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Author Topic: Villages and Communities  (Read 327 times)

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Jukka the Sling

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Villages and Communities
« on: December 07, 2017, 02:37:54 AM »

Don't think we have a topic for this yet, so here, have mine.

I've been thinking lately about the lack of real villages in the Redwall series.  Besides the Abbey, of course, and Noonvale, there seem to be very few settled communities of woodlanders anywhere, and there are almost none with proper houses and commerce.  Yes, there are tribes, but these are usually very rustic and often nomadic.  Besides those, single woodlander families often live all by themselves out in the forest, with little outside contact.  It's odd.

Why aren't there any medieval-style villages where peaceful woodlanders of various species live and work and trade?  How do thousands of seasons pass without these villages springing up all over?
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The Skarzs

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 03:17:51 AM »

Why? Because they have no place in the story as it is written. :P

I totally agree with you, though. It makes no sense that Redwall would be the only place where creatures live; not everybeast would be willing and able to fit into that environment, and as accomodating as the abbey is, it cannot sustain the growth of population that would logically take place. There has to be a certain amount of production of food and other trade items that goes on outside the walls in order for a society to function properly.

However, there is also pretty much no form of government, no noticeable population growth, no currency, little to no trades, and no efforts to expand in any way. This explains a little bit as to why towns would not be relevant. With the information we can collect from the books, there is no reason to live anywhere else but Redwall.

If it were more realistic, of course there would be settlements elsewhere. Trades would require speciallized locations: A fishing town would spring up near a river, lake, or the ocean. Foresters would be near a very dense part of Mossflower, likely in the pines where tall straight lumber would be plentiful. Farmers would find land they would either clear themselves or is already cleared, with a source of fresh water. These things are necessary for a stable society.
With two "powerhouses" as allies in Salamandastron and Redwall, a road would probably be made between the two that would make for the easiest and quickest travel, as Salamandastron would probably protect Redwall, and Redwall would serve as an outpost for the Long Patrol, as well as a central place of commerce. Along this road inns would probably be built for travellers who need to stop mid-trip, and that could be a start of yet another town benefiting off of trade between the two locations.
At this point, currency would probably be necessary to create order, as well as a form of government to organize things. This opens a whole other can of worms, and power would be contested between Redwall and Salamandastron until an agreement is made.
*Deep breath.*

On top of this, vermin would, out of necessity, need to find a place in society. They would either have to start their own land with its own form of government and its own rules, roads, craftsmen, and food sources (and hopefully change their ways because of it) or they would be all but annihilated due to the expansion of woodlanders, their growing strength, and the protection in numbers they have. It's unlikely with such a tight bond between Salamandastron and Redwall that vermin hordes would pose long-term threats. The only potential for danger would be if the vermin do create their own land and wage war. . .
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Ashleg

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 03:22:20 AM »

Gabool sort of had that. So did Ublaz and the Marlfoxes.
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a crumb

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 03:34:50 AM »

I was thinking about this, as well, since it's kind of come up recently. My best guess is that it's a defensive tactic. If you're migratory, you're harder to be raided and tormented by vermin. The places that are permanently settled, like Redwall and Salamandastron, need extensive defensive structure in place to survive. High walls, strong army, mystical ghost mice and badgers, that sort of thing.

I'm really curious what a full list of the non-family communities we see of goodbeasts would be. In addition to your list, we see the Dunehogs, who use a complex system of ghost-impersonation and camouflage to ward off threats. There's also Bucko's group, who were, iirc, largely fighters. Noonvale was geographically hard to find, and they didn't venture out very much to maintain the secrecy and isolation. There's Castle Floret, too. Noonvale is about as far north of Redwall as that is to the south, I think, based on the Redwall Map and Riddler. Permanent settlements might not be that uncommon- we just don't venture out very far, unless it's by sea (Mariel, Pearls of Lutra, Legend of Luke, High Rhulain). It just might not be worth the investment unless you have a wide enough territory from which to draw people.

