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Slagar the Cruel
January 17th, 2003, 12:46 AM
If there's one theme that seems prevalent around the "Redwall Online Cuh-wotsit", it's comments about the quality of the books. The topic rears it's head frequently in basically all Redwall forums (in some more frequently than others), whether intended or not. Which is not to say comments on the quality of the series are bad - those types of comments are why the "ROCwotsit" exists, and I'm glad such discussion is still common - nor that they are all the same. (Far from it.)

Which brings us to the point of the topic.

What is your opinion on the "quality" of the Redwall books? Is it declining? Has it steadily been rising? Is it an uneven pattern? Are BJ's character's "too flat" in your eyes? Are his plots too "formulatic" for you? Is the "Book Quality" even there? (OK, forget the last one... if you answered "no" to the last one, your being here is slightly redundant, isn't it?)

I thought about making this an actual poll, but I think that would encourage more "I voted for choice A" type comments than the type of an intelligent discussion we might enjoy. :D


Now, here are my thoughts on the issue: the "book quality" is not declining. Rather, if "book quality" is simply a way of measuring the merits of each book, then the "quality" of the books is something completely dependent on the reader. I'd personally say that there is a very uneven pattern in "quality". My three favorite books - Mattimeo, Taggerung, and The Long Patrol - are, publishing-wise, extremely distant from eachother. But this varies from person to person, and so we can't declare matter-of-factly that "the books aren't as good as they used to be", or "the books just keep getting better" just because it seems that way to us. One man's meat is another man's poison...

Of course, there are those who think that Brian's writing quality has decreased. On that level, I can't see much change at all. There are scenes now and then that stand out (either for good or for bad), but I think that BJ has maintained a speciffic measure of quality in his work - and in my opinion, that measure is pretty darn high. Once again, though, we all have our opinions.

As for "the formula"... at one time, it really made sense. It really did. Now, though? It's just grasping at straws. "The Taggerung was young at the beginning! FORMULA!" "Lord Brocktree... beats up vermin! FORMULA!" "Luke... aw, heck. I've just gotta say it. FORMULA!" Of course, then there are those who are upset with the lack of "the formula" lately. "Taggerung is missing a dark, ominous, more-clever-than-the-rest main villain... NON-FORMULABILITY!" But I digress... anyways, I don't think "the forumula" has anything to do with "book quality" any more. Still, the two topics seem to go hand-in-hand, so I thought that a mention couldn't hurt.

Well, I've spoken my piece. Now... it's your turn!

Pennybright
January 17th, 2003, 03:29 PM
I agree that the quality of the book depends on the reader. In my opinion, the quality has gone up and down. Personaly, I think that Marlfox was one that went down in quality. My favorite books are Salamandastron, The Bellmaker, and The Pearls of Lutra.

dandin1
January 17th, 2003, 06:46 PM
If I compare the latest redwall books with redwall (the book, not the serie) I say it is definitely NOT losing it's quality. I think Triss and tagg are better than Redwall. If you read Redwall then you read Triis, you really can see a diffrence.

The Red Badger
January 18th, 2003, 12:52 AM
An interesting subject, worth discussing. I tried to spark a debate on the issue when the Editorials (http://www.longpatrolclub.com/editorials.html) page was starting out. . . my thoughts have changed slightly since then, although I stand by what I said.

I think that BJ has, from TLoL on, managed to successfully break away from "the mold" (if you look back and examine how close in themes and sequence OOR, PoL, TLP, and Marlfox all are, then at THAT point in Redwall fandom "formula" was a VERY legitimate complaint). Nowadays it's a cheap cliche that teenagers more interested in the violence level of the WWF or DBZ trot out.

Essentially, the "formula" is something brought out by people who have grown dissatisfied with Redwall, yet who fail to acknowledge that the "problems" they point to now have always existed in the book, no matter how much they've deluded themselves otherwise. Admitting that, though, would be admitting that they liked it at one point and there their argument would unravel.

The claim that the violence has been toned down. . . no, it hasn't. Reread all the books, Brian hasn't flinched from using whatever means he felt like. He broke a wildcat's back in Lord Brocktree. He was suitably creepy with his. . . trio. . . in Triss. Toned down? Hardly.

The books aren't deep enough? They never were, nor were they meant to be. See, we have this tendency to build up our past interests as these deep, meaningful things that eclipse all that come after them. When looked at objectively, though, they're anything but. I could give a few examples, but that would take the thread on a tangent. This refusal to admit that fact, though, is at the heart of the matter.

Brian's quality of writing has been consistent and has, actually, gotten BETTER as the years have progressed. He has developed a rich world over the series and is constantly expanding it further. You cannot call that a "decline".

As people get older, though, they see the simplicity of the stories. As they failed to notice it before, it must not have existed before and is, thus, a NEW development. In reality, they're the ones who've changed while Redwall is what remained the same. Compare a Redwall book to the likes of Lord of the Rings and you'll find a quaint, VERY SIMPLE story in contrast. But, since when is that a bad thing? The "formula" complaints come from people who believe that Brian should be maturing his stories with THEM, that as THEY get older, so should the tone of his stories. That's never going to happen, nor should it. Redwall, as Brian intends it, are stories for children with appeal to all ages. If you're unable to realize this and enjoy the book in spite of that fact, then you shouldn't be reading Redwall anymore. Put the books down, go buy a Crichton, Grisham, King, Clancy, or whoever like the rest of the world is and feel good about yourself for reading a "grown up's book". I pity that mindset, but if that's the way someone feels, I think we Redwallers would be better off without them.

