Author Topic: The Gathering Storm Chapter One  (Read 8750 times)

darxbane

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #60 on: September 11, 2009, 09:03:47 PM »
I think static is an unfair term.  Stretched is more accurate, I think.  In both Rand and Perrin's case, they are holding onto something way too hard.   I feel most people who dislike these books are those who have become jaded by the sheer wait that had to be (and is still being) endured to finally get a resolution to the story, and  I certainly understand how they feel.  I like that Bookstore has left room for the finale to possibly change his opinion of the  overall story.  After all, the story is static as of right now.  It has been 4+ books worth of build-up over 15 years.  That can get frustrating for anyone.  Personnally, I have only been reading the series since '03, so the books fit together better for me simply because I didn't have to wait to read a book until KoD.

Back to Perrin; I agree with Anulith, and would like to add that Perrin's "growth" has been negative, but is still occurring.  The thoughtful, gentle giant has been replaced by a dangerous and desperate man.  A man who list his entire family, and so holds onto Faille as his last real connection to humanity.  It feels like he honestly believes that Faille is the only thing keeping him from becoming Feral, for lack of a better term.  RJ has stated that there will be a significant consequence to Perrin spending all that time rescuing Faille.  With any luck, it will be worth the wait.


Kestrel,
Couldn't your extremely high praise of Brandon also be considered "Fanboyism"?  Also, don't you think one chapter of a book, especially one that requires reading of prior books in order to understand it, is too little a sampling to make a sound judgement?  As hard as it is for me to believe that a Fantasy enthusiast would be unable to at least read through and respect Tolkien, never mind Jordan, I respect your opinion.
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #61 on: September 11, 2009, 09:32:01 PM »
RJ has stated that there will be a significant consequence to Perrin spending all that time rescuing Faile. 

And see this is what I'm waiting for. Consequences. Danger. Change. Cause right now the only consequence is me being bored to death. I mean really, do you actually worry about any of these characters? I find it impossible. Even when the characters DID die in book five, Rand pressed the magic reset button. Lame. Since then, There has been no need to feel worried. Compare this with how I feel when reading Abercrombie, Martin, Erikson, Sanderson, etc. A character bites the dust, and suddenly I wonder, "oh crap, who is next?"  See what I mean?

Also, don't you think one chapter of a book, especially one that requires reading of prior books in order to understand it, is too little a sampling to make a sound judgement?  As hard as it is for me to believe that a Fantasy enthusiast would be unable to at least read through and respect Tolkien, never mind Jordan, I respect your opinion.

This is actually a great point. I am making my judgments and opinions based off several read-throughs of the series. This is why, as a book reviewer, I read the whole book/series regardless; it adds weight (imo) to my arguments while letting me see the other side's views as well.
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Anulith

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #62 on: September 11, 2009, 09:49:20 PM »
As I said, I believe that Perrin has become static. Both him and Rand have become one-trick-ponies and single minded. You're right, for Perrin all he thinks about is Faile regardless of what else is going on, and I feel that is boring. It used to be when we saw Perrin we saw his internal and external struggles and growth. We saw him learn. Perrin stopped learning after he became "Lord Perrin." Same with Rand. You know that when it gets to a Rand section all we get to see is him recite a list of names, and say, "I need to be harder." Regardless of what is happening to them, they act the same. Perrin growls while Rand lists names (much like Arya in Martin's novels). Mat is the only character I feel is actually growing, and consequently the only character I care about.

I agree that neither Rand nor Perrin are as fun to read as they once were but I still must disagree that it is because of character stagnation.  I believe with Perrin, at least, it is intentional to show just how obsessed he is with Faile.  In the beginning we got to see Perrin grow considerably, mostly him exploring his new "powers" and the transition from simple blacksmith to nobility.  Then we saw Perrin change again into a married man and we started seeing some of the issues that come along with being married, however boring they may be to read about in a fantasy series.  Lately, however, Perrin's character has been developed into a different person.  Something has threatened what he loves more than anything and he is reacting to that.   Because of that he becomes very snappy with people and has a very clouded mind.  Just think back on Aram, how many warning signs did we have that Aram's loyalties to Perrin were faltering?  Yet he didn't see that because he was consumed.  His character has developed, it just may be into someone that you don't particularly enjoy reading about and I can't say that I blame you for that.

