Author Topic: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"  (Read 3646 times)

Offline Mira

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #210 on: March 26, 2020, 03:32:16 AM »
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Depends... Harry was under the Doom until the Council lifted it.  He had been considered a full wizard (albeit a disreputable, kitty-literbox'es-his-dress-robes sort of full wizard).

He was considered to be a full wizard because he was able to kill Justin if I understand it right in supposedly a fair fight.  However because he was still under age he was shipped off to live with Eb.

Because he broke one of the Seven Laws, and because some refuse to believe an apprentice could pull of what Harry did unless he was a warlock, many wanted his head.. The Doom was a compromise and the fact the Eb had a lot of pull.  You will remember back in Summer Knight some thought that Harry should be demoted back to apprentice because he never completed the number of years of study or took the test or underwent the trial that an apprentice must take to earn full wizard status.  Don't ask me what that is but I believe it was hinted at also in Summer Knight.
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But the point is I was responding to Morris's comment that the Doom is simply a metaphor for the responsibility one has when they accept a student. I was just asking what's the scope of that responsibility.

I believe that is only if you accept a young person with talent who has shown a propensity towards being a warlock but is salvageable, thus placed under the Doom.. The wizard who accepts this charge is then responsible for the rehab as well as further training of the apprentice.. If there is a backslide into warlockhood the wizard gets the chop along with the student.
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I suspect that if Molly had gone warlock, Harry could have escaped execution  by turning her in (with the recommendation to kill, instead of clemency); or maybe if he killed her himself.

I doubt that simply because he pissed the Merlin off when he got her sentence reduced to the Doom.
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I don't think Harry could escape responsibility by killing Molly. That's only partially because Harry didn't have any such orders, but mostly because it's never ever brought up. I don't think the Doom was applied to Eb. Not once does Harry even hint that Eb was under the Doom. I'm uncertain if a wizard could take responsibility for a warlock who wasn't a wizard level talent.
I don't think Eb was under the Doom either, but not because Harry was already considered a full wizard, but because he was the Blackstaff and under orders to carry out Harry's execution if he stepped out of line.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 03:35:00 AM by Mira »

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #211 on: March 26, 2020, 03:38:31 AM »
@Morris: What's a meta for?  ???

Offline morriswalters

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #212 on: March 26, 2020, 04:18:29 AM »
@g33k
Any sentence that has
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Kim wasn't under the Doom
has mangled my metaphor.  But don't worry about it, metaphor's were made to be abused.

More seriously, ask yourself why he chose to call it The Doom of Damocles? Other then the fact it sounded cool.

@Morris: What's a meta for?  ???
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Offline g33k

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #213 on: March 26, 2020, 07:45:15 AM »
Any sentence that has {SNIP} has mangled my metaphor. 

I see!

May I abuse it further, then?

The "Doom of Damocles" isn't even slightly metaphorical.  It's a specific legal doctrine within the White Council.


More seriously, ask yourself why he chose to call it The Doom of Damocles?

Possibly to show that the Council are a bunch of pretentious twits?  "Someone stopped us from snicker-snak'ing you, and we think it may have been a mistake.  So we'll put a hardcase on YOUR case, and hope for the best (i.e. an only-slightly-delayed snicker-snak).  But we'll give it an impressive name, instead of 'delayed murder.' "

Offline Mira

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #214 on: March 26, 2020, 12:00:11 PM »
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The "Doom of Damocles" isn't even slightly metaphorical.  It's a specific legal doctrine within the White Council.

  It is, but rarely used because most wizards don't want to take the risk by playing parole officer and teacher to a young warlock..  If they fail the price they pay is too high.

Offline morriswalters

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #215 on: March 26, 2020, 12:14:50 PM »
I see!

May I abuse it further, then?
You can do as you wish with my metaphor, I no longer cherish it. And by he I meant Jim Butcher.

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #216 on: March 26, 2020, 05:20:57 PM »
The Damocles reference makes sense without any reference to a penalty to the Master. Harry did a bad thing, and the results are always hanging over his head.

