Kevin's Watch Forum Index
 HomeHome   MemberlistMemberlist   RegisterRegister   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   FAQFAQ   StatisticsStatistics  SudokuSudoku   Phoogle MapPhoogle Map 
 AlbumAlbum StoresStores   StoresItems Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The Belgariad...what's wrong with it?
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> General Fantasy/Sci-Fi Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
drew
Haligonian

Male
Joined: 12 Sep 2004
Posts: 7863

Thanks: 8
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts

Location: Canada
912 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what you're sying, is that you find Donaldson better author than Eddings...interesting Laughing

Like I said in my earlier post, I actually don't think Eddings is a poor authorl; he wrote the books quite well...I just see him as a slave to his formula...and possibly a slave to his Publisher.
_________________
I thought you were a ripe grape
a cabernet sauvignon
a bottle in the cellar
the kind you keep for a really long time
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
Matthias
Believer


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 151

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: St. George, Utah
225 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

variol son said: "Point 1 - Garion kills a god. A GOD! But nothing really happens, as a disembodied voice said it was ok."

In fantasy, i've come to understand that all gods in general are not omnipotent, immortal, un-killable beings. Gods can be described as an omnipotent being who is immortal but who is not un-killable. Just think of the greek and roman myths. Gods killed one another, it's a simple fact. If gods were immortal and unkillable, then how would they kill one another?

food for thought...

I think that's what Eddings wanted to do with Garion killing the god. Since Garion was the one driven by the "light prophecy", Eddings wanted to exclaim how powerful Garion truly was by demonstrating that he can kill a god. (almost equal to a god himself. Almost.)

variol son said: "Point 2 - One of the main characters in the second series becomes a god. Imagine what that will mean given the character's personality."

Well, i thought that after Eriond became a god, the story would be just a bit more interesting. The whole 'silent boy' thing was to provide intrigue. Eddings wanted us to question his being there in the first place. We knew he was going to do/be something important in the story, we just didn't know what. (which is one of the reasons why i continued to read)

variol son said: "Point 3 - No baddies. Oh sure, there was an insane god, his three disciples (one of them a former follower of a good god who betrayed his former master), a sorceress possessed by another disembodied voice, her chief acolyte who has freaky eyes, an evil priest, his evil priestess with scars carved into her face, a guy who summoned demons and two demon lords. But none of them actually threatened the goodies in any significant way."

Well, first i think 'baddies' should be defined. Did anyone know about them until they actually met? There were baddies in a general sense. these evil sorceresses/sorcerers/gods and whatnot. Did they know who garion was from the beginning? (now, i've not read the series in a while. Correct me if i'm wrong)

the god was comatose, as i remember, right? all the true baddies were trying to prepare for his "awakening" or something. (i think that was in the mallorean). the true threat to garion and the others was not being found by the Murgos--who hated them all. that was their immediate threat.

Okay, i admit. Now that i think about it, the ressurection was kinda lame. But i look at the good side of all novels. I'm a sucker that way. You can do anything in the fantasy world. (play god and toy around with your characters). but it's harder when you set straight rules from the beginning and you absolutely want something to happen in the end. a lot of serious fantasy tellers have set rules from the beginning. Eddings had rules on magic as did Goodkind, SRD and all the big names. It's hard to break those rules, and if you do, you start to lose the credibility from your audience.

In my opinion, Eddings did a good job of setting the rules and then following through. I tend to notice that in some of Goodkind's stories, he uses magic as a way out, (it's different) but i don't mind that. he hasn't broken any rules, he's just adding some as he goes along.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
variol son
Seer and Oracle


Joined: 05 Apr 2002
Posts: 5772

Thanks: 8
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts

Location: New Zealand
1188 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that is the key problem Matthias - rules. When you have a set of rules on how to write epic fantsy, you end up producing the same thing repeatedly. What's more, what you do produce isn't that flash because it was born out of process, not creativity.
_________________
You do not hear, and so you cannot be redeemed.

