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About Elessar

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  1. .. Masked in Darkness .. ►▼◄ Selecin, the Truthspeaker for the Seanchan Empress Tirana Elem Sani Paendrag, was scolded -in front of the whole royal court, who watched partly embarrassed, partly amused. Tervihn, in the guise of the Truthspeaker, seethed inside but kept his true emotion off his face, seeming abject and ashamed. When the Empress was finished castigating him for his failure in predicting and neutralizing the danger to her daughter, the heir to the Empire, she ordered everyone else out of the throne room and remained alone with her Truthspeaker. “Why should I not have you flogged?” She said in an icy voice when they were alone in the room. “You are here to advice, to tell truths and have knowledge. My daughter almost got killed today. Killed!” Tervihn, still looking abjectly at the Empress, decided that he needed to apply more Compulsion, since the delicate threads he had used on her hitherto seemed somehow to have weakened. He needed her more agreeable and had to avoid a situation where she came in the way of his plans. “Great Empress”, he began in a demure voice, “you are absolutely right. I have failed in my service”. As he spoke he wove new subtle threads of Compulsion which he directed at the woman. “I am ashamed. I should have foreseen such an attack.” The Empress nodded as he spoke but he soon saw her hard face soften, the weaves taking effect. “Yes, you should have.” She said, but her voice was not as emphatic as before. She looked past her Truthspeaker as if hearing a sound from far off, then fastened her gaze on him again. “I shall, however, forgive you this time, Selecin”. Her eyes glittered shrewdly. “You can serve me still, in several ways.” The Truthspeaker’s face turned upwards and his eyes locked on hers. “I am grateful, Great Empress”. Tervihn spoke. “I will not fail you again.” As the Empress dismissed him, her thoughts already on other matters, Tervihn the Chosen departed, his eyes taking on a dangerous, speculative gleam as he left the throne room behind. ● Moored in the northern island group called Aile Dashar, the Sea Folk vessel Wavesweeper lay by the quayside in the afternoon sun as crew members worked on her outer hull. Two dark-skinned women with short black hair and tattoos common in the Atha’an Miere were repairing a dent in the bow of the ship while others were working astern. Tarah din Coral Rising Wave, a tall dark-skinned woman with grey streaked hair, a grave face and with four rings in each ear, one of them being connected to her nose by a chain, a sign of her higher rank, nodded to herself as she watched the others work. She was proud of her ship and proud of her crew. As Sailmistress this was her ship and she would give her life to protect her. A small sound made her turn and she watched coolly as her Windfinder came up to her. Chalor din Togara Evening Tide gazed at the older woman with just the right amount of respect, giving a slight nod in recognition of the woman’s higher rank. They had had words the day before, an open disagreement, and the Sailmistress was displeased. She did not like anyone questioning her authority as she saw it, least of all her Windfinder. She had her orders, from the Mistress of the Ships herself in truth, and she intended to carry them out regardless of what others thought. Issandra, in the guise of the Windfinder, stared at the other woman and wondered if it was time to kill her. The Sailmistress had not followed her suggestion to turn eastwards towards the mainland, had in fact castigated her for her proposition, and Issandra had left in inward fury, heading toward her cabin to calm herself. Stopping here at Aile Dashar was counterproductive to the Chosen’s own plans and they had been here for over a week now and Issandra was becoming restless. “I apologize if I overstepped yesterday, Sailmistress”, the Windfinder said demurely. “I just think it would be wise for us to head towards the mainland, considering all the rumours we have picked up.” The Sailmistress looked long and hard at her Windfinder, a woman she usually admired, and finally nodded. “I understand”, she replied calmly. Her eyes took on a shrewd look. “You are very valuable to our ship, Chalor.” She said. “But don’t question my orders again.” Issandra nodded and looked downwards abjectly, playing her part, as the Sailmistress continued. “My orders come from the leaders of our Clan. And theirs come from the very top.” She did not need to speak the name. Seida din Parede Four Moons, the Mistress of the Ships and ruler of the Atha’an Miere, was a dominant and forceful woman and someone one did not cross. They both turned as the ship’s Cargomaster, and second in command, approached them and spoke a few words with the Sailmistress. He then returned to the ship to oversee repairs and other things that needed doing while they were at the isles. The Sailmistress nodded to herself as she watched him go, pleased to have someone so capable in charge at that moment. Turning back to her Windfinder, she added that she had a meeting to attend later that day and that several other Sea Folk ships were expected soon. Her Windfinder nodded and said she would spend some time onboard the vessel until she was called for. She then walked along the dock and boarded the Raker, never looking back. Gazing in her direction, the Sailmistress wondered why her Windfinder was so insistent on heading towards the mainland. Yes, there were rumours of conflict and war, as well as unrest in the region the mainlanders called the Borderlands, but this was not their - the Sea Folk’s - business, at least not right now. The Clans were gathering and the Atha’an Miere had their own mission to fulfill. Tarah din Coral Rising Wave did not know the details, but the little she had heard made her feel excitement but also dread. The Storm was coming. ● Sendhira Nerron touched the Red shawl around her