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Discipline Essay: The Difference Between a Jarl and a Master

October 21st, 2005

WritingAssignmentIconThe purpose of this essay is to discuss the differences between a jarl and a master, teaching me how divergent they are and why I should be more careful when addressing each respectively. To do this, I had to first research both titles to see what they mean specifically, how and when they are applied, and where the opposing factors lie. While the main difference between a jarl and a master is location, there is much other distinct diversity as well, such as customs and beliefs. I will point out some of the anomalies I have found in the following paragraphs of this essay.

“Jarl”, loosely translated, is a title for a leader of warriors or an independent land owner of the male persuasion. They reside in Torvaldsland and are usually farmers but are also known to pillage and plunder, sometimes by way of sea, very much like the Vikings of Earth. They are rarely seen without a weapon, even if it is just a knife carried in their belt.

“Master”, on the other hand, is usually used loosely to address any free man south of Torvaldsland either by a slave or a person of lower caste than the man to whom they speak. Generally speaking, a master can be anyone. Any free man, regardless of caste or creed or color can own a slave and thus be regarded as a master.

All slaves refer to a free man of the northern land, known as Torvaldsland, as “jarl”. Jarls, because of their vicious upbringing, are known to be harder than most southern masters, on slaves and free alike. Because of location, farming, while the main way of life, is difficult
and often does not provide enough to survive by. This turns the men to the sea, acting much like pirates or Vikings, fighting their way to the top, and making their own access to what they need in order to survive. Young boys of Torvaldsland are taught to be tough, fierce warriors in harsh games, learning to swim, run, wield a sword and axe, throw a spear and stand against steel completely unnerved, even when wounded.

Legend holds that the men of Torvaldsland are “giants of men”, having long blonde hair, usually kept in a braid, and beards. They are usually clothed in cloaks and clothing made of leather and fur and quite often are seen wearing large belts to carry their weapons. One such belt, known as the master belt, is a large belt buckled around the waist, strong enough to carry a large war axe, or discipline a bond-maid (what the men of Torvaldsland call their slaves).

On the other hand, southern Gorean males usually dress in tunics and pants. The tunics they wear are most often the color of the caste to which the person wearing it belongs. Whereas the average Gorean male usually stands anywhere from five and one half to six feet tall, much like the men of Earth, men of Torvaldsland are known to reach heights more than seven feet tall. Southern males have varying hair colors and skin tones, and, while resembling, at times, men of Earth, often do not generally appear like any one race or creed.

Another key difference between men of Torvaldsland and southern men is who and/or what they worship in terms of theology. Also very much like the Vikings of Earth, men of Torvaldsland believe in and worship the Norse god Odin, god of war and death and also of poetry and wisdom, and Odin’s son, the Norse god Thor, god of thunder, both of which surely add to the warlike nature of the people of Torvaldsland.

Southern free men, on the other hand, blindly believe in and worship the ways of Priest Kings, using men called initiates as ‘priests’ of sorts. Initiates have a caste all their own and are considered of high caste. They often elect a high initiate in each city and believe in the initiates’ supposed ‘communication’ with the Priest Kings. The Priest Kings, unknown to most men, are, in actuality, what we on Earth would see as aliens who cannot live above ground and have learned many forms of technology that men of Earth have not yet discovered, such as gravity alteration. Priest Kings also prohibit modern forms of equipment that men of Earth have come across or invented, namely guns and explosives, to protect the Gorean  people and themselves from the dangerous nature of the items which may or may not be fatal.

In a southern Gorean city, the person overseeing the city’s Council of the High Caste, or government, for all intents and purposes, is called the Administrator. In the event that there is trouble in a city, such as war or a threat to the city’s Home Stone, an Ubar, or War Chieftain, takes to the throne, so to speak, until the time of trouble has passed. Usually the Ubar would dethrone himself, but in some cases, they choose to remain until they are removed. If their men stand by them, removing them can be a difficult task. If they do not, however, they are stripped of their regalia, dragged from their chambers, and publicly impaled, along with the rest of their family.

On the other hand, there is a “High Jarl” in Torvaldsland. This man is always regarded by his followers as the most powerful among them, as ,en of Torvaldsland will not bow to the will of any other but the most powerful.

In closing, I realize that there are a lot of differences between a jarl from the northern land of Torvaldsland, and a master from the southern cities of Gor. It is more than just a title. It is a location, a person’s identity, and a way of life. Mistaking one for the other is, in essence, changing the identity of the one I’m talking to. I’ve  learned much from my research, all of which I found very interesting and I’m  grateful that the time was taken to show me why I was wrong.

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