Jash

Moash, and the fans who hate him : Part 2

70 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, therunner said:

To summarize my point, their bad situation had little to do with some of them being slaves, and much more to do with nature of bridge crews under Sadeas.

Which had to do with the whole Vorin Alethi caste system, which allowed all of this to happen quite smoothly.

The situation with the other Bridgecrews weren't any definition of good either, it was just that Sadeas' Bridgecrews were that bad

1 hour ago, therunner said:

I have trouble understanding these, what did you mean by it?

That their situation was bad enough that there's no point comparing their lot with slaves. Unless you want to argue about their labour time and that they weren't bred?

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12 minutes ago, Honorless said:

Which had to do with the whole Vorin Alethi caste system, which allowed all of this to happen quite smoothly.

The situation with the other Bridgecrews weren't any definition of good either, it was just that Sadeas' Bridgecrews were that bad

Yes, but that has no bearing on them being slaves or not.

12 minutes ago, Honorless said:

That their situation was bad enough that there's no point comparing their lot with slaves. Unless you want to argue about their labour time and that they weren't bred?

I don't see a point on arguing about labor time or breeding.

Their lot being difficult also does not make them slaves. WW1 soldiers in trenches were in comparably horrifying situation I would say, and they were also not slaves.

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Posted (edited)

@therunner@Honorless I hate to have to do this, but fine, since I have to prove that they are slaves apparantly. Uggh.

Government-forced labor and conscription[edit]

Government-forced labor, also known as state-sponsored labor, is defined by the International Labour Organization as events "which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities."[25] When the threats come from the government the threats can be much different. Many governments that participate in forced labor shut down their connections with the surrounding countries to prevent citizens from leaving.

They are slaves. It's slavery. They are forced without their consent into dangerous work. That's slavery. Period. Sadeas did not employ these people, he forced them into it. And by the way, there is a growing opinion that criminals forced to work (without wages or for wages well below minimum wage) should be considered slavery, and in many countries it already is considered slavery (so therefore that does not happen in their prisons). In fact, although finding the exact statistics is hard, I think...maybe every country in the EU doesn't allow prison labor (as again, they consider it slavery). Basically, most developed countries consider penal labor slavery, the United States does not (and some others, I think Japan as well). So again, forcing people into extremely dangerous positions with no chance of escape, is, in fact, slavery. 

Edit (I realized I should have sited the sources) : This is all from an encyclopedia page entitled "Modern Slavery"

Edited by Jash
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38 minutes ago, Jash said:

@therunner@Honorless I hate to have to do this, but fine, since I have to prove that they are slaves apparantly. Uggh.

Some are some are not, in this context, a slave is a position, with a certain set wage, which is half of what non-citizen's (the non-slaves of the Bridgecrews) make, which is half of what a citizen would make, etc.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Jash said:

@therunner@Honorless I hate to have to do this, but fine, since I have to prove that they are slaves apparantly. Uggh.

Government-forced labor and conscription[edit]

Government-forced labor, also known as state-sponsored labor, is defined by the International Labour Organization as events "which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities."[25] When the threats come from the government the threats can be much different. Many governments that participate in forced labor shut down their connections with the surrounding countries to prevent citizens from leaving.

They are slaves. It's slavery. They are forced without their consent into dangerous work. That's slavery. Period. Sadeas did not employ these people, he forced them into it. And by the way, there is a growing opinion that criminals forced to work (without wages or for wages well below minimum wage) should be considered slavery, and in many countries it already is considered slavery (so therefore that does not happen in their prisons). In fact, although finding the exact statistics is hard, I think...maybe every country in the EU doesn't allow prison labor (as again, they consider it slavery). Basically, most developed countries consider penal labor slavery, the United States does not (and some others, I think Japan as well). So again, forcing people into extremely dangerous positions with no chance of escape, is, in fact, slavery. 

Edit (I realized I should have sited the sources) : This is all from an encyclopedia page entitled "Modern Slavery"

By this definition most armies in history with the sole exception of voluntary armies were slave armies, as they consisted mostly of conscripted peasants and such. I am not sure if such a broad definition is useful outside of modern day context (which Roshar most certainly is not).

