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Arslan Senki – 23

「聖マヌエル城の攻防」 (Hijiri Manueru-jou no Koubou)
“The Battle for the Keep of Saint Emmanuel”

Named characters are going up against named characters, and not all of them are going to survive.

Xandes

It’s hard not to compare Xandes to Kharlan, what with them being son and father. Kharlan was a much better character, and a more formidable enemy. No, that’s not fair—a more formidable enemy, certainly. But Xandes is nothing if not consistent in being a bit of an idiot who’s far too gung-ho for his own good (and who doesn’t think ahead). It’s a measure of how thin Hermes’ support really is that he has to depend on someone like Xandes, when Arslan’s side has people like Kubard coming in out of nowhere to help. Xandes is most closely mirrored on Arslan’s side by the san baka commanders that Jaswant and Gieve quarreled with. If Hermes had a stronger pool of allies, I’m sure he’d relegate Xandes to a minor commander, not the man in charge of his cavalry. Which didn’t end up working out well for Hermes.

I don’t really feel Hermes’ touch in this battle. Everything has been very standard, with the only real mistake being Xandes’ charge on the fake Parsian camp. Hell, Saam has had more an impact, with how he showed his face to screw with Pars’ morale and intercepted Kishward. I could only think, when Daryun and Xandes faced off, and Xandes lost (no surprise), that Daryun may have done Hermes a favor. Provided Hermes survives long enough to come back from it. And provided the shadow people didn’t save Xandes’ life, instead of just disappearing the body. If he’s still alive, I’ma be pissed.

Saam

On the other hand, there was Saam. Like I said, he seemed to have a much bigger effect on the battle, being the instrument that Hermes acted through (or perhaps he did it all on his own). But: “He deserves to at least have me by his side.” Isn’t that weak reasoning to side with a man who has brought invaders into your home land, and who you’re just hoping will get less rage-filled and revenge-obsessed as time goes on? In this, at least, even Xandes has a better reason for what he’s doing, and Kharlan was (once again) better still. I like Saam a lot. Him being on Hermes’ side feels like one of the only things keeping the whole thing sporting. But for that to basically be his reason for doing so is weak.

Étoile

A few tips, Étoile. (1) Don’t try to convert people to your religion mid-battle. It’s rude, and liable to get you killed. (2) Don’t get surprised when you kill people in battle. Though that’s understandable if it’s your first time doing it, I just thought you’d popped your killin’ cherry before this. (3) You’re lucky to be alive after those Parsian knights messed you up, then kept riding instead of finishing you off. Maybe treasure that life more?

Either way, it had to happen: She found out that boy she kept bumping into is Arslan. I’ll be interested to see how this all shakes down, because someone as firm in their (hyper-zealous) beliefs as Étoile is doesn’t usually change their mind real quick. Either way, I think we all had the same reaction at the end there: Back the fuck up, Arslan! Even if you know that one soldier, and don’t think he (“he” as far as Arslan knows) will instantly gut you like a fish, you don’t know the jackass right next to him. Though Arslan still has armor and a sword, so hopefully he’s ready to dodge fast if his hearts-and-minds offensive backfires.

Looking Ahead – The Decisive Battle

I feel like we spent so much time in the wilderness with these characters, whereas the actual war portions are oddly lacking. When I find myself looking back with some fondness on Madan no Ou to Vanadis—which was hyper rushed, but at least featured more than three major big-army battles (Atropatene, Ecbatana, and Saint Emmanuel)—that’s not the best of signs for a series that seemed like there were going to be so many. Oh, and there were all those Sindhuran battes, which were pretty cool. But come on, man! I wanted more out of the final battles against Lusitania!

Ah well. Only two more episodes, so I guess they’re trying to give us some actual resolution by the end, which I do appreciate. Though I kinda wish they hadn’t shown the episode preview this time. It’s not like I expect Arslan to get killed by Étoile, but now we know they’ll be getting inside. The only question remaining: How? Also, what happened to Kishward, what happens with Étoile, and what happens next. So there are a lot of questions left. Shut uuuupp!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Hermes might have numbers, but Arslan has quality people all across the battlefield. Hermes has Saam & Xandes. Well, had Xandes #arslan 23

Random thoughts:

  • Barcacion keeps trying to protect Étoile. I know he was a friend of Étoile’s grandfather, but I got the feeling that Étoile might be some kind of noble after all. It’s believable, since some commoner probably wouldn’t be friends with the former Chief Royal Librarian. There’s still a chance! (Shippiiiiiing!)

