Crossing Genre Lines

originally posted by Lyssabits

I actually loved Peril's Gate… it was like watching the cast commentary on a movie or something. :wink: I think the difference there for me was that while I knew that story, the details were being refined, we got to watch from other perspectives, see where Arithon was being effected by the curse, etc… For some reason, repetition of the same information about specific events bothers me less than what feels like repetition of the same sort of event in different situations since we don't really learn anything new, we just watch Arithon do the same thing for different audiences. Like going to the same play night after night. It's always a little different, sometimes different lines get the laughs, sometimes the audience is with the performers and they give an inspired performance, sometimes the audience is bad and the performers start flubbing their lines, but you don't learn anything new about the play. I was an usher once for a show… I was always intensely grateful when the guys started ad libing, even when the lines didn't work, just to give me something new to watch. I could have played any of the roles by the end of the run, I knew all the lines.

originally posted by max

While I was not offended in anyway manner or form, I can't imagine poor Arithon and Elaira having to look at each other with that memory in their heads. And Dakar should be more than ashamed, he should have absolutely refused!! I mean…EW…EW…EW,EW,EW! I am frankly glad that Janny does not shy away from TELLING HER STORY!! That story is not meant for children. And if that story bothers one, there's alot in the same genre that are just plain porn. So one has to toughen up a bit, the real world is alot grosser than that passage. smiling at ya!!

originally posted by Susan C

Reading the comments on tedious, repetitive sections in the books, I am perplexed. I know somethings are repeated, but they usually are from another character's perspective giving the orignial scene more depth. One of the most important aspects of the books is to get us to think and realize that each individual's perspective on an event changes the meaning. Finding truth or understanding can be more difficult than many people imagine.

Reviewing the scene in TK that is in question-I can not find how it is sexually explicit in anyway. It is written in a way the reader knows what is going on without it actually going into explicit detail.

Angela, yes it made people uncomfortable, but for many it was not because it was sexually explicit, but because it made us feel for the characters. I read a variety of books and many of the books I read have sexually explicit scenes. This scene is so tame in comparision to other books found on bestsellers lists.

Hi Angela - welcome here.

I respect your view, entirely as is.
And, in fact, you have stimulated a wonderful discussion. (ignore me, people, keep going, please!)

It's well known on this forum, though perhaps not to you, that I will answer direct questions IF I am asked.

Therefore, given my complete respect for your feelings, which does not in any way make me want to change them - in the interest of understanding, though, you May ask - why did I write this scene in the manner I did, and what part does it play?

In that regard, I can emphatically offer the assurance - it was NOT done frivolously, or with intent to shock out of hand, or to whack people's entirely beautiful sensibilities for no reason. I would NEVER! put such sensitive matter on page just to "fizz" the storyline with "porn" to titillate a reader…or to stimulate through "forbidden" ideas by commercial intent, period.

There is an underlying template and purpose (and yes, I can promise, you won't see another scene like -this- one again in this series) and yes, you may, if you like, e mail me privately if you would rather inquire that way, although I have no qualms about answering honestly presented queries directly, right here.

If you look quite carefully at the writing, I THINK I took pains to be certain a child without explicit knowledge would not be able to second-guess what is actually happening. If that does not play true, then, assuredly I did fail on that point.

originally posted by Angela Bawden

I admit I am new to this discusion forum, though not to forums in other places. I actually joined beacause, after two years have passed and after an eye-opening sojourn in Japan, I've been debating whether to pick up this series again. This scene is the obstacle I have to overcome, so I wanted feedback and input, which I have recieved and am grateful for. I'm still deciding. :smiley:
Janny Wurts, I am quite grateful and happy to have you comment on this discussion! You're right, I didn't know about the direct questions getting answers. If I had I would have asked why…but you just answered that. :smiley: So, thank you. I didn't think you had included that scene just "to 'fizz' the storyline with 'porn' to titillate the reader", but I couldn't see the reason for it. It shows that Arithon is physically, deeply connected with the earth, which we already knew. And, as Auna said, "I saw this as a great lesson for Dakar and the reader about trusting Arithon to handle things". I saw those two points, but I already knew them. I am intensely curious to know if there is a deeper purpose than these for this scene. Am I completely off base, or is there a reason I'm not guessing at? I would be intensely interested if there was.
If questionable content is included for a specific purpose, then I am willing to accept it.
Honestly, I guess I'm looking for an argument that will reconcile me to this scene. Otherwise, I loved Traitor's Knot. I thought it regained the vitality of the first two books that were my favorite of the series. Oh, and let me add that the necromancy scene made me uncomfortable too…but in a horror genre kind of way. Which is to say it sent chills down my spine…and though I hate getting scared, I could see the purpose of it, and therefore it didn't "bother" me. I actually was quite caught up in it. :wink:

All right, then. You Asked.

