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Trellan
2011-10-10, 04:06 AM
I guess anything in general is okay, but specifically I'm curious about two questions.

1.) Do you like a main character that's pretty much just some random person pushed into their role as hero by fate or circumstances (like Rand Al'thor. Been a while, but I'm pretty sure he started that series as a farmer or something), or do you like a main character that has already done heroic things before the events of the book (like Aragorn)?

2.) Do you think having a main character from Earth that is pulled into another world or discovers magical aspects on Earth (like Harry Potter and a lot of other young adult fiction) is an interesting way to give insight into the world and give a different perspective, or does it just detract from the fantasy world and seem out of place? I guess Harry Potter was a bad example here, since it is tied into the real world so much, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

I'm mainly asking because I've found that a lot of my friends are very strongly in support of one side or the other on both of these, so I'm curious what The Playground in general thinks.

Feytalist
2011-10-10, 04:59 AM
I think the normal kid being thrust into a heroic role has been done so many times, it's become somewhat cliche. The Hero's Journey, and all that. It's a common legend for a reason, of course. But for it to be good these days, it will have to be done really well, with some exceptional storytelling. Don't get me wrong, I do still enjoy stories like that. Feist's Magician Saga. Eddings' Belgariad (I'll come to the rest of that particular series in a second). The Wheel of Time, as you mentioned.

However, I much more thoroughly enjoy the other kind. The one where the hero is already a hero. No meandering protests of adequateness. No tedious training montages. Take Eddings for example. Sure, the Belgariad was good. But to me, the Malloreon was so much better. Same with the Elenium/Tamuli. Sparhawk did heroic deeds right from the start. Or take Gemmel. Four of his five main characters over all his novels were recognised heroes, with two of them explicitly old from the start. It didn't detract from his novels one bit. (oh, I forgot Jon Shannow. Make that five out of six.) In fact, I think it enhanced it.

I realise the Hero's Journey type of story allows the author to explain his setting in a natural way as possible. It also allows for the easiest type of character development, which always make for good stories. But as I said, these days it is so much more difficult to make a good Hero's Journey. But not impossible, mind. Trudi Canavan's Age of Five was brilliant. And her Black Magician Trilogy just as good. Or Karen Miller's Kingmaker, Kingbreaker. All of them relatively recent, and very very good.


I really dislike realistic fantasy on the other hand. There is only one exception: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, by Stephen Donaldson. Everything else is just bad. They all follow the same formula: unbelief, acceptance, displacement syndrome, heroism. Which is incidentally almost the same formula as the Hero's Journey, only much more inane. And honestly, I'm not reading fantasy for the normal earthling protagonist. I'm reading fantasy because fantasy, come on.

dehro
2011-10-10, 08:57 AM
stuff
what he said

the average joe called to acts of heroism, or the hidden talent waiting for the wise master to polish the crud off him and reveal the inner gem, with side-order of "becoming an adult"...has been done so often it's getting boring. same goes for the earthling who finds out he's the subject of prophecy or that earthlings displaced into lala-land acquire magical mistery powers.. it's been done and overdone a dozen times.
+1 on the Gemmell solution of taking a well known hero..or at least a guy with a reputation and some street cred... and test his limits to breaking point.
I think it's my favourite solution too.. the reason for this being that as of now, having read quite a lot of fantasy (if not as much as some of the forumites).. it still is the path less travelled, which keeps it fresh.
If you have a character whose name alone makes minions crap their pants, it is much more believable when you see him jump on the back of a dragon and chop its head clean off than it would be if an underfed kid was to do it, who two weeks before was taking his first sparring lessons in a ditch somewhere on the road to lala-land.
Eddings strikes a fine and acceptable balance in these things, with Garion being a farm-boy, yes, but also the result of several centuries of careful "breeding", and his tutors being badass uber-mages.

truth be told, I don't think there are many unexplored paths, in this area...and the third option has the inherent risk of estabilishing a mary-sue character..which may alienate people too.. I guess it all boils down to how believable the universe is, and how well it's written.

personally, what I started writing as a kid was very much "teenager gets swept to fantasy universe and bestowed with mega-powers..or maybe he finds out just how awesome he really is"... then, growing up, I realised I was practically putting on paper what I wished, beyond hope or reason, to happen for myself.. without really thinking of writing quality, in this reverie... then I dropped it several times over..
anything I've written since, has always been "in universe"..with earth being at the very most a distant shadow and a touchstone.
I may still dream of exploring new worlds, but I find that whenever I try to put the earthling in other-than-earthly context, on paper ..it doesn't work, when I read it back. this may be a flaw of my own writing rather than an idea that doesn't work...but that's where I'm at, now. (I've yet to try to infuse "some degree" of magic in the real world to create a "hidden universe" sort of scenario..but it's too much of a fandom minefield at this moment in time, for me to want to delve in that option..and I accept I'm possibly not good enough to try that and keep it believable)

H Birchgrove
2011-10-10, 10:10 AM
I guess anything in general is okay, but specifically I'm curious about two questions.

1.) Do you like a main character that's pretty much just some random person pushed into their role as hero by fate or circumstances (like Rand Al'thor. Been a while, but I'm pretty sure he started that series as a farmer or something), or do you like a main character that has already done heroic things before the events of the book (like Aragorn)?
I like both equally.

Funny coincidence; I'm reading the Lensman graphic novels (based on the anime which was based on the pulp novel space operas by "Doc" E.E. Smith :smalltongue: ), and the main protagonist is just like the first example you brought up. Which happens to be a lot like a certain Luke Skywalker... :smallconfused: :smallwink:

Other examples I could bring up are the Pevensie kids in Chronicles of Narnia; I still love those stories.

John Carter of Barsoom (Mars) is a good example of the 2nd type, since he was a Civil War veteran and a good fencer, gunslinger and horse rider before getting teleported (?) to Barsoom/Mars, all of which proved to be handy abilities.

I suppose Conan the Cimmerian (Barbarian) is a blend of both types; at least in the first film with Arnold. :smallconfused:


2.) Do you think having a main character from Earth that is pulled into another world or discovers magical aspects on Earth (like Harry Potter and a lot of other young adult fiction) is an interesting way to give insight into the world and give a different perspective, or does it just detract from the fantasy world and seem out of place? I guess Harry Potter was a bad example here, since it is tied into the real world so much, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

I prefer when the hero protagonist is brought to another "magical" world or dimension rather than having a Masquerade on "our" Earth; when watching the two last Harry Potter films, I couldn't buy that MI5, MI6, CIA etc weren't aware of the wizards.

