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What 'needed to be done'?

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I equate what Rhaegar did with what happens to our body when we get a vaccine. We get injected with a virus that could in theory make us sick but the intent to make us stronger with immunity.  

Rhaegar obsessed with prophecy finds the woman who he feels would complete it.  Whether Lyanna was kidnapped or not that is up to discussion personally I think he saved her from Aerys trying to capture the knight of laughter tree.  There were a few things that were not in Rhaegar controls.  

1.) The narritive of what happened at the "abduction" site.  Personally I think the story was told from a young Littlefinger who was recovering from his fight with Brandon who was concocting a play for revenge.

2.) Brandon, he raced to kingslanding to defend his sisters honor. Falling into Littlefinger's trap

3.) Crazy Aerys arresting Brandon and demanding Rickard stark to answer for this as well as demanding that Ned and Robert be sent to kingslanding 

4.) finally Robert " Ours is the fury" Baratheon, reacted like a hot head and called his banners because of the disrespect for his cousin for taking the love of his life. In reality Lyanna being bold had no intent in loving and probably marrying him.

In conclusion, Rhaegar not infallible was guilty in how others precieved his action of his "abduction" I think Littlefinger knowing the madness of Aerys the temper of Brandon and Robert, set on the path of revenge led us to the war of Roberts Rebellion.

 

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20 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

It's the old conundrum: if you had a chance to kill Hitler as a child, would that be immoral? Or would you weigh that against the 40 million who died because of his actions.

I get what your saying, and I agree with it. But I guess I'm trying to provide a literal answer to the question, "What needed to be done?" And the threat that Dany herself, regardless of her actions but just by virtue of who she is, makes it necessary that she should die, at least from Robert's perspective. I don't think the citadel or the faith would be an adequate guarantee against insurrection -- in fact, I'll bet leaders of both organizations would love to have one of their own sitting the Iron Throne.

So I'm not trying to argue that your contention is wrong, but that it is an answer to a different question than the one posed by the OP.

Killing a child Hitler is evil because there is no way to know what he could do because circumstances decide what a person would become. That is not even pragmatism.

Anyway Robert's isn't pragmatism. If Pragmatism violated ethics then there will be repercussions. In fact Aerys did the same what Robert attempted to do and that costed him everything he had. It is ironic that Robert did the same in this case to a pregnant woman and her unborn child which makes the act worse.

 

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16 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

Not exactly the same - that old conundrum assumes the benefit of hindsight, which Robert did not have. 

Well, no, he has the benefit of foresight, and the lengthy history of claimants to the throne causing bloodshed and mayhem, including himself.

14 hours ago, SeanF said:

Dany is not (so far) comparable to Hitler.  As far as Robert knows, she's a child who has found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If, by the time the story is complete, Dany is indeed a ruthless tyrant, leaving cities in flames behind her, and covering the land with forests of stakes and gibbets, then your point would have merit, although it's not something that Robert could predict.

 

 

Again, this idea is based on the notion that Dany deserves to live or die based on her actions. It doesn't. From Robert's perspective, and from those who want peace in the realm, she has to die because of who she is.

11 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

I know I'm repeating myself, but you're making out that the decision was made out of a sense of pragmatism, but it wasn't. Ned observes that it was born out of the irrational and unquenchable hatred that Robert had for the Targaryens. Even Robert recognised the decision was wrong on his deathbed, when he was thinking clearly.

Agreed, but I'm not talking about why Robert or anyone else did what they did. I'm just answering the OP's question, "Did it need to be done?" And for the sake of peace in the realm, the answer is yes.

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State which needs to kill 13 year old girls to preserve itself is a sorry state indeed. This whole line of thinking: we need to kill innocent people for the good of the realm is very morally shaky, and often lends itself as justification from various tyrants, dictators and oppressive regimes in general.

Other than that, the only thing that comes to my mind wrt "what should have been done" is that Jon, IMO, should have killed the old man when ordered to do so by wildlings. Mostly because a) old man will die anyway, and I think there's very little difference between watching the deed happen and ding it yourself, b ) it means maintaining the masquerade and a chance for saving more lives in the future and thus actually achieving something good. Jon refsing orders and getting killed alongside old man does a service no nobody, old man included.

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7 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Again, this idea is based on the notion that Dany deserves to live or die based on her actions. It doesn't. From Robert's perspective, and from those who want peace in the realm, she has to die because of who she is.

If wanting to stop the devastation of war was Robert’s primary motivation he never would have launched his rebellion in the first place. What’s the life/honour of Lyanna, or the lives of him and Ned, compared to the thousands who were died or assaulted as a result of the war?

11 minutes ago, Knight Of Winter said:

State which needs to kill 13 year old girls to preserve itself is a sorry state indeed. This whole line of thinking: we need to kill innocent people for the good of the realm is very morally shaky, and often lends itself as justification from various tyrants, dictators and oppressive regimes in general.

