Author Topic: Harry's murders of Non-humans! (Cold Days spoilers)  (Read 29163 times)

Offline ebliss1

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I know the talk is about Fae/Sidhe but it applies to this conundrum that always bothered me.

If Harry killed Ebenezar with Magic, he'd be a lawbreaker, a black magic Warlock destined for the chopping block. It would also affect him in other ways since Eb is not only mortal but Family.

If Harry killed Thomas with Magic, no laws would be broken. He would not be considered a warlock and no retribution would be sought. Yet, in theory, it should also have an effect on him because Thomas is Family as well.

Thing is, Thomas has free will, has a soul, and has the potential to 'theoretically' become human. Despite that, he is fair game even to his own brother.

I can see why Margaret LeFay had issues with the Laws of Magic.

I've always had the same issue with Jim's magic rules in the DV.

If Harry uses a magical wind to blow a killer off of a mortal and the killer accidentally falls over and cracks his skull on the pavement, Harry is a warlock and must die immediately before he can kill again. If Harry were to just pull out his .44 magnum and shoot a random citizen, he's not a warlock, just (for lack of a better term) a jerk in the eyes of the White Council.

But, it's Jim's sandbox and he sets the rules.
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Offline Mira

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Mercy in the Winter Court is for the weak. And Mab will not stand for a weak Knight, since a Knight's weakness reflects on her. Mab expects her rules to be obeyed without question, and the penalty for breaking them is death. For her Knight, the "Fist of Mab" so to speak, those rules must be the same.

If Harry does anything less than what they have come to expect from their Queen, he is perceived as weak. If so, they will look to bring him down. If he were to, instead, horribly maim or cripple the Sidhe who challenged him, that Sidhe would spend an inordinate amount of time plotting vengeance. For Harry, dealing with predatory nobles who try to take advantage of his weakness, or fending off plots from his still-living victim would take time away from his duties, another thing Mab is less than thrilled about.

Also remember, as Harry observed in White Night among the Whampires, these Sidhe are effectively immortal. Death as a concept to them has a whole different meaning than it does to mortals. For them to risk death, and the millenia they would be throwing away as a result of coming out on the wrong side of the risk-reward ration, would represent a HUGE downside for them. With Harry's swift action, every Sidhe now has to weigh "torture a mortal for a few hours of fun and risk oblivion, or forgoe a few hours of fun and ensure thousands of years of existence".

Additionally, since these Sidhe are effectively immortal, the at-best couple centuries Harry would be around as Winter Knight will pass in the virtual blink of an eye.

So, no. In my opinion, anything short of what Harry did would have been a long-term disaster for him. Either he'd have doomed himself to non-stop attacks from the Winter Sidhe who would constantly test him for weakness, or Mab would have killed him outright for showing weakness in front of her entire Court.
  Which goes to my chicken analogy..  The Winter Court is not known for it's mercy nor it's benevolence, and they'd show none for Harry if he had answered the first challenge in any other way.  That is their way.  I think one has to also look at what Kringle said to Harry at the end of the book. 
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"Never let her make you cringe--but never challenge her pride, wizard.  I don't know exactly what passed between you, but I suspect that if it was witnessed by another, she would break you to pieces,  I've seen it before.  Terrible pride in that creature.  She'll never bend it."

There is more to it than just Mab's pride being hurt.  If she showed weakness her Court would take her out.  If Harry showed weakness, she'd take him out.  So as shocked or troubled as some are by what Harry did at the beginning of the book, it is what he had to so in order to survive his new status as Winter Knight.. There was no other way to respond and make his own strength and power understood.  That is how the Winter Court and the high Sidhi think, their ways are not human.
 