Edited by therunner
reforumalated + spelling
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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, therunner said:

By this definition most armies in history with the sole exception of voluntary armies were slave armies, as they consisted mostly of conscripted peasants and such. I am not sure if such a broad definition is useful outside of modern day context (which Roshar most certainly is not).

And the goalposts have moved. Surprise surprise. If you honestly think the bridge crews are the same as peasant armies (which I can't believe I'm defending) than you have might want to read up on history more. Sadeas' use of the bridge crews (not allowing them to protect themselves), leaving them to die if they are injured, refusing them food when they are injured, are all examples of what set them apart from regularly conscripted troops. Listen, therunner, let's stop. I call them slaves. I define them as slaves. You don't. Both of us can be right by our own definitions. These arguments where people try to force other people to use the same language they use, ....are stupid. And in case you don't get it, only one of us is trying to force the other one to use the words they want them to use. I could care less what you call the Bridge Crews. Call them as you like, but stop asking me to use the language that makes you comfortable. They are slaves, as defined by the definition I provided. They aren't slaves, by the definition you use. Done. Stop. I will call them slaves. You won't. 

1 hour ago, Frustration said:

Some are some are not, in this context, a slave is a position, with a certain set wage, which is half of what non-citizen's (the non-slaves of the Bridgecrews) make, which is half of what a citizen would make, etc.

Amazingly, and thankfully, we often don't take societies own definitions of what they do. Many things we consider war crimes weren't, in fact, war crimes, if defined by those committing them. I already gave my definition. Read what I said above to therunner. You know Frustration, we already got warnings about this. Stop. Stop trying to force me to think the way you do. I don't care what you call them. You care what I call them. One of us creating an issue caught up by semantics where you try to tell other people how to use words, despite...nto being an authority on those words. I'm a history major. How about you Frustration. What are your qualifications for why you understand what slavery is better than me? If you have them, feel free to present them. Otherwise. Stop, and call the Bridge Crews what you want, and I will call them what I want. 

Edited by Jash
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6 minutes ago, Jash said:

And the goalposts have moved. Surprise surprise. If you honestly think the bridge crews are the same as peasant armies (which I can't believe I'm defending) than you have might want to read up on history more. Sadeas' use of the bridge crews (not allowing them to protect themselves), leaving them to die if they are injured, refusing them food when they are injured, are all examples of what set them apart from regularly conscripted troops. Listen, therunner, let's stop. I call them slaves. I define them as slaves. You don't. Both of us can be right by our own definitions. These arguments where people try to force other people to use the same language they use, ....are stupid. And in case you don't get it, only one of us is trying to force the other one to use the words they want them to use. I could care less what you call the Bridge Crews. Call them as you like, but stop asking me to use the language that makes you comfortable. They are slaves, as defined by the definition I provided. They aren't slaves, by the definition I use. Done. Stop. I will call them slaves. You won't.

I have not moved goalposts, only pointed out what are potential consequence of the definition you provided (by my reading).

I was mostly trying to argue from position in-world characters could have taken, i.e. the alethi one, and not include our own modern positions on the topic.  I was not trying to get you to use language I am comfortable with, only to use the term as the in-world characters would have used it (per my understanding of the Alethi society and the position of the characters).

I agree that we should stop arguing this point as it leads nowhere.

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Posted (edited)

Okay so I'm locking this topic temporarily so people can have a chance to cool down. I imagine we will unlock this tomorrow, but this really does not need to get so heated.

EDIT: Okay, so I imagine we're okay now. Please remember to always be respectful and courteous. (Also, I will say maybe adjudicating what is or is not an enslaved person might not be the wisest idea for a wide variety of reasons.)

Edited by Chaos
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Posted (edited)

A lot of you are drawing comparisons with irl military and the fact that these exact situations are viewed differently as arguments for why we should view these things that are happening in the books through a different lens as well.