shoulders as she walked down the corridor of the Tarasin Palace in Ebou Dar. She was furious inside but nothing showed on her smooth ageless Aes Sedai-face. That the Queen had agreed to see the Green Sister without Sendhira present had put her back up. She was the White Tower’s liaison here, she was the one who mediated on matters between the two parties. And now this upstart Green had suddenly appeared and was running things or so it at least seemed. Touching her Red shawl another time, she turned a corner - and came face to face with Dorinha. “Sendhira”, the Green Sister greeted her coolly. “Dorinha”, the Red Sister replied equally coolly. Neither woman looked kindly at the other, their eyes almost at daggers. Sendhira turned her gaze on the man standing beside the Green Aes Sedai for a moment and frowned. A Man. And a Warder. The Red Ajah were not kindly disposed toward men in general if truth be told, and Sendhira, like most in her Ajah, did not believe in having Warders, did not believe them trustworthy, and generally thought they would get in the way. She knew privately that a couple of her Ajah Sisters did in fact play with the thought of having a Warder, but she did not take such foolishness seriously. Switching her gaze back to the Green Sister, her eyes fastening on the woman’s Green shawl, Sendhira considered her next words. “I understand you are here under orders from the Amyrlin.” It was more a statement than a question. “Is there a special reason why I, as the Tower’s representative here, was not invited to your meeting with the Queen?” Dorinha smiled inside though nothing showed on her face. Sendhira had never been one for diplomacy, which was partly why Dorinha had wondered why the other woman had been sent as Tower liaison to the court of the Altaran Queen. The Red Sister had always been very direct and Dorinha had expected the question. She could not lie, the binding Oath prevented that, but she could circumvent the truth as Aes Sedai were experts at. “The White Tower was represented well in the meeting with the Queen”, Dorinha replied coolly. “She received the message from the Amyrlin.” Sendhira stared back at her, pursing her lips. The Green had not answered her question, just stated something obvious. Why did she not wish to tell the truth? Sendhira wondered. The Red considered whether to probe further but just then a man approached them from down the corridor and she turned in his direction. Lord Elahron stopped before the two women and gave a slight bow, nodding to the Warder. Sendhira stared with distaste at this man who had such influence over the Queen. He was Chief Advisor to the Altaran ruler and rumours in the palace were that they were lovers too. Something in the way he carried himself, arrogant and full of himself, put Sendhira’s teeth on edge. In many ways he was the embodiment of the men she had come across in her life, men of power, men she despised. Dorinha, on the other hand, found the man attractive, more so than she first had, and felt his power of personality as he smiled at her. Her eyes glittered in thrilled response and her smooth face almost lost its smoothness for a moment. Her Warder stared at him with a dark look, however, wondering at his Bondholder’s seeming change of heart and feeling danger even if it was not apparent. “Aes Sedai”, Vinadel said kindly as he faced the Green Sister, “the Queen wishes to speak to you again.” Dorinha nodded, a small smile on her lips, and began to move past him. Sendhira began to follow but the Queen’s Advisor shook his head. “Only Dorinha Sedai this time”, he added smoothly, amused at the anger clear in the Red Sister’s eyes. You are a Red Viper for sure, thought the Chosen as the tall, long-haired woman turned on her heels and walked away from where he stood. She was not pleased, not pleased at all. ● Sei’ad, Chief of the Spine Ridge Sept of the Miagoma Clan of the Aiel, widened his eyes as the sharp spear buried itself in his heart and hardly had time to consider what had happened before falling dead to the ground. Venduin, veiled and clad in warrior brown, stared coldly down at the dead Sept Chief. They were inside the Chief’s tent, alone in the night. Turning to face the tent opening for a moment, Venduin listened for sounds of running feet but all was quiet. Turning back toward the corpse on the ground, the man known by all in the sept as Venduin smiled chillingly. Banohr was pleased with the ease with which he had killed this man - and thereby removed an obstacle to his plans. The Chosen had killed the real Venduin a while back and had assumed his identity. He had studied Aiel culture since his return from the Long Sleep in preparation for this. It had given him some small pleasure to kill in the ancient Aiel way as well, instead of terminating the Chief’s life with the use of Saidin. Now he studied the dead man carefully and using the Mask of Mirrors, an intricate weave of Saidin, his appearance slowly changed from that of Venduin to that of Sei’ad. He then incinerated the body using the One Power and placed the ashes in a small box which he had brought with him. The spear he cleaned of blood and then grabbed it. Satisfied at last, ‘Sei’ad’ Sept Chief stepped out of his tent and gazed up at the shining moon high above. From behind his glittering Aiel-blue eyes, Banohr smiled to himself. ● Senna Falhdrid, originally from Cairhien, was a Sitter for the White in the Hall of the Tower. She had been a Sitter for more than twenty years and the hints of grey in her hair spoke of her 105 years on this earth. Most of these she had spent in Tar Valon, as a Novice, Accepted and finally Aes Sedai of the White Ajah. Like most if not all her Sisters she based her life on logic, on logical explanations, reason and sense. So it had always been and so it would always be for her. Rumours floating around the White Tower that the Amyrlin had plans in progress to deal with the boy Dragon, she took as pure speculation. Something would have to be done about the