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 04:50:10 PM by Mira »

Offline raidem

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The White Council and the Laws of Magic are mainly about restraining wizards from misusing magic and protecting the mortal world from their predations when it involves black magic.  The mortal world has its own Laws with respect to how mortals behave.  I would assume that the White Council allows the mortal authorities to deal with illegal nonmagical acts by wizards.  WC would only step in if their were violations of the magical laws.  Though their are flaws with this setup, I do see the need for the council to constrain such actions.
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Offline raidem

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So as shocked or troubled as some are by what Harry did at the beginning of the book, it is what he had to so in order to survive his new status as Winter Knight.. There was no other way to respond and make his own strength and power understood.  That is how the Winter Court and the high Sidhi think, their ways are not human.
To say there were no other way to respond is grossly misunderstanding the alternatives open to Harry.  Sure, it is a bad ass way to behave.  And, it is an effective way to write the situation where Harry acted in the way he did.  To suggest though that Harry is unmarred by his actions is false.  We know that Harry will slide toward acting more like a Monster.  The WK mantle will win some.  Look at how Harry behaved in his confrontation with Maeve toward the end of Cold Days.  That was an obvious act whereby Harry slid to the mantle controlling him rather than him controlling it.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 05:04:22 PM by raidem »
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Offline Mira

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To say there were no other way to respond is grossly misunderstanding the alternatives open to Harry.  Sure, it is a bad ass way to behave.  And, it is an effective way to write the situation where Harry acted in the way he did.  To suggest though that Harry is unmarred by his actions is false.  We know that Harry will slide toward acting more like a Monster.  The WK mantle will win some.  Look at how Harry behaved in his confrontation with Maeve toward the end of Cold Days.  That was an obvious act whereby Harry slid to the mantle controlling him rather than him controlling it.
  We know?  We do not know what the future holds.  Did he act as a monster? If he were, he wouldn't have held a conversation with her.  No one suggests that he is unmarred by his actions, at the same time let's not pretend that he had a whole lot of good choices either. 

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I've always had the same issue with Jim's magic rules in the DV.
If Harry uses a magical wind to blow a killer off of a mortal and the killer accidentally falls over and cracks his skull on the pavement, Harry is a warlock and must die immediately before he can kill again. If Harry were to just pull out his .44 magnum and shoot a random citizen, he's not a warlock, just (for lack of a better term) a jerk in the eyes of the White Council.
But, it's Jim's sandbox and he sets the rules.

Myself, i think Jim's making a point about a universe where metaphysics and magic work in ways that aren't necessarily fair or just.
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Offline ebliss1

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The White Council and the Laws of Magic are mainly about restraining wizards from misusing magic and protecting the mortal world from their predations when it involves black magic.  The mortal world has its own Laws with respect to how mortals behave.  I would assume that the White Council allows the mortal authorities to deal with illegal nonmagical acts by wizards.  WC would only step in if their were violations of the magical laws.  Though their are flaws with this setup, I do see the need for the council to constrain such actions.

Yes, but the ideas put forth are less about "justice for lawbreakers" and more about "irreversible mental damage".

I personally have a problem with the idea that Jeffrey Dahmer, had he been a member of the White Council, could have done what he did using purely non-magic means, and NOT be a raving warlock with his magic.
Similarly, that a raving warlock like the asian kid that Harry watched executed who uses his magic to kill and torture regularly, would be able to be a perfectly respectable member of mortal society with zero spillover. (This is different from "appearing" to be a perfectly respectable member of mortal society - al la Marcone.)

The idea that the mortal world and the magical world are such seperate universes within one individual so as to have no contamination one way or the other is bothersome.
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Offline Serack

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I've always had the same issue with Jim's magic rules in the DV.

If Harry uses a magical wind to blow a killer off of a mortal and the killer accidentally falls over and cracks his skull on the pavement, Harry is a warlock and must die immediately before he can kill again. If Harry were to just pull out his .44 magnum and shoot a random citizen, he's not a warlock, just (for lack of a better term) a jerk in the eyes of the White Council.

But, it's Jim's sandbox and he sets the rules.

My paradigm for how magic works based off of many WoJ's and canon.  This paradigm is that using magic is essentially using your will to rewrite reality as you see fit (this post outlines a lot of this paradigm but in a different context).  Harry spends a lot of time pontificating about magic requiring that you believe in what you are doing.  He also discusses how changing something causes a reciprocal change upon yourself (White Night discussion with “Lash”) so if you are using your will/magic to rewrite reality to snuff the life/free will out of mortals (or even non-mortals), reality is going to push back and reshape your own being in consistent way.

