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Alyn Oakenfist

Given the horrible mortality rate how are the fighting pits financially viable?

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Posted (edited)

So the fighting pits are obviously inspired by Roman gladiatorial combat. However the Romans didn't just throw men in the pits like morons, with only 1 ever coming back alive. In fact less then 10 percent of gladiatorial combats ended with a death, as they were A well organized and arbitrated so that one could easily yield at any time, and B afterward, the slave owner was the one deciding if the defeated slave should live or die. Guess what he chose when considering the huge amounts of money dumped in each and every gladiator. So the only deaths were the ones of either gladiators that performed so badly that the audience really wanted them dead (unlikely given how rigorous their training was) and the owner had to comply to save face, or the very unlikely case in which the defeated gladiator would die before yielding, which was too very unlikely due to the strict rules and close arbitration (there was always a referee for each combat). Don't get me wrong, gladiatorial combat was a bloody sport, but it wasn't the mindless carnage of the fighting pits.

Which brings us to the main point. Given that pitfigthers seem to be treated as well as IRL roman gladiators (top healthcare, great accommodation and rigorous training), how on Earth is such a mindless slaughter of such monetary investment financially viable. And a second question, how can the Mereenese train pitfighter fast enough given that, let me say this again, every fight ends in a death? So what do you think? One should also point out that for all their talk of the Mortal Art the fights seem very random, unlike the Romans that had a taste for very specific types of fights like Murmillo vs Retiarius

Edited by Alyn Oakenfist

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They are not. Entirety of Slaver's Bay has no logical sensical basis at all. It was precisely because of that mortality that I assumed gladiators in fighting pits were either criminals slated for execution or prisoners of war they wanted to get rid of, but it turned out I was wrong.

So it is time to apply MST3K Mantra: it is George Martin. Applying logic is useless.

Now if I could just listen to my own advice...

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Does every fight end with a death? The show Dany saw might have been a bit different from the usual. The grand re-opening.

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28 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

They are not. Entirety of Slaver's Bay has no logical sensical basis at all.

Probably what happens when you combine ancient Carthage, the North African Pirate Kingdoms, a bit of Rome, and modern day Afghanistan and Iraq.

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4 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

Does every fight end with a death? The show Dany saw might have been a bit different from the usual. The grand re-opening.

Belwas says he lets all his enemies cut him once before he kills them.

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I can only say that in Rome they used gladiatorial and other events to climb the political ladder, get crony benefits and get people to vote for them. The games were expensive, sometimes ruinously so, but if they made it past consul, they would be appointed to lucrative governing jobs in the provinces. Since they were the authority there, they could squeeze the locals as much as they could get away with and had Roman legions to back them.

For fun read Coleen McCulloughs books but there lots of drier works.

 

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2 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

So the fighting pits are obviously inspired by Roman gladiatorial combat. However the Romans didn't just throw men in the pits like morons, with only 1 ever coming back alive. In fact less then 10 percent of gladiatorial combats ended with a death, as they were A well organized and arbitrated so that one could easily yield at any time, and B afterward, the slave owner was the one deciding if the defeated slave should live or die. Guess what he chose when considering the huge amounts of money dumped in each and every gladiator. So the only deaths were the ones of either gladiators that performed so badly that the audience really wanted them dead (unlikely given how rigorous their training was) and the owner had to comply to save face, or the very unlikely case in which the defeated gladiator would die before yielding, which was too very unlikely due to the strict rules and close arbitration (there was always a referee for each combat). Don't get me wrong, gladiatorial combat was a bloody sport, but it wasn't the mindless carnage of the fighting pits.

Which brings us to the main point. Given that pitfigthers seem to be treated as well as IRL roman gladiators (top healthcare, great accommodation and rigorous training), how on Earth is such a mindless slaughter of such monetary investment financially viable. And a second question, how can the Mereenese train pitfighter fast enough given that, let me say this again, every fight ends in a death? So what do you think? One should also point out that for all their talk of the Mortal Art the fights seem very random, unlike the Romans that had a taste for very specific types of fights like Murmillo vs Retiarius

Killing of  professionals might only take place on special occasions.

There would (pre-Daenerys) always have been a good supply of condemned criminals, unwanted slaves, and dwarves and children to feed to wild beasts.  TBH, the exhibition that Daenerys and Hizdahr host must be considered pretty tame by the aficionados.

