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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5574 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2007 :  17:11:51  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Well met

This is a Book Club thread for the short story of Games of Chance, in The Best of the Realms, Book III anthology, by Elaine Cunningham. Please discuss herein:

Alaundo
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Ardashir
Senior Scribe

USA
544 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2007 :  00:20:47  Show Profile  Visit Ardashir's Homepage Send Ardashir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Once again, we see just what Elaith is really like, and why you don't want to mess with him.
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TobyKikami
Learned Scribe

USA
113 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2007 :  05:50:45  Show Profile  Visit TobyKikami's Homepage Send TobyKikami a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now that I've finally read this one, I found it quite intriguing - particularly Elaith's view on the moonblades, and the passing mention of humans whining about their "unfairness" (but not, apparently, their carnage). His treatment of the poor sap who was toting a dormant moonblade underscored it (he was a prat to be sure, but that's not exactly a killing offense, and I didn't see any indication that he ever even quite knew what he died for).

Also, I personally thought his behavior toward the Gondblessed was rather WTF. It seemed to go something like this: "Okay, I want you to hack the requirements for my moonblade. What do you mean, it actually worked? You die now." I eventually wrapped my head around it somewhat given his previous moonblade trauma, but it's still rather boggly as viewed from the outside.

But then, I probably should have expected something like that - no holding elves (particularly this one) to 21st-century human values/logic, and that.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2007 :  06:07:46  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually, it made perfect sense to me. Haven't you even thought that you wanted to take the easy way out or do something that you normally wouldn't do, and when you were on the threshold of it, you realize that you really don't want to cross that line? Maybe I'm off but I can picture many of us going through something similar to this (though not to the murderous extend of our dangerous moon elf crime lord).

I liked the story, in part because it really did illustrate the dichotomy of Eliath, in that he is ruthless and cruel when it comes to humans breaking elven customs, but at the same time, he is cruel in part because he is trying to live up to the letter of the elven "law" rather than its intent (for example, the poor sod that likely didn't know he was desecrating a moonblade).

"Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder."--Saint Thomas Aquinas

http://knighterrantjr.blogspot.com/

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2264 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2007 :  16:17:57  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TobyKikami

But then, I probably should have expected something like that - no holding elves (particularly this one) to 21st-century human values/logic, and that.


Exactly. Thank you.

One of the challenges of writing about elven characters is creating a sense of "otherness" and fostering the unexpected (from a human standpoint) while still maintaining internal consistency. Or in Elaith's case, logical inconsistencies.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2264 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2007 :  16:22:21  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ardashir

Once again, we see just what Elaith is really like, and why you don't want to mess with him.


One of the reasons I'm running late on turning in Reclamation is that just last week an alternate subplot ending occurred to me, one involving Elaith. It followed the "you don't want to mess with him" theme, and had a twisted logic that had me slapping my forehead and muttering, "Of course! This was damn near inevitable--why didn't I see it sooner?"

The late
ec

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2264 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2007 :  16:24:07  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR

Actually, it made perfect sense to me. Haven't you even thought that you wanted to take the easy way out or do something that you normally wouldn't do, and when you were on the threshold of it, you realize that you really don't want to cross that line? Maybe I'm off but I can picture many of us going through something similar to this (though not to the murderous extend of our dangerous moon elf crime lord).

I liked the story, in part because it really did illustrate the dichotomy of Eliath, in that he is ruthless and cruel when it comes to humans breaking elven customs, but at the same time, he is cruel in part because he is trying to live up to the letter of the elven "law" rather than its intent (for example, the poor sod that likely didn't know he was desecrating a moonblade).


Thanks, KE. Glad you enjoyed the story. You nailed the intent and themes dead center.

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2264 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2007 :  16:25:58  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
FYI, the story I contributed to the upcoming anthology Realms of War is also about Elaith. I can't say much about it, but I will observe that the Amazon.com description mentions a certain forest elf assassin. Glean from that what you will.

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 01 Aug 2007 16:27:32
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2007 :  01:43:58  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Who says you can't hold characters up to your personal values and viewpoint? Isn't that the point of having values? The reason why Elaith's action made sense to me is because he's an evil bastard, however charming and perhaps even likeable he may otherwise be.

I actually thought to myself, why didn't Elaith kill himself for allowing the moonblade to be tampered with in the first place? I'm not an advocate of suicide, I'm just taking this to its logical conclusion (logical to me anyway): if it's a crime worthy of death, why only destroy the "tool" and not the person who was "using" the tool? Really, Elaith is the one who tampered with his own elven customs.

Anyway, I'm so glad to hear we'll be getting another story about Elaith.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)

Edited by - Rinonalyrna Fathomlin on 02 Aug 2007 01:48:17
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2264 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2007 :  03:58:56  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rinonalyrna Fathomlin

Who says you can't hold characters up to your personal values and viewpoint? Isn't that the point of having values?


I don't think anyone is saying that you CAN'T. The point is recognizing that cultural, racial (i.e., "elf"), and experiential factors shape a person's values and world view, often to the point where he might not see things as you do.