I should point out that people write about those irl military stuff and point out that we shouldn't see these situations differently. People write about the grinding down of personality and other aspects of military training, military law with conscription & desertion, etc and argue that morally these things are wrong, a violation of personal freedom and rights, exploitation. It's just that we, as a society, find the situation, profitable for us at large and so we see them differently. Attributing stuff like patriotism, heroism, chivalry, self-sacrifice, martyrdom, etc to them.

Edited by Honorless
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Posted (edited)

45 minutes ago, Honorless said:

A lot of you are drawing comparisons with irl military and the fact that these exact situations are viewed differently as arguments for why we should view these things that are happening in the books through a different lens as well.

I do think that we should view those actions through at least two lenses, our contemporary one and the one characters themselves would have (or as close as possible). That is because  our contemporary lens is biased as well, albeit differently then theirs is. For example the slavery debate, our modern perspective on what constitutes slavery is very different from that of people in history, or from that on people on Roshar. We might call what happened to Bridge crews slavery, but to them it was not, as to them slavery is a social institution that carries greater implications than what happened to them. (I am not trying to restart that discussion again, only use it to illustrate my point).

45 minutes ago, Honorless said:

I should point out that people write about those irl military stuff and point out that we shouldn't see these situations differently. People write about the grinding down of personality and other aspects of military training, military law with conscription & desertion, etc and argue that morally these things are wrong, a violation of personal freedom and rights. It's just that we, as a society, find the situation, profitable for us at large and so we see them differently. Attributing stuff like patriotism, heroism, chivalry, self-sacrifice, martyrdom, etc to them.

As someone who does not think morality is something inherent to humans (outside of some basic preference for behaviors helping an in-group) I don't think our moral standards are necessarily superior to those of other cultures, present or past (or fictional). Some behaviors are obviously acceptable by culture despite being harmful to in-group (i.e. human sacrifice, various more risky rites etc.), but some which are individually harmful can be beneficial to group as a whole (i.e. conscription and war). You can think of society/civilization as a super-organism comprising all the people (and potentially also animals) in it, and just as an organism can take actions that benefit them as a whole at a cost of some parts (i.e. hurt a limb to save themselves) so can society take actions that hurt some members to save the entire society (and more people). Ideally if such actions can be avoided, they should be, but sometimes they cannot.

Above I was only outlining my views on this in general, obviously the entire war on Shattered Plains is unnecessary posturing, hence any actions taken up until the start of Last Desolation cannot be justified through this lens.

Now, personally I do find conscription to be immoral, but not to the same extent as slavery. To me conscription is generally speaking still several steps better (of course that also depends on precise details of the conscription process and terms). And morality of conscription also depends on context. Conscript for war of conquest? Not good. Conscript for defensive war? Much more justifiable.

Edited by therunner
social constitution -> social institution
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@therunner then why exactly do you think the distinction that you draw between slavery or gulag/conscript/forced labour camp matters for the Bridgecrews?

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@Honorless

Because to characters themselves it would not be slavery, nor would they call it that I think. They perception of the situation is different, and the word slavery carries a different meaning for them.

Calling their situation 'slave-like' or saying 'they were treated like slaves', would be okay to me as it defines the relationship by similarity to what we understand as slavery but does not add factually wrong statement.

I apologize if it seems pedantic, but to me it feels wrong to call them literally slaves when in their context they were not, as that would imply things like depressed wages for the same job, tenth dahn, being able to buy and sell them even outside of context of bridge crews etc.

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, therunner said:

@Honorless

Because to characters themselves it would not be slavery, nor would they call it that I think. They perception of the situation is different, and the word slavery carries a different meaning for them.

Calling their situation 'slave-like' or saying 'they were treated like slaves', would be okay to me as it defines the relationship by similarity to what we understand as slavery but does not add factually wrong statement.

I apologize if it seems pedantic, but to me it feels wrong to call them literally slaves when in their context they were not, as that would imply things like depressed wages for the same job, tenth dahn, being able to buy and sell them even outside of context of bridge crews etc.

