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What characters does Brandon Sanderson write the best?


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*scratches head

 

Sorry, which uh... part: The forsaken pow-wow, perrin, or the whackadoodle farm?

 

The farmer section in the prologue...

Edited by Suttree
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That was actually RJ's. As to the level of polish he left it in, that's anyone's guess (as far as I know). See, that's precisely the problem with these things.

 

As much as I have been critical, it totally makes me smile when I come across those posts, most notably people often get the Mat ToG sequence wrong.

The ToG was RJ's or BS's?

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The ToG was RJ's or BS's?

RJ's. But I'm sure that one was polished by Brandon. The manner of Mat's discovering how to escape screams 'Brandon' (he very much likes to explain his twists so that no one could possibly miss them). Actually, quite a bit of ToM-Mat was RJ's, if I'm not much mistaken.

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The ToG was RJ's or BS's?

RJ's. But I'm sure that one was polished by Brandon. The manner of Mat's discovering how to escape screams 'Brandon' (he very much likes to explain his twists so that no one could possibly miss them). Actually, quite a bit of ToM-Mat was RJ's, if I'm not much mistaken.

 

Yup...

 

Interview: 2011

 

Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

Joshua Cahill (31 August 2011)

 

Was bringing Moraine back your idea or Jordan's?

Brandon Sanderson (31 August 2011)

 

 

Jordan's.

JOSHUA CAHILL

 

Oh okay, thanks. It's something that's been on my mind for a while.

BRANDON SANDERSON

 

He wrote most of the Tower of Ghenjei scenes in that book before he passed away.

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Me too, however, I feel like there is a lot of disagreement on that.

 

Yup Mat is most often quoted(and Brandon admitted in TGS that he struggled) as being really off. There have been numerous posts highlighting this and some of those sections were straight up cringe worthy. I have wondered how much of ToM was Brandon actually getting him better or just a section that RJ wrote such as the ToG sequence.

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Never liked Faile, she ruined the Perrin arc completely, by far the worst character, poisoning perrin's story. The only time his story is readable is when she has nothing to do with the story.

 

+1

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Never liked Faile, she ruined the Perrin arc completely, by far the worst character, poisoning perrin's story. The only time his story is readable is when she has nothing to do with the story.

 

+1

 

*like*

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Never liked Faile, she ruined the Perrin arc completely, by far the worst character, poisoning perrin's story. The only time his story is readable is when she has nothing to do with the story.

 

+1

 

*like*

I like the early Faile, when they aren't still married. Faile the wife makes Perrin's chapters worse.

So +1

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I'm the kind who really didn't notice the flaws in Mat's characterization, something about me causes me to simply accept it all and simply tune the chracter in my head to match, and I'm good at it.

 

Yea I'm a little lost. What was wrong with the Mat character? I thought he was pretty seemless. But then again, I LOVE Mat. So perhaps I'm biased.

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I'm the kind who really didn't notice the flaws in Mat's characterization, something about me causes me to simply accept it all and simply tune the chracter in my head to match, and I'm good at it.

 

Yea I'm a little lost. What was wrong with the Mat character? I thought he was pretty seemless. But then again, I LOVE Mat. So perhaps I'm biased.

 

Brandon enjoys witty wordplay (what writer doesn't) and used Mat (who is the funny character) to do it. The problem is Mat is a rogue, not a jester, and the comedy that comes from his character is actually more steeped in the difference between what he thinks and what he says and does--so the comedy comes more from the negative space around his words rather than the words themselves.

 

As a result, Brandon's witty Mat dialogue, though clever enough when viewed in a vacume, came across as incredibly out of character. A clear example of this is the Mat letter in TofM--which a great many people love because in truth it is funny, and in a fan fiction or parody I would have led the laughter, but in context was so not-Mat that it actually made my skin crawl. And that is why you will see some people cite the letter as the funniest thing in the books and one of their favourite scenes, and others who hate it with prejudice.

 

 

The other point, that people often blame on his depiction of Mat but is in fact more an issue of writing style is the question of whether such contrived dialogue works in a prose format outside a parody--it's what I think of as the equal and opposite reaction to Joss Whedon's absolutely brilliant use of witty banter and dialogue. The problem is that witty dialogue is about more than just the words--on television its as much about the delivery and the tone the actor uses as it is the cleverness of the dialogue. There is a prose version of this of course--specifically in the character work and the worldbuilding--in Mat's case, under Jordan, this often took the form of the difference between what Mat was thinking and what he said, and that is what 'made' the humour.

