I’m now reading the fourth volume of Slayers: “The Battle of Saillune.” If memory serves me right, the original three seasons skipped over this story arc. The novel concerns a palace intrigue to slay Prince Philionel in order to stage a coup d’état. Lina, Gourry, and Sylphiel sneak into the city of Saillune in order to render assistance to the royal family. From what I’ve read of the volume thus far, it promises to be a fun read.
At any rate, I highly encourage fans of the anime to pick up the light novels. (Volumes 1-8 have been published by Tokyopop in English.) Besides giving some stories not included in the anime series, they also give you an intimate experience of what’s going on in Lina’s head, since the novels are told as a first person narrative. There are also highly amusing exchanges like this between Lina and Gourry (my translation):
“…the current situation’s as I said. Do you understand?”
“No, I don’t well understand it.”
“Waaaah! Calm down! Lina! It’s a joke! This time’s a joke! I understand the situation! I understand it well; I beg you! Don’t be violent!”
I somehow got my breathing under control.
Gourry and Lina make for two of the most enjoyable pairs to observe in anime. (The exclamation in line three is transliterated exactly, by the way.) Before I rattle on more about how amusing Slayers is, let me turn to the post’s theme of rebellion. The case of revolt in the novel concerns aristocrats vying for power against each other, and the current ruler, Prince Philionel, obviously has justice on his side.
When it comes to the question of rebellion, Church doctrine and action usually favor the government. (For example, Catholics in Syria support Assad’s regime over a coup d’etat.) The two causes which can justify rebellion are 1) suppression of the Faith and 2) living in a state of chaos/lawlessness due to misrule. Naturally, rebellion must meet the standards of just war theory. The revolutionaries are also ideally guided by men of authority (government officials or aristocrats): few forces are crueler and more violent than an uncontrolled mob.
As for the Church supporting a rebellion, there is the famous case of Elizabethan England. On Queen Mary I’s death in 1558, Elizabeth assumed the throne over the other serious claimant, Mary, Queen of Scots. Following in the footsteps of her father, Henry VIII, Elizabeth began a Kulturkampf against Catholics by purging them from places of influence and authority and fining all dissidents from the Church of England. This led to the “Rising of the North” in 1569, pitting the Catholic supporters of Queen Mary of Scotland against the Protestant adherents of Queen Elizabeth. The revolt failed in January of 1570. In the next month, Pope Pius V proclaimed the bull Regnans in Excelsis, which released British citizens from allegiance to Queen Elizabeth. Essentially, the Church justified rebellion because of Elizabeth being illegitimate (Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s marriage was not recognized by the Church) and because of her suppression of the Catholic Faith.
In comparison, the causes of the American Revolution might appear weak in comparison. People jest that a 3% tax rate caused Americans to revolt in the eighteen century, while many Americans now willingly pay 33% of their income in taxes. But, there were even more grievous offenses than taxation without representation: like inciting American Indians against the colonists and threats of causing a slave revolt in the southern colonies. (All these grievances and others can be found in the Declaration of Independence.) The British government’s program of disarming the colonists was the final straw and led to the shot heard around the world at Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775. Despite military aggression, Americans hesitated for more than a year before declaring independence on July 4, 1776.
Still, many will argue that the American Revolution bears neither the marks of religious suppression or lawlessness. (No where near the level reached in Syria, for example!) One will even find American monarchists (rarae aves indeed!) who argue that there was not enough justification for rebellion. But, many acts of Britain’s government crossed the line for the colonists, who felt deprived of their rights as Englishmen. I myself believe that my patriotic Catholic ancestor made the right choice in fighting for independence.
What is our dear readers’ opinion on the justice of the American Revolution? What about just grounds for rebellion in general?