In the name of their ancient pride and humiliation, they had made commitments with no possible outcome except bereavement.

He knew only that they had never striven to reject the boundaries of themselves.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
Matthias
Believer


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 151

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: St. George, Utah
225 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, maybe "rules" was not a good term to use on my part. Perhaps, if i may, guidelines?? Those are more flexible than rules anyhow and leaves more room for creativity.

Eddings has created guidelines and uses them efficiently, in my opinion. I saw no significant plot element that repeats itself. The characters were always on the move, and never lingered long in one place. The plot always moved forward to the climax, no matter how many subplots there were. sure it was whimsical, and perhaps a little more childish...what audience do you suppose his novels were meant for? what age group? If it was meant for younger people--younger than you or i, then our argument is nullified because the author probably didn't care for critics.

At the time of my reading i enjoyed it and i will always have the memories with me from my youth.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
Variol Farseer
Retired High Lord

Male
Joined: 10 Nov 2002
Posts: 974

Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts


54 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Eddings has said specifically that he wrote following rules rules that cover every part of world-building, characterization, plotting, and the whole creative process not 'guidelines'. In one of his books I think it was The Rivan Codex he gasses on at great length about these rules, and basically tells all those young wannabe writers out there that they will be Rich and Famous if they follow his rules, and if they don't they will be Hopeless Failures (like Tolkien and SRD, presumably).

If the man is not an ass, he does a very good impression of one.
_________________
Without the Quest, our lives will be wasted.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Thanked by: Cord Hurn
Matthias
Believer


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 151

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: St. George, Utah
225 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not had the time nor patience to read the Rivan Codex. If he specifically says "rules", and says that we must follow him or be damned, then i'm going to have to read it to find out for my self because i wouldn't think that of Eddings.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
Variol Farseer
Retired High Lord

Male
Joined: 10 Nov 2002
Posts: 974

Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts


54 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you've read any of his series besides the Belgariad, you'll know that he follows the same formula over and over, with minor variations of characters and plot. He's the most repetitive and formulaic writer I can think of outside of the hardboiled detective field (which mostly died out decades ago).
_________________
Without the Quest, our lives will be wasted.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Matthias
Believer


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 151

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: St. George, Utah
225 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, i've read The Elenium. If i remember correctly, I didn't see many similarities, actually. Although i liked both the Belgariad and the Mallorean series better, the Elenium did show many differences from the two. It's been a long time, and i'm a long way away from any of his books at this moment. Perhaps you can draw the similarities? I'm not trying to prove you wrong, i just simply can't remember.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
drew
Haligonian

Male
Joined: 12 Sep 2004
Posts: 7863

Thanks: 8
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts

Location: Canada
912 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'Rules' listed in TRC are basically charactor driver.

He says you need a 'Knight" a 'Wixzard type know-it-all' a 'Doesn't-know-anything' and various charactors for these others too match wits with...and Love interests.

Also he says you need a quest, and (and I'm quoting directly here) a "Magic Thing-a-ma-jig"

Though honestly, I can't hink of too many stories that don't have these traits...it's just how you use them.
_________________
I thought you were a ripe grape
a cabernet sauvignon
a bottle in the cellar
the kind you keep for a really long time
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
Matthias
Believer


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 151

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: St. George, Utah
225 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so...could we possibly tie this thread in with the Fantasy Cliche thread or keep it separate?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
Avatar
Immanentizing The Eschaton


Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 53580

Thanks: 71
Thanked 146 Times in 143 Posts

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
16974 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran


PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately it's not possible to merge threads.

