This month’s word is “diplomacy.” When given the topic, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write about something this month, as most shows I watch don’t tend to have something like this as the focus. At first, I considered talking about the lack of diplomacy in Tokyo Ghoul, but I was beat to the topic. Then I thought through the anime I was currently watching and this lovely show came to mind.
I’ve only seen twelve episodes of Yona of the Dawn, but I think I have just enough information to make this post work. So bear with me, those who have seen all of it or have even read the manga.
This post is going to focus on the differing leadership roles in Yona of the Dawn, between the two kings and the clan leaders, and even how Yona struggles with her morality. Is violence a reasonable solution to problems? Or does it only cause hurt?
Two Kings of Kouka Kingdom
Yona’s father, King Il, was known for being peaceful. He had a strong hatred of violence. Any time one of those working for him brought up the thought of war, he shot the idea down immediately. He felt peace was the only option, and that any act of violence would only cause harm to his kingdom. Though, in reality, it made the kingdom suffer greatly. The people of his kingdom were vulnerable to attack, so if another kingdom were to become restless and decide to ambush, they would be doomed.
Then came along Soo-won, Yona’s cousin. He outright murdered King Il to take Kouka’s throne by force. He had known the other options for coming to power, but he chose the most direct and bloody option. It was a possibility that he marry Yona, and become a successor to the throne, as he was also part of the family by blood. But killing the king would not only ensure him a throne and power, but also revenge.
It is a rumor that King Il killed his brother, though even I’m not entirely sure if there is truth to it. King Il was clearly opposed to violence, though we aren’t sure of his full reasoning. If he really did kill his brother, I wonder what the reason would be, and how he could live a lie in front of his entire kingdom.
King Il’s reign came to an end by death. They lost their king and their princess at once, since Yona decided it would be better to flee. Soo-won took over, running everything very differently from his uncle. The clan he decided to work with is known for being forward and rash. As I will discuss in this next section.
The Wind and Fire Clans
Actively, the Wind and Fire clans hate each other. And in that, they each have a different way of dealing with each other. The Fire clan is prone to planning and pulling through with a sneak attack on the Wind clan. Going so far as cutting off all resources from making their way to the Wind clan people. They’re brutal, cutthroat, when it comes to getting what they want. The Wind clan is very passive, not desiring an engagement with the rivaling clan. This may be due to General Mundok’s direction. He seems to believe things will work itself out. He doesn’t want to put others in danger by sending them out to take care of the Fire clan people attacking his clan. The problem here is that the Fire clan is unlikely to retreat even if the Wind clan ignores them. Something must be done to save their people.
The leaders are the two extremes. What’s needed is something in the middle. A leader willing to send out troops when needed, but only when it’s absolutely necessary.
Even Yona must weigh her decisions when it comes to being diplomatic. When she and the others are on their journey, she decides she wants to learn how to use a bow. But with that, she must also learn to harm or possibly kill other people. She grew up with her father’s ideals, so it’s in her nature to automatically be against hurting another human. But her desire to learn a skill that would be useful in their mission overrules the tradition she grew up with.
When Hak, her childhood friend and guard, allows her to practice her archery, he explains what using her bow would mean. He asks her how she feels about bringing pain to another person, and she said she would hate it. But if it were a step closer to her goal, she would still do it. Hak then has her open fire on him, and it takes a few tries before she grazes his face with an arrow. This was all to get her used to aiming at another human. She felt horrible for hurting her friend. It was necessary to learn how to deal with the guilt of hurting another person if she is truly passionate about what she wants.
Though I’m a firm believer in talking problems out civilly, violence is inevitable. We can’t stop violence. It’s a constant in our lives. People aren’t stable, they aren’t perfect, and make wrong decisions. People groups fight all the time, like the clans do in Yona of the Dawn. Ambushes like the ones shown in the anime still happen in our world. It doesn’t make them right, but they happen. Sometimes things can work out for the better this way, unfortunately.
Corrupt leaders also have been a constant throughout the world’s history. Leaders who think their ideals will only help their people can hurt them horribly, as King Il’s ideals did. Maybe Soo-won’s overthrowing the kingdom can help the people in Kouka. I’m not sure, as I stated that I’m halfway through the anime. It was clear that many people working in the castle did not agree with Il’s decisions, and it was causing other kingdoms to plan on targeting them. They were weak without a way to fight. In the case of a nation, yes, violence is needed. If your nation is not prepared, and another nation becomes violent, your nation is doomed. It would be better to fight and save some more innocents than to lose some trained fighters who are willing to fight.
And lastly, Yona. Though I’d love to say that she could just be the voice of reason and help out in more verbal ways, I think she’s perfectly suited to fight alongside the others. After all, Yoon has the role of leader and medic down. Plus, it’s always cool to see a princess able to fight. I’ve seen enough of the helpless princesses, though nowadays there aren’t too many of those. Good job, Disney. Back on track, in the scenes where Yona is practicing her archery, it’s clear how desperately she wants to be useful. If hurting the people who are harming her mission is her use, then so be it. It’s either them or her.
This post was so hard, I generally don’t think much about this things when watching a show. And it’s even worse that I’ve only seen half of my source material, so I’m sorry for those who have seen/read more than me. But this encourages me to watch more! And possibly read the manga, I’m not sure what other information that provides.
I hope you enjoyed this post! It was a challenge, but also a lot of fun!
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