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ussusimiel
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks, Vraith,

I actually remember reading that piece, but I suppose I was looking for something more specific.

From what little I know of the GI it seems that SRD has expressed the post-modern position relating to reading texts a number of times. It's obvious that he doesn't think for a moment that he is writing scripture, which is a relief Big Grin

As to the storytelling, here, I think, he is being a little bit coy or humble. Many writers have tried but few have done it as successfully as he has in the realm of fantasy. I've read a good bit of Stephen King's work, for example, and none of it comes near the achievement of SRD in the 1st and 2nd Chrons.

In TIW Hile Troy says to Covenant:
Quote:
And they're scrupulous.


I get the impression that SRD is extremely scrupulous and maybe that characteristic is transmitted to the Chrons. If so, that might be the quality that people respond so warmly to and, in contradiction to the post-modern position, can't read it any other way.

My reasons for setting up this thread were twofold. The first was to express my frustration at not being able to read the Final Chrons. That has had its effect in that the responses I have received have helped widen my perspective, or in the case of Fist and Faith affirm the validity of my starting position. All to the good.

My second reason was to try and generate some constructive debate about the writing itself. I'm still puzzled at why, as I read, I regularly feel so alienated by the style and hope that in time people will be able to dispel some of my mystification.

Thanks for contributing to the exploration,

u.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

uss..Yes, it is difficult for me to believe SRD when he says..I don't think about theme, I just write and hope I do my best when I write..Scrupulous I believe. I mean..3 years between books of the Last Chrons..there is a suggestion of" excessively thorough" in that.

As to being alienated by the " style"..Again , I go to the " interactive" to suggest.."Kevin's Dirt". Its one thing to write about a " fog" , a veil, that blinds or limits perception, to label an "interference.."..aah, but to get the reader to actually " experience" ...a Kevins Dirt. Yes of course that is pretty far out to even consider, but you did bring up " scrupulous" .

All is metaphor in this..SRD's fantasy.?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
uss..Yes, it is difficult for me to believe SRD when he says..I don't think about theme,


That's a thing that makes me go hmmm....cuz I believe it implicitly and explicitly, perhaps because of my own "process" for lack of a better word [and process really doesn't cover it...].
When I'm writing purely creatively [as opposed to analysis/criticism and other such] I not only literally don't, but literally CAN'T think about those things. If I do, I end up with nothing...literally.

And Uss...I get what you're saying. My response is that what you call the post-modern position on reading is the most validated/evidence based part...the one thing that is most likely to be "true" in the whole concept. Once it evolves or dies, that is the one thing likely to survive into the dna of the next stage.
In fact, it explains in a number of ways why we're having this discussion.
I happen to like the LC a lot...I've explained why elsewhere.
I also see very clearly why some people hate it...and admit they have ground to stand on. [For instance, Z and I for the most part agree on what is really outstanding in AATE...I just happen to think it's mostly good outside those parts, he thinks it's mostly bad, or at best ho hum, without putting too many words in his mouth]
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

V ..I understand what you are saying,,and perhaps you say it better than SRD did..You are talking about the moment of sitting down and writing..and I suppose so was SRD..yes? I was perceiving an overall process... I can see that I took SRD too generally when he was being specific about religion and religious themes.

On this post modern...Very generally, Modernism is perceived to be the proposition that " science" can and does explain everything. Post Modernism ,,very generally,,is the proposition that..no,,science does not ,,can not,,explain everything. Postmodenrism is holding on to our Humanity, our individuality, our uniqueness. So, the means of Modernism,,science, the means of science tend to get rejected by the Post Mods along with the general concept of Science when it comes to things " Humanity".
Logic,and Reason, ,the true/false tables ,,make up the means of science. The trouble with a lot of Post Mods..is that they say they reject Science,,but still use the means of science,,in defending or explaining their position. And they get roundly beaten about the brain for doing so and deservedly so, imho.

So..applying good/ bad to a post modern work..or a supposedly post modern work..Sure..to personal taste, what ever the subjective is..but ...seems to me,,much like the very doings in the LC..applying the polarized good/bad values..true/false values..misses whats going on here. Applying the good/bad..polarized thinking process of Science,,has done nothing but make Linden a conflicted miserable mess ,,an insanity that Foul doesn't have to do anything about , because Despair is always the natural outcome when right wrong Logic/Reason is applied to things Human.