Offline Mira

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #217 on: March 26, 2020, 05:43:23 PM »
The Damocles reference makes sense without any reference to a penalty to the Master. Harry did a bad thing, and the results are always hanging over his head.

I cannot find it at the moment, but the responsibility for the apprentice under the Doom, if the apprentice back slides goes on the master as well, so it is death for both..  That is one reason why there is a shortage of wizards willing to step up for kids that can be salvaged,  since if left unchecked they go full warlock, easier to lop off their heads instead.

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #218 on: March 26, 2020, 05:45:33 PM »
I cannot find it at the moment, but the responsibility for the apprentice under the Doom, if the apprentice back slides goes on the master as well, so it is death for both..  That is one reason why there is a shortage of wizards willing to step up for kids that can be salvaged,  since if left unchecked they go full warlock, easier to lop off their heads instead.
This in no way responds to the point I'm making.

Offline morriswalters

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #219 on: March 26, 2020, 06:35:29 PM »
You can apply the metaphor in any number of ways.  One is that Kim is Damocles.  Not understanding the true nature of the peril that Harry faced. Like Damocles she didn't really get it.  The point of the sword was to teach Damocles what it meant to hold the throne.  The point being that Damocles couldn't see the peril until he faced it.  In my version Harry would be the King.

Offline Dina

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #220 on: March 26, 2020, 06:40:56 PM »
I thought the point was that the king was always aware. A sort of "we are watching you"
Missing you, Md 

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Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #221 on: March 26, 2020, 07:13:24 PM »
At least according to the Wikipedia page, the sword was a metaphor for the king's, Dionysius, situation. He had secured his power through unjust actions. As such, he could never rule justly because, if he did, he would be killed. He had to be a tyrant to maintain his own security. Damocles wanted to experience the riches and pleasures of being king for a day. The sword that may fall at any moment is the cost of the throne and all it's benefits.

One of the main points of the parable is that tyrants are never safe because they have wronged so many people. The Wikipedia page cites to many examples of this interpretation. Another point may be that jealousy is often misplaced.

Here's a link to the story itself: http://whisperingbooks.com/Show_Page/?book=Classic_Greek_And_Roman_Myths&story=The_Sword_Of_Damocles.

Here's a link to a going into how the saying is often misused and the point is my "another point": https://www.npr.org/2011/08/19/139799434/sword-of-damocles-reference-sometimes-misused. I'd argue that America's debt crisis does indeed fit the professor's interpretation of the parable. He also has a slightly different telling of the story than the previous link.

Offline morriswalters

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #222 on: March 26, 2020, 08:27:02 PM »
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Sword of Damocles

According to the story, Damocles was pandering to Dionysius, his king, and exclaimed to him that Dionysius was truly fortunate as a great man of power and authority, surrounded by magnificence. In response, Dionysius offered to switch places with Damocles for one day so that Damocles could taste that very fortune firsthand. Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king's proposal. Damocles sat down in the king's throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius, who had made many enemies during his reign, arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse's tail to evoke the sense of what it is like to be king: though having much fortune, always having to watch in fear and anxiety against dangers that might try to overtake him. Damocles finally begged the king that he be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate, realizing that with great fortune and power comes also great danger.[1][2]

King Dionysius effectively conveyed the sense of constant fear in which a person with great power may live. Dionysius committed many cruelties in his rise to power, such that he could never go on to rule justly because that would make him vulnerable to his enemies. Cicero used this story as the last in a series of contrasting examples for reaching the conclusion towards which he had been moving in his fifth Disputation, in which the theme is that having virtue is sufficient for living a happy life.[3][4]
Here the Wikipedia version of the story, complete. Regardless of it's meaning in context, the story itself is my metaphor.  Kim was never in a position to correctly gauge her danger.  She was ignorant of the risk.   She is Damocles, with Harry as Dionysius.  The only person who understood was Harry. Anyway the idea has been lost through too many explanations by me. Under the spoiler is a short explanation of what is in my mind as I read.

