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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    I don't think Elan's had a "I know there's good in you" speech to Tarquin though (yet?). So he can't be right.
    Also, Tarquin probably doesn't "have good in him" to begin with (in the sense of that quote, at least).
    Last edited by ti'esar; 2012-11-09 at 01:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    Oh I agree that 1984 and OotS are very different things. I was just pointing out an (admittedly extreme) example of how narratively, a Bad Guy Wins scenario can be extremely interesting and further a story.
    You're not getting it. The bad guy winning in 1984 was not meant to be "interesting." It was meant to be horrific. The equivalent would be Xykon winning. Conversely, if Tarquin won somehow, his forum fan club would cheer. I can pretty much guarantee you that George Orwell would have been horrified by anyone cheering for the end of 1984.
    It's a very subjective thing, but personally I'm getting bored of the certainty that things are going to go the same way (bad guy losing). It's fiction, terrible things can happen and offend our sense of justice and morality without anyone actually being harmed, so I don't know why the good guys always have to win.
    It would offend your sense of justice and morality if Tarquin won? Really? That's not the impression I'm getting at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    It's a very subjective thing, but personally I'm getting bored of the certainty that things are going to go the same way (bad guy losing). It's fiction, terrible things can happen and offend our sense of justice and morality without anyone actually being harmed, so I don't know why the good guys always have to win.
    Also, it would seem to me the Order loses often. They manage to escape, but they only win minor battles or battles with the Linear Guild. They've most significantly lost in the battle against Xykon in Azure City...they lost pretty badly. In fact, I've seen it often remarked that it's nice to see the Order actually being competant for once. So I don't think they always have won. This is a many arced story, so they win and lose periodically, but it's always forward movement. From what we know, Elan wins (or at least has a happy ending...but that doesn't mean it will be a win for the whole group. We know Belkar's going to die, Durkon will be dieing before going to the Dwarven lands (which could mean he dies at the end of the story, or it could mean something keeps him from going home until he dies), and who knows about Roy...

    My point is, its not always a clear cut - they won or they lost. Sometimes it's a little of both.
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    You're not getting it. The bad guy winning in 1984 was not meant to be "interesting." It was meant to be horrific. The equivalent would be Xykon winning. Conversely, if Tarquin won somehow, his forum fan club would cheer. I can pretty much guarantee you that George Orwell would have been horrified by anyone cheering for the end of 1984.

    It would offend your sense of justice and morality if Tarquin won? Really? That's not the impression I'm getting at all.
    I "get it". I'm aware of the purpose of 1984. Your choice of words is presumptuous. As I said, I find the end of 1984 much more effective (and interesting) than if it had been a "happy" ending. What you believe Orwell intended, and what he actually intended, are completely irrelevant because I still enjoy the story for that either way. It was horrifying AND fascinating AND damn good storytelling, and I'll always cheer for those last two.

    Stories have many purposes, and for a lot of readers the primary one is entertainment. If some people find entertainment in an interesting villain, and thus begin to like that villain, that isn't some awful crime that should be frowned upon and the story deliberately written so as not to appeal to them. The story should just do what it's going to do and let people enjoy whatever aspects of it they like. If you don't enjoy Tarquin that's fine, but stop acting like people are wrong to enjoy him.

    Regarding your last comment, as I already said, works of fiction can have events go in a way we wouldn't want them to in real life, without anyone actually being harmed. Why you think the fact I enjoy a good story with an interesting and effective villain, or enjoy on a narrative level said villain winning means I can't possibly have a sense of justice or morality baffles me. Don't you have the capacity to distinguish between reality and fiction?
    Last edited by Chloe Seven; 2012-11-09 at 08:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    Don't you have the capacity to distinguish between reality and fiction?
    Of course. One of the major differences is that while if one ground the universe down to atoms and sieved it through the finest sieve one would not find one iota of justice, whereas most--not all, but nearly all--fiction has some concern with justice (including, or especially, 1984). Generally what little fiction does not, winds up being All About its own lack of concern with morality.

