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The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,364
In Reply To
Grey Gargoyle

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 9,874
Subj: Re: Evil Aunts, squandered gold, and training from Hell
Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 02:47:20 pm EDT (Viewed 133 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Evil Aunts, squandered gold, and training from Hell
Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 05:17:18 am EDT (Viewed 151 times)

Previous Post

    There is even less evidence that "Mandarin" himself has any right to the Mandarin title. He seems to have spent all his time squandering money on training to be a monster, at the behest of an Aunt who hated him and deliberately raised him wrong.

Indeed, post-revolution, there were no longer mandarins in China. Thus, it is unlikely that the Mandarin was an actual mandarin.

    There's nothing in the story that suggests his father was a mandarin. He was wealthy enough to own a castle and have peasants serving him. And his sister talks about "peasants" like she isn't one, so his family was very likely aristocracy. But it seems more likely that he would have some title of nobility like Duke or Count rather than Mandarin.

None suggests the contrary, either. Wealthy & noblemen were more likely to pass the imperial exams than poor people. Actually, since the Tang dynasty, the mandarins were more powerful (and sometimes wealthier) than the aristocracy.
Thus, a lot of Chinese aristocrats were tempted to become mandarins.
If some of his ascendants had been governors of the province before the Revolution, it would explain why some people would still call him "the Mandarin" after the Revolution. The nickname would be sarcastic, since he refuses to work for a living like ordinary people .

    Out of story, Stan Lee probably named him "The Mandarin" because it was one of the things Fu Manchu was called along with The Devil Doctor, and because it sounds like "Man of Iron", i.e. Iron Man in reverse.

Indeed. Stan Lee often chose names that he would easily remember later.

    In story, he probably picked the name because it sounds elite, and implies a cultured nature he doesn't possess, having been deliberately raised to be barbaric super-soldier to further his aunt's hatred of everything. I'm looking at the picture of him and his aunt being evicted for failure to pay their taxes, and he even looks kind of like Frankenstein's monster in that pic. I can't help but wonder if that was deliberate? A way for Stan Lee to further make the point that the Mandarin was an engineered monster.

You're totally right. Mandarin was raised as a creature of hate.

IMO, he also chose the Mandarin alias because it was a way to implicitly tell to everyone what his main purpose in life is.
... Bring back the old ways : the Great Qing Empire & the Mandarin gentry to their former greatness.

If Mandarin's family belonged to the Manchu clans of Yehe Nara & Aisin Gioro (who were direct descendants of the Borjigin clan), he would consider himself the legitimate heir to their legacy (and, thus, a direct descendant of the imperial clan of Genghis Khan). But, at the same time, deep down, the Mandarin might feel self-hatred because he is ashamed that his mother was an English woman, a Westerner.
Especially, since Zaiyi, one of the most prominent family members of the Aisin Gioro clan, was an anti-foreign politician before the Revolution.
The self-hatred may have been amplified by being lovelessly raised by his aunt who had hated him since birth.

Also, holding both the foreign Eight-Nation Alliance & the Chinese revolutionaries responsible for the collapse of the Great Qing Empire, Mandarin would hate the Western countries (and, thus, Iron Man's USA) and the Communist Party of China.

So, the Mandarin might try to restore a centuries-old empire controlled by a gentry scholar elite who believed that the merchant class should be the lowest in the social hierarchy because the merchants, traders, and peddlers of goods are greedy and lacking moral character.

Thus, it would be logical that the Mandarin hates the current state of the world run by businessmen like Tony Stark.

Also of note, in 1904, Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, came about with the goal "to expel the Tatar barbarians (i.e. Manchu)". So, after the Revolution, the Mandarin might have been considered "a barbarian" in China.

Eh, the thing is we've seen plenty of his schemes, and they don't fit with that. Rather, they tend to be a very blatant and ugly blend of Ayn Rand flavored social darwinism, and blatant hunger for blood, dominance, and conquest.

Statements like, "To know that you are superior, in mind, in body, in spirit, that is everything! To know that power is your birthright, to know that untold thousands exist on this world for no reason but to serve you, to channel their power through your empire, be it of land or of business, channeling it upward to fuel you, to fuel your glory!" are not about restoring a particular culture or social order. Rather, he engages in a blatant worship of the jungle. A blatant hunger for conquest, dominance, and an obsession with personal perfection mentally, physically, and in terms of spirit, which is to say Chi. There is a naked hypermasculinity to what The Mandarin craves that doesn't fit with any ancient Chinese philosophy, but instead reminds me of both Ayn Rand and Nazism.

Even his one relatively self-sacrificing scheme was social darwinist, a scheme to purge all the weak-gened on earth and leave only the strong.

I get the vibe that his perfect man would be a combination of Ayn Rand, Fu Manchu and Iron Fist, and that he believes that the world should be a jungle in which these Ayn Rand/Fu Manchu/Iron Fist combo Ubermenchen forever conquer and devour everything weaker than themselves.

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