Guardians of the Flame or when series should just end.

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Priestvyrce, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. Priestvyrce

    Priestvyrce Registered as What?

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    Sometimes there is a time and a place to end a series and The Guardians of the Flame by Joel Rosenberg is one such series that should've ended. When I first read The Sleeping Dragon back in the mid 80s, I found that this novel had the makings of an interesting and unique series. I liked the characters and found their reactions to being placed in a world in which before was just a game, was pretty neat.

    I went on and read the next three novels,The Sword and The Chain, The Silver Crown and The Heir Apparent and found them all to be exciting and realistic. But with the death of the lead character Karl Cullinane, I felt that the series was over and I was actually upset that he died, yet it was also a heroic death and thus good. Then I heard that there was a fifth book out called The Warrior Lives and I thought,"he couldn't try to bring back Karl!?!". But he didn't.

    What he did was try to hand the series off to Karl's son, Jason. I don't know why, but Jason just didn't have Karl's charisma and energy. So, I really didn't like the book all that much. There have been other novels agter this one,The Road to Ehvenor and The Road Home (which I have finished reading). Didn't much care for The Road Home .

    My question is: isn't there a time and place , when a series should end? Some series like Andre Norton's Witch World stories keep on trucking or Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, but even they seem a bit tired and forced. The only series that I felt that could go on forever was Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels.

    So do you think that there is a time and a place for an author to just call it quits or do think that as long as people still buy it that a series should continue?
     
  2. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Two names:
    Robert Jordan
    Terry Goodkind
     
  3. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I would say that I usually can't stand anything that goes more than a handful of books. Trilogies are okay. Four is pushing it, but past that, almost anything seems strained to me. I'm not trying to live a whole life with characters. I have my own life to live. I would like to visit with characters during their most interesting times and try to learn something along the way. Beyond that, and if the characters have too many interesting times, it just gets dull for me.

    And I agree with Fitz. A lot.
     
  4. LordGrimm

    LordGrimm New Member

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    Guardians of the Flame series is the most recognizable one that should call it quits. He's written or is in the works for book 14, and he's not even using the original characters anymore. I firmly believe he should have ended with Warrior Lives, as the series not only got boring but downright depressing as well. Karl's a beacon of inspiration and hope in Ehvenor, and Walter Slovotsky while good as a amusing sidekick is horrible as the main hero (bad personality, no sense of loyalty).

    After the Road home (or Road to Ehvenor) the series when out to leftfield, as it wasn't even about five college students playing Dungeons and Dragons and being transported to a new world. Without the original team, it seemed to lose focus. The characters that carry on Karl's mission have no real personality, even though Tennetty was a second best in that regard and she was killed off. He's quickly stepped away from the Dungeons and Dragons aspect of the story and entered into a boring fantasy world.
     
  5. FicusFan

    FicusFan Anitaverse Refugee

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    What you are really saying is that Guardians of the Flame has Jumped the Shark.

    any series that does so should end. I happen to like long series and don't think there should be a specific numerical cut-off, I still love Discworld and it is getting close to 30 books, rather there should be a quality cut-off.

    About this series, I read one of the books in the middle somewhere (after someone important dies: Karl ?) and couldn't for the life of me figure it out. It was all set in some typical dark fantasy world and then one word in the book: Michigan, Minnesota ?? (some big "M" state west of here ?) - blew my mind. It was only one world and I couldn't figure out how they were using it, and why it was in fantasy.

    I was on a list and it was a book we all were reading. The rest of the series was all out of print so I only got the one I had to read. It made me collect the others to find out what the hell was going on. I just got the last one recently, so I haven't read them yet - but I did find out about the college D&D game somewhere. I have also read one of the newer ones (3 Musketeers ?) and found it wasn't the same group, or all of the same group and it was less enjoyable than the originals (which weren't all that good anyway, but I had to find out about the state).
     
  6. LordGrimm

    LordGrimm New Member

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    Well the original Guardians of the Flame series (which ended with Warrior Lives or Heir Apparent) was truly a metaphor for those playing D&D when it was originally released. For me it like reading a dream come true. 5-6 college students of different upbringing/philosophies and life experiences come together as friends to play a simple game of the imagination.

    Their Dungeon Master, in a strange turn of events, decides to scrap an ongoing adventure in favor of something new. Adminst describing the world they inhabit, the whole crew find themselves transported to a world that only once existed on paper. Their Dungeon master turned out to be a master wizard who was seeking a way back into his own world, banished by a rival of nearly equal power.

    Karl, once the wandering student with no ambition, finds his greatest joy in freeing a cowardly dragon. Guided by the Hand (a healing sect) he vows to end slavery on Ehvenor.

    After his death, the series essentially became the adventures of fellow team members spreading the rumor "The Warrior Lives". Later, it dipped into introspective dribble and the occasional "save the Faery world" crap. I have no clue what he is doing now. Jason Cullinane retired and the original family essentially left the scene, while Karl's warriors took first place.
     
  7. ChrisW

    ChrisW Banned

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    The author should call it quits when they write the ending.

    my logic astounds me. :rolleyes:
     
  8. magze

    magze Registered User

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    Time for Goodkind to wrap up Sword of truth and maybe Fiest should give Midkemia a rest
     
  9. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    Also

    Don't get me started on Zelazny's Amber series...
     
  10. Bardos

    Bardos Ancient Member

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    What's wrong with the Amber series?
     
  11. Vladimir

    Vladimir Killer of Threads

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    shouldn't blame that on ol' Zelazny tho..

    oh yeah, and Cooks Black Company series should have been killed halfway through
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2004
  12. Chlestron

    Chlestron New Member

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    I never read the Guardians of the Flame books, but my opinion is that the series should end when the pivitol and main character is done with the story (whether he dies, retires, or what) or the story is done with him. So, if the main character is killed, no matter how heroric and noble the death, the series should end.

    As for Jordan, well Rand Al'Thor still hasn't died so the story's not over. True, the lastest books have been less than stellar compared to previous versions, but the story is not over and so they will continue.
     
  13. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Chuckle, well I agree with you and I don't agree. I agree for me personally as a reader that there are series I would like to have seen ended that have not or that as they went on, lost for me what made them interesting in the first place. For instance, I really liked Piers Anthony's "On a Pale Horse," the first in a series. It was inventive and the main character, who takes on the mantle of Death, was well done. The next two books in the series were okay. Then it quickly devolved into what I view as a mess. (That particular series did have an end point, while others that other writers have done have not.)

    But....ultimately it is up to the author, not me. If the author feels there are more stories in a series to tell, even if those are no longer stories that interest me, then the author gets to write those stories and doesn't have to listen to me. And if people buy and like those stories, they don't have to listen to me either. Just like the fact that the people who buy any of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books perplex me, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to throw myself in front of them and bar them from actually doing it. Series have an ending point for each of us, but it's the author who gets to decide when to do it officially.

    Oddly enough, I had one experience where I really wanted a series to go on and it didn't precisely do that. I really liked C.J. Cherryh's "Angel with a Sword" -- a science fantasy story. But she did it during the height of the Thieves World mania and she threw open the world of the story to her pals to do shared universe short stories. So then there were these anthologies with stories about all these other characters when what I really wanted was for Cherryh to finish the story she started. So you can't trust authors' judgement at all, but we're stuck with it.

    I haven't, to be honest, actually read any of Rosenberg's series, but I did work for his publisher. His reputation there was of a good writer who also could be an annoying egomaniac.