    However, your personal comment about me aside, you didn't actually answer my question. Would it offend your sense of justice and morality if Tarquin won?
    Last edited by Kish; 2012-11-10 at 11:00 PM.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Sure. I like Tarquin as a character for being interesting, but he's also evil and commits acts I disagree with. But he's fictional, so the fact that his victory would be rather scary and a massive injustice in-universe doesn't mean it wouldn't also make for an interesting story.
    Last edited by Chloe Seven; 2012-11-11 at 10:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Of course. One of the major differences is that while if one ground the universe down to atoms and sieved it through the finest sieve one would not find one iota of justice, whereas most--not all, but nearly all--fiction has some concern with justice (including, or especially, 1984). Generally what little fiction does not, winds up being All About its own lack of concern with morality.
    ...what exactly are you saying here, Kish? There are two ways that I can think of to interpret this.

    There's the "strange materialistic non sequitur" option - A search of the physical evidence in the real world does not contain any trace of justice, a metaphysical concept. Therefore, reality is not fiction, because the metaphysical concept of justice is often addressed in fiction. How does that follow? Am I reading the wrong sort of fiction? Are there "justice particles" floating around in all literary universes that can be weighed and measured which I am unaware of? Or maybe the real world has changed since I went to bed yesterday, and nobody is concerned with metaphysical questions like justice anymore. Maybe you're trying to say that since words about justice are physically printed on the pages making up a work, justice is a material part of the fictional universe, in which case, your statement essentially boils down to "I can tell reality from fiction because fiction is printed on pages and reality is not", but since that's a much more simple statement than the one you made about justice, I suspect that's not what you're going for.

    The other possibility is that you're making some sort of argument about the nature of justice in the real world that treads too close to real world politics/religion for me to want to touch.

    Which is it? A, B, or something else entirely? I'm really not sure what you're saying here.
    Last edited by rgrekejin; 2012-11-11 at 04:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Not to speak for Kish, but I read that as "Real Life is unfair, fictional conventions follow human intuitions about Poetic Justice/Karma rather than reflecting the inherent unfairness of Real Life." I disagree (on the fiction part, not that life is fair or something), but it seems clear what they meant.

    But I seriously question whether Tarquin 'winning' (whatever that means with him) would be interesting. He's been kicking around virtually unopposed for decades now, what has he done? His behind-the-scenes plot might be smart but isn't very exciting, and it's not like his regimes are portrayed as any more brutal than the surrounding Evil dictatorships of the Western Continent. Plus, he's completely convinced (or at least appears to be) that he can't lose, at least by his nebulous standards.

    On the other hand, imagine all that effort coming down around his ears; at least a decade of work destroyed by a single mistake, a single flaw in his 'perfect' plan. That Elan, or even better Nale, would defeat him in such a way that he realizes that he wasted his life and after he dies no-one will ever remember him or care what he did. That ending has a lot of power, is intriguing, and allows both Elan and Nale to develop further in preparation for the climax.

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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    On the other hand, imagine all that effort coming down around his ears; at least a decade of work destroyed by a single mistake, a single flaw in his 'perfect' plan. That Elan, or even better Nale, would defeat him in such a way that he realizes that he wasted his life and after he dies no-one will ever remember him or care what he did. That ending has a lot of power, is intriguing, and allows both Elan and Nale to develop further in preparation for the climax.
    I understand Tarquin a bit different than you, then. He is a completely selfish man and basically, the best he could hope to get of life (in his own opinion) is the life of power, of luxury, of control and of more power. Which he pretty much got already. Sure, stuff can be always better (like going down like a legend), but it's not like he will mourn deeply if that won't come to pass, or even if his grand scheme is overthrown.

    To make him feel really sorry for what he did and for the life he lived, one (=Elan) must dig up some smidgen of goodness, conscience or pity that is hidden within him, and so far Tarquin didn't show he has any of these. But if this happens, will Tarquin actually lose?
    Last edited by Mike Havran; 2012-11-11 at 04:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by rgrekejin View Post
    A search of the physical evidence in the real world does not contain any trace of justice, a metaphysical concept.
    That's the point, yes. (Could've been summed up as "Life's unfair".)

