1. BillyxRansom

    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    events like The Breaking in Wheel of Time?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by BillyxRansom, Sep 6, 2021.

    what are some examples of stories where we read the narrative of a kind of apocalyptic event like this? why does this seem like such a rarity? we're talking about 350ish years, and we don't seem to get any of it? or do we? to be fair, i haven't read the series, but i have listened to a lot of things about WOT (i don't mind spoilers and shit) and i don't know that a narrative was ever told about this particular thing.

    would this require like a Silmarillion type of book?
     
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Senior Member

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    Are you talking about the actual narrative, or the way in which it is told?
     
  3. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I'm not sure what you're asking, but are you talking about an epic cycle, a story or series of stories that spans generations?
     
  4. BillyxRansom

    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    the actual narrative.

    i'm talking about, as far as i understand, it's merely mentioned. and i understand civilization doesn't, strictly speaking, exist during this time? but like, it'd be cool to see WHAT DID exist, and happen, during that period.

    again, 350 years.
     
  5. BillyxRansom

    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    hell, a short story can cover 350 years. a novel can cover 5 seconds. it doesn't matter. it doesn't need to be huge, but as far as i understand it, we don't get more than a mention or 5 throughout the entire 14 book series?
     
  6. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Ok I'm out. I have no idea what you're talking about.
     
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Senior Member

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    If you are talking about some creation myth or origin of the cosmos, I'd imagine there are so me works or series that have chapters devoted to it. I don't know if Lovecraft ever did anything like that, but he'd probably be good at it.

    I don't read a lot of high fantasy so I'm not sure.
     
  8. Chromewriter

    Chromewriter Member

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    I don't know what you mean. You are asserting that apocalyptic event like this are a rarity but I don't think they are.

    But if they were a rarity, it's because the scale is quite large and not many authors write with that scale. Plus, to be honest most things couldn't be written in that scale and make me feel anything but a yawn. It would get into the abstract and the execution has to be really on point, I actually didn't care for the ending of WoT series in the end because most of it just sort of fell under it's own weight.

    Sadly, it seems like high fantasy tends to do that (even though I love the genre).
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
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  9. Midlife Maniac

    Midlife Maniac Member

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    I think Robert Jordan wrote the prologue of WoT very effectively. It needs to be shrouded in mystery for a number of reasons: the misconception of the origin story, the willful deceit of those in power, the process of rediscovery, and the main theme of rebirth in many different ways.

    Another good example of this murky origin story is Castle in the Sky.
     
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  10. BillyxRansom

    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    this is fair, but if i understand you right, you're talking about the concept of the breaking of the world being discussed in the prologue, which is not what i mean.

    absolutely, give me mystery behind an event such as that, at the beginning. i just think, say, 8 books down the line, a cluster of chapters that go into it in greater detail, that would just be cool. if not a whole book, like, maybe a spin-off (ish) kind of thing (similar to how New Spring, prequel to the WOT, was written), could outline a huge event like that.

    thanks for being one of the only ones to take my post seriously, rather than just dismissing it as nonsense, which some of these comments seem to be doing. :/
     
  11. BillyxRansom

    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    to be fair, i haven't read the series, so i don't know how likely or rare an event like this is.

    i'm not really one to care about "spoilers" (i think that's overrated, because i think the experience of reading the prose as it unfolds the events is the whole point, rather than feeling cheated because you got the blow-by-blow, summarized version of it), but i know about a lot of the things and concepts in the WOT series, kind of in preparation to read the series (also i've been in a years' long reading slump, so i'm trying to get stoked about what cool things there are to read about).

    all that said, it may very well be that it wasn't given its own narrative because of how frequent it is. that's fair.

    onto your main point, though. "most things couldn't be written in that scale and make me feel anything but a yawn." do you say this because an event like that doesn't seem to imply a whole lot in terms of characters interacting within a situation like that? (i.e, you hardly have a plot without characters) because in that case, why is it called an apocalyptic event at all? or, rather, why mention it? if there were people who witnessed it, then that means there's potential for events, conflict, struggle.

    that's just my take.

    (for instance, why write The Road if an apocalypse can't be its own story?)
     
