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Old Jul 17 2007, 12:20 PM   #1
bingley
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Question the death penalty

I've just started The Renegades of Pern, which I haven't read before. Thella, who the blurb describes as "the most evil woman on Pern", threatens to turn in a holdless man called Dushik to the authorities and have him chained up outside during Threadfall. Is this part of her being the aforesaid most evil woman on Pern or a recognised penalty in the Pernese justice system?
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Old Jul 17 2007, 03:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: the death penalty

It is mentioned elsewhere. I'm pretty sure it's mentioned elsewhere in 9th-pass books, although toward the end of the series they seem to consistently use island exile as a punishment. But I know it's mentioned by someone besides Thella.
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Old Jul 17 2007, 03:46 PM   #3
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Yes, I remember that. I think somewhere in "Masterharper", Robinton mentions it and that they (whoever the nasties were) are lucky that there are no threads falling.
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Old Jul 17 2007, 05:08 PM   #4
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I have been studying the charter and penal system for years now and anybody who reads this and wants to join in (e.g. read the books and pick up odd references refering to penalties and/or charter rights) is welcome any time!

"Being staked out for Thread" is indeed a recognised and used penalty, however, we have never come across it carried out. The most severe penalties (for the most dire crimes) we do see carried out are
  • Castration
    - In case of a rape (carried out immediately after the trial); RSR/11:264.
  • Eviction (being made holdless)
    - For not tithing to the Lord Holder and for not supporting ones own hold (cf. Felleck being evicted by Lord Holder Gedenase of Lemos); RoP/prologue:14.
    - For theft. In the case of Keita the woman was made holdless and her holder (his wife actually) also withheld any recommendation from Greystones [sic]; RoP/prologue/21.
  • Eviction (being made Holdless) and being forbidden entry to all other holds within the Hold where the offense happened
    - For being responsible for three accidental deaths (cf. Dushik who was evicted and had all Holds closed against him after accidentally killing a third man during a fight/brawl. Dushik was subsequently escorted to the Tillek border with the High Reaches); RoP/prologue:18-19.
  • Exile
    - For murder: exile to an island with supplies for the first seven days was the customary punishment for murder. During the First Interval there were several men and even some families (unsure if for punishment or if they were accompanying family members) sequestered on one of the eastern (both RSR and AtWoP) (RSR/11:287: southern) islands. Telgar and Benden never had to resort to this punishment, Fort sent two and Ista, Nerat and Bitra (in approximately 253) also sent killers to the islands; RSR/11:268.
    For abduction and for assistance in abduction: exile to an (eastern) island. Gomalsi, the son of the Bitran Lord Holder Sigomal, was exiled for “his part in the first attack on Aivas, for his part in the abduction of Masterharper Robinton and for setting himself up as a captain of a seagoing ship without qualifications. Master Norist and other craftspeople with rank were stripped of rank and exiled too. All other men who were involved in the conspiracy or helped in any way were exiled too although Jaxom ruled (over Lytol and because of the reaction of two of the younger ones) that their families would be allowed to accompany them in exile; AtWoP/389.
  • Impeachment
    - For failing to prepare one’s Hold (for Threadfall); RSR/1:56.
  • Impeachment and exile
    - For breaching the trust which holders rest in the Lord etc.: impeachment/followed by exile (this last was, however, not a fixed punishment); RSR/1:56.
    - For abduction. The Bitran Lord Holder Sigomal and Lord Holder Begamon of Nerat were impeached and exiled on account of: “in the first part, to plot and carry out a punitive action in another Hold or common property (which is the designation of Landing), and in the second part, to abduct a person against his will for purposes of extortion against the best interest of the planet and all of us.”; AtWoP/389.
  • Lashes
    - For being an accessory to a crime (number to be set by the judges, forty in case of accessory to rape); RSR/11:264.
  • Shunning
    - A way whereby passive groups can discipline an erring member. All members pretend that the shunned member doesn’t exist with the idea that the deprivation is psychologically destructive/instructive. This form of punishment was first used on Ted Tubberman and was considered a legal form of punishment (though it probably wasn’t mentioned in the charter); DD/245-246.
  • Stripping of rank
    - Obviously only possible if the perpetrator holds any rank. Master Norist and the others that held a craft rank, were all stripped of their rank and exiled; AtWoP/389.
  • Tying down out in the open during Threadfall
    - As an alternative penalty for very serious crimes (obviously only available during Passes; RSR/11:264.
  • Withholding protection by the Weyrs
    - In addition to their respective sentences all the people that were involved in the abduction of Masterharper Robinton (and the attacks on Aivas) were declared “holdless, craftless and no longer protected by the Weyrs.”; AtWoP/389-400.

