florianschild: Marilyn Monroe seated in front of a black backdrop (marilyn sit)
[personal profile] florianschild posting in [community profile] last_herald_mage
Hi there! Hopefully this isn't out of place, but I didn't see any other 'introduce yourself' type instructions. If this is spammy, feel free to delete. :)

I'm Florian! I'm super new to this fandom. Like, finished-the-books-8-days-ago new. Since then, I've been devouring all of the fic and art I can find. I seem to have found the right comm though, because while I devoured the books and adored Vanyel, Medren, Stefen, Yfandes, et al, I have

*so*
*many*
*questions*.


I'm going to reread the series soon, but even thinking back on things I'm confused by canon and the decisions that Lackey made. I think it's fair to say that maybe because this is a prequel, some of the weirdness is due to her trying to fit this story into an existing canon "legend" that she created before she wrote these books. I like to think that's why, but at the same time...

Why is final showdown with Leareth so weak? Where was the actual battle? Where was the impact of that long-awaited confrontation? I mean, even Vanyel's and Yfandes' sacrifices were described in retrospect. Why? I think more time was spent describing the marriages and children of Vanyel's extended family than in the fucking climax of the series. What?

What was the point of the Rethwellen trip in Magic's Price? Why even put it in there? The narrative literally cuts from the scene of Vanyel telling Stef he is leaving to his ride home from the months-long trip with nothing in between. Whyyyy?

Maybe this was me being a bad reader, but did anyone else think the killing off of the herald-mages felt rushed and awkward. Like, there were only four herald-mages left in the entire world? They had definitely mentioned that their numbers were shrinking, but FOUR? During Magic's Pawn it isn't outright stated, but it's implied that there are quite a few.

Not to mention other weird inconsistencies like Savil saying that Vanyel had the bardic gift in Magic's Pawn but never mentioning it again. Or how Vanyel says in Magic's Price that there being a herald doesn't give one a higher rank that any other palace resident, but in Magic's Pawn Savil explicitly tells Vanyel that the herald trainees outrank him.

I want the author to go back over this series with a fine-toothed comb and do an entire canon rewrite. The bones are there, but the execution is so... blegh.


I did enjoy the books a lot, despite my complaints. I think part of the reason why I liked them was that I was looking forward to exploring the canon through fic, meta, art, etc. After reading Magic's Pawn I googled for fanart of the series and found this painting that I cannot stop drooling over. It gave me a lot of motivation to finish the series, knowing that there was a pretty active fandom. I didn't realize at the time how lucky I would get in that respect. It seems like this community has attracted a delightful group of fans, with a level of talent and productivity that really outstrips the size of the fandom (at least as far as I can tell, it seems like a pretty small fandom).

So anyway, I guess I just wanted to say hello, share my grievances, and say a enormous, giant *thank you* to all the fic, art, podfic, and discussion creators. Your work has been thrilling me all week since I finished the books!

Date: 2017-07-06 06:29 pm (UTC)
kaza999: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaza999
i can answer a couple of your questions at least!

so in magic's price, it is strongly implied that leareth is indirectly attacking the heralds and killing herald-mages--this is never stated outright in the books, but knowing leareth and the pattern of events, totally possible

magic's price is not actually leareth's first or last appearance--the sneak actually mastered the trick of intentional reincarnation. he's a version of ma'ar, one of the great mages during the mage wars. he appears as ma'ar in the black gryphon (which is have not read) and as mornelithe falconsbane in the mage winds trilogy (which i adore)

the guy is notoriously sneaky and i'm fairly sure he was deliberately killing mages and herald-mages until there were only four left, but no one put it together until it was too late (i also have a theory that he only started doing that after magic's pawn, when he realized van existed and was very powerful and thus a threat, which is why there are way more herald-mages then than in later books)

as for vanyel's bardic gift, well, it might be it never came up because it just wasn't too important. after all, he has a slight healing gift, and that only comes up sometimes when it's relevant, so i suppose the bardic gift just wouldn't come up much at all for the same reason

however, i too think that the confrontation between van, yfandes and leareth wasn't executed so well. i think tbh that leareth would have been patient enough to wait vanyel out and not arouse suspicion until a whole lot later, not just try to kill the last four herald-mages at once and get van on his trail

i feel you! i adore these books to pieces and have since i was a kid, but there are some plot issues i have. i feel like magic's price is the most poorly-constructed out of all three, but upon most recent reread i find they tend to hold together pretty well in spite of complaints (and magic's price has stefan who is awesome)

Date: 2017-07-06 10:13 pm (UTC)
mad_martha: (Goblin King)
From: [personal profile] mad_martha
Just to add to your comment - Leareth was also the dark mage Krebain in Magic's Pawn. This is confirmed in one of the Winds trilogy books - sorry, I can't remember which one because it must be twenty years since I last read them, but there's a substantial chunk of backstory on Mornelithe Falconsbane in one of them, where it confirms Ma'ar's reincarnation trick.

