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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:27 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Re-reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.
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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:58 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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@Dog-Poop_Walker: they're not actually Romanian gypsies, just a bunch of old people who roam around in a fleet of RV's and all have carnival names.
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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:38 pm Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Darth Skuldren wrote:
@Dog-Poop_Walker: they're not actually Romanian gypsies, just a bunch of old people who roam around in a fleet of RV's and all have carnival names.


Same thing. Sort of.

"Gypsy" comes from the Greek word for traveler, but it's more akin to the modern usage of transient. While not in itself offensive; such as the term "Barbarian" meaning a non Greek speaker, both terms are used in a xenophobic manner. From it is derived the slang term "gyp" meaning to steal from someone through deception, a stereotype that was projected onto traveling people. Because of that negative usage the term is considered offensive today and it seems like many Americans view "gypsies" as a fictional character type and are unaware that they are actually an Eastern European ethnic group called Roma or Romani and various other nomadic cultures, including traveling circus folk, many of which were immigrants from Slavic countries.

Part of that stereotype is the trope of the evil magical gypsy, which is based on real folk belief demonized by medieval Witch hysteria and stuff that was just made up in fiction. For instance the current TV show Hemlock Grove, which shows a mostly positive Roma portrayal and tries to pass off as being authentic folklore instead of Hollywood myth, still gets it wrong. The protagonist is a werewolf, but Roma people did not have werewolf folklore. That's a Hollywood invention. Ironically the Nordic cast on the show portray vampires, when they were the ones that had werewolves and Romani are the ones that had vampires.

In folklore one of the traits of the vampire was the ability to shape shift, including into a wolf. This was included in Stoker's fiction, but usually dropped in the movie versions. Unaware of the folklore, Hollywood made the werewolf movies simply as a rip off of the popular vampire films, including the connection to the "Gypsy curse". Also to capitalize on the star power of Bela Lugosi who played both the Carpathian Count and Cheney Jr.'s Roma werewolf antagonist.
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 PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:23 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Finished The Professor. I ... hated it. To be more accurate, I hated the main character. The story is about a teacher, the eponymous professor, falling in love with a student and blah blah f***ity blah. Luckily he doesn't actually enter into an affair with her until after she leaves (due to circumstances outside his control), but the way it was written? The way his character spoke? I quite firmly believe that he would have tried it on with her. Yeah, abusing your position of power and trust is not my idea of romantic.

But the character himself was just such a gigantic douche canoe. Actually, if I can make a comparison from another book that I read just recently: in VDT, we get passages, written by Eustace, from his diary. The passages detail events where he paints himself as a reasonable, decent person, doing reasonable, decent things, either omitting certain details or repainting them in another light to make him look like the good guy - but the others behave meanly and cruelly etc. It was fairly obvious that he, Eustace, was the one in the wrong but it was simply his perspective. The entire book of The Professor felt like that. The characters didn't work as they were presented, and the story made much more sense when it was taken as a given that he was omitting certain details in order to paint himself as the hero. The behaviour of his employer, the directress, for example, makes more sense when it's seen as a concerned head teacher taking steps to keep a student safe from a lecherous professor. Granted, I don't agree with her removing the student, instead of the teacher, but still. Made more sense that way.

Blah. I'll stop my rant now, before I get too carried away.

I've also paused my reading through of the Narnia series, just briefly, due to a - there's no way I can say this, or provide further detail, that makes this sound less weird - a book emergency. Now reading Last Chance To See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine. Afterwards I shall dive right into The Silver Chair.
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 PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:46 pm Reply with quote  
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  Murray1134
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Finally getting caught up on my novel reading.

Recently I've finished the Wind in the Keyhole by Stephen King. I love any chance to return to Mid-World, Roland and his Ka-tet.

Next it was Xwing: Mercy Kill. Really enjoyed that one, but this is the non-Star Wars thread.

Finished Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2: Eletric Bugaloo). I was bit meh on the first movie, but saw enough of a story to keep checking it out. Both the book and the movie are better than their first part counterparts.

