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Isn't Smodur supposed to be the pragmatic one?

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  • draxynnic.3719draxynnic.3719 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Blocki.4931 said:
    Seems like a typical, war-minded Charr to me. There has never been tolerance for defectors or enemy spies, so why show mercy to them now?

    Because if you kill anyone who might otherwise defect to you, the defections will only ever flow one way. And if you kill all your prisoners, the enemy will fight to the death because they have nothing to lose.

    This is a 'hearts and minds' campaign as much as a military one, and Smodur's policy hands that advantage entirely to the Dominion.

  • Blocki.4931Blocki.4931 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @draxynnic.3719 said:

    @Blocki.4931 said:
    Seems like a typical, war-minded Charr to me. There has never been tolerance for defectors or enemy spies, so why show mercy to them now?

    Because if you kill anyone who might otherwise defect to you, the defections will only ever flow one way. And if you kill all your prisoners, the enemy will fight to the death because they have nothing to lose.

    This is a 'hearts and minds' campaign as much as a military one, and Smodur's policy hands that advantage entirely to the Dominion.

    This is a cultural thing first and foremost. Blame the Charr, not him.

    I rather choose death.

  • Kossage.9072Kossage.9072 Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 21, 2020

    @draxynnic.3719 said:

    @Sheader.6827 said:
    They jumped his personality too much. I remember from Season 2 how calm and respectful he was towards the PC and Rytlock. This is not the same character. The situation does not demand him to turn into Bangar 2.0.

    To be fair, in Season 3 he had Rytlock arrested for questioning, and then deemed Rytlock's experiences in the Mists 'classified' so there was no opportunity to make the link between a figure in the Mists that could reignite Sohothin and Balthazar until Balthazar had already caught us by surprise.

    But yeah, there does seem to be a shift in his characterisation.

    That actually brings up an interesting point about charr politics: how much power do the imperators hold over other legions' officers?

    We don't know if it was Smodur who was the sole person behind the arrest per se other than the appearance of the Adamant Guard which at least suggests his involvement as other imperators couldn't order the Adamant Guard around like that. But it opens another can of worms:

    Back in Season 2 Rytlock and Smodur seemed to get along fine, and Smodur was certain Rytlock would survive the Mists trip. He did ask the Commander to deliver news to him once Rytlock returned so he could learn what Rytlock had experienced, but other than that he didn't seem to press the issue.

    Upon his return from the Mists, Rytlock never had a conversation about Smodur with the Commander, on screen at least, so we don't know if the Commander ever relayed Smodur's wish to Rytlock. By the time Rytlock's return became widely known, he did receive summons to return to the Black Citadel, but he oddly rejected these summons despite the fact how at the time nothing he had done in the Mists (to our knowledge) would be dangerous per se: all we really learned over time was that he met Glint who taught him the ways of the revenant, he might have struggled mastering the powers of various legends a bit, and he freed a seemingly random spirit who had somehow reignited Sohothin. And yet Rytlock was willing to disobey orders even though a quick trip to the Citadel to report the aforementioned info would've been enough to satisfy Smodur's curiosity.

    Second, Smodur shouldn't really have such an authority over Rytlock, at least not while Rytlock wasn't at the Black Citadel, and thus Iron grounds, at the time. Oddly enough Rytlock was even demoted, an act that Smodur as Iron Imperator shouldn't be able to do to my understanding. This, to me, suggests that perhaps Bangar was behind wanting a report from Rytlock and had the authority to demote Rytlock if he resisted, and somehow coerced Smodur to go along with the idea to bring Rytlock back to a tribunal (maybe threatening opening hostilities with Smodur if Blood's demands were not met). This would also explain Rytlock's reluctance to hand in a report as he wanted nothing to do with Bangar and tried to avoid responsibility as long as possible until no other choice was left for him (compare him e.g. reluctantly following us to Grothmar during the prologue episode).

    If Iron Imperator Smodur somehow had the authority to demote a Blood Tribune like Rytlock, that would no doubt cause an incident between him and Bangar; even if Smodur enjoyed humiliating Bangar with such a show of power, he'd be dealing with the same Blood Imperator who had confiscated Iron artillery and had at one point intended to aim them at the Black Citadel just because of paranoia. Who knows how Bangar would've acted if he learned what Smodur had done to a Blood officer, so Smodur as a strategist should've hopefully known better than to take that chance.

