the archives

dusted off in read-only


posted 02 Feb 2004, 03:02 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I've been a GRRM fan since reading "Sand-Kings" in grade 7. But he's had a special place on my shelf ever since reading aGoT made me realize that complex, demented, and thoroughly unsanitized epic fantasy was possible to publish. Until then, I never even thought of submitting TDTCB. And I hear you on Tolkien. He may not be the first to have introduced Fantasy to the world, but he's the first, and perhaps the only, to truly have introduced it to Epic. It all comes to the languages. view post

posted 02 Feb 2004, 18:02 by Mithfânion, Didact

I've never read "Sandkings", I've heard several people say good things about it but it's hard to find a Martin collection that carries it and is still in print. There is a Locus Awards book coming out in June which will probably contain this short story though, among many others. As for ASOIAF, certainly it's a breath of fresh air. I'm very fond of it, love the brutality, the gritty feel of it as well as the dialogues and the characterization. Martin is adept at virtually all aspects of Fantasy writing. The only aspect which I have been less than satisfied with sofar is his very subdued use of magic. It is coming more to the fore with the books to come, but sofar it has been a bit too suppressed for me to be pleased by this aspect of his Fantasy books. With regard to Tolkien, you just have to love his Elves. His history of the First Age is just so phenomenal, I really think it's mindblowing material . I personally find the Silmarillion a more exciting story than the LoTR because of the vastness of scope, the great inherent power of some of the characters, the sense of etherealness, the cruelty of fate, the drama of so many individuals in the context of the Great Wars, the remarkable beauty of Middle-earth. Hard to surpass that. view post

posted 02 Feb 2004, 18:02 by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

Ah, but I love that magic is so subdued in ASOIAF. It is what lends the books such a realistic, almost historical fiction feel. You could make them into a special on the History Channel and almost get away with it. They are incredibly believable. I also enjoy the gritty feel. No character is "good" and no character is "evil." Actually, that is part of why the PON appeals to me so much. Every character is multfaceted. view post

posted 02 Feb 2004, 18:02 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I'm with you on the Silmarillion, Mithfanion. The primary protagonist of all Tolkien's works is Middle-earth - I see the Silmarillion as ME's solo adventure. The 'scarcity of magic' debate is a tricky one, and something I've pondered obsessively in my own work. It seems to me that if magic is over-used or haphazardly presented that it ceases to become 'fantastic.' The more scarce it is, the more exceptional it seems. But then, if you make too scarce, it starts to seem you're reading an 'alternate historical' rather than a fantasy. It's a tightrope. view post

posted 02 Feb 2004, 18:02 by Mithfânion, Didact

Agreed. People's mileage varies enormously when it comes to magic. I'm not looking for cheap Dungeons & Dragons style stuff, but I have to say I love the signicant dosis of Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. There has to be consistency anyway, whether it is scarce or not. I think limiting powerful magic to a restricted few, and offsetting that against normal humans is probably a good way to add the mystique of magic to your tale.It's easy to make it too abundant, but as you say, you don't want it to become straight historical fiction or even alternative history either. view post

posted 02 Feb 2004, 23:02 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Consistency is king. Consistency conveys authenticity, which generates the suspension of disbelief, which makes possible the experience of AWE. Large or small, I think magic needs to be 'awe inspiring,' whatever that means. view post

posted 03 Feb 2004, 17:02 by delavagus, Commoner

I realize that many consider this heresy, but fantasy (= modern fantasy as we understand the genre) doesn't require magic in order to be fantasy; it only requires "otherness." The real power of fantasy lies in its ability to closely explore the big questions of our world by, pardoxically, pulling away from our world and its "welter of associations" (to use a Bakker-esque phrase). The question is how far do you pull: Tolkein far or Guy Gavriel Kay far? Both write/wrote fantasy. The world of AL-RASSAN bears far greater resemblance to our world than Middle-Earth does, but ultimately even Middle-Earth functions through its echoing and re-echoing of histories and mythologies that are entirely "real." But then, I _have_ to believe that a fantasy novel without magic is still a fantasy novel -- after all, I've just finished writing one! view post

posted 03 Feb 2004, 18:02 by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

I totally agree with that. In ASOIAF there has been essentially no magic to date. A few bits here and there, but largely none. Yet there is no doubt that what you are reading is a work of fantasy. Are you publishing your book? I'd like to look for it when it comes out. view post

posted 03 Feb 2004, 18:02 by delavagus, Commoner

Exactly. Authors like Martin and Kay give me hope that my novel -- at least in form and content -- is publishable. Eventually I'll write my Big Fat Fantasy World novels, but now I'm more interested in writing fantasy that sticks to pastures a bit closer to home. RE: publishing... I hope it never comes down to _me_ actually publishing my book. I hope that a _publisher_ will do that. But yes, I'm currently mapping a few different routes toward the Great Publishing-House Monolith. It's possible that my book might be on the shelves in a few years. Stranger things have happened. For instance... I dunno... there's gotta be something stranger, but at the moment I'm drawing a blank... view post

posted 03 Feb 2004, 20:02 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Drawing a blank delavagus? How about ME getting published! Don't get no stranger than that... During daylight at least. view post

posted 03 Feb 2004, 20:02 by delavagus, Commoner

Hey, _I_ wasn't gonna be the one to say it! :wink: view post

posted 15 Jul 2004, 16:07 by saintjon, Auditor

I think it allows ASoIaF to resonate more strongly with my life that at the beginning of A Game of Thrones we are presented with a world that's all but dead to magic. Martin has made it so that we, the readers, are on as much of a quest to find the magic in his world as his characters are. Over at sff people were posting ideas of what they thought the story was about, and I had to point out that above all I thought it was about magic returning to a mundane world. view post

posted 15 Jul 2004, 21:07 by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

