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Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby fuzzygeek » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:41 am

KysenMurrin wrote:I guess Lewis does make something of a point that over time once they're out of Narnia they tend to start forgetting their lives there, or at least remembering it more like a dream than reality. But Narnia's a relatively simplistic series in everything but the symbolism and allegory.


Yeah, I remember the fading over time effect -- Easy Amnesia, as it were. Still, even fading over time had to be insanely jarring.

Peter: "Yesterday I was High King of Narnia. Today Mrs. Macready is telling me to finish my kippers."

I could write a one line description of Peter at the beginning and at the end of the novel that would be exactly the same! :D

But I kid.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Arnock » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:04 pm

Not entirely sure where one would draw the conclusion that LotR's characters have no development. Some characters are developed and explained more than others, yes, but none of the 9 fellowship members are 'cardboard cut-outs' at least.

Frodo
Frodo starts off in Fellowship as a fairly 'naive' character. He grew up listening and enjoying Bilbo's tales and songs of adventure, but his heart is in the shire. When Gandalf first tells Frodo of the danger of the ring, Frodo's only motivation for leaving is to bring the ring out of the shire so Sauron's minions aren't brought down upon it. He wants to bring the ring to Rivendell, let others handle it, and then head back home to the shire. He takes the ring further, because he realizes that there isn't anyone else suited to take it.

Throughout the trilogy, Frodo's motivations begin to shift, as frodo journies closer to Mordor, he begins to realize that there are bigger things going on in the world outside of his home in the shire. Though frodo's motivations change, his heart still truly is in the shire, and he's always longing to go home.

Frodo's decision to leave Middle Earth isn't really an ass-pull in my opinion. It's a combination of two things. For one thing, he's changed, while the shire hasn't. At the end of the trilogy, Frodo has crossed the world twice over, and been through hell and back. He realizes that he's changed as a person, and doesn't feel that he has a place in the shire anymore. Furthermore, Middle Earth as a whole is changing, the age of elves, wizards, and rings of power is ending, and he feels that he no longer has a place in this new age of men.

Though it's a more of a 'minor' point, Frodo is also in pain, both from his wounds at the hands of the witch king and shelob, and his journey to the undying lands offers a release from that pain.



Sam

Sam's character development was explained fairly well earlier in the thread, but as a summary: Sam the gardener, who's main concerns upon departure were his fear gandalf would turn him into something 'unnatural' and that he forgot to pack rope, is not the same Sam who killed shelob, rescued Frodo, and willingly carried him up an erupting volcano to finish their quest.



Aragorn

Admittedly, Aragorn isn't developed quite as much in the books as he was in the films. He certainly does grow as a character, but it's much more subtle.

In the books, Aragorn doesn't ever really show any reluctance to become the king of Gondor. He clearly states that he is Isildur's Heir fairly early on in the books, and he also states that he will claim his throne in Gondor.

Aragorn's change comes as he realizes what it truly means to be king, especially through his experiences in Rohan, Aragorn's character grows from a woodsman and ranger into a king.



Boromir

Boromir's Character only really appears in the second half of Fellowship, so there isn't a huge opportunity for him to go through a lot of development. But, his attempt to steal the ring doesn't exactly come out of nowhere either. In the meeting at rivendell, Boromir urges the council of Elrond to send the ring to Gondor so it might be used as a weapon against sauron. And, after Gandalf dies, he and Aragorn are constantly arguing over their next course of action. Boromir advocates traveling to Minas Tirith to regroup before moving on to Mordor, while Aragorn wanted to travel a different way.


Gimli/Legolas

I might as well talk about them together, seeing as their relationship is where you see most of their development. In Fellowhip, there is a fair amount of animosity between the two. Not only is this caused by the cultural dislike between the two races, but also Legolas' father captured and imprisoned Gimli's father in The Hobbit, and the two almost fought eachother in a war.

As they travel, their friendship grows and they move beyond their innate hatred to one another.


I'm running out of time here, so I'll try to make the next few fairly brief.


