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Griffith Invictus: Fate, Free Will, and Miscellaneous

The following are what I consider my most important posts on The Black Swordsman forum, and links are provided to view the posts within the context of their discussion thread. Since these posts were made an indefinite amount of time apart from each other, the same information is sometimes repeated, but each of them have some piece of information the others don't.

Fate: God's Will
Guts' Desires
Rape of Caska
Behelits: Can Sacrifices Use Them?
Good & Evil
Free Will
Want & Need
Suicide & Rationality
Debate Priorities

Fate: God's Will

Okay, I think I should've better clarified my definitions. "God's will" and "natural order of things" are synonymous because the spiritual foundation known as God is what determines the natural order of things. "God's will" is also synonymous with "fate." I, personally, am a strong believer in free will, but I still have a definition for fate: fate is what happens when you make too many choices, thereby cutting off alternative options and cornering yourself into a very limited path. I think this is still applicable in the Berserk world. "Fate" in the Berserk world is something that is driven by the sub/un-conscious will of the people, but their combined will is so overwhelming that it steers the world along a very limited path.

I say "limited" because there 
are anomalies that occur. Ubik and Slan have confirmed this:

"How unforeseen!! An unpredictable thing happens at the temporal junction point. Albeit an extremely minute thing..." Ubik (Vol. 13 Ch. 8)
"It's impossible to anticipate everything. We ourselves are not gods, after all. Or else this, too, was fated to happen... Either way, the leaping of one fish would never disturb the flow of the river." Slan (Vol. 13 Ch. 8)

Even though anomalies occur, they are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Now, that last quote also suggests that anomalies don't 
truly exist within the scope of the IoE, they only appear to exist because the God Hand are a step down from the IoE and so don't fully know its mind. SK, however, is a believer in anomalies:

"Though minute, singular details certainly can occur at the time junction point that even they can't predict... I will in turn gamble everything on that point." SK (Vol. 18 Ch. 10)

Since he is targeting the God Hand, it probably wouldn't matter whether anomalies really exist in the IoE or not, as he is only concerned with the blind spots in the God Hand's vision. But how has this worked out for him?

[Hieronymus wrote: Qliphoth(something like tht) false eclipse (eggapostle sacrificed the world i.e. the natural order of things), Ganishka's death (also fucked over the natural order by merging worlds). So basicly the natural order is always changing.]

1) Qliphoth: not sure what you mean. That wasn't a full manifestation of Qliphoth, just a slight bleeding of it into the human world since the veils between worlds were already dissolving.

False Eclipse: this was the will of God, and so very much the natural order of things.

Ganishka: this was again the will of God - it was something the God Hand were actively working to accomplish. Based on the visions received by humanity, it is also something I believe is made clear the people themselves asked for. They wanted a complete restructuring of their world. In fact, their wishes were very similar to Eggman's. Eggman's wish was to give birth to the perfect world ("perfect" as determined by the dystopian mass consciousness), and so he became the vessel for hatching the Savior King that would deliver that world to the people. And, back to SK, who tried to take advantage of a time he thought Femto would be most vulnerable, it is also made clear that Femto knew he would come, was waiting for him to come, and actually took advantage of SK's centuries of Behelit gathering to cut the ultimate portal. This, too, was fated.


Griffith could've destroyed Ganishka anytime he wanted, but he doesn't do that. Instead he provokes Ganishka to become super-Ganishka, put on an epic show for his human followers, and uses super-Ganishka to merge the worlds. Ganishka didn't know he was actually helping Griffith but he did nonetheless. I really don't think Griffith could've triggered the merging of the worlds without Ganishka's new form as the key. It's Ganishka's body that became a walking portal once he merged with Hell, and Griffith opened it.

So, to me, it seems obvious that this was all part of Ganishka's fate. Something this pivotal wouldn't just randomly happen in the Berserk universe. This doesn't mean Griffith controls fate. He is bound to it like everybody else, and he's riding the current of fate that humanity chose for him/themselves.


[Hieronymus wrote: Last thing I remember it was gods will that Casca ended up burned on a stake as a witch, I also remember that it was the will of the masses. However the "angel" got dragonslayerd to death and those masses died in the false eclipse.]

Ahh... this one both was and wasn't "God's will."

