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What Brandon Thinks of the Criticism [updated last post 31/10]


Luckers
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Similarly Herid, I would like to know if you have found any of my posts vicious, I am not trying to defend myself, but if I have I would like to see if I can amend it or be careful. As a mod, I am not free of the rules, feel free to PM me if you suspect my posts of being vicious or against the CoC.

 

In a general statement, not at you Herid in particular, but if anyone has a problem with any of the Mods decisions or posts, you are of course free to express your opinions on the relevant threads, preferably in a PM to that mod, or you can PM one of the Admin. However, the WoT discussion board is not the appropriate place to voice these thoughts. You can PM others to discuss the matter between yourselves if you so wish, just not here on the WoT boards.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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Haven't read any of the material for AMoL that hasn't been released for free, but so far it's kinda up and down. I actually kinda like Brandon's work. My main complaints are Mat and the vocabulary, and I've had those since TGS came out. I think the attitude towards Brandon has definitely shifted negatively, and I think Brandon saying that it is all due to people reacting to his work being placed above RJ's is kind of absurd. I do think he is correct in that the majority of the criticism comes from hardcore fans, but that isn't very relevant and there are hardcore fans defending Brandon too. I think we are all somewhat hardcore compared to the average WoT reader. Casual fans probably aren't going to go to the effort of criticizing or defending Brandon on the internet for a series they don't care much about. Most of the criticisms of Brandon are legit (he even points that out himself), but some do take it too far, just as some are too unwilling to criticize Brandon. Personally, I find Brandon's works to be decent. I think the job could have been done better, but I also think it could have been done much, much worse.

Edited by WWWwombat
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@agitel you are entitled to to your opinion as much as we are. However, you do not have to be insulting or condescending.

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@Suttree I didn't mention Theoryland because Dragonmount is the only place where I hang out. I don't even have an account at Theoryland - I figured that one site was enough for me.

Edited by herid
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Also another note, there is a lot of talk about the "vileness" of the boards. If you think so, PM one of the Mods if you believe it inappropriate. It won't gaurentee that you will get the outcome you want, but you have to let the mods know what you think is so disgraceful and why. If you believe something breaks the CoC, PM us on why it does so and why we should moderate it. Then perhaps we can work together to reduce the so-called "vileness" (which, may I point out is a very, very, very small percentage of posters here.)

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I may be in the minority here, but I just enjoy all the books for what they are. I've enjoyed every single one of them.

 

In all honesty, I wouldn't want to be in Brandon's shoes. What he was asked to do was basically an impossible task. Think about it... he had to write the much anticipated end of one of the greatest series of books. He didn't have the author to work with, just notes. As far as RJ goes, he never worked with or spoke with BS directly so I'd say that puts BS at a big disadvantage. Not only that, but he has to try and seamlessly work in the parts that have already been written.

 

I'm not trying to defend him here, but I think we should just chill and enjoy the books.

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Wow. @all of the above. I seem to remember a lot of Jordan bashing way back when (Crossroads of Twilight, anyone). If Sanderson stopped to listen to every criticism and re-write all the time, I'd expect us to be getting TGS in January, not the final book.

When I first read The Gathering Storm, my first reaction was "finally, some action". Sure, there were errors. There is a lot of info in the WoT. I'm surprised there weren't more. But I guess I'm just a bit more fatalistic about it than others. This is what we got, and all we will get. The Creator is dead. Long live the Creator. The Ending please.

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Try to keep this on what Brandon said about the criticism. If you want to talk about the criticism itself, unrelated to this tweet, you can use Thisguy's thread for that.

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I read the comments to mean

 

"I have become popular, and some have said my books are better than RJ's, which isn't true. As a result, the Hardcore Fans feel a need to point out all the flaws."

 

Really? I think hardcore fans will point out flaws regardless of who's writing them. The recent bashing has largely been because the flaws are becoming more obvious and more egregious as the books have come out, rather than the other way around, despite claims of doing all they can to 'get it right'. This isn't really even nitpicking about character voices, which are as bad as ever IMO and certainly don't help, it's about them basing what happens in the series on premises that contradict things we knew from before. I can forgive not hitting a home run in character's motivations, because they aren't his characters. But the framework of the plot shouldn't be compromised because of laziness. If a 'cool idea' for a scene ends up not making sense within the framework that the first eleven books established, and can't be altered to do so, then start over. Don't pound a square peg into a round hole and retcon things later. The Wheel of Time is a precious thing to many of us, and should be handled with care. It deserves a lot of careful work, and it hasn't been careful enough.

