This week’s been better. Last week felt sluggish, felt like I wasn’t getting things done. There’s still improvement to be made on that front – but when isn’t there? Still, I’m glad to say that I feel this week has been an improvement.
I spent most of this week finishing reading The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. I started the book back in October, but set it aside to re-read the Stormlight Archive prior to Oathbringer‘s release.
It turns out I was riiiight before the turning point in the novel. The turning point is that spot in just about every story where things grow suddenly, dramatically worse. In Star Wars, it’s when Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are killed by stormtroopers. In Lord of the Rings, when the Ringwraiths enter the Shire.
For good or for ill The Dragonbone Chair took a while to get moving, but once Simon (the main character) was on the road to adventure the story quickly grew fast-paced and engaging. The first quarter of the story was still pleasant, but slow. Simon in the castle of Hayholt, at home, in safety, just isn’t as engaging as Simon struggling with adventure.
If you’re a fantasy reader, I’d recommend The Dragonbone Chair. It felt written intentionally in response and in context with earlier fantasy works, such as The Lord of the Rings and Stephen Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane. I find Simon and Thomas Covenant (the main character of Lord Foul’s Bane) to be interestingly similar in how they approach adventure and heroism, although Simon is far less repugnant than Covenant.
(I do also recommend Lord Foul’s Bane so, so highly. It’s beautifully written with an absolutely awful protagonist. In many ways it’s as alien to modern fantasy as The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison, but much more readable.)
This week, I’ve continued working on pre-writing for Jiharel. I’ve been trying a free write, one which I don’t imagine will ever end up as something publishable. It’s basically a process I’m trying to imagine the landscape, to help me create a world.
So far this has been pleasurable to do, like playing with words, but I’m not sure yet if it’s useful. Time shall tell.
Last Week: Hold the course, get more things done. I feel this is accomplished.
This Week: Keep holding the course! Keep getting things done.