Fool's Fate (Tawny Man, #3) Fool's Fate discussion


98 views
The Fool: The Enemy? (HEAVY SPOILERS)

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Tiz. T. I have loved this book beyond what is lawful (probably) but I have also left with the bewildering idea that Robin Hobb doesn't really like humans that much.

It is not, by itself, such a weird idea. The concept of humanity as some kind of cancer or virus is sadly widespread. I have however rarely found it showed so well as in the Fool's character.

He does everything he does with the explicit reason to cull humanity.
He also admits he doesn't really care about what happen to the Six Duchies in the end.
Wow.

He is the best con man in the history of literature, and the greatest of villains, isn't he? :D


Matthias Hejlskov I don't know, while all he does seems to be to work towards saving dragons I got the impression that the end goal with saving the dragons was to save humanity from destroying itself.

as for the fate of the six dutchies, it's only one country, his allegiance is to the world itself, not just one small country.


Raptori Personally, I agree with the Fool - he's not a villain in any way in my eyes. Matthias has it right.


In terms of the future of the human race, the Fool looked at the bigger picture. He believed that the future he saw would be better for the humans that lived in it than the futures that he was fighting against.

One alternative that would have happened if he hadn't intervened was the future the Pale Woman wanted to create - a future that began with forging being used in war, progressed further under Regal, and would have inevitably darkened and spread across the world from there. It's definitely not an evil act to set the world on a brighter path.

Also, in addition to caring about the whole world rather than just the Six Duchies, he identifies not only with humans but with other species too. In the Fool's view, letting the dragons go extinct when you have the power to prevent it would be just as evil as letting humans go extinct in the same situation.

This perspective is something that most people in real life struggle to understand. Humans are not any more important than other species, and as such other species should be afforded their right to live without being destroyed in the interests of humanity. (Hobb actually doesn't go far enough with this, I could go on and on about that so I won't digress there unless anyone's interested in why I think that!)


In addition - in reply to the op - the concept of humanity as a cancer/virus is very firmly based in reality.


Tiz. T. The Fool acted on a bigger picture that we know nothing at all about.
What we know about how things were in the past with the Humans/Elderlings/Dragons is quite horrorifying.

"‘Dragons were the centre of the Elderling civilizations, with humans a separate population that lived apart from them, in settlements like the ones we found here. Humans raised crops and cattle which they traded to Elderlings in exchange for their wondrous goods. Look at the city across the river, Tats, and ask yourself, how did they feed themselves?’ ‘Well, there were herds on the outskirts of the cities. Probably places to grow crops …’ ‘Probably. But humans were the ones to do that. Elderlings gave themselves and their lives over to their magic, and to tending the dragons. All they did and built and created was not for themselves, but for the dragons who overshadowed them.’Robin Hobb (2013-04-09T04:00:00+00:00). Blood of Dragons (Kindle Locations 336-343). Harper Voyager. Kindle Edition. "


Weeeee.
Humans as untrained laborers that never managed to rise themselves above raising crops and cattle (save by becoming Elderlings). Because it is not like people can invent woundrous things by themselves. What is called this thing we are using to comunicate, again? <.<
How charming. Reminds me of various steampunk stories were Vampire ruled and humans could only hope to achieve something by becoming vampire.

Compared this to what the Pale Woman wanted to do, the difference is that one wanted humans being Forged and the other wanted humans as brainwashed slaves of Dragons. You can take your picks, both seemed horrid to me *looks around her World happily*.

I am not arguing on whatever what the Fool (or the Palw Woman) wanted to do was "good" or "bad". I am talking about a human prospective on the whole stuff. On a human prospective, both the Pale Woman and the Fool are roughly equivalent and working to make people, on avarage, worse off.

You may think "ehy, killing all humanity is a good thing for me" or "ehy this is wrong!". But the bottom line is that he wanted to create a World in which people are eaten, enslaved or brainwashed by dragons and which (more subtly) humanity will never reach their potential (which means, yes, no human derived pollution or nuclear weapon, but also no modern medicine, no elettricity, no computers...)

