Gan Ning, why do people like him?

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Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:00 pm

I understand that Gan Ning was a skilled warrior/general and is a fun character on the games. However I see a lot of haze thrown at Zhang Fei and Cao Cao among others for their despicable acts but Gan Ning always seems to escape without being mentioned.

Yesterday I said elsewhere that Gan Ning is my most hated person in the period. Someone attempted to defend him by saying 'yeah but he was a pirate'. Since when has ‘his a pirate’ been justification? That’s surely an indictment. That's like saying yeah I know that person blew up a train but he was a terrorist. Ridiculous right? Gan Ning chose to be a pirate. Yet people constantly overlook his actions.

Just incase people are unaware of Gan Ning's despicable behavior, here are exerts from his SGZ:

Whenever someone met with him, from [commoner to] the senior scribes of the city, if they received Gan Ning well he would party along with them, and if not, he would unleash his followers to rob all their property. He went on like this, robbing and killing within the borders until he was 20-something years old.


Although Ning was rough and bloodthirsty, he was outright and had good ideas; he valued property lightly but respected talented men, and was able to kept his fighting men well.*


Once, a serving boy from Ning’s kitchen committed an offence, and running away he sought Lü Meng’s protection. Fearing that Ning would kill the boy, Meng did not return him right away. Later on, Gan Ning brought gifts to pay respect to Meng’s mother, and just when they were about to ascend to the main hall, [Meng] brought the kitchen boy out to return to Ning. Ning promised Meng that he would not kill him. However, when [Ning] left to go back to his boat, he tied the boy up to a mulberry tree, and taking a bow and arrow he killed him himself.


Wushu: Ning took his chivalric code lightly and often killed people. He was infamous throughout the commandery for hiding in a house and committing murder there. When he went about, if he was on land he had rows of carriages and steeds, and if he was on water he had lines of light ships. His servants all wore embroidered silks that made the roads bright as they walked by. When he traveled, his quarters were often covered with woven silk, and when he left he would cut it all up and throw it away, as a demonstration of his extravagance


*Just a note, I've never disputed his martial skill i just don't think that means we should overlook his wider actions.

Why do you think people still like Gan Ning despite his actions? Why do you think people aren't queuing up to take shots at him like they do with the likes of Zhang Fei?

*rant over*

:lol:
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:42 pm

Kind of agree with you about disliking Gan Ning. Even his own people could barely stand him. Lu Meng wanted to kill him. I think it's just that he is generally less popular than Zhang Fei. Topics at this forum containing Zhang Fei are hotter I think. I would say that morally Gan Ning was worse than Zhang Fei simply because child killer is worse than rapist especially when Zhang Fei actually married the girl.

Both were brutes but it looks like Gan Ning was good to his men. So he died a better death. Zhang Fei was a good tactician but really stupid off the field.
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:38 am

Wait till koei decide their first homosexual relationship will be Gan Ning and the servant :wink:

Some will be "I love the DW Gan Ning and I will never lose that" (I have that with Zhang Fei) but among certain history circles, a Shu obsession. If asked about Gan Ning they will mention the bad side but they are more proactive to show certain big names of Shu suck (though the Xiahou Ji situation has made that lively). While I'm not sure those outside history circles are aware of the sheer murderous depravity of Gan Ning.
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:21 am

I do understand that with Koei adding Lady Xiahou to DW9 Zhang Fei is more topical at current. However I don't think I've ever seen any anti-Gan Ning sentiments from people (obviously apart from you two who have just posted here :lol: ). Have you come across people using that he was a pirate as a defence for his actions?
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:24 am

If they have, I think usually what they are thinking of is something like his pillaging rather then murdering.
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:52 pm

The murderous, pillaging ways of Gan Ning and his pirate buddies cannot be excused. He was a horrible person. I mean, he literally saved the life of his superior Huang Zu at one point, and the latter still thought Gan Ning was despicable. It’s hard to look past it.

However, he was a spectacular warrior and general and had the respect of those he led, especially during his time under Sun Quan (which covered most of his significant battles). It’s also worth noting that Sun Quan is said to have heavily mourned Gan Ning’s death in the SGZ, and I believe that’s in part because, by that point, he had largely given up his awful ways and changed into a legitimately loyal and successful general. (Understandably still hard to excuse, though.)