As for Rand, honestly, I'm hoping the last three books brings some sort of change in him.  I could almost believe that Jordan didn't know how to have him behave once he accepted his place as the Dragon Reborn, but I have more respect for him as an author and like to think Rand is intentional as well.  There has been plenty of foreshadowing with Cadsuane saying that she is going to teach him to laugh and Min saying Cadsuane must teach Rand and all the Asha'man something.  I think that Rand is doing what he thinks he must but it will be Cadsuane who teaches him that he must be more than just the Dragon Reborn, he must be human as well.

I also feel that the female characters have all had their personalities meld to closely. I want individual characters, not a group that share one brain.

I miss Moiraine.  It seems Jordan struggles to write women from their POV and not make them come across as simple sometimes.


Kestrel

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #63 on: September 12, 2009, 06:29:35 AM »
Kestrel,
Couldn't your extremely high praise of Brandon also be considered "Fanboyism"?  Also, don't you think one chapter of a book, especially one that requires reading of prior books in order to understand it, is too little a sampling to make a sound judgement?  As hard as it is for me to believe that a Fantasy enthusiast would be unable to at least read through and respect Tolkien, never mind Jordan, I respect your opinion.

I don't know if I'm a fangirl. It's hard to say where one is just a huge fan and where one's love is more irrational. I also am not entirely sure if I'd agree that one needs more than a single chapter to judge a book by. Maybe for a more detailed judgment, but I think one can tell from the outset if they'd at least -possibly- enjoy a book.

As for Tolkien, I don't like him for the same reason I don't like Jordan--dry, overly wordy, etc. I don't see being overly verbose as any sign of intelligence or a hallmark of great literature. I'm also just not a fan of Tolkien-esque elements in fantasy--regardless of the author, I have little interest in orcs, willowy, woodsy elves, hobbits/halflings (*shudder*), the list goes on.

Isabel

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #64 on: September 12, 2009, 08:30:46 AM »
And see this is what I'm waiting for. Consequences. Danger. Change. Cause right now the only consequence is me being bored to death. I mean really, do you actually worry about any of these characters? I find it impossible. Even when the characters DID die in book five, Rand pressed the magic reset button. Lame. Since then, There has been no need to feel worried. Compare this with how I feel when reading Abercrombie, Martin, Erikson, Sanderson, etc. A character bites the dust, and suddenly I wonder, "oh crap, who is next?"  See what I mean?

Ok, tell me how RJ could have done it differently. He started a series in which foreshadowing is a huge point. In book one you have a lot of foreshadowing about the main characters. Basicly you know they can't die, unless the foreshadowing has happened. So would you want RJ to ignore everything he wrote before, just to kill of a few characters?? Jordan is consistent in what he wrote before.

If RJ had a chance to write another series and wouldn't have killed off anyone, than you should have the right to say that he doesn't kill off characters.  BTW, you don't know if he has planned to kill a few characters at Tarmon Gaidon.

And another point: You are criticing RJ about a series he started in the 80's. Abercombe, Martin, Erikson and Sanderson all wrote their fantasy series after RJ. So their series can be seen as  a reaction on what RJ wrote.

Besides: everyone has things they like in a series. It would be boring if every author kills off the likeble characters.
I, for example,try not to care that much about characters from an author who kills of a lot of characters. Like Erikson. (although you can say, he reincarnates a lot of people as well)





Batchman

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #65 on: September 12, 2009, 03:38:43 PM »
I don't plan to argue the like Jordan, dislike Jordan thing. I like Jordan, I felt he wrote a great epic fantasy series, and I lok forward to seeing the conclusion, even if it comes from another author. I do not feel that Jordan is one of the best authors ever ... but he seems pretty darn good at the genre he chose to write in.