The rest of us mere mortals will continue to enjoy the timeless, simple yarns of a man named Brian Jacques.

MoonShadow
January 18th, 2003, 08:41 PM
The book quality... IMO opinion, it follows an uneven pattern, though generally, it has been improving. Think of it this way: improve a lot, decline a bit, improve some more, decline a tiny bit.

It's pretty tough for me to choose a favorite, because sometimes when I read the book a second time, or third time, or whatever, I find that I loved that particular book a lot more than I did before, and ta-da, it's now my new favorite book of the series. When I first read Redwall, I loved it so much, but now, it just doesn't seem to measure up to the other books.

I do not look too deeply into a book conciously, unless a school assignment forces me to. I just read it, and enjoy it. If I don't, I'll just stop reading the book, unless a school assignment forces me to as well (name: The World at her Fingertips).

As for the formula, you can really get many things to fit into the same formula. Doesn't it always seem in t.v. shows and books that the hero, or heroes, have to go on some sort of journey to defeat a some sort of evil, but each of them has their own unique plot twists in them? Well, I have to say Taggerung really fell out of the formula, without a main evil. His main goal was to get to Redwall, if I'm not mistaken.

Jade the Warrior
January 19th, 2003, 11:40 AM
I have to agree that the quality of the books are as grand as ever, whether it be Tagg. or Redwall or whatever.

But on the statement of the depth of the book,s I think there are a few that stand out from the others, namely Martin the Warrior , Salamandastron, The Legend of Luke and, in a way, Mossflower. I found that in those books, when someone like Rose or Urthstripe dies, it tends to hit you a tad harder, or like in TLoL, when you learn about what really happened after Martin's father left him, you tend to feel some sort of emotion for the creatures.

I know that sometimes I fell sympathy towards Martin after all he went through in his life (His mother dying, his father leaving, his grandmother dying, being taken as a slave, Rose dying, Boar dying, almost getting killed by a wildcat, the truth to his father's journey and learning that he died, as well...) I also noticed that out of all the Warriors, or Redwall Champions, he is the only one that was not lucky in love. Luke obviously had a wife, so did Matthias, Mattimeo, and others, or they were single by choice. Of course, Sayna died, so maybe it's just Martin's family that isn't lucky in love...I'm not sure.

Anyways, getting back onto the main topic, I still enjoy the Redwall series now as I did when I first read Redwall and Mossflower and Mattimeo. The fact that Mossflower is still my favorite book has nothing to do with the quality of later books, I just like the little journey with Dinny, Log a Log, Gonff, and Martin, and Tsarmina, Boar, Gingivere, Mask, Lady Amber, and Skipper all add their little part...

~Jade, who must learn to shut her mouth before she starts droning on and on...

VanessaNB
January 19th, 2003, 05:36 PM
Anyone who thinks the books are declining are obviously to "modern" (or something like it) for they're own good, or they think that they are all smart and modern. Redwall is something that is supposed to nice an' simple, so anyone can read it, LOTR is supposed to have a massive, sevral-chapter-long history, they are nowhere the same in some areas, but they're all wonderful little books. Redwall is no more for kids than LOTR is for Dungeons and Dragens freaks. Also note that Redwall and LOTR are two of my favorite book/s ever. I also think Dungeons and Dragons is neat, though I've never played. Be nice to be a Ranger.
Besides, the book-to-which-this-forum-is-devoted can have a few questionable sides, like Veil. Aside from a VERY minor change in writing style, the books haven't changed much, which can be a good thing.
And if you think of the "formula", that could be applied to almost any book: Opening-Rising action-Climax (usually near the end)-Conclusion. That's the pattern Redwall, or just about any other book, follows, if you think about it.
And now a Vanessa Special...Redwall Nostalgia! *fanfare music*
A verra long time ago I was looking for a good book series to read, and I came across a whole stand of books by some "Brian Jacques" guy. Yep, they had they're own stand back then. I was gonna buy The Long Patrol... but 'ey, one has a rat on it! Cool, a rat! I still had dear 'ittle Snuggles back then, though for some reason I never bought any...Ah well, look where I am now. Ironic, hrmm?

LadyBeelze
January 20th, 2003, 12:27 PM
I don't think its declined in quality, each book i've read are satisfying to a point. While i haven't had enough money to buy taggerung nor Triss yet (gurr!) i tend to see the same plot over again and again. Brian Jacques is a very good writer and his writing has not declined.

Big Mean Villian - [insert random quest the good guys do] - good guys meet people who join them as they make a bigger army - captians get killed off one by one - climax battle - good guys win - redwall abbey's recorders writing about redwall going back to peace, etc

Ex: Cluny the Scourge - War Against Redwallers and Clunys Horde - the snake killing one, constance's arrow, etc - mitthias comes in and kills cluny - recorders writings

i'm too lazy to work through more and i g2g to my friends house in about 3 minutes.