boy in due course, naturally, but there was no sense in the Amyrlin making such a vital - and potentially dangerous - decision without informing the Hall. It simply was not done and so Senna discarded the rumours. Her friend in the Blue Ajah, however, was not so certain. Seated opposite the White Sister, the Blue Aes Sedai repeated what she had heard. Nerahna Terin was a dozen or so years older than Senna, a Sitter for the Blue, and what she in the White Sister’s opinion lacked in logical reasoning she more than made up in enthusiasm. A brown-haired woman with a sharp nose and a friendly smile, she leaned over the table which stood in the middle of her own quarters and her green eyes glinted as she spoke. “They say the Amyrlin is planning to capture the boy Dragon, whether the Hall agrees or not.” Senna shook her head once again, wondering why her old Novice-friend listened to such foolish rumours. “Nerahna”, she said at last, trying not to sigh, “those are just foul rumours put out by the Reds. You know as well as I do that they are still miffed that the Hall chose a Green to lead us all.” A year before, the Hall of the Tower had chosen the Green candidate Visvana Loratehl as Amyrlin after the sudden, unexplained death of her predecessor. The Reds had worked hard, in vain as it turned out, to get their candidate chosen and had been bitter ever since. Nerahna shook her head. “I agree the Reds are capable of such, but this time I think the rumours have some truth in them. What will the Hall do if she is caught?” “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills..” Senna replied, using the old Aes Sedai saying. “But I think this is just nonsense. It is not logical at all and I for one don’t believe the rumours.” Nerahna leaned back in her chair and studied her old Novice-friend closely. They were so different, personality-wise and philosophically, Senna and she that it was a wonder that they had become close friends when they were Novices. They had kept the friendship in the years they were Accepted in the Tower, and though they were no longer as close as in those days past they still were as friendly as Sisters in different Ajahs could be, keeping in touch when both were in the White Tower. Nerahna had always liked Senna, and remembered with fondness their pillow-fun when they were young, but she had to admit that the White Sister was naïve and there were so many things she did not understand. Her eyes took on a new gleam as she looked at Senna’s grey dress. It was very conservative, high-necked, with a few subtle decorations and some frills down the side. Staring down at her Great Serpent Ring for a moment, Nerahna thought of her many years in the Tower. The golden ring fashioned into the shape of a serpent biting its own tail, was an ancient symbol of eternity and time itself. Time. Time eternal. Turning her gaze to her friend opposite her, she took a sip of tea from the cup before her, then said smoothly, “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills indeed. By the way, I like your blue dress, Senna.” It took a moment to register, then Senna’s eyes and mouth opened wide.. and a scream began to form in her soul.” ▀▄
  2. Personally I think Geofram Bornhald is mentioned as a 'bad guy' in the article because the Whitecloaks on the whole are considered villains (despicable ones at that) by many fans of the books and he is (initially) their leader. So even if he does seem the least fanatic among them and is a grandfatherly kind of figure (though a hard one) as is mentioned above, he is a symbol of what they stand for (a kind of hateful extreme Inquisition against all they consider Darkfriends) and therefore could be depicted as one of the 'bad guys' in the tv-show. We who have read the books know, of course, that there are others among that lot (f.ex. the extremely zealous Jaret Byar) who are far worse.
  3. One of the biggest challenges when adapting the Wheel of Time to a tv-show is indeed the inner thoughts and monologue in the books I have thought. It was one reason why, when Game of Thrones came, I thought the Wheel of Time would never be adapted for the screen. Case 1: Machin Shin. I would think that with proper cgi/effects they can make this look as fearsome as in the books but without making it look cheap/over the top. Or at least I hope so. Case 2: Lews Therin. Now this is the part I am uncertain about, how to do this without it looking cheesy. I presume they would consider a 'Gollum vs Smeagol' solution with the viewers seeing Lews Therin as a seemingly second person / part of Rand, though it is all a part of Rand's mind, but if Lews Therin is to 'pop up' fairly often as the seasons go along it could easily look a bit.. off I would think.. and become overkill. Having Rand speak to himself often (with no other 'persona' in view) could on the other hand easily make him look like a raving lunatic and if there is one thing we (and the producers) don't want it is to see the main hero of the story look silly or crazy (though he may be 'touched' due to Saidin in the story). This has to be done delicately in other words as I see it, also perhaps with some uncertainty for the viewers whether Rand has an incarnated spirit living inside him (as I personally always preferred to think it) or whether he has simply lost his mind (as Semirhage claimed in the books). The producers could, of course, avoid the whole issue by removing Lews Therin in Rand's mind from the story but I cannot believe they would make such a major change. As for other 'visual challenges', I am interested to see how they treat the whole One Power (Saidin/Saidar) issue in the tv-show. It plays a big role in the books, not the least for our White Tower heroines, and it could end up looking great (if done right) but also cheap (if done poorly). I hope some serious money will be spent on the 'magic' (One Power) in the Wheel of Time tv-show so it looks great since I see this as one of the central things in Robert Jordan's majestic story.
