Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

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Best/Favourite of the Three Kingdoms?

Wei
134
33%
Shu
161
40%
Wu
107
27%
 
Total votes : 402

Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Qin Feng » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:11 am

Of course, I'm fully aware of that. The reason I like Liu Bei is not because I think he's a paragon of virtue based on the novel, I know he wasn't perfect and I actually ask myself often when I see out of place. I remember reading the novel and thinking that He Jin couldn't have been this much of a moron, for example, or Dong Zhuo as cruel as he is represented, but it gives a general view of the events that took place and thus I can compare it to the historical realities the novel idealizes.

I, for now, don't really hold any negative views of anyone so far, at least not negative enough to make me hate them. Not even Yuan Shu :lol:
But in due time I will be knowledgeable enough and who knows, maybe even debate extensively on the period.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:15 am

Talk to me enough and you'll learn that Sun Chen and Sima Lun are the worst people ever, and you will wish eternal damnation on them. ;)
As for Dong Zhuo, oh boy was he far worse than the novel counterpart. That being said a young Dong Zhuo was actually a handsome, heroic and likable guy with a hefty amount of talent. Once he found power... then the real man showed. A true monster. From melting down statues to mint his own money and crashing the economy to having an innocent woman crushed beneath a carriage. There isn't much that monsters didn't do.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:28 am

Zyzyfer wrote:
The key thing to remember is that no one was really perfect and people will admire and fault different rulers based on their own opinions on various matters. Some people even find a balance where action A that ruler X did was terrible but action B was long-lasting or really admirable, so the person was neither a saint nor a dastardly villain in the end, just a product of the dark times. Although it's also worth noting that a lot of people will take on pet "hate projects" where they just straight up vilify so-and-so for actions they deem reprehensible - for instance I hate the historical Ma Chao because I think he got his daddy killed with his little rebellion, and then didn't even end up accomplishing much of anything while also killing family members of officers who were resisting him, and I am pretty firmly set in seeing him this way and it will never change because of my bias against him :lol:


:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:54 pm

Qin Feng wrote:No problem, I didn't think it was combative, simply asking about the Sun, who as I said, I quite respect. Sun Quan doesn't seem as badass as his predecessors but he was another type of leader and that's fine, he just seems overshadowed by his brother to me (maybe has to do with me not being too far into the novel, for example).


To be honest I think Sun Quan in the novel nearly edit: never quite feels as awesome as his brother and I find people like the novel Wu for other figures rather then Quan. Possibly tinged memory becuase I remember the early years of community where Quan's nickname was hatrack :wink:

Qin Feng wrote:I remember reading the novel and thinking that He Jin couldn't have been this much of a moron, for example, or Dong Zhuo as cruel as he is represented,


If seeking answers (spoiler tags simply so you can read if you didn't want answers to those two, no novel spoilers in there)
1: He Jin. I recently wrote an essay on him. Not as bad as the novel by any means, his historical reputation is kinder and they put his failings not down to arrogance but being in awe of the eunuchs (this may partly be a shot at his background which he never escaped in or after life) and indecisive, they acknowledge he was popular with his troops. He did make some bad choices (summoning Dong was a needless gamble and one advice to Empress He was awful), there is an element of "this went well? Must be Yuan Shao" and "how can he possibly have lost" (which tends to ignore a fair few things)

Personally I think he was underrated, he won most of his political battles, was good at building contacts, good with soldiers . He came closer to beating eunuchs then anyone had managed since they got power decades ago but for a stroke of real bad luck (or possibly Yuan Shao) despite being undermined by his own gentry supporters a fair few times. He was awful at PR and did make some bad calls but probably biggest failing was he got trapped by his desire to be a hero to the gentry (while lacking their blood-lust so tended to not go as far as they wanted) so engaged in battle with the eunuchs which the dynasty didn't need.

2) Dong. No he was very cruel. Even taking into account there are some questionable tales about him in the histories (particularly where foreshadowing and "he wasn't that great a general" comes into play), there seems little doubt he ruled with an iron and brutal fist. Whatever his exact motivations behind some of it, it went too far and some of what he did was just outright inexcusable cruelty

Where the novel does him a disservice is there was (initially) some restraint by Dong and (badly botched) reforms attempted. Also his miliatry skills as DaoLun mentioned, historically Dong was probably one of the top three/four stand out miliatry figures (Huangfu Song, Sun Jian, Xu Rong) of that early time, he was brave, skilled, experienced, clever but the novel turns him into a bumbling coward.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Qin Feng » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:33 pm

Well, I didn't mean Dong Zhuo wasn't cruel, just not as cruel to the point of eating people and chop prisoner's limbs off in front of his guests, that seems like it wasn't true. About He Jin, that is very interesting. In the novel he is a complete fool who gets played around all the time. That bit about being the gentry's hero is rather interesting, since his origins were quite humble.