I especially thought though that "Mossflower", "Salamadastron", "The Long Patrol", and "The Pearls of Lutra" where pretty good. Mostly the long patrol though, i felt for the characters in that book *sniff sniff* Rose getting blind, etc

Treerose
January 20th, 2003, 07:40 PM
Well, I'm glad to see we don't have any serious BJ-bashers... :: puts away her boxing gloves:: ;)

Anyway, I'm of the very firm opinion that all BJ's books are great. While I do like some books more than others, that doesn't mean I think the ones I don't like as well have "gone down" in quality. I think those who complain that BJ's books aren't as good as they used to be are just plain spoiled by BJ's fabulous plots/writing, and keep having unrealistic expectations as each new book comes out. (::mutters about people treating TPM & AotC the same way:: ;)) Add to that that they're growing older, too, as Reds said, and are probably more snobbish about what they read, it's a wonder they still read them at all. I'd prefer if they didn't, if they're just going to complain about them... Let the Laodicean readers fade away, and leave BJ with the rest of us, his true fans. :P

Just a word about plot similarities... To me, that's like the form of a Bach invention, to use a musical example. <g> Each invention has five parts: an initial statement, an episode, middle statement, another episode, then the final statement. It's pretty constricted when you think about it. When you're finished analyzing it, there are practically no notes that cannot be labeled as something, such as a countersubject to this, the inverted motive of that, etc. Yet, despite this shared and highly structured form, Bach made each invention quite different from the others. In the same way, no matter what BJ's book frameworks have in common (and they share far less similarities in form than inventions do, of course ;)), it's what he hangs on those frameworks that makes each book waaaay different from the next.

Although, actually, I think of BJ more as the Schubert of writing, not Bach. (Robert Jordan would be Bach, I think, because of his highly complex books, and Tolkien would be Beethoven because he was a giant who changed fantasy writing forever, the way Beethoven ushered in the Romantic period. <g>) Song, beauty, painting pictures with words, etc....it's all sounds very much like Schubert's art songs and lieder. ::forces herself to stop rambling:: ("Just a word," I said....;))

Tree

~~~~

Excerpt from Earendil the Mariner, by JRRT:

"Beneath the Moon and under star
he wandered far from northern strands,
bewildered on enchanted ways
beyond the days of mortal lands.
From gnashing of the Narrow Ice
where shadow lies on frozen hills,
from nether heats and burning waste
he turned in haste, and roving still
on starless waters far astray
at last he came to Night of Naught,
and passed, and never sight he saw
of shining shore nor light he sought.

The winds of wrath came driving him,
and blindly in the foam he fled
from west to east and errandless,
unheralded he homeward sped.
There flying Elwing came to him,
and flame was in the darkness lit;
more bright than light of diamond
the fire upon her carcanet.
The Silmaril she bound on him
and crowned him with the living light,
and dauntless then with burning brow
he turned his prow; and in the night
from otherworld beyond the Sea
there strong and free a storm arose,
a wind of power in Tarmenel;
by paths that seldom mortal goes
his boat it bore with biting breath
as might of death across the grey
and long-forsaken seas distressed:
from east to west he passed away."

Darkhood_343
January 21st, 2003, 07:06 PM
IMO opinion, I think that the books go up, up, up, and then down. By that I mean, he writes a few good books, then he writes one thats kinda ho-hum. I'll sit there and read it and be like, "Why do I not like this as much?".

On the other hand, I enjoy most of the books. I'm very satisfied when I finish reading them, and I don't feel that I need "more" so to speak, but I ussusally get some, like in the case of MTW, where I get two more books elaborating on the story of Martin. The one book that I did end up wanting "more" of is Lord Brocktree, not because it was a bad book, because I enjoyed it so much.:)

MoonShadow
January 25th, 2003, 07:55 PM
Tree, you have me completely lost. ;) BTW, you can use your boxing gloves on one of my friends. She said she hated Redwall. (Well, I did "hit" and "punch" her for that...)


Considering that I read most of the Redwall books in one summer, I might have just forgotten how to enjoy a new Redwall book. In fact, I think I'm forgetting how to enjoy any kind of book.... *makes note to self to continue reading Fire Bringer* Maybe one day I'll take a trip to the library and take out Triss again, and maybe this time around I'll love it.

Darkhood_343
January 26th, 2003, 11:46 PM
Moon-moon
Considering that I read most of the Redwall books in one summer
That's how it was for me, but it seems that the second time I read them, it takes a LOT longer to read them. It'll sometimes take up to 2 months to finish one book for the second time.

Lyrian Aryns
January 27th, 2003, 02:28 PM
Well, I have a friend who said Redwall gave her nightmares... O.o

I guess I'm in agreement with everyone here; Redwall is definitely not going down in quality. I've always been fond of The Long Patrol and Mattimeo...which are closer to opposite ends of the spectrum than they are to each other. Of course, my favorites have tended to change with whichever of them I happened to be reading most recently...

And, yes, I'd agree with what Reds and Tree said about readers getting older... Redwall is a very simple, black and white universe. I've only been a Redwall fan for two years and some-odd months, so perhaps I can't talk here, but as one grows up, grey becomes more intriguing, whereas an eleven or twelve year old is perfectly content with the black and white, 'questish' yarn that Redwall is.

Sure, I still love Redwall, but there are just so many other authors out there, that I'd be lying if I were to say that BJ was still my very favorite. And I have no idea where I'm actually going wth this post, so I guess its fine time for me to just post it and cease from boring your eyes...

Treerose
January 27th, 2003, 05:31 PM
Tree, you have me completely lost. BTW, you can use your boxing gloves on one of my friends. She said she hated Redwall. (Well, I did "hit" and "punch" her for that...)

LOL, I tend to do that when I talk about music. ;) As for the boxing gloves...well, it sounds like you've got everything under control there, so no need for me to step in. <g>

Tree