  4. Many interesting ideas and thoughts to read in this thread. Good question, what to keep and what to drop when ‘converting’ a massive book-series like the Wheel of Time to the tv-medium. I will share some reflections. I agree with what many have argued already in this thread. I want to see the major events (incl. Moiraine's telling of the 'Fall of Manetheren', the Eye of the World ending-scene in book 1, Falme with Rand and Ishamael duelling in the skies, the Cleansing, Dumais Wells, the attack on the White Tower with Egwene's heroism, Egwene's heroic death in the Last Battle, Rand's battles with the various Forsaken and many many other similar highlights (and also smaller but touching moments) from the epic books). Also I want to keep the main and surrounding characters (our heroes naturally and many semi-important characters) that drive this story. I also want some White Tower / Ajah / Aes Sedai 'intrigue' (so they show differences between Ajahs, mentalities, philosophies etc) since this is part of what interested and intrigued me in the books, hope it is not glossed over in favour of focus (only) on Moiraine, Siuan, Elaida and specific Tower events. As for the 'split Tower' plot, I would be glad if they included it since it is an important part of Egwene's story and also that of Siuan. The closer to canon (the books) they go, the happier I will be. Some things need be left out, of course, both due to the enormous size of the books (f.ex. minor side-plots and minor side-characters) but also some things that do not transfer so well to the screen (f.ex. much internal dialogue). Parts of the books are also very descriptive and detailed as we know and can be shortened or, if necessary, left out without the plot losing impact and resonance. My hope in truth is that the producers behind the Wheel of Time tv-show will make an adaptation with integrity and quality that is a fitting tribute to Robert Jordan's vision and majestic work.
  5. I come from Norway in Northern Europe. My native language is Norwegian but I lived several years in the UK and kept reading and writing in English after my return to my native homeland and have since. I used to live in Oslo, our capital, back in the day and though many bookstores over here did indeed bunch fantasy and sci fi together like you describe in Michigan, one bookstore - the largest one - did not. It had the grandest book selection in every category (fiction, non-fiction, biographies, books in Norwegian etc), including separate sections for sci fi and fantasy in English (next to one another) and since this bookstore had a lot more English books in these genres than any others around, that was the place I always went to search for new books. And so I always ended up in the fantasy book section of this large bookstore, eagerly going through the selection of books there, skipping the sci fi section and horror-section (I have never either been keen on reading horror-novels) that were next to it. Thanks again for the recommendation. It sounds interesting in a way though very different as well. I have watched some sci fi movies that touch upon some of these subjects (AI, cybernetics, clones etc) but never read any books with these themes. I will keep what you have said in mind. I know several people who are big fans of Stephen King novels. I haven't ready any of them myself though I have enjoyed some of the films that are based on some of his work, especially 'The Shawshank Redemption' which I consider a classic, but also 'The Green Mile' which also was a very good movie. I remember 'Misery' as well from back in the day. Much of the rest of his work is horror-based, I think, though I also believe he has dabbled in fantasy-like fiction on occasion (perhaps crossover). I have, sadly, become one of the more indifferent ones as well. As I mentioned, I do hope to see his final novels released at some point (but he certainly should get a move on as I emphasized) but I don't either feel confident he will complete the book series, and so will enjoy whatever we do get. Glad the Game of Thrones tv-series could give a kind of conclusion to the epic story (even if parts were different due to some changes from the books earlier on). As for Season 8, I am one of those who was pretty unhappy with it, to be honest, and how it ended for several reasons (among them the things you mention, structure, plot-choices and resolutions). And so it was a disappointment for me. But I can live with it, since the series adaptation on the whole was great in my opinion with far more highlights than general disappointments. I too have to be in the right mood to read a certain type of book. Sometimes I know I am ready to read something 'heavier' (I have a few quality political biographies in this category), other times I am just after pure escapism. By the way, all my books are of the traditional paper variety. I know many people enjoy audio books these days, but I like sitting with the book(s) in my hands and reading and turning the pages. Guess I am old-fashioned that way but there goes.