An alternate to the linear logic is a spherical intuitive, parable type application of processing. IMHO,,this is when SRD says .each reader's experience in reading is unique....actually works. Applying Logic,would eventually get each reader experiencing the read the same as the next..What I am getting at is the same thing SRD surfaces in AATE..the human experience is beyond the easy calculation and predictability of Logic. TC's brain can't contain all that he has been. All that he has been can't be reduced to a few rules and formulas of Logic and reason. Linden still has a way to go in her explorations. She still has changes to be made, she still has to find the ability to be soluble...The Post Modern is about being everything humanly possible,,emphasis on Human. If Linden is the Post Modern,,or becoming such,,then all the water is necessary whether one likes it or not. And by necessary, I mean magnificent.

It seems to me..this different from Logic/ Reason " style" more obvious than in the 1st and 2nd Chrons..makes for the " alienated" feel , uss and others have with the LCs. The Last Dark, will not be Dark, with out it.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is much of that I'd agree with, and some I'd argue about, but it points to a place I've been reaching towards for a while, and not getting to or across...
Many of those who don't like them I know from discussions/insights/opinions in their posts in various places "get it." They have a grasp of the issues/concepts of the books and of other peeps arguments [like mine, who likes it, and yours]...but they STILL don't like it.
And...to steal and repurpose one of your points...though the argument on both sides has been rational/objective in form [for the most part] it seems to me the root of it isn't really the objective/rational, or lack of understanding...it is that, for whatever reason [some certainly structural, though not all] the work as it is doesn't touch the Human part of them. The narrative structure, the linguistic forms, the way the water moves, doesn't dissolve them into it, it casts them onto the beach.
There may be paths/explanations/AH-HAH!'s that will open or alter that for them...or there may not.
But in either case, I don't think it's any lack of ability or understanding on their part any more than I think my enjoyment is some special ability or understanding on my part. I love to swim in salt water...others prefer fresh, or a chlorinated pool...but we all know how to swim no matter what the water is like.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurch wrote:
Quote:
Post Modernism ,,very generally,,is the proposition that..no,,science does not ,,can not,,explain everything. Postmodenrism is holding on to our Humanity, our individuality, our uniqueness.


I like your idea of the post-modern, Lurch, because it includes me in it. That is exactly where I stand with regard to science, logic and language. I do not discard them, that would be naive and would would mean we couldn't have this conversation. I recognise their worth and their limitations. The whole of what it means to be human, that's the thing.

Lurch wrote:
Quote:
An alternate to the linear logic is a spherical intuitive, parable type application of processing.


I'm all for a more inclusive, intuitive and less linear approach.

However, it doesn't solve my problem with the Final Chrons. And, it occurs to me that part of my problem may be one of aesthetics. This may be a holdover from the modern position, or it may be subjective. My own position is the one posited in 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', what is good, is what you like.

As my poet friends often point out, you don't show brokeness in a poem with a bad, broken rhythm. This would be my response to the idea of Kevin's Dirt being demonstrated by muddy writing. The effect of Kevin's Dirt is to deprive the people of the Land of health sense (correct me if I'm wrong, it's a few years since I read RotE). But, this is the case for everybody, except for Linden, in the 2nd Chrons, yet it is effectively done without need for endless reminders or muddy writing. In fact it doesn't really need to be highlighted at all because it reflects our ever-present reality. It only needs to be highlighted when it vanishes, the effect of the Staff on Linden and the others when she uses it on them, the effect of Glimmermere are examples of this.

And, this raises the interesting question (might need a thread of its own in the Tank or the Close) of whether there is a post-modern aesthetics. But, to reference my poet friends again, aesthetics is eternal because Beauty is eternal.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
what is good, is what you like.

although I get some enjoyment from that book, I don't agree with this. There are a number of things I recognize as "good" that I don't like, and like though I know they aren't good...most people have a lot of this kind of thing in their lives.
ussusimiel wrote:

As my poet friends often point out, you don't show brokeness in a poem with a bad, broken rhythm.
All due respect, if your friend said that, and said it that way, s/he is wrong. A broken rhythm is quite useful for brokeness and many other things, depending on purpose/context...
A bad rhythm is something else entirely...perfect iambic pentameter can be bad rhythm if it doesn't support the meaning of the piece.
ussusimiel wrote:

(might need a thread of its own in the Tank or the Close) of whether there is a post-modern aesthetics. But, to reference my poet friends again, aesthetics is eternal because Beauty is eternal.
u.

Yes, there are post-modern takes on aesthetics...what Lurch said that you commented on is basically the epistemological part [what we know/can know/how we know it] but there are ethics branches, aesthetics branches and such. But I'd have to say the holistic concept/idea of beauty/aesthetics IS eternal in a way...people always think there are such things...but what is aesthetic/s? what is beautiful? these are not eternal either as particular ideas nor in a particular objects.
But this is WAAAY off the thread topic...just call me dAnDelion for a while.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Quote:
There are a number of things I recognize as "good" that I don't like,


I understand what you mean. I don't particlarly like Bruce Springsteen's music yet I recognise that it's good. I suppose what the quote is talking about, IMO, is that once you like something you recognise the 'quality' in it and you don't have to be told by someone else that it's good.