In the end, Beloved indeed is an enemy of mankind. THEN we can argue on whatever mankind deserves to be destroyed or not, which is another discussion and quite OT. Arguably however it doesn't in the timeframe of RoE. RoE is a medieval world. It is set around our 1200 (there are no clocks and such... I would say 1200). At that time, humans' impact on the world was less than the one of whales! o.o

About the Six Duchies: true. He doesn't care about it. Isn't it chilling? He wants to keep Fitz alive. But I have got, in the end, the feeling that if his visions would have required a dead Fitz he would have managed it to happen as well. How can you trust such a person? O.o

@RaptorSaur: I don't know if you know of it or are already a member, but here is a site I am sure you'll like. You'll find other people with your same belief here :) http://www.vhemt.org/
I know some quite nice VEHMT member. It comes from being childfree myself.


message 5: by Raptori (last edited May 08, 2014 06:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Raptori This reply is long... but it's an interesting discussion so I'll just post it anyway!


Tiziana wrote: "The Fool acted on a bigger picture that we know nothing at all about.

We know bits and pieces, and what we know for sure is that according to him he was fighting to push the world towards a better future. Is that a villainous thing? You could argue that his view was wrong I guess, but I don't think you could say he was a villain.

Tiziana wrote: "What we know about how things were in the past with the Humans/Elderlings/Dragons is quite horrorifying.

Weeeee.
Humans as untrained laborers that never managed to rise themselves above raising crops and cattle (save by becoming Elderlings). Because it is not like people can invent woundrous things by themselves. What is called this thing we are using to comunicate, again? <.<
How charming. Reminds me of various steampunk stories were Vampire ruled and humans could only hope to achieve something by becoming vampire."


I don't see the difference between that description and the description of how people in the Six Duchies lived. More importantly, that's a character speaking rather than an omniscient narrator. Characters state things all the time that are incorrect, even in internal monologue, and especially to each other.

What seems more likely is that the humans lived close to the Elderling city because they would be a perfect trade partner, particularly because they would be in great need of simple things like food. The humans living near to the Elderlings would become rich from that trade, without having to change their lifestyle much.

Tiziana wrote: "Compared this to what the Pale Woman wanted to do, the difference is that one wanted humans being Forged and the other wanted humans as brainwashed slaves of Dragons. You can take your picks, both seemed horrid to me *looks around her World happily*."

I disagree, forging was just the beginning of what the Pale Woman wanted to do - she said something along the lines of wanting to destroy the world so it could begin again. The Fool wanted humans to live with dragons as equals, not as slaves - as Amber he despised slavery.

Tiziana wrote: "You may think "ehy, killing all humanity is a good thing for me" or "ehy this is wrong!". But the bottom line is that he wanted to create a World in which people are eaten, enslaved or brainwashed by dragons and which (more subtly) humanity will never reach their potential (which means, yes, no human derived pollution or nuclear weapon, but also no modern medicine, no elettricity, no computers...)"

Or perhaps he wanted to create a world in which humans could work together with Elderlings (and by extension, dragons) to create a better world based on magic rather than on destruction? Elderling magic (and the Skill too, which is related in some way) can take the place of real-world technology like computers and medicine. Whether the modern world is better or not is a matter of opinion.

Tiziana wrote: "In the end, Beloved indeed is an enemy of mankind. THEN we can argue on whatever mankind deserves to be destroyed or not, which is another discussion and quite OT. Arguably however it doesn't in the timeframe of RoE. RoE is a medieval world. It is set around our 1200 (there are no clocks and such... I would say 1200). At that time, humans' impact on the world was less than the one of whales! o.o"

That depends on your perspective. Is someone your enemy if they prevent you from destroying yourself? If you were about to destroy the world in which you live, wouldn't someone who saved the world - including you - be a hero, despite actively working against what you're trying to do? If you are talking from the perspective of capitalism - "anyone who stands in the way of 'progress' and 'growth' is evil" - then sure the Fool is evil, since he sees the world from the perspective where survival and quality of life is more important than technology and money.

