Saturday, 11 June 2016
More Than Gold
Moral leadership: a queue of people at a bus stop witness an act of cruelty to a child or animal across a busy street as their bus approaches. They hesitate to miss their bus, cross the street in the traffic and confront the perpetrator. One of them steps forward. A few follow the one. More follow the few. The rest follow the more. The single perp is outnumbered and surrounded. The one gave a lead and took several risks, the main risk being that no one would follow his lead. He had no power to rule that others go into danger while he remained safe.
Political leadership: someone who organizes a demonstration outside a legislative assembly gives a lead. Social leaders are not just those who sit in the assembly.
In the viking era, Anderson's character, Hadding, had to join a fleet and give a lead in order to gain the support that would win him his Kingship. At that time, even someone who had merely inherited the kingdom had to give a lead in order to keep it against other claimants and contenders. When Hadding and a small group of his followers have lost a battle and have become fugitives in the wilderness, he displays qualities of leadership that many Kings would have lacked. He heartens each man, addressing him by name, then teaches them wilderness survival skills, doing much of the work himself, setting an example but also instructing and inspiring the others:
"'By Ull the Hunter,' swore Eyolf, 'here's a lord with more than gold to give his men!'"
-Poul Anderson, War Of The Gods (Tor Books, New York, 1999), p. 128.
More than (plundered) gold! Exactly.