Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Evils of Fire(arms)

Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind (Amazon)

This is well worth the read.

   "And now, to the other part," Michael continued, "to the real suffering around us.  While we have worried about the boundaries that have not harmed a single one of us, many of our families, friends, and neighbors have suffered, and died.  Tragic and needless deaths, in accidents with fire.  Yes, that is what I said.  Fire."
    People mumbled in confusion.  Michael was starting to lose his bond with the crowd.  He seemed to expect it; he looked from face to face, letting the confusion build, and then dramatically he thrust his hand out, his finger pointing.
   At Richard.
   "There!" he screamed.  Everyone turned as one.  Hundred of eyes looked at Richard.  "There stands my beloved brother!"  Richard tried to shrink.  "My beloved brother who shares with me" - he pounded a fist into his chest - "the tragedy of losing our own mother to fire!  Fire took our mother from us when we were young, and left us to grow up alone, without her love and care, without her guidance.  It was not some imagined enemy from across a boundary that took her, but an enemy of fire!  She couldn't be there to comfort us when we hurt, when we cried in the night.  And the thing that wounds the most is that it didn't have to be."
   Tears, glistening in the sunlight, ran down Michael's cheeks.  "I am sorry, friends, please forgive me."  He wiped the tears with a handkerchief he had handy.  "It's just that only this morning I heard of another fire that took a fine young mother and father, and left their daughter an orphan.  It brought my own pain back to me and I couldn't remain silent."  Everyone was now solidly back with him.  Their tears flowed freely.  A woman put her arm around Richard's shoulder as he stood numb.  She whispered how sorry she was. 
   "I wonder how many of you have shared the pain my brother and I live with every day.  Please, those of you who have a loved one, or a friend, who has been hurt, or even killed, by fire, please, hold up your hands."  Quite a few hands went up, and there was a wailing from some in the crowd.
   "There, my friends," he said hoarsely, spreading his arms wide, "there is the suffering suffering among us.  We need look no further than this room."
   Richard tried to swallow the lump in his throat as the memory of that horror came back to him.  A man who had imagined their father had cheated him lost his temper and knocked a lamp off the table as Richard and his brother slept in the back bedroom.  While the man dragged his father outside, beating him, his mother pulled Richard and his brother from the burning house, then ran back inside to save something, they never knew what, and was burned alive.  Her screams brought the man to his senses, and he and their father tried to save her, but couldn't.  Filled with guilt and the revulsion at what he had caused, the man ran off crying and yelling that he was sorry.
   That, his father had told them fa thousand times, was the result of a man losing his temper.  Michael shrugged it off; Richard took it to heart.  It had instilled in him a dread of his own anger, and whenever it threatened to come out, he choked it off.
   Michael was wrong.  Fire had not killed their mother; anger had.
   Arms hanging limply at his side, head bowed, Michael spoke softly again.  "What can we do about the danger to our families from fire?"  He shook his head sadly.  "I do not know, my friends.
   "But, I am forming a commission on the problem, and I urge any concerned citizen to come forward with suggestions.  My door always stands open.  Together we can do something.  Together we will do something.
   "And now my friends, please excuse me, and allow me to go comfort my brother, as I am afraid bringing out our personal tragedy was a surprise to him, and I must ask his forgiveness."
Used with permission under the "fair use" tribute.
Now, re-read the entire story above, and add the word 'arms' after every instance of the word 'fire.'  Spooky, right?  Now, while doing that, focus on this line:
Michael was wrong.  Fire had not killed their mother; anger had.
Terry Goodkind is an excellent author, and I highly recommend the 'Sword of Truth' series.  Wizard's First Rule is the first book of the series.  The entire series has quite a few analogies such as this.  He brings up some fantastic questions, and uses basic, yet perfect, logic to resolve them.  Later in the series he discusses the fairness of taking what people have earned from the earners, and distributing it to those who do not earn. 
And yes, he was heavily influenced by Rand.

Chime in on your thoughts!  (Pun intended, for those who have already read the series.)

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