When it is something that someone else likes then I suppose it is beholden upon them to convince you of the 'quality' they see, and vice versa. With regard to the Final Chrons that's where I'm at. I've been convinced of the validity of the reasons for their existence, now I'm looking to be convinced of their 'quality'. For me the 'quality' will be found in the writing or nowhere.

Vraith wrote:
Quote:
ussusimiel wrote:

Quote:
As my poet friends often point out, you don't show brokeness in a poem with a bad, broken rhythm.

All due respect, if your friend said that, and said it that way, s/he is wrong. A broken rhythm is quite useful for brokeness and many other things, depending on purpose/context...
A bad rhythm is something else entirely...perfect iambic pentameter can be bad rhythm if it doesn't support the meaning of the piece.


Of course you are perfectly correct about this. I didn't do my friends justice. What they are talking about is the excuse given (usually by a newbie poet) for a badly realised line. Broken rhythm has it's place, just as iambic pentameter is not useful for expressing everything (although some people would say that Shakespeare had a fair old go!).

Vraith wrote:
Quote:
But I'd have to say the holistic concept/idea of beauty/aesthetics IS eternal in a way...people always think there are such things...but what is aesthetic/s? what is beautiful? these are not eternal either as particular ideas nor in a particular objects.


Yeah, again I am with you here. And yet, once the debating is over, it is the experience that counts. So, maybe we haven't strayed as far off topic as we might think Big Grin

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Embarassed Well, I am quite taken.

ussusimiel wrote:
You don't happen to write poetry, do you?


Eeh...occasionally, although I prefer the alliterative verse to exact rhyming. (Modern) English, however, I unfortunately find rather adynamic and scant in synonyms: one'd have to dig into Old English (which I don't speak) to harness the full power of this meter. I've tried it on occasion, but various prepositions cumber matters further, and all attempts have resulted into a lengthy date with a dictionary. Very Happy

In Finnish, this requires less effort. My brain processes are for some reason badly stuck to Norse mythology right now, so this is loosely something about Hati the Wolf, who devours the sun in Ragnarökr:

Taivaankannelle tepsutteli | Lakeuksille laukkasi
Tuonenkoira, takkuturkki | Torahammas, turmanhenki
Hanakasti hukka hotkaisi | Susi suuhunsa siemaisi
Auringon armaan ahmaisi | Kultakehrän kaunon kaappasi

It translates approximately like this (apparently managed to insert some rhyming there also...):

Up to the sky-dome he trotted | Up to the wideness loped
The hellhound shaggy-mantled | Sharp-fanged, doom-spirited
Greedily the beast swallowed | Down the wolf gulped
Ate the Sun cherished | The Gold-wheel captured

Quote:
I may simply be more of a first impressions person. If a book or a film doesn't engage me I'll stop watching/reading. If there are films or books out there that that are redeemed by their endings then I would like to hear about them (sounds like an idea for a thread!).


Yup, we're all different when it comes to impressions, whether the first or the last. I don't remember a story from my personal media arsenal right now that would've been redeemed singly by its ending, but a slightly different example I do have. I hated Deadly Hallows (I know, I know, I'm one of those Harry Potter fans....) when it came out back in 2007, but this experience turned upside down when I re-read the book last year. Suppose my general mood was just different, and I was able to look at the particulars previously giving rise to vexation from a different angle.

Quote:
LFB is hard to get into first time round but the start is well written and intriguing if not exactly pleasant.


That's true; I was curious about TC's bitter, blighted character and how this would affect his role as a 'chosen one'. I've heard many readers get the urge to recycle the book as toilet paper after the particular scene with Lena, but then again, the series isn't for everyone, and others prefer straightforward, traditional heroes to those with the anti prefix.

Quote:
I would have to say that I felt awe for the Haruchai, especially after the 2nd Chrons. A real sense of their passion came through to me. I also felt sympathy for the Ur-viles (along with Mick Jagger Laughing ).


I think the main reason for me for not much caring for the Haruchai stems from their expressionlessness and lack of emotion. There's passion beneath the surface, alright, but it's too suppressed and stubbornly straightforward; I suppose I require something more tangible and/or complex to appreciate a character, plus a sense of humor usually plays a monolithic part in this. Exceptions do occur, but I commonly end up liking the deeply conflicted personages, and those with a snarky tongue (Tyrion Lannister, Severus Snape...). I'm not sure why I never connected with the Ur-viles before the LCs; might have something to do with the same impalpability.