But talking about things changing and prophecy and foreshadowing and all the rest, I just had some thoughts that I wanted to share. We all know that Balefire is some incredibly powerful stuff, and too much of it could destroy the world, and the Dark One cannot bring back his servants that were destroyed by Balefire.

But it seems that prophecy can take balefire into account. Even when characters get killed, prophecy can see that they will be brought back to life, and show what happens to them after they were killed, and then unkilled. It would seem that the foxes and snakes (sorry, can't remember the exact names of the races) knew Mat would be brought back to life. Min saw things about at least a couple of characters who were dead, and then weren't.

It just seemed kind of interesting to me. Any thoughts? I know from the Hoid threads that some of you can igure some of these things much more in-depth than I can.

Patriotic Kaz

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #66 on: September 12, 2009, 08:30:11 PM »
Yes as ridiculous as it may sound, i am defending Steve...
@Isabel you need to read all of what Steve (bookstore guy) says before you critic him because while he believes the series has become static he also mentioned how he had a great deal of respect for what RJ has done for the genre.

@Steve which books do you enjoy of the series the first three surely? I don't think anyone could call the characters anything less than dynamic at the begining.
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yakumo fujii

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #67 on: September 13, 2009, 07:00:19 PM »
I see what you are saying, and to a degree I can agree. However the "huge" events that have transpired should have larger effects on the characters. It's the way they have changed that bothers me. The psychology. Other than a throw-away line here and there, Rand has relatively few psychological scars from Dumai's Wells. Mat rarely thinks about the queen he got killed. Perrin's thoughts can be best summed up as "grr." In fact, lately all the characters seem to be centered around the Eddings philosophy of "one trait makes a character." See where I'm coming from? The emotional complexity that made these character's great in the beginning, to me, has been erased.


I just completely disagree.

Rand has few psychological scars from Dumai Wells, really? He scoured the entire battlefield and memorized the face and name of every dead maiden. He thinks and obsesses over them and all the other women who have died in his service all the time. And lets not forget the mental scars from being locked in a box and beaten, it's the root cause for his ever deepening paranoia.

Perrin is also a man obsessed, although in this case the obsession is with his wife, an obsession that is leading him down a brutal path. One only has to look at his treatment of the Shaido prisoner he tortured to see how much he's changed and how strong the inner conflict is between the good man underneath, his obsession and the more primal violent instincts that lay close to the surface in him.

Mat has matured from the boy he was in the beginning of the series, but he's still a man who lives in the moment, it would be way out of character for him to brood over Tylin's death.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 07:54:33 PM by yakumo fujii »

Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #68 on: September 14, 2009, 05:34:30 AM »
Yes as ridiculous as it may sound, i am defending Steve...
@Isabel you need to read all of what Steve (bookstore guy) says before you critic him because while he believes the series has become static he also mentioned how he had a great deal of respect for what RJ has done for the genre.

@Steve which books do you enjoy of the series the first three surely? I don't think anyone could call the characters anything less than dynamic at the begining.

Exactly. I don't think I have ever said RJ is terrible. I respect him greatly. Especially his ability to plot long-term, and for his initial...pushing of the genre. I just don't think the current end of his series has been up to par with the beginning. Eye of the World was published in 1990 as I recall, and at the time, it was great. Book 2 is still one of my fav. novels--as I have said repeatedly--and book 3 has a terrific end. It is also in book 3 where Rand's female issues begin, not Dumai's Wells.

I wish he would have evolved his characters more. I do agree 100% with Kaz in that they were dynamic at the beginning. I'm pretty sure that has been my stance forfreakingever. I feel that the characters were pushed out of focus after book 6 (though I could include the cheap use of balefire as a reset in book 5 as where my problems begin). Death of characters just for deaths sake isn't what I'm arguing at all. The death of a character is waste if it doesn't affect the other PoVs in a deep way. I never said "kill all of them." I said that a strategic death could have given the readers a real sense of danger when reading these characters. Remind us of their mortality. After book 6, the series becomes more about the world, and less about the characters...this is an observation made by Brandon that I fully agree with.