Incidentally, humans have been the species with the most impact on the world than any other for at least 50,000 years - no other species has caused mass extinctions in such a way as we have since leaving Africa.

Tiziana wrote: "About the Six Duchies: true. He doesn't care about it. Isn't it chilling? He wants to keep Fitz alive. But I have got, in the end, the feeling that if his visions would have required a dead Fitz he would have managed it to happen as well. How can you trust such a person? O.o"

Why is that chilling to you? I for one don't care about nations based on arbitrary lines on a map. Most people find that odd, but chilling is a bit more of a reaction!

You could trust such a person if you believed in their quest. The Fool is on a quest to save the world, and all quests require some sort of sacrifice along the way (if fantasy novels are to be believed anyway). If one death saves the world from otherwise inevitable destruction, wouldn't that sacrifice be worth it, however painful it would be? Regardless, the Fool spends all his time saving Fitz from death, since he is the catalyst the Fool can use to change the future. If Fitz dies, the Fool is powerless.

Tiziana wrote: "@RaptorSaur: I don't know if you know of it or are already a member, but here is a site I am sure you'll like. You'll find other people with your same belief here :) http://www.vhemt.org/
I know some quite nice VEHMT member. It comes from being childfree myself. "


Lol yeah I've heard of them before, haven't really looked into it much though. :D


Tiz. T. This reply is long... but it's an interesting discussion so I'll just post it anyway!
I agree! I SO love debates! :D

We know bits and pieces, and what we know for sure is that according to him he was fighting to push the world towards a better future.
Yes, he wants that. I am sure he does, too. The point is: how did he define a better future? We don’t know that. As you have pointed out, humanity tends toward anthropocentrism (as does every other species probably). A better future is one in which we are better off. But, as the immortal Terry Pratchett points out, what is intelligence has arisen other times in the long past? What if there had been sentient crabs in the Permian, destroyed by the worst mass extinction ever? It isn’t as the World cares. The World is a giant rock hurling in spaces. It will go on merrily after us, and perhaps it will evolve intelligent crabs (I always suggest Science of the Discworld. To anyone. One of the Best Books Ever :D)
What if Beloved’s definition of a “Better World” was (as it probably was) totally independent on how humans fared and depended on, I don’t know, which flowers bloomed? (as an example xD) It all depends on definition. We have no reason to believe that Beloved definition of a better world matches ours. And some to believe it doesn’t.

What seems more likely is that the humans lived close to the Elderling city because they would be a perfect trade partner, particularly because they would be in great need of simple things like food. The humans living near to the Elderlings would become rich from that trade, without having to change their lifestyle much.
This is rather complicated ò.ò Experience has taught me not to try to explain macroeconomics *flinches* but I think that this time it is worth it. Image our own World. Why some African countries haven’t managed to rise from poverty, in spite of being chocked full of natural resources? There are many (oh gosh really many) reasons, but one is: because they are chocked full of natural resources. If you can make a living by selling copper to people that make wires from it, when why should you bother learning how to make wires? If you can make a living selling lithium for lithium battery, why should you bother learning how to make the batteries… and computers? You can buy computers. And wires. And keep selling natural resources. The point is that this is a dead-end path. It doesn’t lead to improvement in science, education, or living conditions. And this is the trap humans were set in the RoE past. They sold food for finished goods. And since finished goods have a lot of higher value than food, they had to make a lot of it to get what they wished. It is a real, true problem in real World, and I see no reason for which it wasn’t during the Elderling’s time. Humans had no reason to move their metaphorical backside and invent anything themselves.

I disagree, forging was just the beginning of what the Pale Woman wanted to do - she said something along the lines of wanting to destroy the world so it could begin again.
No, this is what Beloved claims the Pale Woman wants to do, In Fool’s Errand. We have no idea of what she wanted to do, save that she wanted Icefyre (but not all the dragons) dead. But Beloved is an amazing liar. Lets admit it… The guy (gal?) is a pro. And he has reason to try to present the Pale Woman to Fitz in the worst possible light.

