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Nateskate
06-01-2005, 02:36 AM
I'm not saying there aren't any interesting characters in modern fantasy, but I'm wondering why there aren't a great deal of beloved characters.

Sure, Luke Skywalker, and Hans Solo were memorable, but they started in movies, not in books.

It seemed, "Once upon a time," as soon as you spoke about a story, a beloved character was always on the tip of your tongue. I may simply be missing the memos. Are there still characters that endearing being written? Have I just picked up the wrong stories, where the current fantasy formulas leave them out?

What say you?

Brainerd T.
06-01-2005, 03:37 AM
I think Kathryn Kurtz has some great characters from the Deryni series, especiallly Rhys. Also, Stephen R. Donaldson has a winner (anti-hero or loser may be a better word) in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever. I've read both sixlets twice. (two sets of three for each author) Donaldson is long but is well worth the read.

Most other authors paint one dimensional characters. I'm with you on that.

whitehound
06-01-2005, 06:27 AM
There are several extremely likeable and loveable characters in Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, and a few in his The War of the Flowers. All books by Terry Pratchett are absolutely stiff with memorable and likeable characters.

On the SF front, my all-time favourite works of SF are CJ Cherryth's Chanur series, and they are my favourites largely because the characters are so memorable and (in most cases) so atractive.

But characters do tend to be more complicated now I think, and not so straightforwardly virtuous as Frodo. To my mind the most vividly loveable character in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn - the one whose fate you most worry over - <SPOILER> is an ageing, very straightlaced and honourable knight who has had a nervous breakdown after having an affair with his best friend's wife and getting her pregnant.

mdin
06-01-2005, 12:34 PM
I think his name is Harry Potter.

Nateskate
06-01-2005, 04:14 PM
Perhaps HP is to a degree. I'm not interested in the series, but watched his latest film on a flight from Europe, and was more irritated by his "growing up." I think from what little I've seen, he's lost his cuteness, and seemed to have more attitude, than earlier presentations. At times he seemed a bit arrogant and vendictive, venting his teen angst.

I will, however, look into some of the other series mentioned. I have a close friend who is a Tad Williams fanatic. My only prejudice is that I'm overwhelmed by a book that's a thousand pages of small print.

I do like well done flawed characters, but for me to like them, they can't be all dark and no light.

Sarita
06-01-2005, 04:36 PM
I think his name is Harry Potter.

I liked Harry Potter in books, on screen he's annoying... I wouldn't call him the next Frodo in terms of nobility or character (the other HP characters pick up a lot of his slack) but in terms of appeal, I think JKR has cornered the market.

Thomas Covenant was great, but I hated him personally. I still think if we met in a dark alley I'd have to kick his shins and run. (*gasp* or maybe worse).

But I think Nate has a point. No one will ever be able to repeat what Tolkien did in terms of character and universal appeal. Who could ever replace Frodo, anyway? Who would want him to be replaced? I think this generation's Frodo is still Frodo. He's become quite popular again and kids everywhere know his name. I would wager that he's more well known than Harry Potter.

Brainerd T.
06-01-2005, 05:01 PM
Bravo! What you said about Covenant is exactly right. He is scary. He was NOT a good person. He deserved to die. I kept thinking, "So, DIE!, pervert" But then, if he died, so would the pretext of the book.
_________________
(not on topic) I like what a preacher of mine once said "A text without a context is just a pretext". (That......was a joke. ......Never mind..........You didn't get it either?....Oh. I just need to clear my throat while I continue whistling as if it never happened)

Nateskate
06-01-2005, 06:13 PM
I liked Harry Potter in books, on screen he's annoying... I wouldn't call him the next Frodo in terms of nobility or character (the other HP characters pick up a lot of his slack) but in terms of appeal, I think JKR has cornered the market.

Thomas Covenant was great, but I hated him personally. I still think if we met in a dark alley I'd have to kick his shins and run. (*gasp* or maybe worse).

But I think Nate has a point. No one will ever be able to repeat what Tolkien did in terms of character and universal appeal. Who could ever replace Frodo, anyway? Who would want him to be replaced? I think this generation's Frodo is still Frodo. He's become quite popular again and kids everywhere know his name. I would wager that he's more well known than Harry Potter.

In the book, Frodo didn't appeal to me as much as Sam. Aragorn seemed a bit too "He-man" in the book. Unlike others, if you read the book as an adult, your perception of characters is a bit different.

I liked Eowyn. She was a complex character, and I loved her interaction with Aragorn before the paths of the dead, where she is so desperate, she wants to go with him, even if it's a suicide mission, as she pressumed it to be.

I think there's just something very refreshing in having a character you wish so much to be real, and long that you could meet them.

Sarita
06-01-2005, 06:20 PM
In the book, Frodo didn't appeal to me as much as Sam. Aragorn seemed a bit too "He-man" in the book. Unlike others, if you read the book as an adult, your perception of characters is a bit different.

I liked Eowyn. She was a complex character, and I loved her interaction with Aragorn before the paths of the dead, where she is so desperate, she wants to go with him, even if it's a suicide mission, as she pressumed it to be.

