What are your thoughts on protagonists buying/owning slaves?


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    As with any sensitive subject matter it comes down to how the author treats it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with depicting slavery in and of itself. A work of fiction could run the gamut from a poignant and thought provoking exploration of the concept and practice of slavery to trashy sex slave rape fiction where it's treated as a cheap and morally debouched source of thrills.

    Within the context of LNs in general, I do tend to see slavery used as an element of trashy self insert wish fulfillment more often than not, which is pretty distasteful to say the least. There are certainly exceptions such as Ascendance of a Bookworm where the horrors of slavery and classism are depicted in a rather intelligent and morally grounded light, but unfortunately most titles aren't as enlightened in their treatment of the subject.


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    Depends, for me i dont have problem with slavery. However in some series MCs say that "aaaa slavery is bad but on the other hand i wont abuse my slaves, i will be good owner so its ok" i dont like that view. This is hypocrisy and i hate it. However, in LDZ for example, hero comes and says to MC that slavery is bad so he should free his slave but in that world slavery is a normal thing and its not against the law. You can literally buy slaves and kill them and nobody can say anything. In these kind a situation im ok with it.

    Also in "by the grace of the gods", MC comes from Japan so even he has a choice and much better options, he doesnt buy slaves(yet) but he has no problem that sending criminals to slavery. For that guy, its all about the that county's law. If its legal, its ok, if its not, its not ok.

    If i were hit by truck-kun and isekaied, i would definitely buy slaves. I mean why not? They are cheap labor and even if you buy criminal slaves, it wouldnt hurt your conscience, if you would buy nice looking, good slaves, just treat them well. It would be much better to freeing them.

    I mean those ppl become slave for some reason. They apart from their families, their homes and maybe even their countries. Freeing them wont solve anything. If you treat them well, if you wont abuse your power, it wouldnt much a different hiring them.(i know there are difference. its just... ok...)

    Also there is "Realist Hero"s world. Souma doesnt like slavery but he cant just diminish it. So he chose to a different path. For this discussion thats not important but still.

    PS: I didnt notice that, this is 2 years thread. Idk why it become a thing now but anyway...


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    It became a thing now because another topic went into this discussion's territory, so the posts got moved here from there in order to steer the discussion back on track.


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    I'm coming to this thread after it got moved- so I don't even know the original context- I apologize in advance that my comments will be about "slavery" in general and not about whatever LN this topic was originally about.

    in my observation of history (and fiction based in quasi-historical settings) there is a continuum of class, egalitarianism, and subjugation. Where at one end of the spectrum: 'universal human rights and dignity' are enjoyed by all (and the definition of who/what is 'human' is broad and inclusive) to the other end of the spectrum where some people 'own' other sentient beings (other people? sentient robots? fantastical other species? whatever) . Many situations/cultures/societies are in between. ('Nobility'/ Royalty vs commoners/serfs, caste systems, prisoner labor, servant classes/species, magic familiars etc.) The labels are less important than the 'reality'. To me the question(s) is (are): does the fictional setting use whatever place they are on the spectrum to illustrate something? question what is justice? what is agency? what is fair? Is the author using the setting to say something about the real world? does the protagonist aspire to something 'better' , is slavery (by whatever name) something to be overcome? or is slavery just lazy authorship/fetish fuel?

    Bookworm is rife with thinly veiled slavery, servants can be bought or sold. Nobles can kill commoners without question People can be more or less 'human' depending on their class in society and if they possess mana. The protagonist (in my opinion) is striving to change the status quo, intends to shake the underpinnings of the society for the betterment of all...

    How Not to Summon had 'subjugation collars', initially used for laughs...but isn't a 'theme' of the story,
    but ironically (subtly) dealt with themes of fantastical racism, religious oppression, and prejudice

    Campfire Cooking disappointed me because (as of yet) the presence of slavery doesn't add anything. So far it's a crutch to the storytelling


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    @Jon-Mitchell said in What are your thoughts on protagonists buying/owning slaves?:

    I'm coming to this thread after it got moved- so I don't even know the original context- I apologize in advance that my comments will be about "slavery" in general and not about whatever LN this topic was originally about.

    As the one who started the topic way back when, I wasn't talking about any LN specifically, just about the general trope that's surprisingly common in light novels to feature protagonists owning slaves. So general comments are definitely welcome.


