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Thread: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

  1. #1

    Default "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    This was a chestnut of a question back in WoL since all the possible justifications for why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor proved to be just as paper-thin (I will go into them only if someone presses the issue but it has been covered elsewhere) as the one and only voiced justification in WoL - the biased opinion of Raynor somehow knowing that he'd be martyr if he was killed (honestly, only a madman or someone with utterly fanatic followers would ever believe themselves to be capable of being a martyr). At the time, the only reason that cannot be countered using information provided by WoL itself is that Mengsk for some reason needed Raynor to collect the artifacts - whether killing Kerrigan was the root/beginning idea of the entire plan is uncertain but actually irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    HotS turns things on its head when it comes to this question. First, there is the reveal that there is indeed a Tal'darim, Narud and Mengsk connection. It turns out that all three are affiliated in someway making the aforementioned reason to keep Raynor alive to collect the artifacts somewhat moot. Why? Because Narud could've easily got Mengsk to turn out the artifact piece on Mar Sara himself and used the Dominion to help the Tal'Darim, if not the Tal'Darim themselves, gather the other pieces. Secondly, it turns out that the one voiced justification about not killing Raynor because it will make him a martyr in WoL is made untrue because in HotS, Mengsk just casually announces the death Raynor to everyone across the entire Terran Dominion network without any known visible effect on the Terran populace.

    Sure, the audience knows it's fake but the wider Terran populace don't necessarily do either. Wouldn't this have made Raynor even more of a martyr especially given that Raynor had created doubt in the Terran populace about Mengsk following the Media Blitz attack? Yet nothing appears to happen as the Dominion seems to be just as strong as ever. We also have to keep in mind that Kerrigan had not yet started taking over Dominion worlds until after she was made into the Queen of Blades again, so the possible excuse that people were actually uprising but then banded together when Kerrigan and the Zerg start attacking Dominion worlds is a bit shallow. The uprisings would have made Kerrigan's attack on Korhal even easier because the Dominion would already be in a state of disarray, right?

    Also, once Mengsk announced Raynor's death publicly he actually laid out his cards at that moment. Raynor is actually useless (and potentially dangerous as it turns out) to Mengsk alive because he knows that Kerrigan won't care from now on what he will say and that she will come directly at him. Practically that announcement would put Mengsk at a severe disadvantage if he attempted to later bargain for his life when he already deceived her in the first place. Also, if Raynor's death would have caused an uprising (knowingly or not), his (fake) announcement would have just instigated it anyway. Even if he did try to appease the masses by later revealing Raynor was still secretly being kept alive, he'd just be owning up to lying about killing someone he didn't - the public won't like that either. Finally, in hindsight, what's even worse than the above things is that Raynor becomes instrumental in his own downfall/death. Had Raynor not been alive to be rescued, he wouldn't have been around to save Kerrigan in that last cinematic...

    Some say that Mengsk seemed to be smarter in HotS than in WoL, but I see no difference based largely on his mismanagement of the Raynor situation. Is there any sensical in-universe reason why Raynor was kept alive by Mengsk in HotS?
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


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  2. #2
    Gradius's Avatar SC:L Addict
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    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    It seems that Mengsk was trying to toy with Kerrigan by announcing that Raynor died. He wanted Kerrigan to know what it would feel like to lose Raynor. When he revealed that Raynor's still alive, it was a huge relief for Kerrigan, but also a chance for him to set some ultimatums:

    1) You look at me the wrong way. Raynor gets shot.
    2) You come near Korhal. Raynor gets shot.
    3) You try to break Raynor out. Gets shot again.

    Apparently Mengsk can waste time announcing to Kerrigan over the PA system that "you shouldn'ta come here", but he can't send a transmission to have Raynor executed before Kerrigan gets to him. Why was this scenario even attempted? And why did Mengsk let Kerrigan get away with it? I was feeling Mengsk's decision until this moment. In HoTS, we can at least say that Mengsk had some cards up his sleeve: the psi destroyer, the hybrid lab, raynor's fake death, the artifact. Unfortunately, these things have little significance and they amount to nothing more than extra hoops for the player to jump through, especially since nobody we care about on our team even dies.