I think there's just something very refreshing in having a character you wish so much to be real, and long that you could meet them.
Frodo seemed untouchable to me. Sam seemed more real, like someone I could aspire to be. Eowyn.... sigh. She was, by far, my favorite character out of ANY book, ever. And after you read Simarillion and understand all of the references that Tolkien underscored in her... wow. I could cry right now, thinking about her trials and tribulations and she's not real. But I suspect that at some point in time she was. A character that deep and strong had to have concrete roots.

veinglory
06-01-2005, 06:30 PM
Ged from the Earthsea trilogy is sightly more modern.

robeiae
06-01-2005, 09:26 PM
You can't repeat Frodo; it would be too obvious.

How 'bout Brust: Vlad Taltos, he's not anyhting like Frodo but he is a helluva character!

Better yet, Zelazny: Corwin, he's got all the postives and his biggest negative is that he (like Vlad) is a smart-azz.

Personally, I was always more of a Merry man myself!

Rob :)

Vomaxx
06-01-2005, 10:43 PM
Her name is Andiriel, but you won't be able to read about her until my book gets published. :)

AmberJennell
06-02-2005, 12:39 AM
Ok, I probably shouldn't say this here, but I never liked Frodo. I always thought he got all the credit when all he did was... well, walk. Bilbo and Sam, I liked, but not Frodo.

As for memorable characters, when Tolken's stories came out, there weren't as many fantasies as there are now. He was, basically, the starting point for the fantasy genre. I believe that's what makes his characters so memorable, there wasn't anything else.

I've always like the characters from Ann McKafrey's Pern series. I can name most of the main characters, what they like, how they act, and I haven't read a Pern book for over 8 years. But that could also be because she was what I first read when entering the world of fantasies.

And for Harry Potter, being angry and a teenager is simply what he is. That's the whole point of the stories, his growing in body and character. If you read several books where the character doesn't change, you'd put it down and never touch it again.

Rob, love'd Zelazny's Corwin. I was kinda ticked the way the story paned out, though. (spoiler) never did like when the main character 'disappears'.

Nateskate
06-02-2005, 02:51 AM
Frodo seemed untouchable to me. Sam seemed more real, like someone I could aspire to be. Eowyn.... sigh. She was, by far, my favorite character out of ANY book, ever. And after you read Simarillion and understand all of the references that Tolkien underscored in her... wow. I could cry right now, thinking about her trials and tribulations and she's not real. But I suspect that at some point in time she was. A character that deep and strong had to have concrete roots.

I'm a paradox, in that I loved the movie Frodo more than any other character, in the books or in the movies. In fact, if you can be inspired by a character portrayal, that depiction still inspires me. I liked movie Aragorn much more than book Aragorn, because in the movie, you see his inner torment, whereas in the book, he comes across as "He-man" puffing out his chest in a pinch.

I still listen to the soundtrack of F.O.T.R regularly. I have to say, Peter Jackson may not know it, but he had a profound impact on me, turning me on to Tolkien, and with his portrayal of characters in the movie.

Nateskate
06-02-2005, 02:54 AM
Her name is Andiriel, but you won't be able to read about her until my book gets published. :)

You're such a tease.

Nateskate
06-02-2005, 03:00 AM
And for Harry Potter, being angry and a teenager is simply what he is. That's the whole point of the stories, his growing in body and character. If you read several books where the character doesn't change, you'd put it down and never touch it again.


Thanks for the list of book recommendations.
As far as the "growing up" thing, I can only comment on a portrayal of the book, as I've never been into the book. Perhaps some people have identified with him, strengths and weaknesses from the getgo, and that will color their opinion.

I just walked in during what may be considered one of Harry's bad days, when he happened to be feeling vendictive.

As far as the "growth" thing, I'm with you there. But I like to see the good angel/bad angel turmoil. I love conflicted characters.

azbikergirl
06-02-2005, 05:55 AM
I really like Drizzt Do'Urden, the dark elf of RA Salvatore's imagination.

Nateskate
06-02-2005, 05:07 PM
I really like Drizzt Do'Urden, the dark elf of RA Salvatore's imagination.

The name is rather odd. Are all the names like that?

Hummingbird
06-02-2005, 09:23 PM
I never really liked Frodo either. Sam was more real to me.
But, my most memorial character in books I've read from the past is the Unicorn (Lady Amalthia) in 'The Last Unicorn' Even though she wasn't human or had all the human emotions, you could feel what she was feeling. Once she was human, then you could feel her regret, sadness, and everything else that was new to her.

New stories... hm... I'd say either Soren from the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, or Harry Potter. Soren is so cute. He's an owl (I love animal starring books. ;) ) He does what he can, messes up, values his friends, and finds a way of keeping the bad guys away from heart and home. You can't feel the emotion as strong as in The Last Unicorn, but it works.

azbikergirl
06-03-2005, 03:22 AM
The name is rather odd. Are all the names like that?
No, most of his characters have more easily pronounced names.

Lenora Rose
06-03-2005, 07:23 AM
I think it is in part because Tolkien was the start of the fantasy genre as it is today, but for a slightly different reason.

There are TONS of compelling characters out there in the genre now, some as compelling as Tolkien's. But the genre is so big no afficionado will have read every book.

Someone made this comment at a convention regarding Science Fiction, but it's true all around Spec Fic. In the early days, everyone could talk about all the books, good or bad, because there were few enough authors an avid reader could actually keep up with all the books released in a given year. There were this eyar's books, and ahandful of rereleased classics (Dunsany et al), and little else. So everyone knew Frodo. NOW, not only are there all the books released this year, but all the books released last year, and the year before... and every year for the past five decades, and all the older classics. There's no author everyone is guaranteed to have even tried to read. I've never read Terry Brooks. I've read very little Robert Jordan. On the other hand, I would consider Ellen Kushner a must-read, and there are a ton of people who wouldn't touch her books.