  12. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I didn't dismiss it as nonsense, I just couldn't understand what you were trying to say. It's beginning to become clear.

    What I think you're saying reminds me of what my friend said about the opening scene of The Terminator, where Reese saw (in a dream/flashback) the world he had escaped from, the world of his future, where humans live as ragged scavengers amid piles of bones and skulls being relentlessly hunted by Terminators and Hunter-Killer machines that just wipe them out mercilessly. He said he wanted a whole movie like that. I thought it worked much better as just a super-powerful moment of pure destruction and insanity that would lose all its power and dreamlike qualities if it were expanded into a movie and explained, or developed further.

    In fact, like one of those super-extreme dreams you wake up sweating from and remember for the rest of your life, it needs the mystery and the brevity in order to be that intense. It works kind of he way rain does--it can pour down super hard only for a short while, so if it hits like gravel falling on the roof you know it won't last very long, but showers or gentler storms can last all day.

    The only way you can get that extreme intensity is in a burst of unexplained and brief power that makes a huge impression on the viewers/readers. Once you expand it or explain it it becomes more mundane and loses all that power.
     
  13. Chromewriter

    Chromewriter Member

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    Well my take is that an apocalyptic event is usually just very action driven. Lots of just "this is happening, then this happening". I'm not saying it cannot be done well, but, in a book it rarely is and I'll try explaining why I think at the end of this post.

    So, Let's compare WoT to Marvel's Infinity Wars and End Game which did the whole apocalyptic event much better; so in IW you have this big build up of the whole MCU universe vs Thanos. The whole movie is about the showdown that is gonna happen at the end of the movie where the fate of 50% of the world hangs in the balance.

    Plus based on previous history of all marvel movies you'd expect Thanos to lose (because they generally all follow the same formula it is significant and acceptable to reference them). But instead, he actually ends up winning.

    The whole cataclysmic event is portrayed in about 30 seconds of on screen drama. Well, I don't know the exact time but it was very brief compared to killing off a whole host of main characters. This is because the emotional impact of the scene is built up over a generation of movies where your favourite characters have never died and never lost. Similar to WoT. But the deaths are shocking and emotionally cutting.

    Now I have to admit that if it was left at that, the story would be in-complete. So they do something clever by splitting the story into 2. The aftermath of the event is dedicated a whole half a movie in EG. We get to process the emotional and practical impact of such an event as tangible and real.

    But in WoT the scene of the final battle is this long drudging event that falls under its own emotional weight. You have no time to process deaths because they continuously happen and it sort of just fizzles out. Plus it doesn't feel real or impactful because the events can't invoke a sensory detail in a way for you to understand.

    It almost feels like the ending doesn't quite come together imo. But then again, I was quite tired of WoT series at that point with its rambling prose and meandering plot points. So I probably didn't have much love to give then.

    Edit: so forgot to say why books cannot do these things well; books are about sensory details to paint a story, an abstract event like reality bending apocalypsm is light on sensory and is a lot of telling not showing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2021
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  14. Lazaares

    Lazaares Senior Member

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    The Breaking was rather obviously inspired by the periods of "apocalypse" human history has endured - two and a half of them, because the third is largely disputed. First is the LBAC, second is the LIAC or the end of the Roman Empire and the 3rd is the European Civil War and the collapse of European culture as perceived by some scholars. It's often understated how profound the effects of these collapses were on human history; the LBAC itself erased languages, literacy, whole civilizations and global trade. In essence, Ancient Greece reached pre-collapse level of civilization 700 years after the apocalypse (peak of Greek culture), and Italy reached pre-collapse levels 800-ish years after the collapse (Renaissance). An apocalypse of similar magnitude could as well set humanity back to medieval times today; an idea reflected in a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction.

    What fascinates me more is that 99% of the time in fiction this moment of apocalypse is one specific major event that causes all bad, all of a sudden, out of the blue. An asteroid, a nuclear war, zombie plague, etc. The Breaking is not much different. This is in stark contrast to historical examples where the "fall" happened gradually and over many years. We know little about the LBAC, but we know the fall of Rome well and also know there were signs to it 200 years ahead and though 476 is a convenient number, the Western Empire largely ceased to exist way before - it was merely the date when the Gothic king finally pulled the cord.

