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38. Terry Goodkind Discussion

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Philip Overby, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Our next author is Terry Goodkind, who has had multiple bestsellers and is a well-known name in the fantasy writing community. I've only read some of his book Wizard's First Rule, so I can't really comment overall on how his work has affected me or anything. I know his Sword of Truth series is probably his most popular work and they made a TV series called Legend of the Seeker about the series. Anyone have more experience reading Goodkind's work?

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  2. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    Goodkind likes to insist that he's not a fantasy writer. When a fan compared his stories to Robert Jordan's, he said that if you think his books are like Jordan's, you're not old enough to be reading them. I figure I'm probably not old enough, so I haven't read them. :D

    With that said, I am familiar with the chicken that was not a chicken, but evil manifest, and with the evil pacifists armed only with their hatred of moral clarity, and with how Richard's thing rose up in him . . . Goodkind is quite possibly the only author who's more fun to quote out of context than John Norman. There's plenty more where that came from.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  3. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    /obligatory 'I wildly disagree with nearly all of his politics' comment.

    If I overlook that, he's... okay. I like his writing - stylistically - well enough, but I find his characters and worldbuilding to be a little weak. There were a few characters I liked the idea of. Adie, I think her name was? Old sorceress, 'bone woman', I like the idea of that. She'd be better if I could see more of her without her being in the same room as Richard, who is one of the least interesting protagonists I have ever had to follow around for 2,000 pages (I read the second book for some reason).

    I'd like to watch an episode or two of the TV show sometime, though. I've heard good things.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I read about half of Wizards First Rule before throwing the book at the wall. Never picked up anything else he wrote.
     
  5. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    LOL. You're lucky. It took me six books to come to the same conclusion. Before Goodkind, I never left a series unfinished.
     
  6. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I'm not sure how much of Wizard's First Rule I read, but it wasn't much. I don't remember particularly why I stopped reading it, but it was just one of those I didn't connect with.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I only read the second book. I also didn't agree with his politics. That's probably safe to say, but what are his politics? No - I don't even want to know.

    The book I read was garbage. There's no beating around it. Nevermind the bad writing style or the drab characters or the overwhelming amount of cheaply played sexual violence. He apparently thought it was a good idea to have over powered characters wonder around on random adventures that had nothing to do with anything, and then solve the doomsday plot in two fast chapters at the end. His efforts to keep his characters away from the plot got more and more convoluted, and they included everything from false prophecies to two characters temporarily wiping their own memory to avoid some kind of hell poison.

    The TV series, at least, was decent television. It was watchable, and while it had its flaws, it also had a few great moments. If you don't believe me, I should mention that Terry Goodkind was apparently furious about how little they included him in creating the show. Normally that's unfortunate, but this time it was a good sign.
     
  8. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    Also, there were more than a few things that were... let's say heavily influenced by Tolkien. For a man who claims to be above writing traditional fantasy, he did a fine job of having one of his characters rip off Gollum wholesale.
     
    Noma Galway likes this.
  9. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Well, I kept reading people posting online how bad the books were and chose to buy the first one just to find out if it's true. ;) And I liked the TV series.
    I bought and read the first book and thought it was quite good. Not brilliant but an entertaining read. Then I bought the second book...
    And I realised that all the online-people have been right. I simply couldn't finish the book. The female mages who want to dominate and train the much more powerful male characters and have to undergo brutal sexual rites if they want to achieve magic skills similar to those of the men, the gratitious amount of sexual assault and "fecal warfare" carried out by the evil emperors army. (Their soldiers leave their excrements in the killed citizens' beds which is described in broad detail) and the general dehumanisation of the enemy army were too much for me. I can't help assuming that the evil, inhuman army is "inspired" by socialist Sowjets and/or Chinese which is an absolute no-go for me as well if handled the way Goodkind handled it here.

    What is the lesson to this: Sometimes, the online majority is right about something. ;)
     
  10. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    I'll go ahead and pitch in for the minority voice here, being something like the resident Goodkind fan. I thoroughly enjoyed the first six books, and while there is a decline in quality after that I still read everything right to the end of the Chainfire trilogy that closes out the main storyline. Enjoyed that too, and somewhat stronger than his slump in books 7 and 8 (especially 7... *shudder*).

    I caught a few minutes of the first episode of the TV series and backed off with a big old NOPE. Looked terrible, and never tried again.

    Eventually I'll probably give a try to some of his other books and maybe even try the extended SoT storyline on for size (though it's pretty obvious he's just back to milk the old cow again, which I see all the time from creators). I did read the novella Debt of Bones and enjoyed that as well.

    I find Goodkind's writing, in general, to be visceral and direct. His bad guys get a bit over the top, but he also has more nuanced characters. At least for the first few books the Wizard's Rules he writes about are well done and I still use them as personal guidelines (especially my favorite, "Passion Rules Reason").