Having the adventure taking place in a mythical/legendary past or distant future works for me too.


I'm mainly asking because I've found that a lot of my friends are very strongly in support of one side or the other on both of these, so I'm curious what The Playground in general thinks.

And Now You Know. And Knowing Is Half The Battle! :smallwink:

dehro
2011-10-11, 03:46 AM
Yo Joe! stupid forum thing says my message is to short

Killer Angel
2011-10-11, 04:43 AM
I think the normal kid being thrust into a heroic role has been done so many times, it's become somewhat cliche.

...even if it can still be done in an interesting way. Erfworld, anyone? :smallwink:

Trellan
2011-10-11, 07:47 AM
Hmm, so this seems to follow the general trend that I've noticed of people who have read a lot of fantasy not liking the average Joe protagonist. I actually got interested in this when I started talking about it with a couple friends that don't read fantasy and they didn't understand why I have such a high dislike for the nobody hero pushed into greatness (especially if said hero is also a bumbling idiot that is constantly shown up by everyone around them and then only wins through sheer luck. I cannot fathom why that is such a popular archetype. Who wants to read that?). Would you say this is pretty accurate overall? Any Playgrounders who don't read fantasy on a regular basis that want to chime in with their preferences?

As for the second question, Narnia is actually a much better example of what I was thinking of. I'm kind of embarrassed I didn't think of it myself. I don't see the whole "humans from Earth transported to a different world" thing too often anymore, and I personally think it's because it usually clashes with immersion in a fantasy world. I mean, you ideally have this well-crafted world that lives and breathes on its own, but rather than let it stand on its own, you're propping it up with a completely mundane person who doesn't fit in at all. I recently had a friend make the argument, however, that it allows the readers to better relate to the character. I guess I can kind of see that, but I still don't really agree with it.

Thanks for the feedback, guys! My curiosity is somewhat more satisfied now! :smallsmile:

Aotrs Commander
2011-10-11, 08:43 AM
Hmm, so this seems to follow the general trend that I've noticed of people who have read a lot of fantasy not liking the average Joe protagonist. I actually got interested in this when I started talking about it with a couple friends that don't read fantasy and they didn't understand why I have such a high dislike for the nobody hero pushed into greatness (especially if said hero is also a bumbling idiot that is constantly shown up by everyone around them and then only wins through sheer luck. I cannot fathom why that is such a popular archetype. Who wants to read that?). Would you say this is pretty accurate overall? Any Playgrounders who don't read fantasy on a regular basis that want to chime in with their preferences?

I'm certainly not overly fond of it, myself. (In fact, I rather like smart, even genera-savvy heroes, but they are few an far between generally.)


I don't see the whole "humans from Earth transported to a different world" thing too often anymore, and I personally think it's because it usually clashes with immersion in a fantasy world. I mean, you ideally have this well-crafted world that lives and breathes on its own, but rather than let it stand on its own, you're propping it up with a completely mundane person who doesn't fit in at all. I recently had a friend make the argument, however, that it allows the readers to better relate to the character. I guess I can kind of see that, but I still don't really agree with it.

I agree, for exactly the same reasons. When you're in a new fantasy world, yes, you usually need somebody to act as exposition-dump-target to bring the reader up to speed on the world, but there are more elegant methods that breaking the genera.

dehro
2011-10-11, 09:05 AM
not only are there better ways to do it...but more often than not, do I find myself thinking "yeah..I would never react to this situation like the main character does"..which grates me a lot more when I am supposed to relate with him through some sort of "common background"

Yora
2011-10-11, 09:10 AM
I like nonheroic protagonists much more than characters who are just great to begin with. However, I also think that such character should not become super awesome at all.

When I have to pick between a super soldier who does incredible things, and a random dude who does incredible things, I pick the superman. That's still silly, but not as silly as the other one.

Interesting characters are those who have to make do with normal abilities. Overcoming obstacles because of special powers is not an achievment. Overcoming obstacles by finding a way to use mundane abilities in a smart way is what makes interesting characters and stories.

Trellan
2011-10-11, 09:11 AM
To me that just screams poor writing, honestly. I really think the reason so many stories involve protagonists that are too stupid to breathe is that it makes it really easy to drive the story forward when your main character will make whatever stupid decision is most convenient. Nothing pulls me out of immersion faster than saying "why would that character possibly do that ever?" Not to say characters can't make stupid decisions, but I'm pretty sure most people understand the kind of character I'm describing here.

Edit: The above is referring to Dehro's post of course. As for the main character being super powered, I'm actually okay with it if there's a reason for it. The same reason why I'm okay with the fact that fantasy stories revolve around so many incredibly unlikely circumstances all lining up. Stories aren't written about average boring people living average boring lives, they're written about incredible people in incredible situations. Of course, a main character can be average, and that kind of book is fun to read, but like you said, they need to do extraordinary things with what they have.

Traab
2011-10-11, 08:40 PM
The thing with the established hero from the start setup is, take gemmel for example. Even he was unable to avoid the sirens call to show us his humble beginnings and rise to power. Druss being his most famous example. Druss the Legend. The Silver Slayer, Captain of the Axe, Deathwalker, the man was an unstoppable, unbeatable god of war. Every nation from the most highly "civilized" to the nadir barbarian hordes knew his name, feared and respected him, had fought both with and against him. Even his DEATH SCENE was the stuff of legends. Dying of a horrific gangrenous poisoned wound to his back. In such agony that any three normal men would be driven to their knees in torment, he staggers to the soon to be sundered gate of the fortress, and it takes TEN nadir tribesmen to finally kill him. Even then i think he took down three with him. He was so honored and respected that his death caused a one night cease fire where both sides got together to give him his heroes funeral. They ate, drank, and paid their respects side by side. However, in the end, gemmel released the story describing his trip from wood chopping farm boy, to legendary killer of thousands, all to find and rescue his kidnapped wife.