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: True Ends, Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals, What are your two skills?, and Passing the Bechdel Test.

 

Preview

End Card

September 13, 2015 at 8:36 pm
57 comments »
  • September 13, 2015 at 9:02 pmewok40k

    Even if the series resolves the battle with Hermes (who is quite likely to evacuate in moment of failed triumph, and get a satisfaction of destroying large portion of Lusitanian forces at least) , it will leave us with Lusitanians still in control of Ecbatana and yet another unfinished anime story we will salivate for “one more season, dammit!”

    • September 14, 2015 at 4:40 amJoão Carlos

      Well, the light novels are near the end of the story, while the manga is currently behind teh anime. So I think we will see a second season of the anime, because the producers have a lot of material for a continuation.

      • September 15, 2015 at 9:13 pmIrenesharda

        Considering how long they are, those things are huge tomes! They’re novels alright, but they aren’t light novels.

      • September 20, 2015 at 3:57 amKinai

        I am not so sure about a second (third?) season, because they (Spoiler) changed a lot of the story to have a proper ending.

        Of course the REAL end of the first part of the books, will need at least another 26 episodes, perhaps more.

  • September 13, 2015 at 9:07 pmlivevoid

    Looks like Xandes is blasting off againnnnn! (But seriously, die already.)

  • September 13, 2015 at 9:36 pmRaiu

    > Back the fuck up, Arslan!

    Same, man. I have the same reaction. If Arslan gets himself injured because of this, he deserves it. The writing was going well until that moment of foolishness on Arslan’s part. Before the panning, 2 Lusitania soldiers were flanking Etoile.

    On Etoile, I think she is of noble ascendency based on how her ward was so worried about her wellbeing and foreshadowing her status.

    • September 13, 2015 at 10:17 pmStilts

      Yeah, I mean, I get what they were going for. Giving him a fearless and kind moment, where he’s willing to approach Étoile as an equal. It’s just that it was too close. If she had maybe started to raise her sword, and he held out his hands and stopped (sort of a I’m-approaching-a-dangerous-lion,-reassure-it-I-don’t-want-to-hurt-it feeling), then it would have looked both fearless and prudent. Without that, it definitely had a foolhardy note to it.

      • September 14, 2015 at 7:24 amRyan Ashfyre

        In all fairness to Arslan, he’s kinda always been like that. Let’s not forget that this is the same kid to marched into a bloody warzone when he was only fourteen (or even younger than that, was it?) and has very nearly gotten himself killed several times over by now.

        Now, to be sure, I’m not saying that this was a smart move by any means, but at the same time I would try to see things from Arslan’s POV. He’s never liked seeing others putting themselves in danger for him, regardless of the reason. So when it comes to something like this and someone that he obviously knows (well… half-knows, I guess would be more appropriate atm), it’s not that hard to realize why he would try to take the initiative.

      • September 15, 2015 at 12:28 pmStilts

        I like how I got all of you defending the show this time. Normally I’m the one who has to defend my shows whenever one of ‘em goes slightly sideways, lol

      • September 20, 2015 at 3:58 amKinai

        Well, that’s funny because he is so near that Etoile would be have a hard time to make a proper swing with her sword. Now, the other Lusitanian soldiers…

  • September 13, 2015 at 9:40 pmRedRocket

    Hum the ground mage wants more blood. First thing that came to mind was Full Metal Alchemist where keeping continuous wars going was feeding a major bad spell. Doubt this one end the world level but still not a good thing.

  • September 13, 2015 at 9:44 pmRedRocket

    Etoile has been a commander and gets one on one time with the commander fairly sure that qualifies for knight status at least so noble enough to make the minimum. But her father will have to be a bigger fish to marry without political problems.

    Maybe a bad ending drama wise but when a recent anime ended with the good Princess marrying someone she did not love for political reasons instead of the man she loved I was very pleased.

  • September 13, 2015 at 9:45 pmRedRocket

    Forgot to add Princess was making her self Empress at the time so it was her option to take.

  • September 13, 2015 at 9:47 pmdanes256

    i’ve got to say that etoille trying to convert his enemy mid-battle is one of the most naive thing i’ve ever seen on anime

  • September 13, 2015 at 9:49 pmzrnzle500

    Etoile is finding out threatening to kill someone if they don’t convert is only effective on weaponless commoners not soldiers. But how much faith do you have in the persuasiveness of your beliefs if you have to threaten them to convert? She fails to understand why the Pars soldiers won’t convert to end the fighting since she doesn’t ask herself what she would do if the shoe was on the other foot. She would certainly have a similar response to the Pars soldiers specifically “F— you. I’m not going to convert”. If someone came to Lusitania, said the land and everything in it was theirs and that they had to convert or die, I imagine they would not take a liking to them. The Lusitanian are kinda a–holes, claiming everything is theirs and their owners are the plunderers and telling them every is equal except the infidels who must die. At least the Pars people won’t ask them to convert, just to stop murdering people who don’t share their religion.

    • September 13, 2015 at 10:27 pmStilts

      But of course, that’s all from a modern perspective. I’ve just gotten into Hardcore History (an AMAZING podcast, by the way), and host Dan Carlin is really good at illustrating how different people thought in different time periods. (I’ll reference that in a sec.)

      You’re absolutely correct that Étoile lacks empathy, but what looks idiotic to us is, within her own culture, not only completely logical, but utterly obvious and beyond reproach. To even think to emphasize with heathens—with these savages who are LESS THAN HUMAN (I’m writing this in Dan Carlin’s voice now)—would by like us empathizing with zombies. Sure, they look human to us, but in truth they’re nothing but beasts. To save them (through conversion) is the height of kindness on Étoile’s part. No matter that she wouldn’t do the same in their shoes, no matter that her methods of persuasion are ineffective, no matter that the weaponless peasants who claim to convert are likely lying in their hearts. It doesn’t matter. The beasts should either fall in line, or they can be killed without remorse.

      Honestly, the most surprising thing is that Étoile seems to have some compunction about killing heathens, because from the things she’s saying (and the culture she was likely raised in), that would be like sympathizing with monsters. I guess Arslan has rubbed off on her a bit.

      Edit: You know, I’m not sure where my point was in this rambling response. I guess what I’m trying to say is: Hardcore History is awesome. I really need to stop listening to that late at night. It makes it hard to think about anything else.

      • September 14, 2015 at 12:09 amkarice

        I mostly lurk, but I just wanted to say: agreed on Hardcore History! I started listening to it late last year to get more context for a certain genre of anime, and half lament the time sink that I’ve gotten myself into. The only thing I’d wish for is that the episodes weren’t something like 3-4 hours long but were somehow packaged into shorter pieces that came a bit more frequently…

        I’m still mixed on Arslan, personally. Whilst I love the politics — and really appreciate your posts, which help me pick up on some things I’ve missed — I find the execution wanting. I’d rather they show more and tell less – for example, I found that scene with Farangis and Alfarid far too pointed. That said, perhaps the show’s target audience warrants its themes and messages being made so explicit.

        p.s. And just a heads-up – I think you might have made one too many edits and perhaps missed a grammatical issue here…?

        But Xandes is nothing is not consistent in being a bit of an idiot

      • September 14, 2015 at 2:14 amMistic

        I think the point is that Étoile’s position is fair for the setting. Trying to convince heathens to surrender peacefully and convert? She was going far beyond the call of duty to save not only their bodies, but their souls.

        From her point of view, of course.

      • September 14, 2015 at 2:27 amMistic

        On the other hand, that argument applies to Sam too. Bloodright is bloodright. I mean, the poor guy is famous for being very loyal. He just found out that he had served the wrong (as in “liar, murderer, usurper”) king for years. It’s not a matter of it being good for the country or not. It’s a matter of legitimacy.

        After all, Arslan’s side hasn’t answered the difficult question here: what would happen if they free Andragoras?