Quote:
especially the section where Covenant is struggling barefoot through the snow with a mangled ankle and carrying the grief of Lena's death. -- So, I don't think that I have ever had the experience of a re-reading a fantasy novel that improved on the initial impression.


That part is like distilled agony. Sad
And as has been agreed, we all garner insight and experience differently. If the last chrons aren't your horn of mead, if FR doesn't strike a spark even after Part 1, then it's probably better to stop. The 2nd chrons contain a perfectly satisfactory ending, and if one desires a third route, that's what fanfiction/AU is for (although it came as a surprise to discover such a gaping absence of it; most other fandoms just bristle with fan productions of varying qualities). I finished AATE a week or so back and liked it despite a small bucketful of annoyances. However, as I mentioned before, I've stopped attempting to compare the LC stack to the previous parts due to their emergence as if from a different planet.

Quote:
And I recognise that my response is purely subjective. It says more about me than the work itself. It'd be a much poorer world if everyone had exactly the same experiences and responses.

Well, aren't most book reviews and so on subjective, and the discussion of thereof usually an exchange of subjective points of view? Big Grin The world would indeed be a boring place without multifariousness.

Anyhow, glad to talk to you! Very Happy And hope you get still more out of the LC.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If memory serves, Donaldson touches quite a few times in the GI on the subject that "bad is objective, good is subjective" (he makes no claims to have coined the phrase, as he goes on to cite others on the matter). I.e. that there, in many cases, can exist an objective consensus that a text, or any work of art for that matter, is "bad". It is much harder to agree upon what makes another work "good" or "great", apart from the obvious explanations such as absence of bad construction, spleling mistakes, misconceptions, inconsistencies and so on.

In my mind, this leads to a conclusion: works that incite of a lot of debate and reactions, must probably have some element of "good" in them (good as in "quality", not as in "vs evil"). And the greatest works are those that will continue to inspire emotion, debate and reactions for generations. (Someone would probably ask how religious texts fit into this description, but that is for another thread, another day.) Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Khazduk wrote:
In my mind, this leads to a conclusion: works that incite of a lot of debate and reactions, must probably have some element of "good" in them (good as in "quality", not as in "vs evil"). And the greatest works are those that will continue to inspire emotion, debate and reactions for generations.


I'm still stubbornly standing on my opinion that Twilight merits no praise whatsoever, no matter how much heated debate it creates. Laughing

Now I'm going to get all the T-fans on KW after me, yelling, “Slay her! Are you fools!”
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does this mean Longwrath is a vampire too? Big Grin
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Khazduk wrote:
Does this mean Longwrath is a vampire too? Big Grin


Laughing Laughing

Don't remember him sparkling, but did he ever even stand in direct sunlight?

(Now this speculation is getting plain frightening.)
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zorm wrote:
Up to the sky-dome he trotted | Up to the wideness loped
The hellhound shaggy-mantled | Sharp-fanged, doom-spirited
Greedily the beast swallowed | Down the wolf gulped
Ate the Sun cherished | The Gold-wheel captured


Hi Zorm, I'm not a bit surprised surprised about they poetry writing bit. I did some Beowulf as an undergrad and I enjoyed the alliterative meter even in translation. I was also wondering about the verses in your signature at the end of your messages, any chance of a translation?

As I've said earlier in this thread or elsewhere I'd probably be happier if SRD had written the LCs in this or some other high form of verse. I'm still reading FR. I'm past the end of Part One. It certainly cleared things up a bit and I found the Mahdoubt's death touching. But, what I'm beginning to realise is that this feels very much like a reboot of the 2nd Chrons except with Linden in the TC position. She has now gathered a band of allies and is about to head off to Andelain. You have Liand, Stave, Anele, the Ramen and the Masters. It feels a lot like Covenant's allies: Sunder, Hollian, Vain, the Haruchai and the Giants (even though the Haruchai don't go to Andelain).

With the first two Chrons there a different structure between the First and the Second that reflected Covenant's different relationship with the Land. So RotE and FR don't feel structurally different. I recognise that they reflect Linden's different relationship with the Land, but as I write I am realising that one of the things that I dislike in a fantasy series is the repetition of the underlying structure from one book to the next. The story then begins to feel more like a kind of soap-opera rather than a fantastic tale.

I am also finding that knowing more about places like Melenkurion Skyweir, people like the Berek and Damelon and races like the Haruchai and the Viles is not adding to to their mystique. And while I like the Insequent in themselves I do not like the fact that they are a totally new element that we never heard about in the 1st and 2nd Chrons. They feel like the biggest plot device ever.