Anyways, on to my preference. Honestly? I dont really have one. Im more used to having the established hero with preexisting cred being the guide and guardian for the hero on his quest. Gandalf, belgarath, eragorn, brom, whatever. But thats because, as has been said, its the most popular formula for fantasy novels. I like the druss the legend type stories too, i greatly enjoy seeing the hero be a hero before the story even started. Im even a fan of the stories like magic kingdom for sale, were normal joe gets flung into a magical world and proceeds to win for whatever reason. the Spellsong Cycle is another good example. Opera singer wishes to be anywhere but where she is right now, when at that moment on another world a spell is being cast to bring a powerful and willing spell caster to help them. And since music is magic in this world, and she is an incredibly powerful singer, well, you get the idea. I highly recommend that series to fantasy fans, I really liked it.

factotum
2011-10-12, 01:48 AM
The main problem I have with the "Hero's Journey" type protagonist is that they're not usually the farmhand they appear to be--it always seems to turn out that they're secretly the son of the old king, or were prophesied from birth to cause the death of the big bad, etc. It would be nice to have a hero who starts from truly humble beginnings and doesn't end up with some sort of prophetic or genetic prop to confirm their hero-ness.

Also got a bit sick of people from Earth ending up saving Fantasyland.

Overall, my favourite hero of fantasy is probably Druss, at least as he appeared in "Legend"--he's just a very strong fighter who has become legendary basically by killing lots and lots of people. I think the concept started to go awry in later books when it turned out his axe (Snaga the Sender) had a demon locked into it or something like that...it was much better when it was just Druss being seriously badass!

Feytalist
2011-10-12, 02:57 AM
Spellsong Cycle. That's the one. I read that years ago, forgot the name, and I've been trying to get a hold of it ever since. Cool. I actually enjoyed that series as well, particularly due to the writing. I actually started with the second book first, as it was the first one I could get my hands on. So by the time I read the first, I knew where it was going.

Regarding Druss, I never enjoyed the Chronicles, specifically for that reason. Then again, everyone knew how he would turn out, which helps, I guess.

Kato
2011-10-12, 04:52 AM
The main problem I have with the "Hero's Journey" type protagonist is that they're not usually the farmhand they appear to be--it always seems to turn out that they're secretly the son of the old king, or were prophesied from birth to cause the death of the big bad, etc. It would be nice to have a hero who starts from truly humble beginnings and doesn't end up with some sort of prophetic or genetic prop to confirm their hero-ness.

Also got a bit sick of people from Earth ending up saving Fantasyland.


I have to agree with that. It's not entirely bad but really, why can't just a normal person be the hero but someone who is secretly a prophesied warrior/messiah/whatever?

I'd like something when the protagonist is not the hero but hero the companion... were we can witness the heroics done by whoever he accompanies. That's be something nice for a change.

Eldan
2011-10-12, 04:53 AM
Hmm.

Well, I'd say it comes down to how much I've read of every kind. As a teenager, I read entire shelves of "Random kid gets thrown into fantasy world" novels. So, I'm a bit sick of that thing. I think I've read just about every possible permutation of it ten years ago.

I'd rather they spend more on showing the world instead of showing the normal world first and then spending half the book on the protagonist "No way! This can't be real!".

Now, I do like books where we see a big span of a character's life. How they became who they are. Name of the Wind is a good example, but there are others. I suppose it's my love for book series that aren't just doorstoppers, but stacks of bricks you could build walls from. If it has 4000 pages or more, chances are I will like it a lot.

dehro
2011-10-12, 05:05 AM
The main problem I have with the "Hero's Journey" type protagonist is that they're not usually the farmhand they appear to be--it always seems to turn out that they're secretly the son of the old king, or were prophesied from birth to cause the death of the big bad, etc. It would be nice to have a hero who starts from truly humble beginnings and doesn't end up with some sort of prophetic or genetic prop to confirm their hero-ness.

Also got a bit sick of people from Earth ending up saving Fantasyland.

Overall, my favourite hero of fantasy is probably Druss, at least as he appeared in "Legend"--he's just a very strong fighter who has become legendary basically by killing lots and lots of people. I think the concept started to go awry in later books when it turned out his axe (Snaga the Sender) had a demon locked into it or something like that...it was much better when it was just Druss being seriously badass!

admittedly, he was badass enough to not let the demon take hold of him the way it had taken hold of his grandad... and he remained badass long after the demon was dealth with and disposed.
yah..landover was fun to read...I think it all comes down to quality and writing skills.. that alone will make me swallow a lot of crappy plot twists.. for instance, I like how Chuck Palahniuk writes.. despite his plots being often..well.. less than believable... and am willing to forgive him for that.
As heroes go, you can't really get any better than Druss... his funeral scene is on par with the great classics, very much like the way Homer deals with the funeral of Hector in the Iliad, if not in content at least in ... epic grandeur and relevance.

Yora
2011-10-12, 05:44 AM
I have to agree with that. It's not entirely bad but really, why can't just a normal person be the hero but someone who is secretly a prophesied warrior/messiah/whatever?
I think it's the Greeks fault. They loved such stories. But in the greek stories, it would never end in a happy ending. If you remove the bad endings, the whole concept is just boring.

Trellan
2011-10-12, 07:57 AM
I'd rather they spend more on showing the world instead of showing the normal world first and then spending half the book on the protagonist "No way! This can't be real!".


What about cases like Erfworld, where, aside from the occasional "is this really happening?", the character from Earth more or less accepts it and moves on.

It seems to me that this kind of story is much more suited for a less serious world. I can't imagine a world like what you see in Malazan Book of the Fallen or A Song of Ice and Fire with a character from Earth thrown into it. Are there any more serious fantasy stories where this happens? Even Narnia, which came up earlier, is pretty light-hearted overall despite them all dying horribly in a train wreck in reality.

Weezer
2011-10-12, 08:17 AM
What about cases like Erfworld, where, aside from the occasional "is this really happening?", the character from Earth more or less accepts it and moves on.

It seems to me that this kind of story is much more suited for a less serious world. I can't imagine a world like what you see in Malazan Book of the Fallen or A Song of Ice and Fire with a character from Earth thrown into it. Are there any more serious fantasy stories where this happens? Even Narnia, which came up earlier, is pretty light-hearted overall despite them all dying horribly in a train wreck in reality.

I'd say the prime example of an Earth character being thrown into a serious fantasy world would be the aforementioned Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. There is just about nothing light-hearted in the series at all.

Feytalist
2011-10-12, 08:17 AM
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, as I mentioned earlier. The premise is essentially that a guy in the normal world hits his head and wakes up in a fantasy world. There's a bit more to it than that, of course, but I'll leave that to those who go and read the books, heh.