  6. Thanks for the info about those Commonwealth books. Why I never got into reading sci fi? I think it is just happenchance really. The first Star Wars movie opened the doors to sci fi for me forever, but it was fantasy fiction which caught my attention bookwise (beginning with The Lord of the Rings). Had I at the time instead/also begun to read sci fi books the story might have been different. When I became older I kept the interest in sci fi movies/tv-series (and astronomy besides) but though I, of course, saw the sci fi book section beside the fantasy section in bookstores, I was never curious enough to check it out, heading instead over to check out the new fantasy book releases. We are, it is said, creatures of habit and often keep to what we know, like and are comfortable with. If we have enough books on our 'to read' list, there is little chance we will look elsewhere. Let me add that I have on occasion wondered if I would enjoy reading a sci fi book, but I have ended up thinking that they might be too theoretical/scientific for my taste, too analytical and 'out there', though I am sure there are several styles of sci fi writing as you also indicate above. I can't speak for others, but this is the way it has been for me. Interesting with the 'Mary Sue' word often used in English (describing an idealized perfect fictional character who can do nothing wrong), we don't have a similar word we use in my language. Talking of 'Mary Sue', aforementioned Ayla in the Jean M Auel Earth Children's books is certainly in that category too as has been remarked on by critics and some readers (not that I care.. I love Ayla *big grin*). Yeah, Caesar rocked in those books! A quality tv-series of the Masters of Rome would have been awesome indeed. I enjoyed Rome too but I did not love it as much as I thought I would. My favourite movie from the time period is Gladiator which I love. Let me add a few thoughts about A Song of Ice and Fire which we both love and have high on our favourite books list. As George RR Martin struggles to finish The Winds of Winter (even after 8 years of writing) the question becomes, will he ever be able to finish the book series? Some joked about it in earlier years, but now I am beginning to wonder seeing as the guy is about 70 now and still has a huge novel (A Dream of Spring) to finish after his current one. He has said himself that he works best when he juggles several projects and so cannot only work on A Song Of Ice and Fire, and that has to be respected of course, but I am sure I have others behind me when I say I wish he would put other projects aside for the moment and also spend a little time with a structured, efficient fantasy author like f.ex. Brandon Sanderson and get a move on with his story. We are a patient lot, but come on.. Some of his fans don't care anymore and have given up on him, some are happy with the Game of Thrones tv-series and are indifferent if he finishes his books or not, while others are loyal and will wait eagerly however long it takes him to finish the books. I hope to see the books released in time, but am very happy we got Game of Thrones* which I have enjoyed a lot (*I could say a lot about that tv-series, both good and bad, but will leave that topic for the moment; on the whole I thought that was a great tv-adaptation) and which has given us an ending to this epic story (even if, perhaps, a slightly slanted ending compared to what will be the case in the books).
  7. Reg. The Sword of Truth, as always it comes down to personal taste. I mentioned in the sister-thread ('characters') some of my objections to that series, but on the whole I enjoyed it (ref. place in my top 10). As for Mordant's Need, I really enjoyed that too. It consists of 2 books: The Mirror of her Dreams and A Man Rides Through. It is different in style and topic from Stephen R Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books, smaller in scope and shorter, not at all as dark and gloomy, lighter in style and more based on political intrigue and drama but inside a fantasy-world setting with some magic and also a few parallels to his other books elsewhere. Very well written, I thought and made for very interesting reading. As mentioned, James Clavell was a very accomplished writer. Shogun the novel I have mentioned several times. Awesome, I thought. Only thing in that monumental book I missed was a final chapter when Lord Toranaga went to war. I would have loved to have had a 30 page final chapter describing the battles and successes after all the build-up earlier in the book, ending with Toranaga being crowned Shogun and Military Dictator of Japan by the Emperor in Kyoto, but I can imagine it myself. Superb piece of historical fiction imo! He also wrote a novel called Gai-Jin (a kind of sequel to his earlier books) which is the last of his Asian saga books, I think. I have not read it yet but it is on my 'to read' list (when I get around to it). Jean M Auel is a very good writer too I think (though she does sometimes get lost in endless nature-descriptions..), but it has to be said that the final novel and conclusion to the Earth's Children saga (book 6, released in 2011, 9 years after her previous one) was a major disappointment in my (and lots of other fans') view. Like many others I think she simply got tired of her own story and books, prefering to spend her life visiting pre-historic caves and doing similar research, and after many years writing she just felt she had to get it over with and release a practically un-edited mess of a book which had many shortcomings indeed (structure-wise and plot-wise). So even though her fans (and I) were happy to get a conclusion to the story of pre-historic Ayla and the Cro-Magnon people, it was one of the most disappointing endings ever in an epic book-series for many (including yours truly). I included the Masters of Rome books on my general fiction shortlist. As I said there, they were fascinating to read - another accomplished writer! - and I especially loved the parts about Julius Caesar ('Caesar's Women', one of the books, I recall being particularly in love with). I know some critics and readers felt she went overboard in her love and admiration for Caesar in her books (he was 'perfection incarnate' as some critiqued) but I just loved it and grinned widely every time he got the better of his many (often envious) enemies.