They do, however, explain one thing that always bugged me about the 2nd Chrons. The part where Brinn recognises the Guardian of the One Tree always jarred with me. It seemed so arbitrary. It does make me think, though, that even then SRD was thinking about a 3rd Chrons. I also find it hard to accept that Brinn defeated an Insequent. We hear in FR that the Vizard defeated 500 of the Haruchai singlehandedly and he rates the Theomach as even more powerful. It sounds as if the Theomach let Brinn win, otherwise it just doesn't match up.

I suppose it does beg the question, 'Why continue?'. One answer is that I couldn't have this conversation if I didn't read the books. Another answer is that I am intrigued that so few people feel as I do (Fist and Faith's absolute dislike noted). And finally, I suppose I want to find out if the 1st and 2nd Chrons can stand as purely in my mind in the face of the existence of the Final Chrons. All interesting and seductive questions Crazy

Khazduk wrote:
If memory serves, Donaldson touches quite a few times in the GI on the subject that "bad is objective, good is subjective"


Hail Khazduk! It's always nice to meet a Watcher that I haven't met before. I like this quote and I'll probably use it before the week is out to sound wise. I suppose my interest in this is that I loved the 1st and 2nd Chrons and had no problem with SRD's style. It did bother me in the Gap series, but it hasn't stopped me reading most of what he's written.

However, right from the off with the Final Chrons I was in trouble and from the moment Jeremiah was taken and Linden came to the Land I was struggling badly. What has piqued my curiosity is how few others have reacted this way and why.


Zorm wrote:
I'm still stubbornly standing on my opinion that Twilight merits no praise whatsoever, no matter how much heated debate it creates. Laughing

The Harry Potter/Twilight comments may actually help shed some light on my position as I cannot read either of those books. Nor, as a matter of interest, can I read any vampire books. I also have very little time for what I call 'soft' or 'magic centred' fantasy. One of the things I dislike about the LCs is that just about everybody seems to have some sort of unimaginably powerful theurgy. It smacks of the Superhero graphic novels that I also can't read. I'm going to stop now before I prove conclusively that I am an elitist snob of the worst kind Laughing

u.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
Hi Zorm, I'm not a bit surprised surprised about they poetry writing bit. I did some Beowulf as an undergrad and I enjoyed the alliterative meter even in translation. I was also wondering about the verses in your signature at the end of your messages, any chance of a translation?


If you're interested in old epics and the alliterative verse, have you ever taken a peek at The Kalevala (or its sister epic The Kalevipoeg)? This form of meter dominated the Finnic poetry for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years (considering that for instance the blade which the god-smith Ilmarinen forges to Väinämöinen clearly resembles a Vendel-age ring sword, one of those seen in Beowulf). I have no idea whether alliterative translations of these exist in English (one version in regular poetic meter, however, can be found here: Part 1, Part 2), but the whole clump in Finnish follows this pattern.

Beowulf contains some parallels to the Kalevala. If I recall correctly, at least one Danish researcher of folklore has proposed a connection between Väinämöinen and Wægmunding, Ecgþeow and Ehtaro, a king of Peimari found in other sources of old Finnish mythology.

As to my signature...the latter verse is from Völuspá and describes the onset of Ragnarökr. According to the Henry Adams Bellows translation:

Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered,
Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls;
Nor ever shall men | each other spare.

The sun turns black, | earth sinks in the sea,
The hot stars down | from heaven are whirled;
Fierce grows the steam | and the life-feeding flame,
Till fire leaps high | about heaven itself.

The first is from an Estonian metal song by Metsatöll, translates approximately like this:

Everyone had heard of us, rare the one that had beholden us
Of us, songs had been sung, the ancient folk of the woods
We hold the power and the might in our hands

(I don't know, I just liked the verse.)


I'll answer to the rest of your post later, I'm in a slight hurry now. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted not to get into this much before I finish reading AATE, but this is just too much.

ussusimiel wrote:
...repetition of the underlying structure from one book to the next. The story then begins to feel more like a kind of soap-opera rather than a fantastic tale...


Shocked Maybe it's that I'm looking from a different point of view, but this feels even more different from the 2nd Chrons, then the 2nd from the 1st. Though I primarily mean the general course of actions - in the 1st the main line was first trying to go with the flow and trying to avoid action, then understanding that's wrong. In the 2nd it was an active search for means and possibilities - the aim was set, the ways to get it seemed quite clear, then it turned out the means needed were indeed not what they seemed. In the 3rd the aim and eagerness are present, but no ways are clear. Then, something has to be made up from nothing.


ussusimiel wrote:
...I am also finding that knowing more about places like Melenkurion Skyweir, people like the Berek and Damelon and races like the Haruchai and the Viles is not adding to to their mystique. And while I like the Insequent in themselves I do not like the fact that they are a totally new element that we never heard about in the 1st and 2nd Chrons. They feel like the biggest plot device ever.

