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#21 dondigitalia

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 04:52 PM

Is calling me [i]dog[/b]digitalia supposed to be some kind of jab? I don't care for dogs...  :)

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My apologies to Michaelangelo for snapping at him like this. All I can really say is, you caught me on a bad day, and I misdirected some frustration.

#22 Michelangelo

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 03:24 AM

Who has attempted to fault the character of Richard Rahl? I certainly didn't. I do fault Goodkind's unskilled presentation of such a character. Ayn Rand grasped the nature of such a man down to the root; indeed, she grasped the nature of man in general better than anyone I've ever read. Because of this understanding, she was able to present her characters believeably. You hit the nail on the head. Richard isn't believable as the ideal man (even though none of his actions make him non-ideal). Howard Roark is so believable in his role that everyone I know who has read The Fountainhead fell in love with him.

I'm no writer, just an experienced reader. I don't know what Goodkind could have done differently to make his characters and stories live up to the ideas he is attempting to present. What I do know is that there is a tremendous difference between his literature and all of the "great" literature I've read. I know that there's a difference between Howard Roark and Richard Rahl, not in their characters, but in the way their creators presented them. One was a literary master, and as for the other... well, he just isn't.

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Do I imply that Richard was unbelievable? No. I was commenting on how heroic his character is and how some people have commented on it. You can say Ayn Rand grasped the nature of man better but you've yet to tie that in with how that makes her characters more believable then Goodkind's. I guess this is one of those things where you 'feel' that the characters are believable and the others aren't so we'll just have to agree to disagree.

#23 dondigitalia

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 08:49 AM

Do I imply that Richard was unbelievable?  No.  I was commenting on how heroic his character is and how some people have commented on it.


I'll concede on that point. It would have been correct to say that those other people hit the nail on the head. That doesn't have any bearing on the point I was making, but it was a misrepresentation of your position.

You can say Ayn Rand grasped the nature of man better but you've yet to tie that in with how that makes her characters more believable then Goodkind's.

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How could it not affect the believability of their characters? Man is everything that man is, including his philosophical roots. In fact, his philosophical roots are the reason why man is what he is. In order to present man believably, one must present him accurately; in order to present him accurately, one must present him on the basis of his fundamental (metaphysical and philosophical) nature; in order to present him on the basis of his nature, one must first have a complete grasp of what that nature is, down to the root, including its causes and consequences. The degree to which a character is believable as a concrete example of the ideal man is the degree to which the author: 1) understands man's fundamental nature, and 2) is able to communicate that nature to the reader.

As Ayn Rand observed in TRM, art is concerned with the presentation essentials. Epistemologically, an essential characteristic(s) is the characteristic(s) which explains the greatest number of others. Metaphysically, it is the characteristic(s) on which the greatest number of others depend. To paraphrase the above paragraph, in order present a concretization of the ideal man artistically, one must present him on the basis of his essential characteristics; to present him on this basis, one must first be able to identify and isolate those characteristics, and omit all irrelevancies; in order to make such an identification, on must first have a complete grasp of what man's nature is, down to the root, including the causal relationships between his characteristics.

That is how her understanding ties in to the believability of her characters vs. Goodkind's. I never saw any example of such an understanding in Goodkind's books.

I don't fault Goodkind for basing his books on Ayn Rand's ideas; almost all literature presents old ideas. I do fault him for stealing some of her most eloquent, most brilliant formulations and passing them off as his own. But that is an ethical judgment, not an aesthetic one. It is second-handedness a la Peter Keating if I ever saw it, except Keating had Roark's permission to mooch off of his mind. Goodkind didn't have Ayn Rand's, and I'd fall over in shock if he had Dr. Peikoff's.

I guess this is one of those things where you 'feel' that the characters are believable and the others aren't so we'll just have to agree to disagree.


I don't mind a disagreement. Art is a very personal thing, and evaluations can vary greatly from person to person. I don't think the things I've said in this thread are in any way based on how I 'feel' towards Goodkind's art. In fact, my objective evaluation of the quality of Goodkind's writing is not the same as my emotional evaluation, and it need not be, since the two evaluations answer different questions. One is an answer the question, "Is this good art?" The other: "Do I like it?" To the first, I answer an emphatic no. To the second, I say, "Better than most books these days."

#24 jedymastyr

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 03:22 AM

A few months ago, a friend recommended Terry Goodkind to me, and since then I've read all of the Sword of Truth series except the prequel Debt of Bones.