 

For criticism, it seems like Brandon is shielded from much of it, which can explain a lot. Asking people for critiques was a good sign for anyone in his unique position, especially if one doesn't see much of the negative criticism of his work firsthand. Dismissing or ignoring those critiques he requested, though, is very disconcerting for the future of both the series we love to read and his growth as an author.

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As someone who mostly lurks and rarely posts, I don't feel that the criticisms are vile or "vicious" (as BS put it) in and of themselves. The problem lies more in how relentless they can be (or appear to be), in which case I sort of agree with him. It does feel (note, feel) that at some point most quality discussions derail into a "Brandon vs. RJ" or "Brandon did this poorly" or "this is just fluff it could be cut" (and so on). It becomes a matter of perception: we've seen the same old threads over and over--I don't even bother reading through many of the rehashed topics--but now that we finally have new discussions, they don't seem to go very long without some sort of criticism leveled.

 

More than anything else I find it to be annoying. I don't disagree with it, but I don't really care to read about it, either.

 

That said, BS does appear to be a bit delusional in thinking people are only reacting to his popularity. That's not true. But at the same time I really don't think the criticism should be so heavily bent toward him (there are many other parties involved), and I really doubt he has the time to delve into any but the harshest (since that is what will likely be brought to his attention).

 

In short, I think his perspective on the issue as a whole is rather skewed.

 

 

 

-- Edited the rest out to keep on-topic.

Edited by sdelu
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The problem lies more in how relentless they can be (or appear to be), in which case I sort of agree with him.

I actually agree with that. Perhaps we do dwell too much on the same points we've made before. But I stand by what I said earlier, that the strongest factor in that is the dismissive attitude being leveled time and again against anything not openly supportive of what we got in TGS, ToM (and now, it appears, we're getting in AMoL).

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...the problem is that it's not an interpretation. He stated directly that the criticism is caused by a reaction to people suggesting his books are better than RJ's. His words [directy, as you suggest]: "I've grown popular enough that some people say my wot books are better than RJ's, which isn't true. The hardcore fans then feel the need to point out the flaws in my efforts, and many things they say are true."

 

The link he makes is clearly causal, with no need for 'interpreting'. This happened, and as a result this happened. Yes, he adds addendums acknowledging the validicy or lack thereof of the two points in the sequence (which was at least a gesture to being nice), but he still made the direct causal link.

 

I don't think the link is causal at all. i think it's sequential. 'This happened.. Then this happened.' It's like 'I went to the supermarket. I then went to the post office.' My trip to the supermarket was not the cause of my trip to the post office; they were sequential and unrelated. Unless I was going to post someone a pound of sausages..

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You're saying this is an example of post hoc ergo propter hoc, but Brandon's use of the word 'then' notwithstanding, I disagree. It's very clear that he said the hard-core fans react to his popularity in their criticism.

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Yoni - I was away for a long while as well, and my view over the last few months is quite the opposite - positive comments about Brandon are hacked at immediately by the vocal minority such as yourself, Luck, et al. It is way over the top.

 

You feel like criticisms are being dismissed. Others, myself included feel that positives are likewise being dismissed.

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The problem lies more in how relentless they can be (or appear to be), in which case I sort of agree with him.

I actually agree with that. Perhaps we do dwell too much on the same points we've made before. But I stand by what I said earlier, that the strongest factor in that is the dismissive attitude being leveled time and again against anything not openly supportive of what we got in TGS, ToM (and now, it appears, we're getting in AMoL).

 

There's this interpretation that just because some fans choose not to dwell on the flaws they're being dismissive. That's not the case. I would say that many fans see themselves as wanting to move past the flaws, not forget them. They don't feel that the flaws should dominate all discussion and thoughts on the books (as they perceive it) and want to enjoy the books flaws and all. This isn't turning a blind eye to the flaws, merely getting sick and tired of seeing them rehashed again and again. There's more to that, though. There's this perception that some critics are trying to find flaws in everything, even where they don't exist. This comes up particularly in character motivations and actions, where any perceived deviation is highly scrutinized (far more so than if Jordan had written the same thing, in which case people would be much more open to inferring reasons for the change) and assumed to be a mistake even when there may be a plausible explanation or reason the author had in mind.

 

It's not being dismissive; it's acceptance. At least that's the POV from my side. Some fans can't accept the flaws. Some can. Some seemingly can't accept Brandon and take any opening to find a flaw.