Now, it's a Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones 3). Just started it today, thick as a phone book, but I love these books and the show.
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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:24 pm Reply with quote  
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  Alan Skywalker V
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Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson.

As for my A Song of Ice and Fire reading, I'm currently a little over 2/3 through A Feast For Crows.


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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:44 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Murray1134 wrote:
Finished Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2: Eletric Bugaloo). I was bit meh on the first movie, but saw enough of a story to keep checking it out. Both the book and the movie are better than their first part counterparts.

I think I'm the only person I know who liked the first movie better.

I ditched The Glass Castle (I still want to re-read it some time but I'm not in the mood right now) and moved onto Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull - a new book about Pixar Animation Studios by one of its founders.
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 PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:21 am Reply with quote  
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  Bianca Christine
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I'll be picking up a bunch of anthologies from the library today so I can catch up on some short stories in J. D. Robb's "In Death" series.

I have four of those to read before I can get back into the regular, series books.

Next on my list, is the 3rd book in the "Mortal Instruments" series...when I have more time of course.
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 PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 5:04 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Finished The Silver Chair. It was okay, though nothing mind-blowing. I did like that we saw more of lands outside of Narnia (and under it), and I quite liked the Marsh-wiggle.

One thing that I thought was interesting - and I haven't thought much about it so I can't explain it as well as I'd like - is that the world is essentially a 'real' Medieval world. Granted, with a few modern anachronisms (I'm not referring to the obvious) but those I can forgive. What I mean is, in our own history, we thought astrology was real, and that the earth was the centre of the universe, that the sun revolved around us, that alchemy was real, and that there were real monsters (one modern anachronism is the belief that the earth was flat). All of these seem to be true, verifiable fact in Narnia. Is this making sense? There was a sea monster in VDT, Astrology was mentioned as a reliable thing in PC, the world was flat in VDT, the stars are bigger in SC (I believe this hints at a geocentric - not just in terms of earth-sun dynamics, but I'd be willing to bet that it is actually the centre of the Narnian universe). In terms of alchemy, I can't remember what it said in previous books, but the mention of 'dead gold' and 'real gold' - not the most commonly known type of alchemy, wherein lead (or something else) is turned into gold, but a type nonetheless -makes me think that such a thing is real in Narnia.

Nor reading Shirley by Charlotte Bronte.
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 PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 2:13 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Life Is The Path wrote:
Finished The Silver Chair. It was okay, though nothing mind-blowing. I did like that we saw more of lands outside of Narnia (and under it), and I quite liked the Marsh-wiggle.

I love Puddleglum! I think he might be my second favourite after Reepicheep.

Life Is The Path wrote:
One thing that I thought was interesting - and I haven't thought much about it so I can't explain it as well as I'd like - is that the world is essentially a 'real' Medieval world. Granted, with a few modern anachronisms (I'm not referring to the obvious) but those I can forgive. What I mean is, in our own history, we thought astrology was real, and that the earth was the centre of the universe, that the sun revolved around us, that alchemy was real, and that there were real monsters (one modern anachronism is the belief that the earth was flat). All of these seem to be true, verifiable fact in Narnia. Is this making sense? There was a sea monster in VDT, Astrology was mentioned as a reliable thing in PC, the world was flat in VDT, the stars are bigger in SC (I believe this hints at a geocentric - not just in terms of earth-sun dynamics, but I'd be willing to bet that it is actually the centre of the Narnian universe). In terms of alchemy, I can't remember what it said in previous books, but the mention of 'dead gold' and 'real gold' - not the most commonly known type of alchemy, wherein lead (or something else) is turned into gold, but a type nonetheless -makes me think that such a thing is real in Narnia.