The logic of that sort of thinking is pretty shaky as well. Where does it end? Surely hundreds being killed in cold blood can be justified for the sake of preventing a war which would kill thousands? The problem is, rarely is there such a certainty, you’re rarely prevented with an open and clear cut choice - “go through this door and this many people will die, go through this door and this many people will die.” Instead such decisions are usually made based on assumptions. Also, often as not, they are flimsy justifications for dubious actions wrapped up in a pretence of utilitarianism.

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2 minutes ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

If wanting to stop the devastation of war was Robert’s primary motivation he never would have launched his rebellion in the first place. What’s the life/honour of Lyanna, or the lives of him and Ned, compared to the thousands who were died or assaulted as a result of the war?

 

The logic of that sort of thinking is pretty shaky as well. Where does it end? Surely hundreds being killed in cold blood can be justified for the sake of preventing a war which would kill thousands? The problem is, rarely is there such a certainty, you’re rarely prevented with an open and clear cut choice - “go through this door and this many people will die, go through this door and this many people will die.” Instead such decisions are usually made based on assumptions. Also, often as not, they are flimsy justifications for dubious actions wrapped up in a pretence of utilitarianism.

 

Well, you outlined the problem yourself. Yes, if there was a clear-cut situation, clear yes-no answer, pure scales with lives of 100s on the one end and lives of thousands on the other, I would say it's correct to kill hundreds.

The situation in real life is never so clear, however. Way more often than not, this killing few for the needs of many was nothing more than just a flimsy jusification for horrible monstrosities. And even when it was genuine, it's often misguided, based of incomplete information or just plain wrong. I'm all for Quenton-Hightower-type figures who make hard decision in order to benefit the people in the long run, but such examples in history are exceedingly rare.

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23 minutes ago, Knight Of Winter said:

Well, you outlined the problem yourself. Yes, if there was a clear-cut situation, clear yes-no answer, pure scales with lives of 100s on the one end and lives of thousands on the other, I would say it's correct to kill hundreds.

The situation in real life is never so clear, however. Way more often than not, this killing few for the needs of many was nothing more than just a flimsy jusification for horrible monstrosities. And even when it was genuine, it's often misguided, based of incomplete information or just plain wrong. I'm all for Quenton-Hightower-type figures who make hard decision in order to benefit the people in the long run, but such examples in history are exceedingly rare.

This is true, which is why it’s a bit difficult to say absolutely that a particular action is necessary. Certainly, in this case, Robert’s decision was based on a lot of what ifs and maybes, and was clouded by his own obsession with Lyanna (and a jug or three of sour red).

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There's a quote I like in Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie, where one character is calling out another for the crimes she's committed.  She replies "I did what I had to do."  "Ah, what you had to do.  The favourite excuse for unexamined evil across the centuries."  The same could be said of "What Needed to be Done."

That's not to say that there are no circumstances in which people do have to choose between bad options, and therefore one must try to choose the least bad.  But "What Needed to be Done" is often a purely self-serving argument.

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Lol, I guess I'm curious then: in a story where the honorable, morally correct course of action invariably leads to misery and mayhem (Ned, Dany, Brienne), while the immoral act brings peace and tranquility (Jaime) what, exactly, makes it so appealing to you guys?

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19 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Lol, I guess I'm curious then: in a story where the honorable, morally correct course of action invariably leads to misery and mayhem (Ned, Dany, Brienne), while the immoral act brings peace and tranquility (Jaime) what, exactly, makes it so appealing to you guys?

An acknowledgement that personal benefit should not necessarily be the only consideration when making decisions? I never laboured under the illusion that doing the right things always leads to happiness. 

 

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On ‎3‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 0:27 PM, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

An acknowledgement that personal benefit should not necessarily be the only consideration when making decisions? I never laboured under the illusion that doing the right things always leads to happiness. 

 

OK, but this goes against the grain of what you are saying. If doing the right thing for personal benefit, such as satisfying one's own sense of honor, leads to leads to death and suffering of vast numbers of people, then that is a selfish, immoral decision.

This is how we can see the flaw in Ned's decision to treat Cersei and her children with honor, because it led to more then just personal unhappiness but the deaths of his wife, son, all the people who followed and trusted him and the destruction of his house. Dany's moral quest to end slavery has brought about thousands of gruesome deaths of innocents and has now unleashed a plague upon an entire city.

On the flip side, Jaime's immoral decision to stab an old man in the back -- a man he had sworn a holy vow to protect no matter what -- saved the lives of half a million people or more.

So if we apply this same formula to Robert, then refusing to kill Dany may satisfy his own sense of morality, but it would very likely lead to a greater immorality. So, like Jaime, the truly honorable thing to do is to sacrifice his own personal benefit, his honor, for the greater good, thus answering to a higher, more universal, morality. This is one of the predominant themes in the story.