As for psychological scars, they are relatively bleh so far. Mat is the only one who really worries about what has been done to him (the whole "looking though my eyes" thing--I like it). And I still think Mat should have more issues with Tylin dying. Living in the moment doesn't cut it for me. Getting someone killed isn't something he should gloss over--he didn't for a bit, and then it was like that switch was flipped off--and it wouldn't be out of character.

I rather think with Rand, the cause of his paranoia has to do with being chased around for the prior 5 novels and almost losing his friends in book 5 (which he reset) than being in a box. And honestly, his paranoia isn't really that huge yet--rather minor really. He has minor claustrophobia, not major.

Once again, I'm not criticizing the series RJ started in the 90's. I'm criticizing the lack of focus in the characters and their lack of growth in the last 5 novels. And I'm also pretty dang sure that I'm not pointing fingers saying "your an idiot for liking WoT." Isabel--please don't ever suggest that I would even consider that. I have been very open with my feelings on the WoT, as well as being realistic about thinking the series can be redeemed for me. I've said this is the beauty of being informed about the series (remember, I've read through it several times)--we can discuss things without insulting each other.

As for balefire, I'm glad it isn't used much anymore. It was overused, and is a get-out-of-jail-free card. A magic bullet, if you will. Though I certainly see your point about it being taken into account in prophecy. Interesting. All the hooplah, and it was already figured into the equation.

Kaz--It is never ridiculous defending me. It just shows you see I'm being objective and non-insulting with my PoV. Believe me, a good end to the series is what I want. If one thing can be said of me (besides being very blunt...and awesome...and handsome...and crazy-humble) it's that I crave a good story. A good ending could make me like this series again.
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mtbikemom

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #69 on: September 14, 2009, 11:35:33 AM »
Wow, BSG, you must be as handsome as I am beautiful.  And humble.  We are like a cosmic brother/sister act. 

Seriously, though I think I am more emotionally invested in WoT than you are, I agree with everything you've said.  The one thing that cannot be denied in defense of balefire is that it accomplished the removal of certain characters without chance of reincarnation.  Of course, then RJ just added fifty-or-so additional minor and eventually insignificant characters for each balefired bad guy.  (sigh)  But I also persevere with hope. 

Knife of Dreams wasn't "good," I think, as much as it was a huge relief that it didn't totally stink.  And stuff happened.  But the shift in tempo was a bit jarring.  Here's hoping Brandon strikes a good balance.

JCHancey

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #70 on: September 14, 2009, 09:28:50 PM »
I think a lot of people share your perspective BSG. Most of my friends stopped at book 8 because it got so boring. I like reading the political crap Elayne goes through. I didn't like Perrin's part, while at the beginning he's my favorite character. In AMoL RJ is opening up a few other plot lines that will be epic! I agree with you that the characters have remained pretty stagnant throughout the last few books, but I don't care that much. I'm in love with the story, and it's been moving along just fine IMO.
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Roberts

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #71 on: September 15, 2009, 04:06:27 AM »
I think it's fascinating that somehow I knew that specific sentences were Brandon Sanderson-style prose. I guess I'm more familiar with his books than I thought? For example, I think there was a sentence about how the White Tower was a metaphor, and it seemed straight out of Mistborn. It's just me nitpicking because I have no real complaints. :)

Ari54

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #72 on: September 18, 2009, 11:23:03 AM »
Kestrel,
Couldn't your extremely high praise of Brandon also be considered "Fanboyism"?  Also, don't you think one chapter of a book, especially one that requires reading of prior books in order to understand it, is too little a sampling to make a sound judgement?  As hard as it is for me to believe that a Fantasy enthusiast would be unable to at least read through and respect Tolkien, never mind Jordan, I respect your opinion.