      • September 14, 2015 at 9:07 amRedRocket

        Very good point. Despite the efforts infecting Wickpedia and the no longer credible History Channel site to claim white Christians never thought marrying 12 year olds was ok, well at least for the commoners, this is fiction. A attempt to claim that what Muslims and some third world areas still do whites never did. I have a Puzzler Prize winning Peter the Great book by famous historian Robert K Massie who goes into detail how for commoners in Europe the age was 12, legal in England till 1885,in part because any latter females could not produce the 16 children on average needed for the population not to shrink with a 75% morality rate in children. And I have read many well researched works that support that in the past. THIS NOT IMPLYING WE SHOULD RETURN TO THAT.
        Modern concepts did exist in some best shown in Romeo and Juliet when Juliet mother is upset with her almost 14 year old daughter because she had been married and had her first child at 12. But Juliet’s wealthy father wanted Juliet to wait several years more to get married so she could remain a child longer.
        I have no idea how parents back then survived burying 3 out of 4 children. Peter the Great had 12 and two lived with second wife, the Sun King had 16 and 4 lived. (not counting bastards)

      • September 15, 2015 at 12:34 pmStilts

        @ karice

        Thanks for the catch there. Fixed it.

        As for Hardcore History, while I still have plenty of backlog to dive into and so am not hurting for content, I have a different take on the speed thing. Simply put, I doubt it’s possible for them to come out any faster and keep the same quality.

        It’s like asking a novelist to write faster—sure, to a point they can, but it’s going to likely be the difference between getting a book every 10 months as opposed to every year. And that’s not nothing! If you can do that and keep the same quality (entirely possible), then it’s worth working toward; he’ll, it’s something I’m trying to get better on myself.

        But content is SO MUCH AMAZINGLY HARDER to produce than it is to consume. For the really good stuff—the stuff that endures, reshapes people’s lives and perceptions, or is just flat-out entertaining and a thoughtfully constructed way—it’s better to wait.

        Plus, if they were to come out any more frequently, it’d probably because they’d record something like four one-hour segments all at once and dribble them out. They could do that, but it seems better for the listener to just get ‘em all out at once and give us as much of the tale as they can, right? Within reason.

  • September 13, 2015 at 10:19 pmzztop

    Today’s endcard is by newbie mangaka Nieki Zui, creator of She’s a Rokurokubi* (Kanojo wa Rokurokubi). This slice-of-life themed manga revolves around the daily life of schoolgirl Natsuki, the titular Rokurokubi, and her crush on her next-door neighbour, Itsuki.

    *A Rokurokubi’s a mythological Japanese humanoid monster, that can stretch out its neck across great distances. Usually depicted as a very long-necked woman.

  • September 13, 2015 at 10:51 pmZhinvu

    While I also thought Arslan walking towards his attackers is a reckless move, we can assume he got out of that situation since the previews show Arslan leading his army and meeting Hermes face to face. Considering how stubborn Etoile is too I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Arslan to settle things. Either he convinced Etoile to stop and let her go, or she may become a prisoner.

  • September 14, 2015 at 12:14 amRedRocket

    Oh if you have time to build towers you have time to build a wood roof for the ram. The naked ram was only used when you were rushing a location quickly and did not have the time to build the movable roof to protect them.

    • September 14, 2015 at 11:19 amStilts

      I did notice that. That felt lazy. On the anime studio’s part if that wasn’t in the source.

      • September 14, 2015 at 10:08 pmRedRocket

        Now that I know they not following the books on this battle unlike earlier yep lazy.

  • September 14, 2015 at 2:05 amGinobi47

  • September 14, 2015 at 2:22 amMistic

    I liked that, for once, we are seeing an even match. Maybe it’s because it’s a usual siege, so there isn’t much room for Narsus’ ploys.

    Both sides had wins and loses. Sam demoralizes Arslan’s vanguard and stops the infiltration. Xander is an idiot and gets his cavalry killed thanks to Narsus’ plot. But the plot isn’t good enough, because Étoile leads a group of Lusitanian soldiers to their fron door.

  • September 14, 2015 at 3:51 amricz

    I’ve been wondering… is the LN/Manga for this one is already complete? if yes will it possible for the anime to cover it till the end?

    • September 14, 2015 at 5:46 amHanabira.Kage

      It’s a normal novel (not a LN), and it’s still ongoing. It’s basically bloody long, having been ongoing for over a decade, and I’m not sure where it currently is but I think this battle has already been concluded.