They do, however, explain one thing that always bugged me about the 2nd Chrons. The part where Brinn recognises the Guardian of the One Tree always jarred with me. It seemed so arbitrary. It does make me think, though, that even then SRD was thinking about a 3rd Chrons. I also find it hard to accept that Brinn defeated an Insequent. We hear in FR that the Vizard defeated 500 of the Haruchai singlehandedly and he rates the Theomach as even more powerful. It sounds as if the Theomach let Brinn win, otherwise it just doesn't match up...


It seems to me you've got very comfortable with the things you had after finshing the 2nd Chrons. Your text above looks like you're both unhappy with knowing more about the old things and getting the new ones.

Though the point about Theomach letting Brinn win is good and very plausible. I thought it was more to show the power of surrendering, but if The Theomach allowed this willingly, that's even better. Thus he both got assured the new Warden was worthy and gave TC a very needful clue.

ussusimiel wrote:
...The Harry Potter/Twilight comments may actually help shed some light on my position as I cannot read either of those books. Nor, as a matter of interest, can I read any vampire books. I also have very little time for what I call 'soft' or 'magic centred' fantasy. One of the things I dislike about the LCs is that just about everybody seems to have some sort of unimaginably powerful theurgy. It smacks of the Superhero graphic novels that I also can't read. I'm going to stop now before I prove conclusively that I am an elitist snob of the worst kind Laughing

u.


Couldn't bring myself to read Twilight, though maybe I'll try, already out of the fact I did get at least useful information from the Potter books, I'll write about that later specifically. Apparently I actually am afraid of vampires, though I was called one myself. Well, at least of those that sparkle and feel like Soap Box

Twisted Evil

As for the unimaginably powerful theurgy - quite oppositely, that's one of the most wonderful things about the 3rd Chrons.

I have something about superheroes and originating from graphic novels for you. That's a story from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. (sic!) Twisted Evil Michelangelo admired the superhero stories and once got to a parallel universe with himself and the other ninja turtles as actual superheroes. He could just tag along at first and bother them. But when it came to a situation where they couldn't use brute force, it turned out they just can't do a thing, and he was able to save them.

One of the main topics in all the the Chrons, maybe especially the 3rd, is the powerlessness to actually do something, while having loads of sheer power, as well as the dangers and other problems of power. The discussion of all the samples and explanations may take long, for current purpose this should be enough: how much good have the 3rd Chrons characters achieved with the "unimaginably powerful theurgy"? Though more like any Chrons characters Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zorm wrote:
have you ever taken a peek at The Kalevala (or its sister epic The Kalevipoeg)?

Thanks Zorm, for bringing a whole world of poetry I knew nothing about to my attention. I haven't dipped into Beowulf in a while so this might be a good way to reconnect with it.

Zorm wrote:
The first is from an Estonian metal song by Metsatöll, translates approximately like this:

Everyone had heard of us, rare the one that had beholden us
Of us, songs had been sung, the ancient folk of the woods
We hold the power and the might in our hands

I like the mystery of these lines. Not much of a metal-head but I can appreciate good lyrics anytime Laughing


Quote:
I wanted not to get into this much before I finish reading AATE, but this is just too much.

Quote:
ussusimiel wrote:
...repetition of the underlying structure from one book to the next. The story then begins to feel more like a kind of soap-opera rather than a fantastic tale...


Hail Effaeldm, I knew I shouldn't have left in that bit about the soap-opera. Sorry to have disturbed your reading of AATE. I didn't mean to imply that the Final Chrons are like a soap-opera. That couldn't be further from the truth. (Not one person has had an affair or got divorced Laughing ) I was talking about fantasy series that just go on and on repeating the same thing again and again eg. The Wheel of Time.

Effaeldm wrote:
It seems to me you've got very comfortable with the things you had after finishing the 2nd Chrons. Your text above looks like you're both unhappy with knowing more about the old things and getting the new ones.


I've been reading some old SRD interviews and I'm beginning to see that he left the whole thing wide open for the Final Chrons: The Guardian, Cail and the Merewives, the Ranyhyn, Sunder and Hollian, the Staff and so on. So, while I still don't like the centrality of the Insequent I see now that they were long in the planning and weren't just grafted onto the story.

Effaeldm wrote:
As for the unimaginably powerful theurgy - quite oppositely, that's one of the most wonderful things about the 3rd Chrons.


I'll hold my ground on this one. I always enjoy fantasy that has magic that is ancillary to the story rather than central to it. That one of the reasons I like the Giants and the Haruchai so much. Foamfollower's heroism at the end of TPTP would be rendered unnecessary if Covenant was able to use White Gold. Similarly, the Haruchai's disavowal of lore causes them to be heroes at every turn.