So discuss all you like, and nobody will come up with a list everyone can agree on, because nobody will have read all the choices.

:tongue Not that it can't be fun to debate (I'd vote for Miles Vorkosigan. Yes, SF, but he's darn close to as compelling as anything Tolkien could do. Vlad Taltos is a good vote though. Robin McKinleys' Aerin was one of my childhood heroines. And there's always today's answer to Alice in Wonderland or Lucy from the Narnia books: Coraline.)

Nateskate
06-04-2005, 08:53 PM
I think it is in part because Tolkien was the start of the fantasy genre as it is today, but for a slightly different reason.

There are TONS of compelling characters out there in the genre now, some as compelling as Tolkien's. But the genre is so big no afficionado will have read every book.

Someone made this comment at a convention regarding Science Fiction, but it's true all around Spec Fic. In the early days, everyone could talk about all the books, good or bad, because there were few enough authors an avid reader could actually keep up with all the books released in a given year. There were this eyar's books, and ahandful of rereleased classics (Dunsany et al), and little else. So everyone knew Frodo. NOW, not only are there all the books released this year, but all the books released last year, and the year before... and every year for the past five decades, and all the older classics. There's no author everyone is guaranteed to have even tried to read. I've never read Terry Brooks. I've read very little Robert Jordan. On the other hand, I would consider Ellen Kushner a must-read, and there are a ton of people who wouldn't touch her books.

So discuss all you like, and nobody will come up with a list everyone can agree on, because nobody will have read all the choices.

:tongue Not that it can't be fun to debate (I'd vote for Miles Vorkosigan. Yes, SF, but he's darn close to as compelling as anything Tolkien could do. Vlad Taltos is a good vote though. Robin McKinleys' Aerin was one of my childhood heroines. And there's always today's answer to Alice in Wonderland or Lucy from the Narnia books: Coraline.)

I love old books, AKA Alice in Wonderland. I'm just reading Narnia now.

Tolkien was an odd duck as a writer. He mostly projected character through situations, and not through inner dialogue. The reader is left reading into what Eowyn or Frodo was thinking. With that said, he was very insightful, just not conventional.

I think C.S Lewis is an odd writer as well, but in a different way. I love the idea of Screwtape Letters, everything, but I didn't particularly like his writing style, and felt it could have been done in a more "everyman" format. If I tried to write screwtape, I'd have approached it completely differently. But I must admit, his metaphorical style influenced many writers, including myself.

I think he was one of the first, who wasn't actually speaking from a black arts perspective, who really tries to get into the devil's head in a sophisticated way. I think the portrayal of "pure evil" is an art. In my WIP, I lean a little more Screwtape than Silmarillion, in that you don't have even a seed of noble intentions. However, the evil beings in my Universe have certain elements that might remind some of the Valar. as opposed to demons, but with a great deal more complexity.

Tom Cruise said that he had to get into the mind of a Vampire to portray Leshtat (Spelling???) in Interview with the Vampire. In otherwords, a Vampire doesn't see himself as evil. In his mind he justifies his view, as most people try to do. So, a purely evil being sees virtue as a flaw and a weakness, or worse. To him, "Good is evil, and evil is good", thus, they make perfect political spin doctors.

The funny thing is, pure evil dwelling with pure evil, is actually comical, until you realize your species is the intended victim. But as a third person observer, an entire species of evil creatures dwelling together, without virtue, can't be loyal, can't be faithful, and can't be loving. In otherwords, they can only be motivated by hate, anger, greed, covetousness, or fear of reprisal. But they still have to have some kind of heirarchy, and get along. So, you have constant bickering, backbitting, and undermining, while still trying to accomplish a goal.

Picture a creature, who is something like a Demon with attention deficit disorder. You know he's always going to be late. He's going to get lost, and forget assignments. You almost pity the creature, because you know he's going to get it when the boss finds out how he's screwed up. And yet, this creature has such contempt for your race, that he'd mutilate you and your loved ones at the drop of a hat if he could.

Shai
06-05-2005, 01:00 AM
Where is the Frodo of this age?
Frodo Baggins currently lives in British Columbia (not going to say which city for privacy). I kid thee not; I used to work for the phone company in the directory division and the listing really does exist. I cannot imagine the life this person must have led while the movies were out.

On topic, though... I think this is really a subjective question overall. The Frodo of this time can be in any book depending on the person. But who has time to read everything? You might read one book and decide you've found your Frodo, but then read another book, either hot off the press or one that has been on the shelves for a while but never previously caught your interest, and suddenly you feel you have to change your mind. He might always be lurking around the next cover...

Nateskate
06-05-2005, 03:34 AM
Frodo Baggins currently lives in British Columbia (not going to say which city for privacy). I kid thee not; I used to work for the phone company in the directory division and the listing really does exist. I cannot imagine the life this person must have led while the movies were out.

On topic, though... I think this is really a subjective question overall. The Frodo of this time can be in any book depending on the person. But who has time to read everything? You might read one book and decide you've found your Frodo, but then read another book, either hot off the press or one that has been on the shelves for a while but never previously caught your interest, and suddenly you feel you have to change your mind. He might always be lurking around the next cover...