    • September 14, 2015 at 11:17 amStilts

      Reminder: This is adapting the MANGA, not the novels. I don’t know where the manga is, but since the story it’s being adapted off of is so much longer, it’s safe to bet the manga doesn’t end in the equivalent of two anime episodes either.

      • September 15, 2015 at 7:47 amNot-Stilts (Mechanon)

        It’s not adapting the manga anymore, though; they passed it back in episode 11, the manga is still on volume 2 stuff from the novels and right now the anime’s in volume 4. Plus, the stuff that the manga has gotten to since the anime passed it is actually playing out a good bit differently than the anime. We may still be using Arakawa’s designs, but it’s been full novel for a while now.

        Stilts edit: Fixed the name for ya ^^

      • September 15, 2015 at 7:50 amMechanon

        Just as a follow-up, this is the guy that replied to Stilts but put ‘Stilts’ as his name… I must have been having a huge brainfart because I just put Stilts in the name field without even realizing it, lol. Sorry about that.

      • September 15, 2015 at 12:37 pmStilts

        @ Mechanon

        Ahhhh, okay. Good to know. Definitely a mix of the two now, then. Thanks for the heads up!

    • September 14, 2015 at 2:39 pmZoelius

      The novel has two story arcs. Once the first story ends, there will a time skip and the second story starts. As of the moment the second story arc is still ongoing. So a good way of adapting the novels, is to end it at the first story arc.

    • September 15, 2015 at 3:17 amSaburau

      There isn’t any LN version, mainly because there was no such thing as “light novel” back in the days when this story was originally written. There is chapter 1, and chapter 2. Chapter 2 had stopped for like 20 years, and then it came back and now it’s ongoing again, at least officially.
      Chapter 1 is about Arslan becoming a king and we are getting anime version of this part here. And chapter 2 is about things after that.
      We are getting closer to the end of chapter 1 although the storyline of this ending part is a lot different from the novel. I don’t know if the manga version has covered the 1st chapter thoroughly, but probably not yet.

  • September 14, 2015 at 6:09 amIrenesharda

    And provided the shadow people didn’t save Xandes’ life, instead of just disappearing the body. If he’s still alive, I’ma be pissed.

    Is there a body? Then he’s not dead.

    • September 14, 2015 at 9:09 amRedRocket

      Yep that the trope. Well maybe undead instead.

      • September 14, 2015 at 5:45 pmquigonkenny

        Wrong show. You’re looking for Chaos Dragon.

  • September 14, 2015 at 7:17 amArchiepiscopus

    Why don’t the earth wizards just attack when it’s bedtime?

    I really want to like Etoile but I just can’t… She’s like a dense harem MC who can’t figure out the obvious even when there are tons of hints. I was really expecting a “What the hell, so you’re Arslan?!” Instead of the cringe-worthy: “Oh it’s you, obviously you’re not the boy prince, hahahahaha so where is he?”

  • September 14, 2015 at 7:28 amWarriorsHeart

    So much idiocy going on in this episode, but Saam’s reasoning to side with Hermes tops it all.

  • September 14, 2015 at 7:48 amdaisy23

    This episode was anime-only and totally strayed from the novels, it makes me worry this is going to have anime original ending.

    In the novels Silvermask and his followers never went to fight there, Silvermask had other things to do and only hears the outcome of this battle when he is on the move to a certain place. In fact, Xandes needs to be alive because he is with Silvermask when they reach that certain place and his actions during that part are important in the novels/OVAs.

    The anime hasn’t focused enough in Lusitania and Guiscard’s problems either.

    I don’t know what they are doing with Kubard, he is not supposed to be near the battle and at this point he should have met 2 characters who haven’t been introduced yet (one is very important plot-wise).

    With Silvermask, Saam and the rest being here when they’re not supposed to, the next episode is looking to be fully anime original too. I wish they keep a certain part of this battle like in the novels, it is a very harsh scene and one of the worst experiences for Arslan.

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:22 amMistic

      So is it going for anime original? Without spoiling too much, can anyone tell me if in the novels the conflict against Hermes and/or Lusitania is still going on? Because that would mean that, yes, the anime studio is going to make their own ending.

