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Author Topic: Balance between Good v Evil  (Read 3123 times)

Offline Eclipse

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Balance between Good v Evil
« on: December 24, 2015, 05:52:42 PM »
Why in fantasy there's such a deal about Balance if good gets the upper hand then Evil must rise or vice versa why do we have to stick to neutrality.Surely we want good to win mostly or have a win for evil occasionally ;D
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 05:56:14 PM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

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Offline Revan

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2015, 08:19:32 PM »
I don't know that, but I am loving that fantasy is finally going completely into grey territory, where there isn't superficial bullshit like good and evil.

Starting from Cook and Kay, popularized by Martin, and now pretty much everyone (Abercrombie, Lawrence, Abraham, Bakker Erikson, Hobb etc) are doing that.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 08:22:12 PM by Revan »

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2015, 08:41:44 PM »
Yeah I guess its mostly 80s fantasy.Don't get me wrong I love grey I'm more about the books which mention balance if the balance isn't maintained the world will suffer great consequence sort of thing
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Yora

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2015, 06:53:52 AM »
Same thing as always: Tolkien did it.

People copied it without questioning why he did it.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2015, 10:23:46 AM »
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil

Example of Literature made me laugh as I'm currently reading the Night Watch trilogy I guess that's why I've been thinking of this  ;D

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GreyAndGrayMorality @Revan thought you might like reading this article  :)
« Last Edit: December 25, 2015, 10:40:38 AM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Mark Lawrence

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2015, 06:59:04 PM »
There are many examples of cycles in different spheres of human endeavor, often caused by backlash/a desire for change. What you have seems dull and flawed, the alternatives exciting and full of promise.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2015, 03:18:46 AM »
I don't really pay attention to any balance between good and evil. The amount of good and evil is a result of the characters and type of story you're telling. And I'd say most people fall in between the two extremes on that spectrum.

Offline AshKB

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2015, 07:50:50 AM »
If things were actually balanced, I'd be enjoying fantasy a lot more. Unfortunately for my tastes, the books that get talked about and recommended seem mostly firmly fixed in very dark grey, or black/evil vs black/evil.

Balance would be wonderful.

And exploring what balance between good and evil. actually means would be really innovative - Recently I saw this on some musing on Star Wars (prequels), with Anakin destined to bring balance to the Force. Given the rule of the Jedi for so long, it seemed in his actions he actually did precisely that.

I do hold that white/black/grey is on a bit of a different spectrum of ideas to good and evil, but... More exploration of an actual balance of good and evil would be fascinating.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 07:52:24 AM by AshKB »
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Offline ArhiX

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2015, 10:26:55 AM »
For me it's another way of adding conflict and setting things in motion. It's common for a hero/ine to make a move, because "evil rules" or "evil is rising". What's the better way to set q conflict than that? Sides are known - we know who is good and who is evil. We know the stakes and how high they are. Examples are abundant, and Lord of the Rings is very characteristic one (Evil Sauron wants his ring back. If he gets it - he will destroy the world we know. We must destroy the ring).
It's a simple way to set things in motion. Sometimes even so simple and elementary that it's either almost unseen, or it gauges the eye - at least of modern readers. I.e. too many stories with "x must defeat y or the world ends in some way" where x is a poor farmboy and y is Evil Lord of Darkest Darkness.

Now in many stories there are no "good" sides of conflict and truely evil characters are somewhat extinct just like "knights in shiny armor".
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Offline Brother of the Sixth Order

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Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2015, 08:47:04 PM »
I suppose when it comes to good and evil then a fantasy setting is a sucker for it.  What i do like is authors steering the genre away in to these grey areas and making it more difficult for the reader to gauge or assume, a good example of this is George R R Martin who in a Song of Ice and Fire presents two sides of the same coin with the conflict for the Iron Throne.  However i do feel that a dose of the dark is rising so that light must rise up to defeat it, or if Sauron gets his ring back then the world will be destroyed (therefore we destroy the ring) is necessary for a fantasy to develop.  Of course you could flip the coin because we all love Jorg Ancrath as a character and root for him to do well but he is pretty evil when it comes down to it.
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Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2015, 10:41:48 AM »
I prefer it the Michael Moorcock way - a constant battle between Order and Chaos where too much of any one side becomes a hell: one utterly restrictive, sterile and boring and the other an ever-changing madness of chaos.

The Traitor God & God of Broken Things

Offline Yora

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2015, 10:59:36 AM »
Order and Chaos makes sense. But Good can, by definition, not be a bad thing. And the world does not become better by keeping a healthy dose of Evil.

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2015, 01:22:48 PM »
Order and Chaos makes sense. But Good can, by definition, not be a bad thing. And the world does not become better by keeping a healthy dose of Evil.

I have no issues with a monolithic Evil that just wants to watch the world burn and enjoys inflicting pain. That's bad on any scale.

A monolithic Good though...I do have issues with. It would be so nebulously 'good' as to be mostly impotent beyond a gentle encouraging hand. Or Good would enforce absolute global conformity, then any creature or behavior that is deemed 'good' automatically makes anything deviating from that as, at best, not-good, and at worst, Evil to be eliminated/re-educated. Any exposure to history or world events shows that one person's good is another's evil and I'm sure even Tolkien Orcs thought they were right and good, and humans were evil creatures trying to perpetrate genocide while hogging all the good green farmland for themselves (Mordor being a right crappy, barren place).
So, with a source of Good - who decides and enforces what is 'good'? Or is it a gentler, encouraging thing?

Such large concepts make for tricky writing, but I think David Gemmell's portrayal of The Source works perfectly -a force of goodness that mostly leaves people to make own choices but also gives them the strength to stand against absolute Evil when it rises.

The Traitor God & God of Broken Things

Offline YordanZh

Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2015, 06:41:43 AM »
Why in fantasy there's such a deal about Balance if good gets the upper hand then Evil must rise or vice versa why do we have to stick to neutrality.Surely we want good to win mostly or have a win for evil occasionally ;D

Imo, it's simply because the word "Balance" sounds cool and writers want to sound thoughtful.  ;D
And maybe because people wanted to escape from the "good must triumph over evil" cliché and instead created a new one?
"Tolkien did it." sounds like a good additional explanation as well. ;D

But yeah, I personally have nothing against it as a cliché. I mean, I don't like it when someone uses it in 2015, but I don't frown upon authors from 20-30-40 years ago that used it - it's normal. Maybe after a couple of decades our generation's "everything is gray" theme will be a cliché (maybe even much sooner), but I don't intend to stop sticking to it in my own writing. ;)

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Balance between Good v Evil
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2015, 06:46:53 AM »
I just find it funny that you have to keep evil in the world or else lol
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate