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Growing irritations w Dresden series Spoilers ALL BOOKS SPOILERS

#81 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 02:55 PM

Once again SE proves that he is the best :p

I wasn't inconvinienced that much with the constant repetitions even though I've read most of the novels in short succession. For me they were merely another symptom of Butcher's story writing: Harry is commercially easy to digest. He is cool, powerfull, special and hates authority. "I think Dresden is a pretty cool wizard. Eh kills monsters and doesn't afraid of anything", to borrow an overused meme. Butcher is consistent - repetitions obviously make it easier for new readers to pick up the series without having to start from the beginning.

I don't think that is bad (though I have my own cynical opinion about practices like that) or that I've just discovered America, I just wanted to point that out :p
The only thing about those repetitions that really bothered me was how Harry always mentioned how Karrin was brutally mindfucked by a ghost.
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#82 User is offline   Gwynn ap Nudd 

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 11:43 PM

I think I started the series just after White Knight came out, and I read straight through the series to that point. The repetitions never bothered me very much. Once I knew they were there and almost always the same, I just skimmed those bits. I understand why they are there (Jim wanting the books to be able to be read as stand alone novels), which makes sense to me for the early books. I don;t see the point in continuing to include them now, as there are too many continuous threads for someone to pick up the newest book and get the full picture of what is going on IMO.
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#83 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 11:54 PM

He probably had an English teacher who favored word count over creativity and the habit stuck.
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#84 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 12:29 PM

It's for people who are tempted by the '#1 New York Times Bestseller' type hype but aren't dedicated enough to tackle the whole series from the beginning - those filthy 'casuals' :p
Just kidding, nothing wrong with enjoying what you enjoy. Dresden Files have become pretty popular, so it is a good marketing move to make it easier for those who are in only to sample the goods. Less negative reviews from confused readers, easier to pull them in for more.
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#85 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 08:14 PM

View PostSecond Sword, on 10 September 2014 - 09:03 PM, said:

View PostIlluyankas, on 10 September 2014 - 08:29 PM, said:

Harry has limits, potions do not.

Harry's limits are a curious thing. He says he has them, the story shows he has them, but when he is actually 'out of mojo', he simply wills himself to do better. Being a reality warper doesn't have much in common with being clever.


Finding hidden reserves of strength and endurance in desperate times is part of being human. Harry is no different than any mother who has lifted a car or collapsed cement wall to rescue their child stuck under it.


View Postchamp, on 11 September 2014 - 02:13 PM, said:

Just been reading the SE AMA and thought that this comment of his was relevant for the discussion here with Butcher repeating the descriptions of certain things...

Quote

[]StevenEriksonAMA Anthologist[S] 4 points 14 hours ago

Karsa gets a trilogy. As for series ... Black Company, Glen Cook. Oddly enough, I'm actually enjoying Destroyermen (apart from the constant repetition, which always reminds me of why I avoided doing it in the Malazan series -- after all, if you're seven books into the damned series, you don't need constant descriptions of things and people already described. I know, it's a fine balance between doing too much and not enough, and I admit to being inclined to to do not enough).




Perhaps, but I think the way the Dresden books are short, small books (in paperback format, at least) and have the film noir style is more encouraging to people to try and pick up just the latest book and read it as a standalone. Whereas nobody is going to see Reaper's Gale on the shelf and think they can/should start with it.

Someone who is intimidated by a whole 10-book series might pick up one Dresden book, like it and buy the rest bit by bit, but seeing Reaper's Gale might not even try getting into MBotF.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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#86 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 10:16 PM

View PostD, on 12 September 2014 - 08:14 PM, said:

Harry is no different than any mother who has lifted a car or collapsed cement wall to rescue their child stuck under it.


A mother who finds her kid in a mortal danger as often as Harry runs out of mojo/recovers during a fight should be really suspicious to the police. It is one thing to temporary transcend your limits and quite another thing to make a habit out of it.
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#87 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 02:20 AM

Regarding Harry's hidden power reserves, its pretty clear he is not your usual wizard. Consider
Spoiler

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#88 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 06:56 AM

It flirts with fanfiction-type explanation of 'my character is OP because he is special' - nothing in his circumstances explains why is he a Wolverine of mana.
Shout if you think that when Harry runs out of mojo in the story, he is *actually* out of mojo... Yup, total silence :p
But then why bother to write such cliffhangers?
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#89 User is offline   amphibian 

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 01:10 PM

He was out of mojo several times in the series. The escape from a particular cave was perhaps the best example of using a tiny bit of his magic and a convoluted plan that risked his life, yet worked.

