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Old 02-09-2012, 04:56 AM   #46
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How about the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer (about an evil boy genius). It's YA but still..
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:40 PM   #47
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there's always the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. theres nobody good in these books lol. chaotic neutral at best.

more along the lines of anti-hero than pure evil theres-

Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick:

"Rothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain."


Den of Thieves by David Chandler:

"Born and raised in the squalid depths of the Free City of Ness, Malden became a thief by necessity. Now he must pay a fortune to join the criminal operation of Cutbill, lord of the underworld—and one does not refuse the master . . . and live.

The coronet of the Burgrave would fulfill Malden’s obligations, though it is guarded by hungry demons that would tear the soul from any interloper. But the desperate endeavor leads to a more terrible destiny, as Malden, an outlaw knight, and an ensorcelled lady must face the most terrifying evil in the land."



it does surprise me that in all of fiction there isn't a story about an evil guy slaying heroes on his quest to rule the land with an iron fist. it seems like such a simple premise.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:47 AM   #48
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Disney ruined the market for it. We were raised expecting happy endings and sympathetic protagonists.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:50 AM   #49
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Disney ruined the market for it. We were raised expecting happy endings and sympathetic protagonists.
not me, i hate disney lol. i've never seen a disney film,even as a kid they never appealed to me.

i just dislike goody two shoes, especially in my fiction because they're simply not believable. a goody goody would get slaughtered the second he left his village. plus it seems like good always cheats, inevitably there will be a magic trinket that helps the 15 year old boy defeat the evil wizard who has been practicing his magic for centuries. a wizard who raises armies of the dead, rips open gates to other dimensions but is defeated by a kid. thats just cheating. take the ring away from frodo and see how far he gets.

i think i enjoy rougher fantasy like many of the titles mentioned because its simply more believable. a battle scarred veteran or assassin has a legitimate chance of defeating the bad guy. they're on more even terms.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:50 AM   #50
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The strange thing is:

Why, in every fantasy novel, is the evil always *way* more powerful than the good? Even in Lord of the Rings, I have the idea that:

- Saruman is more powerful than Gandalf.
- The Nazgul King is more powerful than both Gandalf and Saruman.
- They all can't even begin to compare to Sauron... let alone Morgoth, who is Sauron³.

And still, they all are all around the same age, as they're all Maiar. It seems the more evil you become, the more powerful you get.

Also, many fantasy stories seem to be an ending, instead of a beginning. Lord of the Rings always refers to the Second and First age, The Sword of Shannara refers to the Second and First war of the races (and even a world before that), for example.

Sometimes I have the idea that I need to quit reading fantasy for some time, because once in a while I get the idea that I'm reading the same story over and over again, just replacing the names of the persons and the magic "stuff" they use
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:19 PM   #51
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The hero's journey or arc requires challenges so he can't be obviously stronger than his opponent(s). If there is no struggle then there is no drama. That archetype is deeply rooted in so many cultures. It is not a Johnny-come-lately (or Disney) thing. It is what sells, what Joe Public wants.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:09 PM   #52
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Yeah, but it's still strange that the hero often acquires huge amounts of power in a few weeks or months where it took the bad guy a long time, often hundreds or even thousands of years. Same is true in RPG's on the computer: non-player characters in AD&D are extremely powerful at level 18, and often very old, while the 'adventurer' can reach level 18 in a few weeks of game time. For example, in Icewind Dale, you can go from level 1 to 21 or so in under 70 game days
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:34 PM   #53
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I strongly suspect that many epic high fantasies were cribbed from an author's D&D session where s/he gave themselves God Mode Mary Sue powers.

And while we're on the subject of Disney, a little part of me kind of wants to see their cartoon adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. The same part which makes me want to also see them do Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies.

WARNING: Those links go to TV Tropes. I am not responsible for your loss of time or brain cells should you choose to click.

(ETA: The OP may find the "Literature" sections of the Villain Protagonist and The Bad Guy Wins pages to be Relevant To Their Interests. Lots of crime/horror/historical but also some fantasies described in somewhat spoilery detail.)


As for good fantasy novels with bloodily-pragmatic assassins/battle scarred veterans in the protagonist role, I recommend Mickey Zucker Reichert's The Legend of Nightfall and the original Renshai Trilogy (sequels not as good, feel free to skip).

The first has the assassin reluctantly roped in via magical geas to help out a naively would-be heroic prince on a quest. He's not happy about it and will cheerfully go to underhanded means to make sure everything works out, but the thing is he has to obey any order the prince gives him on pain of losing his soul, and the prince is kind of a starry-eyed parfait and gentyll knyght twit prone to giving overly-chivalrous and honourable direct instructions, so the assassin has to sneakily work around that when he'd rather be doing some serious stabbing instead (preferably to said prince). It's a fun read.

The Renshai trilogy is set in an unusual world where the Norse gods are kind of real and the human part of the world has been divided into four alignments of Lawful Good, Chaotic Evil, and two Neutrals, and whose inhabitants are generally expected to abide by said alignments. The protagonists of this one generally belong to a Northern tribe which is considered by the neighbours to be secretly evil because of their combat-obsessed pragmatic approach to warfare, which lacks sufficient "honour" and thus tends to lead to occasional attempted genocides of said tribe (there's a decent chunk in the books about why Lawful Good can be neither and Chaotic Evil of occasional benefit).

