Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion

Anna Clare McDuff amcduff at math.sunysb.edu
Thu May 29 10:26:23 EDT 2003


On Thu, 29 May 2003, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

> I suppose the Zinka/Grundo/Izzies type of magical coercion could be a
> little more problematic for me even than 'normal' emotional
> manipulation, if only because of Rupert's horror when Maree says the
> unforgivable thing about being a Magid meaning trying to run the
> world (I can't remember anything like the exact quote now).   Though
> I'm not entirely sure that it is worse - maybe it's just that more of
> the 'dark arts' (to use Mrs. Pentstemmon's term) type behaviour in
> DWJ tends to be shown by magic users of some sort?  This thought has
> not even got a pre-heated oven, not to mention being half-baked, so I
> expect it's open to much disagreement!

	No, I think that something similar and possibly identical is
keeping me from firmly deciding that I think magical coercion is exactly
the same thing as non magical coercion. The whole With Great Power Comes
Great Responsibility issue... As Philip said, being able to break natural
law doesn't mean it is OK to also break whatever moral laws are lying
around, but it is possible we could make a solid case that having such
enormous powers means one ought to hold onself to an even stricter moral
code than is the norm. Like in a scientific experiment, where if the
consequences for being wrong are very grave (like some drugs trials) one
uses very conservative parameters, so that there will be a one in a
hundred, or one in a thousand, or one in ten thousand chance of the
results of the experiment being wrong, while if the matter is less serious
one can be much freer with the parameters, often even accepting a one in
twenty chance of being wrong... When I consider what a really powerful
magician could do, and how tempting minor misuses must be & how easy it is
for minor misuses to snowball into really reprehensible acts, there's a
little bit of me that thinks ordinary morality isn't enough, unfair though
such a position might be...

	Anna


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