 

Brandon more often than not simply relies on the cleverness of the word to hold a scene. This is, as I said, not a fault in his characterisation of Mat--indeed, his dialogue is usually either this form of witty word play, or its stiff and formal, and he does it just as much in his own books (its pretty much all Alloy of Law is--matrix-style action scenes broken up by scenes in which two characters banter with each other and, so doing, helpfully lay out the plot for the reader)--but people do see it so--probably because the first three pages of the first Mat scene is litterally one of the most awkward dialogue heavy scenes in the book (but, as Terez and I were talking about last night, if you skip past them you have a very nice, quite true to character Mat POV).

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I completely get what you are saying Luckers but i have to say that when i read through the first time i didnt see it that way.

To me it just seemed like Mat was being over the top Mat.

The guy just got married and he can pretty much give up the idea of not being a lord now.

His world took a very quick, and while he wants it he certainly didnt expect it, change.

 

I see it now but not so much the first time around.

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I completely get what you are saying Luckers but i have to say that when i read through the first time i didnt see it that way.

To me it just seemed like Mat was being over the top Mat.

The guy just got married and he can pretty much give up the idea of not being a lord now.

His world took a very quick, and while he wants it he certainly didnt expect it, change.

 

I see it now but not so much the first time around.

 

Mmm. That's the thing with my whole fourth paragraph--that problem is in the style, and mostly in a first read the sense of plot gratification--learning, finally, what happens next--flows you through. I myself raved about tGS, and it was only when I went back and re-read it that I began to see the issues.

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If you read Mat as though he had a mental break after learning that not only was he now married but a lord as well, all the pieces fall into place IMO.

 

This isn't a Brandon's Mat vs. Jordan's Mat thread; but suffice it to say that Brandon admitted that he didn't get Mat right and that the last book should rectify that situation. Mat's stress over Tuon's safety and the gholam do not justify how he's regressed intellectually under Brandon.

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Anyone can read it however they like. All I am saying is that if you do read it like he had a mental break, it makes for a better read than if you read it as 'BS really screwed the pooch here, why did he do it so badly, I hate Mat now, this just ruins everything'.

 

I'm not saying it was planned, and maybe he wrote it badly, but the shark in Jaws wasnt supposed to be just a fin for most of the movie they just had problems with the model. Just because something is accidental doesn't mean it can't make it better. It gives Mat more depth reading it the way I suggest rather than just saying bad writing and giving up in disgust.

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Anyone can read it however they like. All I am saying is that if you do read it like he had a mental break, it makes for a better read than if you read it as 'BS really screwed the pooch here, why did he do it so badly, I hate Mat now, this just ruins everything'.

 

I'm not saying it was planned, and maybe he wrote it badly, but the shark in Jaws wasnt supposed to be just a fin for most of the movie they just had problems with the model. Just because something is accidental doesn't mean it can't make it better. It gives Mat more depth reading it the way I suggest rather than just saying bad writing and giving up in disgust.

 

True! And I am a big fan of personal interpretation of characters and actions. And for the record, I do read Mat in TGS and ToM as one under stress from worry over Tuon to chase by the gholam and finally duty to Moiraine. But then, Mat has been under considerable stress for the past 3 years of his life. And he's passed greater stress tests in the past. By the end of KoD, I read him as a Mat who has grown up as a man and leader; and fits better in his role than at the start. To me, he was beyond a number of things that defined him in the last two books.

Edited by Theodril
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When things really get dicy (as, I'm sorry to say, they did with Mat), it also helps me to consider the following: even when the voice of the character you're reading sounds off, are his actions and motivations off as well? That's the core of each character, not the way they make us laugh, or cry, or pull our hair out. With Mat (and pretty much everyone else), I believe that's remained true to the origin.

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The central pillars of Mat are that he keeps his word, hates responsibility and wants to get it on with women. I like to read him post KoD as though two of those have been taken away from him and he is grasping at anything to keep him sane. It makes sense that way that he is creating elaborate back stories, he needs to keep his mind a time to stop himself from thinking about ruling the Seanchan and not screwing the next barmaid he sees. You can easily just dismiss it as not getting the character, but honestly, I have invested too much in these books to not try to find a rationalization for his actions.

 

Next read through, (you know you ate going to do one before aMoL comes out if you haven't started already) I strongly recommend you try to think of it this way, it adds a lot of depth to Mat and is the easiest to reconcile, unlike the Cadsuane changes and the Elayne having to go through exactly the same thing she did the book before to realize she isn't invulnerable shenanigans.