    As for politics, I agree with many of the general "morals" found in the Sword of Truth series (at least insofar as the above rules stated them), but I've never bothered trying to try and find political wisdom in a book of fantasy and except for the general hurrahs of "Communism bad!" and "Individual initiative good!" I can't remember a lot of what those politics supposedly are. I'd have to re-read the books (which I haven't read again in several years, I guess I am about do for another go-round) and have a more in-depth conversation about 'em.

    And finally, I agree entirely that Goodkind seems incredibly pretentious about his own work, but that is... not exactly rare. If I had to abandon every author who made an ass out of himself, I'd have to give up a lot of good books.

    Hrm. Anything I missed? :)
     
  11. Noma Galway

    Noma Galway Archmage

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    I'm with you, Telcontar. I loved Sword of Truth. I've been thinking about reading the new Richard and Kahlan books, but I'm not sure. I actually have the Wizards' Rules collected in a single document and I carry them around with me. I'm not sure if I could read them again right now, but I found them gripping.

    As for the television show, I've seen the first few minutes of the first episode as well, and I disliked it immensely. However, I'm thinking of watching the show anyway just for some of my favorite characters (Cara, anyone?).
     
  12. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    I read 'Wizards First Rule', didn't care for...logic problems with the world building or the plot. Have read a couple since, including one ('Rule of Nine?' or something similar) which was sort of a crossover between our world and the fantasy realm. That one was passable. Tried reading one about prophets and prophecy (again, the title escapes me). I found the determinism to be annoying.

    The television series was enjoyable at first, but then the script writers decided to skip the whole part about Richard becoming a wizard and ruler in his own right, which sort of killed things right there.
     
  13. SM-Dreamer

    SM-Dreamer Troubadour

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    When I was 16, some friends of mine went on and on about how awesome this series was. I added it to my to-read list, and moved on.

    Finally read it when I was 21 or so. Am ambivalent towards the politics, but I couldn't stand the writing. It seemed so... dry and bland to me. I couldn't get into it. I forced myself to finish the first book, but it took me months of on again off again reading.

    May give it another try now that it's been a few years, but there are other books higher on my priority list.
     
  14. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris Scribe

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    My husband and I only read one of the prequels to the Sword of Truth series, The First Confessor, which Goodkind published himself. Shudder. Although the story is good, he really could have used an editor. Because of the struggle to get through the prequel with his "tell 'em what'chur gonna tell 'em; tell 'em; tell 'em what'cha told 'em" style, we never picked up another book. The aforementioned "style" was principally used in the characters' communications with each other. That said, I have family members who absolutely love his books and looked at me like I was from another planet when I commented on his writing style.
     
  15. hots_towel

    hots_towel Minstrel

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    I'm going to shoot myself in the foot for saying this, but so far, i really like wizards first rule. Im a very slow reader, so when I got it from the book store, i had it in mind that I was going to spend a month on this thing like i did with A Game of thrones. but now i think I'll finish it before the end of this week.

    Im only bout half way through, but I have yet to see any of goodkind's world famous soapboxing or distasteful sex scenes (unless they both went over my head). however im not sure if I will be getting anything else by this guy. id rather not show my support for his anti-everything agenda
     
  16. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I read up through Faith of the Fallen at which point I just couldn't take it anymore. I had grown to like the characters of Richard and Kahlan, and had wanted to see their story through. But Goodkind's ponderous storytelling was just too much for me and I realized that liking the main characters despite all of their obvious flaws as characters wasn't enough to carry me through the series. My husband did manage to finish it and thought the ending was pretty dumb.

    The series overall was just a huge disappointment to me. Mostly because there were flashes of great storytelling here and there that gave it such promise, but Goodkind mostly threw them away in favor of kink or ideological heavy handedness. Also, Goodkind's attitude really twisted the knife. He obviously thinks he's some kind of underappreciated storytelling genius and also thinks he's better than the fantasy genre. His arrogance made his work even more distasteful to me. As a fantasy lover, I'll never contribute another penny to his career.
     
  17. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I'm into Pillars of Creation. I stayed it a couple years ago and struggled to get into it, until I drifted to another book and it had been laying around gathering dust. I just picked it up again last week so I can muscle through it and get back into the main storyline. I just really hate that in the middle of the series there is a book that's important to the main plot, but you don't even see either of the main characters until the last hundred pages. It was just a bit jarring to switch viewpoints for an entire novel in a series for me.

    As for his political soapboxing, I haven't noticed it at all, but I still get a preachy vibe, even if I can't pinpoint where from.

    As for the rest of the series up to Pillars of Creation, I've liked a few characters and most of the story, but I can't stand Kahlan.
     
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