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    @stardf29 I think John is talking about the topic that started the new conversation yesterday with Khaos' first comment.


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    @Drone205 said in What are your thoughts on protagonists buying/owning slaves?:

    to them it was nothing more than a toy and they could just have the slaves do the work a steam engine could. If you have a toaster you don't need a slave to toast your bread. I will argue that slavery does off because it became less and less practical, serfdom died off and that was pretty much slavery as the lord had to feed them and the serfs had no obligation to farm over a certain amount, while presents just had to pay the lord a certain amount of grain and keep the rest for

    I really didn't want to put my 2 cents in here for a number of reasons, especially since this thread popped up just now for me... seeing your post here, and the way the Romans relied more on the slaves than advancing technology, I felt the sudden need to say something....

    It;s not an argument of if slavery is good vs bad, there will always be slavery depending on your definition of it. Modern times, we are all slave to taxes... to employers who set out hours, and wages... to the customer whom we must keep happy, to the voter who might vote the politician out on the next election... etc etc. But if we talk about typical traditional slavery, then yes, most of it was bad.

    Now more specifically in your post you mention that it stunted the Roman's development of technology. On some fronts, I will agree... but their mindset I think was wrong.

    Yes, they relied on slave labour to toast that bread... or cook that meal... or transport those goods... etc, however it would have been more economically efficiient to let the slave use a toaster, which could be preset to make sure it was near perfect every time. It would also save them TIME to do another task. Suddenly less need for a 2nd or 3rd slave.

    Sure, just have 20 slaves pull a carriage to move from one town to another with goods... or a horse... or a mule or two... or use slaves to put down a rail and use a steam engine that the slaves maintain... would have to EDUCATE them then. You know, INCREASE their value...? either as a slave or potentially as a future family member once they ARE freed?

    Far to often in society, those with power, the 1% or whatever decide its not efficient to give the 'slave' benefits... just look at the a-typical story of southern USA slaves...

    In the end you just have to recognize its a fantasy world and its the authors attempt to romanticize slavery in their own minds... Not that there is anything wrong with that at all.


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    @MoreDinosaurs said in What are your thoughts on protagonists buying/owning slaves?:

    So only slavery viewed a certain way crosses the line?

    Yup, I'm ok with depictions of slavery in a book, as long as the author isn't endorsing it.

    I'll bring up this quote from the first chapter I used in my earlier post:

    "Although I had been apprehensive at the start, at this point, I was thoroughly ready to enjoy this fantasy world to the fullest."

    This is one of the things we are expected to enjoy, the purchase of a female slave who will do our bidding. Something we would be forbidden from doing in our modern world because of social mores. The thing that sticks in my craw the most, probably, is that the author presents it as if it's not a big deal. It makes me seriously question the author's own morals if he doesn't feel the need to comment on the behavior.

    Fine line there... how can you know or not know if an author is ENDORSING it? Seems that would be difficult to me...


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    @db0ssman said in What are your thoughts on protagonists buying/owning slaves?:

    I think I mostly fall into the camp of slavery in LN just feels like (potentially) pretty lazy trope like harems, OP protagonists, rape, or isekai. It's not to say those topics can't be tackled in meaningful ways that enhance the story, but usually, they are just an excuse to ignore having to set up something more intricate.

    In that sense, I usually don't think much about it when it comes up instead of having any kind of visceral reaction to it.

    Though if people are interested in this topic and why the Japanese seem to minimize slavery's effect a lot compared to other places I suggest you look up comfort women and Japan's activities in continental Asia in the first half of the 20th century. The TL;DR is that Japan invaded the continent and enslaved people by forcing them to work for a pittance or by calling them political prisoners/POWs and forced women into sexual slavery. Historically when confronted with this the official Japanese stance is that they were volunteers or prostitutes whose lives were bettered by what happened. When I was stationed in Korea (about 10 years ago), the Japanese government still never really accepted that any of this happened/took responsibility.

    Lazy maybe... but in the case of some of the NEETS or socially awkward characters, you can almost expect it... its hard to change, and it would make it more understandable why you would need a blank slate as a rule in a re-incarnation system. Damage to the brain and the spirit is something that can be really hard to break out of... (Doesn't explain the 'well adjusted' characters that seem to end up with 'slaves'.)


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