I talked with a friend who works at a Barnes and Nobles. I asked specifically, "I'd like to read a character driven fantasy; what would you suggest." When we were done talking about most books in the Genre, he couldn't think of many. Then we got talking about sub-genre, and essentially fairy tales and mythology. But again, this is a matter of where you categorize things, which differs from person to person.

azbikergirl
06-05-2005, 06:39 PM
I talked with a friend who works at a Barnes and Nobles. I asked specifically, "I'd like to read a character driven fantasy; what would you suggest." When we were done talking about most books in the Genre, he couldn't think of many. Then we got talking about sub-genre, and essentially fairy tales and mythology. But again, this is a matter of where you categorize things, which differs from person to person.
This surprises me. Thinking back, I'd say most of the fantasy I've read (and written) is character-driven. How do you define 'character-driven?'

Eric Summers
06-08-2005, 08:07 PM
It's hard to come up with a "beloved" modern fantasy character, but I will try to dig into my vaults.

Lord Mhoram. He was a subcharacter in the Thomas Covenant series, but he was my favorite. When I think of the Covenant series (the original 3), he is usually the one I think about.

Belgarath and Polgara from David Eddings books. I really liked that Polgara was given her own book, before that book I kinda thought she was annoying, but once you read her entire history, knew all of the pain that she had endured, she suddenly turns into a favorite character.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot from the Dragonlance Series. Nothing really deep about this character, but he is great fun, breaks up a lot of seriousness in the Dragonlance books, especially the darker "Time of the Twins" cycle.

Tyrion Lannister. I started off the "Song of Fire and Ice" series absolutely hating this guy, but now well into book 3 I would be perfectly happy if the rest of the books did nothing but focus on him.

whitehound
06-09-2005, 06:41 AM
But, my most memorial character in books I've read from the past is the Unicorn (Lady Amalthia) in 'The Last Unicorn' Even though she wasn't human or had all the human emotions, you could feel what she was feeling. Once she was human, then you could feel her regret, sadness, and everything else that was new to her.Oh, *yes* _and_ Shmendrick and Molly Grue and poor old King Haggard and the prince whose name I forget - they were all such vivid, interesting characters. It's one of those books which gets into your head and informs how you see the world.

Qalyar
06-09-2005, 09:06 AM
I really like Drizzt Do'Urden, the dark elf of RA Salvatore's imagination.

I liked Drizzt when he debuted. He was an interesting character, born from a culture of utter depravity, and fighting to become something better.

But ... I feel he's suffered from "too-much-spotlight-itis." Unwilling to risk harm to such a popular and lucrative figure, Salvatore has slowly changed Drizzt into a juggernaut, far less mortal and fallible than he ought to be; even his mistakes are now rarely more than preludes for a greater heroic defiance of the odds. It doesn't help that I've never been a fan of Salvatore's writing style. I find his descriptions, especially of combat, to be uninspiring in particular.

I'll admit, the most recent trilogy has potrayed a slightly more approachable Drizzt than the previous few works, but at this point, I'd really like to see something different. Salvatore's Drizzt, like all of the Forgotten Realms iconic characters, forgets when his story should be done. He forgets that great heroes are great because they have weaknesses, and faults, and because, in the end, they are mortal too, and can die. Drizzt will never, I would wager money, die on screen, just like Elminster and the Seven Sisters and their cousins in Dragonlance. Even those who have succumbed to death, find it temporary at best (Elminster's stint in Hell is brief; the dead member of the Sisters persists as a ghost with increasingly large ability to interact).

I'd like to see someone make a take on epic fantasy fiction where the recurrant characters risk the real risks of the setting: injury, illness, death. That doesn't make them less of heroes, it makes them more so. To be brave in the face of immortality requires only moral rectitude. To be brave in the face of your own fate takes heroics.

Maybe I ought to get back to writing. =p

brokenfingers
06-09-2005, 09:16 AM
I'd like to see someone make a take on epic fantasy fiction where the recurrant characters risk the real risks of the setting: injury, illness, death. That doesn't make them less of heroes, it makes them more so. To be brave in the face of immortality requires only moral rectitude. To be brave in the face of your own fate takes heroics.

If you haven't read George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, you definitely should. The first book is A Clash of Kings.

Not only is it one of the best fantasies ever written - I feel - but it also answers all your requests as stated above.

If anything, you should read it for research if you're interested in creating more realistic and fallible heros...

azbikergirl
06-09-2005, 05:18 PM
I picked up A Clash of Kings at the used bookstore a couple weeks ago. It's about five books down on my To Read list. Looks interesting. Maybe it'll move up a few slots... right after the first Farseer trilogy.

Kasey Mackenzie
06-09-2005, 07:57 PM
Er...I'm pretty sure the first book in The Song of Fire and Ice is A Game of Thrones...so I would DEFINITELY recommend you start with that book rather than reading A Clash of Kings first...Other than that, I agree that this is a fantastic epic fantasy series and you definitely come to fear for the lives of your favorite characters. Definitely high stakes!

azbikergirl
06-10-2005, 06:25 AM
OH! Thanks for that head's up. I'll make sure to grab a copy of it this weekend.

brokenfingers
06-11-2005, 07:52 AM
Er...I'm pretty sure the first book in The Song of Fire and Ice is A Game of Thrones...so I would DEFINITELY recommend you start with that book rather than reading A Clash of Kings first...

