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Author Topic: Favorable monarchs in media, fiction and history
PanaceaSanans
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While Niccolò Machiavelli presented a well thought-out reflection on what makes the perfect sovereign in his "Il Principe", I believe his views might, at least in part, be a bit outdated. I would love to hear your ideas on who'd make a good monarch - one you would actually like to be governed by. Or specific traits of leaders that left a lasting impression.

For me, these are some:

- Ender, obviously
- Jane
- Aragorn
- Faramir - "lordly and generous as a king of old, gracious, gentle"
- Vision (Marvel)
- Dr. Will Caster (Transcendence)
- King Balduin IV and Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb (the white and the black king) as portrayed in "Kingdom of Heaven"

Feel free to argue why you think they would not make good sovereigns. And list your own. [Smile]

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Dogbreath
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Lord Vetinari. [Smile]
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JanitorBlade
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When I'm at a keyboard I'll try to answer this.
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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Lord Vetinari. [Smile]

Alright, this did it. I am now curious about those books and will reconsider my previous dislike - enough, at least, to allow for the possibility of reading them one day. (Thank you.)


@Blade: I look forward to your answer.


And I'll have to add Akkarin to my list.
And, thinking about my own question, I find it curious to notice that while I deeply love certain characters in my favorite books, they decidedly would not be good monarchs. Which means I am able to love flawed characters. I had been accused - and almost believed - otherwise...

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JanitorBlade
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Since we are talking about fiction and history, and this book has been called both, there are two interesting monarchs discussed in the Book of Mormon.

King Benjamin: King Benjamin was a warrior king, who personally fought in battle to defend his lands. He was a prophet king, something quite rare in the scriptures. When he grew old and frail, he summoned as many of the people as he could to give his farewell remarks. The Book of Mormon gives an extensive account of his remarks wherein he named his son (Mosiah II) king, described how he had striven always to be a good king, and how the people ought to conduct themselves. His remarks on what makes a good king were a small inspiration in Brandon Sanderson's first novel in his Stormlight Archive, "The Way of Kings" which features a manual that describes how a good king should be.

Benjamin gives several quotes that are staples of LDS theology.

quote:
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

"Are we not all beggars?" is a well known phrase in LDS circles.

quote:

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God

.

This saying is probably the final word on how Mormons view service. King Benjamin is notable for having served as king without collecting taxes, preferring as he claimed to have worked with his own hands.

He is also notable in recognizing that his ability to be an effective king was compromised by some sort of health condition, as he describes in his speech that his entire body shakes involuntarily. After ceding power to his son, he goes on to live another three years before dying. It's a nice example of a peaceful transition of power.

King Mosiah II: King Mosiah who was the son of King Benjamin followed much of his father's example. Working with his own hands so he would not require taxes for support. He also presided over a period of time where a significant portion of the people rejected the Judaism they practiced. This breaking off from the church caused serious contention that had resulted in violence between believers and non-believers. Mosiah opted to establish a firm policy of allowing all people the right to believe as they chose, with violence against another for their beliefs being expressly illegal. It wasn't quite what we would call freedom of religion as we find people who lied about their lack of belief being punished, and there are instances of non-believers being tied up and brought before judges, but it was definitely a departure from requiring people to believe in a state-sponsored religion.

King Mosiah also set an important precedent when members of the church were brought before him for judgement, having broken religious commandments, he refused to render judgement and sent them back to the head of the church Alma, feeling that was Alma's job, not his.

All four of his sons wanted to attend to the ministry rather than be king, and so King Mosiah fearing a bloody contest for a successor, preempted such a development by offering a new political system. Kings would be abolished, and in their place people would select (the election system is not clearly described) judges, and high judges. These judges would administer the law of the land. Lower judges who were corrupt would be checked by higher judges, and higher judges who were corrupt could be removed by a group of lower judges. The proposal was enormously popular and implemented as soon as King Mosiah died.

Interestingly enough, this system got off to a very rocky start as a large group of people eventually determined that they preferred hereditary kings to judges and violent conflicts erupted over the question. But for trying to head off a succession crisis and creating an interesting alternative, I give points to King Mosiah.