I've never really enjoyed a fantasy book before this series. Even Lord of the Rings didn't hold my interest enough to finish the series. With Goodkind, though, it was completely the opposite. I really enjoyed the story. Since I read all of the books in a very short period of time, I'm having trouble remembering exactly where I started getting transfixed. I do remember, however, that when I was about a hundred pages away from finishing it and the local bookstore was about to close, I had to go get the second book in the series...and I got very little sleep until the series was finished (up to the current book, Chainfire).

I should mention that I didn't know Goodkind had ever expressed interest in Ayn Rand and I didn't pick up on that quickly. The main characters don't really represent philosophical archetypes like The Fountainhead's, and I wouldn't recommend reading the books primarily for philosophical content--even in later books.

There are a couple things I really like about the series: the characters and the storylines. Goodkind has created a fantasy world that's very interesting. Those who can use magic don't just differ by their ability or what their strengths are. They can have additive or subtractive magic, or both. There are Seekers and Confessors, which have magic suited to very specific tasks but don't have the ability of wizards. The characters range from the old and wise to the young and growing. This metaphysical and experiential variety is integrated very well into the plots, and the result is a group of main characters that are both unique and interesting. (For those who have read the series: I found Cara to be an awesome character who I like more than most of the important ones.)

The plots are also excellent, at least in the beginning. There is always a major good vs. evil element, and the threat of lovers becoming separated or killed is well exploited. The latter may seem formulaic later in the series, but for me it was more of an eye-rolling than story-killing repetition--it was still suspenseful, and the only problem was its predictability.

When I got to book six--Faith of the Fallen--it became obvious right away that Goodkind had been influenced by Miss Rand. I was annoyed for perhaps the first third of the novel, which had a lot of dialog that agreed with Objectivism but mostly unrelated to actions. I learned quickly to skim these passages and focus on the story, which became quite an interesting one. After the first third or so of the book, I thought the dialog started to go a lot more with the actions, and toward the end even became meaningful.

The next book, Pillars of Creation, left the main characters and was not nearly as good as the rest. The next one, Naked Empire, had all the bad traits of Faith of the Fallen but not as many of the good ones. In the previous two books, there were very similar quotes to things Miss Rand wrote--but also to Aristotle's writings. It seemed like Goodkind had become interested in Objectivism and was trying to sell it to readers. I often found that there was much more dialog than the dramatization warranted, but I didn't really question his motives; my annoyance was more at Objectivism being portrayed poorly than at Goodkind.

I still got the impression of good motives in Naked Empire, but for the first time I got annoyed at Goodkind and thought he really should have given some credit to Miss Rand. He introduced a group of essentially Kantians into the story, and described them with a quote most people here will probably recognize without reading the quote by Miss Rand below it:

Richard folded his arms over his chest.  "I have eyes, so I can't see.  I have ears, so I can't hear.  I have a mind, so I can't know anything."


...man is blind, because he has eyes deaf, because he has ears deluded, because he has a mind and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them.


The last part of the quote varies somewhat, but I don't know how that formulation could come from anywhere else.

After Naked Empire the final 3-book trilogy in the series starts with Chainfire, which I thought was a major improvement over the previous three books. It seemed like a step back toward his earlier books, and it wasn't filled with passages that looked a lot like ones I'd read in Miss Rand's books. I'm now excited for the last two books, which are not yet released. Overall the series was great, and besides the three questionable books I loved reading them. I hope the last two books are of the same quality as the most recent one.

For anyone who has read this thread but not the books--I recommend reading them, but primarily for the story and not just the philosophical similarities to Miss Rand. There are a lot of sense of life qualities and virtues the characters have that it should make it worthwhile.
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#25 Zhraath

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 04:26 AM

That was an excellent post jedymastyr. I mostly agree with you. I definitely suggest that anyone on these forums that is interested in fantasy writing check out Goodkind. As to the plagiarism, although he doesnt directly cite Ms. Rand in his books (which would be silly in a fiction novel,) anyone that does any research on what the ideas represented are will see Goodkind giving all the credit to Ayn Rand.

#26 Zhraath

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 04:28 AM

That was an excellent post jedymastyr. I mostly agree with you. I definitely suggest that anyone on these forums that is interested in fantasy writing check out Goodkind. As to the plagiarism, although he doesnt directly cite Ms. Rand in his books (which would be silly in a fiction novel,) anyone that does any research on what the ideas represented are will see Goodkind giving all the credit to Ayn Rand.


gah sorry about the spelling mistakes and bad grammar... It is late :angry2: Time for bed.