I think Dong Zhuo is an interesting figure, but I always got the feeling from the novel that he had no plan whatsoever, just steal as much as you can and hope somehow everyone in the empire bows to you when the real power has been fragmented. No wonder his life ended the way it did.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:23 pm

Well, I didn't mean Dong Zhuo wasn't cruel, just not as cruel to the point of eating people and chop prisoner's limbs off in front of his guests, that seems like it wasn't true.


Eating people no off the top of my head, the banquet thing is in the direct part of his SGZ In one incident, Dong Zhuo invited hundreds of ministers to Meiwo for a feast. A huge canopy was set up for this occasion. Dong Zhuo beckoned others to enter for drinks. Among them were hundreds of officers who covertly conspired to rebel against him in the north. Once everyone was seated, Dong Zhuo quickly ordered his men to kill his opponents.{R} Some had tongues or eyes cut out, limbs cut off, and some thrown into oil. None of them died quickly. All of them moaned in pain. Those remaining ministers were so shaken they could not pick up their food. Only Dong Zhuo could eat and drink normally.


About He Jin, that is very interesting. In the novel he is a complete fool who gets played around all the time. That bit about being the gentry's hero is rather interesting, since his origins were quite humble.


Just to clarify, he wished to be a hero which I think makes sense and the gentry certainly played on it, He Jin likely knew the rumours going around and to be offered a chance to be a hero among the greatest of the land, to be accepted at that level.... I don't think He Jin ever quite, both in reputation and mentally/emotionally, escaped his background.

While the soldiers loved He Jin by all accounts (rare for a general-in-chief) I suspect for the gentry, He Jin was simply a means to an end. He had the connections within palace, the legitimacy as the uncle to the new Emperor, the miliatry authority, the support of troops, he made a good rallying point in their fight against eunuchs. He made sense to get behind but they were frustrated by his... more careful (or less bloody-thirsty) tactics and I don't think they ever loyal to him beyond that cause. There were resignations, open frustration, some of them likely had spread rumours about the He background, Yuan Shao abused his trust (and possibly cost He Jin victory+his life). Had He Jin defeated the eunuchs, I suspect they would have turned on him within a few years.

I think Dong Zhuo is an interesting figure, but I always got the feeling from the novel that he had no plan whatsoever, just steal as much as you can and hope somehow everyone in the empire bows to you when the real power has been fragmented. No wonder his life ended the way it did.


He is an intresting figure though the histories tend to treat him as big bad without exploring why. To an extent he probably didn't have a plan, he would not have foreseen taking power (till fires raged in the capital following He Jin's death, you would probably have been seen as strange for thinking Dong had any chance of being controller of the Han). From there? I think (just personal view) it was partly attitudes rather then plans, my sense is with him that he felt the gentry had allowed things to this far (he was a tad sarcastic when asked to hand power back to gentry when Bian was brought back), time for the much ignored miliatry to have their time in the sun. Discipline and iron rule would bring order back, drastic action needed, force gentry to stop avoiding service, appoint good men to office and use the likes of Cai Yong's advice, bring back restraint to office (plus cement his own powerbase of course).

Dong does not seem to have a good reader of politics, possibly he thought things like changing Emperor was alright becuase he was far from first to do it (and Dowager He was unpopular) but 1) he lacked subtly, 2) he wasn't gentry, 3) his power was based on force of arms which changed everything.

Once the blockade hit, he was persuaded not to take the offensive and he was forced to retreat, I think his plans were basically keeping himself alive and in power, enjoying the riches, raiding to keep supplies going and ruling by terrify people into compliance. The reforms and restraint stops, his miliatry doesn't make any pushes back to reclaim lands.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:51 am

Qin Feng wrote:I, for now, don't really hold any negative views of anyone so far, at least not negative enough to make me hate them. Not even Yuan Shu :lol:


YUAN SHU IS AWESOME DON'T YOU DARE SULLY HIS GOOD NAME

In all seriousness, he may in a way actually be one of the most interesting major figures of the early Three Kingdoms period. I personally find it telling that Sun Ce and Sun Quan took his family in after his defeat and death, I think that the Sun clan had a complex relationship with him (as they did with quite a few people).

As Dong Zhou has mentioned, while Dong Zhuo is certainly an interesting figure, he was also a true blue villain and there is little about him that can be considered redeeming once he seized control of the capital. But even then, there's interesting stuff there. I agree that once he came into control, he didn't really have any clear direction to his mayhem.

Sun Fin wrote:This is the truth! But if we didn't all have our favourites and people we dislike then our conversations would grow dull quickly!


That is very true. :)

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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:28 am

I set out an alternative scholar's reading of Dong Zhuo's motivations in this thread that you might find interesting. I have sympathy for what I think his original intent was but as Dong implied once he got into authority he became only interested in clinging on to it, along with his wealth.

Zyzyfer wrote:
In all seriousness, he may in a way actually be one of the most interesting major figures of the early Three Kingdoms period. I personally find it telling that Sun Ce and Sun Quan took his family in after his defeat and death, I think that the Sun clan had a complex relationship with him (as they did with quite a few people).


Interesting, I've never thought about it like that. I've only interpreted it as Sun Ce being a compassionate man. I'd love you to unpack this a bit more?

