Ravaging Times

July 28, 2015

volume 55 afterwords

Filed under: Ravages of Time — Tags: — merc @ 8:40 pm

v55afterword_1v55afterword_2

(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.)

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6 Comments »

  1. Hmmmm….. Except Liu Bei, everyone else wanted to replace the Han Dynasty with their own… And I can’t find fault with any of their ideologies, though I might have some misgivings about the methods they employ…. That being said, I have some confusion as to where to place some of the geniuses… The 1st was gonna overthrow Han and replace it with his/Yuan clan…. The second is a loyalist, who wants to restore Han to its former glory and is just using Cao Cai to do so… The third and the fourth geniuses are a bit difficult to place, does their support for Cao Cao extend till supplanting the current king and replacing it with the Cao line r do they want to restore Imperial Han??? The fifth has been fairly straightforward and unequivocal in support of the Sun clan and their ascendancy to the throne…. The sixth too is a loyalist (I think)… Now the seventh, I was under the impression that he too was a loyalist and wanted to restore the Han but now he believes in a ‘three kingdom ideology’- whatever the hell that means… I just don’t understand what is his motivation to do that, though it is something that Sima Yi has seen through… Can someone explain what it is exactly??

    P.S. It is said here: “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”
    What are the plotholes in the story cause I seem to have missed them… Thanks!!

    Like

    Comment by karthikkunchu — July 29, 2015 @ 8:55 pm

    • Liu Bei is sort of family to the reigning emperor, but by trying to replace him it would still be considered usurpation (just like when Cao Zhi or Yuan Shang wants to be successor instead of the eldest). YMMV

      Seventh is supporting the individual, not the ideology/tradition. He wants a Liu that can make a unification last, not a weakened figurehead that will just encourage further warlord rebellions. The three kingdoms strategy is to divide the opposition in two and consequently divide their attention in two (Wei be wary of Wu before attempting to invade Shu, similarly for Wu). If your government has only two major political parties, they better be at similar strength or one will be crushed. Does this analogy work? Shu is weak. It needs time to build up and not be constantly attacked.

      Third and Fourth are about stopping wars once and for all. Loyalty-wise they are committed to who they were serving (the most capable), but they just want wars to stop for good by wiping out the filth. Jia Xu will even sacrifice his own Lord sometimes.

      Other people can tell you their opinions of plotholes. I mostly gloss over them, even anachronisms like modern terminology/slang, etc. But at the top of my head: people trusting Sima Yi over and over again. Even if he is the best weapon to use at any moment, he has a backstabbing track record.

      Like

      Comment by merc — July 30, 2015 @ 6:56 am

      • I do understand.. Thank you very much… But just one more thing:

        You say Seventh is supporting the individual and not the ideology/tradition… But Sima Yi says this :

        [SMY]: Abandon Liu Xie and divide the world in three!
        (Liu Xie is the current emperor)
        [SMY]: This is an unspeakable desire that we all want.
        [SMY]: Because true loyalty to righteousness is to the ideal and not to a person. That’s why you chose Liu Bei and not the emperor.

        What does this ^ mean??? Is he loyal to the idea of benevolence in a ruler or something like that??

        Like

        Comment by karthikkunchu — July 30, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

        • KongMing is loyal to the “ideal” of loyalty/righteousness. He also wants to set up an example of “loyalty and righteousness” in his state.

          If Cao Cao / Sima Yi do the “dirty work” of getting rid of Liu Xie / current Han Emperor, then KongMing gets to do the “righteous work” of elevating Liu Bei as emperor without any internal obstacle while also being an example of righteousness in comparison to the practical/cycnical Cao Cao & Sima Yi.

          However, if KongMing eliminates Cao Cao & Sima Yi, then Liu Bei takes over as Prime Minister and inevitably ends up in conflict with Liu Xie due to conflicting ideologies.

          Basically, as long as Liu Xie is still around and holding power, then it’s impossible for KongMing / Liu Bei to be righteous and take power. That’s what Kong Ming’s righteousness is.

          Like

          Comment by hcdevid — July 30, 2015 @ 11:06 pm

          • Agreed.

            Like

            Comment by merc — July 31, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

          • Thanks!!! Makes me wonder now how it would have been had all “this” really taken place and Zhuge Liang had survived till the end… But I really feel bad for Liu Xie.. I don’t even know what kind of ruler he could be, because he was born in just an inopportune, unfortunate time…. Perhaps he could be as wise/benevolent as Liu Bei but now even the seventh has turned against him…. Only the second stays with him-and I know till what end….. Both the emperor and the second genius are tragic characters in this respect, and my heart goes out to them… If Zhuge Liang would just join Cao Cao and then help Sima to swallow him, while at the same time staying with the king it would have been good… Both the seventh and second are of same mentality and under their guidance Liu Xie could be a great king… Sigh… So tragic…

            Like

            Comment by karthikkunchu — August 1, 2015 @ 4:49 am


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