Wait Kingkiller’s getting a movie?

Link to article: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/29/13779242/lin-manuel-miranda-lionsgate-kingkiller-chronicle-patrick-rothfuss

I haven’t written anything in ages because I’ve been a little busy and a little lazy. Where I am currently it’s 11:33 pm, and all I can think is this.

KINGKILLER’S GETTING A MOVIE? (my initial reaction was more like a jump of joy, since everyone else is asleep at this point).

What is the Kingkiller Chronicle? If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll say it’s a set of very, very good fantasy. I cannot stress enough that they are amazing.

It seems I’ve figured this out quite a bit late (two months?), but all I can think is that it’d better be good, or at least decent. The Name of the Wind (the first in the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy) is going to be challenging to adapt, but if it’s done well… I’ll be impressed as hell.

Life is interesting.

 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Anyway, I finished reading a classic, and though I’m kinda taking a break from blogging, I’m going to add another book to my classics list.

And here’s the thing. MOCKINGBIRD IS AMAZING(ish).

Look it, isn’t perfect but it’s really good. It starts off slow, but it’s charming. Like, bloody adorable.

And then it gets dark. LIKE REALLY DARK.

If you don’t know the plot, it’s probably better reading. But in a nutshell, Mockingbird’s about a man named Tom Robinson.

And I liked the book. Short article on it, but as I said I’m taking a break from blogging.

Thinking on Fantasy: Star Wars is fantasy!

‘But Star Wars isn’t…. fantasy.’ I hear you saying. And true you may have a point. But if Anakin can have his own view on the Jedi being evil, I can have my own view on Star Wars being fantasy!

This is a topic that’s been discussed many times on the internet, and now seems like a good time to make an article on it (considering Force Awakens and all….). So enjoy this article that is solely dedicated to proving that Star Wars is more fantasy than science fiction. ENJOY!

  1. A New Hope’s story

Yes, a New Hope has spaceships and hyperspace. But it also has farm boys and Dark Lords, princesses and a rogue who unhappily helps our hero.

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It also has wise old men, a macguffin passed down by the main character’s father, and a plot to destroy (worlds). And it also has an evil Empire. Let’s not forget the mysterious evil Emperor.

Does it sound familiar? Probably because it is. If it feels like its fantasy, its probably fantasy, regardless of the look.

Oh, and there’s also the major plot point of…..

2. The Force 

THIS IS FANTASY MAGIC. You can’t tell me it isn’t.

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The Force is something that binds everything together. Something that allows you to force flip and jump and push things over, while also allowing you to screw with people’s minds. Did I mention it’s mysterious?

It’s magic, pure and simple. There are no attempts to rationalise it (the midochlorians were more a way of explaining a person’s connection to the force). It just is.

Most Science Fiction would try to explain it with some science mumbo jumbo. But Star Wars just admits it. It’s magic. Go with it.

3. THEY USE FRICKIN LASER SWORDS

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Heroes in Science Fiction use blasters. Heroes in fantasy use swords. Heroes in Star Wars use swords.

I rest my case.

4. The whole family heritage thing
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‘The force is strong in my family. My father has it, my sister has it. You have that power too.’

Alright, alright. Science Fiction likes its family dynamics too. But too me, the passing of Anakin’s lightsaber too Luke, (SPOILER) the fact that Kylo Ren is Leia’s son, and that Darth Vader is Luke and Leia’s dad, comes together into something that feels awfully fantasy like. I mean, it seems that every main character in fantasy has an important dad or great grandad or something (and occasionally mom). Aragorn has Isildur, who’s distantly related to Elrond, who’s daughter Arwen marries Aragorn. Frodo has his uncle Bilbo, and pretty much all the hobbits who come with Frodo on his adventure (apart from Samwise) are somehow related to him. Kvothe’s mum is probably a Lackless, and I have a feeling (I haven’t got that far into the series yet) that Rand Al’Thor’s dad is probably going to be important.

And let’s not forget that everybody in A Game of Thrones is practically related to each other. Especially if you include R+L=J.

5.The Setting itself

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From my point of view, Star Wars is put firmly into the realm of fantasy by the start of every movie.

