot of focus until The Promise comics, in regards to Zuko and Aang having to mend the relationship between the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom, and how Zuko has to learn to be a good ruler.
And once again, I've gone on way too long.
edited 15th Oct '12 3:37:50 AM by StarOutlaw