How it is NOT God's will:
Remember that the IoE which generates fate is driven by the 
mass consciousness and that major events could be centuries in the making as it manipulates destiny to create the proper conditions for them. Mozgus and the people of Albion don't qualify as the mass consciousness of humanity, and their desires for Caska's burning was such a relatively fleeting thing that it hardly registers on the map of fate. The events at Albion also constitute what I consider a kind of "Old Testament"/"New Testament" time junction in the Berserk world's religion. I don't think that Griffith, who is analogous to Jesus (see the numerous crucified/reborn hawk & behelit crosses in their churches) and bringer of the New Testament, would approve of Mozgus' methods. Griffith welcomes repentant Kushan and gives them a chance at redemption and equality. Mozgus, judging by the hanging customs of the Holy See in Vritannis, would have straight out killed them (likely torturing them first). Point being, Mozgus was not the infallible man of God he thought he was. He had no authority to speak for the IoE and did not know its will, and was basically pulling shit out of his ass.

How it WAS God's will:
Nevertheless, Caska was fated to be put on the stake and Mozgus was fated to fight Guts. The reality-warping presence of the branded was required to create the false eclipse. Caska was there to lure Guts to Albion. Caska, as well as Mozgus, was also there to 
distract Guts during his visit to Albion. While Guts was busy rescuing Caska and fighting Mozgus, Eggman was able to fulfill his much larger destiny undisturbed. And yes, of course the masses died. That's what happens during an Eclipse, false or not. That is the blood baptism through which the transformation ceremony works. It was Eggman's Eclipse. He sacrificed his world (the city/masses) to bring forth the Savior King who would deliver the perfect world (Age of Darkness and Griffith's kingdom therein).

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"How unforeseen!! An unpredictable thing happens at the temporal junction point. Albeit an extremely minute thing..." Ubik (Vol. 13 Ch. 8)
"It's impossible to anticipate everything. We ourselves are not gods, after all. Or else this, too, was fated to happen... Either way, the leaping of one fish would never disturb the flow of the river." Slan (Vol. 13 Ch. 8)

Even though anomalies occur, they are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Now, that last quote also suggests that anomalies don't 
truly exist within the scope of the IoE, they only appear to exist because the God Hand are a step down from the IoE and so don't fully know its mind. SK, however, is a believer in anomalies:

"Though minute, singular details certainly can occur at the time junction point that even they can't predict... I will in turn gamble everything on that point." SK (Vol. 18 Ch. 10)

Since he is targeting the God Hand, it probably wouldn't matter whether anomalies really exist in the IoE or not, as he is only concerned with the blind spots in the God Hand's vision. But how has this worked out for him?

SK posits that "
due to the brand, you now live in the Interstice. That is, the borderline between the physical and astral worlds. It's merely half a step, but you are outside the reason of the world. Maybe you aren't a shadow on the water, but instead, a fish that breaches the water's surface." But he's also a bit undecided on this point, since he admits the branded are subject to causality: "That we meet again unexpectedly here and now is proof, more than anything. We already subsist within the current of causality. We who exist beyond the physical are still merely shadows on the water."

So which is it? Is the Interstice a gray area? If the status of the branded as leaping fish depends on their existence in the Interstice, does that mean that witches (who live in the Interstice too) are also leaping fish? And now that everybody lives in the Interstice (or, alternately, that the Interstice doesn't exist), does that make everybody leaping fish? The God Hand are still very confident in causality despite the worlds merging. Witches still see themselves as subject to fate despite living in the Interstice. We have seen the branded used very explicitly to progress causality, so they are definitely subject to it.

"Free will" is really a misnomer when it comes to Berserk. Guts says he is making his own choices, and so he is, but so is everyone else. Everybody is choosing to do what they innately would given a set of circumstances. They (including Guts) are reacting to a long chain of events - cause and effect - that is Causality.

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Guts' Desires

I think Guts has a very, very powerful "dark" side to his being (duh). I don't need to remind anyone he's had a very rough childhood. He's been blamed for his adoptive mother's death, and had to live with Gambino treating him like shit for years. Eventually he was blamed for Gambino's death, too. I think he internalized a lot of this - the superstition that he brings misfortune to everyone around him. It's obviously not his fault, but it's hard to deny that it still happens whenever he's around, and that people (Caska, Corkus, Serpico, etc) kept reinforcing his fears.