    "Fairness" isn't something that is coded into the laws of physics... at all. It's absolutely absent from the physical world we live in. It happens only when humans decide to make it happen (or at least try) through their actions... which, in the real world, is easier said than done.

    In the history of humanity, there have been many Tarquins all over the globe, and I guarantee you that many of them "won".
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    Malack: You want to destroy the souls my god has to shepherd. So die. Harm.
    Red-Cloak: Save. We could be friends, you know. Implosion.
    Malack: Save. Good Idea. Implosion.
    (in the background Tarquin implodes)
    Red-Cloak: Your aim is really terrible these days, isn't it? Sorry for your loss. Slay living.
    Malack: Save. No big deal and we had this joke already. Implosion. Quickened Destruction.
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
    That's the point, yes. (Could've been summed up as "Life's unfair".)

    "Fairness" isn't something that is coded into the laws of physics... at all. It's absolutely absent from the physical world we live in. It happens only when humans decide to make it happen (or at least try) through their actions... which, in the real world, is easier said than done.

    In the history of humanity, there have been many Tarquins all over the globe, and I guarantee you that many of them "won".
    I somewhat doubt that was what the original point being made was, as I don't see how it supports the argument, but, even that aside, this line of reasoning still doesn't make sense.

    "Fairness" is not a physical thing. This is true. Since "fairness" is a metaphysical concept, I don't know why this is surprising (whether or not you think certain metaphysical concepts are completely absent from the world in which we live in, of course, depends on whether or not you think the material world is the entirety of existence, but, again, real world religion). My point is: is "fairness" a physical thing in literature? Are there physical "fairness" particles in fictitious universes that characters in-universe could count and quantify? If not, how is this different from the real world? If you're trying to argue that since the author has written the universe with their particular view of "fairness" in mind, and that makes "fairness" a physical characteristic of the universe in a metafictional sense, then I fail to see how this observation is significantly different from "reality is different from fiction because fiction is printed on paper and reality isn't", which is a true-but-useless distinction.

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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by rgrekejin View Post
    "Fairness" is not a physical thing. This is true. Since "fairness" is a metaphysical concept, I don't know why this is surprising (whether or not you think certain metaphysical concepts are completely absent from the world in which we live in, of course, depends on whether or not you think the material world is the entirety of existence, but, again, real world religion). My point is: is "fairness" a physical thing in literature?
    Obviously I can't speak for Kish, but I'm fairly sure the post that gave rise to this particular subthread was referencing Terry Pratchett's Hogfather:
    TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET -- Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME... SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
    (Death isn't shouting, he always speaks like that.)

    Quote Originally Posted by rgrekejin View Post
    If you're trying to argue that since the author has written the universe with their particular view of "fairness" in mind, and that makes "fairness" a physical characteristic of the universe in a metafictional sense, then I fail to see how this observation is significantly different from "reality is different from fiction because fiction is printed on paper and reality isn't", which is a true-but-useless distinction.
    I suspect that that 'metafictional' point is pretty much spot on. And the reason why the difference from reality is meaningful is, quite simply, that this insight into fiction allows us to make predictions with a high degree of certainty about how fictional characters will end, which would not be the case if we were observing those same characters in real life.

    That's why we (generally) assume, for instance, that the Oracle's prophecies are accurate, and that Xykon won't win. If this were a real-world story unfolding before us, those assumptions wouldn't be remotely valid. But it's not, and that's why we feel justified in making them.
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by rgrekejin View Post
    If you're trying to argue that since the author has written the universe with their particular view of "fairness" in mind, and that makes "fairness" a physical characteristic of the universe in a metafictional sense, then I fail to see how this observation is significantly different from "reality is different from fiction because fiction is printed on paper and reality isn't", which is a true-but-useless distinction.
    "Reality is different from fiction because fiction is printed on paper and reality isn't" wouldn't be a useless distinction if someone was arguing that a particular work of fiction likely doesn't have a trait of being printed on paper, because reality lacks that trait. (I can't think of any such traits, but that's because this isn't a very good analogy.)

