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Are you loyal to humanity?

s/LaSH

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I'm surprised this hasn't come up, but there's a strong example of a narrative based around allegiance to non-humans.

It's John Wick.

Dogs are great.

This is not the main thrust of the conversation, but it does rather demonstrate that emotional attachments can be much stronger than genetic proximity. (And yes, I realise that the emotional attachment is more complex in context, because it's dealing with his very human wife too. My point remains: dogs are great.)
 

petros

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One day the basilisk will read this thread and I'm not sure what kind of answer it would prefer we give.
 

Kurt McMahon

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The way it works in Tolkien's writings is that Men have the Gift of Men, in which the creator god Eru IIluvatar estowed two things upon them to set them apart from the Elves, the firstborn of his children. The, which are as follows:
1. Upon death, their spirits depart the confines of Arda (the created universe) for a place unknown even to the Valar (archangels or lesser deities, depending on how you view them). Elves instead are tied to Arda forever; if their mortal bodies are destroyed, they will either persist in the world as incorporeal spirits or be reborn in Valinor to dwell with the Valar.
2. Arguably the more important thing, Men are free to operate beyond the Music of the Ainur, the song that created the universe and foretells its fate. Elves however are bound to the Music and the events that it foretells, as are all other things that dwell in Arda. Tolkien Elves aren't P-Zombies as far as readers can tell, they have true self-awareness, but their spiritual existences are predestined in a way that those of Men aren't.
And that obviously the elves an advantage. A lot of humans in Middle-earth are lured into evil acts by the fear of death and the unknown fate that comes after it, and that doesn't happen to the elves.*

Beyond that, there's not much evidence that Tolkien's elves are innately morally superior to humans. Yes, you could argue that most of the ones that we see in The Lord of the Rings seem to be, but that's a combination of a lot of hard-won wisdom on their part and a pretty drastic filtering effect.

* Although there's an interesting conversation in Morgoth's Ring between Finrod and a human woman in which he points out to her that the elves too will eventually be forced to face the fear of death and the uncertainty of what follows:

'Thus far, then, I perceive that the great difference between Elves and Men is in the speed of the end. In this only. For if you deem that for the Quendi there is no death ineluctable, you err.

'Now none of us know, though the Valar may know, the future of Arda, or how long it is ordained to endure. But it will not endure forever. It was made by Eru, but he is not in it. The One only has no limits. Arda, and Eä itself, must therefore be bounded. You see us, the Quendi, still in the first ages of our being, and the end is far off. As maybe among you death may seem to a young man in his strength; save that we have long years of life and thought already behind us. But the end will come. That we all know. And then we must die; we must perish utterly, it seems, for we belong to Arda (in hröa and fëa). And beyond that what? "The going out to no return," as you say; "the uttermost end, the irredeemable loss"?

'Our hunter is slow-footed, but he never loses the trail. Beyond the day when he shall blow the mort, we have no certainty, no knowledge. And no one speaks to us of hope.'
 

Eric the .5b

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Do you? I mean, very probably just my limited media diet, but I find you at the very least see way more James Bond's and Judge Dread's and such then you do Lelouch's or....yeah, I'm actually rather struggling to come up with a second relatively prominent example of a morally gray revolutionary protagonist.
Hell, they don't even have to be treated as morally gray. The original Star Wars Trilogy and the [original?!] Matrix trilogy are presented as pretty white hats, even when the latter outright says that Neo and company kill a whooooole lot of innocent people when fighting Agents or storming buildings. If you want grayer, there's always Rogue One or The Hunger Games or V for Vendetta (especially the original comic).
 

Antendren

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Do you? I mean, very probably just my limited media diet, but I find you at the very least see way more James Bond's and Judge Dread's and such then you do Lelouch's or....yeah, I'm actually rather struggling to come up with a second relatively prominent example of a morally gray revolutionary protagonist.
The protagonists of The Matrix? There's an explicit "all this killing of enslaved humans is necessary" conversation, even.
 

mindstalk

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Beyond that, there's not much evidence that Tolkien's elves are innately morally superior to humans. Yes, you could argue that most of the ones that we see in The Lord of the Rings seem to be, but that's a combination of a lot of hard-won wisdom on their part and a pretty drastic filtering effect.
Again, the narrator of the Hobbit outright says that elves are Good People.

Many people and some dwarves go over to the Enemy. The closest you get among elves is Maeglin. The closest to an unprovoked murderous jerkass elf is Eol.

The Sindar hunting Petty-Dwarves was because they thought the latter were something like animals, not people. When they established communication with more urbanized dwarves, they stopped.
 

FifteenWords

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Yes, humanity above all.

It doesn't matter if humanity is the evil one in this case, I'm still siding with the humans. What's the alternative? Go off and live with the Elves, as a traitor to my own kind?

You can pick your friends, but you can't choose your family. And my family is Man.

edit: I add - Most stories like Avatar assume the other side is attractive, or at least vaguely humanoid. What if they're objectively hideous to you, or incomprehensible?
 

Owesome

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Yes, humanity above all.

It doesn't matter if humanity is the evil one in this case, I'm still siding with the humans. What's the alternative? Go off and live with the Elves, as a traitor to my own kind?

You can pick your friends, but you can't choose your family. And my family is Man.

edit: I add - Most stories like Avatar assume the other side is attractive, or at least vaguely humanoid. What if they're objectively hideous to you, or incomprehensible?
And if the humans are fascists committing a genocide, that's OK with you?
 

FifteenWords

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And if the humans are fascists committing a genocide, that's OK with you?
Narratively speaking, you'd be thinking exactly the same thing. I'm on the side of humanity no matter what, because there's an important question you have to ask yourself: Now what?

Let's say you stop humanity from slaughtering the Ewoks. What do you do next? Go native? Pretend to be a giant Ewok yourself? Live the rest of your life on an alien planet, a pariah to all of mankind?

That sounds like Hell to me. It's a character weakness, but I couldn't abide that.

edit: Kamen Rider Blade addresses this, where one antagonist is a Beetle-man. If he triumphs, humanity will be wiped out and his race will be uplifted to full sentience. When the protagonist asks if he's willing to stop fighting, his answer is:

"And what do you expect to me do THEN, human? Live in the trees with all my beetle friends?"
 

Owesome

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...work to change the human regime to a system that doesn't genocide Ewoks isn't an option?
 
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