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ReadingTheRealms
Seeker

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 31 Aug 2018 :  19:30:39  Show Profile Send ReadingTheRealms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reading the Realms presents our third Reader's Circle episode of listener responses and feedback for The Avatar Trilogy. This is a book club, so we love to hear our listeners thoughts and opinions on the books as well! This episode also includes a very special guest interview with James Lowder, who talks about his time at TSR and discusses the behind-the-scenes work that went into Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep. (As I'm sure everyone here already knows) Jim is the nicest guy and he was very generous with his time and stories. This was definitely our favorite episode to record so far.

You can find the podcast on Apple iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud. If you have any feedback, shoot us an email at readingtherealms@gmail.com. We're also on Twitter: @ReadingFR

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/readers-circle-3-feat-james-lowder

Thanks for listening and happy reading!

Co-Host of Reading The Realms: A Forgotten Realms Book Club Podcast

Find us on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 03 Sep 2018 :  09:52:04  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just listened to a few of the pods including the Avatar trilogy recap and James Lowder (who seems very nice especially given how you guys rightfully tore the series a new one over the editing/plots). It really was a disaster of a series, written by committee and with the plot and end out come shoe horned in by the edition change. I believe as editor, he should have spent more time talking to Ed about how Ed's characters and gods are motivated and should act. The residents of Shadowdale, in particular, from Storm to Mourngrym to the townsfolk all behaved like a lynch mob over innocent people who tried to save them?

Am I the only one who read Waterdeep (in the original trilogy days) and wondered why the hell Midnight went back for Sneakabout and didn't go back for Kelemvor? Didn't even mention how she had the power to go back and save his soul the same way? Eventually Kelemvor becomes the god of the dead about half a decade in the series later, but that ending when I read it as a teenager made me lol at how terribly it was written and ended.

Glad you guys keep references Azure Bonds as the gold standard for the Realms books (at the early onsent before Elfshadow which was almost as good in my books). Pity about the long hiatus but I am enjoying your pod!

Other minor comments - isn't it funny how we all have head pronounciations of the Realms worlds and when I hear people say some words "wrong" to me on your pod cast it drives me crazy even though your pronounciation is probably just as good as mine. The other is, I take for granted how much Realms knowledge I have and when you guys are podcasting and get the names confused of other lands or rulers/etc; I have to remember how long some of us at the Keep have been reading and studying the sourcebooks (decades) so someone new to the early novels and brought in after 4th edition wouldn't necessarily know so much about the OGB era.
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Drizztsmanchild
Learned Scribe

USA
219 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2018 :  04:49:13  Show Profile  Visit Drizztsmanchild's Homepage  Send Drizztsmanchild a Yahoo! Message Send Drizztsmanchild a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Just listened to a few of the pods including the Avatar trilogy recap and James Lowder (who seems very nice especially given how you guys rightfully tore the series a new one over the editing/plots). It really was a disaster of a series, written by committee and with the plot and end out come shoe horned in by the edition change. I believe as editor, he should have spent more time talking to Ed about how Ed's characters and gods are motivated and should act. The residents of Shadowdale, in particular, from Storm to Mourngrym to the townsfolk all behaved like a lynch mob over innocent people who tried to save them?

Am I the only one who read Waterdeep (in the original trilogy days) and wondered why the hell Midnight went back for Sneakabout and didn't go back for Kelemvor? Didn't even mention how she had the power to go back and save his soul the same way? Eventually Kelemvor becomes the god of the dead about half a decade in the series later, but that ending when I read it as a teenager made me lol at how terribly it was written and ended.

Glad you guys keep references Azure Bonds as the gold standard for the Realms books (at the early onsent before Elfshadow which was almost as good in my books). Pity about the long hiatus but I am enjoying your pod!