Even in WGW when Covenant is coming to terms with Wild Magic it is always constrained by the threat to the Arch. In FR just about every piece of action I read now is resolved by magic and this has always annoyed me in other fantasy novels. It makes storytelling superfluous because it is reduced to a balancing of forces and then ensuring that the person who must win wins by pulling some trick. Like Linden dipping the Staff into EarthBlood under Melenkurion Skyweir. Neat, but a trick rather than storytelling. Covenant's questioning of Bannor, before the descent into Earthroot, in TIW was supreme storytelling. A great feat was achieved by intelligence and wit.

I agree with you that in the end it will not be power that causes the important things to happen it's just that in the meantime all that we have is magic and more magic to get us from event to event.

I'll continue reading FR in spite of my reservations because the more I get to know about SRD the more I respect him. I loved him when I only knew him as the author of the 1st and 2nd Chrons. Reading and struggling with the Final Chrons have led me to a deeper understanding of the man. Now I love and respect him.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Thanks Zorm, for bringing a whole world of poetry I knew nothing about to my attention. I haven't dipped into Beowulf in a while so this might be a good way to reconnect with it.


No problem. Been meaning to post a thread about Finnish mythology and epics elsewhere on this forum (was requested to write about this a while back...), but somewhat forgot about it due to a wealth of other distractions.

Quote:
I like the mystery of these lines. Not much of a metal-head but I can appreciate good lyrics anytime Laughing


On the field of music, power/symphonic and Viking metal are Finland's main exports. Hence it probably should not come as a surprise to discover a fair amount of headbangers here in the cold, barbaric north (along with some stray arghuleh and polar bears). Wink

Returning to the matter of FR/AATE when I've collected by thoughts a tad more, but Effaeldm pointed out some of these already: the characters of the 3rd chrons wield grand amounts of power, but they also come at terrible costs.

Now on to Twilight/Potter...

Anyone, who has read these with some deeper thought, can easily see they're scarcely comparable. Twilight, in every aspect, resembles a horny teenager's self-insert daydream, a Mary Sue fanfiction of the sleaziest kind void of a proper plot and characters so dimensionless they shove themselves into the negative vector space. I've suffered through all the four books and can vouch it having been one of my worst literary experiences ever, even if I did it 'for the lulz' to figure out whether all the negative publicity held any basis.

I'd understand if this were written as a parody. That route would lead to a much more sensible conclusion. Yet no, apparently a horde of sparkly vampires, an angsty Pedowulf, a gratuitous self-insert, and an even more dreadfully Suetastic half-vampire/half-human offspring were created with a serious intent, all these revolving around the single theme of Bella getting between the sheets with the brooding wonder-bishounen, Edward. Among ceaseless gushing over Eddie's beauty and childish wangst, the reader is treated with such fascinating twists as Bella turning on the microwave. No flying over the lands with an enchanted car, exploring the forgotten corridors of a castle or underground caverns, hunting for horcruxes, studying the past and motivations of a dark lord by plunging into wisps of other people's memories, no infiltrating into ministries or beholding haunted dreams through the eyes of a serpent.

This leads to Potter, which then again, contains a complex alternate universe Great Britain setting with its own laws, mythology, tens of characters far from cardboardy, plenty of witty humor, and evident criticism against several aspects of today's society. However, the series was never intended for grown-ups, and therefore cannot be scrutinized from the same angle as SRD or Leo Tolstoy or Orwell or insert-another-big-name-here. Terry Pratchett might come closer in terms of the humor aspect.

I'm not claiming that the series isn't silly and soppy at times (cue SRD rhapsodizing over horses...Big Grin), but that converges back to the fact that it targets a much younger audience. Yet an adult with a childlike sense of humor can still appreciate it, unlike this other abomination. Granted, the Sorcerer's Stone reads rather like a fairy tale, as does the Chamber of Secrets, before the tone begins darkening. The main trio Harry-Hermione-Ron I never found that interesting; Rowling could've well spiced up their personalities with some quirks and extra flaws (interestingly, Pratchett's Tiffany Aching, which is clearly meant to be a kind of anti-Potter, possesses much more complexity).

It's the supporting cast and the richness of the settings that really make the difference here. Snape, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Tom Riddle/Voldemort, Sirius, Lupin, Bellatrix, et cetera interact with the story in a manner that makes the reader, at least myself, want to find out more about their backgrounds and personal motivations. Heck, even minor players like Regulus Black and Aberforth Dumbledore. This is subjective, but my mind holds a special place for the series thanks to the huge amount of English vocabulary I learned from it during my early university years, while at the same time keeping me much, much more engrossed than some dryasdust textbook. Twilight never taught me anything, except for an efficient means to lose IQ points, and I've met better villains in Saturday morning cartoons. Razz These vapid non-entities don't hold a candle to Magica DeSpell. Razz

I could venture deeper into this comparison, but moving over to the JK Rowling forum below might become necessary at that point.