Oops...

jlawrenceperry
06-14-2005, 04:48 PM
Her name is Andiriel, but you won't be able to read about her until my book gets published. :)
Ahem, his name is Lucas, but you won't be able to read about him until my book gets published. :D

Kevin Yarbrough
06-14-2005, 07:17 PM
Thomas Covenant was an arse, but I liked him. In the first book he was so into denial it made me sick. This isn't real, this can't be happening. I must be dreaming. I'm not going to do anything because this is a dream and I don't have to. He was a dick, incestual, and a slacker. Ahhhh, everything wrong with the world today.

I came away from that series thinking, "did he actually help this world, or make it worse?" I have yet to read the second trilogy but I heard there was going to be a third.

brokenfingers
06-14-2005, 08:13 PM
The second trilogy was even better than the first I think. A lot of other people I've spoken to agree. Many people I know kinda liked the first one but looooooved the second one.

I've read the first of the new trilogy so far.

One thing I've got to say about Donaldson, I don't quite like some things about his writing - in particular he seems to like using rare and obscure words - but he can tell one hell of a story.

Yeshanu
06-14-2005, 10:46 PM
How 'bout Brust: Vlad Taltos, he's not anyhting like Frodo but he is a helluva character!


I'm with you on that one.

Also Tasslehoff. And Fizban. Definitely the most amusing portrayal of a deity in any book...

Ann McCafferey also does well-rounded characters, but because they change almost every book, you don't get attached to any one. But Killashandra and Menolly stand out for me.

As for LoTR, in the books, Sam was my favourite, but in the movie I really liked the portrayal of (gasp!) Arwen. She was more than just the almost-mandatory love interest for Aragorn, but had real feelings and connections to what was happening in the story.

Mekakitsune
06-14-2005, 11:37 PM
Drizzt is a pretty damn good character...

Anybody read any of the Swords books by Fritz Leiber? I really liked the dark setting and the anti-hero nature of the Grey Mouser and Fafhrd. If you all haven't read any of these books find a copy of Swords and Deviltry at the library its awesome

Vomaxx
06-15-2005, 05:31 AM
Ahem, his name is Lucas, but you won't be able to read about him until my book gets published. :D


I sincerely hope we both get published, so the public can have a choice of heroes! Best of luck!

trebuchet
06-18-2005, 08:12 AM
This surprises me. Thinking back, I'd say most of the fantasy I've read (and written) is character-driven. How do you define 'character-driven?'

Having lost most of my intellect and brains during the past several years, I can't express a definition of "character-driven" except to say, if it's not about the characters, what's the point? That said, I've read wonderful novels that were not about the characters. But they were character driven nonetheless. Terry Goodkind's books hit me this way. This guy's out to prove points and Richard and Kahlan are there to do it for him.

Plot driven books are just a darn chore to read. Sorry to whoever mentioned Drizzt, the one book I read with him in it was just such a chore.

As far as the Frodo thing goes, I've been chewing on this for a while. Frodo, while he suffers initial reluctance, he's really not conflicted. He's scared, insignificant, but dead-on in search of doing the right thing, one single goal.

I haven't read too many modern writers who can get away with that nowadays or even want to. Readers seem to want their characters conflicted and complex. I perhaps have not read the right books, but straight quest good-vs-evil novels don't seem to be the thing any more unless they're YA.

So, if there's indeed a real Frodo out there, I haven't seen him . . . or her . . . and I'll congratulate whoever brings him alive!

azbikergirl
06-18-2005, 08:28 AM
My definition of character-driven is that the character in question is different somehow at the end than he was in the beginning. Not just that he possesses the Cool New Weapon or the Amulet of Good Stuff, but that he has learned something about life or grown as a human being in some way. Still, I like the character-driven stories I read (and write) to have a strong plot as well.

I like Drizzt stories because Drizzt suffers. True, he doesn't change much (if at all), but he wrestles with his identity and how others see him. Granted, I've only read four books featuring this character, so perhaps I've simply not read enough to get sick of him yet. Maybe it's good that I stopped where I did, after A Thousand Orcs. :)

azbikergirl
06-18-2005, 08:33 AM
One thing I've got to say about Donaldson, I don't quite like some things about his writing - in particular he seems to like using rare and obscure words - but he can tell one hell of a story.
As long as I can find a word in the dictionary, I'm happy to expand my vocab through reading. While I've loved his stories, Donaldson sometimes annoys me in his repetition. He'll state something over and over, as if he thinks his reader is a complete moron. Nothing annoys me more than an author presuming I won't get it and then spelling it out for me again and again. ugh.

Of course, I tend to swing the other way and go overboard on the subtlety.

trebuchet
06-19-2005, 01:30 AM
I like Drizzt stories because Drizzt suffers. True, he doesn't change much (if at all), but he wrestles with his identity and how others see him. Granted, I've only read four books featuring this character, so perhaps I've simply not read enough to get sick of him yet. Maybe it's good that I stopped where I did, after A Thousand Orcs. :)

That is so interesting because the only book I've read with Drizzt in it is A Thousand Orcs. He wasn't really even featured in it, I didn't think. It wasn't Drizzt I hated, it was the book. What book, exactly, starts him out? That's the book I want to read.