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    Keeping Raynor alive always made sense to me in Wings of Liberty, because the value Mengsk could get out of the threat of infamous terrorist Jim Raynor far superseded the actual damage Raynor's Raiders could achieve. By that reasoning, after the disaster that was Media Blitz, it also makes sense that Arcturus would want to bring out a major victory to distract public opinion from his crimes, and the execution of Raynor could do that... except Mengsk can already claim to have broken the entire Zerg Swarm. The most hilarious thing about that cinematic to me is that Mengsk goes for "our long nightmare is finally over, Raynor is dead! Oh, and also the Zerg." It's such a ridiculous failure of perspective. Arcturus would basically have been forgiven for anything is he went down in history as the man who saved humanity from the Zerg. The Raynor story could have been kept in reserve for whenever he felt he needed a PR boost. Plus...

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Also, once Mengsk announced Raynor's death publicly he actually laid out his cards at that moment. Raynor is actually useless (and potentially dangerous as it turns out) to Mengsk alive because he knows that Kerrigan won't care from now on what he will say and that she will come directly at him. Practically that announcement would put Mengsk at a severe disadvantage if he attempted to later bargain for his life when he already deceived her in the first place. Also, if Raynor's death would have caused an uprising (knowingly or not), his (fake) announcement would have just instigated it anyway. Even if he did try to appease the masses by later revealing Raynor was still secretly being kept alive, he'd just be owning up to lying about killing someone he didn't - the public won't like that either. Finally, in hindsight, what's even worse than the above things is that Raynor becomes instrumental in his own downfall/death. Had Raynor not been alive to be rescued, he wouldn't have been around to save Kerrigan in that last cinematic...
    If he wanted to claim victory over the Zerg, his priority should have been making certain the Zerg didn't threaten humanity in any significant fashion. Using Raynor as a threat to keep Kerrigan away is a brilliant move for that. Making Kerrigan believe she's lost everything and has nothing to live for aside from revenge is pretty much the dumbest thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    Apparently Mengsk can waste time announcing to Kerrigan over the PA system that "you shouldn'ta come here", but he can't send a transmission to have Raynor executed before Kerrigan gets to him. Why was this scenario even attempted? And why did Mengsk let Kerrigan get away with it? I was feeling Mengsk's decision until this moment.
    Yes, I was actually expecting Kerrigan to be forced to work for Mengsk. Instead... seriously, why didn't the guards to Raynor's cell have a standing order to shoot the prisoner if they ever so much as think there's a Zerg nearby?
    Zeratul: I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities...
    Aldaris: Did not! That doesn't even make sense!
    Zeratul: Shut up, I totally did!

  4. #4

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    Well if he killed Raynor then his threat is pretty much at an end and she'll just come straight for him.

    So... I dunno, I guess the higher priority was to kill Kerrigan when she showed up on board.


    The Mother of all Queens!

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  5. #5

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticTemplar View Post
    Instead... seriously, why didn't the guards to Raynor's cell have a standing order to shoot the prisoner if they ever so much as think there's a Zerg nearby?
    Mengsk though he could blow the ship before the zerg got to him. Blowing up the ship is something he can do, while ordering the guards to shoot Raynor on the appearance of the zerg requires trust. It is a common failing of dictators to over micro-manage.

    As for announcing the victory over Raynor before the zerg, I think that Raynor being 'executed' was new to the public, whereas the zerg had been "defeated" for some time. That was why it came first.

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius View Post
    Well if he killed Raynor then his threat is pretty much at an end and she'll just come straight for him.
    But if he doesn't carry through it's not a threat at all. And really, she was already coming straight for him, so he might at least get a dead Raynor out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rake View Post
    Mengsk though he could blow the ship before the zerg got to him. Blowing up the ship is something he can do, while ordering the guards to shoot Raynor on the appearance of the zerg requires trust. It is a common failing of dictators to over micro-manage.
    What about neurally resocialised Marines? But even then, there's no reason not to do both. You'll want to blow up the ship anyway to try to get Kerrigan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rake View Post
    As for announcing the victory over Raynor before the zerg, I think that Raynor being 'executed' was new to the public, whereas the zerg had been "defeated" for some time. That was why it came first.
    But then why bother announcing it at all?
    Last edited by FanaticTemplar; 04-16-2013 at 12:24 AM.
    Zeratul: I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities...
    Aldaris: Did not! That doesn't even make sense!
    Zeratul: Shut up, I totally did!

