Quote from user_938036 »I've read those and they gave me the exact opposite understanding of Ral's opinion of Niv. The main reason he gives for not outing walkers is the damage it would do to Niv's ego, which implies he is trying to protect Niv first and then is concerned that he 'might' end up on a table.Quote from RaltheMad »Quote from user_938036 »Where are you getting this idea? You've floated it at least twice in this thread and its gone either unchallenged or unnoticed, but my understanding has been that Ral basically worships Niv and more fears disappointing him then hates being subservient. If you could point to what makes you think this it would really help.Quote from OathboundOne »
We know that he hates being subservient to Niv, and can reasonably assume he'd find Bolas even worse.
It has been shown on the Secretist (return to Ravnica novella) and both stories Ral has appeared in. Ral worships the ideals of the Izzet but sees Niv as a nuisance that is holding him back and ignores his genious. Also he is afraid that if Niv discovers the existence of planeswalkers he will be the first specimen strapped in the dragons table to be cut open in order to find out what makes them planeswalk.
So any quotes that specifically call this out would be much appreciated, because until Oathboundone mentioned it I had never considered Ral to be upset serving dragons. And obviously they are not the only one who views Ral's relationship this way; with you jumping in here.
I haven't read The Secretist, so my impressions of Ral are entirely from his wiki page, anything I've read about him from other forum commenters, and the two story articles about him.
The wiki page says:
Indeed, Ral has never looked to the ancient dragon as a role model or mentor, but as a nuisance at best and a likely adversary at worst.
So that's the lens through which I've read Ral's character through.
With that in mind, Ral's concern with Niv Mizzet discovering planeswalkers would have nothing to do with not wanting the dragon's ego damaged, and everything to do with what that dragon would do to him(and any other planeswalker Niv could get his hands on, but mostly him) if that happened.
From Project Lightning Bug:
Besides, he knew the range of horrid things Niv-Mizzet would do in possession of that truth. Would he eagerly dissect all the Planeswalkers he could find in the spirit of curiosity, or simply eat them all to assert dominance and quell his existential jealousy? Would he track the comings and goings of every Planeswalker, and ruin all the work Ral had done to scrape his way through the ranks and achieve a position of respect among the Izzet?
But you don't know Niv-Mizzet. It would crack him. It would turn him inside-out. And then he would turn us inside-out...
Reading from the perspective given by the wiki, Ral didn't give a damn about Niv, he was worried about himself.
When it comes to not wanting to disappoint the Firemind, it's because Niv tends to eat those who disappoint him.