Do dahns even apply to the Bridgecrews? All the small rights of upper dahns is stripped from them. They were not sold or purchased outside of Dalinar and Sadeas because of their role in the war system, not because their state of being was any better. I agree that many in the Bridgecrews wouldn't have self-identified as slaves but I'd argue that's a "Bridge 4 is the unluckiest" situation, simply having someone below them so they themselves wouldn't be the lowest of the low. And to many of them the distinction wouldn't have mattered. It was basically a death sentence and only a few (Kal and Lopen) believed that they had a chance to be free men again.

Normally, I'd be all for fact-checking and semantics but I'm afraid I still think this is pedantry at best and de-contextualization at worst, I'm sorry.

 

Okay, going with Jash & your prev agreement, let's just drop this particular avenue of discussion

Edited by Honorless
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29 minutes ago, Honorless said:

Do dahns even apply to the Bridgecrews? All the small rights of upper dahns is stripped from them.

Neither dahns nor nahns seem to necessarily play a role in military, or to be more precise, military ranks overrules socials rank in military context. See Kaladin and Tien's (both of second or third nahn) positions in Amaram's army, or Kaladin's position as captain of Dalinar's personal guard (as there were some lighteyes of lower ranks there). So this does not seem to be special to bridge crews but general way Alethi military functions.

32 minutes ago, Honorless said:

 They were not sold or purchased outside of Dalinar and Sadeas because of their role in the war system, not because their state of being was any better.

We have no evidence that they could have been sold outside of bridge crew context. In fairness we also don't really have evidence that they could not have been (outside of them not all being legally slaves).

33 minutes ago, Honorless said:

Normally, I'd be all for fact-checking and semantics but I'm afraid I still think this is pedantry at best and de-contextualization at worst, I'm sorry.

Fair enough. To me calling them 'slaves' without any qualifier is precisely de-contextualization, as you are applying a word which in their context carries different meaning (i.e. 'bridge crew member' =/= 'slave' to a Rosharan, as they understand the word slave differently, and despite there being some overlap there are also differences). I think calling them bridge crews (or Sadeas' bridge crew) should be sufficient, because we all know exactly what they went through and how were they treated, so there is a little possibility of misunderstanding.

As we seem to be approaching this from different viewpoints, we will most likely never agree on this so agreeing to disagree is I think the best way forward.

34 minutes ago, Honorless said:

Okay, going with Jash & your prev agreement, let's just drop this particular avenue of discussion

Agreed, I never even expected this to become a discussion in the first place as I never intended for it to be a part of my argument, merely a sidenote.

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1 hour ago, therunner said:

@Honorless

Because to characters themselves it would not be slavery, nor would they call it that I think. They perception of the situation is different, and the word slavery carries a different meaning for them.

Calling their situation 'slave-like' or saying 'they were treated like slaves', would be okay to me as it defines the relationship by similarity to what we understand as slavery but does not add factually wrong statement.

They were treated worse than slaves. Even the comparison with a military draft does not hold water. Alethi men can be drafted into the armies, but not bridge crews. Alethi slaves are not to be killed without cause, while an assignment to a bridge crew is a death sentence in effect.

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1 minute ago, Oltux72 said:

They were treated worse than slaves. Even the comparison with a military draft does not hold water. Alethi men can be drafted into the armies, but not bridge crews. Alethi slaves are not to be killed without cause, while an assignment to a bridge crew is a death sentence in effect.

I don't want to get too into this again, but Moash joined Alethi military and was put into bridge crews. See the quote on previous page, nowhere is it stated that it was punishment, it was simply what he (and others) were assigned to do. So clearly at least volunteers can be put into bridge crews. (which has no bearing on their treatment) For reference

Quote

Moash hesitated, then nodded. 'Some of those who joined with me did become soldiers, but most of us got sent to the bridge crews.' He glanced at Kaladin, expression growing dark. 'This plan of yours had better work, lordling. Last time I ran away, I got a beating. I was told if I tried again, I'd get a slave's mark instead.'  (tWoK, chapter 46, pg. 723)

 

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Posted (edited)

Ok.  I told you in the previous thread that I would explain why I hate Moash as a person after you read RoW, so here goes.  Much of this has been touched on by other posters, but at the risk of repeating, I owe you an explanation.

