February 26, 2020, 12:39:47 AM

Author Topic: Violence in fantasy  (Read 6215 times)

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2015, 09:46:19 AM »
Good feedback here.

Abercrombie is one of my favorite authors. Definately check out his work as he has mastered violent scenes imo.

I agree with RemadeGold regarding type of violence. Some things are best alluded too and left out in detail.

Offline JMack

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Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2015, 02:20:04 PM »
I'll go back to something I've noted on the Foum before: an Interesting Fact to Know and Tell!

The word obscene comes from Greek and can be parsed as ob - skena or...
"off scene".

So what was off scene? That is, what wasn't fit to show on stage in ancient Greek tragedies and comedies?
Sex? No.

Violence.

Clytemnestra murders Agamemnon and cuts off his head? Happens off scene. Then she comes on holding the head aloft.

It's just an interesting twist in perspective.

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Offline RussetDivinity

Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2015, 03:20:47 AM »
I'm okay with violence in fantasy as long as I don't feel like it's overdone. If I think it has a purpose, then I'm all right with it, but if it's just there because the author really wanted an epic fight scene, then the author might want to rethink it. Even constant violence in a story can work out well, as long as it feels like it suits the book; if it's just there because the author really wants to drive home the point that violence is a thing that happens (or just wants to write fight scenes all the time), then it starts to wear on me.

Also, going off the Greek thing, the Iliad actually had some overdone violence, at least in my opinion. I read it for a class recently (well, parts of it), and was amazed by how gory it is, and gleefully so. The part where Patroclus ran his spear through a man's chest, then pulled it out and brought the man's lungs out with it felt almost like it would be a parody of something today.

Offline JMack

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Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2015, 03:30:46 AM »
I'm okay with violence in fantasy as long as I don't feel like it's overdone. If I think it has a purpose, then I'm all right with it, but if it's just there because the author really wanted an epic fight scene, then the author might want to rethink it. Even constant violence in a story can work out well, as long as it feels like it suits the book; if it's just there because the author really wants to drive home the point that violence is a thing that happens (or just wants to write fight scenes all the time), then it starts to wear on me.

Also, going off the Greek thing, the Iliad actually had some overdone violence, at least in my opinion. I read it for a class recently (well, parts of it), and was amazed by how gory it is, and gleefully so. The part where Patroclus ran his spear through a man's chest, then pulled it out and brought the man's lungs out with it felt almost like it would be a parody of something today.

Yes, interesting about that. Have to admit that some of my memories of this are from 30+ years ago. I think there was a perceived difference between theatre and other forms of art.

I listened to the Iliad as a recorded book a few years ago, and had the same reaction - wow, this thing is violent.
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Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2015, 10:01:48 AM »
I think it's like anything else - it gets boring if it's overused. If that's all the novel is, relentless violence, then I'll likely get as bored as I would if all characters did was walk and talk, eat, then walk and talk, and eat... (Yes, Frodo and Sam walking through the mountains of Mordor bored me stiff). Violence especially will lose its impact in pivotal scenes if it's been overused or over-described earlier on. Something like Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes (essentially all about a single battle) does very well in balancing lots of violence with character interaction, and deftly balance the grim mood of the novel so it doesn't get out of control.

I'm fine with violence in books, but it needs to be balanced with other things. Grimdark is fine, but even that needs notes of lightness and hope and humour or it's just monotone bleak, and ultimately unsatisfying.

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Offline Nora

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Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2015, 05:47:56 AM »
In fiction in general - not necessarily fantasy - I often get a lot more marked by violence when it has an active psychological mark.

One of the most disturbing book to me from memory still is The Collector by Fowles, but also McCarthy's The Road.
Both book portray violence both physical but also psychological. I find that a certain form of pointlessness is absolutely devastating (in a good way).
The moral system is different and the violence appeals to us through that distorted lens, a reminder of how easy death comes, how meaningless lives actually are, unless you're here to give them value.
Both are books that made me bond with the characters in a very particular way and made me care and root for them, making any act of active violence a much more intense moment than in any other epic fantasy.
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Offline Rostum

Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2015, 04:00:46 PM »
Well put Nora.

Part of the issue I have with a lot of American movies Is the scripts have no moral compass. We are caught in a spiral where the body count must be higher and the explosions bigger and somehow this makes for a better film.
Some writing seems to be going this way a gentle build up to short, shocking violence is far more effective than pages full of blood and gore.

Offline JMack

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Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2015, 06:18:52 PM »
I've mentioned this elsewhere (maybe in this thread?  ???):

Jerzy Kosinski wrote a stunning Holocaust novel, The Painted Bird, in which prisoners sent to death camps appear only as trains in the distance or hands reaching out from rail car slats. Meanwhile, the boy at the center of the story is brutalized in a variety of ways. (Sorry for being depressing.) Kosinki's idea was that something as awful as the Holocaust could best be understood through an implied comparison to something small, personal and awful.
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Offline madfox11

Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2015, 08:37:54 AM »
I'll go back to something I've noted on the Foum before: an Interesting Fact to Know and Tell!

The word obscene comes from Greek and can be parsed as ob - skena or...
"off scene".

So what was off scene? That is, what wasn't fit to show on stage in ancient Greek tragedies and comedies?
Sex? No.

Violence.

Clytemnestra murders Agamemnon and cuts off his head? Happens off scene. Then she comes on holding the head aloft.

It's just an interesting twist in perspective.

But is that because it was considered obscene or because it is hard to depict such violence on the stage (especially in a world were a lot more people actually have seen it in real life)? Ancient Greek society was pretty brutal at times and as others pointed out violence/gore was not avoided in their literature.

Offline JMack

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Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2015, 11:03:22 AM »
I'll go back to something I've noted on the Foum before: an Interesting Fact to Know and Tell!

The word obscene comes from Greek and can be parsed as ob - skena or...
"off scene".

So what was off scene? That is, what wasn't fit to show on stage in ancient Greek tragedies and comedies?
Sex? No.

Violence.

Clytemnestra murders Agamemnon and cuts off his head? Happens off scene. Then she comes on holding the head aloft.

It's just an interesting twist in perspective.

But is that because it was considered obscene or because it is hard to depict such violence on the stage (especially in a world were a lot more people actually have seen it in real life)? Ancient Greek society was pretty brutal at times and as others pointed out violence/gore was not avoided in their literature.

Interesting question. In my Ancient Theater course at university, it was presented as "obscene" in the way we mean - not fit for public viewing. When I wrote that post, I decided to double check and went to that great font of truth Wikipedia to check on my memory and the "facts". I mainly got confirmation, but Wiki added sex to violence in terms of what was off-scene.

So, for me, the question isn't so much whether it was difficult to depict on stage - Greek theater was not realistic as we think of it, and didn't rely for emotional effect on being physically realistic, just emotionally and articially real. But the question of why a violent society would make violence off-stage - that's really interesting.

Have to think about that one.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline ArhiX

Re: Violence in fantasy
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2015, 05:04:30 AM »
This whole off-scene thing is actually... retarded and genious at the same time. I will just call it a neat idea to use in  writing.

I mean - if one has a BIG scene with a lot of violence - why not to cut it and make some of it happen off-scene?
Like literally - Chapter starts with a someone trying to save his/her friends from the hands of bandits. That person literally slaughters the front guards, and enters the room, where his/her friends are held and where REAL baddies are. And the next thing you know is that in the next chapter our herois sitting in a room.
But what is it? He lost his arm. And where is his best friend? Where are 2 other person? Why is everything so gloomy?

And one can literally SKIP a scene when bad things happened, to let the reader know from the dialogue later on, or just make a little break from action, a moment of relief, just to throw us right into this slaughterhouse of doom and despair again. Now we see how his best friends is a traitor. How females were treated. How one person was tortured to death. How he fights his best friend, loses his arm and kills him. How one of his friends sacrifices, so the rest can escape.
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