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Author Topic: Gurdig & Grey: Whimsy with Gritty Style?  (Read 493 times)

Offline JMack

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Gurdig & Grey: Whimsy with Gritty Style?
« on: November 25, 2020, 12:17:34 PM »
I’m back working on my Gurdig and Grey concept, making real progress with outlining stories and world building. Usually, G&G has a buddy-story vibe that is comfortable with snark and some gruesome ideas. The tone is a bit on the Riyria side of things, for those of you who’ve read those books.

G&G also works with gender roles. Grey is a human woman who dresses and “acts like a man” in a traditional patriarchal society. She is lesbian by tendency. Gurdig is a female goblin who also attempts to break out of traditional female roles in her society. This commonality is a key reason for the bond of sisterhood the two build.

I mention the gender stuff because I got a notion this morning about them encountering a character who magically shifts between male and female archetypes. S/he presents to me almost like Tom Bombadil and in the story would offer a moment of respite for our tired heroes.

But does whimsy have a place in G&G’s world? What are the preconditions for whimsy in a fantasy world, and how far on the continuum toward grim dark can you go with whimsy? Maybe its just a style of whimsy?


Example thoughts:

Hobbits create the field for whimsy. The stronger, more serious elements of the story emerge over time. But ents can pop up (whimsy) as can palantir (not whimsy). Gollum is whimsy and grim in one wonderful package.

In Riyria, I think the whimsy starts from the snarky dialogue between Royce and Hadrian. There’s a wonderful cartoonish-ness to their relationship and antics. But their world doesn’t,allow the same level of whimsy as Middle Earth.


I’m very interested in everyone’s thoughts on this.
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You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Gurdig & Grey: Whimsy with Gritty Style?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2020, 12:27:41 PM »
I don't think you've read Malazan, have you?
Erikson does a great job of alternating really harsh, gritty and violent scenes with comic dialogue and lighter scenes.

So for me, this is totally possible in a story that's mostly dark and serious, in fact, it's a big advantage for me as a reader. Riyria never went that far on the gritty scale, actually.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 12:30:02 PM by ScarletBea »
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Offline Jake Baelish

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Re: Gurdig & Grey: Whimsy with Gritty Style?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2020, 02:59:44 AM »
I want to see more whimsy in grim dark, honestly.

I love Joe Abercrombie, but the one and only thing I'd like more in there is for it to feel more like ACTUAL fantasy.
And that requires whimsy!

I can't be the only one. I really liked your recent short story with the two and that strikes the balance well in my opinion.

The Brothers Grimm, in a silly way, pioneered it, I guess, with their fairy tales that would shock many kids today  ;D

There is a gap in the market for sure  :)

Offline Bender

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Re: Gurdig & Grey: Whimsy with Gritty Style?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2020, 04:54:31 AM »
I don't think you've read Malazan, have you?

Have to second this. Especially Beak as a character. So childish, so whmsical...esp set in a grusome battle with tragedy looming over all of them. Probably one of my favourite segments.
*No, I deny tearing up...must be dust in air*

G&G also works with gender roles. Grey is a human woman who dresses and “acts like a man” in a traditional patriarchal society. She is lesbian by tendency. Gurdig is a female goblin who also attempts to break out of traditional female roles in her society. This commonality is a key reason for the bond of sisterhood the two build.

I would advise caution on this. You don't really want to portray women who act like a man, but rather someone of her own strong personality. Not that I've read much, but the 'butch' characters seem to be more popular than the 'femme' characters whenever lesbian relationships are written in books (I could be wrong in this though, but just a generic feeling). Breaking out from traditional feminine characterization is definitely not the same as acting like a male character imo.

But does whimsy have a place in G&G’s world? What are the preconditions for whimsy in a fantasy world, and how far on the continuum toward grim dark can you go with whimsy? Maybe its just a style of whimsy?

As to G&G world, why not? I'm not aware of any kind of partnership thatcan't be whimsical.

Now coming to Grimdark world, I'd definitely look forward. Whimsy serves to break up the darkness and balance the overall feel + it does enhance the grimdark elements. You've just lightened up and then wham! the death/grimness hits you twice as hard.
 
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Offline JMack

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Re: Gurdig & Grey: Whimsy with Gritty Style?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2020, 12:13:05 PM »
Hi, @Bender. Caution fully noted. “Acts like a man” is how she’s perceived by her society because she fights, wears men’s clothing, and defies male authority. I do need to make sure she is her own unique person and not a stereotype or cardboard cutout.

Thanks for comments on whimsy, everyone! I’m enjoying them.
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You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline isos81

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Re: Gurdig & Grey: Whimsy with Gritty Style?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2020, 12:46:03 PM »
I love reading books of different views, such as Goblin and Human brotherhood/sisterhood. That was one of the reasons I loved Orconomics. Alternating between harsh and comic scenes is also another one I like to read more if handled properly. It should feel natural, not fabricated though. And I'm pretty sure you more than capable of doing both. :)
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'