I have a situation where my MC - who has a dangerous reputation - was captured by an agent of Bolivian security. She takes him to her father in-law, who starts to torture him.

He learns that much of what she had said to her husband was misdirection and just a psychological tactic to keep her captive off balance.

He promotes the prisoner to houseguest, but at first this terrifies my MC as he thinks he is about to be disposed of.

Said torturer is first and foremost a man who has served his country with distinction - if in an unsavoury fashion. He sees himself as a gentleman no different from the other ranchers in his district.

How strict would the Latin laws of hospitality be and how might I best determine such? Are they as absolute as those of the Middle East?

Might this change of perception not only prevent him from harming the MC, but have him protect him as a pro tem member of his household?

  • 6
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a cultural question, not about the craft of writing. Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 18:56
  • It is a character in my book who will be bound by these laws.
    – Rasdashan
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 18:58
  • this is off-topic, its not about writing. Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 19:45
  • 2
    Rasdashan, I had trouble getting this question to stay open: writing.stackexchange.com/q/42456/14704 and it was about how to find the information I needed, it wasn't directly asking for the information. I'm afraid not every bit of research that you need to do for your story is directly about writing. Consider: if I asked "what's life on a spaceship like" or "what armour was used in Sassanid Persia", those wouldn't fit here either, though I need them for my stories. Right? If you rephrase your question as "how to find out about the laws of hospitality", I will retract my VTC. Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 19:58
  • 1
    I suggest reframing the question so it'll fit there, and posting to Worldbuilding SE. Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 20:15

3 Answers 3


Honor among thieves?

I don't think you can make this one cultural, but possibly they could have a code of honor they follow? It could be an invented rule, stated as common knowledge. It could imply a protected ally, a status they must have specific words and rules for. The men would need to be updated on a former enemy's new status without explanation. VIPs would go from "shoot-on-sight" to "protect-as-your-own" (and back).

Of course it is up to the head of the "house" to make good on the code, disciplining anyone who would defy it.

A boss simply giving the order as a mandate to his men would effectively be the same thing. If they cross him, he will discipline ruthlessly (retaliate against family, etc).

  • 1
    That is a distinct possibility. One scene I am planning between Angel (torturer) and his granddaughter has him tell her not to get attached to their guest - he will be leaving soon. If leaving is death or simply leaving, that I leave vague. My MC overhears it and assumes the former.
    – Rasdashan
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 22:48

Instead of the laws of hospitality, which aren't a big deal in Latin America -not more than "help those in need"- your MC should try religion.

The Bolivian father-in-law is probably a Catholic and as such, he can swear on his faith and have some moral commands: he can torture an enemy of his land, but he won't kill a prisoner, for example.

  • That is a valid point. It isn’t my MC who is trying to get this protection, but the other who finds himself facing a choice of granting it since this man was brought to him in error though said character will be most suspicious of this change of heart. He will see it more as a change of tactic.
    – Rasdashan
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 5:46
  • @Rasdashan Oh, sorry, I didn't read the question right. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 5:47


I am not sure, if Laws of hospitality is a universal human concept.

In fact, I have never heard of the laws of hospitality outside of the Muslim world (in the real world) and Westros in the Game of Thrones..

  • 3
    Hospitality was a big deal in ancient Greek culture as well. I think Norse as well? It might not be universal, but it was extremely common. Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 18:55
  • 1
    In Latin America it is often considered polite to give a guest a gift of great value if they admired it. When the Peruvian Paso started becoming popular in the US and Canada, people were cautioned not to express too much admiration for a horse or they might end up with a 1000 gift to declare at customs and find a way to import
    – Rasdashan
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 18:55
  • 2
    @weakdna: How does this NOT provide an answer? It says clearly that the law of hospitality which is ancient and sacred to the Muslim people of the middle east, does not exist anywhere else. Therefore it would not make cultural sense to have a person be protected (even in a fictional setting) in south america by a custom that does not exist outside of the muslim world. Just because you don't like an answer doesn't mean it isn't an answer. or the question wasn't fully answered. it just means you didn't like the answer.
    – ashleylee
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 21:06
  • 4
    @ashleylee I don't appreciate your tone at all, Writing.SE isn't a space for negativity or unkind behavior. I am not attacking you as a person or trying to knock you down, I'm simply going through queues of posts that were flagged as "low-quality". Perhaps try rephrasing your post instead of putting energy into insulting people who give you feedback.
    – user34214
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 0:15
  • 2
    I don't agree with @weakdna that this isn't an answer, but I do agree that your tone is unacceptable for this site. You explained why you believe this is an answer, which is fair enough (and as I said, I take your side on that part), but then you degenerated into insults. You've been doing this ever since you started contributing here, and quite frankly, it needs to stop.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 6:48

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.