LTDave wrote:I don't get the whole "Stanley is an incompetent loser" thing. Sure, from our perspective he is less clever than Parson, but that's because Parson is "the best Warlord ever" or whatever.
Stanley had a large enough empire and was causing enough trouble to oblige the rest of the continent to form an alliance to unseat him. That's not the achievement of an incompetent.
Sure, in book one he gets his donkey handed to him, but that's like saying Belgium is poorly led because it hasn't conquered Europe recently...
I seem to remember that it was suggested most of it was luck though? Like he was the schmuck who walked right into Wanda's trap, it's just that he was lucky with the dragons and he fell into a Kingdom. And then that most of the time his casters and then warlords manipulated him and ruled the Kingdom and built it up for him. And although he's not as good as Parson, he was also unable to accept the value of Parson for a long time and put his trust in Ansom.
I agree with the interpretation that Stanley was a good warlord, very competent in battle and small level tactics who fell into a job one level too high for him, where he couldn't really understand the thinking (he'd had no experience of it) but had too much pride and had spent too long keeping control by being the best and not allowing others to see his mistakes, to understand that he needs to admit he's out of his depth before he can start to learn. As the story has progressed he's learnt more and more that he can't do that anymore and he's got to start trying to improve himself, and I figure the stories going to complete that course and by the end he'll be a competent leader, not as clever as Parson, but fully understanding Parson's cleverness and value and he'll regain the respect of those around him for it.
It's just that all the things we've had suggest he's on a journey and he's at the 'out-of-depth schmuck' level most of so far and 'out-of-depth-schmuck-who-realises-it' just at this moment.
I don't know where that rates him with the over leaders. Slately had more skill in leadership, but also had too much pride and was too confident in his abilities to see that he was only competent, not good, but he's realised that now and he's taken the courageous path to fixing that mistake, so I think he's higher than Stanley, although he hasn't got long to enjoy that.
Don, I'm not sure about. Whilst I don't think he had tactical brilliance and probably wasn't as competent as Slately, he was wiser and understood the path to good leadership better, he knew how people ran and he was the only one of the pre-Parson leaders who could see clearly enough to know what actual good leadership was, unblinded by tradition or pride but in picking those people who were best at their jobs, not matter what preconception. But now he's lost that and something happened and his decision making is awful and he doesn't have Slatelys competence to fall back on.
So pre-Parson, it would go for me Don, Slately, Stanley. But currently it's Slately, Stanley, Don. (Charlie would beat all of them each time, he's in a different league, whereas they are people muddling through, he's playing a game and he actually knows what he's doing)
That's my broad perspective, individually they've made lots of decisions recently which could be good or bad, some of those turned bad because of situations that they didn't control or know about, others went well when in the hard logic of the world they shouldn't, but I feel it's better to be broad and at least see if they're going in the right direction, even if they're making bad mistakes. None of them have ascended to the level of Parson, where we can expect clever, inventive and incredibly rational solutions from them, in fact currently it looks like only Tramenis, Jack and maybe Charlie have any slice of Parson in them
EDIT: Jillian might be even worse than Don, I'm not sure. She doesn't even seem to really be in control of her decisions, never mind whether they're good or not