The corporal punishments are very interesting in relation to my charter studies and thesis that the original charter was amended many times, since under the term of the original (read: first) charter corporal punishment was illegal; DD/245.

Uh, did I get carried away there for a moment?

All this is still being researched so, not (or only in part) appearing in my Pern Encyclopedia.
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Old Jul 17 2007, 05:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: the death penalty

You did, but it was fascinating!
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Old Jul 17 2007, 06:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: the death penalty

It was enlighting read.
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Old Jul 17 2007, 07:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: the death penalty

Hans, Now this is a great example of why I enjoy going to the Archives as often as I can mange it... just to browse through it and read what you have written there. Even to some of the little know characters in the stories..you have added intrest and little known facts about them.
This was a very fasinating read...and I for one want to thank you for taking so much of your time to do the research for it and the countless other entries you have in the Archives.
Please keep up the wonderful work
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Old Jul 17 2007, 07:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: the death penalty

Yes, Hans, I ditto Lady Maelin. I love to read your entries. They are always so informative. They read almost as easily as Anne's. Once I start, I can't put it down.
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Old Jul 17 2007, 08:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: the death penalty

That's very interesting Hans, thank you. I notice Dragonsdawn is the earliest text you quote. The thing is, I have this memory of it being said somewhere in one of the earlier books that the heaviest penalty was expulsion from Hold and Hall. Of course I have no idea where I read it.

In a society that allows duels to the death I can accept hanging or decapitation as forms of execution, but being pinned out for Thread to get you, that's nasty.
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Old Jul 17 2007, 09:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: the death penalty

I had always thought that tieing someone out in thread was an idele threat. Something to scare people with. Even if you tie some one out during thread what are the chances that thread would actualy get him/her. Don't dragons get the thread before it hits the ground. The onle 2 people I would even think of doing that to would be Fax & Thella.
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Old Jul 18 2007, 01:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: the death penalty

I always wondered the same thing as mawofone--if the dragons are doing their job, should Thread be reaching the ground to hit people in the first place?
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Old Jul 18 2007, 03:59 AM   #12
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Default Re: the death penalty

*shrug* couldn't they let some through and then have ground crews ready?

Maybe Maw is right in that it's more a threat than an actual penalty?

Need to reread!

Bingley... my intuition says The Smallest Dragonboy...
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Old Jul 18 2007, 08:51 AM   #13
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Default Re: the death penalty

I, too, think of it as an idle threat that is never put into practice. Exile to an isle that's not kept Threadfree seems severe enough and fits with the original no-corporal-punishment law of the Charter.

Hans, do you really think they'd deliberately let some Thread through, risking so much on the ground, just to carry out such a punishment. If they really wanted someone dead there are other, safer methods. And I'm not sure I see the dragonriders cooperating with such a request, anyhow.

Hmmm, thinking about it though, I could imagine someone once asking the riders for such a favor and them refusing and suggesting instead that they'd be happy to drop the person off on an uncharted isle. Maybe that's how the exile tradition started?
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Old Jul 18 2007, 11:43 AM   #14
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Default Re: the death penalty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryl View Post
Hans, do you really think they'd deliberately let some Thread through, risking so much on the ground, just to carry out such a punishment. If they really wanted someone dead there are other, safer methods. And I'm not sure I see the dragonriders cooperating with such a request, anyhow.
They could always take them into the mountains and chain them there. The Dragons don't normally fight thread over uninhabited mountain areas.

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Old Jul 18 2007, 03:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: the death penalty

There must be very rocky areas with only stone and no green habitation on Pern as there are on Earth and how about a nice desert?