    Bad guys usually lose in fiction. Even in tragedies, although in tragedies they drag the good guys down with them. The reasons for this are debatable, and perhaps Ms. Seven and I would not agree on what they are. But that it's the case is easy to observe.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    However, your personal comment about me aside, you didn't actually answer my question. Would it offend your sense of justice and morality if Tarquin won?
    If your sense of justice and morality can be offended by the outcomes of fantasy novels, I'm concerned. It's one thing to say it would be bad storytelling; quite another to say it would be morally offensive. That would be like saying wizardry in Harry Potter offends one's religion (ahem).

    More to the point, it baffles me that you seem to think it's objectively unjustifiable for people to root for a Magnificent Bastard, or to view said Magnificent Bastard winning as good storytelling, just 'cause he's still a bastard.
    Last edited by Math_Mage; 2012-11-13 at 04:50 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Math_Mage View Post
    If your sense of justice and morality can be offended by the outcomes of fantasy novels, I'm concerned.
    Good thing I'm not actually the one who initially said that fantasy novels "...can offend our sense of justice and morality," then.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Bad guys usually lose in fiction. Even in tragedies, although in tragedies they drag the good guys down with them. The reasons for this are debatable, and perhaps Ms. Seven and I would not agree on what they are. But that it's the case is easy to observe.
    Don't think anyone is disputing it, my claim is that it's bloody boring. When so fundamental a question as "will the good guys succeed in the end" is pretty much guaranteed, it takes away a lot of enjoyment. Sure there's still enjoyment in learning the details and events leading to it, but some enjoyment is removed - for me anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Math_Mage View Post
    If your sense of justice and morality can be offended by the outcomes of fantasy novels, I'm concerned. It's one thing to say it would be bad storytelling; quite another to say it would be morally offensive. That would be like saying wizardry in Harry Potter offends one's religion (ahem).

    More to the point, it baffles me that you seem to think it's objectively unjustifiable for people to root for a Magnificent Bastard, or to view said Magnificent Bastard winning as good storytelling, just 'cause he's still a bastard.
    @ Paragraph 1: I'm not genuinely offended. I meant, when the bad guy wins, it triggers a sense of injustice, just like when the good guy wins it's supposed to trigger more positive emotions (I tend to dislike the good guys, so not so much for me).

    @ Paragraph 2: that's exactly what I wanted to say, but in a tenth the words. Nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    When so fundamental a question as "will the good guys succeed in the end" is pretty much guaranteed, it takes away a lot of enjoyment. Sure there's still enjoyment in learning the details and events leading to it, but some enjoyment is removed - for me anyway.
    So you basically dislike 98% of all fictional works. The good guys always win plain and fully and we know from page/minute 1. Even if the win comes at a price (Lord of the Rings, no, not the movies) it changes nothing the Heroes have fully and completely won. Even if the hero sacrifices himself (or a side character does) it still often is made out that this is a win in the end (the hero was a tragic figure, got his redemption, was condemned to death anyway, saves his true love, ...).
    Of the remaining 2% of work (if it is even 2%!) at least half suck in itself (as all fictitious work).

    So welcome to <1% of any fictional works (books, movies, whatever) you can enjoy. Might I suggest you turn away from fictitious stories in general, it totally does not seem to be your thing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by VariableNature View Post
    Xykon pops in, and completely schools him. Kills him in a horribly undramatic fashion, binds soul to something, and tosses it into a void of never-ever-able-to-find-it. All while giving him a killer "This is why you suck" speech.
    ...okay, I confess to no particular dislike of Tarquin as a character, but I actually do kinda wanna see this happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winter View Post
    So you basically dislike 98% of all fictional works. The good guys always win plain and fully and we know from page/minute 1. Even if the win comes at a price (Lord of the Rings, no, not the movies) it changes nothing the Heroes have fully and completely won. Even if the hero sacrifices himself (or a side character does) it still often is made out that this is a win in the end (the hero was a tragic figure, got his redemption, was condemned to death anyway, saves his true love, ...).
    Of the remaining 2% of work (if it is even 2%!) at least half suck in itself (as all fictitious work).