#27 Elle

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 11:44 PM

Regarding Goodkind's development of Richard Rahl and "plagiarism" - though I doubt that is what it would truly amount to - are probably impacted by the fact that (as I know it to be the case) Mr.Goodkind learned of Objectivsm while in the midst of writing this series of novels.
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#28 Bold Standard

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 11:50 AM

That was an excellent post jedymastyr. I mostly agree with you. I definitely suggest that anyone on these forums that is interested in fantasy writing check out Goodkind. As to the plagiarism, although he doesnt directly cite Ms. Rand in his books (which would be silly in a fiction novel,) anyone that does any research on what the ideas represented are will see Goodkind giving all the credit to Ayn Rand.


: ) I agree that it would be silly to site another author in a fiction novel.. But he could have easily enough gotten himself out of the dilemma of that being necessary if he'd simply restated the principles behind the lines that he stole in his own words. Ayn Rand was a fantastic writer besides being a great thinker. There's an elegance and an economy of form to all of her sentences, especially her best ones (like the "treason to the innocent" line). If I were a mediocre writer, I guess I could see the temptation to just copy a line like that verbatim-- it so eloquently gets the point across. How could you improve on a line like that? It sums up so much, in such an effectively catchy way.

I'm not a writer, but I'm a musician. In music, like in writing (or any artistic endeavor), it's a challenge to be original. There are only so many key signatures and chord progressions, and instruments have certain limitations that limit even further the amount of variations available. Sometimes when listening to a great piece of music, I'll here a phrase and think, "Ah, that would have been such a good idea for (such and such song of mine)." But I would never copy the actual phrase verbatim and pass it off as my song. It's much more difficult to study what made the original artist come to the conclusions he did and experiment and introspect to find out why it appeals to me, and eventually to be able to make something just as good or (hopefully) even better (for my unique context). But as an artist, it's so worth it to do i the hard way. And as a consumer of art.. well, I feel nauseous anytime I see something resembling plagiarism. It's one thing to rearrange another artist's good ideas in your own way, and another to copy it verbatim. In music, take the "twinkle twinkle, little star" melody. Well, that was originally taken from a classical song, and it's been copied verbatim in a lot of different songs "the ABCs," etc. But some jazz people have redone that melody "in their own words" (ie, "What a Wonderful World"), and I consider that an original creative take on an old idea.

Instead of making one of his characters say "Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent," as if he'd made it up, couldn't he have at least restated that idea in his own words? Is it not plagiarism to copy a line word for word from another author and pass it off as your own? Maybe I'm using the word wrong. Does it have to be a whole paragraph or something to count as plagiarism?

#29 B. Royce

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 12:31 PM

Or, he could have made a metaphor, like---Giving a hug to the guilty is like throwing a stone at the innocent.

#30 jedymastyr

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:48 PM

For those who may be interested, the penultimate book in the series, Phantom, was released yesterday. It happens to coincide with Elle's revitalization of the thread after exactly 3 months of inactivity. :(
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#31 Thoyd Loki

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 08:46 AM

Note: I just got my first laptop computer, I find the keyboard very cumbersome, so, if there are errors here, I do apologize.

I have spent the last two plus months reading Goodkind's series. I am, at this point, only half way through book eight (seven, if you count Debt of Bones).

Even though fantasy is the genre I write in, I have read very little in it. Upon reading not only this thread, but others on various forums, I became intrigued. I read an interview with him where he stated that he listens to AC/DC for inspiration for fight scenes (presumably Johnson era as he is basically a drill sergeant, or a Viking leading into battle). That was a little close to home, so I had to read this guy.

Dealing first with his Ayn Rand influence. He says that he has been a follower of her philosophy for thirty years. If so, he either had only read The Fountainhead or had reread Atlas Shrugged prior to writing Faith of the Fallen. The heroes of the series were entirely admirable in their character and actions through the first five books. Yet, it was not until book six that explicit philosophic statements started to be pronounced. Not only are they derivative (meaning they had already been espoused explicitly by characters of the originator of the ideas themselves before), but there is nothing prior to these pronouncements to support these excursions into Objectivist philosophy. I offer as proof of this page three of Faith of the Fallen, where Richard goes into an explanation of Objectivist metaphysical axioms in answer to a question that clearly should have been answered by much more concrete terms.