The books are utterly serious and more than a little depressing at times, and it's laden with symbolism and philosophical themes. It's perhaps one of the best series I've ever read. Right up to the conclusion, at the end, you're still not sure if it was a dream or actually real.

Trellan
2011-10-12, 09:55 AM
Is it a story about a living world, though, or is it a story about a character and what he does? (That's actually an honest question; I've never even heard of the series :smallredface:)

A lot of my favorite stories from when I was younger (I don't have much time to read these days) involved characters from Earth. Like a few other people that posted on here, I really identified with the whole going to another place thing. However, when I think back on them now, I really feel like the stories would have been better if they just starred a protagonist from that world. The only ones that wouldn't are the ones that are all about characters instead of the world itself, and in those cases the world seems kind of... lackluster and a little shallow. Maybe it's just the selection of books I've read, but I can't seem to find any in my memory that meet a balance of the two.

Traab
2011-10-12, 11:03 AM
Well, the spellsong cycle is a good mix of the two imo. In it Anna is not only learning how to use her abilities, she is also learning about how the world around her works. Not only that, but as readers we get to see the thought processes, and cultures of the other nations and how things work there, so we can better understand things like,( read after this for some spoilers as to the direction the story takes, if not the specifics.) "why is this ruler sending an army against her when the last 5 rulers to try it caught a bad case of death by flaming arrow?" It covers her efforts to try and change the world from a misogynistic medieval society fractured by endless wars and nobles who are more interested in personal power than in protecting their country, into more of a meritocracy where gender isnt important and people actually give a rats ass about each other instead of only looking out for number 1. There is no prophecy or predestined hero, its just a good woman trying first just to survive in an alien world, then in the end, to make the world a better place.

Just as an example as to how screwed up the country she ends up ruling is, at one point, after numerous battles and such, a rival nation is talking about her and they are astonished and feel horribly threatened, all because apparently anna is now able to count on about half of her nobles to support her efforts. Apparently, defalk has been so fractured for so long, that its been generations since any ruler has come close to being able to trust in the support of that many lords. And despite this awesome display of unity, (/rolls eyes) She still spends probably half of each book in the series putting down rebellions because the idiot nobles all seem to think that their mighty genitals will guarantee victory over this soft female, despite the mass graves of enemy soldiers she leaves behind her everywhere she goes.

Dr.Epic
2011-10-12, 11:17 AM
At least on barbarian or barbarian-like character. Gotta be some wild man that swings a sword hard. Lord of the Rings technically met this requirement in the first book with Aragorn.

Also, some kind of trickster or sneaky guy. Again, LotR met this with its hobbits.

Some kind of crazed, drunken dwarf. And he should win any sort of contest where they slaughter their enemy. *cough* Peter Jackson *cough*

Also, a wizard of some kind.

dehro
2011-10-12, 11:17 AM
the never ending story..

Trellan
2011-10-12, 11:24 AM
The Spellsong Cycle really doesn't sound like my cup of tea (it honestly comes off as a little preachy from the spoilered description :smalleek:), but I'll add it to my list of things to look into when I have a bit more time for this kind of thing. I am interested in seeing a story that can pull off that kind of balance well.

As for The Never Ending story, that's something I'll hold up as a world that isn't really serious. Sure, it has some serious aspects, but it's a world for children and I feel like it's pretty shallow overall. Just my opinion, of course, but I definitely don't think it pulled off the balance in any way.

And to Dr. Epic: don't forget the dwarf has to be competing against an elf. They are competing because all dwarves and all elves everywhere have to compete at everything. Including how many times they can make the audience roll their eyes.

Weezer
2011-10-12, 11:45 AM
[QUOTE=Trellan;12013131]Is it a story about a living world, though, or is it a story about a character and what he does? (That's actually an honest question; I've never even heard of the series :smallredface:)/QUOTE]

First off, if you've never read it, and are a fan of fantasy, read it. It is one of the best fantasy series I've ever read.

It is certainly a living world, great emphasis is placed on the fact that the Land is a place that exists beyond the protagonist. In fact the PoV shifts to denizens of the world on a few occasions, and between the books there is a time gap where the protagonist isn't in the fantasy world and you're shown how life moves on without other-worldly intervention.

I have to warn you that if you want a protagonist who is heroic and likeable, it wont be for you.

TheSummoner
2011-10-12, 07:56 PM
I guess anything in general is okay, but specifically I'm curious about two questions.

1.) Do you like a main character that's pretty much just some random person pushed into their role as hero by fate or circumstances (like Rand Al'thor. Been a while, but I'm pretty sure he started that series as a farmer or something), or do you like a main character that has already done heroic things before the events of the book (like Aragorn)?

I hate hate hate hate HATE HATE HATE stories where you start with some random schmuck who is somehow the chosen one and the only one who can save the world/defeat the badguy/free his enslaved people/buy the groceries.

The protagonist doesn't have to start as some sort of super badass, but he/she should have some background that qualifies him/her to accomplish whatever it is that he/she accomplishes throughout the book. The book is about killing an evil overlord? The protagonist should atleast have some sort of combat experience in his/her backstory.


2.) Do you think having a main character from Earth that is pulled into another world or discovers magical aspects on Earth (like Harry Potter and a lot of other young adult fiction) is an interesting way to give insight into the world and give a different perspective, or does it just detract from the fantasy world and seem out of place? I guess Harry Potter was a bad example here, since it is tied into the real world so much, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

Neither honestly. I like my worlds entirely separate. Either a completly original world or one based on earth but different. No silly masquerade and no protagonist from earth pulled into a different world.

chiasaur11
2011-10-12, 08:29 PM
You want to know what I want in a fantasy hero?

Honestly?

Vimes. Vetinari. Von Lipvig.

I oversimplify, of course. But Pratchett's protagonists (including most of the ones I didn't list) avoid a lot of the things I hate most in fantasy characters.

They're competent. Sure, luck has a hand, but they settle day to day matters. Smart enough that they don't need to be exposition-ed through everything.

And, above all?

No heroic destinies or "magical talent" that lets them just steamroll everyone. Can't stand the things nine times out of ten.

It makes characters unimportant. Oh, sure, the not destinied guy gets an achievement or two. But (again usually. Can be done well) the characters are less people and more tokens on a board marked "Hero" "Villain" "Mentor" "Been in this town so long that back in the city I've been taken for lost and gone".

No thanks.