Me, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Covenant fan. And Donaldson's writing style is its own "Howard Shore soundtrack."

robeiae
06-21-2005, 02:32 AM
Perhaps for today's world, Elric might be the only way to go...

Rob :)

Diana Hignutt
06-24-2005, 04:05 PM
Where is the Frod of this age, you ask?

Her name is Tolian of Lorm, heroine of my own Moonsword Trilogy. A warrior prince who is forced to give up everything to become the incarnation of the Moon Goddess to battle a demon bent on world destruction. Don't laugh yet. Just wait. I'm serious.

In good 'ol Star Wars fashion, Book II is available now, Book I will be out (probably) early 2006.

Diana Hignutt
author of Empress of Clouds (Behler), a 2004 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist for Science Fiction, a 2005 IPPY Award Semi-Finalist for Science Fiction/Fantasy, and a 2005 Spectrum Award nominee. "Commendably brisk...superior fantasy fiction...(a) workmanlike effort"-Publishers Weekly.

Vomaxx
06-25-2005, 01:46 AM
In good 'ol Star Wars fashion, Book II is available now, Book I will be out (probably) early 2006.

???? Did you plan it that way?

HConn
06-25-2005, 08:02 AM
That is so interesting because the only book I've read with Drizzt in it is A Thousand Orcs. He wasn't really even featured in it, I didn't think. It wasn't Drizzt I hated, it was the book. What book, exactly, starts him out? That's the book I want to read.

I was at NW Bookfest a couple years back, and I wandered by the Wizards of the Coast table. I was looking over their books out of idle curiosity, but I wasn't planning to buy any because I'm not a fan of that (particular) game.

Then the friendly host standing next to me said: "Take any book you want. They're all free."

Crap, I think. Am I rude enough to walk away from free books?

Well, I wasn't. I felt the guy watching me, and I picked up a book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0786915889/qid=1119671850/sr=8-9/ref=pd_bbs_ur_9/104-3932727-7639969?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) or
two.

I read it a year or three later. It was okay. There were some interesting conflicts inherent in the story, but much of it was forgettable. It's the only WOTC book I've read.


Me, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Covenant fan. And Donaldson's writing style is its own "Howard Shore soundtrack."

Have you heard of clench racing? (http://www.ansible.co.uk/Ansible/plotdev.html)

:)

Diana Hignutt
06-25-2005, 02:24 PM
???? Did you plan it that way?

Um, no, of course not. Book I fell into the hands of a scam publisher due to my ignorance and their lies. Still, Behler (my current publisher) loved the second book, Empress of Clouds, and since it stands alone fairly well, they published it. Through my attorney's efforts I got the rights to the book back and a completely revised edition will be published by Behler under the title of Moonspell, Book I of the Moonsword Trilogy. I'm hard at work on Book III.

Thanks for asking.

diana

P.S. - It's been years since I read Donaldson, but I really did love the Thomas Covenant books (first two trilogies). I liked the Mirror of Her Dreams books better, though.

P.P.S. - Elric isn't a particularly sympathetic character either. Moorcock's characters don't seem to have enough innocence in them, I feel insulated from them. No comparsion to Frodo. Well, at least, for me.

robeiae
06-25-2005, 03:20 PM
P.P.S. - Elric isn't a particularly sympathetic character either. Moorcock's characters don't seem to have enough innocence in them, I feel insulated from them. No comparsion to Frodo. Well, at least, for me.
Exactly, but the world doesn't seem all that sympathetic lately...I'm not sure if it deserves another Frodo.

BTW, congrats on getting your rights back! I didn't know Book I was already slated for repub!:)

Rob

trebuchet
06-25-2005, 10:49 PM
Have you heard of clench racing? (http://www.ansible.co.uk/Ansible/plotdev.html)

:)

omigod! What a hilarious article, and informative too.

But they forgot "vitriol."

trebuchet
06-25-2005, 10:51 PM
Exactly, but the world doesn't seem all that sympathetic lately...I'm not sure if it deserves another Frodo.
Rob

robeiae - Well said.

arodriguez
06-26-2005, 02:13 AM
you know thats a very interesting question, but i always thought what made frodo so great? i think it was all the people , the real people in the book, that made him great. To me the real characters and heros of the story were gandalf and aragorn, gimli and legolas, the badazz warriors and wizards so to speak. i always thought frodo was, well, homosexual and very gay (no offense, just pointing out observation). although i do understand that frodo was pure and innocent and all that. Dont get me wrong now, i just think the grittier characters are what seperated lotr from a common fairy tale. those characters are fairly common now in fantasy. in my opinion if you want an innocent naive hero just look at Rand Althor. what a goody two shoes.

Nateskate
07-07-2005, 10:16 PM
Exactly, but the world doesn't seem all that sympathetic lately...I'm not sure if it deserves another Frodo.

Rob

This is an interesting thought. But it kind of shows the shift in thinking from the fables of the past. Years ago, people used stories, not only to reflect culture, but to influence culture. Without news commentaries, it was the means of saying the most profound things.

I think this is exactly why we need more beloved characters, because in a sense, at our youngest, in the most vulnerable ages, we need something to shoot for.

robeiae
07-08-2005, 10:21 PM
It occurs to me that you have touched on something here that is quite deep: the hero archetype. Frodo fits this well (as does Elric, BTW). His meloncholy, particularly after the destruction of the ring, is a key. "Happily Ever After" is not usually the hero's wont. Lucas, of course, explicitly constructed Skywalker to fit this archetype (ala Joseph Campbell), that is why the campy dialogue is so easy to overlook in Star Wars, but really shows in the last three installments.

