On Sheng, Harrek - Suffering, Destruction

From: Martin Laurie (102541.3423@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Mon 13 Jan 1997 - 21:27:20 EET


After thinking a lot about Sheng Seleris when writing the Sheng stories (more on
the way now I'm getting over the flu) and then comparing him to Harrek I began
to see a commonality between them.

The common link between the two is their use of violence to fuel their powers.
Its often been said that Harrek doesn't fit into the normal mode of hero simply
because he has no social group to back him. As the archetypal "man alone" this
has not fitted the general concept of the Heroplane, heroes and the way it all
works and thus it has caused some problems to several people, even Greg who has
commented on the "Selfish hero"/"Society hero".

I think this concept is wrong.

It presumes a deliberate effort on the part of a social group to support a hero
but I don't think its _always_ a conscious thing, I don't think its always a
social thing, I think its a question of what is intrinsic to the nature of the
hero and the race they represent in some way.

Harreks social group is the rapacity and aggression of the _whole_ human race.
This goes a large part of the way to explaining his power. For Harrek this
power is not a consciously focused thing and he'd probably laugh at you if you
said otherwise, it simply comes to him because he started the process by
becoming the meanest bastard around. The Hero Wars period at the end of the
Third age is a time of great strife - Harrek merely serves as a focus - if it
hadn't been him, it would have been someone else.

The difference between him and Sheng was that Sheng consciously courted the
power of suffering and destruction to fuel his own rise to Godhood. Sheng
though was a less elemental person than Harrek and while Harrek could never
really build any solid social structures, Sheng could have for he sought always
to use the structures of the societies he conquered to his own advantage and to
integrate them into his power base - hence his attempt at putting his son
through the Ten Tests to make him Emperor.

So for me the "Selfish" and "Selfless" hero has no meaning - I think "Conscious"
and "Unconscious" is more apt.

CONSCIOUS HEROES would be:

Arkat
Argrath
Jar-eel (though a lot of her power is derived from her postion so that is
unconscious)
Sir Meriatan
Sheng Seleris
Sir Ethilrist
Lokamayadon

UNCONSCIOUS HEROES
Harrek
Jaldon
Harmast (because he saw a job that had to be done and did it, without thinking
of his personal power)
Talor

Any comments?

Martin Laurie

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End of Glorantha Digest V4 #73
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