In fact, it's delightful to answer, since this is possibly one of the most misconstrued scenes in the story. Might be a blessing to have the information examined in a less hysterical light - :smiley: - please note, Angela, the more rabid responses have been elsewhere, and not brought "home" as it were, to this board. I appreciate your courage, for that. (elsewhere, my hands are quite tied, and you have freed me, as it were.)

I will do my best to respond, bearing in mind that the story will cover territory that will vindicate everything, quite well, without my intervention in the direct authorial voice.

Next, we will all note: this is a work of Fiction, and though some ideas have been drawn from some esoteric sources, and while some folks have, or claim to have, experience that may parallel what appears to "be" on any given page, let's not equate this stuff with what IS real - although given a quantum universe, what is real cannot be separated (quite) from the point of view of the observer. I am author, but not authority, if you can catch the subtle difference. :smiley:

This said, here goes:

The purpose of this scene was manyfold.

Primarily, it was the most graphic example I could create that would unfold the ENERGETIC template that occurs between an attuned crown prince, and the land's energetic patterning, or electromagnetic underpinning.

Before we run off screaming, why This way, let us take due note: NONE of the characters present in that scene was pleased IN ANY WAY with what occurred. So it could be said, their feelings and yours ran in parallel.

If Kharadmon (and through him, Dakar) regarded the event as necessity, the reason for that will unfold with more clarity in due time - although the latent forces in the land's lanes, UNDISCHARGED, was certainly and plainly going to cause ecological disaster, if not more - that exigency was pretty well delineated on page - I can easily concede the possibility that this point becomes eclipsed, in the heat of whatever predisposition a reader brings to what's just happened on the page.

Next, this scene "stages" the foundation for one of the climactic scenes in Stormed Fortress.

WARNING HEREFORWARD - direct spoilers for earlier volumes may follow:

This scene, very dramatically and neatly, shows the reader the importance and the mystery of the crystal left with Koriathain, and why Elaira can't just "ask" for her vows to be rescinded with Fellowship help. There is a gentle restatement of an earlier point, that not even Sethvir understands all the ramifications of this conundrum.

If one sets sexual bias and the squeamishness born of personal and/or societal taboos (which have their reasons, I am not arguing that) the underlying points would become quite clear.

The books STILL HAVE NOT addressed what exactly happens when a crown prince receives Sanction, and the attunement to the land - or what a High King, crowned, really means, or how such ranked service functions. The books will unfold this - look to future volumes. This scene is just the "opener" as far as how IMPORTANT such a binding can become.

This is the scene that begins the fracture between Dakar's past, and his future - which road his acceptance of responsibility will finally take. Heretofore, he's been either blind, or divided. In choosing Kharadmon's stance, that was a defining moment, whether he recognized it or not.

We see that Arithon and Elaira are not unbiased, either, that for them, the greater picture is of less importance, at this moment in the story - and that the meaning of Arithon's name as Fate's Forger will continue to play, as he challenges the lines drawn before him with innovation - but that he sometimes could fail to see everything coming.

This scene was the most graphic I could imagine that would show just how INSIDIOUS the Prime's plotting had become - that the trap she had spun almost slipped straight past the Fellowship Sorcerers' vigilance. Or did it???

In all respects, the stakes were deepened, and heightened - and it's now quite plain that underneath the characters' actions and interactions, there is an energetic law and pattern at play - hard to explain without a lot of dry exposition - far better to see it in action. A lesser scene would have been too easily disregarded, or forgotten, or written off as of no importance. When the pattern comes round again, you will not have forgotten - the act itself was the lesser point - the greater was the implication drawn.

That Kharadmon would have ever contemplated such an intervention - imagine the stakes? When once he loved, also, and you have seen his gallantry when he interacted with Elaira, in Fugitive Prince. Might ask WHY he thought the importance so high - and then watch for the unfoldment to see.