--A
_________________
Don't believe everything you think.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Phoogle Map
DukkhaWaynhim
My name is not Marvin

Male
Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 9151

Thanks: 30
Thanked 32 Times in 31 Posts

Location: Deep in thought
3132 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 I Love KW1 Thundarr the Barbarian1 Fragment of the Illearth Stone


PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the sake of refining our criticism, I think we should draw a distinction between in-story 'laws' and writing rules. To me, the in-story 'laws' are like the made-up mechanisms by which things work in a given story - The Will and the Word for Eddings, The Arch of Time for SRD, etc. Writing rules speak more about what internal or external rules of character development, plot, story arc, etc. the author is willing or determined to live by when writing the work itself.

I have not read The Rivan Codex, but I gather that it at some point involves Eddings waxing methodic about how to manufacture your own successful fantasy story from common household ingredients. That sounds like meta-writing to me, which I'm not that interested in, despite the fact (or perhaps especially because) I consider myself to be a fantasy writer. By strictly following his suggestions, you can write a story that will end up much like an Eddings work - which may be something that some people strive for. And why not? He has been very successful.

I wouldn't want to do that, however, even though I have enjoyed all the Eddings books that I've read so far. The stories I am writing are in my style, using elements that I find useful - and though the final work may stink horribly and never sell a single copy, they will be my own work. I wouldn't mind taking some advice on the writing elements part, but only from a comparison/contrast point of view, because I don't want my work to look derivative. But I would have no use for being told what in-story rules to have in stock to make a fantasy novel sell better. I don't want to write that way - and that may mean I'll never get published by DelRey... Wink

Anyway, I think it is important to keep story-internal rules apart from writing conventions, because they are very different in my mind. One I feel it is ok to share tips on - the other is creativity-choking and tantamount to plagiarism in my opinion.

A little closer to the original thread topic, let it be said that while I greatly enjoyed the Eddings books that I've read, I'm a Donaldson fan. I don't think there was anything wrong with The Belgariad - and it certainly entertained me. On the other hand, I feel like TCTC resonated with me - impacted me - changed me in some way. That may sound a little overboard to some ----but probably not to Watchers. Laughing

DW
_________________
"God is real, unless declared integer." - Unknown
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Matthias
Believer


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 151

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: St. George, Utah
225 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Post totally agree with you DW, i like the way you think.

I'm not particularly defending Eddings in any way. In the beginning, i was just curious to see what everyone thought of the series he had written.

As was stated above, perhaps some people strive for the, if you will, Eddings-esque style of writing. I know i don't, though i take some ideas that influenced me and twist them around to make them my own. i don't have a formula or a set of "rules" that define my story. Each story is made in the telling (or told in the making) which is, apparently, how Tolkien wrote. (using typewriters back then, the guy must have been in a living hell when he screwed up somewhere further up the way Confused)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
Nerdanel
Wrd's child in disguise


Joined: 24 May 2002
Posts: 770

Thanks: 1
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts


448 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord's Staff


PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I happen to think Eddings is horrible in every aspect of writing except perhaps spelling and grammar. I did like Pawn of Prophecy when I read it at 12 when it was first translated into Finnish, but every book after I was a little more disappointed. Because of a limited selection of fantasy books in the library, I kept reading far longer than was good for me. I hated how the Belgariad ended. I REALLY DEEPLY hated how the Mallorean ended - what a lousy ending for a lousy slog of a series - but I went on anyway on the hopes that the next one would suck less.

I've taken part on an extended thread on another board about the myriad ways in which Eddings sucks. It's actually really hard to write about that, since the subject is so broad.

So what did I like about Eddings: When I was little I enjoyed the fantasy adventure of it, even though it was really badly done. Silk was a reasonably tolerable character, at least when compared to the rest, but then Eddings had to get him married. Zakath was the only cool character in the entire bunch, but then Eddings had to REALLY make him suck and get him happily married.

I think my biggest single point of hate in the morass of hatability that is Eddings's literary body of work is how everything is so NICE and there is never any tension and the good guys have an awfully easy time happily murdering the idiotic bad guys with the not-really-necessary help of friendly gods and omnipotent artifacts. There's so much to hate...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Thanked by: Cord Hurn
drew
Haligonian

Male
Joined: 12 Sep 2004
Posts: 7863

Thanks: 8
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts

Location: Canada
912 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well now!! Hard to follow that one up.