~~~~

"I don't want to repeat this 100 times. When you see crescendo, it means p."

~Eugene Ormandy~

That one's very good. You can't crescendo to anywhere if you don't start softer. ;)

MoonShadow
January 27th, 2003, 06:49 PM
Heh, I still don't think I can distinguish the difference in styles between most composers, let alone comparing them with writers. ;)


That's how it was for me, but it seems that the second time I read them, it takes a LOT longer to read them. It'll sometimes take up to 2 months to finish one book for the second time.Well, for me, I tend to read the book more slowly and carefully, savoring every little detail, instead of rushing through the book, eager to see what happens next.

Darkhood_343
January 27th, 2003, 09:28 PM
Moon-moon
Well, for me, I tend to read the book more slowly and carefully, savoring every little detail, instead of rushing through the book, eager to see what happens next.
It's like that the second time I read the book, that's why it takes so long.

peterbb
February 6th, 2003, 04:42 PM
I think the only books I didn't like as much as the others are redwall, the pearls of lutra and the outcast of redwall. some of my favorites are Taggurung and Lord brocktree, a the end of the series, I think he's getting better!

Keyla
June 13th, 2003, 11:13 AM
I heartilly agree with Red Badger. I couldn't have said it better myself. *Applauds* In addition I think one of the main reasons these people are always tearing down the new books is because they always compare it to the old books, which they often haven't read in quite a few years and because of that they have a slightly rosy-eyed image of what it is in their minds and so often dislike the new books as they do not associate them with good memories so much and on realising that this kind of book is no longer for them they refuse to admit they've changed and blame it on the books, often coming out with some quite lame reasons.
I do not think they are decreasing in quality or increasing as my favorites are scattered throughout the series, though my least favorites seem to be some of the first ones for some reason. Although the quality is fairly constant that does not mean the series is developing. As has already been mentioned in the past few books the mold has been shattered. New ideas are being introduced and each book has a slightly different slant on the typical elements of the tales. However, though I do not think the quality is decreasing I will say it is changing. The rise of the dibbuns is a clear example, as is the decrease in mice.

Dannflower Reguba
June 13th, 2003, 11:19 PM
Lovely, an intelligent conversation. *sniffle*

To start out, to say a Redwall book is "lesser" on the grand scale of the series, by default it's still greater than most of the fantasy books today (Exceptions exist, of course.). To me, Redwall was sort of an experiment. BJ, at that time, in my opinion, may not have been completely sure whether he was planning on doing children's or young adult's books. Then he decided, and wrote Mossflower, where we really see the start of "true" Redwall, NOT to say that Redwall shouldn't be considered part of the series. My point? Just because BJ labels them as children's books does not mean they're only for children. I think today, many people associate matury with crudity. Fornication, cursing, and the like. I find it to be a very sad state of affairs. When people can say they like LotR, but then say Redwall books are "immature", I'm baffled. Now, before you pounce on me with accusations of "The ring stole Gollum's soul!" and "Gandalf came back from the dead!" I will say that the books are different in many ways. But, in my opinion, the main aspect is the same, as is, to an extent, the writing style. For one, apart from Redwall (Which, I must add, didn't use the sparse language in anywhere near the crude sense people do today.), both books were language free. The same goes for sex (Can we say that here? I don't want to get in trouble, but I figure since it's talked about maturely, it's okay. Don't hurt me!). Obviously there's nothing of that sort in either series. Both series have a deep sense of song and poetry, and as such I pity those who see the movie and don't read the book (How they could leave out Tom Bombadill is beyond me...). Also, relationships are back-seated. Oh, how I loath how the portrayed Arwen in the movie!

Hmm...what was my point again? Oh yes. I think we have to make sure to look at books in a more general way AS WELL as specific before we declare them "good" or "bad".

Martin the Warrior
June 14th, 2003, 10:19 PM
Dannflower
Just because BJ labels them as children's books does not mean they're only for children.

Hear hear! :D


I think today, many people associate matury with crudity. Fornication, cursing, and the like. I find it to be a very sad state of affairs.

I'd have to agree-- it's a position I've opposed for many years now, but it dominates the thinking of many both in and out of the ROC these days.