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So you're saying that his two lines are unrelated to each other in response to the same tweet? That's pretty thin. It's implying that hardcore fans didn't feel the need to point out flaws before he grew in popularity, though there is slight element of truth there. Many hardcore fans scaled back the criticism big time after TGS, because it was his first try, and he did the best he could, and he was going to work on it. They didn't want to break the man in half. Had RJ released a book with TGS's quality we all would have thought he'd contracted some kind of mental condition. Yet the second try, ToM didn't improve much in most respects, and actually took a dive in plot related elements and contradictions. In AMoL's sections the dive became steeper. So yes, there are more people pointing out flaws now, because there are so freakin' many of them that it's almost laughable. If that lines up with the timeline of his 'rise in popularity' somehow I would put forth that that is unrelated.

 

@ Agitel

I don't buy acceptance of a flawed product when the flaws could have been avoided with more research and re-reads, i.e. more effort. If Robert Jordan had written these books and they had the same flaws, we'd all be scratching our heads and wondering what was going on just like we are now.

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I used to get irritated because (almost) all threads over at aMoL spoiler discussions used to inevitably veer towards discussions regarding errors in books (whether this is because of the sheer number of errors or people's inability to get over themselves and the errors and accept them and enjoy the book is really immaterial....it was just getting irritating at least to me). Now, I just think it's funny reading all the criticisms, people criticizing these (constant?) criticisms and people defending these criticisms :blink:

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So you're saying that his two lines are unrelated to each other in response to the same tweet? That's pretty thin. It's implying that hardcore fans didn't feel the need to point out flaws before he grew in popularity, though there is slight element of truth there. Many hardcore fans scaled back the criticism big time after TGS, because it was his first try, and he did the best he could, and he was going to work on it. They didn't want to break the man in half. Had RJ released a book with TGS's quality we all would have thought he'd contracted some kind of mental condition.

This really made me laugh. For everyone except Jordan's most obsessed fans CoT is way worse than TGS.

Edited by David Selig
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Opinions exchanged heatedly and potentially even fists virtually shaken in anger - DM might need an 18+ filter for offensive language before entering; I have to chuckle at the BrS defenders championing their man, right or wrong.

 

From the information available here regarding the writing/editing/publishing process for team WoT, the amount of in-world errors astounds me. But that's OK, not ideal granted, and I think it could/should have been done better but errors happen - particularly in time sensitive circumstances. So, while occasionally jarring during the first read, such mistakes in the BrS books basically earned a shrug and a quick release from me. Re-reads get a bit more grating, but re-prints should address the most glaring issues; again team WoT gets the benefit of the doubt from me on these issues.

 

Since BrS accepted a difficult challenge, my expectations were low but I had never read the man's work so I completely left the door open to enjoy the conclusion of WoT and hopefully discover (for me) the next author I could go to for my sci-fantasy fix in a post-RJ world. I thoroughly expected some discordance and different "voice" from BrS. I did not read any of his other work before reading tGS, ToM, parts of aMoL and have not read any of his other material. From the work I have seen in the conclusion to WoT, none of his other work interests me. And it's entirely due to the lazy writing, not the WoT-specific mistakes.

 

As an example, if I had to read one more "Anyway" while trying to enjoy Perrin's scenes my entire neighborhood would have heard my teeth grinding in frustration. I mean how challenging can it be, before you hand off any material to Harriet, or whomever, to professionalize your effort. Just go back through and embellish 1/2 of the "Anyway" transitions with contextual self-reflection, or a reasonable response from the now-speaking character. I think it was when getting the reports from the AS scouting mission once gateways functioned for Perrin's party that the repetitive and ill-fitting "Anyway" finally pushed me to put down the book and walk away for a bit. Toss in a "Yes, well" or "Perhaps you have a point, but from my perspective ..." - anything at all beside "Anyway." Just completely amateurish, lazy and in essence a hearty "screw you and eat your spinach and like it 'cause you've got no other choice" from BrS to multi-decade WoT fans.

 

The props for BrS' WoT work seem to be mostly focused on pacing and plot resolution. Both of those aspects are products of the body work he was handed in my opinion. Just as each book posseses a unique rhythm, generally climaxing near the end, so to for the series. Without the vast tapestry RJ painstakingly created, no momentum for the crescendo would exist .... granted not every Joe Schmoe off the street could have finished the series, but for a professional sci-fantasy author, well ..... All in all, nothing I've seen from BrS' WoT work has inspired me to purchase any of his other writings, in fact the opposite is true.

Edited by FanoLan
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Some seemingly can't accept Brandon and take any opening to find a flaw.