Other minor comments - isn't it funny how we all have head pronounciations of the Realms worlds and when I hear people say some words "wrong" to me on your pod cast it drives me crazy even though your pronounciation is probably just as good as mine. The other is, I take for granted how much Realms knowledge I have and when you guys are podcasting and get the names confused of other lands or rulers/etc; I have to remember how long some of us at the Keep have been reading and studying the sourcebooks (decades) so someone new to the early novels and brought in after 4th edition wouldn't necessarily know so much about the OGB era.


I thought it was because she couldnt find Kelemvor's soul because he was hidden by Mask in Godsbane? I could be mistaken about the part you are referencing,its been a looong time since I read that trilogy.

Edited by - Drizztsmanchild on 04 Sep 2018 04:50:11
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2018 :  13:42:51  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think that was the retconned explanation of why she didn't do it at the end of Waterdeep, that trilogy was so bad I had no desire to read the 2 follow up novels at ALL. But in Waterdeep, as originally read, Kelemvor dies in the battle and there is no mention of Midnight going to get him...she only goes back for Sneakabout.
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ReadingTheRealms
Seeker

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  20:47:33  Show Profile Send ReadingTheRealms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Reading the Realms is back with our first episode of 2019! We discuss Pool of Radiance by James M Ward and Jane Cooper Hong. After a brief hiatus we’re happy to be back and talking about this fan-favorite Realms novel. We also touch briefly on the famous Gold Box game that inspired the book. You can find the podcast on SoundCloud, Apple iTunes Podcasts, and Google Play Podcasts. Or just click the link below:

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-11-pool-of-radiance

As always, if there’s any interesting info we missed or if you just want to write in with your opinion on PoR, The Halfling’s Gem (our next book), or The Wyvern’s Spur (the one after) shoot us an email at readingtherealms@gmail.com and we’d love to read it out on the show. We’re also on Twitter @ReadingFR.

Thanks for listening and happy reading!

Co-Host of Reading The Realms: A Forgotten Realms Book Club Podcast

Find us on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235

Edited by - ReadingTheRealms on 12 Feb 2019 20:48:17
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  22:16:38  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yay!! glad you're back! Will follow and listen tomorrow. Please read lots in 2019 :)
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 21 Feb 2019 :  08:59:10  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Pool of Radiance is one of those novels that isn't particularly well written (and very "young adult") but somehow is fun to read anyway. I can never separate the novel from the joy I had as a young kid playing Pool of Radiance on the C128/C64 (that theme music!) and the classic Clyde Caldwell cover art; all of which means I get the feels when reading it and have heavy nostalgia glasses on. But objectively, the book has some faults.

I think you're right to point out how the book does break up into a series of mini-quests very nicely, the self contained trips to Sokal Keep or Denlor's Tower or the Cardona Textile house or wherever are as well done as any D&D book (and straight from the Ruins of Adventure module for the most part).

Glad you guys liked it so much. While there are 2 sequels, the plot from these books is not continued on sadly regarding Phlan and the pool and the villains from this book - I actually like the next books anyway because the new characters introduced are very fun to read about (3 of them in particular). But we won't hear from the 3 villains again in the series which is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

I disagree with you that the names in Pool of Radiance are confusing however - Ren, Tarl and Shal are short and distinctive enough and you sound quite idiotic complaining that you can't keep the names Tarl and Shal separate in your heads. The heroes introduced later in the series have distinct names though.

I never put much thought into Shal's ring of wish change from petite to muscular as being a metaphor for women's body image issues or the change women go through in puberty - I think the audience of this book was firmly 12-16 year old boys and maybe just plays on the "women are vain and weak"- but Shal magically becomes muscular like little boys dream of being and learns that this is a better thing than being small and thin - something boys will appreciate. That said, there were a lot of tough women in the book (Ren's love interest and her 2 brute friends at the bar, the half-orc female assassin who sounds kind of amazing to develop her own novel as she overcomes prejudice but is badass, Ren's former love interest Tempest who was built like Shal on roids, and of course Shal herself by the end of the novel is the strongest). In the next books there are females who are great in a feminine way so take heart!