He has guilt over his "mother," he has guilt over his "father," he has guilt over Griffith, over Caska, over abandoning the Hawks, over all the fiery death he leaves in his wake... while he's certainly not enjoying his current lifestyle, I do think some part of him feels he deserves it in some twisted way. In terms of his subconscious projection into the IoE, I think it could be said that he brought it on himself. But it could also be said that he got what others collectively wished for him, and he is still being used to further causality.

What has he always wanted? A place to belong. He found that with the Hawks, and after the Zodd battle his willingly dedicated his sword to Griffith (he wasn't forced to fight anymore). I think he enjoyed fighting first as a necessity, and then as something to give him purpose and make him valuable to Griffith, err, the Hawks. It's only after he overheard Griffith say that is not what he values in a friend that Guts started doubting his sense of belonging. So he left to find himself - to make himself Griffith's equal (read: friend) and worthy of Caska - in order to belong again.

While away from the Hawks, he came to the conclusion that his dream is about "sparks," which of course means fighting, but did that ever make him happy? Did revenge ever make him happy? His two years of isolation from his humanity left him numb to the world and on the brink of insanity. He might have tried to convince himself otherwise, but he feels horrible about leaving Theresia the way she was, about the poor Priest and his daughter that got killed for their kindness to him, even about Jill.

His revelation in volume 17 is about how he has been chasing empty goals at the expense of those most important to him. How he kept taking what he had for granted and so kept losing it, and promised to never do so again. I think he's growing tired of fighting stronger an stronger opponents (try convincing Hellhound of that, though), because doing so won't bring back what he's lost and it's already proven to not make him feel better.

He has found a new place to belong now, and he wields his sword to never lose that warmth again. But, most importantly, he wields his sword for Caska. I think it's obvious that what he has for her is a very deep love, even deeper than before the Eclipse. After being through so much, and especially through the Eclipse, nobody else in the world could understand them as much as they could each other. If Caska recovers her memory, that is.

I don't think anyone knows what she'll be like when she does. She's a complete wild card. But can Guts truly settle down and have a quiet life? Can Caska? If Caska asked him to I think he would, but I think he'd also be very restless. His entire psyche has been honed to be a fighter, as has Caska's. They would be happiest fighting side by side, distraction or not. Besides, even if they do decide to settle down, it can't last long. No place is safe anymore.

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Rape of Caska

From a personal level: the act was explicitly aimed at Guts (he hardly took his eyes off Guts the whole time). I think it was to get back at Guts for hurting him. A "you destroyed everything I love, so I'll destroy everything you love" type deal, or "I'll make you feel my pain," and also a bit of "you thought I was pathetic and crippled, but look at me now." Griffith's feelings were a lot more complicated than this, but when he became Femto he threw away [or simply repressed deeper] the confusion of sentimentality and saw things purely from the perspective of realizing his dream. As such, he was very bitter at Guts for distracting human Griffith from it, and also angry at him for abandoning Griffith. It was his way of telling Guts that Guts is no longer in control of their relationship.

But these feelings were completely in line with manifesting humanity's will. The ultimate purpose for Griffith raping Caska was to ensure a body for his reincarnation.* This is what humanity desired.

 An argument could be made that this is what Caska herself desired in the deep subconscious, as well: guilt about betraying her place with Griffith for Guts, guilt about not being able to rescue Griffith in time, a desire to help Griffith any way she can in his crippled state. The latter half of the Golden Age thrust Caska's sense of identity into chaos, and she was constantly struggling to reconcile her loyalty to and admiration of Griffith with her feelings for Guts. I think such a shift made her question her sincerity and could make her feel quite dirty, which would reflect powerfully on her subconscious.

You do understand that there's a world of difference between conscious and subconscious desire? These aren't pretty feelings, but they are very raw, human feelings. Griffith's, Caska's, and Guts' feelings are the natural result of causality and work in harmony with the manifestation of humanity's will.

* [Though, technically, it's not just Caska's baby that makes up his body. The baby appears to have merged with Griffith's new body which developed inside Eggman. But this doesn't change that this fusion was ordained by causality - i.e. humanity's will. The Albion False Eclipse couldn't have happened if Guts and Caska had not survived Femto's Eclipse.]