Again, need to re-read and see how and in which context the remark(s)/mentioning(s) of this penalty were actually made.
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Old Jul 18 2007, 05:14 PM   #16
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Default Re: the death penalty

Or even a rocky shore, which would probably be more convenient for say, Southern and Ista.
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Old Jul 18 2007, 06:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: the death penalty

I think I have to agree with Maw and Cheryl, I think it might have been such a horror to the population of the planet...that the idea of it was used as a deterent to any and all criminals. Putting a post with chains out in a public square might have been used as a physical reminder of that horror.
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Old Jul 18 2007, 08:49 PM   #18
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Default Re: the death penalty

I could see ware putting someone in chanes during threadfall would at lest scare them 1/2 to death. Even if no thread touched him/her. It would scare me into behaving.
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Old Jul 19 2007, 01:51 PM   #19
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Default Re: the death penalty

I seem to rmember that Anne's used this one elsewhere too. Chaining out naughty folks to be eaten by the Mil (Restoree)?
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Old Jul 20 2007, 12:35 AM   #20
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Peter, Thanks for the reminder....I need to read Restoee again...it has been way to long between reads, as I had forgotten that part...sigh!!!
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Old Aug 21 2007, 06:28 PM   #21
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Default Re: the death penalty

It took a while but I finally found the reference in Masterharper. Young Robie was talking to another young child named Lexey. "Lexey had told him once...that his mother kept telling him that if he didn't behave better, they'd leave him out for Thread to get."

It seems to me that this form of punishment was more of a threat to disobedient/naughty children, than a real course of action taken to punish criminals. As others have said, I don't believe that the Dragon Riders would condone this course of action for the very real reason, that they could lose control of this Thread, and the resultant damage would be far too high a price to pay. If you need to execute someone, there are far easier and less damaging/dangerous methods with which to accomplish it.
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Old Aug 21 2007, 07:21 PM   #22
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But not quite as terror ridden or painful. Still I do not think that the dragons would go for it. Altho if someone was tied up on the deck of a boat or on a raft in a lake or ocean than it would not be dangerous to other. Dragon don't fight thread over large bodies of water.
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Old Aug 21 2007, 09:50 PM   #23
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Default Re: the death penalty

Though you still have to have a large enough body of water nearby...
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Old Aug 22 2007, 02:34 PM   #24
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Large lake or the ocean would work. Instead of making someone walk the plank-- tie them to a raft & set it adrift & let thread get them.
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Old Aug 22 2007, 05:02 PM   #25
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Depends how far you are from that lake or ocean and how far you're willing to travel...unless you're planning to ask the dragonriders for help.
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Old Aug 22 2007, 06:32 PM   #26
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You could go a few days out & be back before threadfall. A small boat would last if it was sturdily made. Know one even have to know it was being done.
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Old Dec 14 2015, 06:12 PM   #27
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It was mention in Red Star Rising / Dragonseye that their wasn't Thread yet, so the killer were exiled to the Eastern Ring Island, so was Chalkin after he was Impeached, not the same one.
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Old Dec 14 2015, 07:08 PM   #28
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Default Re: the death penalty

I don't know if the game is considered canon or not (probably not) but in Dragonriders: Chronicles of Pern (which is set "near the end of the Seventh Pass"), somebody really WAS staked out for Thread for trying to kill the eggs at a hatching (mainly the queen egg). I'm not saying who because that would spoil it. But after they were captured red handed, they were taken to a deserted island and staked out on the beach by dragonriders just before a Fall in that area and the Thread got them after the riders left.
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Old Dec 14 2015, 07:11 PM   #29
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Quote:
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I don't know if the game is considered canon or not (probably not) but in Dragonriders: Chronicles of Pern, somebody really WAS staked out for Thread for trying to kill the eggs at a hatching (mainly the queen egg). I'm not saying who because that would spoil it. But after they were captured red handed, they were taken to a deserted island and staked out on the beach by dragonriders and the Thread got them.
Not cannon as far as I know.
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Old Dec 15 2015, 03:43 PM   #30
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Default Re: the death penalty

Execution requires asking or appointing somebody to kill another person in cold blood. Even a family member of a murdered man might baulk at personally killing his murderer. And a duel to the death could go either way, even if the murderer and the avenger were evenly matched.

Staking out in Thread is less hands-on --- the condemned person has some chance of survival, unless staked in an area not protected by the Weyrs. Of course, if he couldn't release himself and had no friends to come looking out for him, he could starve to death instead.
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Old Apr 10 2017, 06:46 PM   #31
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Default Re: the death penalty

Actually, the penalty for murder is death. The men in AWOP were not condemned to death because it was decided that it was accidental homicide, not murder. And exiling someone to the islands without flamethrowers is almost a death sentence. If there are no grubs (which there probably aren't on the islands) thread would destroy all the vegetation leaving only the sea for food.
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