 

Not everything has to be intentional, RJ didn't mean for the Asmodean killer to take over the fandom for decades. If the default reading for Mat could be a mental breakdown rather than bad characterization, I believe it would be a boon for everyone. It is a long shot I know, but BS can write well and this mistake atleast can be rationalized away fairly easily if you ignore the meta knowledge of an authorship change and just focus on the lore.

 

On topic though, I think he writes Rand the best, if only because there is a two book separation between major instances of Rand being a PoV so you are much less likely to see any inconsistencies just because of the gap and any that you do see can be put down to time passing.

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The central pillars of Mat are that he keeps his word, hates responsibility and wants to get it on with women. I like to read him post KoD as though two of those have been taken away from him and he is grasping at anything to keep him sane. It makes sense that way that he is creating elaborate back stories, he needs to keep his mind a time to stop himself from thinking about ruling the Seanchan and not screwing the next barmaid he sees. You can easily just dismiss it as not getting the character, but honestly, I have invested too much in these books to not try to find a rationalization for his actions.

 

Next read through, (you know you ate going to do one before aMoL comes out if you haven't started already) I strongly recommend you try to think of it this way, it adds a lot of depth to Mat and is the easiest to reconcile, unlike the Cadsuane changes and the Elayne having to go through exactly the same thing she did the book before to realize she isn't invulnerable shenanigans.

 

Not everything has to be intentional, RJ didn't mean for the Asmodean killer to take over the fandom for decades. If the default reading for Mat could be a mental breakdown rather than bad characterization, I believe it would be a boon for everyone. It is a long shot I know, but BS can write well and this mistake atleast can be rationalized away fairly easily if you ignore the meta knowledge of an authorship change and just focus on the lore.

 

On topic though, I think he writes Rand the best, if only because there is a two book separation between major instances of Rand being a PoV so you are much less likely to see any inconsistencies just because of the gap and any that you do see can be put down to time passing.

 

Hmm. Interesting theory. I suppose I did this without thinking, and hence I had no issue with it.

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The central pillars of Mat are that he keeps his word, hates responsibility and wants to get it on with women. I like to read him post KoD as though two of those have been taken away from him and he is grasping at anything to keep him sane. It makes sense that way that he is creating elaborate back stories, he needs to keep his mind a time to stop himself from thinking about ruling the Seanchan and not screwing the next barmaid he sees. You can easily just dismiss it as not getting the character, but honestly, I have invested too much in these books to not try to find a rationalization for his actions.

 

Next read through, (you know you ate going to do one before aMoL comes out if you haven't started already) I strongly recommend you try to think of it this way, it adds a lot of depth to Mat and is the easiest to reconcile, unlike the Cadsuane changes and the Elayne having to go through exactly the same thing she did the book before to realize she isn't invulnerable shenanigans.

 

Not everything has to be intentional, RJ didn't mean for the Asmodean killer to take over the fandom for decades. If the default reading for Mat could be a mental breakdown rather than bad characterization, I believe it would be a boon for everyone. It is a long shot I know, but BS can write well and this mistake atleast can be rationalized away fairly easily if you ignore the meta knowledge of an authorship change and just focus on the lore.

 

On topic though, I think he writes Rand the best, if only because there is a two book separation between major instances of Rand being a PoV so you are much less likely to see any inconsistencies just because of the gap and any that you do see can be put down to time passing.

 

While i never saw it as a mental breakdown i did view it the exact same way you did so the changes never bothered me.

I saw it all as Mat going too far trying to prove to everyone (himself included) that he is the same guy. He seems to get teased about the changes in his world quite a bit from Thom so i could see how he would fire back like that.

 

It doesnt really matter to me if it was written like that intentionally. That is the beauty of books and interpretation.

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None of these rationalizations change the fact that BS admitted the trouble he had getting Mat correct. He just doesn't really do that type character very well and I think it is foreign to him. There was a ton of Mat in RJ, Brandon not so much. Also as pointed out it doesn't help how incredibly awkward and contrived the dialogue it as times.

Edited by Suttree
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None of these rationalizations change the fact that BS admitted the trouble he had getting Mat correct. He just doesn't really do that type character very well and I think it is foreign to him. There was a ton of Mat in RJ, Brandon not so much. Also as pointed out it doesn't help how incredibly awkward and contrived the dialogue it as times.

 

Do you have specific scenes to point out? I intend to look for the difference in my next read through. I'm really curious right now.

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