Apparently a big chunk of what happens is part of a plot masterminded by some of the Norse gods to try and stave off the inevitable Ragnarock and there's plenty of maneuvering and backstabbing which Our Hero is none-too-pleased about being pushed towards a Glorious Destiny of. Again, lots of fun if you like seeing people around him being shocked at his seemingly-callous-to-them tactics.

Last edited by ATDrake; 02-14-2012 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Do not adjust your set. We control the horizontal and the vertical and hereby drag you back on topic.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:43 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
The strange thing is:

Why, in every fantasy novel, is the evil always *way* more powerful than the good? Even in Lord of the Rings, I have the idea that:

- Saruman is more powerful than Gandalf.
- The Nazgul King is more powerful than both Gandalf and Saruman.
- They all can't even begin to compare to Sauron... let alone Morgoth, who is Sauron³.

Also, many fantasy stories seem to be an ending, instead of a beginning. Lord of the Rings always refers to the Second and First age, The Sword of Shannara refers to the Second and First war of the races (and even a world before that), for example.
In a way, I think you're looking at it from the wrong perspective?

Some of your points, for example, can be summarized as: why is a lot of fantasy similar to Lord of the Rings?

And the answer to that is that a lot of fantasy is derivative of Tolkien. The Shannara for example was Del Rey's immediate attempt to cash in on the Tolkien craze and a lot of D&D-ish fantasy (either the properties themselves like Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance; or those that were clearly based on it like the Riftwar series) drew significant (but not the only source) inspiration from it.

As for evil being more powerful than good:

1) From a narrative standpoint, there's not a lot of conflict if good is equal to--or more powerful--than evil. All the heroes need to do is track down the villain (although that too could make for interesting conflict) and viola, end of story.

2) Strictly speaking, doing good is usually more difficult. Or rather, evil has more options. Evil, for example, can use hostages, hurt the loved ones of their enemies, lie, etc. So it's natural for evil to have the advantage, especially during an equal fight.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:49 AM   #55
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Then, you have stated why there are so few fantasy novels where the main protagonist is evil; he can do basically anything he wants, he is probably the most powerful character in the story, and is impossible to stop if you want him to win

You could start out with a good protagonist that starts out weak, then turns evil, and starts to slowly rise in power and try to squash his previous good friends.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:48 PM   #56
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Then, you have stated why there are so few fantasy novels where the main protagonist is evil; he can do basically anything he wants, he is probably the most powerful character in the story, and is impossible to stop if you want him to win
No, previous post just explained why evil tends to be more powerful than good.

What you're positing presumes:

a) the evil character is omnipotent (they're not, it's just in an even playing field, evil has the advantage); just because you're evil doesn't automatically mean you're powerful

b) novels are also market-driven and editorially-driven; maybe editors don't want to read about evil characters, and readers want sympathetic characters.
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:11 AM   #57
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For sure I want sympathetic characters as the main characters whether good or evil. A good character has a bit of both.

It's all about the writing and whether I can identify with the main characters. Once I could identify with Peter Pan, today I would probably be rooting for Captain Cook.

Books, movies etc. where the slaughters many people for nefarious reasons and escapes back to wherever he came from so he can do it again, generally don't appeal to me. If the protaganist has a reasonable motive for his actions than he is not totally the bad guy.

I don't like extremely saccharine endings, but I don't like extremely gross ones either

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Old 02-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #58
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It's all about the writing and whether I can identify with the main characters.
While I like Terry Brooks' stories very much, I often think: "Does it HAVE to be ANOTHER Ohmsford? Pu-leaassee!"

And I hate young characters... the younger they get, the less I want to read the book. It's the main reason that I never read (and probably never will read) the Harry Potter novels. 15-16 years (Shea Ohmsford, in Sword of Shannara) is te absolute minimum I wish to go for... 21-24 would be better.

I just can't identify with very young characters because I always feel that there is no way in hell they would be able to stand up for themselves or be able to accomplish anything. (Do you see a 12 year old boy, or even younger, making Frodo's journey? I don't...)
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:39 PM   #59
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I have read several books with very easy to identify with (for me)young characters.
Peter Abrahams - Down the Rabbit Hole
Derek Landy - Skulduggery Pleasant.
And others.

I admit I read them by accident as they were classified as mystery or fanatasy.

I doubt I will read Harry Potter, but one never knows.

Me, I avoid books with animals(pets, sidekicks) who rabbit on like two year olds, but each to his own.

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Old 02-16-2012, 12:52 PM   #60
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I just can't identify with very young characters [...] (Do you see a 12 year old boy, or even younger, making Frodo's journey? I don't...)
Suppose Tolkien had never invented Hobbits, does it really matter if Frodo is a 33 year old hobbit/halfling, or a 12 year old boy? I think I'd still have read the story and liked it a great deal...

Sure, in reality most 12 year olds are vegetables; with each generation parents seem to be getting ever more protective of their children, so they have very little chance to learn about the world / make their own decisions / etc.

But realism like that just gets in the way when you read fantasy. You just have to accept that within the story you're reading, it's apparently perfectly acceptable for a 12 year old to be able to walk and talk and think, even if that's completely unrealistic.

Not reading a book because the main character is young isn't an option for me... too many great books among there, and I'd rather have young characters here and there than Hobbits in every book
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