But returning to your point, heros of oral history were human, all too human. They had many foibles and faults, so they were real. Oddly, it's the old Marvel characters that are being drudged up that now fit this archetype. Vlad Taltos, my earlier suggestion does not. I'm not sure about Potter, since I've never read the books. Anyway, I think there is something profoundly true in your insight, but I'm not sure if there is an answer to fill the void...

Rob :)

PattiTheWicked
07-09-2005, 01:05 AM
I think there's just something very refreshing in having a character you wish so much to be real, and long that you could meet them.

I first read Tolkien when I was about nine. Amazingly, when I first watched Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring, Strider/Aragorn was EXACTLY as I had imagined him to be for 25 years.

Vomaxx
07-09-2005, 01:45 AM
when I first watched Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring, Strider/Aragorn was EXACTLY as I had imagined him to be for 25 years.

That's interesting. I can't say the same. Somehow I guess I always imagined that, during Aragorn's periodic visits to Rivendell and Lorien, the Elves, in addition to furnishing him with lembas, would also give him a razor and some shampoo. :ROFL:

robeiae
07-09-2005, 02:05 AM
My image of Aragorn was always grey: grey clothes, grey hair, dusty appearance (grey dust), more like a middle-aged, world-weary knight.

Rob :)

Vomaxx
07-09-2005, 07:11 AM
My image of Aragorn was always grey: grey clothes, grey hair, dusty appearance (grey dust)

But we already have Gandalf the Grey. Wouldn't that make the Fellowship too monotone?

robeiae
07-09-2005, 10:30 PM
But we already have Gandalf the Grey. Wouldn't that make the Fellowship too monotone?
Haha! Maybe, but I think they all were grey (except Merry and Pippin), until the very end. They were all world-weary, tired of a lifetime struggle against evil, unrecognized, unsupported, unappreciated...

Rob :)

whitehound
07-11-2005, 01:24 AM
I'm not sure about Potter, since I've never read the books. The HP books may not be exactly deathless great literature, but Potter is a believably flawed hero - bloody-minded, sulky, prejudiced (against certain individuals that is) and socially and romantically inept.

Nateskate
07-13-2005, 05:33 PM
Tolkien once referred to himself as a Hobbit, but a bit taller and without the hairy feet. Frodo was meant to be an everyman, and Sam was moreso.

I think Tolkien experienced this type of situation in WW1, when he saw trenches and they found themselves in very odd situations. You didn't have big standing armies. So these were accountants, and bakers, and a bunch of guys from the local pub, all suddenly involved in a war, and it forced people to see what was inside them.

In the story, you have this same dynamic. You have Gandalf coming to the least likely person you'd ever want beside you in the war against the Necromancer. (Sauron) So you have a gardener and someone who wasn't particularly known for anything, going up against the biggest menace in the world.

robeiae
07-15-2005, 05:48 AM
I think Tolkien experienced this type of situation in WW1, when he saw trenches and they found themselves in very odd situations. You didn't have big standing armies. So these were accountants, and bakers, and a bunch of guys from the local pub, all suddenly involved in a war, and it forced people to see what was inside them.

In the story, you have this same dynamic. You have Gandalf coming to the least likely person you'd ever want beside you in the war against the Necromancer. (Sauron) So you have a gardener and someone who wasn't particularly known for anything, going up against the biggest menace in the world.

Well then, with regard to your original question, wouldn't the next Frodo be most likely a product of a writer who had similar experiences? Maybe the question should be: what circumstances might produce the Frodo of this age?

Rob :)

Nateskate
07-16-2005, 07:36 PM
Well then, with regard to your original question, wouldn't the next Frodo be most likely a product of a writer who had similar experiences? Maybe the question should be: what circumstances might produce the Frodo of this age?

Rob :)

By the way, I've enjoyed your comments. They are insightful.

I think you are better served if you've been a Frodo or Sam, or you've known a Frodo or a Sam. Experience is always the best teacher. One of the things I liked about the Hobbits was that their natures were very amicable. They went about living, and the quest was sort of this interuption to life. They were very British, with a quirky sense of humor. So, they never lose their natures, although they become more insightful from the journey.

I'm not British, but having lived my childhood in New Jersey, I was exposed to sardonic wit 24/7. There was a bit of sarcasim in every comment. One of my favorite portrayals of sardonic wit was Val Kilmer's Doc Holiday in Tombstone. You get the feeling that the rest of the world is ready to fall apart, and he's making a joke about everything. I loved his banter with Johnny Ringo??? "You're no daisy at all..." before he takes him on. And how he makes light of the whole thing with Wyatt afterwards.

But if you've grown up with this sort of "using wit to make light of a serious situation", I think it becomes an interesting tool as long as you can fit it into your fantasy world. I've known "Frodo" like people who've given everything for a cause, but it's the Sam-like people, and the Merry's and Pippens, that make the whole journey worth the ride. Balance someone who takes themselves too seriously, with someone who seems oblivious to the fact that Mordor is about to launch an attack on the world.

robeiae
07-20-2005, 07:25 AM
One of my favorite portrayals of sardonic wit was Val Kilmer's Doc Holiday in Tombstone. You get the feeling that the rest of the world is ready to fall apart, and he's making a joke about everything. I loved his banter with Johnny Ringo??? "You're no daisy at all..." before he takes him on. And how he makes light of the whole thing with Wyatt afterwards.
If you haven't already, I suggest you look into the real Davey Crockett...the legends don't do him justice. Good character template, IMO.

