July 27th, 2010


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Discussion (47)¬

  1. Anke says:

    Ah, they’re getting to behaving really CIVILISED. :D

    That whole voting thing would probably work better if there was a link in the sidebar. http://topwebcomics.com/vote/10180/default.aspx

  2. Fiawol says:

    I just KNOW that Jhalm is going to regret letting Boneclaw Mother get close enough to him to have her hands already on him!

  3. JewelWolf says:

    Two opposing leaders are logically weighing their odds by taking stock of their assets. I used to do this all the time playing video games.

  4. saphroneth says:

    This reminds me of Granny Weatherwax so very much.

  5. Wilde says:

    oh yes the headology :) —–
    “A man could go far, knowing his rights like you do,” said Granny. “But right now he should go home.”

    — (Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)
    “Actors,” said Granny, witheringly. “As if the world weren’t full of enough history without inventing more.”

    — (Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)

    my favorite favorite favorite character by far – unless you count Vimes, or …Cheery …or Nanny on a good/bad day …. or …..

  6. bargamer says:

    Nah, Granny Weatherwax would have come alone, except maybe for Nanny Ogg, have already beaten him by now, leaving him shattered in spirit and soul, but NOT DRAWING A SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD! Oh, and would probably have said something sarcasticly true to Murai.

  7. Javcs says:

    Then there’s the fact that it’s their (the hyena’s) God that Jhalm and co want to release.
    True, said God is possessed by a Demon, and isn’t really much of a God anymore, but, that really just supports her side.

    Git offa mah God!

  8. eyekwah says:

    “Ah, yes perhaps. But mine have teeth…”

  9. Nespin says:

    I wonder if Lu-Tze’s rule one would apply here.

    Nah. No one has a broom, and she’s a little old woman. Still, the SPIRIT of the rule is clearly in effect here.

  10. Dusty668 says:

    I notice she is walking him away from his forces. “Victory is a condition in the mind of the opponent.” …

  11. Alec says:

    The thing is, she doesn’t have to win, she just has to hold him off long enough for Digger to do what she can do, win or lose. She can see the ultimate target – time for Digger – not the short term target, victory in this conflict. Once Digger has won or lost, the battle with Jhalm is irrelevant.

    And yes, she is very Granny Weatherwax. Hedology beats violence any day,

  12. CaptainJack says:

    “They have us surrounded again… the poor bastards.”

    -Admiral Creighton

  13. abb3w says:

    His people have swords.
    She has his arm.

    Savage she may be, but senile she isn’t.

  14. Ponyhome says:

    Hmm… Open ground, spears versus swords. No contest.

  15. Hunter says:

    It looked like there were more than eighteen. And this looks like just a back-and-forth snark fight right now.

  16. The_Rippy_One says:

    @ abb3w: I assumed that was why she had asked for it to begin with – its much easier to pounce when you’re holding onto the thing you are pouncing. Though usually the thing is smaller…arms to vertical lift!

    Meanwhile, anyone willing to wager that the nineteen are all she’s showing, as opposed to all she has?

  17. Marrock says:

    He only counts 18, doesn’t mean that’s all she brought with her.

  18. werebear says:

    Last page, you see Boneclaw Mother leading Jhalm away from the silhouettes of his men. This page, you see her leading him towards the silhouettes of her men.

    Things are not looking good for him, swords or no swords. *Grin*

  19. Hawk says:

    Well, depending on how things end up working out…

    Either Jhalm becomes Boneclaw Mother’s hostage
    Jhalm becomes Boneclaw Mother’s devoted slave (through her superior skills of mind-screwing)
    Jhalm’s liver becomes the tribe’s dinner for the night
    After much discussion Jhalm concedes that he’s gotten much too big for his britches and backs down
    Boneclaw Mother convinces Jhalm to actually help Digger (I’m not sure HOW, but if anyone could, it’s Boneclaw Mother.)

