directly contradicts your other statement:[/quote:8cd9c59e22]
[quote:8cd9c59e22]So, in your mind, [i:8cd9c59e22]did[/i:8cd9c59e22] Rayek understand the reality of the fact that what he was about to do was the equivalent of genocide, or [i:8cd9c59e22]didn't[/i:8cd9c59e22] he?
(I still maintain that he didn't. He wasn't following his thoughts all the way through to their logical conclusion.)[/quote:8cd9c59e22]
I maintain that he thoroughly understood what the effects of his actions would be and chose to pretend it wasn't all that bad. So, I guess the answer to your question is "yes."
It's like this: Rayek knew that his actions would wipe out the lives of many. He just pretended that wasn't really all that important-- because the people he was killing (in his mind) weren't as important as the people he would be (theoretically) saving.
Like Nowth said earlier... Rayek's would-be crime was rather abstract. It wasn't walking up behind someone and plunging a knife in their gut-- it was a much grander scheme, based on a presumption that some people are "better" than others, and therefore more deserving of life. (Plus, he didn't have to get his hands messy)
So, even understanding exactly what would happen, that makes it easier to ignore or gloss over the implications.
Does that makes sense?
[quote:8cd9c59e22][quote:8cd9c59e22="lunakat"]For him (at least briefly) the ends justified the means... and that is always a dangerous attitude.[/quote:8cd9c59e22]
An attitude, I still maintain, that Kahvi has a good deal of the time. It's just that the means she is willing to justify aren't quite as drastic as Rayek's.[/quote:8cd9c59e22]
Exactly. And I completely agree that the means Kahvi is willing to justify are much less drastic than Rayek's. In that sense, I guess she is a somewhat more ethical creature.
Actually-- that makes sense. In her own way, Kahvi is fair. She never asks more of others than she herself is willing to give. If she wants her warriors to rush into battle, she's leading them there. When she tells Clearbrook not to cry, she herself is holding back her tears. And she does have a point when she tells Savah that the Go Backs deserve a piece of the Palace. After all, they shed blood for it- the Sun Folk didn't.
But Kahvi is not a sympathetic character. She's blunt, vicious in battle, and as chief, she does what she feels she has to do. Most of her actions and decisions have to do with survival-- her own survival and the survival of her people.
She's not terrifically farsighted or imaginative-- which, I think, is why she goes after the little Palace. AFter all, fighting to take back the Palace gave the 'Go Backs' meaning [i:8cd9c59e22]before[/i:8cd9c59e22], so... maybe it will work again? It doesn't occur to her to give them a different kind of goal. I think this lack is also why it is so easy for Zey to undermine her operation. She's chief... she's been chief... even after so many years, she expects them to follow her as chief. It doesn't occur to her that Zey might be bitter about losing his authority.
Now, regarding Venka...
I found this essay about Yun: http://pwp.value.net/~catpur/yun.htm
It has an interesting take on Kahvi's actions when it came to lying to Rayek about Venka. I'll just quote it:
At the time that I originally wrote this, there was a big debate on EQUEST-L about the morality of Kahvi hiding Venka from Rayek. Family and being a father meant a lot to Rayek, but I wonder if Go-Backs really have a concept like we (and the Sun Villagers) do of "fatherhood". Obviously the biological aspect of it is important - see Skot wanting someone to follow after him in Dreamtime. But I don't see their culture as one in which "Mother and Father" raise the children.
First of all, since they breed without Recognition, I'd bet at least half the time, they don't even know who the father of their children IS. See the question of whether Sust is Skot or Pike's, and the fact that Kahvi didn't know for certain that Venka was Rayek's until AFTER she was born. Again, I wonder if Yun knew her father was a Wolfrider before she met Savah, or just that she had been conceived right before the Palace War.
Anyway, given the rate at which Go-Backs seem to get themselves killed, I would imagine it's not uncommon for a child not to have a father even if they know who it was. Especially as one of the children of the Palace-War dance, I doubt Yun was the only child without a father present while she was growing up. (Probably it's not uncommon for children to lose their mothers either.) One thing Yun doesn't seemed that interested in finding is her father. When they actually meet at the end of Shards, she just wants to see what he looks like, but doesn't make any effort (that we see anyway) to talk to him and get to know him. The only time she's really shown much interest in Skywise was after her Chief's Walk, when she wanted to hear stories from Ember. Maybe she finally is interested in getting in touch with her past. Hmm, that's not a very Go-Back thing to do, is it? [/quote:8cd9c59e22]
I rather agree with this take on the issue. I don't think Kahvi really concieved of it as being that big a deal... because, to the Go Backs, it wasn't. In her mind, he was just being wierd and possessive-- and she wanted him off her back.
Nomad also pointed out that Kahvi might have been concerned that Rayek would teach Venka to feel superior because of her magic and look down on her mother's people. I think this was shown to be a legitimate concern when, in Dreamtime, Rayek interprets Venka's dream to mean that she was "above" the Go Backs. Venka, of course, corrects him-- reminding him that that [i:8cd9c59e22]isn't[/i:8cd9c59e22] the right way to think.
