Author Topic: Deus Ex Machina  (Read 6393 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

  • Administrator
  • Level 96
  • *****
  • Posts: 19211
  • Fell Points: 17
  • monkeys? yes.
    • View Profile
    • herb's world
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2004, 01:22:32 PM »
now now, there were elves in the battle.
They just disappeared mysteriously.

Eagle Prince

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1650
  • Fell Points: 0
  • The Highwayman
    • View Profile
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2004, 03:23:34 PM »
In my defense, there were no elves there in the book.  Still, the RoR are Rohan's army,  not the elves or the 300 farmers over the age of 12 or even Aragorn.  Its not "cheating" when its your own army, more like the other way around.  Cheating would be attacking someone when their army wasn't around to protect them.
I am the Immortal One hidden from the dawn; I am the Emperor-King after day has gone.

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

  • Administrator
  • Level 96
  • *****
  • Posts: 19211
  • Fell Points: 17
  • monkeys? yes.
    • View Profile
    • herb's world
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2004, 05:04:37 PM »
ok, i see what's going on here.

see, I agree with you that it's not really Deus Ex Machina when they show up, since after all, this is what Gandalf went off to do in the first place.

However, you should realize that when Fell starts talking about "cheating," he's making a joke.

Eagle Prince

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1650
  • Fell Points: 0
  • The Highwayman
    • View Profile
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2004, 05:51:20 PM »
Yes I know he is kidding.  I just felt it was worth pointing out that the Riders of Rohan arn't a foriegn or outside army.
I am the Immortal One hidden from the dawn; I am the Emperor-King after day has gone.

EUOL

  • Moderator
  • Level 58
  • *
  • Posts: 4708
  • Fell Points: 33
  • Mr. Prolific [tm]
    • View Profile
    • Brandon Sanderson dot com
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2004, 07:59:55 PM »
The reason the Helm's Deep battle is less of a Deus Ex has absolutely nothing to do with which army belongs to whom.  We're talking about plot constructions here, not the pretty clothing placed over them.  Here is a potential interpretation of the plot:

The heroes are fighting.  They cannot win.  A god-figure arrives and destroys the enemy army for them.  

That is a very clean Deus Ex.  It doesn't matter whose army the god figure brings.  

Now, the thing about Helm's Deep is, that wasn't exactly the plot structure.  The heroes weren't set up to 'defeat' the enemy.  They were, as someone said before, trying to 'last x days' against an overwhelming foe.  Because of this foreshadowing and slight plot alteration, the plotting instead becomes:

The heroes are fighting.  Because of bravery, strength, and cleverness, they last the time they needed to in order to be saved, despite the fact that they should have been defeated.
http://www.BrandonSanderson.com

"Technically, I don't even have a brain."--Fellfrosch

Fellfrosch

  • Administrator
  • Level 68
  • *
  • Posts: 7033
  • Fell Points: 42
  • Walkin' with a dead man over my shoulder.
    • View Profile
    • Fearful Symmetry
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2004, 05:04:02 PM »
The thing you're missing, EP, is that I'm looking at the battle, not the narrative, and I'm expressing it in wargaming terms. In that sense the Rohirrim are completely foriegn because they come from outside of our closed scenario; bringing them in when they haven't been "paid for" makes the armies unbalanced and destroys the integrity of the scenario. Obviously a game is a little different from real warfare, but part of the point I made at first was that my view of literary battles has been tainted by my experience with games.

EUOL's explanation is the best one, I think, and can also be expressed in wargaming terms (and provides what I feel to be a better interpretation than Entropy's Reinforcement Scenario). Helm's Deep is essentially a Siege Scenario, where the defender is given fewer points and must simply survive a number of turns--if they live they win, if they don't the attacker wins. The arrival of the Rohirrim does not take place during the game but after it--the last turn is over and the attackers have not destroyed the defenders, so the defenders win the scenario.
"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die." --Mel Brooks

My author website: http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

  • Administrator
  • Level 96
  • *****
  • Posts: 19211
  • Fell Points: 17
  • monkeys? yes.
    • View Profile
    • herb's world
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2004, 09:49:18 PM »
see, the problem with that scenario is the Helm's Deep side has 600 men, while the orcs have at least 10,000. how unbalanced can a wargame scenario be? I mean, they shouldn't have lasted ONE round, let alone all night.

