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The Crypt of Darkness By Kirk Straughen

PostPosted: August 14, 2009, 06:02:54 PM
by McCamy_Taylor
This is a good fantasy story.

I think it would be a better fantasy story if it told us why Naewis (as opposed to someone else) is destined to become the hero/redeemer of his world. Joseph Campbell's "Hero With a 1000 Faces" is my favorite guide for How-To- Establish-That-the-Hero-is-the-Hero.

Since this is a short story, the Campbell formula would have to be abbreviated. Maybe a tiny vignette about how slave and mistress came together. Establish that even though his servitude started out as involuntary, at some point he made a decision to embrace "adventure" (whatever the author chooses to make "adventure") and this lead to the story's conclusion. Heroes can not be forced to become heroes. Their greatest act is often making the decision to become the hero rather than the feats they accomplish along the way.

But does Naewis qualify as a hero here?

PostPosted: August 14, 2009, 07:00:09 PM
by Robert_Moriyama
Perhaps not. Certainly his attempt to fight the shade of the ancient sorceror was futile. I suppose that the fall of Akoon might not have happened if his presence had not emboldened Jalala to enter the tomb, but otherwise, he really doesn't accomplish much here*.

This leads us to the question: does a character need to succeed in some sense at the task he must face in order to be a hero, or do we accept the more Japanese view that the attempt is itself heroic? The Spartans at Thermopylae only succeeded in delaying the Persians rather than defeating them outright, but that was enough for them to "win" -- it allowed enough time for a greater force to be raised, as well as providing a rallying cry (a la "Remember the Alamo", some thousands of miles and years distant).

(*The same has been said about Al Majius in (for example) "A Matter of Pride", where it is Githros's hidden presence that thwarts the final attack.)

PostPosted: August 14, 2009, 10:58:46 PM
by McCamy_Taylor
Naewis's heroic act was his decision to love his enemy. This lead the undead sorcerer to alter his plans to a more wholesome one. Love conquers all becomes the theme. The story would be perfect if we got to see what it was about Naewis (as opposed to some other random southerner) that made him capable of loving his enemy...and thereby changing the world. Hard to do in a short story, I admit.

PostPosted: August 20, 2009, 01:54:50 PM
by unforgibbon
McCamy_Taylor wrote:Naewis's heroic act was his decision to love his enemy. This lead the undead sorcerer to alter his plans to a more wholesome one. Love conquers all becomes the theme. The story would be perfect if we got to see what it was about Naewis (as opposed to some other random southerner) that made him capable of loving his enemy...and thereby changing the world. Hard to do in a short story, I admit.


I agree that Naewis's sudden compassion for his cruel mistress was hard to accept without some prior indication of his capacity for such sentiment. Frankly, all we know is that he's (understandably) angry and horny; perhaps tempering that with a confusing sort of crush on his mistress...

A story like this, I'm thinking--and this is just my opinion--the POV should stick with Naewis. There was at least one shift to the POV of Jalala.

Maybe I missed it, but I'm not clear what Jalala wanted with the tomb. If there was something of value in it, her anger over the fact that her brother got there first would've been about him beating her to it, not that he might rouse the anger of "the Order," right?

I thought she was RESCUING her brother

PostPosted: August 20, 2009, 02:23:52 PM
by Robert_Moriyama
That is, she was trying to get him out of trouble (apparently not for the first time), and minimize the damage his foolish act (entering the tomb of a sorceror far more powerful than any of the current Akoonians). Of course, I could be wrong.

(And I'm still not sure if Naewis was so much forgiving Jalala as he was relishing the chance to finally "get some"... Now, oddly enough, it seems that his "barbaric" culture probably dictated that he would treat Jalala better than she had ever treated him, so ... okay, it isn't that odd. (Remember, Europeans taught Native Americans to take scalps, then pointed to the practice as proof of the indigenous people's savagery.))