One of the most enjoyable things about fiction, I think, is stepping outside of one's own perspective and seeing life through other eyes. Your own values remain the same, I would hope, and will of course influence how you perceive a character, but the fact remains that people in other times and cultures THINK DIFFERENTLY. Historical fiction often goes awry by assigning 21st century mores and values and belief systems to 16th people. For that matter, there will be considerable difference in the way two people in the US think. The value systems of an Amish hausfrau and an agnostic Wall Street banker are quite different, as are their world views. That's what I mean when I talk about the values of a Forgotten Realms elf--not "good" vs "evil, but cultural and perceptual.

As for the logical conclusion of the story being Elaith's death, that was indeed addressed. Elaith was quite willing to die. He could have tossed the sword aside as the Gondman's "magic" wore off and the sword's killing heat began to build, but he did not. He turned toward Evermeet and waited to die, because he felt that was what he deserved. Tintagel talked him into putting aside the sword by reminding him of his duty to his daughter, his family. That was both a powerful inducement and a significant moral dilemna, because moonblade and family are indelibly linked.
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2007 :  00:13:51  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham


I don't think anyone is saying that you CAN'T. The point is recognizing that cultural, racial (i.e., "elf"), and experiential factors shape a person's values and world view, often to the point where he might not see things as you do.

One of the most enjoyable things about fiction, I think, is stepping outside of one's own perspective and seeing life through other eyes. Your own values remain the same, I would hope, and will of course influence how you perceive a character, but the fact remains that people in other times and cultures THINK DIFFERENTLY. Historical fiction often goes awry by assigning 21st century mores and values and belief systems to 16th people. For that matter, there will be considerable difference in the way two people in the US think. The value systems of an Amish hausfrau and an agnostic Wall Street banker are quite different, as are their world views. That's what I mean when I talk about the values of a Forgotten Realms elf--not "good" vs "evil, but cultural and perceptual.


To rephrase what I said before--there's no way I can react to a story as another other person than who I am now. Of course different people have different worldviews, I understand that. I expect characters to act how it would be natural for them to act. But in the end, I believe it is OK to "judge" a character based on one's own views and perhaps disagree with them, even if I understand the factors that led the character to think and act as they do. Just because I understand what makes a character tick doesn't mean I have to approve of their actions.

quote:
As for the logical conclusion of the story being Elaith's death, that was indeed addressed.



I apologize for having forgotten about those details--thank you for refreshing my memory.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2264 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2007 :  13:30:58  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rinonalyrna Fathomlin

To rephrase what I said before--there's no way I can react to a story as another other person than who I am now. Of course different people have different worldviews, I understand that. I expect characters to act how it would be natural for them to act. But in the end, I believe it is OK to "judge" a character based on one's own views and perhaps disagree with them, even if I understand the factors that led the character to think and act as they do. Just because I understand what makes a character tick doesn't mean I have to approve of their actions.


I spend a great deal of time contemplating fictitious people, and trying to make their actions flow logically from their personalities and belief systems. It doesn't follow that I APPROVE of them, or that I would act or even think in similar fashion. Even many of my "good" characters do things I'd never consider doing. Some of them, heroes and villains alike, I wouldn't want to meet in real life. So yeah, I would have to agree with what you're saying; in fact, I suspect we're saying much the same thing, albeit with slightly different emphasis.
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2007 :  23:21:01  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

I spend a great deal of time contemplating fictitious people, and trying to make their actions flow logically from their personalities and belief systems. It doesn't follow that I APPROVE of them, or that I would act or even think in similar fashion. Even many of my "good" characters do things I'd never consider doing. Some of them, heroes and villains alike, I wouldn't want to meet in real life. So yeah, I would have to agree with what you're saying; in fact, I suspect we're saying much the same thing, albeit with slightly different emphasis.



Yes, I suspect so. Thanks for elaborating.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1944 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2014 :  06:06:53  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

FYI, the story I contributed to the upcoming anthology Realms of War is also about Elaith. I can't say much about it, but I will observe that the Amazon.com description mentions a certain forest elf assassin. Glean from that what you will.



I would like to glean Ferret from the tips of her pointy ears all the way down to her toenails. How is it that I know nothing of this? I was sure I was current on all things Elaine. Drats. Off to give my Kindle more money.

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Green Dragonscale Dice Bag by Crystalsidyll - check it out

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BenN
Learned Scribe

Japan
335 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2014 :  08:18:58  Show Profile Send BenN a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

FYI, the story I contributed to the upcoming anthology Realms of War is also about Elaith. I can't say much about it, but I will observe that the Amazon.com description mentions a certain forest elf assassin. Glean from that what you will.



I would like to glean Ferret from the tips of her pointy ears all the way down to her toenails. How is it that I know nothing of this? I was sure I was current on all things Elaine. Drats. Off to give my Kindle more money.


I had exactly the same thought! AFAIK, its not available in ebook format; I just got it via amazon/audible.
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