Tarl to me was the best character, he seems to have doubts and flaws that Ren and Shal (at least after her initial few chapters) do not have - Tarl grows and arcs a bit more and truly fails in the beginning. I don't think Shal or Ren really fail. This makes Tarl more interesting. And he gets the girl!

Keep them coming guys!

Edited by - Seravin on 08 Apr 2019 11:42:31
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ReadingTheRealms
Seeker

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2019 :  18:57:15  Show Profile Send ReadingTheRealms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We’re back with our 12th Episode, covering the third book of the Icewind Dale Trilogy, The Halfling’s Gem by R.A. Salvatore. We share some...controversial...opinions on the text, but it’s an energetic discussion! If you want to share YOUR thoughts on Pool of Radiance, Halfling’s Gem, or (our next book) Wyvern’s Spur you can leave it here or send us a message at readingtherealms@gmail.com and we’ll happily read it out on our next Reader’s Circle episode.

As always, you can find the podcast on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, SoundCloud, and most podcast aggregator apps. Also, on Soundcloud we have the episodes sorted into playlists for the various series, which can be a fun way to listen to them!

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-12-the-halflings-gem

Hope you enjoy and happy reading!

Co-Host of Reading The Realms: A Forgotten Realms Book Club Podcast

Find us on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235
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ReadingTheRealms
Seeker

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2019 :  18:58:55  Show Profile Send ReadingTheRealms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Pool of Radiance is one of those novels that isn't particularly well written (and very "young adult") but somehow is fun to read anyway. I can never separate the novel from the joy I had as a young kid playing Pool of Radiance on the C128/C64 (that theme music!) and the class Clyde Caldwell cover art; all of which means I get the feels when reading it and have heavy nostalgia glasses on. But objectively, the book has some faults.

I think you're right to point out how the book does break up into a series of mini-quests very nicely, the self contained trips to Sokal Keep or Denlor's Tower or the Cardona Textile house or wherever are as well done as any D&D book (and straight from the Ruins of Adventure module for the most part).

Glad you guys liked it so much. While there are 2 sequels, the plot from these books is not continued on sadly regarding Phlan and the pool and the villains from this book - I actually like the next books anyway because the new characters introduced are very fun to read about (3 of them in particular). But we won't hear from the 3 villains again in the series which is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

I disagree with you that the names in Pool of Radiance are confusing however - Ren, Tarl and Shal are short and distinctive enough and you sound quite idiotic complaining that you can't keep the names Tarl and Shal separate in your heads. The heroes introduced later in the series have distinct names though.

I never put much thought into Shal's ring of wish change from petite to muscular as being a metaphor for women's body image issues or the change women go through in puberty - I think the audience of this book was firmly 12-16 year old boys and maybe just plays on the "women are vain and weak"- but Shal magically becomes muscular like little boys dream of being and learns that this is a better thing than being small and thin - something boys will appreciate. That said, there were a lot of tough women in the book (Ren's love interest and her 2 brute friends at the bar, the half-orc female assassin who sounds kind of amazing to develop her own novel as she overcomes prejudice but is badass, Ren's former love interest Tempest who was built like Shal on roids, and of course Shal herself by the end of the novel is the strongest). In the next books there are females who are great in a feminine way so take heart!

Tarl to me was the best character, he seems to have doubts and flaws that Ren and Shal (at least after her initial few chapters) do not have - Tarl grows and arcs a bit more and truly fails in the beginning. I don't think Shal or Ren really fail. This makes Tarl more interesting. And he gets the girl!

Keep them coming guys!



I haven’t checked the forum in a while and missed your reply! Mind if we read part of it out during our next listener mail episode? I appreciate all the detail!