The Fool wanted humans to live with dragons as equals, not as slaves - as Amber he despised slavery
Yes, very true. But that she despised humans enslaving other humans doesn’t tell us what she felt about dragons enslaving humans (which dragons did and do in spades. Selden is completely brainwashed already in Ship of Destiny). The Fool may think they are different things.

Or perhaps he wanted to create a world in which humans could work together with Elderlings (and by extension, dragons) to create a better world based on magic rather than on destruction? Elderling magic (and the Skill too, which is related in some way) can take the place of real-world technology like computers and medicine. Whether the modern world is better or not is a matter of opinion.
Better or worse are absolutely a matter of opinion, but the difference between magic and technology is not the level of destruction. The difference is that magic is something that only a few people in a World can do, while technology can technically be learnt by anybody. Back to a point above: this is a World in which Elderlings and Dragons, who have magic, rules over humanity (who doesn’t have it or has less of it). Think about…. ò.ò About a new kind of endless energy source, that can only used by somebody that is a pure-blood Chinese with the blessing of the Communist party (or of a pure-blood anything else by the blessing of the government). What is the most likely scenario? Dominance of that group of people, whatever by force or by silent agreement.
Now, I am not quibbling about better/worse. But this is an objectively likely scenario.

That depends on your perspective. Is someone your enemy if they prevent you from destroying yourself? If you were about to destroy the world in which you live, wouldn't someone who saved the world - including you - be a hero, despite actively working against what you're trying to do?
You are equating our World to RoE world, and they aren’t the same things. We know there is a way in which we are destroying ourselves (not the World. The World will keep merrily skipping around the Sun for other 1 billion to 5 billion of years, depending on what happens when the Sun will go red giant). How are the people in RoE destroying themselves? Is there just a swif of a hint (aside from what the Fool says) of such a mechanism? I can’t see any.
Mind you, if you would genetically engineer the virus of measles to be as deadly as ebola, go to the five most important airports in the World and disperse it in the air, you would cut the current ecological problem (by removing some 50% of population, in a conservative estimate). It is a solution, certainly. I argue that the Fool solution is of the same kind.

If you are talking from the perspective of capitalism - "anyone who stands in the way of 'progress' and 'growth' is evil" - then sure the Fool is evil, since he sees the world from the perspective where survival and quality of life is more important than technology and money.
Here is a complicate discussion. It depends on your concept of growth. If you are talking about, for example “endless GDP growth” that is one of the most idiotic economic theories ever, no quibble. If we are talking about the growth of knowledge, of technology and of science and of our increasing learning of the universe I would say that yes, everybody who is between humanity and that is indeed an enemy. Equating science and money is, well. Not even in the same scale of magnitude.
Incidentally, humans have been the species with the most impact on the world than any other for at least 50,000 years - no other species has caused mass extinctions in such a way as we have since leaving Africa.
This is commonly thought, but we aren’t that special :P There had been other creatures-triggered mass extinction in the past. Still, the discussion, if fascinating, would be rather OT.

Why is that chilling to you? I for one don't care about nations based on arbitrary lines on a map. Most people find that odd, but chilling is a bit more of a reaction!
True, I explained myself badly. It is not the fact that he doesn’t care about the Six Duchies that I found chilling. The Six Duchies is as you have correctly pointed out, simply a label.
The point is that he doesn’t care about the people living in that labels neither. They aren’t the reason he is here. They are means to an end. If his vision would have told him to bake baby!Dutiful and serve it to Fitz in a meat pie, that was what he would have done.


