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Farm Boy becomes Hero VS. MBotF

#1 User is offline   Aertheron 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 10:57 AM

Hi Guys,

I tought it would be fun to know what you guys think about the difference between the two setups.

Most fantasy books, start with a farm boy/girl type protagonist, who becomes a powerfull hero along the way.

MBotF starts with a Multitude of characters who already are protagonists/antagonists from the start.

I personally find it refreshing that the Author assumes that you are paying attention and doesn't assume youre are a child that needs to be taken by the hand.
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#2 User is offline   Felisin Fatter 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:10 AM

Most fantasy is escapist. The main characters are wish fulfillment reader (writer?) stand-ins. MBotF is not escapist (at least not in that sense), you really don't want to be any of the characters. I am thoroughly impressed that Erikson could write epic fantasy that makes me think about themes, concepts and morality. And that on top of that provokes emotions because it's at the same time a great story.

99% of the traditional fantasy you describe is now unreadable to me.
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#3 User is offline   Aertheron 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:23 AM

View PostFelisin Fatter, on 21 July 2014 - 11:10 AM, said:

99% of the traditional fantasy you describe is now unreadable to me.


I am feeling exactly the same.
SE spoiled us for all the thread of the mill fantasy :(
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#4 User is online   Maximiljen 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:30 AM

I agree with Felisin: Farm-boys becoming heroes are overrated. Must have something to do with age, too, because I did enjoy this kind of setting... 20 years ago.
And - just my opinion - nothing can ever beat "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn". Yes, I know they're not fantasy, and the characters don't become heroes in the classical sense, but that's a book I'd read even now.

Erikson's version of a farm-boy is in fact a fisher girl. And there's no "becoming" there, just possession and residual memories. :D Job done.
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#5 User is offline   Aertheron 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:36 AM

View PostMaximiljen, on 21 July 2014 - 11:30 AM, said:

I agree with Felisin: Farm-boys becoming heroes are overrated. Must have something to do with age, too, because I did enjoy this kind of setting... 20 years ago.
And - just my opinion - nothing can ever beat "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn". Yes, I know they're not fantasy, and the characters don't become heroes in the classical sense, but that's a book I'd read even now.

Erikson's version of a farm-boy is in fact a fisher girl. And there's no "becoming" there, just possession and residual memories. :D Job done.


We'll on that subject, I would actually say, it is a Silly boy, that is in love with this Fisher Girl that is the actual "farm boy" become Hero :D. Job done after a whole lot of whining by the "farm boy" :p
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#6 User is online   Maximiljen 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:50 AM

View PostAertheron, on 21 July 2014 - 11:36 AM, said:

We'll on that subject, I would actually say, it is a Silly boy, that is in love with this Fisher Girl that is the actual "farm boy" become Hero :D. Job done after a whole lot of whining by the "farm boy" :p


I see your point, though I would add that the silly boy is a "farm boy" in terms of relationships with the opposite sex, not when it comes to skills. :D
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#7 User is offline   Aertheron 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 01:18 PM

View PostMaximiljen, on 21 July 2014 - 11:50 AM, said:

View PostAertheron, on 21 July 2014 - 11:36 AM, said:

We'll on that subject, I would actually say, it is a Silly boy, that is in love with this Fisher Girl that is the actual "farm boy" become Hero :D. Job done after a whole lot of whining by the "farm boy" :p


I see your point, though I would add that the silly boy is a "farm boy" in terms of relationships with the opposite sex, not when it comes to skills. :D


I disagree there, you actually see him progress because he trains himself, at first he is really a dork (imho)
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#8 User is online   Maximiljen 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 01:41 PM

View PostAertheron, on 21 July 2014 - 01:18 PM, said:

View PostMaximiljen, on 21 July 2014 - 11:50 AM, said:

View PostAertheron, on 21 July 2014 - 11:36 AM, said:

We'll on that subject, I would actually say, it is a Silly boy, that is in love with this Fisher Girl that is the actual "farm boy" become Hero :D. Job done after a whole lot of whining by the "farm boy" :p


I see your point, though I would add that the silly boy is a "farm boy" in terms of relationships with the opposite sex, not when it comes to skills. :D


I disagree there, you actually see him progress because he trains himself, at first he is really a dork (imho)


Well, I don't think a dork would manage to get inside a virgin's room in one of the most guarded mansions in the city - her father was one of the leading citizen, right? - and escape the premises with plenty of loot and a crush :)
And this is our first glimpse of the lad, robbing a virgin's room. I couldn't do it, and I don't consider myself a dork :p
(Also, it's just my imho)
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#9 User is offline   Puck 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 02:44 PM

Let's call him a dork with features. Thievery aside he does have NO clue about how things work.