Another example of a good king in the Book of Mormon is King Limhi, the son of King Noah (A really bad guy), but alas I'll have to describe him some other time.

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Samprimary
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWqDrMb5M8M
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by PanaceaSanans:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Lord Vetinari. [Smile]

Alright, this did it. I am now curious about those books and will reconsider my previous dislike - enough, at least, to allow for the possibility of reading them one day. (Thank you.)
[Smile]

You should at least see him as portrayed by Charles Dance in Going Postal. (Because of course Charles Dance would play Lord Vetinari - who else could?)

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Samprimary
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUnSIRomYFs
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Samprimary
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz4PdpfI7zY
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Samprimary
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wy_Y0cmgzM
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PanaceaSanans
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Very interesting, Blade. Thank you for that!

quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

This saying is probably the final word on how Mormons view service.

I really like the notion of a monarch serving the people. As opposed to the people serving the monarch. Definitely a valuable view in a king.

quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
"After ceding power to his son, he goes on to live another three years before dying. It's a nice example of a peaceful transition of power."

"Mosiah opted to establish a firm policy of allowing all people the right to believe as they chose, with violence against another for their beliefs being expressly illegal."

"King Mosiah [proposed] a new political system. Kings would be abolished, and in their place people would select (the election system is not clearly described) judges, and high judges. These judges would administer the law of the land. Lower judges who were corrupt would be checked by higher judges, and higher judges who were corrupt could be removed by a group of lower judges. The proposal was enormously popular and implemented as soon as King Mosiah died."

There are good things, too. At what time in history is this thought to have happened? Were those decisions extraordinary to the time and circumstances? I am absolutely unfamiliar with the Mormon history/religion, I'm afraid. I'm sorry.

quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
Another example of a good king in the Book of Mormon is King Limhi, the son of King Noah (A really bad guy), but alas I'll have to describe him some other time.

Please do. I would like to hear the story. [Smile]
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PanaceaSanans
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Samp, your posts, I take it, are meant to be understood as "a good king should not do this. Or this. Or this."?

It's fascinating. "They're henchmen. You don't explain to them. They do your bidding. You gotta be more ruthless." Immediately makes me think of Ender & Bean's belief that the perfect soldier needs to understand their captain's plans and motives and that those should therefore, if at all possible, be explained to them beforehand.

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Samprimary
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it's more that the character's name is literally "Monarch" and as one of the brilliantly written primary antagonists of The Venture Brothers, he certainly counts as a favorable monarch
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PanaceaSanans
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Oh, okay. Thank you for explaining.
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MichaelGOP
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Otto von Habsburg (who never reigned) said that the duty of a monarch is to protect his citizens from their government. That's an interesting take.
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JanitorBlade
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I'd say Elizabeth II is one of the best monarchs in history.
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Wingracer
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I would have to say no one. Authoritarian rule brings many problems with it regardless of how good that ruler is. Various forms of democracy have major problems as well but I would say they are better problems.

But if you just had to have a monarch, you could do a lot worse than either Elizabeth.

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Occasional
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I would say that Queen Elizabeth the II is nothing more than a figurehead. As a Monarch she is a horrible example, even if you think she is a respectable person. Her kingdom and power of the crown diminished greatly under her reign. Any other time in history she would be considered a loser. Sure, if you think that Monarchs are horrible to have then she is a great example of one since she doesn't do much of any ruling. In many ways I like her, but see her as an hereditary multi-millionaire with a lot of influence.

Now, Queen Elizabeth the First is the complete opposite. She had power, influence, and both protected and grew the Empire. Yet, she was for the most part willing to overlook political differences if her subjects didn't seek to have her and the system overturned. She went after Catholics, for instance, mostly because they made such a great issue of turning England into a Catholic stronghold. Compared to other monarchs before her she was merciful. She even had her rival killed grudgingly because she was both tricked into it and had her hand forced by what Mary Queen of Scotts was planning.

There is a fine line between a real Monarch and the modern versions of Monarch in name only.

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