In every attempt that I have experienced, to try to reproduce Ayn Rand's ideas and sense of life (her specific sense of life) has been an embarassment to read - this is no exception. If the idea is not the author's own, a new integration, discovery, then it should be dealt with in an implicit matter. Meaning, it should be done in action terms, leaving the reader to grasp the abstraction.

Although, a number of people who have read his series -and have never heard of Ayn Rand- find his ideas fascinating, and don't experience this uneasiness. Hence, here is where he should be giving explicit credit that's due.

Here's a question. Do the people at TOR books even have an editor? It seems if the author doesn't catch an error, nobody else is going to bother. There is about one every page or so.

That said, this is the best fantasy I have ever encountered. He can definately weave a storyline that keeps me turning the page (and there are a lot of those!). This is mainly done through careful planning, and characters that I really care about. Is Zedd the coolest old wizard or not? He is. There is, in every book aat least one moment where you are expecting something that has to happen and you are waiting for it, begging for it to happen, and then it happens, or you have to wait and then it comes later.

The best illustration of this is in Faith of the Fallen (SPOILER!!!) An assassin breaks into the D'Haran camp and kills Warren the wizard. He is brought before Kahlan and the prelate Verna. After Kahlan questions him, and sentences him to die, Verna asks that he suffer first before he dies - for his wickedness. During this whole ordeal that takes five pages or so, you are begging "please let it be Cara, please let it be Cara". Then, Cara steps forward, her Agiel, whipping up into her fist and she says, "Let me do it." That is pure cathartic payment in full. A very sympathetic character has died, and you get the treat of the evil screaming in the most mortal agony through the night by the most merciless of torturers.

One of his other strengths is the concreteness of the evil in his books. It is not some disembodied, phantom evil like in LOTR, but real and walking around. This lends a reality not only to the world of the series itself, but to the good people in the book as well.

I've run out of time. I hope Zedd doesn't die in this series. I'll freakin' blubber if he does.

#32 Ed from OC

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 04:25 PM

That said, this is the best fantasy I have ever encountered.

Just curious: does that include the Harry Potter series?

#33 Thoyd Loki

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 05:41 PM

Just curious: does that include the Harry Potter series?


Technically, I think Rowling is a better writer, especially when it comes to the climax of a story. And she has the added benefit of not having rehashed philosophy stuck intrusively into her works.

That said, it is more of a personal preference on my part. But, it is a close race; I love the Potter series.

PS. An everyone warning. Avoid the Prince of Nothing series by Bakker. I wasted reading 500+ pages of that garbage before realizing there was not single character in it to care a dip about and there wasn't going to be one.

#34 truths-seeker

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 11:32 PM

Just wanted to throw my two cents in to this Terry Goodkind discussion. I was one of those who were introduced to Objectivism by reading the Sword of Truth series. Before that I had never heard of Ayn Rand or anything to do with her philosophy.

By reading the series I was presented with a view of life that was like an awakening for me. I had always been a logic/reason-minded person, but never had a solid life philosophy or guideline like Objectivism. The Wizard's Rules, Richard's speeches, and his way of looking at life made so much sense to me. I experienced what a lot of you probably experienced when you first read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged.

As I read the books I would write down all the Wizard's Rules and any quotes that struck me. I know many people hated Richard's long speeches, but personally I loved them! I even remember the day I put down The Faith of the Fallen and I said to myself: "Know I understand why communism doesn't work!" I believe it was during the reading of Faith of the Fallen when I thought that there must be more behind this. I wanted to find out if there was some kind of "guide book" out there for this way of life (I don't think I had the term 'philosophy' in my day-to-day vocabulary at the time lol). I searched for Terry Goodkind online and that was when (through him) I discovered Ayn Rand.

On his website, Terry Goodkind makes clear that he is an Objectivist and considers Ayn Rand to be "the most brilliant thinker since Aristotle". He also has a section on his site with his favorite Ayn Rand quotes. Since then I have read all the Ayn Rand novels and many of her Philosophy books (Virtue of Selfishness being my favorite). It is thanks to Terry Goodkind that I found Objectivism, and I am very grateful to him for that.

