Skep's Place

 

Chapter 77: This Chapter Has Flaws


Well, seeing little other option for survival, Guan Yu flees the town in a desperate attempt to reach the safety of the Riverlands. Unfortunately, Wu predicts his escape route, and captures him in a series of ambushes.

He's brought before Sun Quan, who again briefly entertains the idea of making Guan Yu work for him. But he is then reminded how well that worked out for Cao Cao, considering that Guan Yu was threatening Wei's capital just yesterday despite how much effort Cao Cao had put into winning Guan Yu over.

And thus, Guan Yu is beheaded.

We then cut straight to a scene where Guan Yu's spirit consults with a monk meditating on a mountaintop. He's upset at his downfall, and questions the monk how he's supposed to get revenge on those that killed him now that he's dead.

But the monk replies, this is not the injustice you think it is, for how were the officers you killed supposed to get vengeance on you? And Guan Yu sees the wisdom in his words, and as thanks blesses the village on that mountaintop to this day. Which is very sweet.

...Except then in the very next scene, Sun Quan holds a feast honoring Lu Meng, but then Lu Meng is very unambiguously possessed by Guan Yu's angry spirit, and he shouts some mean things at Sun Quan and then keels over dead.

Like, hang on. You have a scene where Guan Yu makes peace with his death, and then follow that up with a scene where he retaliates against those who defeated him.

Uuhhh.

We can agree that this is bad writing, right? Now, obviously, neither of these scenes are historical; the only truth in them is that Lu Meng did pass away shortly after. But you're completely fabricating one concept and punching up another... and doing it in such a way that they completely contradict each other!

Like, narratively, there isn't even any reason to do this! Okay, tweaking the story a bit so that Guan Yu exacts vengeance against Lu Meng from beyond the grave, sure, that's a fun touch. But you don't give him the stupid self-reflection right before that! Or if you do, you have him self-actualize in a way that isn't entirely at odds with the next goddamn page!

Unbelievable.

Anyway the book cuts over for a hot second to Liu Bei, who gets married again. And that's all that happens.

It's very strongly implied that this event actually takes place before Guan Yu's shenanigans. I don't know why they couldn't have brought it up earlier when Liu Bei was just chilling in Chengdu not doing a whole lot, rather than right the hell now after one of the most beloved characters is killed off. But okay.

Then there's a bit where Sun Quan sends Guan Yu's head to Cao Cao to make it look like, hey, I did this on your behalf, maybe Liu Bei will get angry at you instead of me? But Sima Yi tells Cao Cao, yeah, you just carve Guan Yu a new body out of some fine wood and have a really nice funeral service for him, and Liu Bei won't hold it against us. So those ploys just cancel out.

Then later on after Liu Bei learns what happened to Guan Yu and hears about the funeral Cao Cao gave him, he asks Zhuge Liang what it all means. Zhuge Liang straight up says, yeah, Wu was trying to pin it on Wei so you'd get mad at them, but Wei did the nice thing so you'd stay mad at Wu.

So Liu Bei goes, right, I guess I'm mad at Wu then. Like that was the logical conclusion to draw from all that.

Anyway, that's the chapter. I can't believe one of the most pivotal moments of this book is so poorly handled. Sheesh.

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