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Behelits: Can Sacrifices Use Them?

Okay, as far as a sacrifice being able to use the Behelit:

If that boy became one of ours... I'd love it!" Slan, Vol. 3 Ch. 2

Why not make a sacrifice... as he did?" Slan, Vol. 26 Ch. 3
(in response to half-activated Behelit)

If this Behelit indeed belongs to you, even if you were to discard it, when the time comes, it shall find you. ... Even if to you this is a beacon of revenge, I fervently wish that it leave your hand." Flora, Vol. 24 Ch. 6

Given that a member of the God Hand appears to believe Guts is able to use a Behelit, and that Flora, who is well versed in such things, also thinks it is possible the Behelit belongs to Guts, I would say that a sacrifice is capable of using a Behelit.

Of course, we also have Conrad saying "
But he hasn't been ordained by the laws of fate so he can't be among us." (Vol. 3 Ch. 2) A lot of people take that as definitive proof that sacrifices can't use a Behelit, but I think it's relatively vague. Guts is still within the flow of fate ("That we meet again unexpectedly here and now is proof, more than anything. We already subsist within the current of causality." SK, Vol. 18 Ch. 10), so it's possible he could still be ordained by it in the future, he just wasn't at that time. We don't know how far into the future the God Hand see ("We ourselves are not gods, after all" Slan, Vol. 13 Ch. 8), we just know that they know the flow of causality at a given instant in time.

So, "objectively" speaking, I think the answer to whether or not a sacrifice can use a Behelit is inconclusive right now. It's Conrad's word against Flora's and Slan's.

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Me: Good & Evil

I'm going to clumsily attempt to put things into "good" and "bad" terms. Don't take it too literally.

To me, "good" is when people's free will creates their reality, and "bad" is when something tries to force its own will onto theirs. Right now, the state of affairs in the Berserk world looks "good" to me. Humanity's will has control over its reality and wishes whatever it wants onto itself. This state of affairs would remain "good" whether that will is for the current version of the IoE or if they decide to change it to some kind of polytheistic-style "IoE." What would be "bad" is if magic tried to forcibly alter the collective will of humanity.

If the witches or the elves or whoever sent polytheistic missionaries and try converting people nicely, that'd be fine. Of course, Griffith won't allow that (because he's enforcing what people want
right now), so we're left with a conundrum. The only way I see to solve this conundrum is to convert Griffith himself first. Not saying that's likely, just explaining why the appeals to "change the IoE into a more positive influence on humans" don't translate as "good" in my head if it's by force.


I think there's an odd misconception floating around that I think Griffith is "good" or "noble" or "right" or "justified" or that everything will be a Paradise. O.o;;

I think I sorta get it now. These things are important to people who like to classify things into "good" and "evil." But, please understand, these concepts (good, evil, noble, right, justified, etc) have no real relevance to me. Griffith being "nice" to people or Guts being "mean" to people has no meaning to me in and of itself. I don't treat anything as an isolated incident that I can classify with sweeping generalizations. I look at the context in which something occurred... what happened before, what happens after, what the mental state is, what the motive is, etc. If I can understand why a character would do something in a situation given contributing circumstances, and I can see the possibility of myself doing the same in their place, I can sympathize with that character.

There is no "right" or "wrong" about it. I can like something or dislike something, and this wouldn't make what I like "good" or what I don't like "evil." It's just a personal preference. That's what it comes down to for me: the sanctity of choice. It doesn't matter to me if the world humans wished into existence is nice, or happy, or dangerous. The only thing that matters to me is that they got what they wanted, and can use the same mechanism to change it as they did to create it. It doesn't matter if they're stupid and desire stupid things. It doesn't matter if they're happy or unhappy with it. It's their own damn fault! They can take responsibility, learn from it, and change themselves if they want something different.

This is "good" to me. There should be no "perfect" God that "saves" people from themselves, just a self-correcting system that allows "free will" (which, when taken collectively, drives "fate") to flourish with all its extremes of joy and despair. That is my ideal, and that is what I see happening in Berserk so far.


[Omphaloskeptical wrote: I don't really think arguments for "consequence" being the scale of good and evil is a good one. Anything you do now won't mean shit after an infinity of time goes by, so in the long run consequences are fleeting. I'd prefer something more esoteric/aesthetic as the evaluative tool for morality.]

