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[Reading Group] February 2014: Prince of Thorns Discussion

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Philip Overby, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I see. I do think my own descriptions were probably more purple at one point. One day I just decided, "I'm going to just write the way I think and not try to make everything poetic." I guess that helped me in some ways.

    I found Lawrence's style to be refreshing myself. I just read so many dense fantasy stories (even my own at times) it was nice to read something that I didn't have to keep putting down over and over again because I was waiting for something to happen.
     
  2. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    1. What is your opinion of Corion being injected late into the story?

    I didn't mind at all since it wasn't shoved in. Throughout the novel it's been hinted at that there was a higher power behind Jorg. Although, I would have preferred for Renar to be the main antagonist of the story and for the real struggle to be with him.

    2. Were Jorg's "evil" deeds being influenced by Corion throughout?

    Some, maybe, but for most I would say that Jorg is just a psycho.

    3. So is Jorg magical in some way? He mentions being like Gog and Jane. I'm not completely sure what that means though.

    To be honest, I have little idea either. I would assume it's something to do with him eating the necromancer heart.

    4. What did you think of the ending of the book? I think it leads in nicely to King of Thorns but I wasn't expecting it to happen that way.

    It certainly took me by surprise. I was expecting the whole 'taking revenge on Renar' deal to have a bit more build up than it did, with planning and schemes and whatnot. The actual ending I thought was good. It set up the next book well.

    5. Did you feel the ending was paced well or did it come too quickly for your liking?

    As I said it was sudden and I feel the buildup to it could have been handled better, but I didn't mind that much.

    6. If you didn't enjoy the book, can you say why? If you did enjoy the book, do you have plans to buy other books from Mark Lawrence?

    I did enjoy the book very much and I'm definitely planning to complete the series, especially since I hear the others are even better than the first.

    7. What did you learn as a writer from this book? (both good and bad things)

    I learned that less is often more. You don't need to linger on the details of exactly how a character did an action. You can just say "He drew his sword" and not go about the tiniest details of the way his fingers wrapped around the hilt or the sound it made as it slid out the scabbard.

    8. Overall, were you happy with this choice for the Reading Group in February?

    Yes, as I said I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am glad it was chosen.
     
  3. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    They're powerful at controlling minds and making illusions, but that doesn't make them superman. If you stab a mage, he's gonna die.
     
  4. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Yeah I get that, but Corion was too easy to get close too.

    You don't just waltz up to someone that powerful like you're crashing a party wearing fake mustaches. Powerful people have many enemies and, as a result, many lines of defense. The ease I referred to wasn't directed at the wound, but how simple and uninstructed the path was to deliver a killing blow.

    It just didn't ring true.
     
  5. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    How was Corion supposed to know that Jorg was disguised as Sir Whatshisface? He can't be expected to do everything. So it's understandable that he has to rely on Renar's defences, which Jorg slipped past by wearing Sir Whatshisface's armour.

    Also, Corion is powerful, so powerful that Jorg couldn't kill him. No one could kill him, likely. So Corion's defences are impenetrable. But he died because he didn't foresee a bucking horse.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Yes. And normally the horse might bother me as a sort of deus ex machina, but I think Lawrence established multiple times that something is going on with Jorg and that blind luck favors him on more than one occasion.
     
  7. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    So I throw on another man's armor and waltz right up? No one formidable is guarding Corian. Hell, why not just waltz over to Renar's castle, throw on their uniforms and do the same? Sorry, it was just way too easy for my liking. Your mileage may vary.


    The bucking horse does feel like a Deus Ex Machina because the ending was poorly developed, and with too much haste. If Jorg's magical luck had received more elaboration, I might be able to buy it. However, what I was left with was....

    1) Jorg was lucky to get the important knight's uniform
    2) Jorg was lucky in the tournament melee
    3) Jorg was lucky that Corion is surrounded by incompetents
    4) Jorg was lucky a horse randomly struck his foe

    That's a bit too much for me, magical luck or not.

    If we're going to develop Jorg's magical luck slowly, I'd be more accepting of it if the effects of that luck were also limited, or sometimes did not work to his advantage. It also brings up a question of power. How powerful is a mage that can't protect himself at all? Yes, the horse was random but everything else? Am I to believe that this ultra-powerful, one of a few dream-witches, is also too incompetent to surround himself with suitable protectors in a realm that is so wrought with conflict and with enemies in every corner?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  8. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    One thing that I did notice in general. Why are people so goddamn fragile? It's like they're held together with sticks. I really struggle to believe that Jorg could break the neck of a fully armoured man by head butting him.
     
