Friendly Discussion about Guan Yu

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Do you think Guan Yu was a great person?

Yes
32
67%
No
16
33%
 
Total votes : 48

Friendly Discussion about Guan Yu

Unread postby Wen Choung » Fri Jan 10, 2003 5:43 am

A friend of mine and I were discussing SGYY and some other stuff. One of the things I told him was that on the (not necessarily these) forums, I once read some bad stuff about Guan Yu as opposed to the good stuff I always read. My friend holds firm that Guan Yu was not what those people posted. So I want to ask some of the knowledgable people here what was it that you found out about Guan Yu. Also, please include sources to the best of your ability since my friend wants to know. He's mainly looking for a book but I suppose any source would help. Thanks.
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Re: Friendly Discussion about Guan Yu

Unread postby rcsha » Fri Jan 10, 2003 6:04 am

Well I'll put forth some of the stuff I've heard of him:

He was said to have killed a government official who had kidnapped a man's fiancee. After which he was sought to be killed and a house that he was staying in was burnt down. He was thought to be dead, however upon examination of himself he noticed that he was tinted a deep red in the face and hands from the heat of the fire. So he changed his name from Changsheng to Yunchang and with his newly reddened appearance was easily able to get past the guards and made his way out of the county.

He met up with Liu Bei and Zhang Fei in Zhou county. It is then said that they swore an oath of brotherhood, however it has been said that this is not true. Nonetheless, I will still cover it. There is a folk tale about the peach garden oath:
After they swore the oath they had to decide who would be the elder brother...so Zhang Fei presented the idea of climbing trees. Zhang Fei was fast and nimble and climbed the highest and the quickest. Guan Yu was tall and stiff and only climbed half as far as Zhang Fei did, and the yellow blooded (in China, yellow is the Imperial color, unlike the European pruple) Liu Bei refused to climb at all. However they decided, instead, merely to go by age.

So with his elder brother, Liu Bei, and his younger brother, Zhang Fei, they fought against the Yellow Scarve Rebels.

Well, the rest is just common knowledge that others can tell you..or you can use the SGZ bio of him located on Kongming's site, or Jonathan Wu's, his is pretty good two, covering aspects of the SGYY stories as well.
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Unread postby Han Xin » Fri Jan 10, 2003 7:29 am

Ever watch the Simpson? There was an episode where Lisa Simpson tried to prove that Jebidiah Springsfield was a fraud. Every one at Springsfield don't want to believe any part of Lisa's arguement, not because they could disprove of her evidents, its mainly because when someone believe in something hard enough they would tents to disregard the truth. Like Lisa said "Even the myth of Jebidiah has its value too". Note, that I never said that I like people worshipping Guan Yu... :lol:
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Unread postby Starscream » Fri Jan 10, 2003 8:38 am

Maybe Guan Yu was indeed an above-average general during his time, perhaps the best in Shu, but compared to his contemporaries from Wei or Wu, he might be one of the many above-average generals. Reading his bios would show that he was not exactly extraordinary in power, nor the best in integrity, attitudes and behaviour. Compared to the exploits of Deng Ai or Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu paled in comparison. Nevertheless, since he could be one of the better generals of Shu and trusted by Liu Bei, he was given the responsibility to guard Jing Zhou.
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well, in all actuality (and from what i have read on this

Unread postby jason1111 » Fri Jan 10, 2003 4:21 pm

message board), zhang fei was a much more capable general then guan yu......his personality aside (which got him killed), he was probably a top 5 general during the three kingdoms period.
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Unread postby DarkAnthem » Fri Jan 10, 2003 5:16 pm

Guan Yu was highly trusted by Liu Bei but he didn't really have much of any actual accomplishments. His main accomplishments in SGZ are that he killed Yan Liang, defeated Yu Jin's reinforcements at during his attack on Fan Castle, which was attributed to the rain overflooding Yu Jin's camp, so the defeat is more by luck than by skill. His name spread across China because of the defeat of Yu Jin and how he was able to utilize the bandits of Liang, Jia and Lu in the battle (Guan Yu SGZ bio), but this reputation is basically based on a battle he won by accident.

Guan Yu was known for his arrogance. Sun Quan sent an emissionary to Guan Yu for a marriage proposal, not only did Guan Yu refuse, he also insulted the emissionary (Guan Yu SGZ bio), this also contributed to Sun Quan's decision to attack Jing.

in Zhang Fei's bio, it mentions:

羽善待卒伍而骄于士大夫,飞爱敬君子而不恤小人。


translates to: Guan Yu was nice to his soldiers but rude and disrespectful to superiors and other fellow generals; Zhang Fei was respectful to superiors but mean to subordinates. This shows that Guan Yu was very arrogant, but also very respected by his lords and superiors, otherwise he wouldn't have faired very well being disrespectful to his superiors, especially given the time period.