I don't hate Moash for killing Elhokar or Teft, or Phendorana for that matter.  All of them were valid military targets at the time of their demise.  While I personally hate that these things happened, (Phendorana hit me especially hard for some reason, even more than Teft) I can't hate Moash on a visceral level for them.  It is war.  In war you may be called upon to kill or maim people you respect.  (Not going to judge the larger morality of war here, but as long as war is a fact, the above is too.)  I don't care about "kicking" Gavinor, as frankly I didn't read it that way, but more as moving him out of the way.

I hate Moash because of his thought process.  Forget Elhokar.  He had relatively valid, if misguided, personal reasons for doing so.  He tried to talk Kaladin into killing himself, not because he wanted to "save him," but because he didn't want someone alive who could prove him wrong.  This is borne out by his actions in Urithiru.  When Kaladin almost went to Odium, Moash could have killed him to save him.  He didn't, instead he tried to make it happen.  He killed Teft simply to prove to himself that he could do so without regret.  When he did, he felt vindicated.

Yes, you can say that he was under Odium's influence, but the kicker is the vision he had in Hearthstone when Renarin used Lightweaving on him to show him his "perfect" self.  When confronted with this, Moash didn't show remorse, or sadness, or regret.  Instead his first act was to yell out that "No, you said you would take my pain!"  

Compare that to Lin Davar, who was also under Odium's thumb, but in a few moments of clarity did show some remorse and sorrow.  (I'm thinking of the flashback scene in WoR where he talks to Shallan about how he is sorry that things have become the way they are.  The carnival scene with Hoid I think?)

Yes, I know that Moash is an addict in many ways, and that this sickness does color his thoughts.  But I also have a lot of personal experience with addiction (that I won't go into here) and in my experience, even the worst addicts have fleeting moments of regret and remorse.  Moash doesn't.  His only regret is that he still has the capability to feel, and even that is fleeting and something he thinks he has conquered by killing Teft.  He says as much.

Now maybe he is still in the first stages of addiction, where the whole point, at least in my experience, is to rid yourself of feeling, but it has been a year.  He either is stuck in the first stage, which I doubt, or he is choosing to be who he is.  It is that choice that I hate.  It is that choice that I can not forgive.  That is why I hate Moash on a personal level.

Basically, I don't hate the addiction, if that is what it is.  I don't hate the history or feelings that led to that addiction.  I don't even hate the actions other than on a character or narrative driven level.  I hate the choices.  I hate the reasons.  I hate the continued doubling down even when (magically induced or not) absolute clarity is given to Moash.  I hate Moash because he could be better.  He could be redeemed.  I hate Moash simply because he never will be redeemed, and not because it would be impossible, but because he never will take the first step.  Not because of addiction, or force, or confusion, but because even in his moments of clarity, he doesn't want to.  That shows his true character, and to me that is unforgivable.

Edited by Malim
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Posted (edited)

Recently someone got a WoB on this

Quote

CompetitiveCell

In Stormlight, we are presented with a society which is fundamentally unjust in its workings. Whether we see the darkeyes/ lighteyes divide as an analogy for race or class, it forms a caste system wherein the privileged caste is able to imprison, kill or enslave the oppressed caste without cause or trial (Kaladin and his first squad, Moash’s grandparents).

...

The message is not improved by the subsequent arcs of Moash and Kaladin. By RoW, Kaladin has given up most of his class based outlook and integrated into the privileged caste, as a de jure lighteyes. Meanwhile, Moash’s anger at an unjust system is shown as playing a significant role in his eventual corruption by Odium, eventually reducing him to a child kicking caricature.

