「内乱終結」 (Nairan Shuuketsu)
“Conclusion of the Civil War”

A quiet ending to an explosive conflict, not the most unexpected conclusion for Altair’s civil war. Nothing this week was inherently surprising in terms of characters and nations, but Altair (as usual) has an uncanny habit of digging awkward truths and realistic actions out of otherwise “boring” material. When it comes to matters of national survival, this show leaves no intellectual stone unturned.

As fully expected Mahmut had a free reign to determine the fates of the remaining two sultans and wasted little time in setting matters right. Given the circumstances of rebellion, replacement was the natural course of action, although the need to kill off the sultans is certainly questionable. If you only went along out of fear and coercion, why should you lose your life? The reason of course, as Mahmut correctly identifies, is the future. If you leave your enemy alive you will always be at risk of them coming back for vengeance, whether deliberately or as the (unwilling) figurehead for other parties. Eliminating them nips the problem in the bud, even if potentially introducing other irritating issues. This, however, is where Mahmut’s development comes into play marvellously. If death is such a hassle, just treat it figuratively to reap all the benefits without any of the risks. Where before Mahmut would have fought tooth and nail to prevent Fatma’s execution (because naïve idealism), now he understands its necessity while still possessing the imagination required to formulate a compromise solution. As I’ve said before, this kid is a monster in the making.

What particularly makes Mahmut’s evolution so pronounced though is how he now applies his understanding to himself. He may still be a pacifist at heart, but he realizes (with a little prodding from Ismail) that not all situations can be resolved peacefully. At some point lives will have to be spent, and all you can do then is ensure they are spent for the right reasons. This lesson is the most critical of them all for any would-be ruler because it forces them to consider cause and effect. Force of arms may overwhelm the opponent for example, but it does not engender the love or loyalty of your subordinates if used liberally at every opportunity for no real reason. As with all things violence is best used in moderation, a prominent threat used to coerce desired action rather than wantonly cause destruction. Zaganos understands this subtlety, and Mahmut by realizing it too can finally understand where his fellow pasha is coming from. Much like Zaganos’ spying and subterfuge, Mahmut hopes to keep the peace through economic means, but now realizes if the plan fails then military power (as occurred with Balaban) must be used. The only thing stopping Mahmut from succeeding is his own abilities.

With a civil war over, a neighbouring empire making ready to strike, and our pint sized pasha up a few friends, I’d say we are ready for Altair’s next big battle: economics. It may not be as bloody or frantic as previously witnessed, but never underestimate the power of money. In the world of geopolitics, the only thing stronger than force of arms is the weight of one’s pocketbook.




  1. As a boy who lost his own beloved mother, I wonder if Mahmut saw a silver of himself in little Kemal.

    Thanks for the reviews, Pancakes. It’s a wonder that you’ve been able to crank them out so quickly.

    1. Thanks for liking them! I’m always happy when you guys find something useful in my ramblings 🙂

      And I’ll say I’ve gotten good at fitting these reviews in with everything else. Might also help I have a lax school schedule this year, but I don’t want to jinx that for next year lol.

  2. Paradoxically, Altair’s been a slow burn due to it’s extremely rushed pacing. Now that it’s built up the characters and world more it finally feels like its coming into its own as a good show.

    Dr. Hochmeister
    1. It really has, it was a rushed beginning, but now we have a basis for the real conflict and seeing how the enlightened Mahmut performs. I think in this case considering how well the writing is working the rushing is forgivable.

  3. 25% success rate in preventing blood relatives from directly killing each other. Not bad considering the circumstances. The first was accidental, the next inevitable and the last was something Mahmut should’ve foreseen.

    This episode also shows some intriguing examples of succession. I knew he had to do something to save Fatma’s life after seeing the reaction of her son. Certainly didn’t expect him to actually rig the poison. It makes sense though as it means she has actually gone through her sentence. Solves a lot of problems considering the sultanates circumstances.

    The other succession that got me thinking was these two:
    What was the point in not letting his sons know each other. It might prevent them from colluding to overthrow their father, but it also prevents them in making factions that support him. There is also no need to prevent fratricide, as there has been no proof of that happening when one son comes to power in the other sultanates.


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