Also, personally, I'd argue that the whole 'farmboy destined to be great'-thing is becoming a bit of a myth nowadays with fantasy branching out thematically. Maybe it used to be, but I'd be hard-pressed to make a list of books I've personally read that follow that scheme. Granted, I am very picky about what I read, and I've somehow managed to evade both LotR and WoT during my youth, but I don't really know that many books/series that follow it. However, it does have its place.

In fact, the farmboy thing is losely based on and connected with those stories that Joseph Campbell based his hero's journey theory on, it's just that with this particular incarnation of the pattern the endless uninspired (or so I hear) repetition of it has caused the original myth to lose its purpose/impact. However, and I'd have to do some digging for an interview with SE to prove that since I'm only going by what notes I took while listening to it here, the MBotF DOES have an implemented hero's journey within it. We do have the eponymous farmboy but the reason it's so difficult to pin down who exactly it is (Crokus? Paran? Sorry?) is because it's none of the characters. It's the reader himself who has to, in it's loosest sense, be the hero (and thus the farmboy) who undertakes the journey.

So yeah, it's not like there's no connection, but as usual, SE just turned the whole thing upside down. The difference is one of point of view. You don't have to connect with the hero/main protagonist, because you ARE the hero.

..Also, I should get back to work and stop talking.. <_<
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#10 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 06:52 PM

View PostPuck, on 21 July 2014 - 02:44 PM, said:

Let's call him a dork with features. Thievery aside he does have NO clue about how things work.

Also, personally, I'd argue that the whole 'farmboy destined to be great'-thing is becoming a bit of a myth nowadays with fantasy branching out thematically. Maybe it used to be, but I'd be hard-pressed to make a list of books I've personally read that follow that scheme. Granted, I am very picky about what I read, and I've somehow managed to evade both LotR and WoT during my youth, but I don't really know that many books/series that follow it. However, it does have its place.

In fact, the farmboy thing is losely based on and connected with those stories that Joseph Campbell based his hero's journey theory on, it's just that with this particular incarnation of the pattern the endless uninspired (or so I hear) repetition of it has caused the original myth to lose its purpose/impact. However, and I'd have to do some digging for an interview with SE to prove that since I'm only going by what notes I took while listening to it here, the MBotF DOES have an implemented hero's journey within it. We do have the eponymous farmboy but the reason it's so difficult to pin down who exactly it is (Crokus? Paran? Sorry?) is because it's none of the characters. It's the reader himself who has to, in it's loosest sense, be the hero (and thus the farmboy) who undertakes the journey.

So yeah, it's not like there's no connection, but as usual, SE just turned the whole thing upside down. The difference is one of point of view. You don't have to connect with the hero/main protagonist, because you ARE the hero.

..Also, I should get back to work and stop talking.. Posted Image


I am the hero!! You made me feel good Puck :-) +1 for that.
On a more serious note, SE has definitely made me a more nuanced thinker and also understand that there are multiple viewpoints and accept the fact that some questions will never get answered.








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#11 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 06:59 PM

View PostAertheron, on 21 July 2014 - 11:23 AM, said:

View PostFelisin Fatter, on 21 July 2014 - 11:10 AM, said:

99% of the traditional fantasy you describe is now unreadable to me.


I am feeling exactly the same.
SE spoiled us for all the thread of the mill fantasy :(


I find almost all first person fantasy unreadable now. Damn.
And I hate stories of the "always correct white Knight" (except Michael. I love Michael :-))








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#12 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:34 PM

Re-reading some old favourites has definitively become a different experience since MBotF. I recently donated several hundred fantasy books to my local library as I simply couldn't see myself reading them again.

I am not per se adverse to the farm boy becoming hero story. In any time set pre-industrialisation, most people were living on farms so it makes sense. Yes, the rags to riches story was told many times, but as long as it's a good story, I don't mind if they start from the same place. The major problem post-Erikson is that it's not the storyline but the storytelling that is so vastly superior to all others that it is difficult to then go back to less well written books.

