PDA

View Full Version : Bernard Cornwell and the Last Battle.


maacaroni
03-19-2013, 09:06 AM
I thought I would go straight to the horse's mouth and ask about his involvement. Not the most amazing of responses but it is here (http://www.bernardcornwell.net/question_type/your-questions/page/4/)

I think Cornwell lives in Charleston.

I am a big Cornwell fan, you should read his Uhtred series, historical fiction and fantasy are not that far apart literary-speaking

yks 6nnetu hing
03-19-2013, 09:42 AM
I wrote my thougths on this here (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=209583&highlight=cornwell#post209583)

it's no scientific analysis, but I am quite familiar with Cornwell's writing style and his "pet peeves", some of which overlap with Jordan's...

maacaroni
03-19-2013, 10:27 AM
Yes, I noticed his minor influences on the last battle. Mat's giving of ground and perceived retreat with the use of a river to box in the opponent reminded me a little of Austerlitz - Napoleon's greatest victory, not one covered in Sharpe's series as he was fighting in Iberia at the time.

yks 6nnetu hing
03-19-2013, 11:03 AM
From what I remember from the koffeeklatch with Harriet last year - and this is paraphrasing rather a lot - she said that indeed they live practically next door to each other, and there had been a few conversations about the writing technicalities of huge battles. It sounded like there had been a brainstorming session of some sort but of course if he's not taking credit, then perhaps it was more like a dinner conversation instead.

suttree
03-19-2013, 02:02 PM
Agreed - I thought that the battle scenes benefited a great deal from his influence. They were certainly the most readable (since Dumai's Wells) for me in the series.

Know this is from a while back but curious about this. One of the major complaints has been the poor writing of the battles. Endless scens of trolloc fodder, missing channelers fundamentally changing the nature of the fights, and strategies that were less than brilliant(except for characters telling us they were brilliant). To my mind scenes such as the Damona Campaign in tPoD were far and away better written. Wondering what you liked?

Ishara
03-19-2013, 09:53 PM
I liked the pacing a lot, as well as the characterization of the battle - for lack of a better term. It was about tactics still, but also about the people who played out the tactics, if that makes sense? I generally skim the battles, but this one had little details that helped me stick with it (beyond it being the Last freaking Battle, of course). It just felt more ... real? Hard for me to articulate, since I haven;t done a re-read. I just know that I actually paid attention, enjoyed it and understood what was happening.

fionwe1987
03-20-2013, 12:49 AM
I liked the pacing a lot, as well as the characterization of the battle - for lack of a better term. It was about tactics still, but also about the people who played out the tactics, if that makes sense? I generally skim the battles, but this one had little details that helped me stick with it (beyond it being the Last freaking Battle, of course). It just felt more ... real? Hard for me to articulate, since I haven;t done a re-read. I just know that I actually paid attention, enjoyed it and understood what was happening.
It was exactly the opposite to me. Too much emphasis was placed on tactics, and too little on characters, so that moments that should have had great impact ended up fizzed out. Everything from Egwene's death, to Elayne's return to Lan's victory ended up being throwaway lines. The Amyrlin Seat sends out a 50+ feet column of light in the midst of a pitch black battle, and the only one who notices is another Aes Sedai four feet away? The Queen of Andor is declared dead, then returns after the Horn is blown, and no one wonders if she's perhaps a Hero?

The writing took a more global perspective when it needed to be personal, and became personal when it needed to be global. Very very disappointing.

GonzoTheGreat
03-20-2013, 04:33 AM
The Queen of Andor is declared dead, then returns after the Horn is blown, and no one wonders if she's perhaps a Hero?
They know her. Heroes are not only brave, but also smart about it. She does have the courage, no doubt about that.

Ishara
03-20-2013, 10:40 AM
But we know that Cornwell's influence wouldn't have extended that far. He would have helped with the broad strokes, and the littler details - like the men taking breaks to eat/ sleep during battle. The overall structure of the battle was Sanderson, no?

Dom
03-20-2013, 02:42 PM
I liked the pacing a lot, as well as the characterization of the battle - for lack of a better term. It was about tactics still, but also about the people who played out the tactics, if that makes sense? I generally skim the battles, but this one had little details that helped me stick with it (beyond it being the Last freaking Battle, of course). It just felt more ... real? Hard for me to articulate, since I haven;t done a re-read. I just know that I actually paid attention, enjoyed it and understood what was happening.

Weirdly enough it felt the exact opposite to me.

It felt to me that Brandon was constantly out of his comfort zone having to tell a whole story set during a battle, something he's avoided doing in his own novels as it's not quite his force, and his own battles like RJ's are far more character-driven (but lacking RJ's direct experience of battlefield action, so in general far less "realistic" and more "Hollywoodian"). Full battles (as opposed to more general action scenes or fighting/duelling scenes) Brandon tends to describe "in close ups" through the eyes of a very few characters, succinctly telling the larger battle facts that take place off-screen. Much like RJ himself did... He totally abandoned this approach for AMOL, attempting to integrate instead a global story of the various battles themselves, which lead to a lot of often tedious discussions or showcases of tactics and strategies designed by someone else (Allan). That was aggravated by the fact Allan failed to integrate enough the OP into the battle tactics, and what there is (possibly added mostly by Brandon himself) often lacked cohesion. The characters often felt lost into all of this, and the whole telling often felt "remote", too global, not enough concerned with the experiences the characters were going through.

What Brandon gave us is a lot what the characters did during TG, more a story of the events of the LB, which by default were essentially warfare and something Brandon lacked experience and expertise to really pull off well. That's fairly different from RJ's approach which showed us a lot what the characters thought or felt, even if it meant incorporating big ellipses in the telling of the events/battles.

Ishara
03-26-2013, 10:24 PM
Hi all, just wanted to let you know that I moved all posts after #11 to the Literary Critiques (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=7471)thread.

Thanks.