I don't think Eddings is all that bad, as I said before, I think it's more his publisher more than anything. "That series was great Dave, lets have another one, try to use the same charactors, and kep the story similar"

The Codex is actually not bad, it does have the part where he dispelles his secrets and pretty much says himself that his formula works, so he's going to continue to use it; but much of the book is the background he worked on for the Bel/Mal--some of the histories of the races and Gods and such....I wish however he could have realized that not EVERYone for a particular race of people always acts the exact same!!


-I did lose some respect when I read Belgarath the Sorcerer; when he makes fun of the word "Puisance"
_________________
I thought you were a ripe grape
a cabernet sauvignon
a bottle in the cellar
the kind you keep for a really long time
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
matrixman
cheek turner


Joined: 10 Jul 2003
Posts: 8361

Thanks: 6
Thanked 28 Times in 27 Posts


8347 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nerdanel... Hail So what you're saying is you don't like Eddings? Laughing

DukkhaWaynhim wrote:
By strictly following his suggestions, you can write a story that will end up much like an Eddings work - which may be something that some people strive for. And why not? He has been very successful.

Smile And yet all of us here are quick to emphasize that we certainly don't intend to write the Eddings Way to Fame and Fortune. I recall Variol Farseer's earlier post:
Quote:
Really, I criticize Eddings from the point of view of a writer who is trying to sell work in the same field, which now is much more crowded and competitive than it was when he broke in. While a series like The Belgariad could certainly be published today, it would not sell one-tenth as well as it did then. In 1982, when Pawn of Prophecy came out, it was still possible for a reasonably dedicated fan to read every single fantasy novel published. And humorous fantasy was still quite rare at the time. The light-hearted banter with which Eddings' characters whiled away their adventures was new and refreshing then. Nowadays it's commonplace. Eddings' recent books haven't sold particularly well, as I understand, and even at that most of his sales are probably to his die-hard fans.

In short, I can't get away with writing the kind of stuff Eddings writes, because I haven't got his reputation to make it sell. By criticizing it, I remind myself of some of the pitfalls I have to avoid in my own work.

Farseer's cogent analysis (if you accept it) casts doubt on the notion that "easy" success today may be found if one follows Eddings's formula.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
DukkhaWaynhim
My name is not Marvin

Male
Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 9151

Thanks: 30
Thanked 32 Times in 31 Posts

Location: Deep in thought
3132 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 I Love KW1 Thundarr the Barbarian1 Fragment of the Illearth Stone


PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that fame and fortune may no longer be guaranteed for those who crank out a BelMalElen series, but I do find it interesting that we can all speak rather eloquently on the many areas in which Eddings falls short in comparison -- and we can do so because we've all read at least something that he's written.

Assuming that we've all experienced high school (secondary school, or whatever it is may be called in your locale), can we all agree that popularity does not need to be accompanied by character, quality, or even adequacy? Popular is as popular does, perhaps. My point is that we can likely prove via publishing records that Eddings achieved greater popularity than Donaldson via book sales, though I think we Watchers will unanimously herald Donaldson as the far superior author - however we bought and read both authors!

So, while we may all vow to strive for superiority in writing by not falling into slavish formulaic traps in our writing, I think we aspiring authors all crave the success that Eddings obviously has achieved, but perhaps with Donaldson's street cred. These aren't mutually exclusive events, of course - but we currently have neither, right?

I guess what I'm really saying is that though we certainly have our preferences, both authors deserve our respect for their achievements. Maybe they just belong in different subgenres? Are we truly comparing apples to apples here?