I am still a fan of the Wheel of Time (in case you missed the clue in my name) but that's because I enjoy the world building and the storylines. It is not thought provoking in the way the Malazan series is. As nacht said, reading the Malazan series actually changes the reader (well, I'd say most of them anyway). Many other fantasy authors, though I still read them, I now regard more as young adult (Jordan, Feist, Butcher etc...) or I feel that they are trying too hard to be different and/or rely on shock value (Abercrombie springs to mind). Unlike Erikson, none of them draw me into thinking about the motivations of characters - no, read 'real people' instead... about how history is written - and distorted... about the large consequences of small actions... etc. etc.... to the same extent.

SE has eclipsed them all and it could be a long time before anyone will match him, I fear.
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#13 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:42 PM

View PostPuck, on 21 July 2014 - 02:44 PM, said:

Let's call him a dork with features. Thievery aside he does have NO clue about how things work.

Also, personally, I'd argue that the whole 'farmboy destined to be great'-thing is becoming a bit of a myth nowadays with fantasy branching out thematically. Maybe it used to be, but I'd be hard-pressed to make a list of books I've personally read that follow that scheme. Granted, I am very picky about what I read, and I've somehow managed to evade both LotR and WoT during my youth, but I don't really know that many books/series that follow it. However, it does have its place.

In fact, the farmboy thing is losely based on and connected with those stories that Joseph Campbell based his hero's journey theory on, it's just that with this particular incarnation of the pattern the endless uninspired (or so I hear) repetition of it has caused the original myth to lose its purpose/impact. However, and I'd have to do some digging for an interview with SE to prove that since I'm only going by what notes I took while listening to it here, the MBotF DOES have an implemented hero's journey within it. We do have the eponymous farmboy but the reason it's so difficult to pin down who exactly it is (Crokus? Paran? Sorry?) is because it's none of the characters. It's the reader himself who has to, in it's loosest sense, be the hero (and thus the farmboy) who undertakes the journey.

So yeah, it's not like there's no connection, but as usual, SE just turned the whole thing upside down. The difference is one of point of view. You don't have to connect with the hero/main protagonist, because you ARE the hero.

..Also, I should get back to work and stop talking.. Posted Image


Ah, so it's one of those stories where the hero dies in the end.
The slower the river, the redder it runs.
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#14 User is offline   Puck 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:47 PM

View Postnacht, on 21 July 2014 - 06:52 PM, said:

I am the hero!! You made me feel good Puck :-) +1 for that.
On a more serious note, SE has definitely made me a more nuanced thinker and also understand that there are multiple viewpoints and accept the fact that some questions will never get answered.


I'm good at that, or so I hear :lol:

But yeah, and isn't that the point of becoming a hero? To continue with my Campbell analogy, the hero gains some kind of wisdom and returns to his own world and is faced with the challenge to reconcile his new experiences and viewpoints with what he's left behind.

Yeah, I have a slight obsession with that concept.


View PostEgwene, on 21 July 2014 - 07:34 PM, said:

I am not per se adverse to the farm boy becoming hero story. In any time set pre-industrialisation, most people were living on farms so it makes sense. Yes, the rags to riches story was told many times, but as long as it's a good story, I don't mind if they start from the same place. The major problem post-Erikson is that it's not the storyline but the storytelling that is so vastly superior to all others that it is difficult to then go back to less well written books.


I agree. The story used to work, it's just that it's been done almost to death. However, a simple but well told story is for me more interesting post-SE than an elaborate one that's barely readable. One of the reasons I love the MBotF so much is the language and the way SE handles the story, and ever since I have developed rather weird tastes in stories based on the fact that the way it is told is equally impotant to me as what is told.
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#15 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 12:41 AM

Quote

I agree. The story used to work


Especially where the farm boy gets the princess. That definitely worked for me.
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#16 User is offline   Puck 

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 05:01 AM

 nacht, on 22 July 2014 - 12:41 AM, said:

Quote

I agree. The story used to work


Especially where the farm boy gets the princess. That definitely worked for me.


Well, it didn't for me, and I used to spend my summers digging potatoes. Though, thinking of it, I used to love stories about Joan of Arc, though I found the fact that she never got anything for her troubles rather fascinating.

Though, what I meant was more along the lines that it used to work on other levels than 'you get princess'. But not going to derail the thread even further :lol:
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#17 User is offline   Aertheron 

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 06:23 AM

 Egwene, on 21 July 2014 - 07:34 PM, said:

Re-reading some old favourites has definitively become a different experience since MBotF. I recently donated several hundred fantasy books to my local library as I simply couldn't see myself reading them again.