Traab
2011-10-12, 09:21 PM
The Spellsong Cycle really doesn't sound like my cup of tea (it honestly comes off as a little preachy from the spoilered description :smalleek:), but I'll add it to my list of things to look into when I have a bit more time for this kind of thing. I am interested in seeing a story that can pull off that kind of balance well.

As for The Never Ending story, that's something I'll hold up as a world that isn't really serious. Sure, it has some serious aspects, but it's a world for children and I feel like it's pretty shallow overall. Just my opinion, of course, but I definitely don't think it pulled off the balance in any way.

And to Dr. Epic: don't forget the dwarf has to be competing against an elf. They are competing because all dwarves and all elves everywhere have to compete at everything. Including how many times they can make the audience roll their eyes.

It is a bit, she does a lot of whining about how annoying it is that all these lords keep revolting against her because she is a woman. Then she wipes her eyes, obliterates several hundred enemy soldiers, and names yet another loyal subject to take over ruling that area. Honestly, at times I swear she drops off loyal characters to stay behind and rule faster than the author can introduce them. About the only thing that saves it from being some dumb great white hunter saving the savages from themselves type of story is the fact that it is shown exactly why "the way things have always been" is killing the country and needs to change if they want to survive.

Oh, and no, women are not always saints in this series either. True most of the bad guys are guys, but There are several bad guys who are female. There is also a surprising assortment of gender outlooks. One country is ruled by women, another keeps their women in chains, and it is no crime to just up and decapitate or beat them to death in the middle of the street. (Guess which country is the bad guys, go on, guess) One country where its gender equality, one nation where its a bit odd, men are in charge, but women are often respected and feared for being sneaky, conniving, back stabbing, throat slitting, poisoning your afternoon cup of wine, power hungry, bitches. And of course defalk, the country where Anna is in charge. Women arent really human, they are there to incubate my future heirs, keep my dangly bits happy, and shut the &^% up. Not the opinion of everyone, but it seems to be the majority view. :smallwink:

Forum Explorer
2011-10-12, 10:51 PM
I like nearly any background except for being the 'Chosen One.' A hero shouldn't have to be fated in order to be a hero.

Still it can be done well. In fact pretty much any backstory can be done well if handled by a great writer. So basically it comes down to the individual on if I like that background or not.

Feytalist
2011-10-13, 02:42 AM
Is it a story about a living world, though, or is it a story about a character and what he does? (That's actually an honest question; I've never even heard of the series :smallredface:)

To be honest, a large part of the books (the first part of the series, anyway) has the main character trying to figure out if the world is real, or simply a product of his concussed mind. As I said, the psychological and philosophical themes are strong in the series. But yeah, it's certainly not heroic in any sense of the word. The main character is really unlikeable. It's not light reading. But it really is worth it.

The Spellsong Cycle is a good read. It's not all that preachy and political from what I remember, but I read it last about a decade ago, so I might be wrong.

Another series that I think has been done well is The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski (you know, the one that the games are based on). Especially the first series of short stories. The main character is recognised and competent (this was way before he lost his memory in the first game), but is regularly challenged and in situations above his head without screaming "cop-out". The actual series of novels moves the focus a bit to another character who ends up undergoing the Hero's Journey, but I feel it was really quite well done. The writing is smart and sharp, and I feel the world and its political issues is quite well designed. It has to be translated for anyone who doesn't understand Polish, unfortunately.

Axolotl
2011-10-13, 04:08 PM
I guess anything in general is okay, but specifically I'm curious about two questions.

1.) Do you like a main character that's pretty much just some random person pushed into their role as hero by fate or circumstances (like Rand Al'thor. Been a while, but I'm pretty sure he started that series as a farmer thor something), or do you like a main character that has already done heroic things before the events of the book (like Aragorn)?Neither really, I like seeing all of the interesting/heroic things a character has done but I prefer if they're an interesting person before they start their adventures. If they have to bejust a random everyman then I'd at least like it if they took up adventuring of their own volition instead of being forced into it. Also while I don't how powerful a character is (seriously two of my favorite characters from fantasy are an 8-year old girl and and a guy whole by the end of the series takes on armies of gods) but if they are hypercompotent I'd like an explanation beyond them being the chosen one. I mean I could see situations where a chosen one would be an interesting concept but mainly it just seems to be an excuse for why someone who should be a malnourished peasent can take on overwhelming numbers of better trained people and not be harmed.


2.) Do you think having a main character from Earth that is pulled into another world or discovers magical aspects on Earth (like Harry Potter and a lot of other young adult fiction) is an interesting way to give insight into the world and give a different perspective, or does it just detract from the fantasy world and seem out of place? I guess Harry Potter was a bad example here, since it is tied into the real world so much, but it was the first thing that came to mind.It won't make me dislike a work but I feel t does detract from the fantasy somewhat. If the real world is tied in too much then it certainly detracts though. For example I almost gave up on the Dark Tower ater most of the second book took place in New York. I just felt dissapointed since the other world and it's characters were more interesting. It can work well though for things like say Neverwhere or the Book of All Hours where the whole point is to tie fantasy extensions onto the real world.

H Birchgrove
2011-10-14, 06:51 PM
I read somewhere that Thomas the Covenant is similar to/possibly based on a L. Ron Hubbard novel.

Not that it makes it bad or anything.

Weezer
2011-10-14, 08:27 PM
I read somewhere that Thomas the Covenant is similar to/possibly based on a L. Ron Hubbard novel.

Not that it makes it bad or anything.

Which novel? Never heard of this before, I'm not doubting you but Thomas Covenant is a pretty unique book haven't run across anything like it before.

Traab
2011-10-15, 08:50 AM
It won't make me dislike a work but I feel t does detract from the fantasy somewhat. If the real world is tied in too much then it certainly detracts though.

This is something I agree with, I think maybe 5% of my books involve earth in some way, and maybe 10 books take place entirely there. I read fantasy to escape earth, not hang out there. Books like the spellsong cycle, or magic kingdom for sale are ok because earth plays a generally small role in them, (more so spellsong than kingdom, as iirc, he goes back to earth for at least one book)

Also, im a big fan of mercedes lackey, I have pretty much every valdemar book and fairy godmother book she has written and i like them all. Im not as big of a fan of her diane tregarde stories, but I have a couple of those. About the only exception to earth based fantasy is the monster hunter series by larry correia. Those are badass books imo. Owen Pitt is the "hero" but although we find out later that there is a prophecy involved it honestly feels more like a regular joe saving the day.

factotum
2011-10-15, 02:35 PM
This is something I agree with, I think maybe 5% of my books involve earth in some way, and maybe 10 books take place entirely there. I read fantasy to escape earth, not hang out there.