Split from the Language thread in the Author Q&A Forum. --- I too love it for the lack of magic. It makes it feel more real, like historical fiction, at the beginning, and then once you are thoroughly ensnared and captivated magic begins trickling in, keeping reality. It is absolutely brilliant. view post

posted 16 Jul 2004, 00:07 by saintjon, Auditor

I guess some people just aren't into it like that though. I've been in about... oh.... 10,000 discussions :wink: over in sffworld about ASoIaF and I was always surprised that so many people thought Bran's chapters were boring. He has been removed from much of the intrigue of the other plots, but he is the character who is being tied most strongly into the deeper veigns of magic and myth in the world. The original crow dream in A Game of Thrones just blew me away. Ditto Jojen's story about the crannogman who went to the great tournament at Harrenhal. So definitely I enjoy reading his chapters. I think I wouldn't be a very good critic, it seems I'm easily pleased compared to so many people, but there aren't any PoV's I feel Martin has failed to deliver on at some point or other. view post

posted 06 Aug 2004, 01:08 by steve, Peralogue

I agree Martin delievers on his POVs. He is a great writer, one of the best if you ask me. view post

posted 19 Jun 2006, 21:06 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

*bumps, to see what newcomers have to say about Scott's views here* :P view post

posted 18 Aug 2006, 16:08 by noodles0585, Peralogue

i love asiaf it is fantastic and bran's chapters aren't really that boring to me but for some reason arya has to be my favorite its like no matter how far out of her depth she is she prevails some how and considering that she is just 10 and how tough she is just makes me love to read about her. Tolkien is the father of fantasy today from his histories and languages of middleearth to his mytholigies and legends comes an epic that in my opinon has yet to be parralled i mean don't get me wrong there is a lot of awesome fantasy floating around like asiaf and PoN but tolkien just has a diffrent feel to it. view post

Bran and a couple of magic chapters posted 20 Aug 2006, 19:08 by Sedulo, Candidate

In response to Bran's PoV, he is one of my favorite characters he's been out of the pic ture for awhile. I think magic is on the rise, it just hasn't been used for so long. random opinion: The very last chapter in Game of Thrones and also the last one in Storm of Swords...truly truly great writing. Goosebumps aplenty. view post

posted 21 Aug 2006, 19:08 by Werthead, Candidate

The use of magic in books is a difficult one to address. For example, as much as I thoroughly enjoy Erikson, the question of how the planet wasn't blown to pieces thousands of years ago given the powers some of these characters can wield does arise. Martin does do it well, with the magic levels rising gradually. In fact, I think some of the choices he made in AFFC may have given us too much magic. Magic is a mysterious force when you're not sure how it works. Showing us a Valyrian magical telephone system somewhat diminishes that effect. Jordan, despite his many sins, has a good take on magic. Thinking of it as a science and giving it extremely tight rules which also allow flexibility has given him a magic 'system' that is fairly impressive. Until Scott's introduction of the Gnosis, Psukhe and aganonic magics, the One Power was one of the more interesting and well-defined magic systems out there. True, it would be more impressive if the monolithic organisations that have studied magic for 3,700 years hadn't learned less than four 18-year-old girls had in less than two years, but there you go. I think the worst thing a writer can do is make his magic so badly-defined that the characters can solve every problem they encounter through some hitherto unseen use of magic. Far more satisfying if you know that the sorcerer cannot escape from a trap as a dozen Chorae are aimed at his back, or because he's wandered into a dead magic zone, and he overcomes it through his own ingenuity rather than lazy deus ex machina. view post

posted 21 Aug 2006, 21:08 by Harrol, Moderator

Wert I could not have said it better. view post

posted 29 Aug 2006, 16:08 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

you know, i was just thinking that it was great that the spammers at left these discussion forums alone and only spammed the off topic.,.. but then i see this. die spam! view post

posted 29 Aug 2006, 17:08 by Harrol, Moderator

Do not worry some day they will all die and be seen no more on this forum. view post

posted 30 Aug 2006, 13:08 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

:roll: [quote="Harrol":265yako2]Do not worry some day they will all die and be seen no more on this forum.[/quote:265yako2] shows what you know! :lol: view post

posted 30 Aug 2006, 18:08 by Harrol, Moderator

Notice I said someday Kind of like when people say someday I will quit smoking and they do when they get emphazema (sp) view post

posted 30 Aug 2006, 19:08 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

:lol: i know, i'm just being silly. work is boring. -yawn- view post

posted 31 Aug 2006, 01:08 by Sedulo, Candidate

Do not try to read the spam, it is a spell! :wink: view post

posted 05 Sep 2006, 01:09 by Harrol, Moderator

:shock: Well I have fallen for it then. view post

posted 05 Sep 2006, 09:09 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

I support the death penalty for spammers. And with magic, although I tend towards preferring more than less, consistency is the key. Scott handles it beautifully, even if I wanted more information faster (although it did get me salivating for the next book). I think one of the best touches is that magic is far from completely understood by its practitioners, although some of its rules are codified and a considerable body of skill and knowledge has developed regarding its practice (Jack Vance does something similar with the more whimsical [i:2ombbvi0]Dying Earth[/i:2ombbvi0] stories). It allows for the events of the climax of [i:2ombbvi0]The Thousandfold Thought[/i:2ombbvi0] to occur and be a surprise, but not an unfair one, to the reader. view post


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