I find it to be a very sad state of affairs. When people can say they like LotR, but then say Redwall books are "immature", I'm baffled. Now, before you pounce on me with accusations of "The ring stole Gollum's soul!" and "Gandalf came back from the dead!" I will say that the books are different in many ways. But, in my opinion, the main aspect is the same, as is, to an extent, the writing style.

I'd have to disagree on the writing styles being the same. They may use the same elements (poetry and songs, good versus evil, de-emphasis on relationship, etc.), but their styles are very different. Tolkien's style, aside from the most basic difference in that it's second-person while BJ's is third-person, Tolkien wrote in what I can only describe as a "high" style, in that he was more concerned with making the book have an elegance that was almost timeless, whereas Brian chose to focus on a more natural narrative with more of a cozy countryside flavor to his many dialects.

Now, anyone who says Redwall is immature next to LOTR, though, is incorrect, I definitely agree with you there. The proper term, I think, is that Redwall is not as complex as LOTR (there are few books that are, so I wouldn't say that's necessarily an insult). Tolkien planned out thousands of years of history and showed us many small portions of an overall tapestry. Brian chooses to work on his tapestry one portion at a time, sometimes adding bits to where he's already been, but his focus is generally on the individual pieces rather than the overall.

I sincerely hope I explained that clearly. :lol:


I pity those who see the movie and don't read the book (How they could leave out Tom Bombadill is beyond me...).

I'm saddened by those who ignore the books, as well. Nothing can beat them. I wasn't bothered by Tom Bombadil's exclusion, though, as the story can still work without it. It's what they cut out of The Two Towers that's a real shame. ;) (Ah, but that's a topic for another forum.)

Keyla
June 15th, 2003, 09:34 AM
I feel a bit stupid asking this but what do you mean by Tolkein writing in the 2nd person. 1st person makes sense as one is talking about oneself, "I", as does 3rd person when talking about another, "he", "she, "it" and "they". But what is 2nd person writing then? Tolkein didn't unless I have read the wrong write "you" and such, so that is obviously not the right interpretation for that description. Is it that he is writing about a fictional occurance but as if it were the world that the reader lives in actually having it so that it makes sense by showing there wouldn't be the elves and "magic" today, unlike Brian who is using clearly untrue talking-animals? As you can tell that is just a wild guess.

Martin the Warrior
June 15th, 2003, 07:40 PM
Whether this fits some official definition I've never seen or not, here's how I look at first-, second-, and third-person narratives.

The most common is third-person, which BJ and many other authors employ where the events are described to the reader... impersonally, some might say.

Next is first-person, where you're exposed to the thoughts of the main character and everything is told from his or her perspective.

Now, second-person, as I define it, is inbetween the two. It's where the author tells the story, but acknowledges that this narrative is by someone telling a story. Tolkien approached The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as if he'd found an ancient manuscript-- written by Bilbo-- and was only translating it. Now, Bilbo didn't write a fantasy story, he wrote his memoirs. Therefore, throughout there's this sense that there is a storyteller speaking to you. Let me quote a few passages that come to mind.


The Hobbit An Unexpected Party, pg. 10
The mother of our particular hobbit-- what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves.

Riddles in the Dark, pg. 85
That was all he could think of to ask-- the idea of eating was rather on his mind. It was rather an old one, too, and Gollum knew the answer as well as you do.

pg.87
I imagine you know the answer, of course, or can guess it as easy as winking, since you are sitting comfortably at home and have not the danger of being eaten to disturb your thinking.

And so forth. It's unarguably a style different from the one BJ uses and is what I term "second-person". Of course, that could just be me. ;)

Darkhood_343
June 15th, 2003, 09:48 PM
Wow.. that's a very interesting point you bring up there, Martin. Second person writing. Tha sounds tough, but kewl. I'm glad that you brought that up.

Furrtil
June 15th, 2003, 10:21 PM
Second person -- a type of writing used when talking directly to the reader. Usually characterized with the use of "you", such as "You look around, curious, wondering whether you should take the first step forward, abandoning your past, or to stay safe in the comfort of familiarity and nostalgia."

A quite commanding form of writing, as it orders the reader around quite a bit. :D

Dannflower Reguba
June 15th, 2003, 10:28 PM
And actually, if you want to delve into POVs even more, you can split up Third Person into two sections. Third Person and Omniscient. Omniscient is simply third person, but seeing many different parts, like Redwall (Hero to Redwall to Enemy to Salamandastron and so forth.). Third Person is the same sort of writing, but it's following one character around for the entire book. The only book I can think of that does that right now is A Dangerous Journey or Pilgrim's Progress, whichever name you prefer. But then, that's written in a very strange POV in itself, but I won't get into that.

Oh, and Martin, I totally agree with you on the complexity issue. I was trying to look at both series in an exceedingly general manner, though the term "writing styles" was perhaps not the best choice of words.

And concerning The Two Towers, are you talking about the very end of the book? Or perhaps how the totally mauled Faramir's character?