That's one of the things I love about Narnia! Lewis and Tolkien had a great understanding of, and respect for, the medieval worldview. I think that's one of the major reasons why they haven't been surpassed in the fantasy genre. Of course, understanding the medieval worldview was pretty much their day job, so they had an unfair advantage. One of the biggest differences between Lewis and Tolkien is how they felt about mixing mythologies. Tolkien was a purist, so Middle Earth is based pretty much exclusively on northern European and medieval mythology, whereas Lewis drew from all over the place, though the medieval influence is definitely the strongest. The funny thing is that, for the most part, I side with Tolkien on this issue. I think mythologies are mixed haphazardly way too much, but somehow in Narnia it all feels right in context (Tolkien hated Narnia though Razz ). One thing I would point out is that Lewis was well (and vocally) aware that the majority of educated people in the Medieval Period knew that the earth was round. That mistaken belief needs to die. Evil or Very Mad
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:04 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reepicheep wrote:


That's one of the things I love about Narnia! Lewis and Tolkien had a great understanding of, and respect for, the medieval worldview. I think that's one of the major reasons why they haven't been surpassed in the fantasy genre. Of course, understanding the medieval worldview was pretty much their day job, so they had an unfair advantage. One of the biggest differences between Lewis and Tolkien is how they felt about mixing mythologies. Tolkien was a purist, so Middle Earth is based pretty much exclusively on northern European and medieval mythology, whereas Lewis drew from all over the place, though the medieval influence is definitely the strongest. The funny thing is that, for the most part, I side with Tolkien on this issue. I think mythologies are mixed haphazardly way too much, but somehow in Narnia it all feels right in context (Tolkien hated Narnia though Razz ). One thing I would point out is that Lewis was well (and vocally) aware that the majority of educated people in the Medieval Period knew that the earth was round. That mistaken belief needs to die. Evil or Very Mad


Hmm, that's a tough call, and I don't know which side I fall on. I liked both Tolkien's purist take, and Lewis' mixing (it's also a lot of fun to try to figure out which mythology he's drawn some little factoid from. I notice there were some Hellenistic and Norse aspects present in Silver Chair.) Well, suffice to say, if it's done well, I'm okay with whichever side. But I'd like to take a look at some other fantasy books, see how they do it, to be able fully understand and perceive any faults.

That said, just thinking briefly on it. It could be said that taking interesting bits from all mythologies might be a little shallow, so that might be a problem.

EDIT: I forgot to ask: I presumed that since Narnia was flat, Lewis must have believed that those in Medieval times truly believed that. But as you say, he was aware of this misconception. So my question is, why is Narnia flat?
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 8:17 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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^ I've often wondered that myself. You would think Lewis would want to make the earth round simply to further dispel that mistaken belief. The simple answer would be that without a flat earth there would be no VDT, so for whatever reason he decided to make Narnia flat, I'm glad he did. I recently watched a video of Dr. Peter Kreeft discussing VDT and he mentioned that in a round world there's no up or down, no edge, which can represent humanity's confusion and centrelessness, while a flat earth has more certainty. It's possible that that had something to do with it. I know Middle Earth used to be flat as well and then became round as a punishment (I seriously need to get caught up on Tolkien though...). He may have also drew on mythology from older cultures that believed in a flat earth (e.g. the Jews or Babylonians).

Did you know that Tolkien especially disliked Father Christmas's inclusion in LWW? Tolkien thought it was silly, not least because there can't be a Christmas in Narnia because there is no Christ (it would be Aslanmas, I suppose - though come to think of it there aren't really masses in Narnia either). I have to admit that Tolkien has a point, but I think Father Christmas fits so well thematically into LWW, that I can't complain.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 8:18 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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I'm going to jump into this one and say mixing mythologies can be fun if done right. Kevin Hearne does some serious mythology mixing in his Iron Druid series. The main character is a druid which bring in all the Irish gods and mythology. However, he ends up in a quarrel with Thor, and that brings in all the Norse gods and mythology. From there, things spiral into further conflict and the series throws in the Greek gods. Each book in the series tends to focus on a particular mythology, though, but there's always a little mixing, and the further the series goes, the more mixed it becomes.

It's very entertaining. At one point the druid puts together a strike team to take on Thor which includes a werewolf, a vampire, a Russian thunder god, a Finnish wizard and an immortal Chinese warrior-monk.