So basically, Guan Yu was a man of high reputation, and was quite arrogant because of his reputation, but he didn't really earn his reputation with his abilities.
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Unread postby TheGreatNads » Fri Jan 10, 2003 9:45 pm

Cai Yan wrote:Maybe Guan Yu was indeed an above-average general during his time, perhaps the best in Shu, but compared to his contemporaries from Wei or Wu, he might be one of the many above-average generals. Reading his bios would show that he was not exactly extraordinary in power, nor the best in integrity, attitudes and behaviour. Compared to the exploits of Deng Ai or Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu paled in comparison. Nevertheless, since he could be one of the better generals of Shu and trusted by Liu Bei, he was given the responsibility to guard Jing Zhou.


Ok first you said Guan Yu may have been the greatest general in Shu. And then you say his exploits pale in comparison to those of Zhuge Liang's. Saying Guan Yu's exploits pale in comparison to Zhuge's might be true(That isn't saying much though), but then you say he was possiblly the best general in Shu. No way, Guan Yu pales in to comparison to generals like Wei Yan or Zhang Fei. Also I believe either of those two generals would have better battle tactics and more success then Zhuge Liang. And yes I do disagree that Guan Yu was an above average general of his time. He was a useless and arrogant general.
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Unread postby DarkAnthem » Fri Jan 10, 2003 10:29 pm

TheGreatNads wrote:Ok first you said Guan Yu may have been the greatest general in Shu. And then you say his exploits pale in comparison to those of Zhuge Liang's. Saying Guan Yu's exploits pale in comparison to Zhuge's might be true(That isn't saying much though), but then you say he was possiblly the best general in Shu. No way, Guan Yu pales in to comparison to generals like Wei Yan or Zhang Fei. Also I believe either of those two generals would have better battle tactics and more success then Zhuge Liang. And yes I do disagree that Guan Yu was an above average general of his time. He was a useless and arrogant general.


If he was all that useless, he wouldn't have such a great reputation would he?

When he was under Cao Cao, Cao Cao didn't want him to leave, and Guan Yu said he would repay Cao Cao's debts before leaving, and he did after killing Yan Liang, and Cao Cao let him leave because he respected Guan Yu. If Guan Yu was a useless person Cao Cao would've just killed him after he said he wanted to leave.

And a useless general frightened Cao Cao so much that he considered moving his capital?

When Liu Bei was at Xu Zhou, he entrusted Xiapei to Guan Yu, and later Guan Yu was made the governor of Jing Zhou. If he was that useless, surely there would have been complaints all over the place with a useless general in charge all the time, but were there any complaints? no.

And if Guan Yu was so useless, why did Sun Quan wait so long to attack Jing?

Maybe he was too arrogant considering the actual abilities he possessed, but he certainly wasn't useless. It's not that easy to make it into a high rank, a useless general wouldn't be able to do so.
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Unread postby TheGreatNads » Fri Jan 10, 2003 10:41 pm

Actually, considering he was the brother of the ruler of Shu, I would imagine it not being difficult for Guan Yu to get a high rank. Everyone keeps mentioning Jing Zhou even though Guan Yu lost it. It all comes down to what he acomplished, and that wasn't very much.
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Unread postby DarkAnthem » Fri Jan 10, 2003 10:55 pm

TheGreatNads wrote:Actually, considering he was the brother of the ruler of Shu, I would imagine it not being difficult for Guan Yu to get a high rank. Everyone keeps mentioning Jing Zhou even though Guan Yu lost it. It all comes down to what he acomplished, and that wasn't very much.


He was not Liu Bei's sworn brother in history, though his SGZ bio indicates that Liu Bei treated him like a brother.

Even if he was Liu Bei's brother, he wouldn't make a high rank that easily, neither will he have gotten any good reputation, in fact, people would have very low regards of him. If you read his SGZ bio, that was obviously not the case. Liu Bei, Cao Cao, Zhang Fei, Zhuge Liang all had high regards of Guan Yu.

If Guan Yu only reached his position because of his relations with Liu Bei, there would be many complaints and discontent for people under Guan Yu because of being under an incompetent leader, but there is no indications of such. Though Mi Fang and Fu Shiren were unhappy with Guan Yu, they weren't unhappy because of his incompetence. And if he was that incompetent, he'd probably wouldn't do such a good job governing his territory either, but there's no indication of him having trouble with his people.

I mention Jing Zhou and Xiapei to show how easily Liu Bei entrusted a city or a province to Guan Yu, obviously Liu Bei found some use out of him, hence he's not useless.
Last edited by DarkAnthem on Fri Jan 10, 2003 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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