This scene spring-boarded Arithon's aversion to ASK Fellowship help - and why he ran quite such a high risk at Etarra in subduing the Gray Kralovir…YES that scene ought to scare you silly!!! It did me. In spades. It's an ugly concept, horrific, and will stage into the handling of the two more apparently refined, and insidious cults that are still left on world.

You are MEANT to feel viscerally in this scene…doesn't matter what society you are from, or what those human systems deem acceptable - the emotional violation of ALL the characters involved, vs the exigency of what the Fellowship Sorcerers were forced to stand by in the moment - this was actual the crucible.

There is a contrast drawn, too, with THIS event and later ones in Stormed Fortress, set against that climactic scene for Arc III - you'll need to read the story further, for that, I will not risk spoiling it here.

Anyone who does not wish to go on, or who is so offended by this scene - so be it. I don't choose your reading - you do…but I would ask, is there anything WORSE than the scene at the Havens, or Tal Quorin, or - well name any of a dozen??? And neither of those were done frivolously, either, as later books bore out quite nicely.

My applause to this group here for discussing this topic with the respect and insight that both awes me, and makes me appreciate you as my readers - thank you!

My closing point: you are NOT MEANT TO BE RECONCILED with this scene - on any count! That was its purpose - just as the scene at the Havens, or what occurred in Daon Ramon Barrens, under Jieret - these scenes were never meant to rest well, or feel good - they will, however, drive the characters to unveil further strengths and depths. And rise to new changes. THAT will be well worth the waiting for, I can quite earnestly hope.

originally posted by Greebo

"there is an energetic law and pattern at play - hard to explain without a lot of dry exposition - far better to see it in action"
And ick factor aside, I agree wholeheartedly with this. My first thought on reading it was, lovely, cheers, getting the point but was it really necessary to use that particular illustration? But on thinking a little, I realised that the scene worked on many levels because of the example chosen, and some other illustration would not have had anywhere near the impact - on the readers, or on the characters. I wouldn't respect the story so much if it was always an easy read. So thats that, and bravo Janny for tackling it, and as tastefully as possible, on the whole. :wink:

originally posted by Hunter

Tis a strange world we live in when descriptions of multiple mass murders of thousands upon thousands of people for misguided ideals, be those people innocent or war hardened warriors, is somehow deemed as far less offensive (or far more acceptable) than a couple of pages of description of an interrupted private act. People's emotions got trampled in this bit, many of the other scenes have people's lives ripped, hacked and crushed out of them. Each to their own for what they deem offensive.

Were you not more offended by the description of what Lysaer's headhunters did to the women of the Deshir clans before Lysaer turned them into ash? Did not the treatment of Jieret at Lysaer's hand turn your stomach - the first hand account of such violence?

For me, the scene with Arithon and Elaira was almost a "can't see the forest for the trees" kind of scene. On the surface we can visualize what's happening but beyond that, the scene commands you to ask - why? What's happening here? Why is this important? Janny has expounded on this above to provide more basis for her writing in this instance.

On a lighter note, if Janny had used the term "heaving bosom" anywhere in the scene, then you would be correct is banishing this to the Mills and Boon section… thankfully that did not happen, nor do we yet have a Lysaer as Fabio pose on a cover.

originally posted by Tygrr

Right on Hunter!!! I agree totally! Janny has a way of making the love between Arithon and Elaira more sacred than just the act they were interrupted from. That was, at least for me, as heart-wrenching an act as any of the other horrible moments, such as Jieret's torture, or the desolation of Talith before her death, or the battles like Tal Quorin, the Havens or Vastmark.

Janny is magical in her ability to convey words that can cause such emotion in her readers. She is able to express the desecration of negative events with such an amazing capacity. But, that at least goes both ways, as the triumphs in the book are able to make the reader understand how wonderful it is. The love that Elaira and Arithon share, and their empathic link is one, or even the healing of the boy that caused the link, or Arithon's evolution as both mage and musician.

Which brings me to add that though some of the scenes describing in-depth the precaution and steps for each and every complex conjury or song are necessary. Without that the complexity would be commonplace, and rather plain. Janny shows us that it is not easy, and that it should be given it's due respect.

originally posted by Neil

Moving on.

