Ma Chao!

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Re: Ma Chao!

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:48 pm

I've just been talking to Death in the discord channel about Gan Ning and why I dislike him. Then they mentioned they really dislike Ma Chao "who seemed like one of the worst ones personality wise and things he did." I've heard a lot of people talk about how awful Ma Chao is and that its his fault that his family die, unlike how it is presented in the novel. I've never really looked into it though. What was the exact chronology and what is it about it that make people dislike him so much?
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Re: Ma Chao!

Unread postby Death » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:58 pm

Sun Fin wrote:I've just been talking to Death in the discord channel about Gan Ning and why I dislike him. Then they mentioned they really dislike Ma Chao "who seemed like one of the worst ones personality wise and things he did." I've heard a lot of people talk about how awful Ma Chao is and that its his fault that his family die, unlike how it is presented in the novel. I've never really looked into it though. What was the exact chronology and what is it about it that make people dislike him so much?



I guess it's not so much that I dislike or hate him entirely, its more of how he isn't as noble or even likable as the games in particular make him out to be. As I mentioned in the discord chat, my favorite character from the games used to be Wang Yi and her character centers entirely around him and how he killed her husband (and child I think as well, although I don't think the games mentioned it in particular but instead referred to it as her 'family'). Also he betrayed his own father and tried to get Han Sui to join him, murdered poor Jiang Xu's mother, and also did betray Zhang Lu technically to join Liu Bei, in addition to what he did to his own family as you mentioned. Maybe once he joined Liu Bei in particular he had a better or more noble kind of career/life, but yeah he seemed entirely unlikable before then at least :lol:
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Re: Ma Chao!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:15 pm

Chronology:

1) With relations not great, Cao Cao's agents in the west like Zhong Yao and agents within Ma camp like Fu Gan persuade Ma Teng to take up post at court. Ma Teng gets nervy at the land but is pressured into going and becomes a hostage with Ma Chao replacing Ma Teng in charge of forces and begins to heal relations with oath-uncle turned enemy Han Sui.

2) Relations continue to be tense, the Liang warlords reach expanding to Chang'An and Zhong Yao forced back and back. Cao Cao decides to invade "Zhang Lu" despite repeated warnings a mass build up on the border would alarm the Liang warlords into a unified stand. Strong suspicions Cao Cao knew full well how they would react and wanted to force a fight to secure his north-west flank

3) To the "shock" of Cao Cao, the Liang warlords put aside their squabbles and unite as one, including Ma Chao and others who have hostages at Xuchang. The Liang warlords strategy seems to have been put an intimidating show of force and use that to negotiate, they made serious offers of hostages and land concessions. Cao Cao's strategy was to outflank them and cause discord while destroying their strength in one camapign.

4) Cao Cao wins

5) 18 months after the Liang warlords rose, Ma Teng was executed as they were no longer a threat and he was no longer a useful hostage.



======

Unpopularity

Several reasons I think

1) Ma Teng's death. You have the novel and DW taking about revenge/justice against meanie Cao Cao then discover the timeline was different... People dislike Ma Chao for getting his father killed, they remember Jiang Xu's mother get line about lack of filial piety and it clearly did damage to Ma Chao's reputation historically

I have sympathy with Ma Chao on this, he was put in an extremely bad situation by his father and Cao Cao: his homeland and family there were under threat, the Liang warlords would not have forgiven Ma Chao sitting it out, everything was the line. Ma Teng seems foolish or desperate to have put himself in situation of potential hostage, Ma Chao sought way outs that would have saved his father and prevented war, Cao Cao sought the destruction of the Ma forces

2) The brutality of the war. This was both sides as Ma Chao's family discovered but Ma Chao killed an old lady, executed a governor that surrendered to him, hostages, so on and so forth. It was a mutually brutal war but when the two camapigns your known for are that ugly, it does not help.

3) Disloyalty. The main ones he is unpopular for are disloyalty to his father, disloyalty to Han Sui (ok that one might be understandable) and the Qiang for abandoning them as Chen Shou accuses him of, for leaving his family behind repeatedly. Add Pang De left behind, add way he left Zhang Lu....

4) There isn't anything to counter-act it. With Wei hostile, no real Liang history department and Shu's rubbish one, there isn't really anything to counteract the bad or to smooth it out. There are no charming little tales or moments of kindness, just moments of skill in battle and a sad letter to the last of his clan, that balances things out or gives a likeability.
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Re: Ma Chao!

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:27 pm

From what you've said blaming Ma Chao for his father's death seems beyond harsh. We're talking about Cao Cao here... The moment Ma Teng went to court he signed his own death warrant. If Ma Chao hadn't rebelled, Teng would have still only survived until the Liang were no longer a threat. Only difference is Cao Cao would have been able to start the war once he'd defeated Zhang Lu and was better set up in the region. Ma Chao's best chance of keeping his father alive was to be a threat for as long as possible.

Brutality makes more sense. But as you remarked it was a brutal war on both sides. I still don't think killing people in the context of war is comparable to Gan Ning's piracy exploits, or Zhang Fei's brutality.
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