Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 06:26 on 17-10-2011, valse de la lune
And Joe Abercrombie, and Patrick Rothfuss, and and and.

None of those writers ever wrote something like Alistair, Carth or Anomen, at least.
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at 04:17 on 17-10-2011, Michal
Gordammit, looks like David Gaider's been taking points from Richard K. Morgan. "See, I'm revolutionizing fantasy by doing what every other hack fantasy author has been doing in the past decade!"
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at 23:59 on 16-10-2011, Dan H
You're right that it's not *necessarily* a contradiction, it's just that I thought the line highlighted something about the way this kind of Fantasy setting works in practice (particularly in games). They make a big thing about how there's no "Good" and "Evil" but then set things up so that there are clearly "good guys" and "bad guys".

Dragon Age is, perhaps, a particularly egregious example of this. While Gaider describes it as a "character driven" story about "the human condition" that "isn't concerned with being epic" and in which it "isn't always easy to tell good from evil", in the actual game your goal is to stop an army of mindless flesh-eating demons from killing everybody in the entire kingdom.

I've very rarely seen a situation in a Bioware game in which the "good" course of action was not *patently obvious*, and in those situations where I *have* felt that there wasn't a good solution, its usually been because the option that was flagged as "good" didn't seem acceptable to me, for reasons the game didn't seem to acknowledge.
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at 23:40 on 16-10-2011, Andy G
Well in fairness, one statement is about knowledge of good and evil (it's *sometimes* not easy to tell them apart, though not impossible) and the other is directly about good/evil and just deserts, so I don't think there's actually a contradiction there, even if it's not terribly well thought-through.

Analogue: It's hard to guess who's a Cylon, and sometimes innocent people get accused unfairly.
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at 20:23 on 16-10-2011, Arthur B
It's analogue morality as opposed to digital: rather than there being a good/evil binary there's a continuum ranging from "Deserves to very occasionally have things not quite go 100% the way they wanted, but not so much that it causes them appreciable discomfort" to "Deserves to be brutally tortured and executed and forced to spend eternity licking the wax from Satan's ears."
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at 19:46 on 16-10-2011, valse de la lune
They are, obviously, two different stats.
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at 19:45 on 16-10-2011, Dan H
Coming back from our attempt to revolutionize fantasy with another ludicrous line from the original quote, I've just noticed: "it isn't always easy to tell good from evil, and sometimes bad things happen to those who deserve it least".

So you can't tell who's good and who's evil, but you can *totally* tell how deserving people are of having bad things happen to them, relative to other people.
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at 19:09 on 16-10-2011, valse de la lune
And you know what? They will totally only steal from the rich.

The world is not ready for such blazing originality.
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at 18:46 on 16-10-2011, Sunnyskywalker
And maybe the thieves could be... like... organized, yeah, that would be wild! They could have their own totally new and revolutionary guild!
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at 18:31 on 16-10-2011, Melissa G.
(Sorry for AWOL folks, work has been kicking my arse, but I still exist! Hurrah)


Yay! I'm glad you exist! \(^o^)/ I sent you my comic book article in the electronic mails. Did you get it?
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at 18:10 on 16-10-2011, Arthur B
Hey guys, I have an awesome idea for a totally revolutionary fantasy novel which will change everything! How about instead of setting it in countryside and wilderness, the action takes place in - get this - a city. And perhaps the main characters can be thieves!
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at 17:56 on 16-10-2011, Dan H
I love the examples he gives for *why* it's so remarkable as well.

It's not like traditional fantasy because the Elves are greatly diminished from their former glory, the dragons are dying out, and magic and religion are opposed to each other. Because absolutely *none* of those things are major recurring tropes of the genre.
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at 11:38 on 16-10-2011, Wardog
(Sorry for AWOL folks, work has been kicking my arse, but I still exist! Hurrah)

Hahaha, I particularly like "....done in a way you don't often see..."

HAVE YOU READ ANY FANTASY FICTION FOR THE LAST TWELVE YEARS, GAIDER?!
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at 08:58 on 16-10-2011, valse de la lune
Oh David Gaider.

