HORACE!
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Gwedhiel

Okay, since there's nothing in this forum yet, let me start with how Horace is a fantastic OC. There's a lot of people bashing him, stating that his swordmanship takes away from the greatness of the Rangers, he's a gary-stu and a ton of more bullhockey that doesn't even make sense and that doesn't even have valid proof!

So let's start here. You lead the discussion. Why is Horace such a great character and an integral part of RA?

2/24/2012 #1
when-i-caught-myself
I know this is nearly a year old, but I hope no-one minds if I post here. :) First off, I really don't understand why people think that he takes away the greatness of Rangers. Rangers are really more behind-the-scenes kind of spylike people who do the skillful, cunning strategies and planning that is generally more secretive than, say, the proactive role of a knight on the battlefield. Will's duties as a Ranger are not as glamorised as a knight's (like Horace) would be because of that. It was stated in the first book and applied in the later books that Ramgers and knights are of equal importance and have to work together to be successful in the battles they are in. So if people complain that Horace gets to kill the Big Bad in an epic duel too often or whatever, just remember that it's really his job to do that, seeing as he's a knight. It's his strength. Will's is to come up with the strategies they'll use and lead the men during the battle that lets the epic duel happen in the first place. Without one or the other, they wouldn't be able to defeat their enemy. TL;DR: Horace and Will have equally important roles in a battle and wouldn't be successful without the other. So Horace actually does not detract from Rangerly awesomeness, he just does what they weren't even meant to do in the first place.
2/3/2013 #2
Gwedhiel

Wow. I completely forgot that this thread existed until I received an alert for it. :) Thanks for taking the time to voice your opinion. For a while there I was wondering if there was anyone else who saw Horace for as he truly is.

But you hit it right on the nose. The duties and skills of Rangers and Knights may, in retrospect, fall into the same category or mission, but they are completely different in what aspect of the mission they achieve. As Halt emphasized in Bk. 1, when describing to Will the duties of a Ranger, they *remain behind the scenes*. (I mean, think about it. Who gets acknowledged and applauded at the end of a stage drama performance? The cast or the crew?) What was Will's regard of Rangers when he discovered he was to be apprenticed to one, aside from that they're warlocks? They weren't important. They're weren't respectable. They're were just creepy sorcerers, a club where the boys went when they were denied knighthood. Only those far up in the chain of command who recognize and are aware of Ranger activity acknowledge the full efforts of the Rangers, as Baron Arold does, for they respect what the Rangers do, that it is they that achieve what the Knights can't, that it is them who enables Knights to do their job with full effectiveness.

Of course Knights receive more glory in battle and everyday life. Flanagan made a point out of that in the very beginning of RA. It was the status quo of the medieval heirarchy where Knighthood was the most honorable and glorious profession. Rangers can't afford to be "famous" other than generalities or those unique circumstances where fame is acquired (Halt as the biggest example) since it would interfere with their whole "camoflauge" of mystery. It's because of that mystery they get the job done. But it's like you said - they do the skillful, cunning, secretive, behind-the-scenes strategies that allow the Knight to take their proactive role. A battle can't take place without a strategy developed by Rangers and then that strategy carried out by the Knights. Like you said, equal importance. Both sides coexist as part of the whole success and you can't have one without the other, which was why Crowley formed that special ops team with Will, Halt, and Horace, because they did amazing things when together. And Halt's included just because he's the best Ranger that could ever be. :)

But in RA itself, when you think about it, the complaints about Horace taking away the greatness of the Rangers are void. I mean, Halt must be the most famous person in Araluen during this era, we are reminded constantly throughout the later series that Will is just as famous, if only just a little less so, and Horace is famous because of his uncanny ability with the sword and his victory over Morgarath. What was the bartender's reaction in Macindaw to when he heard both Horace's AND Will's names? Who's more famous in Skandia? Will&Halt or Horace? Who's more famous in Arrida? Will&Halt or Horace? In the Eastern Steppes? In Nihon-ja? Maybe I shouldn't say famous, as fame implies fanatics and followers. How about "remembered"? Who was remembered more in all these countries? I think the only place Horace could claim incontestable fame over the Rangers was in Gallica (and we all know how much Horace *hated* the reputation he acquired, something that only happened b/c *Halt* made sure that it happened!). Granted, I get a little exasperated when JF writes the same thing about Horace's swordfighting qualities over and over again, but Horace is constantly seen to adhere to the word of the Rangers, especially Halt.