I read online (and here) that a lot of people don't like his writing style, or think he's not a skilled writer. Personally I think he's a great writer, I love these books. I find it such a creative and interesting world, and I love they way things come together in the end, how Richard uses reason to solve the problems (but that is my personal opinion I'm no literary expert or anything). I'm actually currently re-reading the series, which I've found to be interesting now being knowledgeable of Objectivism. I've actually found much more Objectivist views in the earlier books than I had thought were there (just much more subtle than in the later books).

Anyway, I guess this turned out to be more than simply two cents lol. Thanks for listening!

#35 Betsy Speicher

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 05:58 AM

Anyway, I guess this turned out to be more than simply two cents lol. Thanks for listening!

Thanks for telling -- and welcome to THE FORUM.
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#36 Alon Tsin

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:50 AM

I'll add my two cents to this thread.

About Plagiarism - I don't think that Terry Goodkind can be accused of Plagiarizing Ayn Rand's work. I consider plagiarism as reproducing literary ideas or plots of another writer in your writing. For example - if I were to write a novel about a man escaping from a prison, becoming an important politician and being hunted by a police detective hunting that escapee you could say I plagiarized Victor Hugo. If you read the first books by Terry Brooks (The Shannara series, if I remember correctly), you could see he was blatantly plagiarizing Tolkien by using the Lord of the Ring plot to such an extent that even reading it repulsed me.

I strongly disagree that using a very few lines of Ayn Rand makes Goodkind a plagiarist. Rather, I think that using those lines was more of a tribute to Ayn Rand than stealing her words. I believe that Goodkind knew very well that those lines was Ayn Rand's , and I think he deliberately quoted them verbatim to show his respect for her. After all, he could easily change the wording if he really wanted to, couldn't he?

It would be plagiarism if Goodkind used Ayn Rand's plot lines or literary ideas. Instead, he created his own unique plot lines and literary ideas, and (due to the length of the series and the magical world they were about) he was even able to apply her philosophical ideas to a considerable number of literary situations that Ayn Rand did not address in her fiction writing. A small example would be his demonstration of the O'ist view of Racism by using the "ungifted" in the "Pillars of Creation" and "Naked Empire" books. There are many more examples in his writings.
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About implementing O'ist ideas in his books - As I said in the previous paragraph, Goodkind inserted a great number of literary situation and the O'ist view/solution/reaction about them. Starting with Richard Rahl's integrity, confidence, rationality and honesty, through the development of the "supporting cast" (Cara, Nicci, Jennsen to name a few) and ending with the corruption of the Order, Goodking presents us with a great variety of literary situations. Every one of those situations is addressed fully by the author, presenting (in my opinion) a very good representation of O'ism.

While I definitely agree that sometimes the long ,philosophical speeches by the characters are a bit blatant (and sometimes out of place) and that they should have been more implicit in the actions of the characters (as Thoyd Loki comented), I believe that the fact that Goodkind put them in his novels is very important since they can promote the Objectivist point of view in a very direct way. I think the author wanted the O'ist philosophy behind his writing understood clearly, concisely and without any "holes" in the theory. While it was not good in literary terms, it is a positive thing philosophically, as it presents O'ist points in a very accurate way.

For me, Goodkind's use of O'ism in his fiction helped me to understand more fully some points of Objectivism. I have not read "We the Living", so perhaps Ayn Rand did (in her fiction writing) address the point I am about to make here , but only in "Faith of the Fallen" I was able to fully understand how a rationally selfish man can survive under a statist/totalitarian regime. Richard's survival in Altur'rang, together with Nicci's rehabilitation and the beginning of the rebellion for freedom were both inspiring and illuminating for me. There were more point like that throughout the series.

I am sure there are many more people who were philosophically influenced by the series and became Objectivists, and I am sure there are many others who may not become fully Objectivist, but will become more rational and selfish.
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About his style - I agree with many points that were made on this Forum about Goodkind's style, and since I am no literary critic I will simply address the things that I loved in his books and the things that annoyed me in them.

For me, his character development is superb. It is exciting and sometimes very touching to watch his characters evolve through the books - Cara and Verna are wonderful examples. He also has an uncanny ability to draw the reader in his story and emotionally empathize with his characters and their cause - sometimes to the extent it was difficult for me to read on and find out what was happening with the characters in the "bad times" (Richard's enslavement, Jennsen being tricked by the Order etc.). Another great ability of his was to continually expand the world and the plot without it feeling forced (forced like you sometimes feel when someone creates a sequel to a movie not meant to have one - Matrix anyone?) . Instead , his plot is sound, connected to past events and leaves no loose threads (He even managed to close off the Princess Violet plot from the first book in the last book).

