Excellent rant as usual! It's good to see that you're still around limyaael - I've often wondered where you'd gone and hoped that you're alright and doing well.
My apologies if this seems slightly disjointed I'm typing on a screen where I can see only a couple of lines. :)
It is interesting to see alternatives to the traditional idea of loyalty in fantasy- which IMHO are remnants from the ideal (not idea) of Medieval chivalry that seems to plague fantasy. I can understand the complexities of loyalty among friends and family and people who have earned that loyalty through an intangible set of events that have built over the years. Such bonds would be difficult to break, and the reason behind that would have to be a good one. That said, I'm always highly suspicious of anyone who pledges undying loyalty to such and such. True, deep loyalty is earned, not given away freely during happy hour.
Loyalty to a principle is different. One must believe or sympathize with the cause, or at least have such a nasty alternative that the character has a damn good reason to choose that alternative. Something I really hate seeing is a character who has been raised from childhood with a set of principles abandon them without a second thought the second something shiny comes along ("ooh! A rebellion!" *joins without second thought*) I also note that the opposite rarely happens; the kings army comes by and the rebellious protagonist becomes a soldier. Not even the nice shiny armour can sway him. I can see plenty of opportunities for complex characterization and character interaction that is truly deep. Not to mention the plots that could unfold and the ripple effects of such plots.
Regarding loyalty within politics and treason within that. Why don't authors take a good, hard look at the political situations in the world today? I'm thinking of the situation in Thailand myself. It must take a lot of courage and a deep belief that things are wrong to stand up and rebel, knowing that you might get shot down in the streets by the army. I'm sure there's a lot more involved than that, I don't really know much more about it than what I see on the news and in the papers, but there's a lot of loyalty/treason examples right there, and I'm sure that a little bit of research could reveal more.
Then there's the opportunity for political propoganda, sabotage, all sorts of nasty goodies that I like and even opportunities for those double agents fantasy likes - the traitor that isn't a traitor. I've often wondered why the protagonist doesn't send someone to the bad guys and uses them to feed misinformation and gather information - with eyes wide open. I've got a double agent character, who was sent in to gather information about an alternative society, one that isn't traditional fundementalist, but rather, seeks advancement for the society and it's people as a whole. Kaja was raised in the traditional fundementalist society and believed so strongly in it that he accepted the task to infiltrate and spy on the alternative, but once he was in, and started interacting with the people, began to look closely at both sides - and got so far in that he was unwilling to get out. He took the best from both sides and mashed it into his own set of principles. He still feeds information back, about the more reprehensible parts of this society but little more. some of his siblings call him traitor to varying degrees , but Kaja doesn't see it that way - he's become very fluid and ambigious, and sometimes I'm not sure which way he's going to take things. I think I've defused rather than inflamed the traitor situation, but there's still plenty of conflict and characterisation to drive everything on. I prefer to have plots that aren't good vs. evil but are more of a conflict between opinions and ideals.
There seems to be a whole lot of emphasis on the crushing impact of betrayal in fantasy and not so much about what caused it. I'd like to see more but it's all the same old same old and nothing really worth reading.
Well hello. Long time no rant. (Just noticed. this. Your TVtropes page will be suitable updated! (Yes you have one!) That said.. hello. I'm reading because I would love to write and yet.. I'm can't. (Just not in me.) I do follow yoru opinions and check in to see what's I'm doing wrong when UI do outline things. Great stuff here. Please, accept my sincerest thanks for it all. '
It is interesting to see alternatives to the traditional idea of loyalty in fantasy- which IMHO are remnants from the ideal (not idea) of Medieval chivalry that seems to plague fantasy.
Heh. Heh. Not a particularly realistic idea of medieval "chivalry" either. Writers of medieval-esque fantasy really should read more about Henry II, his wife, and his sons (including Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland)--one of the most dysfunctional families ever. Or "the lord of my lord is not my lord," a thoroughly chivalric idea very popular with nobles who wanted to gather supporters for a revolt against their feudal superiors. Come to think of it, I think I've rambled about that in the medieval fantasy with medieval intensity (http://l-clausewitz.livejournal.com/122481.html) rant a long time ago.
: It is interesting to see alternatives to the traditional idea of loyalty in fantasy- which IMHO are remnants from the ideal (not idea) of Medieval chivalry that seems to plague fantasy.
Perhaps it might be more accurate to call it "remnants from the romantic ideal" more than anything else. Consider it amended. Again, IMHO, it's all about the romance, not the reality in fantasy. I prefer the reality, myself. :)