I can't say what will happen in the next two books, but I'm sure there will be death and misery on a grand scale. And I'll bet the farm that it will have resulted in someone failing to do "what needed to be done."

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31 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

OK, but this goes against the grain of what you are saying. If doing the right thing for personal benefit, such as satisfying one's own sense of honor, leads to leads to death and suffering of vast numbers of people, then that is a selfish, immoral decision.

This is how we can see the flaw in Ned's decision to treat Cersei and her children with honor, because it led to more then just personal unhappiness but the deaths of his wife, son, all the people who followed and trusted him and the destruction of his house. Dany's moral quest to end slavery has brought about thousands of gruesome deaths of innocents and has now unleashed a plague upon an entire city.

On the flip side, Jaime's immoral decision to stab an old man in the back -- a man he had sworn a holy vow to protect no matter what -- saved the lives of half a million people or more.

So if we apply this same formula to Robert, then refusing to kill Dany may satisfy his own sense of morality, but it would very likely lead to a greater immorality. So, like Jaime, the truly honorable thing to do is to sacrifice his own personal benefit, his honor, for the greater good, thus answering to a higher, more universal, morality. This is one of the predominant themes in the story.

I can't say what will happen in the next two books, but I'm sure there will be death and misery on a grand scale. And I'll bet the farm that it will have resulted in someone failing to do "what needed to be done."

This logic is flawed - you're faulting characters for consequences of their actions they either didn't want or had no way or predicting. It's like faulting Vienna academy of fine arts for not admitting a student which, denied his career as a painter, turned to politics and caused WW2.

Ned never wanted a civil war - his idea was for Cersei to take the kids and flee, thus saving their lives. And Dany's intention was to abolish slavery, not cause innocent deaths. But, really, has there ever during the cause of human history, been a clean a bloodless revolution. Using your utilitarian logic, one could easily argue that improved standards of life and human rights improved hundreds of thousands of lives - and that they are the highest calling.

In fact, if you follow that line of thinking, you could easily see several layers, each higher than the other, when discussing morality of an event. Consider RW, for example:
 

-they killed a man

-but he had it coming, he broke his word

-still, he was an unsuspecting guest. And he had thousands of men with him

-yeah, but RW stopped the war and who knows how many lives in the future

-regardless, it broke of life-saving social norms and made all the future wars bloodier. Imagine how many soldiers will die if one can't even trust guest right.

Now, I wrote an example where the verdict is pretty clear - RW was absolutely heinous. But many a time the relations between layers I listed above are not so clear - which is more important at the given moment? Why? How do they relate to each other and to what end? Will the negative aspects of one override positive aspects of the other? This stuff is complex and grey instead of clear-and-cut black and white, and "what needs to be done" is far from an only or ultimate answer.

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Dany ordering her men to close the gates to the city of Meereen to prevent the spread of disease and preserve supplies.  That's the kind of tough decision that a ruler should be able to make.

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1 hour ago, The Transporter said:

Dany ordering her men to close the gates to the city of Meereen to prevent the spread of disease and preserve supplies.  That's the kind of tough decision that a ruler should be able to make.

technically she actually still gave them food and did what she could. Not letting in people who will bring death is not a bad decison. It is a hard one but I never understood people acting like she is horrible for it. It wasn't like when cersei closed the door to refuggee's. And it made it clear she didn't want to do it but had no choice. I know that's what you were saying I am just saying other people blame her for some reason.

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2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

OK, but this goes against the grain of what you are saying. If doing the right thing for personal benefit, such as satisfying one's own sense of honor, leads to leads to death and suffering of vast numbers of people, then that is a selfish, immoral decision.

This is how we can see the flaw in Ned's decision to treat Cersei and her children with honor, because it led to more then just personal unhappiness but the deaths of his wife, son, all the people who followed and trusted him and the destruction of his house. Dany's moral quest to end slavery has brought about thousands of gruesome deaths of innocents and has now unleashed a plague upon an entire city.

On the flip side, Jaime's immoral decision to stab an old man in the back -- a man he had sworn a holy vow to protect no matter what -- saved the lives of half a million people or more.

So if we apply this same formula to Robert, then refusing to kill Dany may satisfy his own sense of morality, but it would very likely lead to a greater immorality. So, like Jaime, the truly honorable thing to do is to sacrifice his own personal benefit, his honor, for the greater good, thus answering to a higher, more universal, morality. This is one of the predominant themes in the story.

I can't say what will happen in the next two books, but I'm sure there will be death and misery on a grand scale. And I'll bet the farm that it will have resulted in someone failing to do "what needed to be done."