    So welcome to <1% of any fictional works (books, movies, whatever) you can enjoy. Might I suggest you turn away from fictitious stories in general, it totally does not seem to be your thing?
    Your entire post was a waste of time from the first senence. I said knowing the heroes always win takes away a lot of enjoyment, not that I don't enjoy those stories period. I just don't believe in any reason the heroes always have to win and the fact they do takes away a lot because one of the biggest sources of suspense no longer works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Good thing I'm not actually the one who initially said that fantasy novels "...can offend our sense of justice and morality," then.
    Oh, sorry, you're just the one who seems to have made an entire page's worth of posts in order to nitpick someone's word choice when you should have known perfectly well what he meant. No wonder I was confused.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    I just don't believe in any reason the heroes always have to win and the fact they do takes away a lot because one of the biggest sources of suspense no longer works.
    Box. Office.

    Apart from that, epic stories that end in a massive let down and end badly often leave a sense of "meh". Especially if it ends with "To Be Continued" but then does not.
    Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei, King Joffrey, The Tickler, The Hound, Ser Amory, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling, Weese, Dunsen, Nale, Ser Gregor Clegane and Chiswyck: Winter is coming!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    Your entire post was a waste of time from the first senence. I said knowing the heroes always win takes away a lot of enjoyment, not that I don't enjoy those stories period. I just don't believe in any reason the heroes always have to win and the fact they do takes away a lot because one of the biggest sources of suspense no longer works.
    So you wish you lived in a world where the villains, in fiction, could win (most of the time? half of the time? as much as 10% of the time?). You think this would make fiction better by restoring one of the biggest sources of potential suspense. Am I paraphrasing you correctly so far?

    I don't. I think if it became common for villains to win in fiction, most people, albeit perhaps not you, would find fiction significantly less emotionally satisfying. Regardless of who's right, the fact is--as you've noted, while calling it "bloody boring"--that we live in a world where, in the vast majority of fiction, the villains lose. I don't know if you think Rich is likely to go against that trend with Tarquin or if you're just hoping he does, or if you're as ambitious as hoping that trend will completely cease to exist in your lifetime; I both think he's unlikely to go against that trend with Tarquin and am hoping he doesn't. The thread-starter asked if anyone else wants Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in. The answer is yes, some people do, though (...and it would be impossible to participate in this forum and be unaware of this fact...) others really want Tarquin to get everything he wants without anything ever truly challenging him.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I welcome fiction to be a good change from the "news" we are surrounded all the time. If I want to see stories that end badly, I can just switch on CNN (or whatever channel, website, paper you prefer) at any time I wish.

    I think that is what makes fiction to be interesting: We see the whole story and it's keeping to what makes a narrative interesting and not how it "would" play out.
    If one was to complain about the ending to be unsatisfying one also had to complain about some narrative requirements: If you add this or that character in a certain way, there will be conflict.
    People won't talk it out, the motives on a very fundamental level do not allow a compromise (in the end it is "Xykon wants to smash" vs. "Roy wants him to leave people alone"), the main character does not simply retire "to take more care of his family" or "decides it is all too much" and vanishes from the story.
    Of course there is a romance that turns into a relationship. Of course there is conflict within the group but they pull themselves together to stand through it. Of course there are doubts, but of course they are overcome. Of course "friendship" is something you can rely on (unless the explicit point is you cannot in a certain case, then the break will get foreshadowed).
    Vaarsuvius will of course have to face his/her karma for Familicide at one point in the story. Of course the trip to the afterlife had a game technical/story consequence that will be important (for Haley it drove characte development and Roy got his feat) or it would have been pointless from a narrative point of view.