      • September 14, 2015 at 8:28 amdaisy23

        The anime is at the 4th novel, and this novel is being badly adapted (up until Gieve’s departure and Silvermask beating Bodin was fine, they skipped Kubard’s chapter and everything about this battle is being changed, there’s 1 and half chapters of novel left to adapt).

        The last book published was the 14th in 2014 and the first part of the series ends in the 7th novel.

      • September 14, 2015 at 9:42 amXRick

        daisy23, couldn’t spoil me a little more about how things should have been going, according to the Novels? In spoiler tags, of course :p
        And about Etoile… What was supposed to be her role until now and what’s her importance to the overall story? As far as you may know, of course.

      • September 21, 2015 at 10:13 amZero Maverick

        So yeah please in spoiler tag, I would also like to know what is Etoile role. Will there further development in her character and her relation with Arslan and Co. (up to the point of romantic interest?), or will she only become one of those character who always have a constant misunderstanding relation with the main protagonist (Arslan and co.).

        Please provide me with spoiler. I have no access to the novel (well I can import them from japan) but then there’s an issue of language barrier.

        Thank you for your understanding to provide me with more spoiler :D

    • September 14, 2015 at 11:38 amdaisy23

      @XRick I recommend to watch the 3rd and 4th OVA episodes of the previous anime, they are 30 minutes each and they cover the 4th novel.
      I am not spoiling Kubard’s chapter or the consequences of this battle in case the anime decides to adapt them in the last episodes.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      P.S I am not sure if this is Funi’s error or the anime changing things, Gieve was never sent to look for someone. He was to go find someTHING. People who watched the previous anime adaptation must know what.

      • September 15, 2015 at 3:19 amXRick

        I understand you’re avoiding giving certain spoilers to the point of recommending to watch the last OVAs…
        The thing is… I’ve been avoiding those like the plague because they’re old now and I don’t like it’s artstyle (No offense but I dislike Amano’s artstyle)…

      • September 15, 2015 at 9:29 pmIrenesharda

        @XRick
        I’ve seen the OVAs, and like daisy23 said, they changed a few things in this version of the Battle of St. Emmanuel, and I have a feeling they won’t do that important consequences part that she mentioned, since in this version, the people that would be doing it, don’t seem to be there. The entire keep seems to be completely military personnel.

        Because of the changes, I’m not exactly sure how they are going to end this. The Battle of St. Emmanuel is somewhere in the 4th OVA, with the 5th and 6th going quite a bit beyond it despite being only half an hour each.

        If they are going to do an anime-only ending then it will have to be a very good one considering all the plot points that are still open that slowly get solved later on. If they are going to stick with at least still have the major plot points of the novels than they will definitely need a second season.

  • September 16, 2015 at 5:22 amLithonite

    OVA’s???.. Time to start bot hunting

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:42 amXRick

      Go to Hi10 Anime, they have the old OVAs there, alongside this current series, and in Hi10 format.

  • September 16, 2015 at 8:04 pmjames

    Hey folks, I don’t watch this show (dropped after a a couple of eps), but what happened to the main character’s mother? I remember her being kept alive after her castle was defeated. Just curious.

    • September 16, 2015 at 8:43 pmStilts

      As far as we know, she’s still alive. Innocentius is crushing on her. It ain’t over yet, though.

  • September 17, 2015 at 1:23 pmmaiku

    if i had my kindle i’ll buy your book, but i got it stolen -.-

    it’s an amazing device, as soon as i get another one i’ll give your novel a shot

    • September 17, 2015 at 6:16 pmStilts

      Thank you! (Though the kindle-getting-stolen thing sucks. Did you hear about the $49 kindle they just announced? I haven’t looked into it too much, but it sounds sweet.)

      I should note that it can be read on a smartphone too, though that’s a bit small for some people. I hope you get a chance to read it later on!

  • September 18, 2015 at 8:01 pmmasselle

    Still think arslan and Etoile should get together but she has to grow up first it’s like their relationship is a reverse fry and Leela from fururama.

  • September 26, 2015 at 8:24 amleatherhead333

    If that guy next Etoile would have immediately tried to stab Arslan I’d for forgive the incompetence of all the Lusitania’s forever. Seriously even if the dude failed I’d appreciate it. These guys not IMMEDIATELY trying to kill the person this war is against is one of the least logical things in this show and THAT’S saying something!