  8. There are many books on your list I have not read, some I have heard of, some not. What kind of books are the Commonwealth Saga which is your top favourite? I see some sci fi-authors on your list as well. I am a huge fan of sci fi in film/movies/tv-series, but have never read any sci fi books. Fantasy has been my main book-interest through the years (besides some other fiction as mentioned before, political biographies and similar). Aforementioned Stephen R Donaldson has actually written a dark sci fi book series called The Gap Cycle which some of his fans rave about, while others find not to their liking. I haven't read much about them, but the little I have grasped makes me somewhat uncertain if those book are my cup of tea.
  9. Of countless memorable chapters/scenes in the Wheel of Time-books (among them Dumai's Wells, the Cleansing, Egwene with the Sa'angreal at the White Tower attack, Moiraine vs Lanfear at the doorframe Ter'angreal to name a very few) the one with the 'Fall of Manetheren' is the one which touched me the most too. It gives me shivers almost thinking of it even today, having read the books - and that chapter - many times over the years. I was in fact so emotional/moved by that scene/telling and Moiraine's words those many years ago (DM ca 1999) that I sat down with inspiration and a full heart and wrote/composed a poem in tribute of it (and of Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time) based on Moiraine's storytelling. I have used this poem in character-RPs with my Warder-character Elessar at DM (usually performed by gleemen in my RPs).
  10. Yeah, they were really excellent! I enjoyed the tv-series adaptations too. To have covered all the incredible detail and intricacies of the brick-size novels the tv-adaptations would have had to have been much longer and more detailed, but I too thought they made a good job of it, presenting the essence of the books. I have also read Whirlwind (another 'brick') and enjoyed that too, as you say emotional stuff in the middle of Iranian turmoil and revolution. I also read another of his novels, Tai Pan back in the day (a kind of 'prequel' to Noble House). James Clavell was a very accomplished writer I would say, among the best out there. Of all these Shogun has meant most to me though, in part because I thought that book was particularly impressive and brilliantly written but also in part because of my special interest in Japanese culture- and history (incl. Japanese martial arts, the history of Ninjas, Geisha and more). I have read that ca 1200 page 'monster' of a book about 8 times through the years and I enjoy it just as much every time.
  11. I am always up for a good sequel! 😀 I will stick to fantasy literature in my ranking below (will add a few of my non-fantasy favourites below the list). Favourite fantasy-fiction 1. The Lord of the Rings - J RR Tolkien 2. The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan 3. A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin 4. The Elenium - David Eddings 5. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (3 series) - Stephen R Donaldson 6. The Riftwar Saga (trilogy) - Raymond E Feist 7. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn - Tad Williams 8. The Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind 9. The Sword of Shannara (trilogy) - Terry Brooks 10. The Heritage of Shannara (4 books) - Terry Brooks 11. Exile (book 1+2) - Melanie Rawn 12. Mordant’s Need (2 books) - Stephen R Donaldson 13. The Tamuli - David Eddings 14. The Belgariad - David Eddings 15. The Liveship Traders - Robin Hobb 16. Dragonlance Chronicles - Margaret Weis & Tracey Hickman 17. Dragonlance Legends - Margaret Weis & Tracey Hickman 18. The Voyage of Jerle Shannara (trilogy) - Terry Brooks 19. Silmarillion* - J RR Tolkien 20. Empire trilogy - Janny Wurts *Silmarillion: oh what grandness in mythology but also oh what a struggle to get through 🤣 It is masterful without doubt but I just cannot bring myself to read it over and over again. Even so, it deserved a place on my top 20 list. Non-fantasy fiction favourites: - Shogun - James Clavell (a masterpiece imo, possibly my second favourite novel of all time) - Noble House - James Clavell (another monumental piece of writing imo) - Masters of Rome (series) - Colleen McCullough (fascinating stuff about ancient Rome, esp bits about Caesar) - The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley (wonderful well-written Arthurian saga) - Earth’s Children saga - Jean M Auel (the wonderful story of Ayla; someone make a grand tv-series of this please)
  12. I really enjoyed Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. As you saw from my favourite characters list, I especially loved the Zida'ya, the Dawn Children, the almost otherwordly elvish people in Tad Williams' fascinating world, and the female character Aditu was just wonderful in all her alluring alienness I thought. I have that trilogy in my top 7 I think. To my everlasting disappointment I was so displeased by the first book in the new 'sequel' trilogy which was released in 2017 that I have more or less given up on the 'sequel'-series. I don't want to give any spoilers for those who intend to read it, but there were several things that went in an other direction than I wanted and which bugged me in that book (many fans love it though it seems which is great, again it shows how subjective book taste and what appeals to a person is). This saddens me since I never ever expected to be taken on another journey into Osten Ard, but for now I will stick to the original trilogy I find it a bit difficult to choose what I believe is the most beautifully written fantasy I have read. Many have impressed me and the authors have shown true craftmanship (Stephen Donaldson and George RR Martin are high on that list for me). I must say a few words about David Eddings though. His Elenium books (trilogy) are perhaps the most easily flowing quality fantasy work I have ever read, I went through those books in record time and was in awe at times at how pleasurably easy-flowing (while keeping some intricacy and detail for adult fantasy-readers) and fun reading they were. Cool. Several of those characters on your list would be in my top 30, too. I enjoyed the Sword of Truth book series even if it sometimes