Because ‘A long time ago’ is not something that can happen, which Science Fiction is meant to show, but rather something that has happened (supposedly). The setting for Star Wars is far, far away. Which is also the setting for the fantasy movie Shrek.

 

So yes, those are my five reasons for why Star Wars is Fantasy. Enjoy the Star Wars hype, and have a merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

Thinking on Fantasy: The Master from Tolkien and the king from Jackson

Sorry about not doing an article last week. I was a little busy, but also feeling lazy, so…. yeah. I’d figured I’d just wait for next week.

Man, this is embarrassing.

Moving on!

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The Hobbit (Peter Jackson)! We all know it, and some of you hate it and love it. I personally liked it, but I liked Unexpected best and then I think it just got worse from there.

But there’s one thing in particular that sticks out to me. Something that I absolutely LOATHE in Peter Jackson’s adaptation.

It’s the changes to this guy. More specifically, his

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I HATE THIS CHANGE!!!! WHAT WAS THE POINT?

Okay, no ranting. No ranting. *sighs*. Seriously? What was the point of changing the Master of Lake Town from a smart, intelligent, democratically elected politician into a….. well, this. An autocratic (he scoffs at the election), stupid moron.

First of all, why make him an autocrat? It feels like such an arbitrary change. WHY???? Were they afraid of pissing off someone? Did they just want to point out that democracy was good? Either way, it’s a stupid change that pulls away from the tale.

The original Hobbit sneaked in a little criticism of democratic politics. The Master is greedy, yes, but he has a brain. HE DOESN’T NEED THORIN TO STRAIGHT UP TELL HIM “I’LL MAKE YOU RICH!” In the book, he doesn’t actually BELIEVE THORIN! He just uses him as an opportunity to help his flagging popularity.

And they turn an intelligent, half-likable (though minor) character into a bumbling moron.

What really rankles me is that it feels so arbitrary. It feels as though the marketing department said something like ‘Hmmmm….. I smell criticism of democracy. TOO MUCH CONTROVERSY!’

And yes, I know that this movie is pretty old. BUT IT PISSED ME OFF. To the point that I still remember my issue with it.

……

Dang, this is still a bit late.

No too late  though :).

 

 

 

Thinking on Fantasy: Thomas Malory and contrast

Again, I’m late in publishing these things (I need to get better at this).

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Anyway today’s topic is focused on the myth of Camelot and king Arthur’s knights of the round table, perhaps the greatest legend in England’s history.

 

The Death of Arthur written by  Sir Thomas Malory is one of the cornerstone pieces in the mythos of Arthur. Countless writers after have based their works on his book, and it’s where we get the common image of Arthur and his knights: a knight in shining armor dedicated to doing good and protecting the helpless. Tales of heroism abound, and perhaps the most funny use of juxtaposition can also be seen here.

Unknown-11Now, I’m not sure if this was done on purpose, but The Death of Arthur is the most absurd and funny parody I’ve come across in a while.

If it is done on purpose, it’s brilliantly done. But as it is, the old language and the sheer stupidity of the knights and situations will ‘Saracens in Britain, I can believe. FIFTY THOUSAND OF THEM? I think not.’

‘Wait, WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?’ Is something that passed through my mind various times. Why the hell does Balin throw a spear and a whole castle explodes? Why is Kay made Seneschal without training?   Why doesn’t Merlin just tell Arthur not to sleep with his sister? He can see the future right?

I have this mindset where old language is generally taken pretty seriously. It’s meant to be a serious fantasy world when world like ‘yore’ and ‘thy’ are used in fantasy, unless it’s making fun of traditional fantasy tropes. Maybe that’s just me, but this book is made better for it.

It’s hilarious, yes, but it also fits the mood of the book just so well. The sheer absurdity transports you into another world, another time. In this world, everything is possible, even the Knights of the Round Table, and a king as perfect as Arthur (apart from the whole killing babies thing…..).

(note: I’ve only read the first seventy pages of The Death of Arthur, so if it suddenly gets more serious later, I had no idea about it).

