What's Happening



collapse/expand topics back to Main/HeraldsOfValdemar

08:37:16 PM Jan 18th 2013
edited by JoieDeCombat
Please disregard, the topic is already being addressed in another thread.
08:35:43 PM Jan 18th 2013
edited by NativeJovian
On the Hypocrite entry I recently added: the main reason I put it in is because both the assassinations of Ancar/Hulda/Falconsbane and the assassination of Ulrich both have the same motivation: to protect the people of their respective countries. Ancar is attacking Valdemar, supported by Hulda and Falconsbane, so Valdemarians kill them. Ulrich is one of the people keeping the Valdemarian alliance intact, and Tremaine has good reason to believe that the Alliance is the one causing the mage storms. He says as much in his Truth Spelled interview with Karal after Ulrich's death, and again with Solaris. He was mistaken, but he didn't know that at the time.

So both assassinations are done out of pure motives: to protect innocents from an external threat. And yet, no one condemns the Valdemarians, despite the fact that Hulda, at least, was fleeing back to the Eastern Empire and presented zero continued threat to Valdemar or anyone else when Elspeth — who happened to have a deeply personal reason to want Hulda dead, considering the abuse she suffered at the woman's hands as a child — hunted her down and killed not only her, but the Eastern Empire diplomat (who had done nothing but try to save Hulda) too. On the other hand, Tremaine sent his orders with no malice (he freely admits that he doesn't know the individuals he ordered attacked, only their positions), and yet is condemned for his actions sufficiently that Solaris feels it necessary to curse him before accepting his alliance.

tl;dr, the Valdemarians kill three people that they gladly would've killed anyway due to personal vendettas, and they're given a free pass. Tremaine reluctantly has one person for whom he had no ill feelings killed, and is genuinely sorry that he did so mistakenly, and he has to get punished for it... because the guy Tremaine had killed was friends with the protagonists.

The Valdemarians are being hypocritical dicks. It's Protagonist-Centered Morality at its finest.
08:53:19 PM Jan 18th 2013
edited by JoieDeCombat
This hadn't gone up yet when I was typing up the above, so sorry for the duplicate thread starter.

In any case, I disagree. The Valdemarans kill three people who have already caused massive loss of life and psychological trauma and have proven conclusively that they're going to go right on doing it until they're dead, and they do it as an alternative to having to continue to fight battles in which large numbers of Valdemarans and innocent Hardornens die.

That is fundamentally different from ordering the assassination of some faceless diplomats who aren't guilty of anything other than facilitating an alliance between two nations who might be responsible for the mage storms, whether the order was given with any malice or not. Tremaine's intentions were good, but his methods were not appropriate, and the two situations were not comparable. If Ulrich and Karal had committed some kind of crime against Tremaine or someone he knew, then the situations would be similar and the Valdemarans would be hypocrites for being pissed about it. But as it is, Valdemar doesn't even consider assassination as a solution until they've been at war with Ancar for five books and see no other way of stopping the bloodshed from continuing; Tremaine reaches for it as a first option once he suspects that Valdemar is a threat, without confirmation that his suppositions are true.
09:17:40 PM Jan 18th 2013
The fact that Valdemar felt justified assassinating the Ancar, Hulda, and Falconsbane establishes "assassinating leadership to spare citizens and soldiers" as acceptable.

That Tremaine did the same thing to the Alliance when he thought they were the source of the threat to Hardorn should be similarly acceptable, but the protagonists do not treat it as such, because the one who died was a friend of theirs instead of three of their longest-standing, most hated enemies.

The fact that Tremaine was wrong about the Alliance being the threat is unfortunate, but he is genuinely sorry about it, and wouldn't have ordered the assassination if he'd known the Alliance wasn't a threat to him. Despite this — and despite knowing this, as they interviewed him under Truth Spell — the Alliance (or at least Solaris) feels justified in cursing Tremaine with the permanent inability to lie.

So when the protagonists kill someone they hate because of the threat they represent, that's okay. But when Tremaine kills someone the protagonists like because of the threat (he thinks) they represent, that's not okay. Whether they're okay with someone being killed has less to do with the justification for that killing and more to do with how much they like the person being killed. Understandable? Sure. Human? Very. Hypocritical? You bet.
09:42:37 PM Jan 18th 2013
edited by JoieDeCombat
The difference is that the people the Valdemarans assassinated were proven threats, and not just in the sense that they were leaders of a hostile nation but in the sense that they personally, repeatedly participated in rape, torture, murder, blood magic and mind control of the population of their own country and had proven that, unchecked, they would continue to do so. It does not mean they are establishing that they consider assassination in general to be an acceptable political strategy - I can't think of a single other instance of it being suggested and treated as acceptable before or after that point - it means that they concluded that these three specific people were monsters who needed to be put down before they did any more damage.