You could trust such a person if you believed in their quest. The Fool is on a quest to save the world, and all quests require some sort of sacrifice along the way (if fantasy novels are to be believed anyway). If one death saves the world from otherwise inevitable destruction, wouldn't that sacrifice be worth it, however painful it would be? Regardless, the Fool spends all his time saving Fitz from death, since he is the catalyst the Fool can use to change the future. If Fitz dies, the Fool is powerless.
This is the whole key. I bring back to point 1. We could only trust such a person if we believed in their quests. But increasingly the Fool gives us reasons not to. He never says what he is saving the World from, nor how Dragons (or a Farseer heir) could improve the situation. Worse, he contradicts himself often. He says he comes to change the World, but then he says that if he succeeds “nothing will change”, for example.
His whole philosophy is contradictory. The two tenets of the White Prophet philosophy, as he expound them, is that Everybody Can Change the World… and that Only the Catalyst and the White Prophet Can Change the World. One or the other can be true, not both.
Also, he lies and he is profoundly dishonest. His whole behavior with Althea during Liveship Trader is aberrant. At least he tells Fitz he is a Catalyst and about his visions and abilities. In Liveship Traders he uses everybody without telling them his reasons and aims. This is a profoundly manipulative behavior. And even with Fitz, he never says why he wants the Dragons back, and actively lie to him about the Elderlings. The Fool knows what the Elderlings are (humans changed by dragons). But he doesn’t tell Fitz. Why? Because if Fitz knew he could make a different choice. And this is by someone who has spent a great deal of time loudly proclaiming that the Choice is of Fitz. Yep, Fitz can choose… but he won’t be given all the information that were available then.
The key is informed consent. The Pale Woman doesn’t care about the consent part, do what she say or else. But she does give Fitz a lot of information (more than Beloved himself). Because who cares, he will do what she says anyway, or else. Beloved doesn’t care about informing people so that they can make a truly informed decision. He is deceitful and manipulative. And that is Not Good.

Lol yeah I've heard of them before, haven't really looked into it much though. :D
I am a humanist, so I disagree with their ideology, but I give it to them that they are all putting their money where their mouths are… They are all sterilized (this is how I met some of their members, I have decided for ethical reasons not to reproduce). The one I know are quite nice :)


message 7: by Raptori (last edited May 15, 2014 04:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Raptori Wow it's been a week since you replied... I've half written a reply, but haven't had any time to finish it at all this week because I've got an avalanche of work. I also ended up spending an entire day reading Fool's Assassin and managed to get even more behind!

I'll probably have time to reply at some point next week :P


Tiz. T. No problem there is time :D

Fool's Assassin is the number one book I WON'T read this year :P From what everyone says it must be (in my opinion) horrid. Every rewievs basically says the same things: Fitz had gone (in spite of all the psychological impossibilities) to live a happy life in his small manor with a girl that is also the narrator of the story.
This setting interests me as much as the cultivation of rutabaga in XI West Anglia.


Raptori Haha well it all depends on what you liked from the original ones.

He's still messed up (the two star review on here argued that this was the biggest problem), but the stuff that happened to him really shouldn't ever go away. He does start to fight against his tendencies though, just doesn't do it very well or very often.

Personally I love the other narrator. Won't say much about her since I don't want to give out spoilers, but so far I'd say she's up there with Fitz and the Fool as my favourite characters still in the series (Verity is probably the only character I liked more than them).

I expected the setting to be boring as hell, but actually liked it in the end! :)

It's probably a better idea to wait until the whole trilogy is out though, it's a long wait until the next one will be released D:


message 10: by Tiz. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tiz. T. I liked several things, but mostly Fitz&Fool, for several reasons :) I am woefully uninterested in anybody else, save Chade (who is the only characters in all the book who is truly intelligent. Kettricken too is smart, but she lets her heart decide too much, like Shrewd). The fact that there is another narrator speaks of a tendency to go elsewhere from Fitz&Fool, kinda like Anne Perry in The White Dragon, you know of it? :)
As I said... Rutabaga-level of indifference.


message 11: by Tiz. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tiz. T. PS Verity rocks! I hated how Shrewd treated him :(


Raptori Chade plays a bigger part than most of the others, but there's sadly very little of the Fool. One of the things I like about the new narrator is that she's really intelligent and logical though, so she might appeal to you too!

Actually, based on what happens in the first book, the second and third will probably have tons and tons of Fitz and the Fool together (unless they decide to be idiots of course).

Nope, haven't heard of those D:

Yah, each time I've re-read the first trilogy I hate what happened to Verity, and even in the new book I wish he was still there. :(


back to top