    All those are requirements of stories to keep them interesting for us or to make them even more interesting. Everything that happens has to tell us something about the story, tell us something about a character or push the character into developing - everything else, in a good story, is trimmed out or it is "pointless and boring". Yes, those requirements are artificial as they can get and we know they are in there somewhere. But I think they are required for what this is all about.

    Knowing it's all made up does not make it in any way worse.

    To put it differently (and shorter ;)): Of course you can think knowing the good guys will win diminishes your fun but I also think to look over that is part of the Willful Suspension of Disbelief that is required to enjoy fiction.
    We are willing to look over that Magic does not exist and Xykon is especially cardboard (which is his point)? Why not overlook as well you'll see a happy ending of some sort in the end?
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  25. - Top - End - #145
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    So you wish you lived in a world where the villains, in fiction, could win (most of the time? half of the time? as much as 10% of the time?). You think this would make fiction better by restoring one of the biggest sources of potential suspense. Am I paraphrasing you correctly so far?

    I don't. I think if it became common for villains to win in fiction, most people, albeit perhaps not you, would find fiction significantly less emotionally satisfying.
    Yes. Not going to specify a quota of how often I think villains should win, but I think it's sad that it's taken for granted that the villain must always lose.

    You're most likely right: people don't like change and have been raised on happy endings (or at least a villain-loss ending; I grant that there are times the cost is high and results in a somewhat downer ending, but the villain still loses). I doubt anything's going to change. Still, we were asked if we wanted Tarquin to get "bashed", and that's why I don't. It isn't necessarily Tarquin fangirlism (though I definitely enjoy a genre-savvy character of any alignment), it's just a boredom with villains HAVING to be "bashed" in general.

  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    In addition: I also think the pure focus on the end isn't all. Yes, the villain loses in the end and the characters get a full win, a full happy ending.
    But look at what happened to go there. All the death the villain caused before the characters met him and during the battle.

    I think if A Song of Ice and Fire ends with a clean cut happy ending (which we know won't happen, there will be a price) then even then it would not be one, given how much destruction was already waged all over the world.
    It is the same as in Order of the Stick: Even if it all ends happy with the Evil Guys destroyed and also the Side Evil Guys (Tarquin et all) being "bashed" then I doubt only someone fucusing on the pure end could say "And all is well". No, it is not.
    Azure City still is completely razed and all the other death and destruction is still pretty real for those who suffered through it.

    I think it is all a matter of perspective and my humble suggestion would be to take one that allows for the most possible* enjoyment from what you consume.

    * Note these two small words make this not absolving bad writing or unlogically constructed characters etc.
    Last edited by Winter; 2012-11-14 at 10:34 AM.
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  27. - Top - End - #147
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    /agree ^. Journey not destination, definitely. But when you're guaranteed a certain result the entire way, the journey is somewhat impacted by that. When you know that no matter what happens, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how horrible things are for the protagonists the end result will be a beaten bad guy, all of it is cheapened (in my opinion, naturally).

    Note that I say impacted and cheapened: not completely ruined/wasted/whatever. There's still certainly enjoyment to be found in the whole thing. I'm not saying lack of villain victory makes for a bad story or even makes a great story not great, just that for me personally the lack of any risk that the villain won't be defeated or at least their current plan stopped affects my enjoyment somewhat.
    Last edited by Chloe Seven; 2012-11-14 at 11:26 AM.

  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I've been following this train of thought... just want to add my two cents!

    First... nah... I don't really want to see him BASHED IN. Defeated? Sure... and honestly with the way Rich writes I don't know if it's a sure thing he will even be defeated. He might get everything he wants or even a small chunk of it. And, knowing lots of people like him in real life, that will be more than enough. In Tarquin's mind it's not about breaking the rules, it's bending them as far as he can to get as much as he can, even that means he only gets a slice of what he wants. He's evil... not stupid.

    Secondly, I don't think Chole needs to be jumped on for their point of view, but I'll say this: Real life is full of evil and terrible people who win all the time. I really don't want to read fiction where those same people win... because... what the hell? I'll just watch the news and see it in real life.