[quote:8cd9c59e22="krwordgazer"]To me, the crimes Rayek actually committed, not the ones he contemplated and then repented of, are the ones he is culpable for. Namely, that he destroyed the Go-Back lodge, and that he kidnapped Cutter's family. [/quote:8cd9c59e22]
Sure, but even those actions were pretty bad-- and much worse than anything Kahvi's done (if we are drawing comparisons).
Destroying the Go Back lodge, to me, was the crime that put Rayek over the edge. Never once has he expressed any repentence for that. He ruined the lives of an entire group of people-- taking from them everything they had worked for. And he [i:8cd9c59e22]collapsed a cave[/i:8cd9c59e22] on top of his ex-girlfriend
's head. He didn't even bother to find out whether or not she had survived. That's pretty much manslaughter if she didn't-- right?
I mean, think about it-- He smashes a cave in, refuses to save Kahvi. And then, he reviles the Go Backs for being unworthy. Then he exiles them. And nobody bats an eye!
What gives him the right? If he's mad at Kahvi-- sure, kill her in a cave-in. You're even. But he looks smugly down at all the Go Backs and takes everything away from them- recklessly endangering all their lives in the process. Why does this not seem to bother anybody else?
[quote:8cd9c59e22] As for something he just thought about doing, then came to his senses and stopped himself in time-- the only thing he's guilty of there is a dangerously bad attitude. One, I'll add, that he finally saw in himself and was willing to admit to and change. [/quote:8cd9c59e22]
Which is what made him redeemable. But he [i:8cd9c59e22]was[/i:8cd9c59e22] guilty of more than a bad attitude. He actually took the steps necessary to carry out his plan-- then stopped.
That's like signing up with Osama, then plotting to slam a plane into the World Trade Center... and [i:8cd9c59e22]then[/i:8cd9c59e22], having hijacked control away from the pilot, being about ten seconds away from impact...swerving at the last minute. I mean... you came [i:8cd9c59e22]this close.[/i:8cd9c59e22]
[size=9:8cd9c59e22](and yes, I know someone is going to complain that comparison is inappropriate. But heck, we've been talking about the holocaust...)[/size:8cd9c59e22]
[quote:8cd9c59e22]I think what you're saying about ordinary German people and the Holocaust is true, Lunakat, and that's why, to me, Rayek represents humanity more than many of the other characters. We are all capable, under the right conditions, of following a dangerous lie. I have done so myself. That's why Nowth's words ring so true to me:
[quote:8cd9c59e22="Nowth"]I suppose... maybe I just feel sorry for everyone who screws up so badly without ever meaning to be "evil". If you never felt that you were the one who was wronged - you start to get used to thinking of yourself as in constant need of forgiveness and in constant danger of punishment. Naturally I could never identify with Cutter or Nightfall or other impeccable characters. So it is for my own sake that mistakes have to be forgivable and perhaps this leads to moral relativism disguised as compassion. I don't know.[/quote:8cd9c59e22][/quote:8cd9c59e22]
Hmm.. See, I don't see the other characters in Elfquest as all that perfect. I rather see them all as being human. They have differing strengths and weaknesses. The main characters, at least, make a lot of mistakes. (Leetah, Cutter, Skywise, Bearclaw, Joyleaf, Aroree, Kahvi, Strongbow, Moonshade, Ember, Scot, Krim, Pike... all of them have made mistakes.) Very human mistakes. And their characters have evolved because of that.
[quote:8cd9c59e22]I have needed forgiveness in my life, many, many times. I don't think it's moral relativism-- I think forgiveness is a moral good that helps, in some spiritual way, to wash away the terrible effects of our tendency to "screw up so badly without ever meaning to be evil."[/quote:8cd9c59e22]
Sure. That's makes sense. Forgiveness is necessary and important-- and we all screw up at some time or other. It's just that... some acts carry more weight than others. You have to admit "I kidnapped your family for many years" is different from "I tried to steal burning meat from some humans, deliberately broke the rules, and screwed up."
I think what I disagree with here is that forgiveness can "wash away the effects" of our actions. I think that we can ask forgiveness, we can (perhaps) recieve forgiveness, we forgive ourselves and others... but the effects of our actions remain with us. Saying "I'm sorry" doesn't make it go away.
[quote:8cd9c59e22]I suppose that's why my favorite episode in all of Elfquest is the one where Rayek enables Cutter to find a way to forgive.[/quote:8cd9c59e22]
I like this episode to. It's the point at which Rayek becomes redeemable again for me. But it's not the point at which I forgive and forget his past indescretions.
Nomad put it really well. She said that, Rayek didn't earn her forgiveness, but he earned her respect. He committed some terrible, terrible wrongs. But he was willing to stand up and take the consequences of his actions. He didn't run from the effects of what he had done. Instead, he took responsibility.
Ultimately, I think that is a trait that he and Kahvi have in common. They both are willing, in the end, to take responsibility-- and to shoulder the consequences.
Rayek's sacrifice in Rogues Curse was necessary. Somebody had to do it. Because he created the problem, Rayek volunteered. It was right that he do so. And it speaks volumes about his character... that he had the strength and courage to accept the consequences for what he had done.