EWF and heroes

From: Richard, Jeff <Jeff.Richard_at_METROKC.GOV>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 13:19:43 -0800

Two subjects I'd like to comment on. First, Orlanthi in the EWF -

>David Dunham writes:
>IMO, not only were Orlanthi in the inner council, but they provided
>the Emperors (being the most suited to and interested in ruling the
>Orlanthi who made up the bulk of the Empire).

I agree with David. If I recall, it was the Heortling High Council that was converted by the Waltzing and Hunting bands. One could later argue, as did the Traditionalists, that they ceased to be "Orlanthi", but until the late Ninth Century, when the leaders of the EWF demanded to be worshipped as gods, I think that many of the EWF leaders could "prove" that they were both Youf and Orlanthi. After that point, I think they truly ceased to be able to show that they were Orlanthi - or more likely, they just didn't care anymore. Alakoring himself operated in the early to mid Tenth Century.

>I agree that the average Orlanthi would be as always (even many of
>those who forked their tongues). There might be more subcults, now
>lost, that dealt with dragons (e.g. some Orlanth Thunderous hero who
>brought down rain from Lorion) I imagine the dragon-killing myths
>would be deemphasized.

Either deemphasized or radically reinterpreted. Defeating the dragon could be reinterpreted to be becoming the dragon. Or some such mystical nonsense. :) Cults like Humakt, Urox and others, I believe remained fairly "traditional" - not because they were anti-EWF (I believe that by and large they were not anti-EWF), but because they were less important than the Orlanth cult. Orlanth defines what it means to be a man in Heortling society - not Urox, not Humakt. Although we speak of "Uroxi" or "Humakti", they are not separate cultures. At best, they form Heortling sub-cultures based on professional/occupational needs.

The other subject is this strange tangent about heroes as opposed to farmers, tax collectors, and the like:

>I guess I get the idea from an article in Enclosure? or Questlines?
>like that. My view of heroism would not include tax collectors. If you can
>name an heroic tax collector in heroic fiction or myth thn you are better
>read than I am. If you want me to list a few farmers turned hero in a
>frontier environment then I could refer to Icelandic Sages and Westerns,
>well as Sword and sorcery fiction, forlots of Heroes.

Anyone can be a "hero". From Cincinnatus to Njal, the idea of the farmer-hero is a strong one in non-feudal Western literature and mythology. For a modern film version using that theme, just check out "The Patriot." In the United States, early presidents such as George Washington and Andrew Jackson used the myth of the "farmer-statesman" to cement a bond with the public and as part of their "heroic" identity. Abraham Lincoln's campaign literature emphasizing his log-cabin origins and "Rail-Splitting Abe" also play into that theme.

For the Heortlings, the idea that the prosperous steadholder is a heroic figure is something replete in their imagery. Barntar, the Orlanthi Heracles, is a powerful figure in his own right. During the Varmandi campaign (which I believe is still posted on David Dunham's website), we found that the prosperous steadholders were often far more dangerous than the huscarls of the chiefs.

As for heroic lunar tax collectors - certainly they can be heroes as well. Egil Skallagrimson has a stint as the tribute collector for a Scandanavian king. For a civilized society dependent upon tax collection to maintain its war-machine, prompt tax collection can be among the most important needs for that society. Why can't that be "heroic" as well?


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