    I think what makes a story interesting (and I suspect this is what Chole meant but please correct me if I'm wrong) is the uncertainty of it all. There are plenty of books I've read where I suspect the villain will get trounced, but the writing puts me in such a state that I honestly don't know. Part of why I love Stephen King the way I do. Even when the villain loses... he rarely TRULY loses because the cost is so high to the hero that the victory is almost worthless.

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    tongue Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Actually, reading through this thread, I start wondering- what does Elan's 'happy ending' mean in relation to Tarquin? Would he be, not happy (I'm pretty sure brutal murder of anyone isn't something that makes Elan happy), but relatively satisfied if Xykon ignomiously crushed Tarquin? On the one hand, hey, Tarquin is no longer a threat to people and didn't get the 'legendary' status he was gunning for. On the other, it would mean his dad (who he obviously has an emotional connection with) died, in a presumably painful manner, and that the stability Tarquin claims to be responsible for could dissolve and cause mass chaos on the Western Continent.
    Or if, instead of the Xykon scenario, he had a climactic duel with his father and killed him? Again, the dead father part would be an issue (especially if he did the deed himself), but Tarquin would get to be a legend, would stop directly hurting people, and the Western Continent could presumably hold together under the other five members of Tarquins' band.
    I'm pretty sure Elan's outcome isn't entirely dependent on the fate of his father, but it'd probably have an impact.
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  30. - Top - End - #150
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    /agree ^. Journey not destination, definitely. But when you're guaranteed a certain result the entire way, the journey is somewhat impacted by that. When you know that no matter what happens, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how horrible things are for the protagonists the end result will be a beaten bad guy, all of it is cheapened (in my opinion, naturally).
    The biggest, most important difference between fiction and real life is that a fictional story has an ending. (I am indebted to Frank Kermode for that insight.)

    In the real world - no matter what happens, life goes on. True stories, and stories that are believed as true, never end. Even if you die, your story goes on. (For all I know you may have had a freak accident just after typing that last message. I certainly hope not, but I can't be sure, and it wouldn't make any difference to me right now if you had - I'm still engaging with your argument, whether you're still behind it or not.)

    So for a history book, or a biography, or any other non-fictional account of events, the end point (and the start, for that matter) is always arbitrary. It's the 'end' purely because the writer has chosen to exclude what happened next from the scope of their present work.

    But fictional stories do end. (Ignoring soap operas for the moment.) Every book has a last page. And once it's over, it's over. Of course there can be a sequel, but that's - quite literally - another story. (Or it may be a continuation of the same story, but then it's not so much a sequel as a 'part 2'.)

    So "when to stop writing" is a very important - perhaps even, definitive - decision for a writer.

    And when a fictional story introduces an 'evil', it needs to describe the defeat of that 'evil'. (See the quote in my signature for another way of putting it.) In the case of OOTS: no matter what the cost - even if the whole of the OOTS dies tomorrow, the story isn't over until Xykon is beaten, even if that takes another 30 years and 10 more adventuring parties. If Rich chooses to 'end' the story before then, we'll all assume he's just setting us up for a part 2.

    And having introduced Tarquin, and gone out of his way to establish that he's 'evil', now Rich has set up the expectation that Tarquin has to be beaten as well. It's a subplot, and the main plot won't be fully resolved until the subplot is too. (There's also the 'redemption' option for Tarquin, but personally I'm writing that off as implausible.)

    So really, the expectation that Tarquin will lose is not so much a prediction-based-on-genre-knowledge as it is a statement of faith that Rich intends to finish the story he's started.

    Now, admittedly '1984' is a counter-example to much of the above. But the end of 1984 is, as Kish said, deliberately shocking, and many readers find it profoundly unsatisfying. (I do, for one - despite admiring the book, I can't bring myself to re-read it, because of that ending. Well, that and the tedious political rants.) Really, the only way to treat it as a 'satisfying' resolution is to redefine the story as the tale of a sadly misguided rebellion against an ultimately-benign authority, which is too big of a switch for me to make.
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