On the other hand, I didn't like his forced philosophical speeches, but I do understand their importance (as I wrote before). However, if we address the style of his writing, those speeches were a bit disconnected and unbelievable - I didn't believe that the characters would say them. Another annoying thing in his writing is the recurrence of plots - In most of the books, Kahlan is separated from Richard and they are always reunited at the end. While the journey is worth it, sometimes it is not as satisfying since you always know the outcome.

----

In conclusion - While the "Sword of Truth" has many flaws, it is certainly a worthy effort by Goodkind to create an engaging fantasy world and through it give readers a taste of Objectivism. I only hope there will be more authors like him in the future.

I highly recommend reading those books, as they are unique.


*P.S - English is not my native language, so if something in my writing was not understood, please tell me and I will clarify it...
Alon Tsin

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#37 EdFab

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 08:39 PM

I heard of Terry Goodkind because of my awareness of Objectivism. A book review in a past issue of "The New Individualist" recommended Terry Goodkind's novels. I made it partway through the fourth book, "Temple of the Winds", and finally had to put it down. I could see virtually NO link between Objectivism and Richard Rahl:

1. A wizard whose initial inclination was to not be what he was - a wizard. This was actually part of the storyline for the first two books. I interpreted this as shirking responsibility.

2. The constant groveling of his legions of followers and army personnel: "Yes Lord Rahl!", "Whatever you say, Lord Rahl!", and (paraphrasing), "It will be my greatest honor to die for you, Lord Rahl!" was downright sickening. Dripping altruism and the subjugation of self. And my reaction has not one shred of anti-military bias. I'm a retired military veteran who knows military protocol and who has the experience of saluting and working within a military chain of command. I am very proud of my military career, and believe that I could not have chosen a more important organization to devote my time, energy, and loyalty to.

3. The use of magic. I realize that magic is one of the elements that sets the framework of Richard Rahl's world, and grant that it might be possible for an author to present a work of fiction which deals with the reality of magic as something that is rational, probable, and Objectivistic, but nothing of the sort is manifested in the first four books, as far as I can tell. I have to admit that I'm not big on fantasy books that have magic as an essential element in the storyline.

Apart from this, I find the structure and technique of Terry Goodkind's writing to be good; however, my overall impression is of Terry Goodkind as sort of a Gail Wynand type, in which he created his own world the way he saw fit, but my, my, what he could have been. The reason I think this is because Goodkind's surperlative descriptions are often offset by the juvenile, senseless, and unreasonable actions of the characters. Bear in mind that I am likening Goodkind to Wynand only in a superficial way, looking only at his output. I am not saying that Wynand's personality is a match.

Now I find, after reading this thread, that it is in book six, or therabouts, where Terry Goodkind actually gets Objectivistic. Good for him. That has spurred my interest enough to read him again some time in the future. I'll skip the rest of books four and five, and pick up with the book six.

#38 Thoyd Loki

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:37 PM

One of the problems with Goodkind is the sheer length of his series, and the fact that he uses Catalyst Heroes (sorry, reading Vogler's The Writer's Journey right now and that is the freshest term in in my mind). Meaning that his heroes do not change, but cause change in others. With this sort of hero, that is how you create the dramatic conflict.

Roark and Wynand is a perfect example. Galt and all the people that end up joining him is another. But once this is over, once the change of the lesser character is complete (in whichever direction), it is time to wrap up the story. The Fountainhead part 6 would be living death let alone the second page of part 2. You then merely have a character jumping hurdles that you know he will hurdle. Roark becomes The Terminator of the architectural field, an automaton that will not stop.

Likewise, in The Sword of Truth series, the last character to really to be changed by the hero, Richard Rahl is Nici in book 6 Faith of the Fallen. His sister's "redemption" in book 7 is merely a duplication and there are 4 more books to go. By the time you get to the last trilogy (9, 10, 11) the sides are permanently demarcated. Just 2 sides with only the slightest of characters ever switching.

Can you imagine (and please do) how much less dramatic and emotionally moving The Fountainhead would be if the Roark/Wynand relationship was set by page 200, and all we get to see from then on is the battle between Roark and Keating/Toohey? Add in that he wins Dominique also at page 200 and you have the flaw of The Sword of Truth series.