Edit: BTW, is this why T.H. White, Tolkien, Kipling, and Rowling (to name a few) are British? Friends and I have been discussing this phenomenon: why did Brits write books that are at once so good for kids and so important to adults?

Rob :)

Shadow Otenaki
07-20-2005, 07:54 AM
I read through the whole thread and didn't even see this author's name:

Louise Cooper
The author of the Indigo Series. 8 Books to be exact. You want character-driven? Read it. Now. Go. Start your quest to find this wonderful series. It's out of print, so hurry, lol. Yes, they're old, and that's probably why no one has ever heard about it.

Well, I'm doing you a good justice. =P You'll thank me later.
Indigo is my 'Frodo'. Even though I don't like Frodo. xD

whitehound
07-20-2005, 12:44 PM
Edit: BTW, is this why T.H. White, Tolkien, Kipling, and Rowling (to name a few) are British? Friends and I have been discussing this phenomenon: why did Brits write books that are at once so good for kids and so important to adults? Dunno. Speaking as a Brit and looking back, some of Andre Norton's young adult books were formative reads to me, but it's true that they weren't witty in the way that British children's authors tend to be.

On the other hand, one of the ultimate and most formative "using wit to make light of a serious situation" stories (albeit one intended for a slightly older audience) is The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle, who so far as I know is American [although the fact that one of the main characters is called Schmendrick suggests Beagle may be Jewish, and of course American Jews are famous for humour].

The Princess Bride is another classic American children's book which is both serious and witty.

Nateskate
07-20-2005, 03:56 PM
If you haven't already, I suggest you look into the real Davey Crockett...the legends don't do him justice. Good character template, IMO.

Edit: BTW, is this why T.H. White, Tolkien, Kipling, and Rowling (to name a few) are British? Friends and I have been discussing this phenomenon: why did Brits write books that are at once so good for kids and so important to adults?

Rob :)

I wonder how Brits came to be this way? Each of the European nations had such distinct personalities. But that sardonic sense of humor was pervasive there. "Let's not take life too seriously". But again, this might have been a backlash of getting spread out all over the world, and then hitting several world wars. It could have been an attempt to overcompensate? But it seems to work. Heck, you can be downright snotty with a British accent and you sound charming. "Oh, bug off you w..."

whitehound
07-22-2005, 03:19 AM
I *would* say that sardonic humour grew up in Europe as a way of defusing tension in overcrowded societies, whereas Americans are used to having lots of space - except that Australians have more space than anybody outside Siberia, and they are notorious for sardonic wit.

A better question might be, why don't Americans go in for sardonic wit much? After all white Americans are of European origin, and are surrounded by native Americans who also tend to be sarcy - so why did they lose it? Is it maybe because there's such a strong Dutch/German influence in white America?

[Germans are notorious in Europe for having either no sense of humour or a very crude, basic sense of humour - though I'm not sure how true this is.]

Vomaxx
07-22-2005, 07:00 AM
[Germans are notorious in Europe for having either no sense of humour or a very crude, basic sense of humour - though I'm not sure how true this is.]

Concerning European "national personalities," have you heard this one?

A wise man, being asked what the difference was between heaven and hell, replied:

In heaven, the French are the cooks, the Swiss are the mechanics, the Germans are the bureaucrats, the Italians are the lovers, and the English are the police.

Whereas in hell, the French are the bureaucrats, the Swiss are the lovers, the Germans are the police, the Italians are the mechanics, and the English are the cooks.

whitehound
07-22-2005, 01:14 PM
Germans are supposedly too fond of nit-picking rules to be desirable as beaurocrats. Better to have the Germans as mechanics (their cars are famously good), the Swedes as beaurocrats and the Swiss as holiday operators (all that lovely scenery).

English food isn't *that* bad - it's just that when it's mass-produced it tends to be mass-produced badly.

Some Germans at least have a good sense of humour. There's a famous war-time story - not sure whether it's true or a foaf - about Britain setting up fake airfields full of wooden planes to fool the German bombers into wasting their payload (that part is certainly true), and it's said that on one occasion a German pilot dropped a wooden bomb on one.

Nateskate
07-26-2005, 02:27 AM
I *would* say that sardonic humour grew up in Europe as a way of defusing tension in overcrowded societies, whereas Americans are used to having lots of space - except that Australians have more space than anybody outside Siberia, and they are notorious for sardonic wit.

A better question might be, why don't Americans go in for sardonic wit much? After all white Americans are of European origin, and are surrounded by native Americans who also tend to be sarcy - so why did they lose it? Is it maybe because there's such a strong Dutch/German influence in white America?

[Germans are notorious in Europe for having either no sense of humour or a very crude, basic sense of humour - though I'm not sure how true this is.]

I think Seinfeld is sardonic wit, as was Robert Newhart. I think Americans appreciate sardonic wit, we just aren't as good at it. America is like many different countries in terms of personalities. You have your tough areas, and your very homey areas. You have your red states and blue states. Perhaps it's because we are so spread out, and every area has their own media centers.