[LMB] villains

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Sun May 12 23:39:20 BST 2013

On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 09:28:14PM -0700, Tony Zbaraschuk wrote:
> On Sat, May 11, 2013 at 11:13:07AM +1000, Gwynne Powell wrote:

> > Was Gregor a villain for running away? His chosen action could most
> > likely have plunged his empire into civil war, possibly even allowed 
> > the Cetas to invade again. He could have caused far more deaths than
> > Ezar's tally, all for selfish personal reasons, whereas Ezar was trying to
> > do his best for the Empire.
> I don't know that I see Gregor as a villain at that point, but 
> I suspect my judgment may be influenced by the fact that he picks
> up his courage and gets back on the job and _does_ it, instead of
> continuing to run away.  Everyone gets to make mistakes from time
> to time, some of which have very bad consequences -- but villains
> aren't just making mistakes, they're actively seeking whatever it
> is they do.

I find it rather odd and hard to call someone a villain for wanting to
*not* be an absolute ruler over people, for preferring being a
dockworker to being an emperor.  Especially after learning about Serg
and fearing time bombs in his own genes and mind.

Relatedly, when someone is forced to do a job they hate, we usually call
them a victim.  Or even slave.

And while one can be too politically naive, it's worth noting that
Gregor's decision would not have killed anyone in itself.  Barrayarans
would have killed each other over the throne he didn't want.  There's a
difference between that and Ezar ordering the invasion of an innocent
planet, not to mention knowing his invaders would themselves be killed
for following orders.  It's hard to justify on pure consequentialist
grounds, but most people distinguish between comission and omission.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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