(click to show/hide)

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The one certain thing that is true about wizard towers is that the wizard is always alone.

Online Avernite

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #223 on: March 26, 2020, 09:52:35 PM »
I cannot find it at the moment, but the responsibility for the apprentice under the Doom, if the apprentice back slides goes on the master as well, so it is death for both..  That is one reason why there is a shortage of wizards willing to step up for kids that can be salvaged,  since if left unchecked they go full warlock, easier to lop off their heads instead.
That's exactly the salient point though - IS that how it is, or is that only how it is if the Council doesn't trust the wizard-master in question to do the chopping?

After all we know the Doom first from Harry's case... who was no longer an apprentice at that time, and had a parole officer tasked with chopping his head if he stepped out of line; surely Morgan wasn't under the Doom at that time. If this is a possible option during full wizardhood, why not for an apprentice who is likely less strong (so easier for even not-Morgan to subdue)?

I mean it's still mentally harsh, as in you may have to kill someone you cared for, so it still argues for not wanting the job for most wizards...

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Kincaid microfiction "Goodbye"
« Reply #224 on: March 26, 2020, 09:59:06 PM »
@Bad Alias
The one certain thing that is true about wizard towers is that the wizard is always alone.
When I was researching wizard's towers, best I could tell is that they are a pretty recent fantasy trope. I wouldn't go so far as always, but one of the main points of a wizard's tower is isolation. The wizard is usually alone. Most of the time when the wizard isn't alone, the company is more familiar than companion. Think Bob and house elves from Harry Potter as examples of this kind of example. Sometimes it's the apprentice. Sometimes it's one or a few regular old human servants.

I see what your saying and think that may well have been Jim's intention. Harry's slightest of actions can have far reaching consequences. Harry dwells on this often. I think the best example of negative consequences is from White Night when Harry trashes the garbage can and Murphy drags Harry through the obvious consequences of his actions. They aren't the most severe consequences, but I do think they're illustrative of the point. The point is even reinforced when Harry throws Murphy's past behavior in her face. Even the comparatively little power she has must be used carefully. The best example of positive consequences is from The Warrior short story.

But I think the things Harry points to and feels the most guilty over (at least some of them) are the worst examples of this. The reason I think this is because I ask what specifically could Harry have done differently that would have changed things for the better and what would likely happen if he didn't act at all? In the examples Harry provides, it's usually not much and something worse.

Wizard's "are [supposed to be] subtle and quick to anger," whereas Harry is just quick to anger. Perhaps if Harry had been subtle or had not been quick to anger, he would have had come to better results with Kim. I can see that. But given Harry's age and history, that wasn't ever going to happen. There's a reason the White Council is a gerontocracy. There's a reason the don't have much respect for a wizard who isn't already a century old (at least).

My views of responsibility for ones actions are probably best described by the legal concepts of foreseeablity and causation. Were the results reasonably foreseeable? Did the actions actually cause the foreseen result? Was it the proximate cause, i.e., were the two so factually remote that responsibility shouldn't fall on the actor. Additionally an intervening cause can severe the responsibility. This is the idea that one is responsible for his own actions (unless his will is so overridden by the acts of another that he didn't really have any or much choice left). [Person Harry knew] made a choice. [That person] had enough information to act at least safely, if not wisely. The person does not act safely, and sometimes outright foolishly, and comes to great harm. Harry blames himself, but it's person's choice that led to the results, not Harry's.

It's like teaching a child to swim to avoid the danger of drowning. A foreseen consequence is that the child will be comfortable with water and may swim without proper supervision and drown. Does that possible risk make a parent teaching their child to swim negligent? Note we could substitute any number of things here that parents commonly teach their children that avoid corresponding costs and have corresponding risks. Cooking, transporting themselves, gun safety, bathing, the birds and the bees, reading, etc.

But what about responsibility for not acting? Does Harry have any responsibility to act in the world? Or is it his responsibility to bury his talents in the desert?