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WIP A Practical Guide to Evil by Erraticerrata - T - Original Fantasy

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by DvorakQ, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    But she didn't do anything?

    I kind of feel like this really describes a lot of the problems with Cat.

    I mean...I kind of agree with her? Like, this is kind of a decision of cosmic importance and I can't think of any possible reason why anyone would trust Cat or anyone under her command with it, but more to the point, it's a far reaching decision liable to effect people long, long after this, and the heroes have proven completely incapable of keeping shit contained. The Pilgrim talks of buying time and other chances, but that's really not been working out for them so far, and in this case...

    And, again, you all know my opinion on the subject of stories in this series, but in a hypothetical world where they made sense and mattered as the series portrayed them, as repeating patterns and recurring events, a lot of what's been suggested lately has had, uh, worrying precedents.

    Of course, amidst all that, it's hard to take this moment seriously, because the Saint (and all the other heroes) have been punks for the entire story, so the threat we're supposed to believe the Saint poses to Cat, Archer, the Pilgrim, the Tyrant, a few hundred Mighty, and two different goddesses is, uh, hard to really see, but conceptually, I see her point.
     
  2. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    So the chapter was delayed to give the author more time to finish up this chapter, but it's finally out now, and...

    Eh.

    What else can I say, really? That conclusion was eeeeeeh. A bit of smart thinking, in a certain sense, but since it was immediately proceeded by an effort to convince us that stories do matter, it fell completely flat to me. Long story short, Cat used a miracle to age the Saint to death, taking advantage of the fact that heroes aren't immortal, which as I said was a neat trick and is based on established facts in the setting. But right before she does it, Cat flat-out says she can't use her dark miracles, because they were exactly the type of thing the Saint was meant to cut through and the story was supposed to be in her favor.

    Like, it's almost comedic, in the way that every 'story' in this series has gotten to be. Cat monologues to herself about how none of them can beat her because she's become a lone hero standing against a villainous force, with Kairos tilting things against them, and talks about how this story is liable to play out, and what's the solution? How do you stop a lone hero fighting against incredible odds?

    Just casually fucking kill her in a way that she can't resist or defend against in any way, regardless of her powers.

    I mean, yes, we all know the narrative is bullshit in this series, but wow, that was blatant and anticlimactic.
     
  3. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    I continue to fail to understand why anyone in this series has faith or expectations for heroes, even the heroes themselves--what exactly have you done to warrant this confidence? Hell, who is this even trying to convince? Us readers? Because no, I super don't believe that, because why would I?

    Anyway, this whole climax was dumb to begin with based on Saint alone, so having a dumb conclusion doesn't come as much of a surprise, but now the two 'greatest' heroes in Calernia are dead in an anticlimactic way. Really, it's more like they've been quietly shuffled off stage than anything. The choice is dumb, because pretty much any of the choices would have been dumb, except maybe Kairos, which the Bard doesn't want for reasons that...well, let's be honest; her track record is super fucking mixed, so flip a coin to decide if it's worth a damn. The Pilgrim can't die because he controls too much. Cat can't die because she controls even more, and basically nothing here is worth the risk of letting the drow run free. Archer just died and wont be coming back, but more importantly, Cat wouldn't let her die. The Sorcerer is, perhaps, the best choice, except for the exact same reasons as Archer; the Pilgrim isn't going to sign off on slitting the throat of one of his followers because they need someone to die. In the end, it comes down to a fight, with Archer, Pilgrim, and the Sorcerer against Cat, and Cat loses by not dying.

    It's a neat argument, but it all kind of loops back around to the anticlimax of the Saint's death, resulting in this--which should itself be an epic moment--also being anticlimactic. Narratively, as in from an out of story perspective, it had to be the Pilgrim given the situation as it's been presented here, but doing it this way so immediately after the Saint, and so quickly in general means there's really no way to walk away from this feeling satisfied.

    Like, I don't know if it's my cold, dead, cynical heart talking or what, but does it feel like we're going down a list to anyone else? We started this scene with Masego losing him magic--which you know makes me happy, because my eyes start bleeding at the sight of magibabble, but in story, that magibabble is basically the greatest tool in Cat's arsenal half the time, since it can do seemingly anything as the plot demands.

    So we start by removing that giant plot device, but wait--you have a couple of other giant plot devices just sitting around, since the Saint can cut through damn near anything and the Pilgrim trades only slightly less magibabble for resurrecting the dead. With us now heading into the actual point of this book, it kind of feels like we're removing inconvenient stuff. And dealing with the two inconvenient heroes in the process.

    Again, it's kind of ehhhhhh.
     
  4. Iztiak

    Iztiak Heir

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    I love everything you write god damn.
     
  5. katreus

    katreus First Year

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    The Power of Three. And thievery. Well done, Cat.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  6. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Well done? How so? Because nothing in these last few chapters was well done. I mean, on one hand, the Pilgrim is back. which I guess is nice? But on the other hand, this is literally anti-climactic, literally unmaking the climax that literally just happened, to ends that are also anti-climactic. I don't want to be an asshole here, or make assumptions on the author's intent even if this does feel like backtracking to me, but I will say that this is a confusing mess of a climax when you actually look at it, because--well, let's just list how this went.

    1) They gave the crowns to Larat with the intent of killing him and making a solution out of his corpse. Larat abdicated, giving it too whomever was most worthy.

    2) This means, they think at first, that someone has to die. They discuss this, argue, and debate--who should it be? Who can afford to die? Who can they accept dying? Can they bring someone back from this? The Pilgrim's powers, specifically, are brought up and considered unlikely but possible, and it's other weaknesses are revealed; while it can bring back villains, for example, it has a lot of trouble with self-harm specifically.