JP Dogberry

  • Level 41
  • *
  • Posts: 2713
  • Fell Points: 9
  • Master of Newbie Slapdown!
    • View Profile
    • Effusive Ambivalence
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2004, 11:19:31 PM »
Yes, but they were holed up in a highly defensive structure, and because of the positioning, only about 600 orcs could attack at any one time. They would have eventually lost, but by adopting defensive tactics, they were able to last out. Look at how many orcs went down before getting anywhere near achieving anything simply by the archers.
Go go super JP newbie slapdown force! - Entropy

42

  • RPG Editors
  • Level 56
  • *
  • Posts: 4350
  • Fell Points: 8
  • Unofficial World Saver
    • View Profile
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2004, 11:55:16 PM »
Yes, but the 600 have a fortress on their side. Plus not all 10,000 can attack in one round. Many has to wait until the people in front of them died to that they could move forward, be killed, and let the guys behind them repeat the scenario.

And let us not forget that these are orcs they are fighting. In all generic fantasy orcs are nothing more than cannon fodder.

Actually, I find it to have that kind of Song of Roland feel to it were the good guys kill a hundred of the bad guys on each of their attacks, but the bad guys only get to kill a couple of the good guys so that they occassionaly look like a threat.

Also, if it looked like the good guys actually stood a chance in Hades of winning all the suspence, build-up, and dramatic elements would have gone to waiste. Sorry, but watching battle scenarios is about as dull as a rubber ball gone flat. Need we be reminded of Inchon, or the endless number of of bad war movies made almost entirely of battle-plans and fight shots?
The Folly of youth is to think that intelligence is a subsitute for experience. The folly of age is to think that experience is a subsitute for intelligence.

EUOL

  • Moderator
  • Level 58
  • *
  • Posts: 4708
  • Fell Points: 33
  • Mr. Prolific [tm]
    • View Profile
    • Brandon Sanderson dot com
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2004, 04:48:18 AM »
Besides, Tolkien quickly established that his heroes are inhumanly good at fighting.  When you have people that heroic, you need overwhelming enemy numbers to present a challenge.
http://www.BrandonSanderson.com

"Technically, I don't even have a brain."--Fellfrosch

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

  • Administrator
  • Level 96
  • *****
  • Posts: 19211
  • Fell Points: 17
  • monkeys? yes.
    • View Profile
    • herb's world
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2004, 07:49:30 AM »
piffle. The orcs were hardly cannon fodder. That one ran in with 5 arrows sticking out of important parts of his body. And more than 600 were able to attack at once, I think, counting seige engines and ranged attacks.

House of Mustard

  • Level 44
  • *
  • Posts: 2934
  • Fell Points: 3
  • Firstborn Unicorn
    • View Profile
    • robisonwells.com
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2004, 11:48:24 AM »
My only Tolkein Deus Ex Machina complaint is: eagles.  Whenever there is no way to escape, bring in the eagles.
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier.

www.robisonwells.com

Mistress of Darkness

  • Level 37
  • *
  • Posts: 2322
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Mama
    • View Profile
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2004, 05:43:10 PM »
I see where you are coming from HOM, and I realize that I'm just arguing to be defensive, however,

The eagle and Shadowfax are parts of what makes Gandalf who he is. They show the mystic elements of his wizardary and his connection with nature and Middle Earth. You can only see that through the eagles and Shadowfax.
" If i ever need a pen-name I'd choose EUOL, just to confuse everyone. " --Entropy

42

  • RPG Editors
  • Level 56
  • *
  • Posts: 4350
  • Fell Points: 8
  • Unofficial World Saver
    • View Profile
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2004, 11:01:59 PM »
Gandalf uses summoning spells to bring in the eagles. See that little ray of light they show. That's really a portal to another dimensions where the eagles live on white clouds with rainbow bridges.
The Folly of youth is to think that intelligence is a subsitute for experience. The folly of age is to think that experience is a subsitute for intelligence.

Gemm: Rock & Roll Star; Born to Rock

  • Level 57
  • *
  • Posts: 4591
  • Fell Points: 0
  • I Am Your Worst Nightmare's Dream
    • View Profile
    • Perfect
Re: Deus Ex Machina
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2004, 11:22:17 PM »
Yes, not from the Misty Mountains. Any place but there.
“NOTHING IS TRUE. EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.”
                William S. Burroughs

“Who needs girls when you’ve got comics?”
                Grant Morrison’s Flex Mentallo