And about Tom Bombadill, the story only works to an extent. Now, I'm a bit fuzzy, as it's been a long while since I read them, but in the books, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin get their daggers in the Barrow Downs (I'm unsure as to whether Frodo had Sting at that point.), which Tom Bombadill saves them from. Now, those daggers were enchanted, whereas the dagger Aragorn gives them in the movie are just regular daggers.
Isn't the dagger from the Barrow Downs the same one Merry uses to stab the Lord Nazgul? And only because it was enchanted did it do any actual damage.
I assume they'll still do the scene the same, but there'll be a voice in the back of my head screaming "The fools who made this should burn in the Hellgates!" as I watch it. Not that I don't like the movies, mind you, I'm just a perfectionist.

Keyla
June 16th, 2003, 05:47 AM
Deviating slightly from the actual topic, would people say that Redwall is becoming less dark, not that it was that pitch black to begin with? This seems to be one of the main complaints people have with the way the series is going, but are they just trying to pin the blame? In my opinion "Triss" was the least dark tale to date but that aside do people feel the general direction is more towards lighter shades?
In regard to the films of "The Lord of the Rings" I think the changes made are not half as bad as they could have been and are mostly necessary. The only one that I remember as being questionable is the character change or Faramir, but I guess they didn't want it to feel like there are too many honourable men like Aragorn and that the ring is easy to resist; if only Boromir was tempted and fell then it would feel like Elrond saying "Men are weak" was slightly unjustified and that Aragorn really wasn't that special to have refused the ring. It may be an annoying change to the book but to film goers it doesn't seem too much out of place and even less with "The Return of the King", when we meet Denethor.

Martin the Warrior
June 18th, 2003, 06:10 PM
Furrtil
Second person -- a type of writing used when talking directly to the reader. Usually characterized with the use of "you", such as "You look around, curious, wondering whether you should take the first step forward, abandoning your past, or to stay safe in the comfort of familiarity and nostalgia."

A quite commanding form of writing, as it orders the reader around quite a bit.

See, I always termed that "Dungeons & Dragons". ;)

It's a limited style, in my opinion, and rather offputting. To date the only book(s) I can think of that utilized it well are the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" series. For serious works, it just keeps things too impersonal. Again, in my opinion.


Dannflower
And concerning The Two Towers, are you talking about the very end of the book? Or perhaps how the totally mauled Faramir's character?

It's a rather long list. ;) Bullet-pointing it-- turning Saruman's skillful manipulation of Theoden into little more than a cheap, cliche "possession" thereby absolving Theoden of any wrongdoing so-to-speak; Needlessly having Aragorn "break up" with Arwen to add dramatic/romantic tension with the introduction of Eowyn, as well as Arwen's "departure" to the Grey Havens; Having Faramir actually take Frodo and Sam to Osgiliath (up until that point I would have been fine with his portrayal) and still not letting them go when he learned of Boromir's attempt to take the Ring; Having one of the Nazgūl driven off by a single arrow when the One Ring is right in front of him; Extending the movie needlessly by having Aragorn "die", wasting valuable time that could have been spent on; the actual ending of the book. Ending with Frodo captured and Gandalf/Pippin racing to the much talked about Gondor would have been a far better cliffhanger. As it is, we got "The Two Towe" instead of "The Two Towers". ;) I went into this far more in-depth when the movie was released. If you'd like to read it, search General Discussion for the official TTT discussion thread. I believe it was started by Airemia. If you can stomach quite a few "Legolas is hot!" posts, you should find some interesting thoughts in there.


Now, I'm a bit fuzzy, as it's been a long while since I read them, but in the books, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin get their daggers in the Barrow Downs (I'm unsure as to whether Frodo had Sting at that point.), which Tom Bombadill saves them from. Now, those daggers were enchanted, whereas the dagger Aragorn gives them in the movie are just regular daggers.

I don't remember the dagger part (it's been a few years), but Frodo was given Sting in Rivendell. And in the movie it could be easily explained by saying the daggers Aragorn gave them were elvish work. The key point about Tom Bombadil is that, while a very fun portion of the book, wasn't a key part of the overlying theme/goal of destroying the Ring, almost the same way Frodo's move to Crickhollow wasn't. Thus, the movie is still able to tell the story without it.


Keyla
Deviating slightly from the actual topic, would people say that Redwall is becoming less dark, not that it was that pitch black to begin with? This seems to be one of the main complaints people have with the way the series is going, but are they just trying to pin the blame? In my opinion "Triss" was the least dark tale to date but that aside do people feel the general direction is more towards lighter shades?

Well, to a certain extent I'd say yes. But, so often people identify "lighter stories" with "kiddy stories" that I'm hesitant to do so. I'd say Brian is more concerned with telling happy tales than depressing ones and that is often reflected in his work. But, that said, there are several "dark" elements in his books (the three adders from Triss comes to mind), so I wouldn't say he's done so to the series' detriment. I also found Marlfox to be dark when I first read it, almost depressing as Redwall didn't quite seem like Redwall (the elders and youngsters issue). But, there will always be a lightness to his work. In the general sense, though, I'd say those complaining about it are just, as you said, "trying to pin the blame".


if only Boromir was tempted and fell then it would feel like Elrond saying "Men are weak" was slightly unjustified

Well, to be fair it was slightly unjustified. ;) Elrond from the books held no such contempt for the race of man. Furthermore, he's technically half-human himself, the son of a human male and an elf female, he and his brother given the choice of which race they'd belong to: Elrond choosing the elves, his brother the humans (of whom Aragorn is descended). Thus, given his intense experience with the race of man, having known them at their greatest, writing them off as "weak" is something of a creation of the movies. Although, truth be told, I don't have a problem with the line. ;) Although the point, and Gandalf's position, is that Elrond is mistaken. So, instead of being shown proof of that weakness, we should be seeing the race of man rise up to the occasion and prove Elrond wrong. In my opinion.

