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[quote:6af52450f6="krwordgazer"]Thank you, Nowth. :) I agree that for Rayek, wiping people out of existence was relegated to an abstract. If it were a matter of Earth-style genocide-- of lining people up against the wall and shooting them, for instance-- he'd have been horrified. I still maintain that he was deluding himself, that he was focused on his vision being fulfilled and hadn't truly thought through the reality of what he was doing-- and that confronted with it (as you say), in the form of the Wolfriders' faces, he had to change his mind.[/quote:6af52450f6]
It's interesting that you and Nomad should mention the holocaust... I'm thinking about it now in relation to Rayek, to Winnowil and to your comments regarding him. Generally, i agree. If Rayek had chosen to confront the reality of what he was about to do... he would have been horrified. But he did, until the very last possibly moment (and after he had done great harm) choose to blind himself to that reality. Why?

I do not think that Rayek is a Hitler-esque character. That character would, rather, be Winnowil. Rayek and Winnowil do, in fact, speak of "racial purity" as being one of their goals. Winnowil, like Hitler, had concieved of a "master race" of sorts... elves who were pure in blood and similar in a sense to the High Ones. In order to fulfill this dream, she was eager and willing to wipe out the "degenerates."

Rayek was not as overt as Winnie... but he did speak of those who were deserving vs. not deserving. He did consider himself above the Wolfriders, because of his "pure" blood...above the Sun Folk because of his physical strength... and above the Go Backs because of his use of magic.

Ultimately, he was seduced by Winnowil and swayed by her vision. He embraced her goals as his own. And I think that there is a lesson in that.

The most interesting thing to me about the Holocaust wasn't that a madman took control of the country and attempted to commit genocide. It was the fact that a nation of men and women went along with and supported him. Hiter could not have accomplished anything alone. The Nazi's to rise to power required the participation and support of the German people... average people like you and me. People who were willing to blind themselves to the truth and look the other way.

What this tells me is that there is something within all of us... something deep in human nature that would allow any of us to commit atrocities. Perhaps the only way to avoid that is to remain conscious and wary of this potential.

Rayek is culpable... he is culpable as a follower. He is culpable for allowing himself to be blinded, for choosing to embrace Winnowil's schemes.

[quote:6af52450f6]Nomad-Human, it's not that genocide doesn't sicken me. Of course it does! But Rayek, when it came right down to it, [i:6af52450f6]didn't [/i:6af52450f6]commit genocide, once he truly understood that that was what he was contemplating.[/quote:6af52450f6]
Yes he did. He understood. And he was willing to do it anyway. Because, in his mind, his vision was superior... these lives that he was wiping out should never have been born. It was his right to make the choice for others.

I guess you could say... Rayek was on a crusade. For him (at least briefly) the ends justified the means... and that is always a dangerous attitude. Because ethics and morality, at that point, right vs. wrong... are so dependent on point of view.