This is a nice little *gem* from Janny: "handling of the two more apparently refined, and insidious cults that are still left on world"

We only know of these 2 factions from SF when Arithon tells us about their existence although Traithe or Davien refer to Grey Kralovir in TK as the "worst" implying other necromancers.

"Apparently refined" is a new tidbit though :wink:

These two cults must be aware of Arithon and the demise of the Kralovir. They won't be sitting around waiting for an attack.

Presumbly these cults never do enough dammage to the land to arouse the Fellowship. Townborn humanity seems to be their prey.

Is Arithon motivated to go after them or will Lysaer try something? What are A's and L's next moves?

Do only the Fellowship, Koriani and Arithon know about the Biedar's history?

originally posted by motley

I wanted to add about the horrors unleashed at Tal Quorin, Vastmark and in gutting the Kralorvir, didn't seem to cause any response in the light of the one above - but I ran out of time.

(As I reread, I see Hunter has made comment on this too. :smiley: )

This is not just a phenomenon in this book, but everywhere. Hardcore violence with buckets of blood is barely blinked at, human nakedness gasped at. Which is the worse? Nobody blinks at hordes of people gunned down for political expediency (and often just for business), but oh my word if someone lifts a shirt, has sex outdoors, runs naked across a pitch (as happened in Oz during the cricket - nice rugby tackle too…)

Not that I'm advocating free for all orgies; obviously it has its risks, but surely on the scale of shockability, should be less? In any case, to quote Dr. Brennan - we should not forget just how "deeply physical" a being we are.

I love how this series is deeply physical in its rendition of the human (and other) spirit. Though at times the bodies of the poor characters do get beaten around a lot… a little too calvinistic at times for my taste. Does Arithon ever get a massage?

[Stormed Fortress Spoilers deleted]

As for the Episode in Perils Gate - imagine having sex, and the WHOLE COUNTRY going ballistic? Man, that is just too much… *laugh* knowing that every sensitive person along all the lanes would get an earful that the Sanctioned royal of the country is inflagrante? Would certainly put me off. *grin* Wonder how the King of Havish feels?

(Message edited by admin on March 13, 2008)

WATCH YOUR SPOILERS!!! :smiley: This is an open topic.
(Gryphon, can you mark the above post as a spoiler beware?) :smiley:

originally posted by Jeffrey L Watson

I edited the post above and deleted the SF spoilers.

originally posted by motley

*BLUSH* oops… normally careful about that. I am SO sorry. A good discussion that really absorbed my attention.


originally posted by Susan C

I briefly mentioned the Havens in an early response, but Hunter and Motley really hit the nail on the head. In US society, violence is much more tolerated than sex. Our hang-ups as a society are confusing.

While violence is more tolerated than sex there is even mixed messages on what type of violence is tolerated. There are many shock/horror films that are truly gruesome in their graphic detail of violence and very little outcry is heard, but then a movie like Saving Private Ryan received a great deal of attention because of the graphic nature of the violence. Saving Private Ryan was trying to present as true as possible depiction of WWII battles specifically the D-Day invasion. A film like Texas Chainsaw Masscre isn't presenting anything but an entertainment that horror fans like to see. One movie is trying to scare you and make a profit, while the other also is out to make a profit it also makes a point that war is hell and war is bloody. People getting "whacked" on TV shows doesn't seem to phase peoople, but Janet Jackson flashes a nano second of breast on TV the country is in an uproar.

The nice thing is we still have the right to choose what we read or watch on TV and in movies.

originally posted by motley

Susan, that's true. But sometimes one is watching something, and is sideswiped. I was watching a news documentary on reporters in the field, and suddenly they played the soundtrack of the notorious execution of a hostage… and though I scrambled for the remote, it was over. I had nightmares for MONTHS afterwards. (I still shudder at it)

I wrote to the show and expressed my disgust. Their point was to show how traumatic it is to be a journalist sometimes, and I grant that, but not at 9pm! It was done for sensationalism, and they got a lot of flack from the public. Had I known they were going to actually PLAY it, I would not have watched, and also for the fact that it was a deed that deserved no attention.

Actually that was a turning point in my life - I realised what sensationalism actually does, and has done, to normalise our senses, and so refuse to do the same. (Funny thing life: this was soon after I participated in something similar.)

originally posted by Susan C

Motley, granted we get sideswiped. My point was more to the one you and Hunter made. Why does sex send people screaming, but not violence? How can one be offended by something more implied than explicit, but not even mention the violence? Somethings we can not seeing coming and hence-the shock of it, but for most regular TV shows, etc-we can turn it off or stop watching if we don't like a series or stop reading if we don't like a book. In some countries reading material, TV, movies, and the media are heavily censored and no one has a choice. That is the choice I mean.