    I wonder if Jhalm knows about the Hyena gods. If so, Boneclaw Mother can simply claim that HER gods ordered her to help Digger…kind of trumps Jhalm’s self righteousness, imo

  20. TekServer says:

    Don’t forget, as we found out from Shadowchild, that the Veiled carry magical swords. So they definitely qualify as an effective force multiplier.

    That said, I’m definitely looking forward to BCM’s endgame here …


  21. Glenn (a different one) says:

    “It’s not ‘The path to victory’, but ‘ALL paths to A victory…’ ” –Miles Vokosigan, as written by Lois McMaster Bujold.

    Also…”The fight is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift, but that IS the way the smart money bets.” My dad, on times more numerous than I can count. Notice he didn’t say anything about having a sword.

    Swords are in fact an excellent tool for causing the opponent to be hurt. But the hyenas are HUNTERS–it’s how they make their living–who’s to say they don’t have bows, throwing spears, and, as been pointed out, plenty of fellows hiding in the area, ready to practice their trade?

    And lastly, of these two community leaders, which of them is most likely to inspire fanatical loyalty in their people, to fight to the last? Jhalm, who has just shown himself to be a manipulative *bleep* in front of his people and who doesn’t actually seem to care about Ganesh, per se, or poor, delicate, aged Boneclaw Mother, a spiritual leader of hers…Heh. Heh. Heh.

  22. Kelardry says:

    Jhlam’s men don’t seem to be in sight. there *do* seem to be some hyenas however, and they might not be too happy about these threats. “You’ve got a sword over there on the ground. Swords are normally better than spears. I have a spear pointed at your throat and am very angry. Do You Spot Your Problem?”

  23. Blob says:

    I think Jhalm’s people probably do have a lot of loyalty to him. Reasons are below.
    1. Honesty: When he was suspicious of Digger, he confronted her, rather than trying to undermine her credibility behind her back.
    2. Loyalty: When Murai, a girl who’s known to have mental problems, confronted him, he tried to talk her down non-violently.
    3. Responsibility: He takes responsibility for his mistakes, as evidenced by his protective tendencies where Murai’s concerned.
    4. Loyalty part two: He clearly values the lives of his people, as evidenced by his willingness to protect Murai from the cold servants, even if he had to do it alone.
    5. Being honest here, while we may not like his decision to put the hyenas on a reservation, that’s because we know how such things turn out; Jhalm doesn’t. Also, there are far worse things that Jhalm could have done. Jhalm had been attacked by a hyena from this very tribe, and again by the cold servants, who are also hyenas. There are plenty of people in history who would have ordered a massacre over being attacked once, let alone twice. But there’s no evidence that Jhalm attempted to punish even Grim Eyes for attacking him (an attack which must have seemed completely unprovoked to Jhalm). I know it sounds weird to say, but Jhalm might actually be showing mercy and fairness, by the standards of this area.

    Yes, Jhalm is stubborn and a bit too convinced of his own rightness, but let’s be honest, a big part of our distaste comes from the fact that we know he’s wrong. If he were right, people would applaud him for doing the right thing, regardless of the odds he faced. There’s every indication Jhalm is willing to die for what he believes is right, and don’t we as a society urge people to be willing to do just that? I can’t help but think the loathing for Jhalm is at least partially rooted in the fact that we know things he doesn’t.

    Given all that, I think a lot of soldiers would prefer a courageous, loyal, responsible, maybe even merciful commander like Jhalm to some of the people who’ve called themselves military commanders in the past.

    I think Jhalm has the potential to be a tragic hero. While he has a strong moral fiber, he also has a flaw that will be his downfall. At the same time, that “flaw” (if you can call it that), that overpowering need to do what he believes is right, is what gives him his positive qualities, and it’s probably what brought him to his position of authority. If you had to have a police chief, wouldn’t you want it to be a man who’s shaped by his desire to do what’s right?

  24. matt d says:

    The hyenas have big long spears. Hmm. If the hyenas had drilled together, they’d probably be able to take ’em. They’re pack hunters, and they live in a walled compound which bespeaks some level of discipline.

    I think the veiled have the edge, but it’s too close to call.