felt like a copycat of the Wheel of Time. Parts are kinda generic but then Terry Goodkind comes up with an innovation which is very cool. I like the two main characters which are on my list above and there are also a few more great ones there. My main objection to this book series is twofold. Main thing I disliked was that Goodkind projected his political views on the reader, letting his main character Richard hold long ideological speeches (in this case against socialism, but it's the principle I don't like; I would have had the same opinion had the speech been against capitalism - I don't like using politics this way). Also, the book series had imo an awful ending; after a build-up in the style of the Wheel of Time the whole ending fizzled out into nothing really. Some may criticize the way the Last Battle ended in A Memory of Light (how it was written, spread out over 80 pages or so) but I tell you it was way way better than the ending of the Sword of Truth which at least for me was a major letdown. That said though, the book series is in my top 8. Cool that we agree. Perception is always in the eyes of the beholder, but I think we both have touched upon the essence of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant books. Stephen Donaldson has mentioned himself that he never intended those books to be read by youth/young people, but that he has come to understand that many have done so (with conflicting results). I read the first two series in my early twenties, can well imagine that one would not be up for it in the early to mid teens. Yeah, I too mentioned the vocabulary which is pretty unusual (and I thought fascinating). As you say, the man has a massive vocabulary and also a massive knowledge of the English language. I stand by my previous comment, that he is one of the best writers in fantasy literature (writing/literary competence) over the years. Yeah, that episode in 'Lord Foul's Bane' is a 'walk into darkness' which some readers will struggle to return from. Don't want to spoil it for anyone intending to read these books, but it is a tough 'hurdle' one has to cross if one is to enjoy these books. As we have both emphasized (not without reason), these books are not for everyone - but for those who manage the 'hurdles' and 'challenges' and intricate 'pathways' internal as well as external it is very rewarding, in many ways unique, and also important I would say with a view to how Donaldson tackles/describes humanity in its many moments of light and darkness. Yeah, I too thought it (the two main trilogies) was a fun easy read, with joy (Tas.. one of the most charming characters I ever read in fantasy!), fun (Fizban, who we also know is another important character, often cracked me up) and also sadness (I know of what and who you think, I agree..). These books may be simple and aimed at youngsters, but I sure enjoyed them! I agree with you. "Literati" is a good way of describing them. They are everywhere, book critics, many 'serious' authors, others in the book publishing industry. Stephen Donaldson mentioned it too in an interview at one time I think, how fantasy (and science fiction) literature was almost sneered at at University and among the "literati" regardless of the quality of the author or written work. I think the Dragon Prince books were some of her first ones. I never read them but seems those books also have their fans on the internet. After her first trilogy she wrote something called Dragon Star I think which I think could be in the same fictional world somewhere.. The two Exile books are the only ones I have read by her. I do think she is a good writer, but I also hope she either finishes the third Exile book one day or lets someone else do so (if she is unable to do so herself), it would mean much to her many fans who have waited 20 years so far and, as ever, it is always good to get an ending to a story. Yes, I think those books were called Farseer Trilogy, though I have not read them myself. They were popular too but again, book taste will vary among readers. Several of her books are written in first person style, I think, and as I mentioned before, I am not keen on that and have looked elsewhere. The Liveship Trader trilogy though interested me when I read about the concept (I wonder if that story is set somewhere else in that Farseer-world, could well be..) and it is written in the third person which I prefer. Speaking for myself, I am indeed enjoying the thread, reading and participating! Perhaps I am going slightly off-topic on books instead of characters, but it is part of the same 'universe' and fun to exchange thoughts about 😁
  13. I like both types: books that are delicious escapism and those who demand more of its reader, depending on my mood. Most often I have to admit my main purpose is to be entertained with stories, but I have become more critical in later years as to what I consider quality and worth reading. As for literary snobs, fantasy literature - even of the quality kind - is frowned upon by the book establishment over here same as in most countries I guess. But then again so is much popular fiction. I wonder if that will ever change. As mentioned, the first Shannara book was a copycat The Lord of The Rings, even the author has mentioned unabashedly that he was more than inspired by Tolkien's work (today I presume the book would have been stopped for plagiarism). The sequel, 'The Elfstones of Shannara' (maybe you read that one?), was a separate story and many consider it the best of the earlier Shannara books. They are a bit generic and simpler in style than better quality fantasy fiction, but I still enjoyed them back in the day and if I want an easy (re)read I could read it again. As for Drizzt, see below. The points you make also makes me doubtful if the Malazan series is something I should invest time in. Loads of readers seem to love those books which is great, but as mentioned book taste is subjective and not eveything will appeal to everyone. I never got around to reading his Mistborn books but I have observed that many like them. He is a good writer but as you mentioned he has his writing style which some will like and others not (as much). Same was the case with Robert Jordan, I thought he wrote very well but I came across people on the internet who