(from the end of volume 55; scan found on baidu forums)
Written for volume 55.
There have always been readers asking me: “Where would the conflict be in a work without a clear divide between loyalty and corruption? And what stance do each of the hegemons take?” Starting with this volume, I will try to explain whenever there’s a spare moment.
In the feudal ages, the greedy and corrupt nature of the Chinese people meant that a dynastic rule will always result in conflicts after a certain period. A war-torn era would then follow!
From Liu Xiu’s coronation in year 25 to Cao Pi’s usurpation of Han in 220, it took a hundred and ninety-six years. East Han was beyond saving. Having lost the support of the people, “Han” was looking at a regime change sooner or later. It was only a matter of who to make use of the right opportunity…
It’s like the political scene now, “the rise of a conqueror” requires a convincing line of argument and goal – for the people and to save lives – to have one’s own faction end up dominating the world. Obviously I believe the historians of the time will pen the losing side as “self-important (crowning self as emperor) and self-serving.”
My humble work “The Ravages of Time” has made it to volume 55, yet the story is still full of nonsense and pretentiousness. To help the readers understand how chaotic the Han’s demise was, I’ll try to present each character as “in the right” (???), and use modern day political factions as reference. Treat it like a joke.
If you want the people to serve you, champion a method that prioritizes the masses, eliminates corruption and scums.
Below are each character’s political platform:
* Dong Zhuo’s faction was intolerant of corruption. They entered the capital through radicalism, believing that only a total reform could save the world. Unfortunately their political leader was killed. As their main ideal teetered, they were plunged into disarray and ultimately destroyed.
* Yuan Shao led the conservatives with centuries of Loyalist baggage to boot. He had to toe the party line but also fend off attacks from other factions. Hence he started up a second track with “Yuan Fang”, whose job was to break out of the constraints and gain votes elsewhere.
* Yuan Shu headed the honest faction. Why not crown himself when “Han” had failed? He was the first to turn his back on “Han”. Unfortunately his similar-minded opponents knew to hide their true intentions and attack him using this point, costing him all of his votes…
* The Sun clan had no baggage. They prided themselves on self-reliance, and “continuous enterprise” was their greatest motivating factor to the working class. (As long as they agreed on “propagation” in principle, even the bloodiest inter-party feud can be put aside for the sake of progress.)
* Cao Cao represented the faction with the power of propaganda. Basically he would appear in any form of media, since he would be dragged into any event. Whoever dominated the media dominated the world, and he won by a landslide at Guandu.
* And Liu Bei worked at the grassroots level. He knew that a small political faction must toil away in secret. He came from a decent background, but he needed a campaign manager. After he finally obtained Kong Ming, he won the election in the western area and became the biggest opposition.
Obviously there were various factions in each area. Through appointment or heritage, or even religion… There were too many types to cover.
With this guide I hope you all will have an easier time reading “The Ravages of Time.” Haha.
(at first I also got the impression that he meant not to take it too seriously and be stuck on hating the plotholes or favoritism of characters, etc.)