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1 hour ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

afterward, the slave owner was the one deciding if the defeated slave should live or die

And not even that: if the audience decided "pollice recto" (as they did most of the time; a pollice verso was very, very rare - a defeated gladiator would have to really "work" to get one), it would have been a serious scandal if the owner would have killed the defeated gladiator. Of course, he could have decided to have the slave killed (at least until Antoninus Pius; it's actually quite interesting, because raping of ones own slaves was forbitten since the very late republic and castration and reasonless mutilation of slaves had been prohibited already in the 1st century), but as you said: taking into account how much the slave had cost him until then, it would not be something a lanista would even consider.

1 hour ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

or the very unlikely case in which the defeated gladiator would die before yielding, which was too very unlikely due to the strict rules and close arbitration (there was always a referee for each combat)

In fact, mortality for gladiators was highest between the age of 18-25; mostly at the beginning of their "career" in the arena. But of course most of this men weren't killed before yielding, but died because of their wounds (as while the healthcare was very good indeed, Tetanus and other wound-inflicted diseases were a huge problem). Newer calculations are one out of eight gladiators actually dying in the arena itself.

1 hour ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

how on Earth is such a mindless slaughter of such monetary investment financially viable. And a second question, how can the Mereenese train pitfighter fast enough given that, let me say this again, every fight ends in a death? So what do you think? One should also point out that for all their talk of the Mortal Art the fights seem very random, unlike the Romans that had a taste for very specific types of fights like Murmillo vs Retiarius

It isn't financially viable, also it doesn't make much sense why remotely sane people would even be interested in such a spectacle [one has to point out that executions (expect for those done as scenarios, like naval battles etc. - but this was something else entirely, as the rudis was possible, albeit seldom) and the beginner-fights were placed in the early hours of the ludi in Ancient Rome, with only very few attendants]. As you said: the Roman games were build around making a fight as fair - and thus interesting and exiting - as possible. That's why the arma-pairings are fixed, why there always is a referee, etc.

Hell, even the venationes (beast fights - not to confuse with damnatio ad bestias, which was an execution) were as fair as possible - we know of at least two beasts who were granted the rudis (the wooden sword): a lion and a bear (named innocentia by the audience).

10 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Killing of  professionals might only take place on special occasions.

There would (pre-Daenerys) always have been a good supply of condemned criminals, unwanted slaves, and dwarves and children to feed to wild beasts.  TBH, the exhibition that Daenerys and Hizdahr host must be considered pretty tame by the aficionados.

Yes, but who would watch this (see above)? It's not funny, not interesting nor exiting. While real-world munera were a very bloody "sport", one can at least imagine why people would watch them - and even for the Roman games we have quite a lot of contemporary people who found them disgusting, brutal and/or not interesting at all. So making the Mereenese cheer for such "games" is more than a little over the top and makes the whole "culture" a caricature (well, it's not the only thing, so: MST3K-Mantra... Ommmmm Ommmmmm)

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

So it is time to apply MST3K Mantra: it is George Martin. Applying logic is useless.

Now if I could just listen to my own advice...

Actually, there is a really great book on Rome in fiction (mostly: movies), only existing because the author did not follow your advice:

Markus Junkelmann, Hollywoods Traum von Rom (Hollywood's dream of Rome). Unfortunatly, it was never translated into English, but if you can read German - get it!

It is essentially a long and - at least for historians - funny rant by a historian and experimental archaeologist who spend his life working on Roman military and gladiators, triggered by the movie Gladiator. :D

 

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I suspect most of the deaths at the Meereen fighting pits are innocents similar to Penny and Tyrion.  Basically anybody who can be victimized.  Those who the Ghiscari invested a lot of time and training on, say Belwas, were saved for special occasions.  Most of the victims had to be those with less training.  Slave children, lions, innocents sent out to entertain the Ghiscari.  

A lot of the acts are sick comedy.  It was not all about skilled fighting.  Penny and Tyrion were not skilled.  They were the comedy relief.  Except the comedians do not leave the pits except horizontally.   The Meereenese are sick.  Almost as sick as the Faceless Men.  

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52 minutes ago, Morte said:

 

Yes, but who would watch this (see above)? It's not funny, not interesting nor exiting. While real-world munera were a very bloody "sport", one can at least imagine why people would watch them - and even for the Roman games we have quite a lot of contemporary people who found them disgusting, brutal and/or not interesting at all. So making the Mereenese cheer for such "games" is more than a little over the top and makes the whole "culture" a caricature (well, it's not the only thing, so: MST3K-Mantra... Ommmmm Ommmmmm)

 

There would always be people who would love such spectacles.  Martial commented that the story of Pasiphae must be true because condemned women were raped by bulls, trained for that purpose, in the Arena.  In the Golden Ass, the protagonist (changed into an ass) was going to be used to rape a condemned poisoner to death.  Watching dwarves or children being pursued, and eventually eaten by, wild beasts would be considered hilarious by the Meereenese upper classes. 