were less impressed. Stephen Donaldson is an interesting example in this regard. In the Thomas Covenant books he writes in what some have called an old-fashioned style and uses many unusual words/vocabulary which some have problems with, but I found it interesting and rewarding. Donaldson is imo one of the greatest quality literary fantasy writers out there (regardless of what one thinks of his stories). I have personally found that what I struggle the most with is authors who write in the first person ("I") instead of the more traditional third person ("He"). I know some readers even prefer that, but it just does not sit well with me somehow, it does not feel natural to me and so I usually choose the more traditionally written books instead. I heard some others mentioning Drizzt in a fantasy book discussion on the internet, never got around to reading books with that character, perhaps I should some time. Sparhawk, yeah. I love that David Eddings character, his kind of dry wit combined with a cool 'kick badguy ass'- mentality makes me grin every time. Loved his foul-tempered horse too, Faran 😁 (there are some truly hilarious small scenes between the two of them 🤣). --- PS. Talking of characters and books, I don't know if you every got around to reading Melanie Rawn's Exile books, first was "The Ruins of Ambrai". I really enjoyed that fantasy-story, it has many interesting characters and a good story I thought, but I have read that some readers found her "wordy" (probably many of the same who criticized Robert Jordan of the same). The book got a sequel but sadly the last book in the trilogy has not been written in the past 20 years (author had serious personal issues and after a long break went on to write other books) so it is not for those readers who prefer to have the book series finished before they invest time in it (highly uncertain if that third book will ever be written). Another interesting fantasy trilogy is Robin Hobb's "The Liveship Traders", ever had a look at that? A well written kind of low-fantasy seaborn-series, character-based with a few magical aspects interspersed. I enjoyed that too, though it was somewhat different from much of the (more high) fantasy books I read at the time.
  14. You are welcome, it is worth having a go at and see if it is something for you or not. It will always be somewhat subjective how one perceives a book(-series) and my description is how I found it best to describe it (without giving too much away plot wise). I have also read some of those old write ups. Let me add though that I have read all 10 books that comprise the full story and my perception may be somewhat coloured by that, not everything I wrote will come to mind (appear) right away in book 1, “Lord Foul’s Bane”, things will evolve along the way in this huge story as it usually does in such larger works of fiction. In my country we separate written fiction into 2 categories: popular fiction and for lack of a better English term, serious fiction. In category 1 the author is mainly out to entertain, it is ‘lighter fare’, be it in a world of fantasy, crime or elsewhere, while in category 2 the author goes much deeper and handles harder, often brutal human concepts and themes (violence, brutality, rape, murder, suicide, shame, outcasts, mental scars and illnesses etc.) inside a fictional universe. Most authors of fantasy in my experience are in one way or another in category 1 here, whereas I would put the Thomas Covenant books in category 2 (though it does not deal with all those destructive themes of course). It is heavier stuff indeed, but perhaps also therefore even rarer and challenging (as you also touched upon) and ultimately rewarding (as long as one can ‘handle’ the dark parts). This was, in fact, one of the earlier fantasy books I read (the first Thomas Covenant series). After The Lord of the Rings books which endeared me to fantasy forever, I had a go at the first Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks, the first book which was almost a copy of The Lord of the Rings but since I loved the original I was far from unhappy. I also read the Dragonlance Chronicles around that time which though more for youngsters had its charm and was easy reading fun, I thought. After this I wanted to try something different in the fantasy genre, something a little more challenging, and I was recommended Thomas Covenant which certainly had a different, darker more intricate style but which I also enjoyed. There are occasions in these Thomas Covenant books when it goes a bit too dark also for me, but then again there are times in the Wheel of Time books when things go too slow/descriptive for me also, so no book is perfect. As for the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen series which you mention. I love huge epic fantasy stories and had a go at the first Malazan book, but something - I am not quite sure what - put me off in that book and made me think that this was not a series for me and my book taste. Perhaps it was the way it was written, or the multitude of characters that I struggled with (though I have not struggled with the hundreds and hundreds of characters in The Wheel of Time and A Song Of Ice And Fire) and the many storylines, I don’t know. Anyway, I read through the first book and though I found parts interesting it did not appeal to me on a level of following the series. Same happened to me with Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive book 1. I really wanted to like it, I read the first half of the book but though he writes well with some interesting innovations the book did not sit well with me somehow.. there I thought the plot did not move forwards enough and I got tired of some of the characters doing the same things over and over again (figuratively, I can only watch so many times a person 'getting out of a ditch').. and I could not see myself keeping interest for 10 novels thick as bricks in the same style, so I gave up on it. I see others loving it (and its sequels) which is great, Brandon did imo a great job finishing the Wheel of Time saga and I will always feel indebted to him for that and wish him success. Book taste is subjective and thankfully there is something great to read for everyone out there.
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