This goes back to my view about treating events, actions, and people as isolated things existing in a vacuum. Absolute notions of "good" and "evil" never made sense to me and they never will, but to then define them as abstractions severed from context and consequence is.. is... just madness! (yes, Sparta, I know)... imo, of course.

I guess this, then, is the key miscommunication between the two views. Maybe it's the difference between "objective" and "subjective" ideas of "good" and "evil," where they are cosmic absolutes in the former and personal preferences in the latter. I am obviously coming from the subjective end of things, so to me nothing makes sense without circumstantial (and, in Berserk, cosmological) context, and labels like "good" and "evil" are based on anticipation of consequences for various actions. That is, we consider something "good" or "evil" because of how the consequences mesh with our desires for ourselves, others, the world. Without this personal evaluation of consequences all actions, when isolated from context, are neutral and meaningless, because the same action can be either "good" or "evil" depending on circumstances. Actions wouldn't even exist without context or be done without anticipation of consequence.

This is why, in my head, the infinity standard doesn't apply. All things lose meaning in both infinity and isolation, which are opposite ends of the same spectrum. But the fact remains that none of us live in either infinity or isolation, so they only meaningful standard (imo) is to judge things based on how a chain of events affects those immanently involved in it (on all levels, and taking into account relevant history/background we are aware of).


Also, I don't think I've really mentioned this before, but I treat the sacrificial choice as an "idealized" state. Meaning, I don't judge it by what a person's goal is, but just by them having a goal. So to me it's not really "Griffith (or Zodd, or Rosine, etc) chose a kingdom over his 'friends'" but "Griffith chose to sacrifice everything he loved in order to accomplish a bigger goal (which could've been saving the planet or eating a twinkie)." It's a very broad "moral" dilemma. I treat it as "if you had a dream you believed in with your entire being, probably one you think is for the greater good, how far would/should you go to achieve it?" (would you sacrifice the lives of 100 to save 1,000,000?)

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Me: Free Will

I do not believe there is a way to take away anybody's free will. Much of the "why" involves a karmic explanation that is useless to those who don't believe in karma. Suffice to say free will does not exist in thin air, but in a world with consequences where there are no isolated events and nobody's innocent. Every time you make a choice you also impose onto yourself a restraint, so the more choices you make, the more you cut off your options and the more narrow your trajectory becomes. Many call this "fate" or "destiny."

Furthermore, in order for true free will to exist, the universe cannot be biased in favor of one choice or another. This means all choices must be allowed to be expressed, including those that put you in conflict with the will of another, and may result in pain or death. To put it in the eloquent words of Disturbed, "so can you tell me what exactly does freedom mean, If I'm not free to be as twisted as I wanna be." Without that extreme, you can't have the other extreme.

No matter what happens, your free will remains, because free will isn't about always having things your way, but about always being in control of how you deal with what happens to you (even in death).

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Me: Want & Need

Okay, I'll bite. What exactly is the difference between "want" and "need"? Who knows/decides what the world "needs"? This doesn't make sense to me, because I don't think anybody knows. The only way to know is to want something and, once you get it, decide if it's really what you wanted ("needed") or if you want to change it. This is what I think human will does in Berserk and it's a marvelous self-adjusting system.

What IS the greater good? It's the same kind of question as "need." Nobody knows. All you have to go on is your own experience with the world and what you think might make it better from your perspective. It is a subjective value judgment, and once you follow through with acting on it, you can decide if you accomplished what you wanted to improve. This will be yet another subjective value judgment which others might disagree with. They have their own ideas about what "the greater good" is.


This gets you into a "needs for what?" question. A "want" or "need" is typically directed towards some goal, and somebody has to determine that goal. After goals and their corresponding "wants"/"needs" are determined, somebody has to prioritize them. It is an innately subjective process. You can say that you "need" food/sleep/air to "stay alive," but the root of this is your "want" to stay alive, which is yet another goal that you set for yourself. To somebody else in a different situation, "staying alive" might not be the top priority.