    Still, it begs the question why Rytlock was so tight-lipped about the Mists adventure at all. It couldn't have been freeing a random spirit or being taught by Glint as those, by themselves, aren't really that big a deal beyond introducing a new profession to Tyria. Given how the info was deemed classified so only tribunes and above had clearance for it while Rytlock's rank was somehow reinstated after his tribunal, there must've been something else to the story that convinced the charr brass of such secrecy and why Rytlock wasn't ordered to scrapper duty for the rest of his life.

    I wonder if just freeing a random spirit really was that big a deal to the charr brass or if Rytlock is still hiding something from us. Perhaps he learned something and swore to Glint to never reveal it under any circumstance, hence his reluctance to elaborate on matters until he was forced to. Or maybe he discovered something that he personally wanted to keep a secret so whatever knowledge he learned wouldn't be abused by Bangar or anyone else.

    It does make one think what Smodur's thought process was during the whole tribunal, and if this incident somehow soured his and Rytlock's budding friendship and respect to some degree. It would be nice if the writers explored what exactly happened during the closed doors meeting, why Rytlock was reluctant about turning in a report, and why his rank was reinstated despite his disobedience. It seems like we're still missing a key piece of Rytlock's Mists puzzle that has been ongoing since the subplot began in Season 2.

    Curiously Season 2 also introduced the idea of Rox working as a free agent and reporting on some activities to someone in Smodur's office. I've written at length about "Rox's Secret", why she was acting as a spy, who exactly was she was spying on, what her relationship was with the enigmatic and hostile Monti Scythescrape, and why Rox even lied to the Pact Commander (with only the charr Commander realizing something was amiss in her explanations) during "Reunion with the Pact" and "Return to Camp Resolve" instances.

    Was Rox working for Smodur as she was interested in Rytlock's Mists adventure as well as the egg based on her dialogue in S2 and HoT, or was she potentially working for Bangar if she was offered another chance to join the Stone Warband by delivering him intel on Core Tyrian activities? I wouldn't put it past Bangar to use Rox as a pawn in his game as he knows what buttons to push and what rewards to offer to make people dance to his tune. However, it still leaves the mystery of Monti whose armor our charr Commander didn't recognize, though, but Monti could've been Bangar's liaison for all we know unless there's something else to him as he and Rox seem to know each other from somewhere and don't seem to like one another that much.

    Whatever the reason, it seems strange that Smodur would change his tune about Rytlock since "Plan of Attack" and start insulting him despite respecting him before. It's likewise strange why Rytlock would hesitate telling Smodur anything in S3 if Smodur was for the most part responsible for the arrest and tribunal as opposed to Bangar, as nothing that we know of Rytlock's Mists adventure is dangerous knowledge per se. Rytlock would be risking his entire career for nothing.

    It seems to me like there's more to this story yet to be told, but whether we ever explore it now that both Angel McCoy and Scott McGough (who seem to have been the main architects of this idea and may have taken their plans with them) are gone remains to be seen. It would be a neat tie-in to Bangar and Smodur's storyline, especially if we ran into Monti again and learned just what exactly his relationship with Rox was, and if the story ever canonizes the cut Season 1 ending where Rox was suggested to be Rytlock's half-sister via sharing the same dam who had made Rytlock promise to watch over Rox while on her deathbed.

  • draxynnic.3719draxynnic.3719 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Blocki.4931 said:

    @draxynnic.3719 said:

    @Blocki.4931 said:
    Seems like a typical, war-minded Charr to me. There has never been tolerance for defectors or enemy spies, so why show mercy to them now?

    Because if you kill anyone who might otherwise defect to you, the defections will only ever flow one way. And if you kill all your prisoners, the enemy will fight to the death because they have nothing to lose.

    This is a 'hearts and minds' campaign as much as a military one, and Smodur's policy hands that advantage entirely to the Dominion.

    This is a cultural thing first and foremost. Blame the Charr, not him.

    From the reactions of other charr in the episode, it's pretty clear that Smodur's choices are his own personal policy, not a universal charr cultural trait.