Raina’s Fantastic Ramblings: A Different Approach to Right vrs. Wrong

I’m not quite sure how I’m going to go about writing on this topic, even though I’ve been wanting to for a long time. There’s a reason I write – and read – fiction. I think – and articulate – much better in fiction, or at least using fiction. And that means it’s much harder for people to understand me if they haven’t read the same books! Unfortunately.

Continuing conversations have made it clear that I have a very different approach to issues related to those of morality than … a lot of people. Skies, how do I actually say something?! This is why it’s so much easier to talk about my feelings with books!

‘My place is between Djari and whoever brings her harm. I will kill whoever she wants to see dead and fight wherever she wishes me to fight. If she wants the world set on fire, I will strike that flint myself. I know where I stand. It will not change for as long as I live. The question is, do you?’

-Hasheem, Obsidian: Awakening by Sienna Frost

Is this moral – or not? It might very well not be. There is another story in this same book by this same author of a man, Za’in izn Husari by name, who loved a woman, a Bharavi, a desert princess. And she loved him. But he was just a commonblood warrior of the Kha’agan (clan, basically), who would never have been allowed to marry her. So he overthrew and killed the Kha’a (clan leader), and married her. Later, she was captured, put to torture, and killed, and in his pain and revenge he ravaged a village of innocents. And he was never the same man again that he had been with her.

A moral man? Moral choices? Either of them?

But, that sentiment of Hasheem’s is to me something of a redeeming trait – even if they do set the world on fire together. That love, commitment, loyalty to what you love above all else –


This is one of those things that make my own novels so defiant of certain genre crossings, and that makes it so hard for me to find anything that’s really close enough to my own ideas to use.

Maybe I don’t believe in morality at all. No, that’s right. I don’t believe in morality at all.

But, at the same time, I did not like Cynwrig from The Hidden King by E.G. Radcliff, another book I loved. For all that he’s not directly related to the torture of Aed, I feel like he is fundamentally responsible for a horrendous crime: he did not truly think Aed was any sort of threat, and he knew that Aed would face no mercy – life in a lightless dungeon, buried far underground – from the mad king, but he put his adherence to the law over a personal effort for what was right.

I do believe in something that I call good and evil, something that I call right and wrong. But it’s about nature and love, who you are and what you love, not … not the consequences of your actions.

Oh, this is so complicated, at least from the outside. I’m not saying … skies, now I’m going to reference one of my books.

In Legend of the Singer, the main character is Tara-lin, a half-elf Singer, who forms a deep, binding relationship with the dryads and their magic. A relationship that binds her to the same Pact that binds the dryads and the magic they both use: among other things, never to harm. Most especially never to use their magic to harm, but as that magic weaves its way into her entire being and becomes inseparable from her nature, never to harm a living being. Period.

If she does, it will twist the magic, twist her nature, corrupt her. Rejecting the choice and turning back, and some degree of healing or redemption might be possible, but to choose that path is to destroy herself, to destroy her nature, to destroy what makes her the person she does.

And even if she does it believing it is out of love or loyalty, it is a poison that will poison and kill that very love and loyalty.

That’s her bond.

But it does not mean that no one else may harm or kill. That others should not harm or kill. And she would be foolish to think that means that someone else should not kill. To even imagine that she is somehow better than an assassin or a warrior. Or the person who kills an invader with the shard of a dish. Whatever it is.

Choices have meaning, and what that meaning is depends on who you are. What’s right, the only right thing, for one person to might be a terrible wrong for another person, and vice versa.

It’s not always easy to see, but I think one of the things life involves is discovering who we are. We – most of us at any rate – don’t know that nearly well enough, and haven’t had the opportunity to know that very well, so we end up compromising a great deal. But I think it’s intrinsically possible to do and be what is right only. At least, it is not an intrinsic impossibility. But I think one of the things life involves is discovering who we are and what we love.

Read my review for Obsidian: Awakening

Read my review for The Hidden King

Check out my novels

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