The Validity of ‘Fictional’ Characters

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Unread postby Gabriel » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:11 pm

Did Guan Suo really exist? I read around here and it seems like you guys think he didn't but I also read something about Zhang Fei and Guan Yu killing each others families and Zhang Fei spared a woman who later became Guan Suo's mother.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:16 pm

Liang Shuo wrote:Did Guan Suo really exist? I read around here and it seems like you guys think he didn't but I also read something about Zhang Fei and Guan Yu killing each others families and Zhang Fei spared a woman who later became Guan Suo's mother.

He really existed in the novel, and he really existed in folk tales, but there is no historical record of his existence, which means there is no reason for us to believe he really existed. History trumps rumour. The stuff about Guan and Zhang killing each other's family is myth.
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Unread postby Mistelten » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:45 pm

That doesn't mean we have reason to discount him though, right?
I don't think folk tales would add a mundane character. I'm not saying that there is proof for him, just that he was probably a real man who didn't do much. The novel never mentions exactly how many kids whoever had, so it makes sense that Guan may have had a few more.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:57 pm

crashman wrote:That doesn't mean we have reason to discount him though, right?

Well, it kind of does when you think about it. If there is no evidence that something existed, why should we suppose something did exist? That makes it fantasy. There is no evidence that Jesus Christ had a flying pet rhino, either.

crashman wrote:I don't think folk tales would add a mundane character. I'm not saying that there is proof for him, just that he was probably a real man who didn't do much.

Folk tales add mundane characters all the time, especially when they are based on someone like Guan Yu. Think about it... folk tales added some whacked out story about Guan and Zhang killing each other's family. How is that different from creating a guy called Guan Suo, to carry on his father's legacy (or so his father could survive a bit longer in the legend, through his sons)?
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— Roland Deschain, Wolves of the Calla
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Unread postby Mistelten » Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:09 pm

I'm not saying that I take the folk tale at face value, just that he may have had another son, and to put such a character in RTK is no problem to me. Heck, I always make a fictional son for Liu Bei when I play as Shu.

I'm wondering; Didn't they have a lot of 'secondary' children by concubines or 'lesser wives' back then? It would seem that there were probably a lot of illegitimate or 'lesser' children, they just didn't affect things in a big enough way to make it in to the story(ussually).
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:59 am

crashman wrote:I'm not saying that I take the folk tale at face value, just that he may have had another son, and to put such a character in RTK is no problem to me. Heck, I always make a fictional son for Liu Bei when I play as Shu.

Hwæt, of course it's a possibility. And I have nothing against fictionalization, either (I am a big fan of the book, and I don't mind the direction the DW games have gone). But my first impulse when people ask if someone really existed, or if something really happened, is to go by history. Whether or not Guan Yu had other sons--even some who were good at fighting--the Guan Suo of the novel did not really exist.
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Unread postby Gabriel » Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:40 am

Well, it kind of does when you think about it. If there is no evidence that something existed, why should we suppose something did exist? That makes it fantasy. There is no evidence that Jesus Christ had a flying pet rhino, either.
What about the ROTK book. It says Guan Suo existed, why should we not believe it?
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Unread postby Mistelten » Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:53 am

The 'differences in the Novel and history' thread has quite a number of reasons the Book is largely fictional.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:17 am

Liang Shuo wrote:
Well, it kind of does when you think about it. If there is no evidence that something existed, why should we suppose something did exist? That makes it fantasy. There is no evidence that Jesus Christ had a flying pet rhino, either.
What about the ROTK book. It says Guan Suo existed, why should we not believe it?

The book is a novel, even though it was based on historical events. A good way to make a comparison is that movie Alexander that recently came out. Even though it was based on historical events, it was written centuries after those events took place, and it was largely fictional. Another good example is Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote some history plays (the Henry cycle, for example) based on English history, but he made up a lot of the events.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is the same way. A lot of stuff that happened in the novel cannot be located in the historical records.
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Unread postby Gabriel » Sat Feb 05, 2005 6:59 pm

When exactly were the historical records written and how do you know that things not mentioned in the records didn't actually happen?
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