    3) Archer points out that, hey, maybe nobody needs to die? Whoever wears the crown would have it's powers, which means they can just make the paths themselves. Archer volunteers.

    4) Saint disagrees and--leaving aside all the other aspects of that scene, dumb and otherwise--attacks the crown, wounding it and making that wound a part of it. Whoever wears that crown will die, it's official.

    5) We spend a chapter arguing and fighting over who should die, how unlikely they are to come back, etc.

    6) Tariq is the one who ends up taking the crown and then, on top of that, kills himself to do what needs to be done. See the above note about how his Aspect doesn't work so well with self-inflicted injuries, to say nothing of all the other factors involved. The Ophanim are onboard with his choice, for example, and he himself believes he's doing the right thing or whatever. He sacrifices himself and dies.

    7) And then Cat just just real mad and goes 'No U!' to death using his Aspect? The one that isn't supposed to work on stuff like this to begin with? With the approval of the people that okayed the decision a chapter ago?

    What? What's going on here--the writing is all over the place in what's supposed to happen and be possible and we've backtracked on things...what? Three times now? Someone has to die to do this, except they don't, except they do, except they don't?

    Would this not have had exactly the same result if they put the crown on someone five chapters ago, killed them, and brought them back to life? Like, the Saint and, briefly, the Pilgrim died over an argument that was apparently completely meaningless.

    Or are we bringing the Saint back, too? I mean, I know what you're about to say--logically, that would make no sense; bringing her back now would be a huge cop-out and go against a number of pre-established rules in the story.

    Counterargument: This chapter.
     
  7. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Saint dying was an "oh well, nobody liked her anyways". Lost one of your heaviest hitters and her spectacular feats of bullshit, but this was a fitting point to end her. The Saint is incompatible with Cat and Good holding hands to take down the greater evil, and if the story is to finally take us there she needs to die. And so Cat killed her in a clever way, even if that way was basically undercut by us being told two reasons why it wouldn't work immediately before it somehow did.

    But Pilgrim? That had consequences. Levant would flip its shit. Hanno would take his place as leader of the Heroes, bringing him back into the story. Cat would then have to negotiate the Liesse Accords with him, a hero even more suborned to the will of his patron choir than Tariq and without Tariq's more utilitarian beliefs for Cat to work with. Roland - having lost both of the heroic mentors available to him - neatly falls right into a sort of alliance with Cat. Any sense of goodwill Cat had from Good would be in tatters. She walked into Liesse with three heroes, and came back with one - who is now entering her fold - while also stealing Black's soul and the right to rule from a third of the Principate's ruling princes. There would be an aftermath and Cat would have to deal with it.

    NOPE.

    I mean, sure, story may not have actually lived up to those consequences (Pilgrim seemed to believe that Levant would not go to war over his death because angels), but there was a promise. His death actually meant something. And instead it's just a ctrl+z because... why? I guess because Cat making this big gesture is supposed to give her credibility when she goes into negotiations with Cordelia? I mean, I'm all on board with bypassing another rousing internal rant where Cat gets pissed about Good not trusting her, but could you at least do it in a way that doesn't contradict things we were told in the last damn chapter?

    And in case anybody missed it:

    Christ Cat, just because "kill yourself and get a power up" has a perfect record thus far, that doesn't mean it's a perfect plan. Isn't thinking yourself unkillable one of those villainous death flags we're told are important? Here's hoping that conversation resembles a thank you more than it does an argument. I guess this is undercut by Forgive somehow working on Pilgrim so I guess it would've on Cat, but Archer was in the right.
     
  8. Mutton

    Mutton Unspeakable

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    This school nonsense is the dumbest YA shit
     
  9. Cxjenious

    Cxjenious Dark Lord

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    I actually quite like how it relates to the YA mythos. It's cheesy, but the entire story is cheese.
     
  10. Lamora

    Lamora Definitely Not Batman

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    It's also worth pointing out that Guide literally is a YA novel, and says so on the front page -

    - and that while you may not be a fan of the magic school trope, you can't escape the irony inherent in saying so on a Harry Potter fanfiction forum.
     
  11. Mutton

    Mutton Unspeakable

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    Yes and it's really bad YA stuff as opposed to enjoyable YA stuff. It's the same as they're war college, ticking boxes rather than occurring naturally from the story
     
  12. Iztiak

    Iztiak Heir

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    If anything happened naturally in YA fiction the story would just be regular fiction.
     
  13. Saez

    Saez Groundskeeper

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    I read these posts and decided to catch up (I last read when pilgrim got rezzed) but I'm actually pretty down for Headmaster!Akua. Im alright with it but it feels like a pretty weird twist tbh.

    Hey @Nazgus you scraped all the intro quotes a while back right, is there any chance you could upload a doc or pics of them?
     
  14. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. ~ Prestige ~

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    There's a copy of this on tvtropes iirc
     
  15. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    My issue is that, YA standard practice aside, there's no reason for anyone to go along with it or for it to accomplish anything. Cat's suddenly treating Named like a species, rather than people caught up in the winds of literal divine purpose and fate, playing roles mandated by circumstance, destiny, and their own choices. If, say, a new Rebel Knight rises in Callow to overthrow it's dread rulers, the voices of angels in her ears, she's not gonna stop to go 'Oh, but wait, high-school.'

    Similarly, forbidding demons and Angel's is stupid, or at least naive. It's nice to say 'Use this and you die' but demons tend to come out when villains are facing death anyway and summoning an angel requires being willing to die to begin with.

    We all knew the Accords would be dumb as fucking shit, but this is still surprisingly so.