  25. Relsqui says:

    Blob’s comment about Jhalm is dead-on, in my opinion. He’s a villain only by virtue of being on the unsympathetic side of the conflict. He is, at worst, a little too hasty to act before he’s got all the facts, but if you imagine knowing only what he knows, it’s not like he was wrong about how much trouble Digger turned out to be. He just can’t tell it’s not cause and effect.

    I *don’t* loathe Jhalm, and that’s why.

  26. Mani says:

    Aside from fans’ love of the character (and she is an awesome character), I don’t see why so many commentors are so convinced that Jhalm is clearly toast/disadvantaged/screwed etc.

    Let’s not forget he took out more than one cold servant with only the help of an unarmed, blind oracle. The same cold servants that killed at least one powerful adult hyena huntress, and brushed aside entire hunting packs at a time without getting so much as a dent in their metal masks from the hyena’s efforts.

    And that, as Murai reminded digger in the caves – the two primary specialties of the veiled are hand-to-hand combat and comparative mythology. And of the veiled – the group that apparently takes on everything from bandits to demons to twisted gods – he is the captain.

    And although Boneclaw mother is not senile, and plenty savage, and a hyena – she is still old, and Jhalm himself is by no stretch senile, as well (nothing Boneclaw Mother said to him so far has caught him unprepared).

    The hyena warriors are no chumps, of course. And we’re all rooting for them, of course.

    But the veiled, and Jhalm particularly, are no chumps.

    And either way, I strongly doubt this will come to a savage battle of attrition – from what I’ve seen of Ursula’s story-telling style so far, there’s likely some satisfyingly-dovetailing maneuver that’s going to cinch this scene (or the tension will hold until digger/someone else intervenes and stops both parties – which amounts to the same thing).

    And I’m STILL very curious to see what happens next. Go Ursula for the awesome story and fantastic characters on all sides.

  27. Sebastian says:

    What Mani said. Remember Guys, Jhalm is not the bad guy here, he is just wrong in his assumptions and in his conclusions, but even if he is more than a little stubborn there is not real malice in him..

  28. Hebi R. says:

    See, they have swords, but she has a hostage. I suspect she may soon have trolls as well, alongside the world’s toughest shrew. Possibly a hag. I get that Shadow Child was too much of a Game Breaker to stick around, but it would have been pretty useful right about now. And best of all, we know that Jhelm is already too late. Even if he made it with his troops down the hole /now/, he’d need a guide, and the skin lizards wouls probably not volunteer. After all, I doubt Jhelm know a better purple. And even if they did, well, they’d probably show up just in time to distract the cold ones from Digger and Ed’s day-saving.

  29. wicketbird says:

    ” probably have said something sarcasticly true to Murai.” Bargamer – Actually, I don’t think she would have…she can be surprisingly gentle sometimes, and she would certainly be able to tell that Murai is a very special person. Now, Jhalm, yup, hobnail bootprints all over his backside!

  30. Meteorfire says:

    “But if you haven’t noticed, I have one paw not holding onto you, and I may be old, but I have a darn good arm and excellent aim for a blind hyena. Also? We have trolls.”

    I swear, if the trolls come into play, I will die from laughter. I also have a feeling Murai is up to no good while Jhalm is distracted and eyeballing the hyena corps.

  31. Maureen says:

    “Also, we have a custom of marriage that you’ve just fulfilled. Pucker up, sweetie!”

    Well, it worked on the Doctor in that Aztec episode….

  32. Rhio2k says:

    …is Jhalm so dumb and full of himself that he can’t see he’s waltzing right into a potential hostage situation?

  33. Sam says:

    I have a feeling this is not going to end up where many people are hoping…

  34. Cassi says:

    Oh good heavens, somebody else who knows about Miles Vorkosigan. My heart, it flutters.

    That being said, Miles ain’t got nothin’ on Boneclaw Mother. ;D

  35. Gravedigger says:

    @Hawk: I don’t think they like Jhalm enough to eat his liver for diner.

