Denver Comic Con
June 30 - July 2, 2017
I’m really interested in your reactions to this situation, so I’m not going to say anything about it for now. What do you think of Elijah asking Hartmann to kill him? And what do you think Hartmann should do?
Well, it’s an understandable request. He has been turned into a crippled monster, essentially. He can’t escape and being left behind would be very very bad when the survivors find him.
On the other hand, it’s a terrible thing to have to do. Even calling it a mercy wouldn’t help you sleep at night.
Yeah, Hartmann already feels guilty enough for having killed Malachi. Elijah’s assurances that it was a “kindness” aren’t likely to make him feel any better.
Like the graceful parabola traced out by a rock soaring into the air and then falling — inevitable.
I suspected this was coming a long time ago. It makes up in emotional anguish what was lacking in suspense.
I’m discovering that it’s extremely difficult to surprise people, especially when we only post a page a week, and I’ve had to learn to accept that. The trick then is to make the story enjoyable, despite the fact that some readers can predict some events. So I’m glad you still find it satisfying!
It is expected. But it’ll haunt Hartmann for the rest of his life, even worse than when he killed Elijah.
Yep. As guilty as he feels about Malachi, he can at least say that that was the “old” Hartmann, before he began his reformation. If he kills Elijah, he won’t have that distinction to comfort himself.
Hartman will probably end up regretting the choice he makes for the rest
of his life, regardless of what he decides. Kill your friend or leave
him to the enemy? Rough decision.
Isn’t suicide a worse thing, according to the jewish religion though ?
All of the Abrahamic religions view suicide as a very serious sin (I’ve heard some people reason that it’s the one sin that can’t be forgiven, because you won’t be around to repent afterwards). But for ever law there’s a loophole. Observant Jews have all manner of devices and whatnot to allow them to go about their business on Saturday’s while still technically following the rules about the Sabbath. So who knows, maybe asking Hartmann to kill him isn’t quite the same as actually killing himself? In any case, at this point, I think Elijah is beyond strict religious observance.
RE: prohibition against suicide. I think there are probably exceptions – think Masada, or York Castle. This seems like a similar circumstance.
Unless Elijah’s mutations are already going to be fatal, or it absolutely would make escape impossible, I think Hartmann should try to save him anyway. Killing people to save them is a morally tricky thing in his situation. Given his past, he’s like an alchoholic – best not to kill if it can be avoided, for his soul’s sake.
Those are good points. But does the fact that Elijah wants to be killed make a difference? Hartmann wouldn’t be trying to “save” Elijah per se, but simply honoring his wishes.
Analogy here is to folks who want to commit suicide when they first become paraplegic/quadriplegic. Sure, it’s a disability, but usually they discover that life’s really not so bad.
I think the best justification is Vosla’s, below. It’s absolutely better to kill him than to leave him to the Nazis.
Not everyone can adjust, some don’t want to adjust. Should they then have the freedom to control their life unto death?
On three occasions in my life, I have had severely suicidal people committed for their own protection. They all thanked me later. So, perhaps a different way of putting it is: should your future self have the power to remove freedom from your present self?
I see it as your past self can remove freedom from a future self via suicide. Suicide is giving up. It goes against the survival instinct. The people who do it usually see no prospects they would want to survive with.
If this was a situation in a western land today, the answer would be easy in favor of rescuing Elijah.
But this is WW2, deep in enemy territory, with the most possible inhumane foes available (dark fantasy setting aside). A mercy-killing could be the only imaginable solution as Elijah looks pretty crippled – too crippled for escaping. Reminding the opening sequence where Hartmann was hunted both by guards and dogs, barely escaping – now imagine the scene with Elijah on his back. It would be humane to try to save him but it would have diminished both guys chances to almost zero.
Instinctively, I would have tried to save him but my mind would also say it’s hopeless. I for myself can not predict if I would have fled the scene – prepping Elijah with captured weapons so he could sell his life as dearly as possible – or going into a mindless berserker rage in the hope to kill all guards so both would have a chance of escape. I wouldn’t have killed Elijah for sure. But then, I’m not Hartmann and I wouldn’t have started with killing Malachi for sports.
It’s a no win situation…but the real question is “how can he refuse?”
The prohibition in the west on suicide comes from the Christian tradition.
We are saved by faith.
Suicide is despair.
It can also be faith that life on the other side is better.
We do have this weird idea that if you starve someone to death is is okay. Talk about torture!
Do you mean withholding life support?
I’m not quite sure I follow.
What else would you call it when you cut off the food and drink of life?
Very appropriate, and utterly tragic. Darned-near pitch-perfect. I love it.
And some folks are going to hate you for it. Some people treat catharsis as if it’s an sanity-blasting elder thing from beyond time and space.
It’s weird to me that some of our readers might (as you say) hate us for this particular development. Not weird in that it bothers me, but weird like, “Really? Our story affected you that deeply?” It’s fantastic to be able to connect with readers that way. It’s amazing to me how–when done well–we can come to care about fictional characters in such a way as to have an emotional reaction to tragic events in their lives.
It’s even more amazing to me that Shawn and I could be responsible for causing that emotional reaction. I mean, we’re telling a story we think is worth telling and that readers will want to stick with and become emotionally invested in. But to have it happen (and be told about it) still blows my mind. That there are others out there in the wide world who enjoy The Specialists is really cool. Having readers who care about the characters is an order of magnitude cooler still.
This origin story may be the best one I’ve ever read. Masterfully done.
Wow Ghirizon–that’s high praise indeed! We certainly appreciate such kind words. It’s both gratifying and humbling to get really positive comments, and to know that the story we’re telling is connecting with our faithful readers. Thanks! (And keep those compliments coming, if you don’t mind…)
Such a change in terms, not physical really, but ethical ones. Kill out of kindness. To many it seems and oxymoron but it isn’t. I like how this is shaping up. Very powerful it is.
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