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Cliffhanger Ending?

 
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Ur-Lord a-Jeroth
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject: Cliffhanger Ending? Reply with quote

I just read the blurb on Amazon to find that Fatal Revenant will have an ending that "is the kind of cliff-hanger that should have readers returning to see how it and the remaining adventures play out".

Does anyone else miss the days when each novel was more-or-less self contained? In the First Chronicles, each book had a clear ending which resolved the main issues. The overall war against the Despiser remained, but the Quest for the Staff, the War and Search for the Seventh Ward, and the Final Showdown were all completely fleshed out. Similarly, in the Second Chronicles, there were clear-cut endings to each installment. Although Covenant did not return home at the end of each book, each part reconciled the overarching motivation/quest. In LFB/TWL, the quest for the staff/knowledge is met with hope. In TIW/TOT, the quest is met with despair and failure yet survival, and in TPTP/WGW, the climax is ended with a sense of fulfillment and peace.

It appears that Donaldson has changed his format for the Last Chronicles. In ROTE, there is no sense of completion to the story. We are left with a cliffhanger and thousands of questions. Yes, Linden recovers the SoL, but several new conflict arise that are unanswered and hanging. Based on the Amazon blurb, it appears the FR will follow suit.

For me, each previous novel was made more powerful by the intense emotions at the end of each book. In LFB I felt the excitement and hope in Prothall (and Covenant) as the Quest for the Staff is saved by the Ranyhyn with the SoL in their possession. In TIW, I felt the anguish in Covenant at the loss of Elena in addition to feeling despair at the demise of the Lords and the Land and the hopelessness of their plight. In TWL, I again felt hope as Covenant embarked on his quest, while TOT again left me in despair at his failure. Endings such as these allow the reader to sit back, revel in their emotions, and reflect on the characters’ actions and their consequences/outcomes. While we wonder what will happen next, we understand that the future is for another story. This story however, has reached is culmination point, and resolved itself. Endings such as ROTE leave the reader like a coiled spring, unable to anticipate which way to erupt, and unable to reflect as their minds are wholly captured by the thought of what will come next. At the end of ROTE, I wasn’t able to share Linden’s frustration with the Masters or feel hope that she mastered the caesure to find the SoL. Rather for days all I could think of was, “What?! That’s Covenant?!”

What if LFB had ended with Bannor putting Covenant’s hand on the SoL and the reader not knowing whether the Quest had survived? What if TIW had ended with the Commanding of Kevin by Elenda, but did not show us the consequences? In TWL, would we have felt the same if the book ended with Covenant’s life ebbing away in the middle of the Soothtell? How about in TOT if we ended with the cavern erupting in stars and Seadreamer mouthing “No!”? Endings such as these would not have left me with such a powerful feeling as I put down the book. No doubt, it would have kept me in line to buy the next book, but it would not have had the same deep impact.

In any case, the intention of my rambling is to see what other people think. I understand the Donaldson might be trying to step out from the mold he created for the first two chronicles, but this makes me think that he has a lack of faith in his own writing- that he is worried that readers will not return unless he hooks them into coming back with a cliffhanger. Thoughts? (Sorry for the long post……….)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that all the other stories built up to bring us to this final culminating journey which spans four books. This is the big finale and as such is written a bit differently. It's not as though he is trying to snare readers with a cliffhanger but rather that this journey is so big and so epic that it just can't be resolved in one book. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a-Jeroth, I certainly see what you're saying with respect to the 1st Chrons. But, the second are a little different. If I remember right, according to what SRD said in the GI, (sorry, don't have the link Embarassed )the 2nd chron would have been 4 volumes as well, and it was a publishing decision to make it a trilogy. So the divisions there would have been different. The first book would have ended with the confrontation with the Clave. The second book would have been the introduction of the giants, and the section with the Elohim. Book three would have been Braithairealm (I'm sure I butchered that spelling Smile ) and the one tree. The 4th volume would have been WGW pretty much as is.

So that changes things a little. Certainly, book 2 would have ended with a cliffhanger, with the companions captured by the Elohim, as the "Escape from Elohim" chapter wouldn't occur until the next book.

But I do understand your frustration. ROTE certainly didn't have that closure sense that many of the other books do, and it sort of sounds like FR may not either. But I don't think it's done by any lack of faith in his own writing on his part (I certainly hope not). As Jenn said, I'm sure he's just going for a different feel this time, deliberately.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fatal Revenant Spoilers Galore! I suggest moving this thread before someone else gets spoiled.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

? I didn't think this was full of spoilers. Shocked Did I miss something? Confused
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I missed it too, Jenn. Sorry, though, Wayfriend.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, sorry Way if I ruined anything for you inadvertantly. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although not technicall a spoiler, just the fact that FR ends with another cliff hanger could be considered by some as spoiler material. Moved to FR forum.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meh, I like cliffhangers, as long as they arent unbelievably arbitrary. The end of FR isn't really cliffhangery, the narrative just unfolds into something unexpected and then the end.

I just think that the way Donaldson tells stories has changed, this is simply a much more intricate narrative than the 1st chrons, it's a little more GAPish.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any guesses on what the POV will be for the next book? Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can still see this thread from the Runes forum, though I had to log in to click on it. However, all you have to do is hover your mouse over it in the Runes forum to learn that FR ends in a cliff hanger (REALLY wish I didn't know that, but Pat5150 spoiled that already).
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't remove the shadow topic. I'll ask an admin to help.
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