You're going overboard on how Butcher uses Dresden. There has been one book where Dresden kept going and going and that was Changes. Which has its own logic and explanations to keep Dresden from becoming a Harry Potter always wins type.




MODGOD EDIT TO NOTE

WARNING SPOILERS SPOILERS

FROM HERE ON

SPOILERS


ALL DRESDEN BOOKS SPOILERS

SOME NOT BLOCKED

SOME NOT CORRECTLY WARNED ABOUT

SPOILERS
...Amphibian thinks pandas are sexy...
SPOILERS

This post has been edited by Abyss: 02 December 2014 - 03:56 PM

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#90 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 02:26 PM

Spoilers from Skin Game:

Spoiler


And that is from a book where I was positively surprised how smart and tactical Harry has become. That is not a snarky remark, though. I really liked Skin Game. It's just that it's been a while since I've read previous novels and cannot remember specific examples. But the general feeling that they left me with was Harry's invulnerability and/or luck to the point where Skin Game felt like a breath of fresh air.
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#91 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 02:29 PM

If the story was about a less lucky dude, it'd probably have ended mid-sentence halfway into the first book.
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#92 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 02:42 PM

Can't argue with that. I would have given up on the series a long time ago, but the story is too damn good. Also, I am waiting for Ferrovax to make his grand entrance. Damn you Skin Game for subtly reminding me about him! :p

This post has been edited by Saitama: 13 September 2014 - 04:11 PM

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#93 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 09:16 PM

View PostSaitama, on 12 September 2014 - 10:16 PM, said:

View PostD, on 12 September 2014 - 08:14 PM, said:

Harry is no different than any mother who has lifted a car or collapsed cement wall to rescue their child stuck under it.


A mother who finds her kid in a mortal danger as often as Harry runs out of mojo/recovers during a fight should be really suspicious to the police. It is one thing to temporary transcend your limits and quite another thing to make a habit out of it.


Temporarily transcending your limits once a year or so when thousands of lives are on the line is not making a habit out of anything.

And the police are suspicious of Harry.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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#94 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 10:24 PM

The part about the police was just a (snarky) metaphor, maybe I wasn't communicating in a clear way.

For you, it's once a year. I, on the other hand, cannot shake off the feeling that in every other major fight Harry runs out of mana and/or physical endurance but gets better quickly anyway (like my Skin Game spoiler above showed). Some cases may be justified, but I can see a pattern here. And when I see a pattern, I cannot help but wonder why would a smart/aware dude like Harry ignore it. He has other options (elixirs, training with blackstaff, spirits of intellect, magical books etc) but it always comes down to powering through. Or maybe setting up a clever trap, but when it goes wrong, powering through anyway. Hell, in the last novel Butters easily surpassed Harry in contingency planning and (relatively) flawless execution despite having a fraction of a fraction of Harry's experience and none of his power. And I hate Butters.

I'm calling it now: Ferrovax is a red/fire dragon but Harry is gonna burn him anyway.
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#95 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 01:19 AM

I have said this before, but here it goes again: Powering through a crisis is what Harry is. It is what he does. There is no point in asking why he didn't do something instead of powering through. In Malazan context this would be like asking why doesn't Quick Ben engage in more open, full on battles, for which he clearly has the power , instead of sneaking around? He does that becasue that is his primary strategy. Quite a few loopholes in the potions argument have been pointed out upthread. As for magical books, again limited resources, magical books are rare and expensive. You do not arder them on Amazon. Training with Blackstaff: Harry by nature is a loner among wizards. He also has a pretty high ego. Also by the time he found out Ebenezer was Blackstaff, the sense of distrust he developed was extremely strong.