  36. Jenora Feuer says:

    You’re right, but it’s not necessarily going to come down to a fight. Boneclaw Mother presumably was told that they only need to delay Jhalm, and she’s smart enough to know that starting an all-out war with the Veiled is something the hyenas can only lose in the long term. Keeping the Veiled off-balance and unsure accomplishes the delay while still leaving both sides a way out with honor somewhat intact…

  37. Bramble says:

    @TekServer – We know that they have magical swords, but we don’t know if the magic is anything that would give them an edge against the hyenas. The main thing we know about the Veiled’s swords is that they can cut demonstuff – highly useful against something that is/can be incorporeal at will, but perhaps not of any particular added value against people you can already hit with a sword.

    I would tentatively say that the hyenas have a slight upper hand here – Boneclaw Mother seems to be leading Jhalm away from his troops and right into the middle of her warriors, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are a good many more hyenas within shouting distance than Jhalm can see. On the other hand, what the Veiled really want to do is go after Digger, and the hyenas are not actually in the way of that – if Jhalm decides that his best option is to go around Murai or to capture her, his men could be into the temple and down the hole before the hyenas could significantly slow them down, and it would take a relatively small number of veiled to hold the temple door.

  38. Mani says:

    I agree – I don’t think it will come down to a fight. Part of why I’m really looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

    (I’m not sure how much of Digger’s quest Boneclaw Mother is aware of, and therefore whether or not Boneclaw Mother would know that they need to delay, not defeat, Jhalm – I guess it depends on how much/if Grim Eyes told her.)

  39. chlorokinetic says:

    After two days or so of massive archive binging, I come upon the most recent page.

    I am SO ready. *dance dance*

  40. poppiesnroses says:

    Well, the point of the hyenas is not to destroy Jhalm’s forces, but to delay them long enough that Digger can do her job.

    Also, isn’t Surka and her ogre friends around? They might be able to add in the hyenas’ favor.

  41. poppiesnroses says:

    Trolls! Not ogres! My bad.

  42. Jeremyhfht says:

    Um, I hate to be a stickler here, but swords ARE NOT better than spears! Spears were always used on the front lines in every civilization as the first offense. You can throw a spear, have longer reach with a spear, and generally have more attack power with a spear. Swords only came into play once a spear BROKE, examples in Roman, Greek, Japanese, and Chinese history. That is to say, 18 well trained spear men could slaughter 30 well trained swordsmen.

    I mean, honestly, ever try to mimic a fight with a sword (JUST a sword) versus a pole arm? I have using foam weapons. It’s impossible if the person knows what he’s doing.

  43. BunnyRock says:

    @TekServer: In this universe you’re citing magic as an advantage? For all we know it corrodes steal. Unless said magic gives those swords longer reach than spears, I’m backing the bigger, nastier people in a tight block of spearmen. I’d advise them not to go Thermopoli on the Veiled, because I want to see some survivors from either side, but if they have to, I feel they will.


  44. BunnyRock says:

    … sorry, that last line kind of slipped out.

  45. The Procrastinator says:

    “My goodness, is this my pickaxe in your skull? And is this your pickaxe in my belly?”

    [Apologises for probable misquote, but has no intention of archive-trawling to find and check it.]

  46. Ellemerr says:

    You were very close! It’s “Goodness, is that my pickaxe in your gut? And is this your pickaxe in my eye?”

    No, I did not trawl for this, nor do I have an amazing memory (quite contrariwise, really), it’s just I’ve stashed all the best quotes in a searchable document for safekeeping.
    What do you mean, ‘crazy fangirl’? I’m not crazy!
    I’m bat-hack insane.
    *shifty eyes*

  47. WJS says:

    Jeremyhfht: I wouldn’t be so sure of that. If you have a sword (and just a sword), you also have a free hand, something you can’t say of the spear. If you can get control of the head with that free hand, then a spear is just a length of wood. A sword, even in one hand, is still a sword. Add the veiled’s 2:1 numerical advantage and I think I know where my money would be. Remember that if you throw a spear, all you have left is your claws, which is even worse against a swordsman than a spear. Spears are great weapons, especially against a charge, but once in melee, drop it and draw your sword.