Zhuge Liang deserves better treatment

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Re: Zhuge Liang deserves better treatment

Unread postby Pang Shiyuan » Mon Sep 09, 2002 5:21 am

Xue Yu Fengsheng wrote:Just giving my useless opinion :
If LGZ made it like a history book than I'm sure only people who had high interest in history only would read it. I mean just look at Lord Of the Rings, this masterpiece use superstitious or othermagic kind of skill as their ingredients.
This kind of ingredients made a person who do not like to history or more extrem do not like to read become fond of it and make reading a hobby.


Well, LGZ didn't intend to make SGYY into a 100% historically (or politically) correct novel. His own interpretations and additions are placed in such a way it is obvious to the reader that the book was part-fiction.

SGYY was aimed towards the masses, not just the literati, and as a result, their appetites must be satisfied by such "heroes" like Zhao Yun, Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu...etc. It is not a book to be taken with seriously, as someone mentioned before, read it as if it is a nice bed-time story.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Mon Sep 09, 2002 6:12 am

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Unread postby Zhang Ren » Wed Sep 11, 2002 2:46 pm

I believed the one person that Lou Guan Zhong did the most harm was Chen Shou and his reputation as a historian. When most people realized how ordinary Zhu Ge Liang was, they start finding faults in Chen Shou (like: Chen Shou father was thought to be killed by Zhuge Liang or Chen Shou was Jin's bullhorn), in my honest opinion such suggestion regarding the integrity of any ancient historian is absurd.

DianWei wrote:Jiang Ziya Reminded me a lot of Zhuge Liang, a brilliant tactician, but he used magic a ton more then zhuge ever did... and fought a little more then zhuge (though it was mainly with magic...)


Lu Wang was also more of a fictional character about the way he was portray anyway...
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Unread postby Xue Yu Fengsheng » Thu Sep 12, 2002 6:41 am

Zhang Ren wrote:I believed the one person that Lou Guan Zhong did the most harm was Chen Shou and his reputation as a historian. When most people realized how ordinary Zhu Ge Liang was, they start finding faults in Chen Shou (like: Chen Shou father was thought to be killed by Zhuge Liang or Chen Shou was Jin's bullhorn), in my honest opinion such suggestion regarding the integrity of any ancient historian is absurd.


A very good point indeed !

Although in my opinion if LGZ didn't make the RTK novel, I'm sure we would hardly hear anything about Chen Shou.

So IMHO, it's not LGZ who should take the blame, but the people who trying to discredit a person who dedicate his entire life for writing a history book; in order to save his "role model", in this case ZGL.
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Unread postby James » Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:34 am

Lady Wu wrote:Another suspicion of mine is that LGZ used some of the superstitious episodes to reconcile the historical facts and the desideratum (sp?) that good people win (and ZGL is de facto the good guy). As Zhou Gongjin suggested, the head-bone episode paved the way for a legitimate excuse for ZGL to kill Wei Yan at the end, though the historical reason wasn't to ZGL's favour. Also, LGZ's audience might be upset by the fact that ZGL, who should be destined to win, dies before he made it into the Central Plains. By putting the blame on Wei Yan and fate, the novelist escapes being pelted with rocks by his readers. (Ok I know I'm brewing another Wei Yan fight here...)

I spent some time thinking about this a while back. A good novel has defined personalities that hug to contrary beliefs. He changed the kingdoms of Wei, Wu, and Shu just enough to make this contrast.

In making Shu the honorable and good kingdom, he was also faced with the difficulty of leading events up to their defeat (even though they are arguably the good guys). I am impressed with the way in which he used officers like Wei Yan and Zhuge Liang to further the element of Shu. In the end he uses Liu Shan as a tool for closure so you don't finish the novel feeling upset that Shu was defeated. I am probably getting off-topic a little with this, but reading that post brought this to mind.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Sep 12, 2002 9:02 am

I like Zhuge Kongming's observation that Liu Chan's character is used as a closure for Shu. It's true -- after Zhuge Liang and Wei Yan died, and Jiang Wei's plans were frustrated by Liu Chan, I just didn't care about Shu's fate anymore. "Please... take the country away from Liu Chan..." I said to Deng Ai at the end. :lol:

By wanting to make Liu Bei look good, LGZ passed a lot of the unpleasant decisions and speeches to ZGL. From the novel it seems that Liu Bei is the Mr Nice-guy, but ZGL his sidekick is the one who wants to cheat Wu of Jingzhou, (and play tricks on poor Lu Su), take over Liu ZHang's territory, make Liu Bei Prince and eventually Emperor. Every time, it was ZGL's idea, Liu Bei was reluctant, and ZGL basically had to browbeat him into complying. Is this also unfair to ZGL's character?
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Sep 12, 2002 9:05 am

Zhang Ren wrote:I believed the one person that Lou Guan Zhong did the most harm was Chen Shou and his reputation as a historian. When most people realized how ordinary Zhu Ge Liang was, they start finding faults in Chen Shou (like: Chen Shou father was thought to be killed by Zhuge Liang or Chen Shou was Jin's bullhorn), in my honest opinion such suggestion regarding the integrity of any ancient historian is absurd.


