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Date Posted: 13:32:59 11/09/07 Fri
Author: Rich
Subject: Re: More random thoughts - kind of rambling
In reply to: Rich 's message, "Random thoughts on "No Future for You" part 3 - Spoilers" on 12:39:17 11/08/07 Thu

We might as well begin in the wilderness; not the scenic one in northwest Wyoming, but the really harsh ones – the steppes and deserts, and (for our purposes) the rocky shoreline of the North Atlantic. In those places, life was hard and death was easy. Humans weren’t really designed to live there, but (being human) they lived there anyway; Huns and Mongols, Berbers and Tuareg, Apaches and Norsemen.

Periodically, driven by hunger or greed, or boredom, they swept or crept into the settled lands. They stole, raped, killed, and burned, then left – usually. Once in a while, they were lucky enough or strong enough to find or carve a place for themselves. Macedonians became Hellenes. Vandals became Spaniards, and their name became a verb (later, Berbers became Spaniards as well). Huns became Hungarians, Mongols became Chinese. Some Norsemen became Russian, as did Slavs, Tartars and a lot of other people. Other Norseman became Normans, and some Normans became English.

Conquest has its’ own imperatives. A despot needs frightened subjects, but a sustained despotism needs well-fed ones. Successful tyrants rule with the carrot and the stick – if there are no carrots, the people look for sticks of their own, and sometimes they find them. To stay in power, the wise oppressor must also be a preserver. The predator must become a protector.

(I could veer off from here to talk about Angel or Spike, or maybe the First Slayer, but that’s not where I’m going – at least not right now).

The first generation of conquerors is loyal to the chieftain who led them to the conquest. The next generation is loyal to the king, and loyalty to the king eventually becomes loyalty to the kingdom. In time, loyalty to the kingdom becomes loyalty to the nation – if you’re lucky, loyalty to the people. The conquerors become a hereditary aristocracy – if you’re lucky, a benevolent one.

A lot has been written about the English aristocracy, and most of it is probably true – they’ve been around a really long time. As a class, they were born out of war and conquest; for centuries, they were born *for* war and conquest. Individual members undoubtedly were, and some may still be, arrogant, selfish, savage and stupid. That’s all true, but it’s not the whole truth.

They plundered, but they also explored, built, and taught. They overthrew ancient cultures, but they also created new ones. They drive to dominate became linked to the obligation to civilize (as they understood it). They changed the world, and sometimes for the better. In the best of them, “privilege” came to imply “service”.

Gigi is not one of these ( see, I really was going somewhere with this). To her, nobless does not oblige – she doesn’t recognize any obligation to anyone, and would probably be baffled by the concept. She claims to want to lead the Slayers, but trains herself for the job by murdering them. Morally, she’s taken a giant step back into the wilderness; she’s a predator, and the rest of the world is her rightful prey. I don’t think she even recognizes most other people as people, let alone as people to whom she might owe anything.

Of course, this may not be her fault. If we believe her own words, she was trained from infancy to have no feeling for people; she wasn’t even allowed to meet other people, let alone connect to them. This explains her immediate response to Faith – finally, someone like ME !!

We’re revisiting the ground covered in “Damage”, from a slightly different POV. It was easy to sympathize with Dana, who was obviously not responsible for her own actions. It’s less easy with Gigi – she looks like us, she talks like us, so why shouldn’t we hold her to the same standards as everyone else ? She’s had an easy life (too easy, if anything), so why should we feel sorry for her ?

In the end, it may not matter whether we do or not. Like Buffy with Anyanka, or Spike and Angel with Dana, Faith has to deal with the person who Gigi is now, not the person she might have been if things had gone differently. Once upon a time, she may have been a victim; now she’s a monster - and Faith slays monsters. I don't envy her the job.

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  • Thoughts on "No Future for You" - Part 3 - *** Spoilers *** -- OnM, 20:47:59 11/09/07 Fri
  • Re: Thoughts on "No Future for You" - Part 3 - *** Spoilers *** -- Rich, 06:38:05 11/10/07 Sat
  • Re: Thoughts on "No Future for You" - Part 3 - *** Spoilers *** -- KdS, 09:58:26 11/10/07 Sat

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