A Song of Ice and Fire: Honor vs. Morality

Ned Stark Game of ThronesWhat is the difference between honor and morality, and is one superior to the other? Before reading A Song of Ice and Fire, I didn’t think there was any real, clear answer to this question—after all, wouldn’t a moral person also be an honorable person? Furthermore, if someone has honor, we make the assumption that their honor must be based on the morality of their character. In other words, the two of them should go hand in hand.

Honor is a major theme within the books, and while a character’s honor may be praised, we can see throughout the course of the series that having honor doesn’t always mean having morals. And in some cases, having honor can be downright selfish or harmful to other people.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Airbenders and Religious Traditions

avatar the rift 1In just a few short weeks, Avatar: The Legend of Korra will air its final episodes online, and the animated Avatar franchise will come to an end. The fourth season of the show was pulled from television a couple of months ago, but still airs every Friday online. Was it the nasty Friday night time slot, a lack of advertising, or just plain uninterested viewers that caused its failing ratings? I don’t know. But fans of Avatar need not fear, because Dark Horse and Nickelodeon have been steadily churning out some excellent graphic novels following the original Gaang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The first comic trilogy, The Promise, shows the Gaang struggling to figure out what to do with Fire Nation Colonies in the Earth Kingdom in the new post-war world. The second, The Search, finally answers the question of what really happened to Zuko’s mom. The final installment of The Rift trilogy came out this past November, and deals with whether or not humans and spirits can really coexist, and Smoke and Shadow is due for release beginning in late 2015.

The Rift raises some interesting questions about how religion can and should adapt and evolve to new times and places, questions that are especially relevant to religious people’s lives today. What’s the value in maintaining ancient religious traditions and practices? How can religious traditions be meaningful in a modern world? Can any changes ever be good?

Spoilers for The Rift under the cut.

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