Co-Host of Reading The Realms: A Forgotten Realms Book Club Podcast

Find us on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2019 :  11:40:16  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Absolutely! Although maybe don't say I think you're idiotic for not getting the names right lol :) That sounds meaner than intended and I humbly apologize! I just don't feel the names in the book are a problem to the same extent, especially next to RA Salvatore names like Afafrenfre (sp?) and Thibbledorf Pwent and Pikel Bouldershoulder and Rai-guy Bondalek that don't exactly roll off the tongue :)

I listened to your review of the Halfling's Gem and loved it (the review that is, not the book so much). Good stuff on Drizzt's kiss on Cat coming out of no where and being a bit creepy. I always thought the turnaround in their relationship felt weird and off. I also like how you call out Drizzt for being a Mary Sue/Gary Stu of sorts, because..yes he is. He was just apparently born morally perfect despite being raised a Drow and we never really get to the why.

Although I think the character as written in The Crystal Shard was darker and certinaly more bloody thirsty..like a "less evil but still a killer/emotionless drow" version of Drizzt (for example when he goes murder-kill on the giants with Wulfgar) - to me that Drizzt was a better character than the Saintly Mr Perfect Moral Compass Drizzt that comes after.

You also pointed out the fake-out deaths that recur in the first trilogy, something I never picked up on..and you're right they are a bunch of d-words to eachother in that respect!

Edited by - Seravin on 08 Apr 2019 11:41:06
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 30 Jun 2019 :  09:44:26  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yay The Wyvern's Spur is up (finally :) ) !! Already downloaded and ready to listen. This is one of my all time faves so I hope you guys are nice to it...

Edit: Just to say in the original art you can see a lot of Giogi's infamous boots! They get truncated in the actual book cover.

https://clydecaldwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wyverns_spur.jpg

Edited by - Seravin on 01 Jul 2019 12:17:06
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Wenin
Senior Scribe

580 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2019 :  19:20:34  Show Profile Send Wenin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Subscribed. Looking forward to going through the backlog.

Session Reports posted at RPG Geek.
Stem the Tide Takes place in Mistledale.
Dark Curtains - Takes place in the Savage North, starting in Nesmé. I wrapped my campaign into the Hoard of the Dragon Queen, but it takes place in 1372 DR.
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ReadingTheRealms
Seeker

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2019 :  17:22:21  Show Profile Send ReadingTheRealms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We're back with our 13th episode in which we cover The Wyvern’s Spur by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb. This is a fun one and we strongly recommend you read (or re-read) the novel before listening! Our next episode will be a listener response where we read out your thoughts on The Halfling’s Gem, Pool of Radiance, and Wyvern’s Spur so drop them here or shoot us an email at readingtherealms@gmail.com! We love hearing how other readers feel about the books - especially when you disagree with our take.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-13-the-wyverns-spur

As always you can find us on SoundCloud, Google Play Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.

Co-Host of Reading The Realms: A Forgotten Realms Book Club Podcast

Find us on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235
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Captain Grafalcon
Learned Scribe

Brazil
85 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2019 :  22:14:47  Show Profile Send Captain Grafalcon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just listened the podcast - the halfling’s gem. Excelent work and initiative! For unkown reasons, there are few podcasts dedicated to literature.

"Surely you recognize that armies carrying banners are almost always thieves—until they win."
Jarlaxle, mercenary leader of Bregan D'aerthe.
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2019 :  23:16:10  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When's the next one coming out!! :)
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ReadingTheRealms
Seeker

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  20:52:45  Show Profile Send ReadingTheRealms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We're back with a very special Reader's Circle episode featuring none other than Jeff Grubb! We read your responses to our last three books and then get to an hour long interview with Jeff where we talk TSR, working in shared worlds, and having your wife as a writing partner, among many other topics. This episode was a ton of fun to record and we hope you enjoy. We would like to thank Jeff for taking the time to talk with us and for sharing all of his stories and insight.

As always, you can find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud, linked below.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/readers-circle-4-feat-jeff-grubb

Stay tuned for our August book: Iron Helm by Doug Niles

Happy reading!

Co-Host of Reading The Realms: A Forgotten Realms Book Club Podcast

Find us on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235
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