If the hero does not change, then he has to cause it in others, if not, then you have 2 sides locked in final struggle - that ties up the story. If not, then you reduce the story to the equivalent of man vs. bug-monsters.

#39 EdFab

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:15 PM

One of the problems with Goodkind is the sheer length of his series, and the fact that he uses Catalyst Heroes (sorry, reading Vogler's The Writer's Journey right now and that is the freshest term in in my mind). Meaning that his heroes do not change, but cause change in others. With this sort of hero, that is how you create the dramatic conflict.

Roark and Wynand is a perfect example. Galt and all the people that end up joining him is another. But once this is over, once the change of the lesser character is complete (in whichever direction), it is time to wrap up the story. The Fountainhead part 6 would be living death let alone the second page of part 2. You then merely have a character jumping hurdles that you know he will hurdle. Roark becomes The Terminator of the architectural field, an automaton that will not stop


Yes, this is a problem will all series. With Ayn Rand, using all her fiction books as an example, once an author has said all he can, what is the point of doing another story? It would merely be a repitition. After "We the Living", there was more that Ayn Rand wanted to say. After "Anthem", there was still more. After "The Fountainhead", there was still more. But after "Atlas Shrugged", she realized that she had said all that she could ever say in fictional form about her philosophy, and that to attempt more would have only resulted in a repetition. Personally, I think that she might have entertained the idea of a story which showed all the "Atlas Shrugged" heroes working within their private, hidden society, but decided against it, because what would be the conflict? When I put the 4th book of the Sword of Truth down, there was no sense that Goodkind was saying anything at all. There is the classic good against evil angle, but these types of struggles are not necesarrilly Objectivist in nature. In fact, there is quite a lot of relative moralism in the series. I'm still wondering how a book review of the Sword of Truth series managed to get into The New Individualist. I'll eventually check out book 6 to see for myself if there is a change in the direction of his books. I stopped reading partway through book 4.

It all depends on what a person wants out of a book, and that depends on a reader's level of maturity. I've read some pretty crappy books in my time, and didn't realize until years later what garbage they were. It's a maturing process. Stephen King is the worst of the authors that I used to idolize. The big change in my expectations/understanding came when I decided to give writing a try, and was suddenly confronted with the question of what to write about, and why. The Art of Fiction has become my bible in that regard.

#40 Thoyd Loki

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:49 AM

Yes, this is a problem will all series. With Ayn Rand, using all her fiction books as an example, once an author has said all he can, what is the point of doing another story? It would merely be a repitition. After "We the Living", there was more that Ayn Rand wanted to say. After "Anthem", there was still more. After "The Fountainhead", there was still more. But after "Atlas Shrugged", she realized that she had said all that she could ever say in fictional form about her philosophy, and that to attempt more would have only resulted in a repetition.


Perhaps I was not clear, but this is not what I meant at all. And I don't agree with your assessment.

What I was saying was that for a series that is 11 large books in total you lose a lot of suspense in an unchanging hero. We know pretty early in the series (by the third book its a certainty) that Richard (and the others with him) are unassailable in their virtue. Richard is pretty much John Galt put in fantasy land (and given long hair, pecs, and a sword). After enough of this it is merely mechanical. How will Richard escape?

By contrast, reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time, I didn't know what was going to happen when they had Galt on the torture rack. I was pretty sure what he wasn't going to do for the most part. If there was a sequel to Atlas Shrugged (Galt get kidnapped by a gang of mobsters to help them take over the olive oil market) he would be beyond predictable. Or Howard Roark, by seeing him in various contexts of temptation one gets the idea of his character. By the end of the book we are certain what he would do in any context that was of the same nature, but it would be boring as hell to read beyond the scope of the book -Objectivist or not.

My point had to do with character, not with what an author had to say, philosophically. If one is going to write a series (a continuous storyline series) it would be best to have a hero that undergoes change in some significant form, or to alter focus by introducing new characters that offer a new value conflict for the unchanging hero. Or to not get to the truth so fast, etc.

I also don't recall reading where Ayn Rand said she realized she could say no more of her philosophy in fictional form. Is that just a guess?

I also don't know what you mean by saying all all one can. You cite Ayn Rand, but the focus is what she had to say philosophically which is not the same as writing a story as such. I will probably never have anything new to contribute "message-wise" in any of my writing. It is not even an interest to me. But, I do like to work my way through a story,which is plenty. As long as I can still come up with fresh plot ideas and interesting characters, I don't see any end of writing stories.




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