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Keyla
July 6th, 2005, 04:49 AM
The last quarter of "Rakkety Tam" contains one of Brian's most innovative plot twists to date. After Gulo's appearant demise, Doggy and Yoofus' seperation from the group and the vermin's defeat at the abbey, he manages to engineer a final showdown that draws many of the different ideas running through the novel together: Tam and Armel's different worlds are emphasised as she must watch his deeds on the battlefield, knowing herself to be presently safe but feeling powerless to aid the one she loves; Doogy's being held hostage and Tam's fighting for his life gives a powerful symbol of the meaning of comradeship, the value so lacking in the kingdom of Araltrum and Idga and one of the driving motives of our heroes; Martin's connection with the squirrelwarrior is confirmed; and we finally see the hero face the villain without the smoke and mirrors of the previous dodging and weaving. The climax of the novel is shown most clearly to be founded in the relationships between the characters far more than in the resolution of the threat of invasion. My question is: Do you like it this way?

There has always been an emotional context to the many finales we see in the series, the degree to which either battles or relationships steal the focus varies. In terms of personal development the final battles of "Marlfox" seem to be icing on the cake and are far more significant in the wider political context, whereas the end of "(The) Taggerung" sees the threat of vermin attack dismissed with relative ease, choosing instead to hone in upon the changes in the lives of characters such as Mhera, Nimbalo and Deyna as they make their transition from one life to another. Where do you like the equilibrium to lie? Am I being to simplistic in saying that Brian has to choose to focus on one at the expense of the other? Are their examples of Brian managing to combine the two so flawlessly that they complement eachother? How far is it possible to unify our interest in the big picture of wars, settlements and vermin armies and our personal focus on the friendships, romances and losses?

Alongside this I would like to throw out a broader but closely related question: What is it that makes a good finale for you and how important is it to your enjoyment of the book as a whole? When has Brian, in your opinion, slipped up and when has he triumphed?

Discuss. :)

LordTBT
July 6th, 2005, 12:36 PM
Brian has slipped up because while I still find the stories enjoyable, they've fallen into a sort of mold.

Here's an example.


1. Bad guys come to Mossflower from far away land

2. Young Redwaller(s) leave Redwall to quest for something important

3. Redwallers struggle in battle against vermin, because they are weak and peaceful

4. Young Redwaller returns like a fully grown adult Redwaller, and saves the day with either new woodland friends or the sought-for item.

Badrang3
July 6th, 2005, 12:41 PM
I think a good finale relies alot on the relationships between the villian and our hero (or the person who kills said villian). If we can fully understand just why exactly they want to kill eachother, it makes the story more intense, as it were. A very good example of this is in Outcast, and the strife between Swartt and Sunflash. We are shown the anger that makes Sunflash want to destroy Swartt, causing Swartt's overwealming desire to exact revenge upon Sunflash. We understand both sides in their entirety.

Then there is the fight scene. The fight scene should always be between the hero and our villian. If I've taken the time to read about these two characters thoughts and adventures, I want to see them, and them alone, face off at the end. That's why the Rakkety Tam and Gulo fight was so great in my opinion. There was no one else involved but them, each contender being fully capable of destroying the other. No mercy begging, no one side dominating the other, just an overall great fight scene.

Of course, not every finale can be practically perfect. Too often the fight scenes end up being boring, and the villian dies an ultimately wimpy death (Slagar and Kurda). Or in the case of Marlfox, someone who we've never even heard of takes out the villian while the hero that we've been following all this time sits back and does nothing, causing a complete anti climax. Also often damaging a potentialy great ending is when one of our main characters dies and bogs down the entire ending in alot of annoying emotional strife. (I'm a sucker for happy endings).

Can the stories be made so that we care about the characters and have a great action filled sequence? Sure, it's happened alot. Salamandastron is one such example.(Urthstripe and Ferahgo's hate for eacother and Mhera's development, along with Samkim). I could probably think of more, but I don't fell like it right now.

Chosha
July 8th, 2005, 09:04 PM
A good finale? Something that is dramatic and instense, and has plot twists we never saw coming. One that, if you add the smallest thing to tip the scales, the results could be disastarious for one side or the other, or even both.


I think a good finale relies alot on the relationships between the villian and our hero (or the person who kills said villian). If we can fully understand just why exactly they want to kill eachother, it makes the story more intense, as it were. A very good example of this is in Outcast, and the strife between Swartt and Sunflash. We are shown the anger that makes Sunflash want to destroy Swartt, causing Swartt's overwealming desire to exact revenge upon Sunflash. We understand both sides in their entirety.

Agreed. Or maybe the villian could be related or have something in common with the protagonist, and it's something big. The antagonist blurts it out, and adds, "See? We're both the same.So why don't you surrender, and together, we can rule this place!" And then the protagonist is torn between two choices. Or if they are related, a Redwall-y version of "Luke, I am your father" line would also be intense, but a complete rip-off. :shades: Or, like in The Sight, by David Clement-Davies, the main protagonist (the main main one, not one of the sidekicks or something) dies. It shows that good is never completely triumphant over the antagonist. The antagonist lives, but gets killed by someone else, perhaps a traitor that was plotting against him to show what a dog-eat-dog world this um..world is.

LordTBT
July 8th, 2005, 10:07 PM
There are several movies that do what you spoilerized. I always thought that was innovative myself.

Folgrimeo
July 9th, 2005, 01:23 AM
I feel as if my enjoyment of the Redwall books has largely been influenced on what order I read them in. Hence why, when reading Martin the Warrior and then reading Mossflower afterward, I just didn't feel anything for Mossflower. Felt kind of cheated, as I remember hearing that Mossflower was supposed to be one of the best books of the series. Instead I felt that I've read this same general storyline before - Tsarmina just wasn't distinct enough from Cluny or Badrang (but really, Badrang and Clogg made an excellent pair, so Badrang needed some help to stand out).