And that's another thing (dang this post is becoming long). People say that Horace is a gary-stu. How the bloody heck can he be called that? Yes, he's brilliant with a sword, he's good looking, he has a bout of ingenuity once in a while, but that's pretty much it, isn't it? He has *never* lorded his abilities over others, he's simple-minded (not retarded) and would rather leave the thinking to the people who are good at it (Will, Halt and all other Rangers). Just how refreshing is that? Horace constantly praises the Rangers and seems to stand in awe of them every waking moment. Good grief, he even obtained the same belief as Will that Halt can do everything, he can solve anything and that everything will be all right so long as he's present (I grew to believe that too. lol).

People really need to re-evaluate their inane comments about Horace taking away the greatness of the Rangers. Calling him a gary-stu is another thing (one that doesn't make any sense when you compare him to Evanlyn, who I label as a blatant and despicable mary-sue). The greatness is there. It's constantly acknowledged, especially by those higher up in the chain of command (which is more important than a commoner's opinion, wouldn't you say?), and how many times are we reminded in RA that even a fully qualified Knight would hesitate to take on a Ranger? As Horace reflects in Bk. 2, the people in Araluen feel "safe" around Knights, but they "fear" Rangers. And the matter of likeability is never integral in a declaration of "fame". But as you pointed out, they did two completely separate jobs, one no less important than the other (even though Halt implies that the intelligence group *is* more essential). I guess all these people bemoaning and complaining never looked on the other side of the coin, never looked past the snare of popularity to the importance of the duties undertaken. Why didn't Will fight Morgarath? Because he wasn't supposed to!

Like Halt said, a Ranger's goal is to be in command without seeming to be. They play an endless game of shrew deception and deviousness, thusly weaving their *legendary* air of mystery and unconquerability around them.

Gwed

P.S. My brother, a gamer, says "hi". *rolls eyes* I promised I would post it on here. And sorry this post ended up so lengthy.

2/3/2013 #3
when-i-caught-myself

Yes, you are completely right. Horace is absolutely not a Gary Stu. I guess a lot of people forgot how his character developed (very significantly, I may add) in Book 1.

He was first presented as a completely unsympathetic character, being a bully to Will and whatnot. I admit, I hated him at first for it. But as the events of the book unfolded, I became interested in how he was taken down a notch and learned what it was like to be the victim, (no) thanks to those three bullies in Battleschool. Even though that was undoubtedly a bad experience, it served to allow him to develop and mature enough to become amiable to Will, and eventually become his best friend. It also doesn't really make sense when people call him stupid for not reporting the bullying to Sir Rodney or any of the Battleschool teachers. He didn't know any better (I remember it being said that Horace thought it was a normal Battleschool "conditioning" type of thing). That aside, it happens more often than not in real life as well.

While I would have preferred his character development to have been a bit more stretched out, since there are so many books, that isn't the point here. The point is that it happened. It wasn't a good cause, but it had a good effect on him, allowing him to become a better person. Try comparing Book 1 Horace to the Horace of later books and you'll see what I mean.

And the matter of him taking away from the Rangers' greatness: no. He doesn't. His skill/talent as a knight is just more known throughout Araluen, mostly because of the nature of knighthood. Since Rangers' duties are much more secretive, they're regarded with a bit of fear since no-one knows what they actually do, like what you said about Will's first opinion on them in Book 1.

Really, he's just what a knight should be: chivalrous, honourable, and a skilled warrior. And he is good looking and has his moments of sheer epicness. These don't necessarily make him a Gary Stu, though. Despite all of that, he's humble. He doesn't assume superiority over others, but also doesn't belittle himself. This is important in a guy like that, because think about it: handsome young knight that could make girls swoon and is one of the kingdom's most significant heroes is a very good mixture for an arrogant b***. (Pardon my French.) But that is exactly what he's not, which is one of the things I find most likeable about him. He's down-to-earth.

People saying that he's stupid: no, no, no. He isn't stupid, he just doesn't think as fast or as complicatedly as the Rangers do. Which actually fits, since that's what Rangers are supposed to do. Instead of trying to boss them around, he lets them do it, admitting that it's a field where they're more skilled than he is. He admits his shortcomings and allows those who are really good at it to do it. Which is great: he appreciates and praises what they do, like you said.

I could go on but I'll stop here. I really feel that Horace is a majorly underappreciated character, because really, he's a brilliant, lovely guy. I'd feel blessed to know someone like him in real life, in all honesty.

P.S. So your brother's a gamer? So am I (just casual, though). Send my greetings to him! :) And it's completely okay that your post was long. You made some really good points. :)

2/4/2013 #4
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