Blowing someone away with a 44 has its own consequences, and Jim has even said that Eb has to deal with that level of consequences when he kills someone using the Blackstaff, but rewriting reality itself because you feel reality should include someone's heart not beating, or get burnt to cinders, or crushed to a bloody pulpy mass is going to result in metaphysical pushback of consequences on a whole different level.

Yes, but the ideas put forth are less about "justice for lawbreakers" and more about "irreversible mental damage".

I personally have a problem with the idea that Jeffrey Dahmer, had he been a member of the White Council, could have done what he did using purely non-magic means, and NOT be a raving warlock with his magic.
Similarly, that a raving warlock like the asian kid that Harry watched executed who uses his magic to kill and torture regularly, would be able to be a perfectly respectable member of mortal society with zero spillover. (This is different from "appearing" to be a perfectly respectable member of mortal society - al la Marcone.)

Jim/the canon acknoledges this problem with the wouncil's 7 laws and says that Margret was actually pushing for them/the council to change because of that very issue. 

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The idea that the mortal world and the magical world are such seperate universes within one individual so as to have no contamination one way or the other is bothersome.

Although magic does have a seperate/higher level of consequences, I think the level of seperation you are atributing to the DV here is contrived.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 07:14:43 PM by Serack »
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Offline novaseaker

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The idea that the mortal world and the magical world are such seperate universes within one individual so as to have no contamination one way or the other is bothersome.

I think you are right, but also wrong.

I believe that you are right in the sense that, yes, it would be ludicrous to expect a mass murdering wizard to restrain himself and only use non-magic in his killing sprees, thereby avoiding sanction by the White Council. Obviously you should expect there to be contamination.

I believe that you are wrong in the sense that, no, it would be ludicrous to expect a mass murdering wizard to restrain himself and only use non-magic in his killing sprees, thereby avoiding sanction by the White Council. Obviously you should expect there to be contamination.

In other words... where have you seen evidence in the series of such a character? Where have we seen a criminally-inclined magic user that acted to harm mortals without using magic? Have we seen anyone abuse this "loophole" yet? I'm wracking my brain trying to think of someone, but I can't. I'd posit that you're exactly right, there would be contamination, so there always is, and therefore the point you're trying to make is moot.

Offline cass

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I've always had the same issue with Jim's magic rules in the DV.

If Harry uses a magical wind to blow a killer off of a mortal and the killer accidentally falls over and cracks his skull on the pavement, Harry is a warlock and must die immediately before he can kill again. If Harry were to just pull out his .44 magnum and shoot a random citizen, he's not a warlock, just (for lack of a better term) a jerk in the eyes of the White Council.

But, it's Jim's sandbox and he sets the rules.

Huh. I always figured that the WCouncil operated on the principle that they would take care of magical crimes and let the mortal authorities deal with the mundane crimes-- even if they are perpetrated by wizards.  This policy makes sense if you go back to the whole stance of not getting involved with politics.  (I mean, I know that there is probably no country on Earth that doesn't outlaw murder....but it would set a precedent of enforcing laws--or choosing which mundane laws to enforce--that would very quickly become tricky given the diversity of countries represented within the WC.  Plus, what would happen in the case of non-capital crimes?  Would they all be capital, even things that would be considered misdemeanors? What if they were committed in the mundane world but on behalf of the Council? (e.g., A messenger trespasses onto private property when exiting a Way carrying urgent information for the Council.  The Way had changed since the last time it was used; the messenger could not have predicted this.  Is it still a crime in the eyes of the mundane world? Yes...but it would put the Council in an awkward position if it was then forced to prosecute.)

Offline ebliss1

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In other words... where have you seen evidence in the series of such a character? Where have we seen a criminally-inclined magic user that acted to harm mortals without using magic? Have we seen anyone abuse this "loophole" yet? I'm wracking my brain trying to think of someone, but I can't. I'd posit that you're exactly right, there would be contamination, so there always is, and therefore the point you're trying to make is moot.

