Prince of Thorns discussion - SPOILERS!

Brian G Turner

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SPOILERS!





Okay, I know we've seen discussion on Prince of Thorns on the Mark Lawrence thread, but there's a specific issue I've been meaning to ask about for some time.

1. Jorg is defined by Mabberton. This is what opens the story, and introduces us to him as the bloody war band leader, happy to throw farmers daughters into rapine hands.

2. Later on, Corion implicitly states that not only has he been directly using Jorg, he has been controlling him as well

However - and here's the part I'm not certain about:

3. Doesn't Corion taunt Jorg about Mabberton, pointing out that the settlement was of absolutely no strategic value in the war Jorg had been used to set up?

Jorg sees himself as an intelligent and strategic thinker. Isn't therefore some kind of realisation from Jorg about just how much he's been used?

And that's the rub - there's been a lot made about how Jorg is a terribly evil killer and rapist - and yet in the very scene that defines him, that opens Prince of Thorns, we later find out was a set up, that he attacked the place outside of his own volition?

I'm not trying to suggest redemption on the part of Jorg, I just never see this issue brought up, not least to excuse his behaviour, which makes me wonder if perhaps I mis-read it?

(I can't find anything on Google written about this).
 

Mark_Lawrence

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SPOILERS!





Okay, I know we've seen discussion on Prince of Thorns on the Mark Lawrence thread, but there's a specific issue I've been meaning to ask about for some time.

1. Jorg is defined by Mabberton. This is what opens the story, and introduces us to him as the bloody war band leader, happy to throw farmers daughters into rapine hands.

2. Later on, Corion implicitly states that not has he been directly using Jorg, he has been controlling him as well

However - and here's the part I'm not certain about:

3. Doesn't Corion taunt Jorg about Mabberton, pointing out that the settlement was of absolutely no strategic value in the war Jorg had been used to set up?

Isn't there then some kind of realisation from Jorg about just how much he's been used?

And that's the rub - there's been a lot made about how Jorg is a terribly evil killer and rapist - and yet in the very scene that defines him, that opens Prince of Thorns, we later find out was a set up, that he attacked the place outside of his own volition?

I'm not trying to suggest redemption on the part of Jorg, I just never see this issue brought up, not least to excuse his behaviour, which makes me wonder if perhaps I mis-read it?

(I can't find anything on Google written about this).

The answer is, I think, several-fold:

i) many who condemn the book don't actually read it - or read only the quotes someone else chooses to put before them -or read the first chapter and assume they then know the whole book.

ii) The point you make is inconvenient to those wishing to use the book to trumpet their own world-view ... and so they ignore it.

iii) The degree of Corion's influence/control is left deliberately ambiguous and Jorg himself does not use it as an excuse. He says (rightly or wrongly) that while the broad strokes might have been painted by another hand it was him who filled in the detail.

From the last page or two:

I spread the pages before me. A scribe will have to copy these out. I write in a crabbed hand, a tight unbroken line, the line I’ve followed from there to here, from then to now.

I see my life spread out across a table top. I see the course of my days, how I spun about, aimless, like a child’s top. Corion may have sought to guide the destination but the journey, the murderous, random, broken journey, was all mine.
 

Rolynd

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I don't think it was clear how much he had been steered, left up to the reader to decide. I think that's good, if it turned out that all along he was a nice boy really but was being remote controlled I'd find that a bit deus ex machina.

So in answer to your question, I'd say Jorg was nudged but that he was receptive to the nudging because of who he was and that his actions still can't be excused as a result.
 

Boneman

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I don't think it was clear how much he had been steered, left up to the reader to decide. I think that's good, if it turned out that all along he was a nice boy really but was being remote controlled I'd find that a bit deus ex machina.

So in answer to your question, I'd say Jorg was nudged but that he was receptive to the nudging because of who he was and that his actions still can't be excused as a result.
Wait... the author has answered the questions, hasn't he?
 

Brian G Turner

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Corion may have sought to guide the destination but the journey, the murderous, random, broken journey, was all mine.
The fact that Jorg went to Mabberton suggests Jorg has no idea how much control Corion would have had over him.

But a proud Jorg is hardly going to admit that much of what he did was outside of his control - that he was merely an angry ball of fury that someone leashed for their own murderous ends.

In which case, I would have thought there was a clear argument to be made that Jorg is as much a victim here, even violated.

I know it may come across as ironic, but I thought that was a big part of the story - that Jorg suffered: witnessed his family murdered, his mother raped, and was then controlled as a puppet - and that his challenge was to break free of all this.

That doesn't mean he would not be an angry character, but previously, he was a victim - the story was about him taking control.

That's what I got from it anyway, and that the explicit use of Mabberton to introduce Jorg, define him, yet be revealed to be part of the control over him, was a key part of this story.

Morally, we're in difficult territory, because even if Jorg would have been happy to do these things regardless, the choice was not his - the actions were not his.

I suspect he doesn't do much in the way or pillaging and raping in the later books (I may not get around to them soon as I have a HUGE reading pile I must get through this year), but even if he did, there would likely be a sense of wrongness and regret. Even if he did, and he enjoyed it, it could nevertheless be argued that he had simply been conditioned by Corion to be like this.

Or, to put it simply: there are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. :)
 

Mark_Lawrence

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The fact that Jorg went to Mabberton suggests Jorg has no idea how much control Corion would have had over him.

But a proud Jorg is hardly going to admit that much of what he did was outside of his control - that he was merely an angry ball of fury that someone leashed for their own murderous ends.

In which case, I would have thought there was a clear argument to be made that Jorg is as much a victim here, even violated.

I know it may come across as ironic, but I thought that was a big part of the story - that Jorg suffered: witnessed his family murdered, his mother raped, and was then controlled as a puppet - and that his challenge was to break free of all this.

That doesn't mean he would not be an angry character, but previously, he was a victim - the story was about him taking control.

That's what I got from it anyway, and that the explicit use of Mabberton to introduce Jorg, define him, yet be revealed to be part of the control over him, was a key part of this story.

Morally, we're in difficult territory, because even if Jorg would have been happy to do these things regardless, the choice was not his - the actions were not his.

I suspect he doesn't do much in the way or pillaging and raping in the later books (I may not get around to them soon as I have a HUGE reading pile I must get through this year), but even if he did, there would likely be a sense of wrongness and regret. Even if he did, and he enjoyed it, it could nevertheless be argued that he had simply been conditioned by Corion to be like this.

Or, to put it simply: there are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. :)
Oh shush! You're suggesting subtlety. The angry people don't want me to be subtle, they want a whipping boy. They want the books to contain exactly what their brief perusal of the first few pages suggests. Why make things difficult for them?
 

svalbard

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I have finished POT and Jorg won me over in the end. So much so that I am motoring through KOT at the moment. No maps on the kindle versions which is a pity.
 

Mark_Lawrence

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Just outta interest, Mark, and it's derailing slightly, but did you do the map yourself? (We've had threads on map-making, but I like the simplicity of yours...)
I drew the original, based closely on an online map of Europe with a 100m rise in sea-level. Voyager made it prettier (added colour, put the names of the countries in typeset etc).
 

svalbard

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Thanks for the link, Mark. Had pretty much figured out where the story was set, but not knowing for certain was starting to do my head in. I am a firm believer in maps when it comes to fantasy books.
 
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