A "need" is nothing more than an extreme version of "want" or, rather, a "need" is something essential to attaining a particular "want"/goal (such as "staying alive"). Either way, somebody has to determine and prioritize these things, and there is no absolute way to do it. In Berserk, this determination/prioritizing takes place through the will of humanity. It is the closest I can think of that comes to approximating common wants/goals on a massive scale.


I do believe that desires are intrinsically valuable.* I believe that the subconscious mind represents your true self and that denial of who you are is unhealthy. Humans in Berserk have many common subconscious desires based on shared experiences. This is at the foundation of the mass consciousness. If everybody wants something, you finding it morally objectionable doesn't make it wrong for them to have it. In such a case, barring them from getting what they want is what I would consider morally "wrong."** Things are "wrong" when people declare them to be so based on what they don't want to happen, and not because those things are intrinsically wrong. To be wronged is to have a desire be denied, which extends to the collective of individual desires.

*I believe complete acceptance of one's true self, without judgment, is the most essential foundation for self-expression and self-exploration. It is only after you can do this that you can change in a harmonious way. To fight the self, or to force the conscious mind's opinions on the greater self, doesn't accomplish much. Real change means not suppressing desires or antagonizing parts of yourself that you don't like, but working with them, understanding why you have them and their value, until they transform naturally. Anything less is superficial/unstable and doesn't last.

**"Wrong" is not to be confused with concepts of good an evil. "Wrong" in this case is a personal evaluation. Both the granting and denying of various levels of desire leads to valuable experiences. The granting of subconscious desire leads to expression of the true self, which facilitates self-exploration and the afore-mentioned harmonious transformation from inside-out (as opposed to from outside-in if the conscious mind forces itself on the subconscious) if necessary. I think this effortless, passive, and lasting transformation drives change in the human God.

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Me: Suicide & Rationality

[Deadite Army wrote: It didn't matter how many times Griffith would fall, there were always people there to pick him up. He knew that no matter what happened to him, he could rely on the hawks.]

Actually, most of the Hawks abandoned him, and there was nothing they could've done for him in his crippled state anyway. But there is a very crucial part missing from your overall hypothetical. You acknowledge that there's despair involved, yet you still proceed to think the dilemma through rationally and reference only ordinary interpersonal emotions. Thing is, though, suicidal people don't think that way. A very different mindset takes over.

It can be thought of as a black hole: once despair/depression reaches critical mass, it implodes into a singularity where the ordinary laws of psychology break down and get warped. Truly suicidal people no longer register the implications of their actions on their parents, their kids, their spouses, and other loved ones. They are all alone in a dark pit, and even their agony eventually gives way to numbness. Reality feels like something they're watching on TV and they're barely there. Once they become that kind of shell, consequences stop mattering, and if you shine a ray of hope into their pit, that is the only thing they'll see.

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Me: Debate Priorities

I have absolutely no interest in defending the morality of my opinions. They are largely not based on morality, and any morality they are based on is exclusively my own and therefore of no use to anyone else. In fact, I have no interest in defending my opinions at all. What does it matter to anyone what my opinion is? It would never make sense to them the way it does in my head. That's why it's mine and everyone else has their own.

The only thing I'm interested in is debating/questioning interpretations of the evidence which mine and others' opinions are based on. This is the only common ground I have with other people, and therefore the only thing I consider relevant in a discussion. So yes, I was getting confused why you kept bringing up my morality and judgment of actions since I don't factor myself into the equation. I just present alternate interpretations based on existing evidence that I hope people will take into consideration when developing their opinions. Past that I trust they will process it in on their own terms and decide for themselves what it means to them.

Short version: if you want to have a productive discussion, question my evidence/interpretation (with counter-evidence), not my value judgments.

(Note: to me, "interpretation" is an explanation, "opinion" is attaching a personal judgment to an explanation. There 
are times when I state my opinion, such as when Ompha asked my opinion on Griffith's flaws, but I try to avoid doing that since things can quickly turn ugly and irrational when emotionally charged judgments start flying around. It does nothing but antagonize people to each other and create misunderstandings.)


You're pointing out how you find it questionable morally. You are also projecting your modern sense of morality into the medieval setting of a completely different world. I don't think it's fair to judge that world/era by the same standards you do yours. This is likely an example of where my sense of morality differs from your sense of morality and demonstrates how moralistic arguments are an exercise in futility since it's very hard to find common ground.

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