I am not per se adverse to the farm boy becoming hero story. In any time set pre-industrialisation, most people were living on farms so it makes sense. Yes, the rags to riches story was told many times, but as long as it's a good story, I don't mind if they start from the same place. The major problem post-Erikson is that it's not the storyline but the storytelling that is so vastly superior to all others that it is difficult to then go back to less well written books.

I am still a fan of the Wheel of Time (in case you missed the clue in my name) but that's because I enjoy the world building and the storylines. It is not thought provoking in the way the Malazan series is. As nacht said, reading the Malazan series actually changes the reader (well, I'd say most of them anyway). Many other fantasy authors, though I still read them, I now regard more as young adult (Jordan, Feist, Butcher etc...) or I feel that they are trying too hard to be different and/or rely on shock value (Abercrombie springs to mind). Unlike Erikson, none of them draw me into thinking about the motivations of characters - no, read 'real people' instead... about how history is written - and distorted... about the large consequences of small actions... etc. etc.... to the same extent.

SE has eclipsed them all and it could be a long time before anyone will match him, I fear.


I definately got the hint from you name, and I do totally agree, that after you read SE books, most other fantasy writers fall in the category of Young Adult material.
I might have a suggestion for you, but maybe you already read it, Try: Roger Zelazny's Amber series. (basically quantum mechanics but then magical)
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#18 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 09:32 AM

View PostAertheron, on 22 July 2014 - 06:23 AM, said:


I definately got the hint from you name, and I do totally agree, that after you read SE books, most other fantasy writers fall in the category of Young Adult material.
I might have a suggestion for you, but maybe you already read it, Try: Roger Zelazny's Amber series. (basically quantum mechanics but then magical)


Thanks for the suggestion, Aertheron. I read it many years ago and guess didn't like it that much as I didn't keep it at the time. From memory, I found it too 'weird'. I am not saying that I don't like weirdness, but I think one has to be on a wavelength with whichever version of it one encounters. The writing simply didn't grab me. Might give it another go sometime...

I's interesting that you, too, look at other fantasy as mostly YA reading now. Maybe that is one of the problems the genre is fighting with. Although we do have many fantastically well thought out worlds and stories, they seem to be mostly aimed (deliberately or not) at a younger audience. The old question of what came first... Have older readers been put off because of the lack of more profound writing or is it that older readers are not interested full stop and thus the writers write for those that are? My guess is that with Tolkien, the genre was typecast as a 'boy's own' adventure reading and the rest of the world is forever thinking of it as such. We could do with the likes of Erikson writing some good single book fantasy stories that make the NYT bestseller list and let the rest of the world know that fantasy can be a lot more than just a farm boy saving the universe...
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#19 User is offline   Aertheron 

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:49 AM

View PostEgwene, on 23 July 2014 - 09:32 AM, said:

View PostAertheron, on 22 July 2014 - 06:23 AM, said:

I definately got the hint from you name, and I do totally agree, that after you read SE books, most other fantasy writers fall in the category of Young Adult material.
I might have a suggestion for you, but maybe you already read it, Try: Roger Zelazny's Amber series. (basically quantum mechanics but then magical)


Thanks for the suggestion, Aertheron. I read it many years ago and guess didn't like it that much as I didn't keep it at the time. From memory, I found it too 'weird'. I am not saying that I don't like weirdness, but I think one has to be on a wavelength with whichever version of it one encounters. The writing simply didn't grab me. Might give it another go sometime...

I's interesting that you, too, look at other fantasy as mostly YA reading now. Maybe that is one of the problems the genre is fighting with. Although we do have many fantastically well thought out worlds and stories, they seem to be mostly aimed (deliberately or not) at a younger audience. The old question of what came first... Have older readers been put off because of the lack of more profound writing or is it that older readers are not interested full stop and thus the writers write for those that are? My guess is that with Tolkien, the genre was typecast as a 'boy's own' adventure reading and the rest of the world is forever thinking of it as such. We could do with the likes of Erikson writing some good single book fantasy stories that make the NYT bestseller list and let the rest of the world know that fantasy can be a lot more than just a farm boy saving the universe...


I am only a humble 28 YO, but I have been reading fantasy since as long as I can remember, I read The Hobbit when i was 8, and before that I don't really remember, many kids books I guess.
So I have been reading Fantasy for the last 20 years, there is no denying that Farm boy becomes Hero fantasy is necessary, I think it is the best way to get kids hooked to the genre, but I wish there was less run of the mill fantasy, and more interesting stuff like MBotF.

Also worthwile reading: Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson (or any book by him really)
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