  7. #7

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    It seems that Mengsk was trying to toy with Kerrigan by announcing that Raynor died. He wanted Kerrigan to know what it would feel like to lose Raynor. When he revealed that Raynor's still alive, it was a huge relief for Kerrigan, but also a chance for him to set some ultimatums
    The thing with this is that Mengsk can still toy with Kerrigan and make her feel what it's like to lose Raynor by actually outright killing him! Mengsk can just as easily later lie that he's still alive since Kerrigan never demands proof and always accepts what Mengsk says at his word. Given Mengsk's history of deception against Kerrigan though, would she really believe that Mengsk really kept him alive at the last moment? Even then, would she really believe that Mengsk would even hold up his end of the bargain for each of those ultimatums? With Kerrigan, it's like the saying "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". The difference is that such an ultimatum means that Kerrigan could invoke the less well known third part of that saying, "fool me thrice, there is no shame because I'm just a confirmed idiot!"

    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticTemplar View Post
    Keeping Raynor alive always made sense to me in Wings of Liberty, because the value Mengsk could get out of the threat of infamous terrorist Jim Raynor far superseded the actual damage Raynor's Raiders could achieve.
    The only "value" that Mengsk gets is ridicule at his inept ability to capture Raynor. Given the constant media updates about how Raynor constantly outsmarts and damages his property in addition to the billions that Mengsk has poured into trying to stop him, using Raynor as a scapegoat constantly (even before Media Blitz) makes him seem like a buffoon across the whole Terran network!

    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticTemplar View Post
    By that reasoning, after the disaster that was Media Blitz, it also makes sense that Arcturus would want to bring out a major victory to distract public opinion from his crimes, and the execution of Raynor could do that... except Mengsk can already claim to have broken the entire Zerg Swarm. The most hilarious thing about that cinematic to me is that Mengsk goes for "our long nightmare is finally over, Raynor is dead! Oh, and also the Zerg." It's such a ridiculous failure of perspective. Arcturus would basically have been forgiven for anything is he went down in history as the man who saved humanity from the Zerg. The Raynor story could have been kept in reserve for whenever he felt he needed a PR boost.
    I'm not sure how this would prevent Mengsk from effectively killing Raynor immediately still. You're right that Mengsk would have been forgiven if he lorded over with his "supremacy over the Zerg" propaganda because he could ride that good will crest to easily justify killing Raynor in actuality in the eyes of the masses at a later date.

    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticTemplar View Post
    If he wanted to claim victory over the Zerg, his priority should have been making certain the Zerg didn't threaten humanity in any significant fashion. Using Raynor as a threat to keep Kerrigan away is a brilliant move for that. Making Kerrigan believe she's lost everything and has nothing to live for aside from revenge is pretty much the dumbest thing.
    If Mengsk wanted to use Raynor as a threat/ultimatum to keep Kerrigan and the Zerg away, he wouldn't have provoked her by publicly announcing his death. As soon as he said that, he may as well have made good on that announcement (ie: killed Raynor) because it's unlikely that Mengsk would be able to convince Kerrigan to an ultimatum after having admitted to lying straight to her face! This also then reframes the question from "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" to "Why are we supposed to think of Mengsk as intelligent again?"
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  8. #8

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    Quote Originally Posted by Tura
    Quote Originally Posted by Grad
    Keeping Raynor alive always made sense to me in Wings of Liberty, because the value Mengsk could get out of the threat of infamous terrorist Jim Raynor far superseded the actual damage Raynor's Raiders could achieve.
    The only "value" that Mengsk gets is ridicule at his inept ability to capture Raynor. Given the constant media updates about how Raynor constantly outsmarts and damages his property in addition to the billions that Mengsk has poured into trying to stop him, using Raynor as a scapegoat constantly (even before Media Blitz) makes him seem like a buffoon across the whole Terran network!
    This is all assuming Arcturus was "keeping Raynor alive" at all during the events of WoL. He had a sleeper agent infiltrate the Raiders in the form of Tychus. It's doubtful, however, that Mengsk could have forced Tychus to assassinate Jim, his best friend. But using Tychus against Jim the way he did was pretty interesting; Jim was betrayed by his best friend, forcing him to betray Tychus in turn. There's something to be said about that sort of psychological torture.

