Not that I'm still in the middle of A Dance with Dragons.... - Input Junkie
Not that I'm still in the middle of A Dance with Dragons....|
....but do Assassins Guilds actually make any sense?
Especially if the guild seems to be a secret?
And wouldn't there be even more dead nobles and merchants if there are so many super-competent assassins?
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/541296.html
. Comments are welcome here or there.
comments so far on that entry.
No, yes, and yes. (You'd think any government that didn't control such a guild would make certain to wipe it out on first discovery.)
The guild is
1) a religious order, devoted to worship of the god of death. Think "monks who brew beer out of religious obligation", but assassins.
2) extremely small. And actual Faceless Men are in short supply.
3) extremely expensive. Death pays for life, life pays for death. They're not exactly in it for the money, and they're not really all that *controllable*. This makes them hard to hire.
The idea of "a guild of assassins" is still a little wacky, but in this case, I think it works.
Think "monks who brew beer out of religious obligation", but assassins.
Wait, are they assassins instead of brewing beer, or in addition to?
Well, I meant "instead of", but "in addition to" is better, so that's the one I think more authors should go with.
Addition to. They also run a sort of hospice/suicide service.
Edit: There is at least one other assassin's guild. The Sorrowful Men, who always say, "I am so sorry" right before they kill you.
Edited at 2012-05-21 01:00 am (UTC)
Do they drink their beer out of the skulls of their victims? I hope so, because what's the point of being an assassin/brewer otherwise?
If you substitute "death cult" or "organized crime family" for "guild," not only does it make perfect sense, but it's the way such things were done as often as not in real history.
Yes, there are good reasons that assassins might bond together into a formal organization; training, mutual support, cartelizing the pay-for-death industry, the same reasons any other guild, union, crime family or other economic organization comes together.
And considering the extreme risks an assassin runs- potential loss of life at the hands of the state, death or injury by bodyguards, soldiers, or even the target, accidents, and rival assassins- any death cartel is going to put the price of death astronomically high- high enough that only the very rich and powerful will be able to afford their services, thus limiting the number of actual deaths.
A death cult, on the other hand, may do things for non-economic reasons, and thus the writer can get away with being much more loose with common sense with them.
If you substitute "death cult" or "organized crime family" for "guild,"
That's what I was thinking. Haven't read the books, but it seems like asking how an assassin's guild could exist without getting caught/wiping out the population is kind of like asking how the mafia can exist without getting caught/wiping out the population.
Ninjas weren't one unified guild; they were a lot of groups, usually families or clans, who could sometimes clash as bodyguards or assassins, either way.
I believe it was a John Barnes novel, perhaps THE UNHANDSOME PRINCE, which had Thieves' Guilds that were actually run by the Crown. If you went into a Thieves' Guild, the burly guardsmen inside would give you a sound beating, and explain that you were too stupid to be a criminal, so Go And Sin No More.
There were real world thugs, religious murderers. They're all dead now. The neighbors (with some help) eventually decided to put a stop to them.
Goodbyemyboy has it right: The Mafia *are* a real assassins guild. They do other things too, but there is definitely a guild of murderers within the larger group.
The thing I'm trying to get at (and failed to mention in the first post) is that an assassin's guild which is fully for hire (not controlled by a territory-claiming organization) seems unlikely.
That, I can definitely agree with. I definitely can't see there being an all-encompassing Assassins' Guild in a locale independent of some larger purpose--though I could see small groups of, essentially, "private security" forces that hire on to various organizations.