DW
_________________
"God is real, unless declared integer." - Unknown
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
ur-monkey
Prime-8


Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 244

Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Times in 1 Posts

Location: The Cretaceous
48 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing Laughing

I've laughed my head off in this thread! Well done everyone, some really funny and well-written observations. Cool

Personally, I think Eddings is a genius of phormulaic phantasy. Which is probably an oxymoron. But consider, people! The Belgariad is an entire series of shameless cliched King Arthur archetpes (without the Bizarre Love Triangle. That cliche was relegated to be played out by Mandorallen, Nerina and some old Brave Older Sir Knight whose name I forget). No-one cared about those characters anyway, so it lost all of it's impact. Very Happy I love Eddings because he's the diametric opposite of SRD. Between them they set the goalposts. All Other Fantasy Between Them Lies.

Wow, that's a tough one to explain here! bUT i SHALL TRY. Twisted Evil

Strangely, The Chronicles was the first fantasy series I ever read after LotR, and it totally blew my head off. I was hooked on fantasy from that point on. It seemed so vivid it shook me to the core. I just knew that no book or series was ever gonna totally enthrall me to quite the same extent again. And I don't think it ever has, 19 years later. But after reading it, boy did I want some light relief. I didn't know I was gonna get it from the very next series that I read, which was the Belgariad. It was like the yin to Donaldson's yang. (Or is it the other way round? Wink ) Smooth sailing and funny anecdotes all the way, just occasionally peppered with some truly fantastic writing, like that chapter one of you [Matrixman?] mentioned earlier with the drunk sailor contracting the plague from a prostitute in a sleazy medieval port town and then unwittingly transmitting it to the largest city in the world, where millions died in agony in order to conveniently provide a diversion for Garion and Co to escape Zakath's palace, where they were under house arrest (and they were refraining from kicking his ass because they kinda liked him). And it was all arranged by some disembodied voice of Prophecy that played games with the entire universe. Fantastic! Who else would dare? Big Grin It seemed like the sublime to the ridiculous for me. And I have an enormous love for the ridiculous. I was frankly staggered that I could really enjoy such vastly different writing styles and approaches to character and taste. And what did that say about my own sense of taste? Eddings Garion books are a guilty pleasure, sure, but don't we just love our guilty pleasures? Wink

No other fantasy writer has quite that effect, for some reason. They may do Eddings' cheesiness and formulaic writing but they're nowhere near as much fun. It's all processed cheese. Eddings' cheese stinks so much better. Laughing Laughing Laughing How can you bring yourself to take it seriously? It's a comic in epic fantasy format. And fair play to it for being so! Razz

SRD, however, is a banquet.
_________________
Quin, suffering from total amnesia, slowly discovers himself possessed of inexplicable abilities as his world expands...

http://www.quinsabduction.org/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ur-monkey
Prime-8


Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 244

Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Times in 1 Posts

Location: The Cretaceous
48 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't mean, of course, that all other fantasy writers are processed cheese. Just most of 'em.

I adore Julian May (but that's sci-fi really!), have a lingering affection for the Dragonlance Chronicles, Ursula le guin is superb, Raymond Feist & Janny Wurts have many great moments, Terry Pratchett did a handful of good books, and I haven't read any Erikson yet. But I've read plenty of stuff that's far worse than Eddings because it takes itself too seriously.
_________________
Quin, suffering from total amnesia, slowly discovers himself possessed of inexplicable abilities as his world expands...

http://www.quinsabduction.org/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Horrim Carabal
Unlikely Ally

Male
Joined: 01 Jan 2011
Posts: 517

Thanks: 21
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
516 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Courser1 Earthblood1 Glimmermere


PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did I miss all these threads about David Eddings?

Apparently I'm 11 years too late to make fun of him in this thread.

Screw it! I know I shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but I'm going to do it anyway.

When you tell people how bad Eddings's writing is, and they reply with "oh, so you could write a better fantasy series?" the correct response is "yeah, probably."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> General Fantasy/Sci-Fi Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 3 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by Earthpower © Kevin's Watch