I wrote the following stuff on a local web forum and I have since been told I should repost it here. This is a response to a forum user that’s a fan of the Sword of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind, and was bemoaning the shittyness of the TV series based on the books. Said series I haven’t yet seen, and thus can only begin to imagine the crapularity thereof. Anyway, onwards. It’s long, so I’ll hide it behind a cut. I’m not totally failing at being sincere, I really did enjoy the first 2 or 3 books. The rest, however, are utter balls.
JSR: Do you think they will stay true to the books and have it start off as a fairly traditional fantasy story (albeit one with a rather Mary Sue-ish protagonist) and then slowly turn into anti-socialist propaganda liberally sprinkled with misogyny? Just askin’, is all.
GOODKIND FAN: I’m not saying that the philosophical message tried to be pushed in the books isn’t horrible but it seems kinda like you and jsr have an agenda against it sal. They’re still good fantasy books if you don’t set out to get brainwashed by it and the message they push is a bit of lol in between the interesting fantasy bits.
JSR: Agenda? You think I am, perhaps, in the employ of some other writer who started interestingly and then turned into bollocks? Robert Jordan, perhaps?
I have no agenda. I quite liked the first three or so books in his sword of truth series, and I’ve read a few more since (though I have stopped now, obviously).
Even initally I found Richard the protagonist a bit eye-rollingly Mary Sue-ish,being endlessly told how terribly special and awesome and handsome he was in between effortlessly gathering skills and abilities and being beloved by all he meets. But it was interesting enough to buy more books and keep reading the thing.
Oh, I should say that I think Goodkind might just like writing rape scenes a little too much. There are a lot of them. Like, seriously, a lot. What the fuck, in fact.
And I don’t want to even get into the more wince-inducing bits of writing. Here’s a classic example from Soul of the Fire:
“Hissing, hackles lifting, the chicken’s head rose. Kahlan pulled back. Its claws digging into stiff dead flesh, the chicken slowly turned to face her. It cocked its head, making its comb flop, its wattles sway. “Shoo,” Kahlan heard herself whisper. There wasn’t enough light, and besides, the side of its beak was covered with gore, so she couldn’t tell if it had the dark spot, But she didn’t need to see it. “Dear spirits, help me,” she prayed under her breath. The bird let out a slow chicken cackle. It sounded like a chicken, but in her heart she knew it wasn’t. In that instant, she completely understood the concept of a chicken that was not a chicken. This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People’s chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.”
If only that text was parody, instead of an actual quote.
And yeah, seriously, I have read Atlas Shrugged already, and rolled my eyes at it. I don’t need to read it again while it’s wearing a wizard hat and robe and calling itself Faith of the Fallen.
But again, I liked the early books enough to buy more. That doesn’t actually change my opinion that it all turned to shit later, and it doesn’t mean I have an agenda, just an opinion.
Watch out for the chickens.
GOODKIND FAN: Taken WAAAAYYY out of context. When you understand whats going on its makes sense.
JSR: Dude, it’s not that it doesn’t make sense. It’s an Evil Chicken. Quite straightforward, really. My problem with it is that it’s bad writing coupled with a hilariously weaksauce concept. Seriously, a chicken? Do you remember that bit from Lord of the Rings where Sam Gamgee entered Cirith Ungol and used the vial of Ëarendil’s star to protect Frodo from a duck? No. You don’t. And there’s a good reason for that.
Also, your accusation cuts me, sir. As a result, I’ll provide some more quotes from the same bit of the book, to give people more context…
“Her power, her magic, was also a weapon of defense. But it would only work on people. It would not work on a chicken.”
“The chicken backed up a step, tensed, and spurted feces onto Juni’s face. It let out the cackle that sounded like a laugh. She dearly wished she could tell herself she was being silly. Imagining things. But she knew better.”
“Kahlan frantically tried to think as the chicken bawk-bawk-bawked.”
“In the dark, the chicken thing let out a low chicken cackle laugh. It hadn’t come from where she expected the chicken to be. It was behind her.”
“She took another shuffling step toward the door. She moved carefully, slowly, in case the chicken thing was in the way. She didn’t want to bump into it and make it angry. She mustn’t underestimate it. Kahlan had on any number of occasions thrown herself with ferocity against seemingly invincible foes. She knew well the value of a resolute violent attack. But she also somehow knew beyond doubt that this adversary could, if it wanted, kill her as easily as she could wring a real chicken’s neck. If she forced a fight, this was one she would lose.”
“The chicken thing let out a whispering cackle.”
“With the next flash of lightning, she saw chicken feet standing between her and the crack under the door. The thing wasn’t more than a foot from her face.”
I hope these provide a suitable amount of context, and maybe give the readers of NZGames a more textured, nuanced sense of what Goodkind was trying to get across. Which is that there is a Chicken, and it is Evil, and it poops on you and laughs. Would a good chicken poop on you and then laugh? Not likely.
Hope this helps.