The Concept of Hospitality
Many many years ago, a friend of mine told me about a movie he saw called “The Beast Of War“. In the movie, a Russian soldier is abandoned by his commander in the middle of the Afghan desert, left to die. He is later found by Afghan soldiers who were about to stone him to death when he remembered the word ‘Nanawatai’, which is a plea for mercy that even an enemy must honor. The soldiers that found him honored this plea; fed him, protected him.
Fascinated by this concept, I researched it and found similar tales in Scottish, Greek, Norse, and many other cultures around the world. This concept of being honor-bound to protect the weak, the feeble, or even the wicked from harm struck a cord with me. Surely, someone such as the Knight would have his own code of honor. He would not need a word or a specifically pledged plea to offer his protection either. The only thing he requires is the truth.
One such fictional tale of the honor-bound concept of what we now loosely call hospitality fascinated me, but not in the best way. Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia. Personally, Greg Rucka is hit and miss with me. But I felt also that there was something definitely missing in the story. In the story, Wonder Woman has to defend a murderer from justice because she knelt down and plead Hiketia to Diana. Who is after this murderer? Batman, of course.
I never felt Wonder Woman was in any peril other than the 3 fates watching from afar promising something very bad if Wonder Woman doesn’t succeed. But, it’s Wonder Woman, against Batman. The only threat Batman has to Wonder Woman was making the next Justice League meeting somewhat awkward because they oppose eachother in this instance. Batman can’t overpower her, force her to give the murderer up, or even legally compel her (since at this time in WW’s history, she was still a legal diplomat).
In this Majestic Knight story, we see The Knight opposed by Ultra. The Knight is driven by honor and justice; Ultra by the Law and belief in the legal system. Who is right? They both are. At any time, Ultra could pretty much steamroll the Knight and that would be that, and they both know it.