Before Redwall was founded, there were communities of a semi-permanent nature in Mossflower Country. There was a squirrel group, led by Lady Amber, and the otters (who sort of remained an autonomous group under a Skipper even after the Abbey was founded), and the Foremole and his team (I love Mossflower politics). Based on what we see in the very beginning of Mossflower, with the Stickles, there were permanent residences near Kotir as part of the fedual-esque system in place. Before conditions got worse, it's implied a good deal of families and the like lived nearby. I'd assume they only started this once the Greeneyes moved into Kotir, though, and didn't use the fortress themselves beforehand.
I haven't thought of it before, but I guess the Abbey's not as much an aberration as I'm used to thinking. It's basically just reconstituting the people around Mossflower in a more central place that's defensible. I like to think Kotir had a long history, with one tyrant after another. It takes a Martin to come along and break the cycle, and build something better.
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Sanddunes

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 04:29:01 AM »

This makes us realized how very little we know about this world because we know most of the population didn't  live in Salamandastron and Redwall even though most of the books are about those two places if anything (especially Redwall) they're just refuges where creatures go when there's danger.
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Jukka the Sling

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2017, 04:16:19 PM »

Interesting points, guys.  Maybe the land of Mossflower is just too unpredictable and dangerous for unprotected communities to live out in the open.

I love the idea of woodlander villages, though.  Makes me wonder if there are safer lands somewhere in the Redwall world where there are such villages, and woodlanders are able to live in peace.  (Guess that's what fanfiction's for.)
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SoranMBane

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2017, 06:55:34 AM »

One point no one seems to have mentioned is the fact that a lot of Brian's writing seems to romanticize the ideas of living simply and being at one with nature. Even the Castaways books seem to carry that theme (the last half of the first Castaways book is even all about saving a small, peaceful village from being torn apart by corrupt big city businessmen), but the societies in the Redwall books reflect that even more. Most communities are small, with no cities to speak of. There's no organized government, and we never really see or hear mention of any sort of minted currency. Fortified communities and towns with actual constructed buildings seem rare. Most of the tribes are either nomadic, or else they live in natural dugout dens and caves. Trade is mentioned, but it seems to be infrequent. The creatures in this world live very uncomplicated, natural lives, because that seems to have been the kind of society Brian wanted to write about. If nothing else, it does hammer home the fact that these creatures are still animals at heart, even if they seem to act more-or-less like humans.
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The Skarzs

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2017, 03:49:12 PM »

A very interesting thought, Soran.
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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 11:34:36 PM »

I think it might be because they aren't really people. Sure, they're VERY anthropromorphic, but they still contain rodentlike or mustelidlike instincts. Many of those animals are solitary or live in smaller groups, so why would most want to live in huge societies? Pirate crews and small tribes work more easily for them, but Redwall and Noonvale is always open for the more socially advanced goodbeasts~
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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2018, 05:57:26 PM »

That's certainly one thought process. Most of the animals in the books IRL are rather solitary, though it doesn't have a huge influence aside from lack of more large communities.
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LordTBT

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2018, 02:53:17 AM »

Large settlements tend to be a pretty big vermin target.

See: Redwall, Salamandastron, St. Ninian's, etc.

If there were large villages all over the place, why would the vermin want Redwall?  :P

Also, from a bit more of a morbid angle, entirely possible there have been villages, but the vermin got to them really quickly. ;)
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Captain Tammo

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 07:44:11 PM »

I agree with Daggertooth and Soran. I think that in addition to the fact that the series started with the characters being more animal tham people-like (in my opinion), these animals are normally solitary. On top of that still, there is the idea that Brian made things so because it was his writing style and that's what fit. By creating dozens of settlements and villages, while fun and perhaps a direction he would have taken the series had he not passed away so suddenly, the world of Mossflower would have become much smaller. In making the world smaller, you can imagine how much of its wonder would have left with it. The vastness of a once grand adventure would have turned into a quick trip to the grocery store, so to speak!
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The Skarzs

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Re: Villages and Communities
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2018, 10:44:51 PM »

Very true. The world is pretty forgiving when it comes to creating new things.
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