Obviously we have not seen an in-book example of this, but the way they are written lends itself to this exact scenario being "possible". The DV magic-effects-scale does not take intent into account. Any magic that kills - even if the intent of the spell was benign - irreversibly turns a practitioner into a warlock, inless it was self-defense. If Harry were to come across a person freezing to death, and use a spell to light a fire to warm them, but that fire subsequently causes a building to ignite and kill a homeless person inside, he's irrevocably tainted. The argument that he "inherantly believed that the homeless person should burn to death" falls apart since it was an unintended consequence, but the law and its rationale in the DV are absolute. He's a warlock and must die. Whether he feels remorse and that remorse messes up his mind, or if he simply chalks it up to "bad things happen and there's nothing you can do, but at least the freezing person's life was saved, so its a wash" is immaterial.

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Huh. I always figured that the WCouncil operated on the principle that they would take care of magical crimes and let the mortal authorities deal with the mundane crimes-- even if they are perpetrated by wizards.

But my point is that this has nothing to do with administration of justice. The WC does not execute wizards who have killed via magic as punishment or as a cosmic scale balancing. They do so because the person has become an irredeemable monster who will do nothing but inflict more suffering on others exponentially. Mortals have the concept of Justifiable Homicide. If a criminal is hurting someone and you take action to save the victim even if your won life is not in danger, but in the process the criminal dies, that's justifiable homicide. Do so with magic, and you need to die. That's according to Eb and has nothing to do with right and wrong.
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Offline knnn

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In other words... where have you seen evidence in the series of such a character? Where have we seen a criminally-inclined magic user that acted to harm mortals without using magic? Have we seen anyone abuse this "loophole" yet? I'm wracking my brain trying to think of someone, but I can't. I'd posit that you're exactly right, there would be contamination, so there always is, and therefore the point you're trying to make is moot.

None of these completely prove anything, but:

- Morgan ("a.k.a. uphold the Laws at all costs guy") uses a sword to execute criminals.
- Remember that the rational for why Luccio didn't kill La Fortier with magic is because the Laws were so strongly ingrained in her psyche.  This obviously didn't apply to killing him by mundane means.
- Morgan uses a gun to kill Peabody.
- Harry kills Corpstaker with a gun.  Luccio complains that he raised Sue, nothing is mentioned about the killing.
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Offline peregrine

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- Remember that the rational for why Luccio didn't kill La Fortier with magic is because the Laws were so strongly ingrained in her psyche.  This obviously didn't apply to killing him by mundane means.
It wasn't the law against using magic that stopped her, it was that at some point, she thought it was wrong, and didn't have the solid belief needed to use magic.

Offline knnn

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It wasn't the law against using magic that stopped her, it was that at some point, she thought it was wrong, and didn't have the solid belief needed to use magic.

Point is, she had no compunction about killing sans magic.  If there was worry of taint, I would have expected similar resistance.
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Offline novaseaker

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None of these completely prove anything, but:

- Morgan ("a.k.a. uphold the Laws at all costs guy") uses a sword to execute criminals.
- Remember that the rational for why Luccio didn't kill La Fortier with magic is because the Laws were so strongly ingrained in her psyche.  This obviously didn't apply to killing him by mundane means.
- Morgan uses a gun to kill Peabody.
- Harry kills Corpstaker with a gun.  Luccio complains that he raised Sue, nothing is mentioned about the killing.

None of these, except for Luccio and La Fortier, are criminal behavior. They are more akin to a police officer taking out a clear and present threat, which is a peacekeeping endeavor. The fact that the peacekeepers restrain themselves and not use magic is the very evidence that they are not becoming corrupted, because they still believe in restraining their own power.

The unfortunate situation with Luccio is more evidence of someone with a normally morally upright character resisting the corruption caused by mind control. While the compulsion magic made her kill La Fortier, it couldn't change who she fundamentally was, ergo, no actual corruption and use of magic.

I guess my explanation is more Doylist than Watsonian. You won't see someone that can restrain their power when they're normally committing wanton crimes, because the universe as written by Jim won't allow someone to show that unrealistic level of control. If you're the type to abuse power, then you abuse power, no matter what form it takes. Jeffery Dhamer would not have been able to restrain himself from using magic in his atrocities if he had the capacity to use it.