Hero Born Q2: Family, blood and adopted

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Family ties are a great driver of action in this book, and it's not just blood relations. The connection between adoptive brothers (and sisters) and the shifu-student bond are often more important than parent and child. How do those bonds of filial duty and loyalty contrast with drives of morality and self-interest? How do these compare to Western ideas of loyalty and duty?

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    Very true about driving the plot. But I wonder when you say "Western ideas of loyalty and duty" if you are really meaning "modern Western ideas of loyalty and duty". Probably back in the 1300s or so then family duty wold have been a major driver in Europe as well - certainly for young women being married off to parental-choice men for social reasons, and probably for young men and their choice of work.

    I once heard the western shift described as filiation -> affiliation, ie family ties replaced by associative ones of friendship group, club, workmates etc where the emphasis is on a person choosing the group they are linked with rather than this being a consequence of their birth. You see this in church attendance too - the former local parish model where a person attended a church in their immediate vicinity with their community has been largely supplanted by attending a particular place of worship, often at considerable distance, based on personal preference for social group, preacher, facilities or whatever.

    But this is a comparatively recent phenomenon in the west, surely, and at the time of A Hero Born's setting would not have been so different/

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    This is a really interesting question and point. The shifu-student bond was really important, and it seemed that having a prestigious shifu was really important, socially.

    As to how it compares to the west, that’s the interesting part. Western stories put a lot of emphasis on family over associates (see Ozark) but also on loyalty to organizations, if the stakes are really high. In some genres, loyalty to the platoon, the force, or the gang are often tested by family.

    So I’m not sure if this is really a cultural difference, but I’m intrigued.
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    @RichardAbbott said:
    Very true about driving the plot. But I wonder when you say "Western ideas of loyalty and duty" if you are really meaning "modern Western ideas of loyalty and duty". Probably back in the 1300s or so then family duty wold have been a major driver in Europe as well - certainly for young women being married off to parental-choice men for social reasons, and probably for young men and their choice of work.

    I think my original point wasn't clear, as your "objection" seem to be in agreement with my point! In Europe, blood-family obligations often overrode all others. The book presents a setting where non-blood obligations are at least as important as those owed to blood relatives. There are a few instances of "blood brothers" in European tales, but not often.

    @Apocryphal said:
    As to how it compares to the west, that’s the interesting part. Western stories put a lot of emphasis on family over associates (see Ozark) but also on loyalty to organizations, if the stakes are really high. In some genres, loyalty to the platoon, the force, or the gang are often tested by family.

    True. People in this book didn't do things for the good of the country: the stakes were always more personal than that.

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    @NeilNjae said:
    The book presents a setting where non-blood obligations are at least as important as those owed to blood relatives. There are a few instances of "blood brothers" in European tales, but not often.

    Right, I see what you mean now! Interestingly, I am just reading Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles, where non-family relations are foregrounded. This is especially true between Achilles and Patroclus, where there is a "brothers in arms companion" relationship as well as the homosexual one. On the other hand, this is self-evidently a modern retelling of an ancient tale so is based only in part on authentic Greek classical ideas of loyalty.

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    it's all about the relationships, baby! Blood relations, romantic relations, teacher-student relations, close friendships, enmities, feuds... As Tip O'Neill once said "All Politics is Local"

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