Nice point!

Just a quick poll here: who here, after comparing SGYY's ZGL to Chen Shou's, (a) lost faith in ZGL, thinking that he's just an ordinary guy who's abilities were overexaggerated by LGZ; (b) started to question Chen Shou's relationship with ZGL, and whether the Jin court affected his description of the man; (c) somewhere in between?
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Unread postby James » Thu Sep 12, 2002 9:19 am

Lady Wu wrote:I like Zhuge Kongming's observation that Liu Chan's character is used as a closure for Shu. It's true -- after Zhuge Liang and Wei Yan died, and Jiang Wei's plans were frustrated by Liu Chan, I just didn't care about Shu's fate anymore. "Please... take the country away from Liu Chan..." I said to Deng Ai at the end. :lol:

Hahah. I was sitting there chanting “Kill Liu Shan!” over and over again in my mind. I had decided that Deng Ai was a swell fellow and that if anybody was going to destroy Shu he would be a good man for the job. I was still in for a bit of a surprise considering that before the novel my exposure to the era was the Destiny of an Emperor storyline. :lol:

Lady Wu wrote:By wanting to make Liu Bei look good, LGZ passed a lot of the unpleasant decisions and speeches to ZGL. From the novel it seems that Liu Bei is the Mr Nice-guy, but ZGL his sidekick is the one who wants to cheat Wu of Jingzhou, (and play tricks on poor Lu Su), take over Liu ZHang's territory, make Liu Bei Prince and eventually Emperor. Every time, it was ZGL's idea, Liu Bei was reluctant, and ZGL basically had to browbeat him into complying. Is this also unfair to ZGL's character?

I can see how that might have been very unfair to the character of Zhuge Liang. Now that I think of it, I can't help but to recall that many people use his decisions in the novel in combination with historical points to attack his character. Maybe the fact that LGZ’s used him for the edgy decisions really has done some harm to the historical Zhuge Liang we think of today.

On the other hand, I liked that aspect of his character in the novel. I was quite supportive of his fairly (but not overly) ruthless tactics. If the underdog (Liu Bei) is going to unite China he needs to be tough, direct, and he needs to avoid all risks. I did feel bad for poor Lu Su though; he got the short end of the Kongming stick. :)
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Unread postby James » Thu Sep 12, 2002 9:23 am

Lady Wu wrote:Just a quick poll here: who here, after comparing SGYY's ZGL to Chen Shou's, (a) lost faith in ZGL, thinking that he's just an ordinary guy who's abilities were overexaggerated by LGZ; (b) started to question Chen Shou's relationship with ZGL, and whether the Jin court affected his description of the man; (c) somewhere in between?

At first, I was very disappointed to find out that he wasn’t quite the fellow Luo Guanzhong painted in my mind, but as I learned more about him (from people that weren’t completely biased against him) I started to realize that he possessed real talent. It just wasn’t where I had expected it to be. I highly respect the historical Zhuge Liang’s efficiency and methods, and I see civil leadership and guiding a kingdom to be every bit as important as field command. It is a shame he didn’t have anybody like Fa Zheng around to help him realize the dreams he shared with Xuande.

You could say that I lost a lot of respect for the novel Kongming, but that I regained it in discovering Kongming version 2.0.
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Unread postby Iznoach, Legendary Dragon » Thu Sep 12, 2002 9:28 am

Lady Wu wrote:Just a quick poll here: who here, after comparing SGYY's ZGL to Chen Shou's, (a) lost faith in ZGL, thinking that he's just an ordinary guy who's abilities were overexaggerated by LGZ; (b) started to question Chen Shou's relationship with ZGL, and whether the Jin court affected his description of the man; (c) somewhere in between?


I'd have to say (d): other. I read SGYY before I read SGZ, so obviously I had the "Godlike" Zhuge impression first, but after reading Zhuge's SGZ bio I didn't really think that LGZ did too much harm to him. It shows in the novel that he was a good tactician, but not great because he repeatedly lost to Wei; he was an excellent politician (which by definition means he was corrupt in some of his dealings (Li Yan)), and he kept excellent order in the ranks when at war. In his SGZ bio, it shows pretty much the same thing, so I didn't lose any of my adoration for Zhuge at all, and after all, I knew the supernatural stuff he did in the novel wasn't real, that was entertainment. :lol: Also, the reason I find fault with Chen Shou isn't because he was "Jin's bullhorn" (but he was), it's because of the many inconsistencies in the bios themselves, which makes me think that of all the work he did, he still managed to not get his facts straight.

one very quick example:
In Zhuge's bio, it says that he was the one who got Sun Quan to decide to oppose Cao Mengde at Chibi; in Zhou Yu's bio, Chen Shou clearly contradicts himself by saying that Zhou Yu is the one who talks Sun Quan into warring with Cao and siding with Liu Bei. :wink: ...sorry back to topic...
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