Whereas I like earthly-set fantasy for pretty much the same reason--because it implies there *is* a way to escape the mundane here on Earth, and if I could just find it, I'm sure I'd be much happier. :smallsmile:

Dr.Epic
2011-10-15, 03:05 PM
There also has to be a proud fighter type that loves battle, feasting, and showing off how manly he is. Like Gerald Butler in 300, John Rhys-Davies in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, or Chris Hemsworth in Thor.

Traab
2011-10-15, 03:16 PM
Mandorallen from the belgariad perhaps? He is less about showing his manliness, and more about showing his unearthly knightly honor and courage. Hell, he killed a lion with his bare hands to protect a princess! Im pretty sure thats hercules level manliness right there. Sure he was wearing armor at the time, but, thats just semantics. No sword, no mace, no lance, he just walked up, caught it in a bear hug in mid leap, and snapped it in half.

Of course, he is my favorite for a different reason. His ability to insult you, "Thy beard, moreover, is an offense against decency, more closely resembling the scabrous fur which doth decorate the hindquarters of a mongrel dog, than any proper adornment for a human face. Didst thy mother, seized by some unwholesome lechery, perhaps dally with a randy goat?"

H Birchgrove
2011-10-15, 04:08 PM
Which novel? Never heard of this before, I'm not doubting you but Thomas Covenant is a pretty unique book haven't run across anything like it before.

IIRC, it's Typewriter in the Sky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typewriter_in_the_Sky), but it could also be Slaves of Sleep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaves_of_Sleep).

Coidzor
2011-10-15, 06:08 PM
I prefer something between the character is a world-saving hero already and the character is a random schlub.

Like the character starting off as a minor assassin that has a past and has done a few jobs and the stories chart the misadventures he has as he rises in station and his life models mo' money, mo' problems.

Or the character starting off as a private eye working in a fantasy city after doing his time in the fictional equivalent of the marines in a combination of the Pacific Theatre of WWII and 'Nam.

Or the character starting out as the alcoholic, washed up captain of the Night Watch, with a backstory revealed over time as having grown up and been a street hooligan in his youth and the story following his rise from the bottom of the bottle to the top of the city.

chiasaur11
2011-10-15, 06:23 PM
I prefer something between the character is a world-saving hero already and the character is a random schlub.

Or the character starting out as the alcoholic, washed up captain of the Night Watch, with a backstory revealed over time as having grown up and been a street hooligan in his youth and the story following his rise from the bottom of the bottle to the top of the city.

Kicking and screaming the whole way?

Coidzor
2011-10-16, 01:18 AM
Kicking and screaming the whole way?

Something like that, yeah. :smallamused:

Feytalist
2011-10-17, 02:53 AM
IIRC, it's Typewriter in the Sky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typewriter_in_the_Sky), but it could also be Slaves of Sleep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaves_of_Sleep).

To be fair, those books belong to a sub-genre all on their own. Another example is Michael Moorcock's Nomad of Time series (abit more SF, but still). It's a general enough theme that you can't really say if anyone borrowed ideas from someone else.


I'm not a huge fan of Mercedes Lackey's work. Although I think it's more her writing style than her books' themes and plots. I had the same problem with Anne McCaffrey. Her stories are good enough, but I'm becoming irritated with her writing style. Although I must say her Crystal Singer trilogy was quite brilliant.

Shyftir
2011-10-23, 01:42 AM
I have seen several good versions of each thing we've mentioned.

I like ordinary guy / sorta special guy develops into hero via a combination of circumstance and shear grit. Like Western heroes in fantasy settings.

KingofMadCows
2011-10-23, 02:05 AM
I like twists/deconstructions of old fantasy tropes. For example, what if the "chosen one" had a twin brother/sister and they didn't know who really was the chosen one? There could be quite a few different ways to develop the story. You could have rivalry between the siblings over who is the true "chosen one" or you could have both siblings being reluctant to accept the role and trying to push responsibilities on each other.

Trazoi
2011-10-23, 02:27 AM
I don't mind which type of hero it is as long as they earn their victory; i.e., if the hero starts as an lowly farmboy and ends defeating the ultimate warrior in hand-to-hand combat, there better be at least a decade of training along the way.

Traab
2011-10-23, 09:01 AM
I like twists/deconstructions of old fantasy tropes. For example, what if the "chosen one" had a twin brother/sister and they didn't know who really was the chosen one? There could be quite a few different ways to develop the story. You could have rivalry between the siblings over who is the true "chosen one" or you could have both siblings being reluctant to accept the role and trying to push responsibilities on each other.

I actually wrote a synopsis of a fantasy story that subverted as many tropes of that genre as I could think of. Everything from him being raised all his life taught he was the chosen one, instead of being hidden away and his destiny kept secret from him. He got himself a weapon, a giant maul. When he eagerly asked what magical powers it had, the smith just gave him a weird look and said, "It makes for an excellent lockpick" then as the hero started exulting over this, the smith muttered under his breath, "if you hit the door hard enough" (The weapon isnt magical, he was being sarcastic, but our hero didnt catch that part)

As he goes off on his adventure, just him and his personal squire,/manservant/whatever you want to call him, he ends up gathering the general assortment of people that tend to be formed on this sort of adventure, you have the big burly guy, the girl, the magician, and the jokester. Of course, everything is rather odd, instead of being the wise old sage, the white bearded magician is actually the heroes age, if not younger. Magic in this world costs life energy and prematurely ages those who use it, so he isnt actually any more experienced than the hero is, though he tries to bluff his way through. The big muscular man mountain isnt the hard drinking, two fisted fighting melee type, he is actually an incredibly effeminate scout type. You know, fades into shadows, sneaks around, thinks everything is fabulous, that sort of thing. The skinny jokester is actually the berserker in combat, kinda scary. And the girl? Well normally her and the hero would start out hating each other then gradually fall in love. In this group they start out hating each other, and stay that way.

I even tossed in some classic fairy tale tropes for flavor. Things like, the classic, animal in a leg trap setup. Normally, the hero is supposed to free the animal, who turns out to be a fairy that offers his aid in thanks. In this case, the hero thinks, "That poor fox, its suffering. That trap probably broke its leg too. It would be a kindness to put it down painlessly." He then tries to kill it. :p basically, the goal here is to show that he is a good guy, but that he never acts like the sterotypical hero is supposed to. That actually IS the moral choice to make. One of those bear trap style traps is a horribly painful way to catch an animal, and setting them free would consign it to a slow death of starvation or illness from infection.