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If you liked this post, you can like the post! (on WordPress) Also feel free to comment.

 

Thinking on Fantasy: The ‘exception of anger’

Sorry this is a day late. But anyway, this article’s going to be a bit broader than usual and less focused on fantasy and more on literature as a whole. Namely, emotions.

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In particular the red guy (anger).

Rather recently, I was shown a ted-talk involving the idea about a ‘man box’, the things that society things that guys should general be like (I’ll put the video down below), but the main idea we’ll focus on is the idea that society expects men not to express emotion with the exception of anger.

Now since I’m a guy, I started thinking back on my experiences with fiction. And it seemed to me that by far the emotion I experienced the most strongly is anger.

Now, I don’t have research statistics or anything to back me up, and I doubt many people actually remember clearly what emotions they most feel, and it’s all very subjective, and hey, maybe women also feel enraged the majority of the time too.

But if this was true, it means that writers of all types could exploit it.

So yeah, that’s my article. Rather short, but I thought it was interesting.

And here’s the video:

How about you? Do you think everybody feels anger the same way? Do you think that fiction disconnects us from social norms?

I’d love to their comments on this.

 

Thinking about Fantasy: The advantages of Fantasy literature over other mediums

This is a good a topic as any to ask, as it’s rather important.

So, why would you want to read fantasy instead of watch it or play it? These are very appealing ways of experiencing the genre (by the way, Dragon Age Inquisition is an amazing game), in fact some would argue they are superior to reading fantasy. The visuals are there. You don’t need description, all you need is to show. And if they’re good at what they do, you’re blown away.

But despite this major advantages, fantasy literature has an advantage that overshadows almost every other medium.

It’s not the ability to imagine (though that is a good advantage). It’s not the ability to tell longer stories. It’s simple cost.

It takes a lot less money to produce a fantasy literature than a fantasy movie, even a budget movie. All you need is the ability to write. For a fantasy movie, you need effects, cameras, actors….. you get the point. The same goes for other mediums, whether it be TV shows or video games.

And this cost factor allows for a lot of creativity.

Think about it. How many original fantasy IPs have you seen on the big screen? Most original IPs are science fiction or post apocalyptic, but even when you look at them, it seems that everything is based on something else.

The only recent original ones I can come up with is The Last Witch Hunter.Ringstrilogyposter.

And I’m sure there are smaller films that use original IPs. But let’s be honest, we don’t ever hear about these smaller productions. And gaming gets quite a few original IPs,but even then, companies are more willing to support existing IPs that they’ve already built/bought. TV is even worse. I can’t think of a single fantasy original series apart from Avatar and Adventure Time. And those two are awesome.

Literature, however, has a huge swell of original IPs. The Storm light Archive. The Kingkiller Chronicle. The Broken Empire. Can you honestly imagine any of these things getting green lit by companies not willing to take risks? The Storm Light Archive, maybe, but I doubt it. It would just cost so much. Kingkiller doesn’t even work well on screen, but the idea of a failed hero would probably have to have been modified. The Broken Empire would have been destroyed within minutes. A protagonist who’s an actual villain, not an Anti-hero? I mean the grim style would have been appealing, but the amount of risks you’d have to take……..

I certainly couldn’t imagine A Game of Thrones getting on the big screen. It would have been just too strange to see such a dark fantasy series at the time it was released.

This lack of cost increases the ability to innovate. Which allows for better ideas, more innovation, more risks, and happy readers.

The flip side is that the market for fantasy literature is pretty much filled.There are thousands of books in the market, some classics and some rather new. There is no way that you’d be able to read them all. And in this sea of fantasy, it’s easy to miss something new and fun.

Another point is that fantasy books rely on ads a lot less and word of mouth a lot more. Which increases the need to stand out, as the only way to get consumers is to come up with something original. You need something either really new, or really, really good to get people to take notice.

So the cost factor increases quality, innovation, and the amount of books in the market. It’s advantage in these areas will probably continue until film tech becomes so advanced that it becomes relatively cheap to produce fantasy films. But that’s a big if, so I think fantasy books will be relevant for a long time to come.

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Sorry about this being a little late by the way 🙂