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4 minutes ago, SeanF said:

There would always be people who would love such spectacles.  Martial commented that the story of Pasiphae must be true because condemned women were raped by bulls, trained for that purpose, in the Arena.  In the Golden Ass, the protagonist (changed into an ass) was going to be used to rape a condemned poisoner to death.  Watching dwarves or children being pursued, and eventually eaten by, wild beasts would be considered hilarious by the Meereenese upper classes. 

Yes, but - as you correctly said - this were executions, and we know that only very few people actually did watch this part of the ludi. In Meereene we have a full house watching the horror, and not against condemned criminals - and that's very over the top (and makes one wonder even more how readers can defend these people).

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4 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Belwas says he lets all his enemies cut him once before he kills them.

Good, but it's a shade short of proof - it could be re-phrased as: all the enemies he killed were allowed to cut him once - i.e. the enemies he did not kill were not allowed to cut him.

Besides, this quote has taken a long step away from reality already. It makes my head spin just reading it.

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Producing fighters is the industry of Meereen.  They have the procedures down to a science.  They can produce a lot of fighters because it is what they do.  Might as well consider how people can afford to eat beef.  

The Unsullied training take years and is perhaps the most intense.  The result being the best infantry on that planet. Culling for quality is strict.  The training for pit fighters will not have to take this long.  The levels of quality will differ.  

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Those who the Ghiscari invested a lot of time and training on, say Belwas, were saved for special occasions.  Most of the victims had to be those with less training.  Slave children, lions, innocents sent out to entertain the Ghiscari.  

Then who the pink hell would watch a one sided slaughter??? Like the Romans had countless debates and experimented with everything to make sure that the fights were as even as possible.

5 hours ago, Morte said:

In Meereene we have a full house watching the horror, and not against condemned criminals - and that's very over the top (and makes one wonder even more how readers can defend these people).

They're the perfect combo. Smug, horrifically cruel and very very stupid. Honestly though, I think most of the Slaver's Bay problems come from GRRM making them cartoonish bad guys that are worse then any historical slavers, and then trying to rationalize it and actually give them a culture, resulting in the clusterfuck that we got.

6 hours ago, Morte said:

who spend his life working on Roman military and gladiators, triggered by the movie Gladiator. :D

Yes I too would have wanted more realism there. I would especially have wanted to see a naked Russel Crowe strangling a naked Joaquin Phoenix in the bathtub, as it happen in reality.

Edited by Alyn Oakenfist

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2 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

Producing fighters is the industry of Meereen.  They have the procedures down to a science.  They can produce a lot of fighters because it is what they do.  Might as well consider how people can afford to eat beef.  

The Unsullied training take years and is perhaps the most intense.  The result being the best infantry on that planet. Culling for quality is strict.  The training for pit fighters will not have to take this long.  The levels of quality will differ.

It's one of two things. Either most of the fights have random untrained slaves, which does make it cheap, but that makes the "Mortal Art" be an absolute chaotic random short butchery, or they're all trained slaves, in which case the huge mortality rate is simply not financially viable. Either way it's stupid.

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2 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

It's one of two things. Either most of the fights have random untrained slaves, which does make it cheap, but that makes the "Mortal Art" be an absolute chaotic random short butchery, or they're all trained slaves, in which case the huge mortality rate is simply not financially viable. Either way it's stupid.

Maybe both? A couple of warm up fights of condemned criminals and unwanted slaves (evenly matched to each other but not skilled) with a high mortality rate followed by a fight between well-trained champions that doesn't end in death as often. Maybe with a couple of exhibition matches thrown in with a champion pit-fighter like Belwas facing off against 2 or 3 or 4 less skilled opponents.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

Then who the pink hell would watch a one sided slaughter??? Like the Romans had countless debates and experimented with everything to make sure that the fights were as even as possible.

 

Entertainment doesn't come from watching only two well-matched opponents.  A lot of the Ghiscari audience loved to have their laughs at the expense of the entertainers.  A good example of this is the dirty joke from Hizdahr to Penny and Tyrion.  No contest there but Hizdahr and his people would have found it entertaining.  The masters have disturbing sense of humor.  

All fighting will get very boring after a while.  And they have been doing this for a thousand years.  The type of show  they can come up with is beyond limit.  Well, perhaps limited only by the Ghiscari's sick imagination.

Edited by Widowmaker 811

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