Skip ahead, the final fight. Now, this whole time, the manservant has been there. Obviously, if the author has been twisting things from the start, you might expect that secretly its been this guy who is the destined hero. In fact, throughout the story, hints to that effect are placed constantly. Nope. During the big final battle, the climactic struggle, the weapon fight in full view of the opposing forces, the bad guy actually slips, falls, and dies of a broken neck. Nobody is quite sure how to react. I mean, the good guys won, but.... it didnt really happen properly. Normally the bad guys would be broken by the hero casting down their champion, but.... he fell! Sure its a hit to morale, but its not like they have any proof the hero could obliterate them if they dont surrender.

The gist is, throughout the story, I wanted readers to frequently say out loud, "Thats not the way its supposed to happen!" While still being a heroic tale, it keeps twisting all the tropes so everything is at least one off from where it should be.

Xondoure
2011-10-24, 01:20 AM
I like characters as long as they're engaging. You could start with any archetype and write a good story using it. What will kill things for me very quickly though is forced stupidity on the part of any character. There is dumb, and then there is plot dumb.


I like twists/deconstructions of old fantasy tropes. For example, what if the "chosen one" had a twin brother/sister and they didn't know who really was the chosen one? There could be quite a few different ways to develop the story. You could have rivalry between the siblings over who is the true "chosen one" or you could have both siblings being reluctant to accept the role and trying to push responsibilities on each other.

That was the twist in Shaman King, and it worked really well.

Feytalist
2011-10-24, 03:17 AM
I'm also reminded of Gaiman's Anansi Boys. The main character's brother inherited their father's power, while he's just the schmuck along for the ride.

If done well, it can be quite entertaining. Otherwise, I think it just seems forced.

Yora
2011-10-24, 07:11 AM
That was the twist in Shaman King, and it worked really well.
Good thing I read this line before I read the passage you quoted. :smallamused:

KingofMadCows
2011-10-25, 11:30 AM
I also like it when the reformed villain was really only helping the hero take down the big bad so he/she could take the big bad's place, kind like in Jade Empire.

It's also nice when the "chosen one" gets secreted away for their own protection but instead of being raised by "good" loving parents, they end up getting raised by cut throat bandits/pirates. Eventually when they discovers their chosen status, they use it for their own benefit and they don't fulfill the prophecy in the way that people hoped. Maybe they destroy the big bad by blowing up an entire country or they don't strike until the big bad's army gets stretched too thin from conquering the rest of the world. Somewhat similar to Superman: Red Son.

Lord Raziere
2011-10-25, 09:22 PM
I prefer just plain having the chosen one being arrogant as he possibly can, forgetting his previous life completely because it sucked, picking up a sword and trying to fight with it because instant sword mastery is how it always happens "in the legends" but he gets beaten up for his hubristic arrogance.
why? cause I imagine being told that your the most important person in the world would be very ego-boosting. :smalltongue:

The real protagonist is the returning "dark lord" who wants to destroy the oppressive society created by the "light lord" long ago who then created propaganda to paint the returning guy as the "dark lord" because the light lord thought that ambition is evil and so imprisoned the guy who represents ambition away.

The "light lord" is of course, the wise old wizard guy who mentors the chosne one…..

Traab
2011-10-25, 10:58 PM
I prefer just plain having the chosen one being arrogant as he possibly can, forgetting his previous life completely because it sucked, picking up a sword and trying to fight with it because instant sword mastery is how it always happens "in the legends" but he gets beaten up for his hubristic arrogance.
why? cause I imagine being told that your the most important person in the world would be very ego-boosting. :smalltongue:

The real protagonist is the returning "dark lord" who wants to destroy the oppressive society created by the "light lord" long ago who then created propaganda to paint the returning guy as the "dark lord" because the light lord thought that ambition is evil and so imprisoned the guy who represents ambition away.

The "light lord" is of course, the wise old wizard guy who mentors the chosne one…..

Someone read harry potter and hates dumbledoore. Or read a lot of harry potter fanfiction and NOW hates dumbledoore. :p

Feytalist
2011-10-26, 01:52 AM
The thought occurs that you might enjoy the Elric saga by Michael Moorcock, and by extension most of his Eternal Champion novels. Elric is implicitly suggested to be an agent of chaos, but is the protagonist in most of his stories. The fight between the forces of law and chaos is a major point in Moorcock's works, and about equal screentime is given to both sides.

Maybe Moorcock himself is a D&D'er, heh.

Lord Raziere
2011-10-26, 02:26 AM
Someone read harry potter and hates dumbledoore. Or read a lot of harry potter fanfiction and NOW hates dumbledoore. :p

Ha. I read harry potter…..and hated the whole series. felt too cartoony.

H Birchgrove
2011-10-26, 09:05 PM
The thought occurs that you might enjoy the Elric saga by Michael Moorcock, and by extension most of his Eternal Champion novels. Elric is implicitly suggested to be an agent of chaos, but is the protagonist in most of his stories. The fight between the forces of law and chaos is a major point in Moorcock's works, and about equal screentime is given to both sides.

Maybe Moorcock himself is a D&D'er, heh.

He and the Elric tales did inspire the alignment system (Law vs. Chaos) of D&D.

Feytalist
2011-10-27, 01:51 AM
He and the Elric tales did inspire the alignment system (Law vs. Chaos) of D&D.

Really?

That I did not know.

You live and learn, I guess :smallbiggrin:

Coidzor
2011-10-27, 06:28 AM
I prefer just plain having the chosen one being arrogant as he possibly can, forgetting his previous life completely because it sucked, picking up a sword and trying to fight with it because instant sword mastery is how it always happens "in the legends" but he gets beaten up for his hubristic arrogance.
why? cause I imagine being told that your the most important person in the world would be very ego-boosting. :smalltongue:

The real protagonist is the returning "dark lord" who wants to destroy the oppressive society created by the "light lord" long ago who then created propaganda to paint the returning guy as the "dark lord" because the light lord thought that ambition is evil and so imprisoned the guy who represents ambition away.

The "light lord" is of course, the wise old wizard guy who mentors the chosne one…..