I often enjoy the endings to the books though. Even if the storylines follow a predictable path, and the hares have molded together to the point that I think Basil Stag's been in every adventure (the moles I couldn't care less about), it's the interactions between the characters that keeps me coming back.

I wouldn't give it a second thought to prefer the endings to focus more on relationships than the resolution of battle (the happy homecomings don't ever seem to change and I'm starting to get tired of reading about what foods are at every feast). Or, in the case of Martin the Warrior, just make it tragic. Much won but with much lost. I just wanted to hug Martin or something just to somewhat lessen the pain he was going through. And as minor as Blaggut was in The Bellmaker, seeing him a complete wreck as he stood before the Abbey, unsure of his fate, made him the highlight of the book for me and the most powerful moment for me in the Redwall series since he became so likeable in the moments leading up to it.

I really don't find battles in books interesting. I can't imagine a battle the likes of seen in Pirates of the Carribean (when Jack and Will fight inside the mill, whatever the scene was with "You cheated!" "Pirate.") or The Matrix trilogy translating to words adequately. The different strategies of attack and defense can be good, but ultimately I end up looking at the conversations between characters in the midst of the fighting. In Mossflower there were a few great moments near the end like when Martin stands before the castle of Kotir, asking Tsarmina once more to surrender or die, and Tsarmina dishonorably shoots an arrow at unarmed Martin when he least expects it. Or when Tsarmina and a rat have to get on some piece of furniture in order to escape the castle, Tsarmina shoves the rat aside, and the rat keeps asking his Queen "what about me?" as Tsarmina leaves without looking back. A couple moments right there showing a cruel side of Tsarmina that I found more interesting than the battle of Kotir's downfall (and more interesting than Tsarmina's defeat at any rate).

The ending really doesn't affect my enjoyment of the rest of the book (it can enchant it, but it can't detract from it), and according to my opinions of the previous books, I look more at the combination of great moments than the overall quality of the book. Overall quality always seems about the same, which I judge by "how easy is it to read? Will I fall asleep after two pages?". All the books I've found easy to get into, so just by never feeling it's a chore to read it I've deemed them all good books. As to whether there are compelling characters and the hint of an interesting storyline from the start, that's a different story and something I feel has varied through the books I've read. Only Mossflower and The Bellmaker I feel didn't hook me from the start.

LordTBT
July 9th, 2005, 01:58 AM
I can't imagine a battle the likes of seen in Pirates of the Carribean (when Jack and Will fight inside the mill, whatever the scene was with "You cheated!" "Pirate.") or The Matrix trilogy translating to words adequately

Then perhaps you might need to broaden your reading horizons. If the author is talented enough, it can be done.

Ember Nickel
July 9th, 2005, 07:45 AM
I can't stand fight scenes. I normally read very fast, but need to read the fight scenes slowly, which annoys me. The Redwall books, in my opinion, have decent ones for me.

If
the protagonist dies,
there would be a tradeoff in that while that book would be great for "mature" (read: realistic) readers, "immature" (read: idealistic) readers would probably renounce the series. Since Jacques' style is the "fantasy world where good triumphs over evil", he would probably lose a lot more readers then he would gain "intelligent and mature" ones. But, if he was planning to end the series anyway (NOOOO! :mad: :mad: ), it might be worth it just to go out with a bang.

From my point of view, however, that would suck.

Ember Nickel
July 9th, 2005, 08:53 AM
Sorry about the double-post, I couldn't find the edit button. My favorite ending, hands-down, is the final chapter of Mossflower. Phenomenal.

Asmodeus
July 9th, 2005, 10:07 AM
Brian has slipped up because while I still find the stories enjoyable, they've fallen into a sort of mold.

Here's an example.


1. Bad guys come to Mossflower from far away land

2. Young Redwaller(s) leave Redwall to quest for something important

3. Redwallers struggle in battle against vermin, because they are weak and peaceful

4. Young Redwaller returns like a fully grown adult Redwaller, and saves the day with either new woodland friends or the sought-for item.
I totaly agree. At least they use different scemes!

LordTBT
July 9th, 2005, 12:49 PM
Sorry about the double-post, I couldn't find the edit button. My favorite ending, hands-down, is the final chapter of Mossflower. Phenomenal.

You can only edit your post within an hour after you've made it.

Arrowtail
July 9th, 2005, 03:08 PM
I like endings like the one in Martin the Warrior. Evil is defeated, but at a great price to good. However, happiness returns to those hurt in time. That is so much more true to life than the usual "I grew up to be responsible and fight evil" endings we seem to get nowadays.

Keyla
July 20th, 2005, 04:53 AM
I have always loved the ending of Martin the Warrior, how it works on different levels: we get the bitter-sweet of Rose' death overshadowing the joy at victory in Martin's mind; we have all the drama of the final battle; we have the sense that by letting his desire for revenge take over Martin has fullfilled it, but because he did not control it, it has cost him dearly. Here Brian succeeded in giving an inspiring battle an emotional heart beyond the obvious desire of amny characters for freedom or revenge. I also like it when he engineers a conclusion that takes us somewhat by surprise, such as inRakkety Tam or Marlfox.

While I do think a well placed death scene can be affecting, I feel it can also detract from the tale when it does not have a context. Obviously it is always going to be a sad when a character we have come to love dies, but a well thoughtout demise contributes something to the narrative beyond itself, perhaps catalysing a change in another character, perhaps showing acutely the trauma of war, perhaps showing the destructiveness of some kind of behaviour. Of course, this must be done subtly and must not feel forced. And for the vast majority of the time Brian succeeds.