    Frankly, we can't say we know what was going on behind the scenes. Did Arcturus "give" Tychus to Valerian? Did Valerian "steal" Tychus from his dad? At what point did the Father learn about the Son's games? We know so little about what really happened and, unfortunately, though it can be treated (some of you may say "retconned") into an interesting game of chess between the Mengskses (that was odd to type) I doubt the writers really thought it through that much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tura
    If Mengsk wanted to use Raynor as a threat/ultimatum to keep Kerrigan and the Zerg away, he wouldn't have provoked her by publicly announcing his death.
    Maybe, maybe not.

    From his own experience, Arcturus should know what happens when you take everything away from somebody. In his case, it led to the downfall of several worlds and collapse of a terran government. But to provoke Kerrigan to wrath, then to play on those feelings later with a sound and well Raynor, could have been a very interesting experiment on psychological torture, as well as revealed depths to the characters of both Kerrigan and Mengsk himself. This could have also bring the "revenge" theme to a head; does Kerrigan choose a life of revenge over the one man in the universe who never lost faith in her? Does she succumb to the fury of the Swarm and lay waste to everything? Or does she allow Mengsk to crucify her to save James Raynor?

    Unfortunately, this was never taken advantage of.
    Last edited by Visions of Khas; 04-16-2013 at 11:03 AM.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    The only "value" that Mengsk gets is ridicule at his inept ability to capture Raynor. Given the constant media updates about how Raynor constantly outsmarts and damages his property in addition to the billions that Mengsk has poured into trying to stop him, using Raynor as a scapegoat constantly (even before Media Blitz) makes him seem like a buffoon across the whole Terran network!
    The media was really used terribly in Wings of Liberty. We are told constantly that Mengsk has solid control over it, and the plot assumes so as well, yet what we are shown is the complete opposite. Anyway, if I have to choose which of those contradicting statements is correct, I'm going to go with the in-game media footage as being merely a joke for the player. Much like I assume that the Science Vessel operator actually remembers the formula E=MC2, or that Fenix didn't actually die from psionic power failure into spawning broodlings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I'm not sure how this would prevent Mengsk from effectively killing Raynor immediately still. You're right that Mengsk would have been forgiven if he lorded over with his "supremacy over the Zerg" propaganda because he could ride that good will crest to easily justify killing Raynor in actuality in the eyes of the masses at a later date.
    Not prevented. It's just not very beneficial to him. He won't really get more kudos for killing Raynor and the Zerg at the same time, so since he has Raynor prisoner, he might as well hold off his execution until some later time when he needs to remind people that he's a hero keeping them safe from their enemies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    If Mengsk wanted to use Raynor as a threat/ultimatum to keep Kerrigan and the Zerg away, he wouldn't have provoked her by publicly announcing his death. As soon as he said that, he may as well have made good on that announcement (ie: killed Raynor) because it's unlikely that Mengsk would be able to convince Kerrigan to an ultimatum after having admitted to lying straight to her face! This also then reframes the question from "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" to "Why are we supposed to think of Mengsk as intelligent again?"
    Precisely.
    Zeratul: I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities...
    Aldaris: Did not! That doesn't even make sense!
    Zeratul: Shut up, I totally did!

  10. #10

    Default Re: "Why Mengsk didn't kill Raynor?" redux

    in fact the announcement of the death of Raynor, is inteligent, was obviously a provocation to Kerrigan out of hiding, attacking Mengs. But in an unexpected act, rather than a super ability ataquecon their ghost (infiltrate and try to kill him in his palace), Kerrigan betrays common sense (the whole effort Raynor) decides to return to the nightmare zerg, this is something that have not taken into account.
    Kerrigan took the worst choice for revenge but the safest to meet its objectives, having a feeling that Jim was the only thing linking it to a normal life

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