I love to read and can get very attached to my opinions, but recently I've been learning not to completely lose my head when people disagree with me, so feel safe to argue with me whenever you wish ;)
Lord Guan promises Zhuge Liang to show Cao Cao no mercy; but upon Cao Cao's recalling of their old friendship and the debt owed by Lord Guan for killing five of Cao Cao's commanders, Lord Guan lets Cao Cao go.
Yet another fictitious addition by Luo Guanzhong, but one that is very emotionally touching all the same. And, so the footnotes say, even politically advantageous for Liu Bei as well.
All that aside, I might have said this before (or was that a GR update I forgot to transfer to BL?), but the idea of respecting your enemies for their moral righteousness completely fascinates me. Being an honorable person can quite literally save your life on the battlefield. There's Guan Yu refusing to attack Zhang Liao because he knows Zhang Liao is a brave and upright warrior, and Cao Cao sparing Guan Yu because he wants to recruit him for his courage. Now, Cao Cao calls upon their old friendship to entreat Guan Yu to let him go--in the aftermath of a gigantic battle in which Cao Cao is explicitly trying to conquer the empire, and lost terribly.
Why do I find this fascinating? I honestly don't know. This is a story that's essentially one about political chaos and corruption. It's a book about a mighty dynasty falling to pieces because of a bunch of warlords' bitter squabbling and refusal to work together. So it's a little shocking to find these odd moments where somehow, enemies manage to find common ground and NOT hack each other to pieces in the name of honor, or past unpaid debts, or friendship, or common principles. Yes, it's heavily romanticized and these bits are all fictitious, hence the "Romance" part of the title. Idk if stuff like this ever REALLY happened in history (do humans really have such a capacity for open-mindedness and finding common ground in the midst of war? ehh I'd say not really)...but it also lends this narrative its moral and emotional power as a story that has resonated with readers for centuries, and it certainly resonates with me now.