    Compared to the onset of a sudden crisis, I find it far more interesting to read about gradual decline and a situation where the "crisis" can't really be put on a specific date. It is a great theme where characters with hope are separated from characters who accepted the fall & apocalypse. An contrast between characters that seek to aid others during the strife and those that seek to carve their own slice of the world during its burning. As you mentioned, this is extremely rare in fiction - largely because the depiction of this onset requires a long timespan portrayed.

    War and Peace contains this kind of portrayal. The story starts with the War of the 3rd Coalition which takes place far away from Russia, but still serves to presents the looming threat Napoleon poses. Then, in the 3rd book, it describes Napoleon and his army crossing into Russia. And from then on, the apocalypse and downwards spiral begins. There's burning villages, refugees fleeing ahead of the French army. There's the great fire in Moscow and the protagonists's captivity and almost-execution which is likely the lowest point of the whole story.

    A Song of Ice and Fire is also supposed to feature this - unfortunately, the saucy bits of the apocalypse aren't yet published and frankly, the TV series took such a terrible and low quality turn that it almost wholly killed interest in the series.
     
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  15. Chromewriter

    Chromewriter Member

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    Why do you think that the breaking was inspired by those events? Not arguing the point, just want to learn about the connections.
     
  16. Lazaares

    Lazaares Senior Member

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    It's generally a common theme in fantasy & science-fiction - An existing status quo, a cataclysmic / apocalyptic event re-shaping this status quo and plunging the world into a chaos, then an emergence from the status quo where the pre-cataclsym world is perceived as mythical, ancient and distant. In that sense, I hold the Breaking of the World to be a similar event as the Sundering in the warcraft universe. The linked page explains the same opinion with more examples:

    I believe this touches a topic close to everyone's heart as most of the fantasy audience is familiar with one or more of:
    1. The fall of the Roman Empire and its profound effect on human history
    2. The LBAC and its effect on the evolution of Greek/European culture
    3. The Bible and its description of the Great Flood
     
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  17. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Senior Member

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    What's the LBAC?
     
  18. Lazaares

    Lazaares Senior Member

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    Left a link to an article above in the prior reply; Late Bronze Age Collapse. A period of ~100 years starting in 1200BC where multiple civilizations in the Mediterranean collapsed and the rest receded / were weakened, writing disappeared in vast swathes of land and trade was severely disrupted. It caused the "Greek Dark Age" that largely separates the mythical era of Mycenae, Minos & Troy from the "modern" era of Athens, Sparta and Thebes. It took civilization 500-700 years to recover.

    It is especially fascinating as a real-life apocalyptic era because most surviving records of the era claim destruction at the hands of "Sea people" swarming the coastlines. We have archaeological evidence of hundreds of destroyed coastal settlements and something very special - the Odyssey and the Iliad. Food for thought, but the Iliad's war on troy features an innumerable army of Greeks swarming the coastline and destroying a prospering coastal city.

    The "Sea People" records gave rise to a theory of migratory invasion resulting in the fall of civilization in Greece, Asia Minor and the Middle East - which is eerily similar to the fall of the Roman Empire 1500 years later. But there's also an ongoing investigation into changes in the climate (a volcano eruption theory & a drought / global warming theory), as well as the idea of a full systems collapse (where extensive bureaucracy and armies could no longer sustain themselves and collapsed pillar-by-pillar). There is /no/ current consensus on what caused the collapse.
     
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  19. CatsEyeDjinn

    CatsEyeDjinn New Member

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    Wicca, a guide for the solitary practioner - Scott Cunningham; The Dark Tower series - Stephen King

    With regards to WoT, specifically, the entire series is sprinkled with snippets and hints of what the Age of Legends were like in terms of technology and advancement, what the Aes Sedai of the era were capable of etc. Look at events like Rand going into the crystal columns at Rhuidean, for example. So there is, in fact, a narrative of the Age of Legends. You just need to read the books and put it together yourself.
     
  20. Midlife Maniac

    Midlife Maniac Member

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    Enough is revealed in WoT about the Age of Legend that I’m not sure a prequel would be able to deliver much new material in terms of major plot points. This is also a concern for the GoT prequel, but we shall see!
     

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