  9. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I got the impression Jorg is just superhuman in some way. He survives a hook briar that should have killed him, beat up Rike, got stabbed and probably other things that would kill normal folks. So he must have a hard head. :)
     
  10. ACSmyth

    ACSmyth Minstrel

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    Up to chapter 32. Flagging. Send dragons.
     
  11. andy.peloquin

    andy.peloquin Scribe

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    I'm in the middle of listening to the book rather than reading it, and I find it a bit disjointed. It's lacking a bit in depth, and you don't really come to identify or even really like the character at all. I'm almost inclined to stop reading it in favor of another book that does snag my attention.
     
  12. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    For anyone who felt nothing for Jorg in Prince of Thorns, but liked Mark Lawrence's writing style, reading the rest of the series will be a treat. Jorg grows in the later books. He still has an edge to him, but it is tempered by experience.

    I'm halfway through the third book now. I can honestly say the third is better than the second (so far), which was better than the first.
     
  13. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I've heard this as well that the books get better as the series goes along. That's good to hear because some series tend to fizzle out if they go overly long. I have high hopes for anything Lawrence puts out at this point. He's on my "must buy" list now, but I'm so far behind on other reading, I'm going to have to wait awhile to get the other books in the series.
     
  14. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Well, I have just finished the last book of the Broken Empire series, Emperor of Thorns, and all I can say is bravo! One of the most satisfying series I've read in a long time.
     
  15. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    When I finished the first book, there were a few things that didn't make me immediately go buy the next one. One, I absolutely HATE Jorg's interest in his "aunt". For me, that single dreaded relationship is probably the most pertinent reason I don't want to read further. The lesser but still countable reason is that I didn't get the world. I didn't like the nuke bit and I didn't love the constant weird referrals to real-world things that pointed toward some alternate future or whatever it is. By Ankari's recommendation however... I might have to get over it and give it a try.
     
  16. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I didn't know how I felt about Jorg's interest in Katherine, but ultimately it didn't bother me a whole lot. I did like the world a lot, including the bits about it being the real world. Being that it was a deep POV, I felt like it didn't make a lot of sense for Jorg to go on and on about how "Before the great nuclear war, etc. etc." He mentions things here and there, but it's never completely spelled out. I kind of appreciated that I wasn't beaten over the head with it when so often in fantasy it's imperative that all the world-building is clear from the get go. I feel like Steven Erikson is another writer who just "tosses you in the deep end" so to speak. Some people like that approach, others don't.

    I'll more than likely finish the series at some point as well.
     
  17. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    yeah, I wasn't implying I needed more worldly detail I too appreciated minor details and no overwhelming depth. What I didn't like was the concept of a post-apocalyptic world where humans remained the same, but magic and necromancy somehow became real, but then they reverted to a Medieval technology and social structure. It seemed unbelievable for me to set it in our world and the Jesus references just really turned me off, as with the Plato ones. I wished for it to have just been a made-up world is all. Somewhere else where nuclear war happened and survivors (who had always lived in a world allowing magic) had to rebuild but had lost the memory or what catastrophe struck.

    I didn't like the real-world references because to me they didn't make sense. Like... if the whole world goes to shit and people forget EVERYTHING about their technology... the things that will survive are Plato and Jesus? I don't think so. Couldn't it be equally possible the only things to survive were a couple Britney Spears posters and they worship her as the Mother of Creation? That was sort of what I had a problem with. I'd have preferred a little more creativity, either a whole world of imaginated (yep... I actually wrote that... so I left it for a laugh. This is what happens when we type fast and seriously why first drafts suck :) ) things or a real world that explored the theory of what might survive a little more. Like... why would they have castles and fight with swords? Why wouldn't they have SOME elements of the "future" mixed in with the more primitive examples?

    Like I said, it isn't awful... but it turned me off a little. I was way into Jorg and his journey. I liked the Brothers and the world. I liked Jorg's goals and his inner thoughts and his relationships. For me... that concept of the pretty, smart maiden who tames the nobleman because he just can't think about other women makes me throw up a little. I mean.. is that how men work? Because it isn't how women work. I always thought that concept was a broken tool in the romance writer toolbox. I seriously hope their budding relationship (I'm guessing here but hoping she dies and he forgets all about her) experiences a little more realism in the future. I just can't believe Jorg would be so swept up in one woman's beauty or poise or whatever got to him, that he would react so out of character to it.
     
  18. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I prefer to read "second world" fantasy as well, but I was fine with it the way it turned out. I guess more details might be unveiled in later books, so that would be interesting for me to see.

    I took his instant attraction to Katherine to be that Jorg had been on the road since he was a boy. He probably hadn't seen a woman who looked like her and acted like her so it was sort of the "forbidden fruit" deal. That's just what I'm guessing.
     
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