The example about Butters makes perfect sense. Butters had to make do without Harry duringa long crisi. He has no magical ability to speak off, only brains. He also has a spirit of intellect. Butters' plans will always be more cerebral, more thought out than Harry. He has no choice. He does not have power to fall back on.
As for repeated powerups, refer my spoilered comment above.
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#96 User is offline   amphibian 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 03:55 AM

The defining feature of Harry is that he keeps going forever. Every book has seen him deal with a more powerful and/or smarter enemy - sometimes outmatching him so drastically as to be ludicrous.

I have seen combat sports athletes do things like this in real life. Garry Tonon weighs something like 160 lbs yet gives a honey badger like effort against Cyborg Abreu who is 230 lbs and has been an elite black belt longer than Garry has trained. It's an extraordinary thing to see someone with that level of mental effort - especially when they come from nothing like Luol Deng, Malala etc.

Dresden is a fictional character, but his ability to put out a steady stream of magic/effort isn't a real flaw in Butcher's writing. Dresden recharges a little faster than everyone else, which is a good thumb on the scale for a protagonist. He doesn't have a bajillion humongous efforts in him, it's that the rest periods he gets now and then let him build back his reserves and/or he's using something that lets him go to self destructive extents that others won't go to.
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#97 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 07:47 AM

View PostAndorion, on 15 September 2014 - 01:19 AM, said:

In Malazan context this would be like asking why doesn't Quick Ben engage in more open, full on battles, for which he clearly has the power , instead of sneaking around? He does that becasue that is his primary strategy. Quite a few loopholes in the potions argument have been pointed out upthread.

He goes full power at least two times on his own (vs Icarium, vs Bauchelain i think) when the situation couldn't be dealt with otherwise. Secret dentity issues aside, QB knows he is out of his league in terms of pure power in some cases. Therefore he avoids showing his cards to a stronger enemy, because in a realistic world, it means death.

Quote

The example about Butters makes perfect sense.

Of course it does, that is the point. A rational mugle almost outplayed a gathering of uber powerful individuals using the same resources that Harry had access for years. He also used a potion without a problem.

Re: spoiler. Dresden wiki has nothing specific about it. The only thing we know is that it affects a certain kind of enemy. So I don't consider it an explanation for Harry's mana regen, because being a good hunter doesn't make you a good marathon runner.



View Postamphibian, on 15 September 2014 - 03:55 AM, said:

The defining feature of Harry is that he keeps going forever. Every book has seen him deal with a more powerful and/or smarter enemy - sometimes outmatching him so drastically as to be ludicrous.

Ludicrous is the exact word I would use :) If your enemies are way above your league in terms of power, use more power... that is kinda anime-ish approach. Not that it is not entertaining. But for people like me, who would rather experience a range of emotions, it underdelivers. And if I'm being constantly hard on Butcher it is because I can see his potential. Not that he has to go that way, but he could if he wanted to.

Quote

Dresden is a fictional character, but his ability to put out a steady stream of magic/effort isn't a real flaw in Butcher's writing.


It is debatable. It is nice to have a protagonist who isn't a weakling. But for the sake of worldbuilding, Butcher gives Harry access to many different options which are then ignored unless the plot demands it.
It is hard for me to accept that in the game where there are lives and souls on stake, a player having access to different resources (especially in times of relative peace, when he knows something gonna happen sooner or later) avoids using them relying instead on brute (magical) force when he admits that some enemies are clearly above him in this department. And he wins anyway.

If it is not a bad writing, it is certainly not a realistic one.

This post has been edited by Saitama: 15 September 2014 - 07:49 AM

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#98 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 02:08 PM

You'll get no argument from me on that last point. I'm increasingly starting to view Harry's fights against vampires, demons, and fairy creatures as unrealistic.
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#99 User is offline   Inane Babble 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 02:21 PM

View Postworry, on 15 September 2014 - 02:08 PM, said:

You'll get no argument from me on that last point. I'm increasingly starting to view Harry's fights against vampires, demons, and fairy creatures as unrealistic.



Maybe use internally consistent instead of realism.

A universe where person X, who even person X admits is weaker when using brute force than person Y, should'nt be able to beat Y with brute force, I think is Saitama's point. Poor choice of terminology isn't a reason to ignore the argument. :)

I also object stridently to your implication that fairy creatures are unrealistic, I have a large number of fairys, lycans and ogres as close friends who you dismiss without even getting to know them!
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#100 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 02:38 PM

What?
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