I don't know if I'm a fangirl. It's hard to say where one is just a huge fan and where one's love is more irrational. I also am not entirely sure if I'd agree that one needs more than a single chapter to judge a book by. Maybe for a more detailed judgment, but I think one can tell from the outset if they'd at least -possibly- enjoy a book.

As for Tolkien, I don't like him for the same reason I don't like Jordan--dry, overly wordy, etc. I don't see being overly verbose as any sign of intelligence or a hallmark of great literature. I'm also just not a fan of Tolkien-esque elements in fantasy--regardless of the author, I have little interest in orcs, willowy, woodsy elves, hobbits/halflings (*shudder*), the list goes on.

One chapter lets you judge narrative voice. If narrative voice is a bottom line for you, then you may only need a single chapter to decide a book isn't for you. I would caution you that narrative voice changes as authors grow, so if it's voice you need to like, then it's hard to say a whole series is wrong for you just because the first book is.

You're right about verbosity not being an advantage. I think brevity is actually one of the biggest reasons I like Brandon's books.

My bottom lines tend to be on plot and theme, and thus I need at least a whole book to decide whether I like an author, but I tend to not be disappointed moving from a book to a series. :)

Wielder

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #73 on: September 18, 2009, 07:15:00 PM »
I really want to read this chapter, but I still haven't had time to.  Yet.  I'm happy that they are releasing pieces early.  I hope we get another two chapters (and the prologue, of course).


As for Tolkien, I don't like him for the same reason I don't like Jordan--dry, overly wordy, etc. I don't see being overly verbose as any sign of intelligence or a hallmark of great literature. I'm also just not a fan of Tolkien-esque elements in fantasy--regardless of the author, I have little interest in orcs, willowy, woodsy elves, hobbits/halflings (*shudder*), the list goes on.

To be honest, I'm actually one of the few people I know who dislike Tolkien.  (Nice to meet you, Kestrel. :))  I took a course on the subject (we did a close reading of the entire series, along with a few additional works), and even though I see the literary significance of his work, I still think the story itself is completely un-fulfilling.  I've also turned into one of those people who almost immediately drop a book if those Tolkien-esque creatures start to appear.

But for some reason, I still like Jordan.  The thing is, even though I like Jordan's work, I still haven't finished it, and probably never will, because I think he drags thing out for far too long halfway through the series. 

And yay all the Mat love.  Mat for chief Ta'veren!
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JCHancey

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Re: The Gathering Storm Chapter One
« Reply #74 on: September 18, 2009, 07:23:47 PM »
As for Tolkien, I don't like him for the same reason I don't like Jordan--dry, overly wordy, etc. I don't see being overly verbose as any sign of intelligence or a hallmark of great literature. I'm also just not a fan of Tolkien-esque elements in fantasy--regardless of the author, I have little interest in orcs, willowy, woodsy elves, hobbits/halflings (*shudder*), the list goes on.

To be honest, I'm actually one of the few people I know who dislike Tolkien.  (Nice to meet you, Kestrel. :))  I took a course on the subject (we did a close reading of the entire series, along with a few additional works), and even though I see the literary significance of his work, I still think the story itself is completely un-fulfilling.  I've also turned into one of those people who almost immediately drop a book if those Tolkien-esque creatures start to appear.

But for some reason, I still like Jordan.  The thing is, even though I like Jordan's work, I still haven't finished it, and probably never will, because I think he drags thing out for far too long halfway through the series. 

And yay all the Mat love.  Mat for chief Ta'veren!


I'm with you too. I can't stand Tolkien anymore. I worked at a scout camp for the summer and EVERYONE up there were obsessed with Tolkien. While they were yelling about the White Hand and other LotR things I was screaming Manetheran! He is too descriptive, and that really irritates me. He did have a huge impact on fantasy, there is no doubt about that, but newer authors are far superior to him.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 12:12:08 AM by Jakobus »
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