And if I were creating imaginary worlds, making a flat world would be fun.
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 PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 3:50 pm Reply with quote  
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  Proudfoot
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Halfway through K-PAX II at the moment. Very interesting read.
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 PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 3:59 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reepicheep wrote:
^ I've often wondered that myself. You would think Lewis would want to make the earth round simply to further dispel that mistaken belief. The simple answer would be that without a flat earth there would be no VDT, so for whatever reason he decided to make Narnia flat, I'm glad he did. I recently watched a video of Dr. Peter Kreeft discussing VDT and he mentioned that in a round world there's no up or down, no edge, which can represent humanity's confusion and centrelessness, while a flat earth has more certainty. It's possible that that had something to do with it. I know Middle Earth used to be flat as well and then became round as a punishment (I seriously need to get caught up on Tolkien though...). He may have also drew on mythology from older cultures that believed in a flat earth (e.g. the Jews or Babylonians).


It is rather weird, isn't it? And out of those possibilities, I do think making Narnia flat purely for the sake of VDT makes the most sense, and the others a little too tenuous and esoteric for my liking. That said, there may be something in his drawing from other mythologies. I ... can't recall off hand if the Greeks believed as such in their mythology. I think they did, even though they were among the first to realise that the world was (and still is, last time I checked) round. Which is quite interesting, in my opinion.

Although technically, in a round world, there is an up and down. *Looks up into the sky. Looks down at the ground* Razz . But to take it less literally, it's interesting how we view the earth has changed over time. Centuries ago, our maps used to have the east at the top. So having China at the top of the map is how we came to have the word 'orientation' (Orient). EDIT: got that last bit mixed up, should be the other way around, haha. The wiki article on 'maps' explains it better.

Another thing about a round world, and this is something I heard from the TV series Da Vinci's Demons (very much an average show, but I liked this line) is that when you travel away from home, because the earth is round, you're not just going away from home, but also going towards it, too.

Which is a little bit silly, also, but I liked the sentiment. Anyway, my point was to contrast it with a flat world with edges, where you're always moving away from home.

Quote:
Did you know that Tolkien especially disliked Father Christmas's inclusion in LWW? Tolkien thought it was silly, not least because there can't be a Christmas in Narnia because there is no Christ (it would be Aslanmas, I suppose - though come to think of it there aren't really masses in Narnia either). I have to admit that Tolkien has a point, but I think Father Christmas fits so well thematically into LWW, that I can't complain.


I didn't know that, no. And admittedly, I did think Santa being there was silly, when I first watched the films. Then I realised the this is a world with Fauns and Centaurs, so my drawing the line of credulity at that point was a bit more silly. But it didn't occur to me before you pointed it out that there can't be a Christmas without Christ. Hmm. That's an odd thing. Well, there could have been Yule, or Saturnalia, or something of the like, but that would lack the Father Christmas.

Quote:
I'm going to jump into this one and say mixing mythologies can be fun if done right. Kevin Hearne does some serious mythology mixing in his Iron Druid series. The main character is a druid which bring in all the Irish gods and mythology. However, he ends up in a quarrel with Thor, and that brings in all the Norse gods and mythology. From there, things spiral into further conflict and the series throws in the Greek gods. Each book in the series tends to focus on a particular mythology, though, but there's always a little mixing, and the further the series goes, the more mixed it becomes.

It's very entertaining. At one point the druid puts together a strike team to take on Thor which includes a werewolf, a vampire, a Russian thunder god, a Finnish wizard and an immortal Chinese warrior-monk.

And if I were creating imaginary worlds, making a flat world would be fun.


That Iron Druid series does sound quite fun. I recall a few other books, that ran along similar lines. In one of Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently books, there's a rather comical moment where Thor is trying to book a flight home to Norway. Without money and a passport, he can't, and consequently loses his temper, creating a scene which is later described as an act of god. The premise of the book is that Dirk, a hollistic private investigator, looks into the incident and concludes that it was indeed an act of god, and then sets off to find out which one. In case you decide to read the book, I'll stop there, but it was quite an interesting book, thematically.

Another series of books of note is the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I have the first ten books, but haven't read them yet. In that, the world is a flat disk, resting on the backs of four giant elephants, who themselves are on the back of a giant turtle, flying through space. There's even a number of books on the science of Discworld, amazingly.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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