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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Han » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:52 pm

Sun Fin wrote:What than of the Sun clan? Sun Jian didn't even have a family name to trade on? Nor a fancy education from one of the premier scholars (Lu Zhi) of the day.


His family was influential enough to appoint him to a civil official position in his home county. His family was rich enough to buy him a sabre at 16years old when other teenagers at that age was having their coming of age ceremony. So...

Zyzyfer wrote:
Sun Fin wrote:What than of the Sun clan? Sun Jian didn't even have a family name to trade on? Nor a fancy education from one of the premier scholars (Lu Zhi) of the day.


It's OK because he had actual talent :lol: :wink:

Edit: Plus Qin Feng is clearly referencing the novel, nothing necessarily wrong with that as we all start somewhere, but everyone eventually realizes how big of a hot, steaming dump that Luo Guanzhong takes on the entirety of Wu in it.


Liu Bei was a capable general, a great leader of man and the most charismatic individual of that era. His 'actual talent' however u define it, belongs to the top tier.

Sun Fin wrote:
Zyzyfer wrote:Edit: Plus Qin Feng is clearly referencing the novel, nothing necessarily wrong with that as we all start somewhere, but everyone eventually realizes how big of a hot, steaming dump that Luo Guanzhong takes on the entirety of Wu in it.


In all fairness my response is more about the novel than history itself. Dong has argued extensively in the past that Liu Bei didn't start trading on his family name until he set up the kingdom of Shu (the novel bit about Liu Bei being named the Imperial Uncle never happened for example) and RoTK explicitly mentions his education under Lu Zhi as the reason he knows Gongsun Zan.


Liu Bei has used his family name on occasion even before setting up his kingdom. Liu Biao recruited Liu Bei partly because of their clan ties. Zhuge Liang referenced Liu Bei heritage during the Longzhongdui. Etc etc.

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I would more say circumstances to a degree, it was what was on option at the time rather then something he planned from early on. Yi was a good if somewhat mixed bag, fertile, easy to hold once had Hanzhong due to mountain passes, it's own scholarship history, but attacking was difficult due to mountain passes.

It is intresting that Liu Bei's incredible rise from his background that is highlighted generally rather then the Suns generally. Even among Wu fans, you don't get "and rose from merchant background". Possibly the novel influence, I also think the evocative image of said sandal selling and that is one guy clawing his up whereas for Wu it was three Suns advancing their rise.

Is Liu Bei's from nothing overstated (again generally, not you Qin Feng)? To a degree. In that we aren't talking the average peasant he had contacts and extremely prestigious education, he had the chance to enjoy hunting and other things. I do wonder if we are talking gentry's version of poverty rather then fullscale even with the sandal selling. However Liu Bei, compared to most of the other warlords of the era, started from a worse position and his rise is incredible whether novel or history and while I'm a Wei-ist, I certainly see the power that has to draw people to it.


Not mutually exclusive. It was both circumstances(only viable path to expand as Cao too strong and Sun was ally) and by plan( Zhuge Liang LZD).

Because 1. Sun Jian father being a merchant is not 100% proven. 2. Sun Jian clan was still influential enough to appoint Sun Jian as a civil official in his youth and rich enough to buy him a sabre when he was only 16.

Not really. He was the only peasent at that time who eventually rose to be Emperor excluding Liu Bang who was already a patrol officer. Most of the average peasents that he contacted with were actually done when he was already promoted and acknowledged by the Han court. Except the gaining money from the two merchants. Hunting was done by pretty much everyone regardless of social standing and country. For all we know Liu Bei enjoyed hunting because his mother frequently starved(/s).

Zyzyfer wrote:
The key thing to remember is that no one was really perfect and people will admire and fault different rulers based on their own opinions on various matters. Some people even find a balance where action A that ruler X did was terrible but action B was long-lasting or really admirable, so the person was neither a saint nor a dastardly villain in the end, just a product of the dark times. Although it's also worth noting that a lot of people will take on pet "hate projects" where they just straight up vilify so-and-so for actions they deem reprehensible - for instance I hate the historical Ma Chao because I think he got his daddy killed with his little rebellion, and then didn't even end up accomplishing much of anything while also killing family members of officers who were resisting him, and I am pretty firmly set in seeing him this way and it will never change because of my bias against him :lol:


Ma Chao rebellion was anything but 'little' . He managed to succesfully unify most of Yong and Liang warlords under his leadership(along with Han Sui). The same provinces that are consisted of many different ethnicities , warlords and alleigiance. As for accomplishments, he was a thorn to Cao Cao side longer than anyone excluding the Yuans and two Southern States. He also came the closest to killing Cao Cao excluding Zhang Xiu and Xu Rong. In fact it was only Xu Chu personal valour that saved Cao Cao from the mutiny and Ma Chao's rain of arrows
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:16 pm

Very quickly, I'm afraid I don't quite understand this line
Most of the average peasents that he contacted with were actually done when he was already promoted and acknowledged by the Han court
. Could you clarify for me?
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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