The people Tremaine ordered assassinated did not personally represent any danger to him or the people he was trying to protect. He believed that Valdemar as a country represented a threat to him, and ordered the Karsite envoy assassinated as a means of disrupting the alliance with Karse in the hopes of weakening Valdemar's position.

I'd even speculate that if Tremaine had a reason to have a personal vendetta against the Karsite envoy, the Valdemarans would probably have been able to find his attack on them more understandable and possibly even drawn a comparison between it and their assassination of Ancar and company, even though they'd still be angry and distressed about the death of a person they liked.

Was Solaris's geas on Tremaine in the face of his Truth Spell confession and honest remorse Disproportionate Retribution? Sure. But it's not hypocritical - especially since Solaris wasn't involved in the assassination of Ancar & co to begin with.
10:29:45 PM Jan 18th 2013
edited by NativeJovian
In both cases, they were doing what they thought was best for their nation and their people after exhausting all other options available to them. The fact that it's treated as okay when Valdemar does it to Hardorn but not okay when Hardorn does it to the Alliance makes it clear that there are different standards of judgment being used. Maybe Hypocrite isn't the right trope, but it's something of that nature. Double Standard? Protagonist-Centered Morality? Moral Myopia?
03:02:00 PM Jan 20th 2013
edited by JoieDeCombat
Tremaine really didn't exhaust all other options available to him, though. He jumped to assassination to disrupt the alliance immediately after the mage storm hit under the assumption that Valdemar was responsible without even waiting for any intel back - he can activate a sleeper assassin but he can't take the time to get an agent to confirm "actually, Valdemar was hit with it too and they're just as confused as we are"?

I still feel very firmly that killing someone who you know personally has done terrible things is not comparable to having someone killed purely on the basis of their position due to unconfirmed conclusions you've reached on incomplete intel. Had the situation in Mage Storms been reversed and the Valdemarans had believed that the storm was an attack by Hardorn, their response would almost certainly not have involved an assassination. The killing of Ancar and company was not a purely political decision, it was based on ample concrete evidence of things Ancar had done and was continuing to do.

There's also the point that the Valdemarans do not permanently write Tremaine off as a villain over the incident. Solaris goes overboard with her truth curse, no question - but again, she wasn't involved in the Ancar situation so her reaction to the later situation can't really be contrasted to anything. The Valdemarans are angry and upset over the assassination, but when Tremaine is proven to them to be a genuinely decent guy trying to do his best by Hardorn, they're able to accept him as an ally.
03:35:16 PM Jan 21st 2013
edited by NativeJovian
"he can activate a sleeper assassin but he can't take the time to get an agent to confirm"

He was cut off from any reinforcements or resupply and the mage storms were slowly but surely dooming him, his men, and the people of Hardorn. His only agent in Valdemar was an artist who had no access to anything that would've been able to confirm or deny the idea that the Valdemarians were causing the mage storms. Yes, he would have known that they were being affected by them as well, but it's well established that Valdemar is also weathering the storms much better than Tremaine's forces in Hardorn because Valdemar was much less reliant on magic in the first place, which makes it not unreasonable to believe that they're willing to damage themselves a little in order to damage their enemies a lot.

"Had the situation in Mage Storms been reversed and the Valdemarans had believed that the storm was an attack by Hardorn, their response would almost certainly not have involved an assassination."

Like when their response to Hardorn throwing magic and mage-bound troops at them wasn't to assassinate the king of Hardorn and his two chief mages? Oh, wait. That's exactly what they did, which is why I called it hypocritical of them to condemn Tremaine's actions in the first place. Yes, they had more confirmation than Tremaine did, but that doesn't make Tremaine's belief unreasonable. The mage storms were something utterly alien to him, and he had no reason to believe that it was a natural phenomena, and plenty of reason (if circumstantial) that Valdemar was behind it.