Now, after this rant, I'm bound to have unleashed the wrath of all the so-far covert T-fans here. Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am interested in the Twilight/ Harry Potter phenomenon rather than the books themselves. I have taught English as a foreign language and I always recommended HP to students because of the accessibility of the language and the generally engaging story. I'd probably be recommending Twilight now if I was still teaching. Anything that gets students reading Twisted Evil

Zorm wrote:
half-vampire/half-human offspring were created with a serious intent, all these revolving around the single theme of Bella getting between the sheets with the brooding wonder-bishounen, Edward.


The Twilight series may have arrived too late for you. I have been told that the it holds such a fascination for young teenage women because of the unmistakably sexual overtones. The attractive vampiric/wolfish young male figures reflects a balance to the overly romantic idealised female version of sexuality. This is a good thing I am told as it may lead to a more realistic midrange version. Don't see it myself, but what would a cynical older male like myself know about such things Laughing

Zorm wrote:
It's the supporting cast and the richness of the settings that really make the difference here. Snape, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Tom Riddle/Voldemort, Sirius, Lupin, Bellatrix, et cetera


As to Harry Potter, I acknowledge the richness of the world and the characters. What I personally can't take is the writing which is obviously for teenagers. I suppose what I don't understand is why so many adults enjoy them so much. I am instantly bored by the writing and the story. Still, I have friends who only read the classics (they can't even read Tolkien Shocked ) and they have the same reaction to my reading fantasy and sci-fi.

On a more general point any book that encourages children and young teens to read is a good one. What SRD says more than once in his interviews is that the most important thing is to involve the person's imagination in such a way as to lead them to identify with someone or something outside of themself. This engages the person in a humanising process that once begun is hard stop.

That leads me neatly back on thread because I have just been reading the 'Sons' chapter in FR and I was appalled at how the Sandgorgons were reintroduced (did SRD feel the need to use absolutely every last thread from the 1st and 2nd Chrons Mad ). Like I have said above,

[quote"ussusimiel"]It makes storytelling superfluous because it is reduced to a balancing of forces and then ensuring that the person who must win wins by pulling some trick.[/quote]

What a waste of a storytelling opportunity and what a waste if a person is a first-time reader without having read the 1st and 2nd Chrons. The couple of times that SRD had previously used Nom in the Chrons had been breathtaking in their evocation of the elemental power of a Sandgorgon. I always felt fear and awe when I read about them. Here they are treated as if they are pawns and just thrown into the back of Roger's Cavewight army. What was SRD thinking! Yeah, I know everybody is powerful now and the Sandgorgons are just another power but at least reintroduce us to the power as if it were something important. At least allow there to be some tension.

And on a technical point, there is absolutely no reason why the Sandgorgons should have answered Linden. The use of Nom's name only worked because of how the Kasreyn had formed Sandgorgons Doom. (And a final gripe: it says in the story that the Sandgorgons could have probabaly caught up with the retreating Cavewights. Could have?! Is there anything physically faster (that doesn't use magic) described in the Chrons? Rant Why SRD? Why? Why?)

Oh well, at least I have something totally new to look forward to as we approach Salva Gildenbourne *hopeful shrug*

u.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the Sandgorgons: you missed some things, and I have proof. I predicted their presence, and speculated on their possible roles [some pretty dark...but some hopeful cuz I liked them] before anyone but SRD even knew there might be a last chron's. I sent to the GI, and got a private response which [paraphrased and edited to avoid hints of spoilage] "On your comments, it shows you were thinking along lines I wanted people to think. On your speculations/question, sorry, that's RAFO."

On the subject of the power levels reducing story, and just making it all a balancing act, [or a correctly solvable equation might be more accurate analogy?], and/or relying on a "trick," I beg to differ. All fiction and much non-fiction has that mechanism on some level...but that's not the point. The difference [well, A difference] between balancing/formula and story is:
Which dominates...the fact and usage of power? Or the motives/personality/needs of the characters? I submit it is the latter...and one of the reasons SRD excels is because it is always the latter, no matter the scope and scale of power.
And a related/parallel/correlative aspect: the power/escalation of powers/variations of power aren't only there to "raise the stakes." There is the continuous reflection and reiteration of questions; what IS power? and what does it MEAN?...part and parcel with the questions on Ideal and material and Good and Evil and ethics and aesthetics. Real and Unreal. Truth and Beauty.
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