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YMMV / The Shahnameh

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  • Complete Monster: Ahriman. See the Zoroastrianism page for the details.
    • Zahhak, after delving into evil with the wicked Ahriman, becomes the worst tyrant the world has ever seen after murdering his own father. Conducting horrific massacres and bathing in the blood of his victims, Zahhak has two men a day sacrificed to feed their brains to the snakes growing from his shoulders. Upon learning of the hero Fereydun destined to defeat him to avenge his father, Zahhak massacres those close to him, even the cow who functioned as his wet nurse. Zahhak, after being driven back by Fereydun, flees to India where he proceeds to kill thousands of innocents. The pinnacle of mortal evil in the Shahnameh, Zahhak stands as a testament of wickedness even centuries later.
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  • Periphery Demographic: The Shahnameh is understandably popular with the remaining Zoroastrians, as it preserves important information about Zoroastrian Iran, and Zoroastrian religious history.
  • Squick: See the Obviously Evil example above about Zahhak, who had brain-eating snakes on his shoulders! His kind-hearted cooks trick him by mixing one victim's brain with a sheep's brain. Unfortunately, this still means that every day one innocent man gets his brain removed.
  • Values Resonance: Perhaps one of the reasons the Shahnameh is so beloved is that, while firmly Iranian in its origin, language, and artistic composition, its values are pretty universal. The honor, piety, courage, and patriotism of the heroes are all still easy to respect, whether the reader is Zoroastrian, Muslim, or something else altogether.
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