Anyway, that's largely beside the point. Both parties were doing what they thought was best for their troops and their people out of the purest of motives, and Tremaine is genuinely remorseful for the mistake he made — all of which the Alliance knew through his truth-spelled interrogations. And yet they came within a hairsbreadth of rejecting his alliance (it's implied that Solaris and Karal-via-Altra both nearly decided to kill him) for doing... exactly what they did to Ancar/Hulda/Falconsbane: striking at a perceived threat to their country and their people.

Again, if Hypocrite isn't the right trope, what would you use instead? Double Standard? (It's okay for Valdemar to assassinate threats from Hardorn, but not for Hardorn to assassinate threats from Valdemar.) Protagonist-Centered Morality? (It's okay for the heroes to assassinate someone they hate, but not okay for an Anti-Villain to assassinate someone they like.) Moral Myopia? (It's okay to assassinate people, as long as it's not the heroes' friends.)

There's very clearly some moral dissonance going on with the situation. No one tells Tremaine "we wouldn't have minded if we were actually the cause of the mage storms, but you killed an innocent man" they say "you killed a friend of mine, you bastard" — while the more honest ones, at least, admit that they can't say they wouldn't have done the same thing if they were in Tremaine's shoes. But they still distrust him for it, he's still punished for it, and the narrative is still very clearly on the Valdemarians' side about it.
04:16:53 PM Feb 28th 2013
As far as I know we don't have a trope for "it's okay to assassinate someone who you know for a fact is personally responsible for an incredibly large amount of suffering and death and will continue to be so if not stopped, but not okay to assassinate someone you know more than likely doesn't personally deserve it in response to a threat you are not actually able to conclusively verify the source of."

The difference here is still that Ancar, Hulda, and Falconsbane weren't just a "perceived threat" to Valdemar - they were all three very much confirmed threats, and not just to Valdemar but to the innocent citizens of Hardorn as well. The situations are not the same. The Valdemarans were not reacting to a destructive magical phenomenon that, with only circumstantial evidence to go on, they believed must have been an intentional attack from Hardorn because they couldn't come up with any other more likely explanation for it. They were acting on, among quite a bit of other other direct evidence, the fact Hulda and Ancar personally tortured Herald Talia and Falconsbane magically warped and enslaved his own daughter and Darkwind's father. That's why the narrative is on the Valdemarans' side about it - because they didn't decide to assassinate anyone until they knew for a fact that the people they were going to kill were directly responsible for what they were killing them over. There's nothing anywhere in any of the books to suggest that they would ever have enacted an assassination on as little proof as Tremaine had, let alone have ever targeted someone they knew was personally blameless on a purely strategic basis.

The trope that's actually at work here, as I said previously, is Disproportionate Retribution. Their reaction is out of proportion, given that Tremaine wasn't acting with malevolent intentions and did honestly regret it. But it's not a case of moral dissonance, because assassinating a set of amply-confirmed villains is not on the same moral level as assassinating a relatively innocent political envoy based on circumstantial evidence.
02:56:57 PM Sep 14th 2012
I think this page needs to be split into supgages for the trilogies and stand-alone novels. The series is definitely long enough and there are enough tropes to justify it.

Any objections?
07:43:08 PM Apr 11th 2011
I think we need a character page, whose with me?
08:38:46 PM Jun 3rd 2011
I am! (A little belatedly.) Any ideas on how it should be organized?
11:51:27 PM Jun 11th 2011
I was thinking by which books are centered around them, for instance even though Elspeth shows up in the Arrows trilogy, the Mage Wings trilogy is pretty much 'her' series, so she'd go there, and There'd be a note in the other section indicating her where hers is.

Another possibility is by nationality (Valdemarans and Heralds one section, Kaled-a-in in another section, etc.). Hmm, I don't know, what do you think?
07:51:07 PM Jun 12th 2011
edited by JoieDeCombat
I think by trilogy is probably the best bet. There'll be overlap, but generally each trilogy has its own main cast. I think it'd be a little unwieldy to lump by nationality, given the sheer number of characters involved (and with supporting characters in some of the books, nationality isn't necessarily specified; in other cases it's simply non-intuitive, as in the case of Kethry, who is technically Shin'a'in by adoption but would readers really think to look for her in that section?). Also, not organizing by work means having to move back and forth to and from different sections to read about the cast of a specific work, which seems counterintuitive - I noticed that you've started by setting up separate pages for Valdemarans, Kaled'a'in, etc, but that means that, for example, to read about the cast of The Mage Winds I'd have to go to and from all three pages. It seems like they should be on a page together.
back to Main/HeraldsOfValdemar

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy