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AncalagonTheBlack

Lev Grossman: 'Magicians' trilogy, Post-Camelot Novel 'The Bright Sword'

33 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Werthead said:

Bestiality?

Jayne Poole? 

Anyways, I'm interested in reading a Grossman take on Arthurian legend. I find it weird that people seem to criticize his Fillory stuff as being too derivative like it's a completely worthless piece of pastiche like 'Ready Player One'. We shall see. 

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2 hours ago, polishgenius said:

The problem isn't with depicting rape per se- although some of GRRM's moments at least are skeevy as fuck, are you under the impression that people here don't criticise Martin?- but with the cliche of needing a bit of character development and dark moments for a female character to overcome, so insert a rape.

I'm not sure why you object to the usage of this trope. There's a pretty wide variety of dark moments for characters both female and male and this is just one of them. Furthermore, it's not even used in its purest form as the action in question is mostly about a summoned evil entity taking the soul of one of the summoners.

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On 9/29/2016 at 10:18 PM, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah, if only that could get a good author to write one.

:snort:  One thing we can truly agree on.  Grossman is trash.

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29 minutes ago, Altherion said:

I'm not sure why you object to the usage of this trope. There's a pretty wide variety of dark moments for characters both female and male and this is just one of them. Furthermore, it's not even used in its purest form as the action in question is mostly about a summoned evil entity taking the soul of one of the summoners.


My problem with the trope is that it's so often used when it doesn't need to be as the prime way to damage the woman (or worse, to damage the man who likes her, although in this case Grossman does avoid that) and in this one the fact that the entity in question took her soul made the rape bit less necessary, in fact, completely unnecessary, in a narrative sense. It felt like Grossman just thought we wouldn't feel bad enough for her if she was just metaphorically, rather than actually, raped.

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9 minutes ago, polishgenius said:


My problem with the trope is that it's so often used when it doesn't need to be as the prime way to damage the woman (or worse, to damage the man who likes her, although in this case Grossman does avoid that) and in this one the fact that the entity in question took her soul made the rape bit less necessary, in fact, completely unnecessary, in a narrative sense. It felt like Grossman just thought we wouldn't feel bad enough for her if she was just metaphorically, rather than actually, raped.

It's overused precisely because unlike, say, losing one's soul, it's something that human beings from our world can relate to. A grandmaster of the genre would ideally avoid such tropes, but I don't think anyone is arguing Grossman is at that level. It's not the greatest portrayal possible, but I don't see why it is worthy of censure.

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I think that's being a bit literal for the sake of a point, tbh. Sure, we can't actually imagine having our humanity literally taken from us by an evil godling, but we can sure imagine being abused and dehumanised and traumatised without it needing to be rape. Heck, she's already seen him waltz in and murder her friends, that's not traumatic enough by itself?

The thing is, if it existed entirely in a vaccuum then the scene in the book wouldn't stand out that much but a big part of why the trope is so problematic is that it's used so often that it feels like a lazy shortcut to add 'grit' to the life of a woman. And because it didn't add anything to the plot for me, it felt like that here.

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On the Hogwarts/Narnia criticism:

 

The Magicians is fantasy’s The Catcher in the Rye; if it doesn’t strike the right person at the precise right moment in their life, it’s a laughable mess. To those it does reach at that kairos, though, it’s a rare find.

The Magicians is written for the children who grew up alone or without direction. The ones lost in fantasy, those who convinced themselves, “My life would be perfect, if only… if only that Hogwarts letter had arrived… if only that wardrobe had opened. Then I could be happy.”

But that child wouldn’t be happy. And in The Magicians, that child is Quentin. He gets the magic school, the girl, the crown. Every fantasy those children lusted after. And one by one, he throws them away, hunting his next “if only…" Just as they would have.

As I wrote elsewhere:

Quote

“…I found [Quentin’s] corruption and his inevitable tendency for self-sabotage compelling. Quentin is always looking for the "next thing" that will save him from his depression. But the moment it falls into his hands, his eyes are already on his next futile hope for salvation.

The Magicians is a portrait of the eternally dissatisfied and their self-inflicted misery.”

It's a delusion held by so many young men and women that their unhappiness is an artifact of circumstance rather than outlook. Whether they dream of Hogwarts or (as I imagine it was in the case of young Lev) Narnia, they're wrong. And that's the message behind the first novel of The Magicians Trilogy.

Criticizing Grossman for sending Quentin to Corrupted Hogwarts/Narnia is a bit like denouncing Abercrombie for dispatching his Corrupted Fellowship on their quest in The First Law; a deconstruction takes the coin and shows us its other face.

Grossman must send Quentin to Hogwarts to prove his thesis; happiness isn’t something that arrives in your mailbox. 

  

 

 

Post-script: there are just so many places one could legitimately criticize Grossman (e.g. Elliot's horrid first POV in TML, the rushed ending of TML, the rape you mentioned) that to submit Brakebills/Fillory as examples of his inadequacy is... odd, in my opinion. Let me add the disclaimer that I generally very much enjoy reading your reviews, Werthead.

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18 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah Harry Potter had such a wonderful time at Hogwarts too. :rolleyes:

Well he did go from being a penniless, friendless, unloved orphan to being a rich hero so...

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3 minutes ago, Vaughn said:

Well he did go from being a penniless, friendless, unloved orphan to being a rich hero so...

Ahahaha, no.

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5 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

:snort:  One thing we can truly agree on.  Grossman is trash.

Well you're back on the xmas card list then! :thumbsup:

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3 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah Harry Potter had such a wonderful time at Hogwarts too. :rolleyes:

Harry Potter's most serious problems at Hogwarts stem from the existence of a Dark Lord who is interested in doing harm to the world in general and to Harry in particular. Quentin's most serious problems at Brakebills (as well as for the rest of the first book) stem from the fact that Quentin is an egoist who is incapable of appreciating all of the things being handed to him on a silver platter or perceiving the extent to which he is hurting people. Things don't get better for him until he becomes a better person and even then it takes a while.

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