Furrtil
June 18th, 2003, 08:00 PM
It's a limited style, in my opinion, and rather offputting. To date the only book(s) I can think of that utilized it well are the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" series. For serious works, it just keeps things too impersonal. Again, in my opinion.

Martin.... didn't you just try to tell us that Tolkien uses second person? And you seem to love his books..... *confused*


As for the issue of books getting lighter, I don't think that problem comes to mind except with the books Taggerung and Triss. Sorry, but a snotty princess and a stupid prince and a boat of corsairs after three runaway slaves is not quite as doomsday-like as a whole country of creatures being starved to death, enslaved and having someone out to annihilate every last one of them with the help of a giant water rat gone horribly wrong (Mossflower). And a jealous dumb young beast (I currently can't remember what species Gruven was) after the most skilled and feared (but kind-hearted) beast there is is not quite as heartbreaking as all your young ones being kidnapped (or beastnapped) to a lad far away while being starved and sold to become slaves in a subterranean palace.

However, that does not make the books any less good. :)

Martin the Warrior
June 18th, 2003, 08:17 PM
Furrtil
Martin.... didn't you just try to tell us that Tolkien uses second person? And you seem to love his books..... *confused*

I was referring to the "Dungeons & Dragons" style you described with "You look around, curious, wondering whether you should take the first step forward, abandoning your past, or to stay safe in the comfort of familiarity and nostalgia." I thought I was being clear. Sorry for the confusion. ;)

Keyla
June 19th, 2003, 11:48 AM
I think the storylines in every tale seem to balance eachother when it comes to light and dark. What I meant about "Triss" is that almost every element of the story had its moments of humour and sometimes near farce: Scarum; Plugg's tail; Kurda and the Coneslingers. However, this is probably true of every tale to a certain extent. Furrtil's point about the villains is not unfounded, though actually there have been many such villains in the past: Clogg; Cludd; Tsarmina, when near water; Queen Silth, etc.
I think the thing is that it is possible in many ways to make an arguement out of nothing and people can argue either side depending on which suits what they think, often not because of the "proof" that they give but because of their own gut feelings. But hey! *shrugs*

Keyla
August 15th, 2003, 05:50 AM
I'm currently planning a one-off article for Terrouge regarding the topic of this very thread. It is partially in responce to one in the current (August) issue but I would like to be more than just a counter but actually one that lays down some convincing, or at least respectable, arguements. What I'm really asking is twofold: firstly whether I can quote what you've said in this thread (I don't mind if you don't want this, especially if your viewpoint has changed); secondly whether you have anything else to say on the subject that you think would be useful in the article. The purpose of this is not to slam the idea of "decline" but more to try to dispell the preconception among some that it is a plain fact and that anyone disagreeing with it is, in the nicest possible way, a bit dilluded (sp?). I'd be grateful for all your help.

The Red Badger
August 16th, 2003, 03:14 PM
My opinion hasn't changed, so, sure, feel free to quote me all you like! Good luck with your article, I look forward to it! (just don't quit writing those great editorials for The LP. :redsy)

(I wonder if my name is even allowed to be in Terrouge. . . I don't think they were too pleased with my early editorials, not that I have the same complaints with the current administration or anything. Oh, well. Tangent.)

Chesk Otter
August 16th, 2003, 10:55 PM
I have never had any problem with any of the Redwall books. Except for Taggerung which is not as good as any of the others but still ok. It is still better than a lot of trash you can find out there.

Martin the Warrior
August 17th, 2003, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by Keyla
firstly whether I can quote what you've said in this thread (I don't mind if you don't want this, especially if your viewpoint has changed); secondly whether you have anything else to say on the subject that you think would be useful in the article.

Feel free to quote me if you see anything you like, although I think by the time I weighed in LOTR comparisons had become the dominant subject. ;)

About the only thing I can add/reiterate is that a lot of the complaints leveled against Redwall (same old thing, "formula", etc.) can be boiled down to fans feeling that as they mature, so should the material. The fact that it remains constant while their own tastes change makes newer books seem far more simplistic and unappealing by comparison (they're competing with the memory, not the text).

There's also a very good quote I found that's relevant to this line of discussion-- the quote was posted in the signature of comic book editor Tom Brevoort (really great guy). It's attributed to Jim Warren with a date of August 1st, 1965.

"There's three things about fans that always come out. One, they think what was done ten years ago is better than today. Second, they express this with violent opinions. And third, they expect you to publish for them alone."

It rings true with a lot of things.