 

Here is yet another problem. Instead of rationally discussing different viewpoints the attitude is called "vile" and there are hints at some anti-BS conspiracy. All this does is take away from any constructive discussion on the topic. It is a somewhat feeble attempt to discredit the critique without actually addressing the content.

 

So you're saying that his two lines are unrelated to each other in response to the same tweet? That's pretty thin. It's implying that hardcore fans didn't feel the need to point out flaws before he grew in popularity, though there is slight element of truth there. Many hardcore fans scaled back the criticism big time after TGS, because it was his first try, and he did the best he could, and he was going to work on it. They didn't want to break the man in half. Had RJ released a book with TGS's quality we all would have thought he'd contracted some kind of mental condition.

This really made me laugh. For everyone except Jordan's most obsessed fans CoT is way worse than TGS,

 

In what way David? Advancing the plot, increasing the pace, fan gratification? Sure I'll buy that. If we are talking prose, quality of plotwork or charcterization then no, not by a long shot. More so although it is a strength some of that pace is more a function of where we are in the story arc as anything else. You know very well my thoughts on where RJ stands in relation to other authors. I don't think he was some master but the difference in quality is clear. For the first time the WoT became like other fantasy one has to "read down" to.

Edited by Suttree
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I'm not sure why people are so upset by that quote.

 

A lot of book critics have rated the last two books higher then some of Jordan's books, and I think that a over-reaction to that from people who disagree is responsible for some of the anti-Brandon sentiment.

 

It also is true that there's a huge amount of anti-Brandon sentiment here in this forum that, as someone new to this forum, has been incredibly surprisng for me to see. Nearly every thread has someone saying something negitive about him.

 

Anyway, he agreed to take on this project knowing, I'm sure, that he was going to get a lot of hate from some long-time fans.

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I would like to add a few things to this discussion:

 

- The critisms has really grown over time. When TGS was released there were a lot of comments that it was better than RJ's stuff. If the critism was simply a jealous reaction, there would have been much more critisism around that time. And there wasn't. There were only a couple of people.

So I do think that a lot of people have come to realize things they like less in Bradons WoT books, than Jordan's wot books.

 

- I am not sure that the errors and other critiques can be easily remedied. With the decision to split the book in three, some faults and problems easily occur.

So I am not sure that some errors can be fixed in aMoL.

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Some seemingly can't accept Brandon and take any opening to find a flaw.

 

Here is yet another problem. Instead of rationally discussing different viewpoints the attitude is called "vile" and there are hints at some anti-BS conspiracy. All this does is take away from any constructive discussion on the topic. It is a somewhat feeble attempt to discredit the critique without actually addressing the content.

 

I find the environment in those topics becoming toxic, not constructive in the least. Anyway, in AMoL topics, I have been addressing specific points where I felt people were overreaching in their criticism, not just dismissing them.

Edited by Agitel
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It also is true that there's a huge amount of anti-Brandon sentiment here in this forum that, as someone new to this forum, has been incredibly surprisng for me to see. Nearly every thread has someone saying something negitive about him.

 

Let's be very clear about something here. Critiquing the books is not an anti-Brandon sentiment. This is a forum where one discusses the WoT series. The good, the bad, and everything in betweem. Not sure if it's because some of you weren't checking this site back then but around WH-CoT there was a very strong criticism of RJ's work. Again to claim that anyone cares whether some fantasy blog writer may have rated TGS higher than CoT is absurd. Further if jealousy was an issue it would have come about immediately after the release of TGS. The fact that the general sentiment has shifted over time as people have gone back and studied TGS and ToM makes clear that this is content based. The rest as they say is "fluff and feathers"

 

I find the environment in those topics becoming toxic, not constructive in the least. Anyway, in AMoL topics, I have been addressing specific points where I felt people were overreaching in their criticism, not just dismissing them.

 

Yet as has been made clear time and again the amount of people "bashing" as opposed to critiquing can be counted on one hand. When members cross the line they are often called down by even the most vocal of critics. I challenge you to go back Agitel and show us this "toxic" environment. If If the critique is mainly negative it's because of the quality of the work we have seen in these AMoL excerpts. As Peter said it is "important" to critique works of art and this is the forum for people to do so on the WoT. I know of two members that can be realistically characterized as such. Further rather than addressing certain points I have frequently seen you lash out in your responses as you did with your ridicule of Yoniy0 the other day.

 

Heaven forbid, no. I just resent the use of the noun 'entitlement' in this context, because it implies that there are no valid grievances here. Which there are, Agitel's ridicule notwithstanding.

Edited by Suttree
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