Brandon Sanderson

I will say this: in my opinion, one of the important parts of creating a sympathetic protagonist is to make certain the things they're saying, the things they're worried about, or the things they're advocating for have a real foundation to them.

The problems with Moash are not the things he finds unjust in the system. And you should be uncomfortable with the momentum a historically tyrannical system has, and the sway it has over characters we like among the Radiants. I believe Wit had something to say about this in the last book.

General Reddit 2021 (Jan. 25, 2021)

 

Also, if you've heard or read Sixth of the Dusk sequel (if you haven't, here's the link: https://wob.coppermind.net/events/448/#e14408) then you might've noticed that we get a hint about future societies there

Spoiler

The figure in Shardplate mentions Elevations, so elements of Vorinism might survive to Mistborn era 4.

It's not really surprising. The Mistborn original trilogy, especially the first book, was based quite a bit around skaa and nobility. In era 2, skaa aren't really a thing but nobility still is and they retain their power, as we see with the main character himself.

Basically, the Lighteyes Darkeyes caste system might continue on to era 4.

 

Regarding Dalinar creating a schism in Vorinism. This could just create a split into two religions or denominations, like Catholics & Protestants. Vorinism already has that with Eastern beliefs in the Kadasixes and Thaylen merger with the Passions. So "classical" Vorinism could survive.

Regarding Knights Radiant invalidating the Lighteyes/Darkeyes caste system. Not necessarily. They might give a way to elevate yourself beyond the system while allowing the system to stay. Vorinism already makes allowances like this with their ardents being beyond Vorinism's gender segregation, plus organizations like the Stormwardens exist, not with the direct approval of Vorin structures but still without direct actions taken against it. The Knights Radiant would definitely be a powerful enough organization to go against Vorinism.

The origin of the Lighteyes being traced back to the Knights Radiant did not stop the system from being created, it probably wouldn't stop it from continuing. Indeed the fact that Lighteyes can trace themselves back to the Knights Radiant could instead be used to bolster the existing hierarchy.

Edited by Honorless
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On 6/29/2021 at 0:33 AM, Oltux72 said:

If you wish for a perfect character in the whole Stormlight Archive, the only candidate I could come up with would be Ivory.

I think that Adolin is as close to a perfect character and person you're going to find, myself.  

 

Anyway, this is going to sound stupid, but TOdium reminds me of Emperor Palpatine (POS casts himself as the hero to seize power via intrigue+murder and gets drunk on it, roughly), and Moash of Darth Vader (unstable could-be-hero goes really really bad in a moment of weakness and gets worse because he doesn't want to confront that it's all his fault).  That's my 2 cents anyway.  

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I do hate Moash. The Cosmere will be a better place once his eyes are burning, but mostly I just pity him.

It's true that he's not entirely accountable for some of his actions; Odium is working his mind, he's suffering from textbook addiction symptoms, disillusioned by systems broken beyond repair (from Alethi culture to rightful ownership of the planet itself) or suckered into a conspiracy by people smarter and smoother than he is. In many ways Moash is a victim. And he believes himself to be a victim for whom justice, reparation, and peace is impossible. Who's going to judge him rightly? The royal family who ignored Moash's grandparents to death? The parsh, who as a race spent generations as dull-minded slaves because of Moash's own world-and-god-stealing ancestors? Bridge 4, who Moash betrayed by seeking justice for his family and who cozied up to the clan that killed Moash's kin? It's all such a tangle of blame and pain and blood debt. Who can Moash turn to, but Odium and emotional oblivion? I pity him for all of this. This isn't where he thought he was headed when he threw in with Kal, and it's not like he meant to start down this path.

But what really grinds my gears is that he's such a willing, selfish victim. He's had every opportunity to seek help, he's had every chance to turn things around. And he refuses to take those first steps. He refuses to try. It's always the easy way with Moash, for no reason than he chooses the easy way. And the crap he's pulled since joining Odium? There's a special level of braize for betrayers and mutineers. Anyone remember the moment in the Star Wars prequels (I know, ew) where Anakin kills the kids? Moash makes me feel like I'm watching that scene.

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