Good luck with the article, Keyla! I look forward to reading it. Like Reds said, though, hope that doesn't mean you'll quit writing editorials. ;)

Chesk Otter
August 30th, 2003, 08:20 PM
I just thought I would say one thing. If it is true that the old Redwall books are better and now they're getting repetitive, to be repetitive, wouldn't the newer books have to be based on the older books? I mean how can they be they be repetitive if they are different from the older books? If the older books are so good and the newer ones are the same, doesn't that make the newer books just as good?

Now I will answer your arguments before you post them.

If the older books are good and the newer ones repetitive of each other, which of the older or newer books are they repetitive of? How can the newer books be repetitive of the older books if they are all different?

I think all the Redwall books are all original and good.

Here is an interesting idea; what if all these anti-redwallers are really unsatisfied that the books are (maybe) becoming more different instead of the same and they don't realize it?

Either way, different or the same, the books are all good.

Keep writing Brian Jacques!

Tazzin
September 16th, 2003, 09:02 PM
My opininon is that while the quality of the books isn't decreasing I kind of missed the complicated battles in the last to. Especially Triss, I like the whole quest and whatnot but the last battle seemed kind of short and lacking. The same with Taggerung. Just strategy wise, there seemed to be only one big battle that was everyone rushing together.
But truthfully speaking that was what a mideavilish battle was like. Other than that I loved the books. But if you look at the writing style of lets say the original Redwall and something like Triss you see a huge difference. For one thing Redwall is much simpler than Triss, and the details are in a completely different form.
But I like Brocktree, I noticed that that seems to be one of the erm less liked ones but it really appealed to me *hugs signed copy* But I'm considered an oddball.
As for a Formula, well I would say that it changed. I might interpret formula wrong but it seems different. But if you think about it it would be completely impossible for an author to write like 15 books or so and not have any changes in writing style and whatnot. But in the beginging ones there is more of an action type theme and in the later you get to know the characters more, and who they are.
Ok, I'm done, I hope this was understandable and not to contradicting within itself.....

Furrtil
September 16th, 2003, 10:26 PM
I myself am particularly fond of the story-book descriptions of the landscape and description like that found in the beginning of Mossflower. The words are so romantic and beautiful and make me smile when I read them.

Chesk Otter
September 17th, 2003, 04:33 PM
I just thought of something other people might have overlooked. I think the books have not changed, but you would definately not find something like the Snow Badger in any of the Redwall books. That being said, I thought A Redwall Winter's Tale was great, the pictures and everything.

VanessaNB
September 18th, 2003, 09:34 PM
My .5 cents...
At the moment I'm reading Redwall. Think, big army with at least half competent soldiers vs an Abbey full of untrained mice (save Basil). Not that it's all death and blood, there are light moments, but the Abbey is in actual danger. Matthias is impatient and such, he learns to be a warrior along the way, and by the end is ready to take on Cluny.
Afterwards, I might read Triss, which is, as I remember...The story in and around the Abbey isn't half bad, searching for Brockhall and all, but then we get out to the deep blue sea. Plugg and Kurda are pretty entertaining, right up until Kurda dies. Triss is told that she never could have killed Kurda in cold blood (feel free to correct me), but what else would she do? This is the one who killed half the people you know! She's honorable, polite, has no accent, and is magically a warrior overnight (let's all do what the sword tells us..). Don't start on Bescarum...
The actual story style hasn't changed, BJ's as elequent as ever, but why must the story have a song for every occasion, a hare must perform an outrageous stunt every chapter, the villains be all incompetent, I could go on but I'm tired...
I like the books as much as ever, but I can tell they've changed.

Lonna Bowstripe
October 11th, 2004, 03:08 PM
Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I think that while the book quality is not declining, the publishing quality is. My hardback of Taggerung has a lot of book glue, my hardback of Loamhedge has less, and my copy of Rakkety Tam has so much less that I'll have to take it to my school libraian soon so she can fix the binding.

Candied Chesnut
October 11th, 2004, 07:20 PM
if this thread had been unearthed before rakkety tam came out, id say that yes, the quality had been declining. loamhedge and triss were the limit. they sucked. i actually thought of not buying rakkety tam for fear it was very bad.

but, now that RT has come out, i have to say no, the quality is definately not declining. RT is a classic. maybe BJ just ran out of ideas for 02-03.

Keyla
October 12th, 2004, 12:26 PM
It is interesting to see what people describe as the lesser quality ones. You'll find people who found the books to be less good as far back as the Long Patrol. Some start it at Lord Brocktree, some The Legend of Luke, some Marlfox, some (The) Taggerung, some even as late as Triss. Some say that things really picked up with, say, Loamhedge, while others claim that it is Brian's worst to date! Interestingly I do not recall reading a comment on Rakkety Tam that has been of such a nature... thus far anyway. One of the reasons I find it hard to take claims of "decline" any more seriously than a subjective opinion is the startling variation of what people define it as, not only in terms of time scale but also what it constitutes. The inconsistancy makes me wary of claims that it is a commonly accepted fact. A quick glance at the current poll on the main page will tell you that this is simply not the case.