Or the old dude foists the mantle of chosen one onto a random decoy who turns out to be the protagonist of another tale (http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=020902)already and so goes to town on the story.

That's always fun, right?

AshesOfOld
2011-10-27, 12:19 PM
Alright, just skimmed the discussion, so it may have been mentioned, but have you guys read "The First Law" trilogy by Joe Abercrombie? If you haven't, you should. It is by far the best fantasy novel I've ever read. Because it mixes realism and fantasy perfectly - the setting is high fantasy (though far from the highest you can get) and the characters are realistic. No Aragorns or Potters, just people with their weird emotions and their feeble attempts at finding their purpose.

I also enjoyed the Gentleman Bastards series a lot. Swashbuckler protagonist, the whole orphan trained to be master-thief bit was done quite well.

Dsurion
2011-10-28, 03:36 PM
Well, I don't like saving the world plots, or people from Earth being shunted into a fantasy realm. At all. I like stories that don't have destined/prophesied heroes. I like people with their own agendas going about them in human ways, with a preference to that being usually of a darker nature. I don't mind if some of them are characters who start out as nobodies with no skills and grow, and others already have their set of skills and just develop character as time goes on.

I was kind of spoiled by Joe Abercrombie.


Alright, just skimmed the discussion, so it may have been mentioned, but have you guys read "The First Law" trilogy by Joe Abercrombie? If you haven't, you should. It is by far the best fantasy novel I've ever read. Because it mixes realism and fantasy perfectly - the setting is high fantasy (though far from the highest you can get) and the characters are realistic. No Aragorns or Potters, just people with their weird emotions and their feeble attempts at finding their purpose.I'm gonna have to ask you to explain that. I personally wouldn't call The First Law High Fantasy.

Kjata
2011-10-29, 03:41 AM
Honestly, I think the best protagonist I've ever seen is Tidus from FFX. Yeah, he was kind of annoying, but hear me out.

First of, he was a professional athlete. Therefore, he has to be in excellent
shape. Plus, when the Sinpawn attack, Auron asks in a I-already-know way "I assume you know how to use that" after throwing Tidus a sword. So, it can be assumed Tidus had some training.

Second, he was from another world, but not Earth. He was from what seemed to be the past, so he didn't understand the world he was in at all. This made expo-dump all completely in character and allowed you to relate as you learned about the world, yet by the end of the game you realize Tidus really belonged in this world (well, not really but his existance made sense).

Third, he acts how you expect him to. Does whatever he wants at the start, while being incompetent. Grows up by the end.

AshesOfOld
2011-10-29, 04:48 PM
Yeah, he kinda gave me everything I was looking for too.
As for the high fantasy, I had an argument with my brother about the same thing after reading it, I didn't really feel it qualified as high fantasy, but I guess he persuaded me. It's like this, if we say LoTR is high fantasy, cause it's got orcs, mages and ghouls and all of that is pretty much known to the general population of middle earth, then The First Law isn't that far from it.
Sure, it's not as widespread, but we've got about the same number of mages (a "good" guild and a "bad" guild), we have monsters (The nigh-invincible tattooed guy from the north, the halfdemon superhuman from the south, and the flatheads, who, as I got the picture from book 3, are practically orcs) and we've got an actual other world, demon-realm thing. Not a we-think-it's-here-it's-called-faith-you-know heaven, but an actual demons-could-pass-through-this-mother rift.
I know it's not D&D, but it didn't feel like low fantasy either. Would you be satisfied with mid-fantasy? ^^


Well, I don't like saving the world plots, or people from Earth being shunted into a fantasy realm. At all. I like stories that don't have destined/prophesied heroes. I like people with their own agendas going about them in human ways, with a preference to that being usually of a darker nature. I don't mind if some of them are characters who start out as nobodies with no skills and grow, and others already have their set of skills and just develop character as time goes on.

I was kind of spoiled by Joe Abercrombie.

I'm gonna have to ask you to explain that. I personally wouldn't call The First Law High Fantasy.

Aotrs Commander
2011-10-29, 05:08 PM
Honestly, I think the best protagonist I've ever seen is Tidus from FFX. Yeah, he was kind of annoying, but hear me out.

First of, he was a professional athlete. Therefore, he has to be in excellent
shape. Plus, when the Sinpawn attack, Auron asks in a I-already-know way "I assume you know how to use that" after throwing Tidus a sword. So, it can be assumed Tidus had some training.

Second, he was from another world, but not Earth. He was from what seemed to be the past, so he didn't understand the world he was in at all. This made expo-dump all completely in character and allowed you to relate as you learned about the world, yet by the end of the game you realize Tidus really belonged in this world (well, not really but his existance made sense).

Third, he acts how you expect him to. Does whatever he wants at the start, while being incompetent. Grows up by the end.

I always rather liked Tidus. Sure, he wasn't the sharpest tool in the drawer, but he did at least have his head on straight and the right attitude (and was a little bit uninetionally genera-savvy). Because all the time Tidus was saying "we'll go get Sin and kick his arse" and everyone was "no, that's impossible", I was saying, "yep, that's exactly what we're gonna do!" And at least he did have a sense of humour, unlike some of the other protagonists in FF (*cough*Squall*cough*Cloud*cough*).

(Don't get me wrong, FF VII was very good, but Cloud wasn't part of the reason...)

I think one of the only other protagonists I really got on well with was Ryudo from Grandia II (at least at the start of the game) because on more than one occasion he made the same crack I'd just made while watching.

Generally, I find most of the protagonist characters in games (outside of Western - especially Bioware - style RPGs, when you get to choose) to be a bit meh, and often find the supporting cast are more likable.

Well, except maybe FFXII, because Balthier was clearly the leading character (okay, you could make a case for Ashe) and Vaan was merely along for the ride...!) And Disgaea, because Laharl was awesome...



Actually, why aren't there more lovable idiots like Ash Ketchum and Naruto Uzumaki as protagonists in (non-primarily-comedy) fantasy literature? I like those guys becausem while they are hopeless muppets to start with, they get much better, and their antics are really funny...

Actually, a better question is, why are so many books so much more straight-laced than most of the other mediums? Aside from outright comedy, there doesn't seem to be nearly so much humour laced through most fantasy - or sci-fi - literature (David Edding's better stuff being an exception, as is Skullduggery Pleasant).

hamishspence
2011-10-29, 05:16 PM
I thought the Ciaphas Cain novels worked quite well as "humour-laced" sci-fi that avoided descending into pure comedy.