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Date: 2017-06-22 12:59 am (UTC)
maat_seshat: Winged Maat sitting (Default)
From: [personal profile] maat_seshat
Heh. That is an amusing image. (Also, isn't that what Li Gang is? Except rather than being exasperated at MCS's idealism, he's exasperated at his cleverness.)

The structure of the military in the show is a fascinating mess, a weird combination of bureaucratic and feudal. The border armies are clearly feudal, to judge by the examples of the Mu army and the Chiyan army, with inherited authority over that particular army, an emphasis on loyalty to its commander, and often some relationship (younger bio son, adoptive, marital, fictive, etc.) to the imperial family. The internal armies, like the one that Xu Anmo got put in charge of or the one that Jingyan summoned, though, seem like much more bureaucratic creatures. It's a neat allusion to the classic idea of Tang armies, whereby great magnates were set to guard the borders, while the connection between commanders and men in the internal garrisons was more tenuous. Or, really, it's an idealization of the Han military that lots of other dynasties try to reproduce until they discover that those great border armies make lovely bases from which to foment coups and try to centralize. (Yes, I'm a geek.) Point being that the tension between loyalty to the state or the commander is kind of baked into the system. I doubt Jingrui would be able to serve unless he trusted his entire chain of command, so the number of people under whom he could serve is...limited. Meng, Lin Shu, or Nihuang, pretty much. :-)

You're definitely right that Jingrui's attitude toward freedom changes over the course of the show. Does he really decide that he doesn't want it, though? Or does he just come to a better understanding of its price? When he goes to Chu, Niannian wants to get him there in hopes that he'll stay, but he explicitly goes with a plan to return. Then once he comes back, he tells his mother that he won't judge her choices but refuses to tell her that he would do the same. To me, that suggests a more conscious sense of where he fits within society, combined with a choice not to let his position (or any individual) dictate his choices.
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