I suppose you could say the story about the servant and Lü Meng is a sign that he was still a massive jerk while in Wu, but I always felt like we didn’t know enough about that story. What crime did the servant commit? Did it deserve death? Servants were killed all the time for offenses in order to maintain respect for the leaders and the law. It’s perhaps Gan Ning’s method of execution (tying to a tree and firing arrows) that is the problem, and if it was more swift, less torturous, then it’d had been not much of a story at all. Gan Ning was later remorseful about the whole ordeal anyway.

I guess people “like” him because stories about the bad guy coming to save the day are popular. It’s why it feels so cool to see a movie or book villain switch sides, even if momentarily, even if they’re an awful person. Gan Ning’s story is one of those “He’s a villain, but I’m just glad he’s on my side” types.

Also the whole bells thing is badass. I’ll never change my mind about that. :P
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:12 am

I think the "badass" factor is the entirety of it with Gan Ning. The bells, repulsing Guan Yu, daring camp raid. That and, he is a complex figure (the Ling Tong stuff for example), people are generally drawn to that.

With that said, I wasn't aware he has a deep fan base or many legitimate supporters? Like I don't really notice him getting defended much, especially not on this board? He seems pretty firmly entrenched in the "reprehensible yet talented Wu generals" camp.
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:30 pm

Jia Nanfeng, if that servant kid's offence was fairly punishable by death then I don't think Lu Meng would have protected him. Remember Lu Meng was very strict with the law and disciplined. Look at the Jing campaign when he executed a guy for stealing something minor (forgotten what it was). I think it's just that Gan Ning was sadistic.
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Gray Riders » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:39 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:While I'm not sure those outside history circles are aware of the sheer murderous depravity of Gan Ning.

This is probably the biggest part, really. The novel really softened him significantly, and Dynasty Warriors softened him pretty significantly and he's portrayed positively all-around.

Sun Fin wrote:I do understand that with Koei adding Lady Xiahou to DW9 Zhang Fei is more topical at current. However I don't think I've ever seen any anti-Gan Ning sentiments from people (obviously apart from you two who have just posted here :lol: ). Have you come across people using that he was a pirate as a defence for his actions?

Wait, DW9 added Lady Xiahou? I can't imagine why Koei thought that was a good idea...

Elitemsh wrote:Jia Nanfeng, if that servant kid's offence was fairly punishable by death then I don't think Lu Meng would have protected him. Remember Lu Meng was very strict with the law and disciplined. Look at the Jing campaign when he executed a guy for stealing something minor (forgotten what it was). I think it's just that Gan Ning was sadistic.

I've seen it suggested once that the offence may have been major and Lu Meng protected him because of his own criminal past being pardoned by Sun Ce, with the later execution in Jing being because he needed to win over the population and not let his men do anything objectionable. It was just a theory, of course.
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Re: Gan Ning, why do people like him?

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:32 pm

Elitemsh wrote:Jia Nanfeng, if that servant kid's offence was fairly punishable by death then I don't think Lu Meng would have protected him. Remember Lu Meng was very strict with the law and disciplined. Look at the Jing campaign when he executed a guy for stealing something minor (forgotten what it was). I think it's just that Gan Ning was sadistic.

That could be. I still don’t think we have enough info though; as it stands it’s possible that Lu Meng was also in the wrong for protecting him, however unlikely that may seem. If it was an entirely unfair execution, then I think Lu Meng wouldn’t have stopped at his mother’s chastising; he would have at least reported to Sun Quan, I’d hope, simply for the sake of morale (which didn’t seem effected by the execution after all).

I guess my point is that Gan Ning may very well have reformed over time under the Wu, and that stories like the servant ordeal are not necessarily indicative of his maintaining his old ways. Might be a relapse episode though! :P

Zyzyfer wrote:I think the "badass" factor is the entirety of it with Gan Ning. The bells, repulsing Guan Yu, daring camp raid. That and, he is a complex figure (the Ling Tong stuff for example), people are generally drawn to that.

With that said, I wasn't aware he has a deep fan base or many legitimate supporters? Like I don't really notice him getting defended much, especially not on this board? He seems pretty firmly entrenched in the "reprehensible yet talented Wu generals" camp.

I agree with both of these paragraphs.

I don’t think I’ve seen much defending of his murderous and pirating ways anywhere. I think it’s probably less a case of denying these things, and more a case of either being blissfully ignorant (like if someone knows of him solely from DW or the Romance) or someone liking him for those other reasons Zyzyfer listed.

It’s possible to like someone without accepting or endorsing the whole package. I’m a huge Jia Nanfeng fan despite her doing some not-so-good things, for instance.
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