My job deals with teenage sexuality and I forever and facing the problem of parents who are afraid to teach their children anything because the fear it will encourage them. They think keeping them ignorant will somehow protect them. There are alot of people who can't talk to their children because they can't say certain words (like correct anatomical terms). These people worry about exposing their children to anything of a sexual nature, but will let their kids play violent video games.

originally posted by Angela Bawden

First off, thank you Janny Wurts! Your answer completely satisfied me! I may have to apply white-out to one sentence to assauge my conscience and keep my books children friendly (I started reading from the adult fiction shelves in the library at 11 years old, FYI.), but i think i'll track down your books again. :smiley: And you provided tantilizing hints at future content that has me itching to read Stormed Fortress. So, THANK YOU very sincerely! I am even more grateful that you weren't offended, especially since I know my morals are considered stuffy and old fashioned now days. oh well, to each their own.
Moving on.
ok, I have to say that, Hunter, your post made me laugh because it is so true! And I have wondered about it myself - why is violence seemingly much more acceptable then sex when portrayed? My friend (athiest) has a theory about why in America: he says it's all due to America being founded by Puritans and the like, and that culture has stayed strongly with us. but i don't think that's it because that theory fails to address violence being acceptable, nda the fact that America is not the only country to have this view. I think that our acceptance of seeing blood and guts has evolved because, face it, we eat meat. Humans are Omnivors. only 100 years ago our grandparents were slaughtering their own chickens and pigs. Now we get our meat in neat plastic packages. THAT is wierd, if you think about it.
So, my ideas on why violence is more acceptable than sex when portrayed in any art form is twofold. 1) As I just said, Humans are meat eaters. AND we have constant wars. we are constantly exposed to blood and death. death is a part of life. we see is all the time without the help of movies or books. So , when media and art chooses to portray death, though we may be disgusted by it, we are not viscerally shocked by it. (and yes, the violent scenes did effect me, but prime time news and war specials have long since acustomed me to it.) 2) As to why sex is met with more shock and disaproval, like I said in an earier post, it is something special and sacred. such things are not paraded around out of respect…but when it is paraded around (I think of gay parades and cring) people are offended because of the disrespect - and shocked because we don't "see" it regularly. Also because, well, frankly sex is done behind closed doors…and usually in the dark (giggles). Always has been. Death, on the other hand, by it's very nature, is seen. wars are very public affairs. so is eating meat. sex is a very private affair. Therefore, when sex is put onto the public platform, the human psciche is shocked. There is a visceral reaction.
that's my theory at least. easy for me to understand, hard to put into words. I hope I made sense. I also tried to cut out any religious arguments out of my reasoning. this post would have been longer (and lets face it, given less credibility) if i had included religious reasoning. it's a pity, really. i love my religion. :smiley:

originally posted by Angela Bawden

oh, and Susan C, I forgot to address this. so, sorry for the double post, but…
I think when parents are so embarrased about discussing sexuality with their kids that they CAN'T do it, then that is definately a problem. My mother was that way, and she knew it wasn't right to leave me in the dark, so she took me to a school hosted discusion for maturing girls. wonderful thing. I also applaud Oprah for her daring discusions…and I pity the men who accidentally tune in some times. haha :smiley:
So, yea, my opinion is that Americans are too shy about discussing sexuality with their kids, but there is a movement to fix this, and I think it's working. I think we should be comfortable enough with our own bodies to teach our children about theirs, and that it should be discussed with the respect it deserves. k, tangent finished. :wink:

originally posted by Hunter

Hmm… how to answer what I want to say without inviting a thousand flames? Let me try… as a devout (this is funny) follower of prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, the Puritan angle you mention above concurs with my thought. I've rewritten the post five times and it's still inflammatory so I've deleted it.

Prohibition never worked with alcohol, why should keeping children in complete ignorance about something completely natural as sexuality - and even worse, filling kids heads with all sorts of pre-conceived ideas and dogma - be expected to work and produce rational, well rounded and self-thinking individuals? The more things are discussed, the less discomfort there is and the taboo factor goes away.