Ned stark underestimated cersei and if robert had not been killed by the boar she wouldn't have been able to do anything. I do agree he made a dumb decision. Dany's quest to end slavery was always gonna be bloody and she knew it on some level. But she had to break the cycle. The real problem came from that idiot who took over astapor and started a war with yunkai. But how many people died in slavery every year or were tortured or treated in some horrible way. Dany's fight to end slavery will either stop the horrific act or fail and end up killing thousands for no reason. We have to see the end.

 

I always thought jaime would not take so much hate over killing the mad king if he would have pointed out why he did it. Instead he didn't say why for some reason. Some would still hate him for it and call him dishonarable but it would  be far fewer in number and would not be said to his face but said in private. I never thought killing the mad king was bad but he does alot of other horrible things

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2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

OK, but this goes against the grain of what you are saying. If doing the right thing for personal benefit, such as satisfying one's own sense of honor, leads to leads to death and suffering of vast numbers of people, then that is a selfish, immoral decision.

This is how we can see the flaw in Ned's decision to treat Cersei and her children with honor, because it led to more then just personal unhappiness but the deaths of his wife, son, all the people who followed and trusted him and the destruction of his house. Dany's moral quest to end slavery has brought about thousands of gruesome deaths of innocents and has now unleashed a plague upon an entire city.

On the flip side, Jaime's immoral decision to stab an old man in the back -- a man he had sworn a holy vow to protect no matter what -- saved the lives of half a million people or more.

So if we apply this same formula to Robert, then refusing to kill Dany may satisfy his own sense of morality, but it would very likely lead to a greater immorality. So, like Jaime, the truly honorable thing to do is to sacrifice his own personal benefit, his honor, for the greater good, thus answering to a higher, more universal, morality. This is one of the predominant themes in the story.

I can't say what will happen in the next two books, but I'm sure there will be death and misery on a grand scale. And I'll bet the farm that it will have resulted in someone failing to do "what needed to be done."

Also dany would still be drogo's wife and no threat to to the seven kingdoms if the attempt on her life hadn't been made. Drogo would never have crossed that sea so robert didn't need to worry. He didn't attack her for the greater good her did it because of his hatred for targaryeans (didn't spell it right).

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I think people need to realize that robert's decision to kill dany was more about him wanting to wipe out her bloodline because he hates them. So he doesn't get the benefit of the (it's for peace) argument.

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16 hours ago, Knight Of Winter said:
16 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

OK, but this goes against the grain of what you are saying. If doing the right thing for personal benefit, such as satisfying one's own sense of honor, leads to leads to death and suffering of vast numbers of people, then that is a selfish, immoral decision.

This is how we can see the flaw in Ned's decision to treat Cersei and her children with honor, because it led to more then just personal unhappiness but the deaths of his wife, son, all the people who followed and trusted him and the destruction of his house. Dany's moral quest to end slavery has brought about thousands of gruesome deaths of innocents and has now unleashed a plague upon an entire city.

On the flip side, Jaime's immoral decision to stab an old man in the back -- a man he had sworn a holy vow to protect no matter what -- saved the lives of half a million people or more.

So if we apply this same formula to Robert, then refusing to kill Dany may satisfy his own sense of morality, but it would very likely lead to a greater immorality. So, like Jaime, the truly honorable thing to do is to sacrifice his own personal benefit, his honor, for the greater good, thus answering to a higher, more universal, morality. This is one of the predominant themes in the story.

I can't say what will happen in the next two books, but I'm sure there will be death and misery on a grand scale. And I'll bet the farm that it will have resulted in someone failing to do "what needed to be done."

 

Ned did not do the right thing "for personal benefit."  His personal benefit would have been served either by placing Cersei and her children under arrest, or by blackmailing her with his knowledge.  He was trying to save lives.  One can fairly criticise him for being hopelessly naïve, but not for being self-interested.

Likewise Dany. Her personal benefit would have been best served by looting Meereen, extorting a ransom from Yunkai, and then sailing West. One can fairly criticise her for naivety in thinking she can end slavery (and I would further criticise her for her strong streak of cruelty) but she's not acting in a selfish manner.

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18 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

If doing the right thing for personal benefit, such as satisfying one's own sense of honor, leads to leads to death and suffering of vast numbers of people, then that is a selfish, immoral decision.

That's a convoluted bit of logic there. Arguing that doing the right thing is selfish because it makes you feel good is simply inane. It may satisfy "ones own sense of honour", but we have to assume that the adherence to said code is based on some sort of ethical or moral decision. Ned adhered to his code of honour because it was a set of principles that he believed were right.

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Sorry, I will always stand for the principal that the decision that results in fewer lives lost, or even potentially lost, is the right decision, both morally and practically, then the one that leads to greater numbers of deaths.

And I think Martin agrees with that too, given that virtually every loss of life in the book is the result of someone failing to do what needed to be done to prevent it.

 

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