Merry/Pippin

They start off the series as fairly immature, and don't take everything very seriously. As the trilogy progresses, they become more responsible, as they move the ents to take out Isengard, and join the forces of Rohan and Gondor in the siege of Minas tirith, and Pippin joins in the march on the Black Gates


Gandalf

Admittedly, Gandalf doesn't change a lot through the trilogy, but given that he's supposed to be an immortal being who's been around for several thousand years, it's somewhat understandable.

The transition of Gandalf from Grey to White isn't neutral to good, it has more to do with his position or role in both the order of the wizards, and Middle Earth in general. The 'white' wizard is the leader of the order, and because Sauruman turned evil, that role passed to Gandalf. As part of this transformation, Gandalf becomes less of an advisor, and takes a much more active role in the happenings of Middle Earth.





Though, with all of this considered, in the end LotR isn't a character-driven story. Tolkein's style is more reminiscent of some of the greek epics than a modern novel. His motivation is telling a story in a description of events, rather than the experiences of individuals.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby fuzzygeek » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:45 am

KysenMurrin wrote:LotR is celebrated because it was something big and different, the first of its kind. You can debate its literary worth all you like, but what matters is its influence.


This is a fascinating article, not the least because it was written my Michael Moorcock. Given he was one of the progenitors of the new wave movement (Zelazny, another hugely influential writer of the movement, is one of my favorite writers as well), it is not surprising the he has problems with the tone of material written in the early 20th that is this bizarre mix of romanticism and Dickens. I have a degree in English literature, and most of my studies were focused on the Romantics, which is funny, because I *hate* them. But then, I've always found it easier to have more to say about something I don't like than something I do.

In the article Moorcock gives significant props to Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence, which I adored growing up to the point of memorizing its core poem. It's something special that'll inspire a ten year old to memorize poetry for fun.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Arnock » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:50 pm

Just finished reading Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, and It's an EXCELLENT book.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby fuzzygeek » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:31 pm

I read Neal Stephenson's REAMDE a few days ago, which is a lark. There's a number of strong WoW references, which was interesting. It is ridiculous the way everything comes together at the end, but still hugely satisfying if you enjoy this kind of thing.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Kelaan » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:35 pm

Fivelives wrote:How many times have you seen the movies based on the trilogy, Kelaan?

Here's an exercise. Re-read the books and write a one-sentence summary of each character in them in each book. See how much the sentences differ once you're done with the trilogy.

...


To me, in order to be a "good" book, your characters have to evolve. They have these grand, dramatic adventures, and those adventures should change them on a grand and dramatic scale.


Sorry to return late to the fray. I've read the novels twice through, but not since seeing the movies. However, the more in-depth discussion of how they change that someone else posted above is very much in line with my own feelings: they do change. Not all of the characters, mind you, but they do. Merry and Pippin and Sam, especially, change a great deal. Gandalf changes a lot, as well -- he's still a powerful wizard, but his role in relation to mankind changes a little. Mainly it's a title change, in relation to his ousting of Saruman as The White, but he still is fleshed out a great deal.

In D&D terms, the hobbits start at level 1 and end at, say, level 12 or 15 (or more). Aragorn starts maybe level 10 or 12, ends maybe 16-20. Gandalf, however, is already practically the definition of the Epic Helper Character, from the party perspective. He magically saves their bacon all the time, and most of their problems happen when he's not around. ;) He "levels up" when he fends off the Balrog, and all that, effectively -- but the impression is that he's been a Force of Magic (as all the magi were) for a Very Long Time before the story. Comparatively speaking, it's OK for him not to change a whole lot, IMO. After all, the story is about Frodo and the hobbits (and the Age of Man), more than it is about him.

However, I don't think the characters have to change substantially to make a good book. The Foundation trilogy, for example, doesn't have much in that vein (unless you count the civilization itself as a "character", which does make sense). Still, I think it's disingenuous to say that the characters in LotR don't change.
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Re: Recommended Reading?(Fantasy)

Postby Lexica_Wildhammer » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:39 am

If they have no been mentioned already I really enjoyed the Warhammer books about Nagash.

Nagash the Sorceror, Nagash the unbroken and Nagash the Immortal.

Not exactly amazing writing but good stories.
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