I swear, I am not trying to beat a dead horse or dishonor the AFA and its members.
In yesterday’s post reacting to what happened to Jo from Jon Upsal’s Garden, I spoke a fair bit about honor. This isn’t just a trite, heathen thing. For our ancestors, Honor wasn’t just your reputation, it was also a social currency, earned for deeds to the people, and piety to the Gods.
Jo, to my knowledge, is a very honorable man. He certainly was respected within the AFA, was a member of their clergy, and a leader of one of their Kindreds. This seems no small to thing, as such a thing would have been a place of high honor with our ancestors.
Looking as I do at the AFA as a full blown Tribe, the best way to view what happened (to understand my perspective) is this:
McNallen was the King of the Afar. He founded them, and built the tribe up by the sweat and blood of his own effort. Certainly, many were involved and I do not wish to disregard or dishonor their work. But to me, McNallen was king. And a good and fair king he was, at least as I’ve viewed it.
Under King McNallen, Jo rose up to be both priest and Jarl of the people. He was honored and respected by those under his guidance and rule. He has comported himself well, provided no scandal that I know of, and even defended the Afar from those what would both dishonor them, and attack them. This is the mark of a good Jarl, and is too be honored.
Flavel is now King of the Afar, and his deeds must be judged as a king. Being King, I assume that he has much honor among the Afar, for he was chosen to lead them. But to be king is not enough, a King must rule his people well. Given the example set by King McNallen, I shall judge Flavel by McNallen’s deeds, to see if Flavel is as worthy a king, if he is better, or if he is worse.
The Afar are a people who speak of valuing tradition, and I see little to say that they are not doing this as they claim. Interpretations may differ between tribes, but each tribe is free to decide its traditions. This is good and right. And the Afar stand by a more “cis-normative” tradition. This too, is no grounds to complain about. It is their way, and their way it is. I also understand that Jo’s child, being transgender, does not fall within this “way.” I can even understand where that might be an issue.
But Jo is a Jarl, and he has done right by his people. Even if it cost him some influence and respect, I would think that the honor he has earned with his people would have been enough to gain him and his child an exemption. Or at least, a tolerance. Certainly, I could understanding it costing Jo some respect and honor, but to cost him all?
It seems King Flavel asks a high price. Perhaps too high a price. For Jo has not just been asked to step down, but essentially kicked out of the AFA as I understand it. To make his own Jarl, well respected and widely known as true to his people, essentially an “outlaw” does not bear the mark of a good king. Certainly, it is not a deed that King McNallen ever did to my knowledge. And certainly Jarl Jo had enough honor with King McNallen gain his positions as Jarl and Priest.
This is…not a good mark for the new King. Hel, it honestly just makes me think of how Jarl Haraldson acts in the first season of Vikings. I know, terrible example, but it just seems like a man so…insecure in his power or something. I expected better from the Afar. I certainly expected better from their “King.”
Still, a King who cannot honor his Jarls correctly soon finds himself faced with a replacement. I am wont to remember that often, to regain the favor of the Gods, a king was considered a good sacrifice. The people’s of the Afar shall have to judge their king, and see if he is still worthy. We in Helheim shall watch and see.
King Flavel can certainly come back from this deed, but to the eyes of Helheim, and perhaps even the Afar themselves, he will have to do many great, mighty, and generous deeds to regain the honor he has spent on this decree.
Still, it is my hope that Jo will be honored still by those close to him. He kept true to family, and this is indeed a thing worthy of Honor. Hela’s realms smile upon him for this, and his many great deeds that he has done in the past for his people.