"'Dragon Age' is a fantasy world with all the trappings you'd expect in fantasy -- magic, elves, dragons -- but done in a way you don't often see. It's dark, where it isn't always easy to tell good from evil, and sometimes bad things happen to those who deserve it least," Gaider said of the "Dragon Age" concept. "Elves have lost their way, dragons are recovering from the brink of extinction, magic is reviled and suppressed by the church. It's also character-driven, and thus concerned more about the human condition than it is about being epic."


The human condition he says. Deep, man, deep. And dark too. So, so dark.
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at 23:48 on 15-10-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
D'awww, I can't change the text colors with the Playpen's HTML!

I will console myself by writing an eight-page footnote that lists all the painters who have ever lived.
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at 23:19 on 15-10-2011, Arthur B
Oh now you've gone and jinxed it. Coming up next: Harry Potter the Annotated Edition, complete with explanations for everything compiled from interviews and Rowling's writing notes, right in the margin of the pages. In large font. Larger than the text itself in fact, since its importance supersedes prose and dialogue alike.

I would actually be up for that, but only if Rowling gets Mark Z. Danielewski to ghostwrite the footnotes and then gets too distracted swimming in her money bin to properly supervise him.

In other words, I would read the shit out of Harry Potter and the Minotaur's House.
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at 21:43 on 15-10-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Dat zeems unwhise. If yu whent bak in tyme and shot'da dienosor, eet culd have unvorzeene consecwensez.

Oh yeah. Incidentally, that was also the only advice my father gave me on my wedding day. Oh well.

Also, if Rowling did use the term metaphor, it seems a more lenient interpretation might be in order as a metaphor isn't really meant to be a specific or an explicit association. So even if Lycanthropy is a metaphor for a serious condition with social consequences, it doesn't have to be exactly similar with the same implications.
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at 21:21 on 15-10-2011, Sister Magpie
So, yeah, unless this link is wrong (which it could be), it's not something somebody interprets randomly out of the blue. Like most everything else in HP that tries to be deep, it makes no sense once you think about it for more than five minutes.


It's not that I think it's wrong, necessarily--it's pretty vague about what exactly she said. I just have a feeling that if she says it's a metaphor she's talking about how Lupin is avoided even when he's not a threat rather than saying that the werewolf condition maps onto HIV in any real way. Because she's always talked about the real-life illness connection, meaning it that way.
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at 21:18 on 15-10-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
And suddenly this, is an article with practical applications. Good to now that there's some solid empiria coming our way too.

Dat zeems unwhise. If yu whent bak in tyme and shot'da dienosor, eet culd have unvorzeene consecwensez.

Stil, ehts nize to zee'da awthor did hiz reserch. Aym shur evrything wil werk aut awlrite.
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at 20:40 on 15-10-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
And suddenly this, is an article with practical applications. Good to now that there's some solid empiria coming our way too.

Coming up next: Harry Potter the Annotated Edition, complete with explanations for everything compiled from interviews and Rowling's writing notes, right in the margin of the pages.

I'll have to wait and see what the Sorting Hat is a metaphor for. Or perhaps an analogue? For late nineteenth-century social-darwinism?
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at 20:30 on 15-10-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
So guys, remember back in April 1916 when the German lines at La Bassée were infested with those Braquean dromaeosaurs?

I do.
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at 20:30 on 15-10-2011, valse de la lune
Oh now you've gone and jinxed it. Coming up next: Harry Potter the Annotated Edition, complete with explanations for everything compiled from interviews and Rowling's writing notes, right in the margin of the pages. In large font. Larger than the text itself in fact, since its importance supersedes prose and dialogue alike.

...it would sell really well too.
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at 20:20 on 15-10-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Perhaps Rowling does have something with this explain what everything is a metaphor for or some other thing not readily apparent. It would be helpful wiif other authors would do it and people wouldn't have to think about stuff anymore. Perhaps footnotes to reveal intertextuality and everything more challenging.
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at 19:11 on 15-10-2011, Sunnyskywalker
Or what valse de la lune said. It just doesn't map well directly to any real condition.
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