What I can't remember is whether it was confirmed that he was also Vedric Mavelan in Magic's Promise. It would kind of make sense if he was, because grabbing the power of a heartstone would certainly be something Ma'ar would want to do, and that would make a bit more sense of the purpose of that book. Having said that, you could also argue that the second book was about Vanyel putting the ghost of Tylendel to rest and getting on with his life.

Totally seconding - thirding? - the comments about Magic's Price, though, despite dearly loving Bard Stefen. The build-up to the confrontation in particular featured that gratuitous rape (to what purpose?) while the confrontation itself was largely tell-don't-show, which was not great story-telling.

And yet the Magic trilogy is still my favourite :-)

Ah ... and I'm Mad Martha, by the way, Lurker Supreme. Hello :-)

Date: 2017-07-07 12:26 am (UTC)
kaza999: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaza999
ooh, i hadn't actually considered that vedric mavelan could be leareth, but that makes sense--i figured he was just working for him or something, but the timeline matches up ok and it definitely fits with leareth's vendetta against van specifically

(gotta love how van messes leareth up every single time they meet tho, leareth loves to play big bad but every time he goes up against van he loses, even tho that last time van kinda died)

but where the series is concerned, i kind of give it the mass effect treatment--3/4 of it is awesome, buuuut the very last quarter falls flat (i think after savil dies is where things in price start to go wrong writing wise. the rest i actually really love), so basically, just ignore the ending lmao

Date: 2017-07-09 07:27 pm (UTC)
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (default pic)
From: [personal profile] krait
Welcome, Florian! :D

Others have covered the "Leareth is only one instalment in the bigger story of How Ma'ar Was Defeated Finally For Real (I recommend reading the Gryphon books next, for context on Ma'ar!) and the 'fitting a story into an already established legend' thing, so I'll stick to the Gift issue:

I always understood the variable-level-of-gifts-thing to be, essentially, magical physics - any blast has a radius, right? And the burst of magic that blew his mage-channels open also hit a number of other channels, but not with the same strength. (Picture a bomb going off in a room with twelve doors. Whatever door the bomb is in front of is going to get vapourised! But the doors farthest away from the bomb might will take much less damage.)

The mage-gift was at the epicenter of the backlash and was hit the hardest, due to the tie between Vanyel's magic and Tylendel's, so the block on mage-gift was completely obliterated. 'Surrounding' gifts were also hit, but the strength of the blast would vary according to how 'close' they were to the mage-channels. Some channels were hit hard; others were at the edge of the blast and didn't open much -- hence Van's minimal Fetching, Firecalling, Healing. Instead of the 'door' to those gifts being destroyed completely, they just took minor damage, allowing a smaller amount of access to the gift.

Anyway! Welcome to the fandom, and I'm so glad you found this comm and introduced yourself!

I was pretty surprised, myself, that Valdemar got down to FOUR Herald-Mages and nobody was panicking. I could totally understand it being kept from the general population; but Vanyel's hanging out with royalty and the highest echelons of people involved in the kingdom's defence; HE should be aware of everything they're worried about!

Makes me wonder if Leareth was using some subtle spellwork to induce artificial calm, as Ma'ar once did with that fear spell? (Or at the least, that makes a good fix-it for ficcing purposes.)

Anyway, welcome again, and please continue to post as you explore the fandom! I hadn't seen that artwork before; it's fabulous, and thank you for the link. :D

Date: 2017-07-10 03:05 am (UTC)
kaza999: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaza999
ooh, i like your theory on how van's power works! that would make a lot of sense, and would account for why he has so many gifts but their strength is so variable.

ok but the possibility of leareth inducing artificial calm on the population and the herald-mages is a really, really interesting idea i hadn't thought of but would absolutely be his mo--after all, in mage winds his entire deal with k'sheyna vale was to destablize it from within, influencing the very social structure of the clan.

it would be a neat au if leareth tried a similar trick on the herald-mages, perhaps sublimating one of them like what happened to starwind and what he tried to do with nyara. as i recall, mental attacks are also a favorite of leareth's, considering how often he likes to attack van's friends and family instead of him directly

Date: 2017-07-17 01:12 am (UTC)
krait: a common krait on dusty ground (common krait)
From: [personal profile] krait
Thanks!

And yes, it really seems like a possibility, given what we've seen from Ma'ar; after all, he's had the knowledge of fear spells for hundreds of years at this point, so it makes plenty of sense that he would have been experimenting and refining on it, and developing variations, over the centuries as his multitude of 'lives' encountered different situations in need of emotional manipulation.

(Sometimes, if I'm really paranoid, I also suspect that Randale's mysterious un-Heal-able illness is something Ma'ar induced/created/caused. What better chances for slipping a calming spell into the Palace than to have a monarch sl-ooo-ooo-wly dying? It's better than his just dropping dead, because now you have tons of strangers coming in and out of the Palace, all the nobles and high ministers are incredibly distracted, AND you can use the despair/obsession with the King's health to divert suspicion from the lack of interest in Herald-Mage numbers...)

considering how often he likes to attack van's friends and family instead of him directly

This is a really good point! A key feature of how Leareth/Ma'ar tackle strong opponents is pretty well summed up as 'Suffering & Despair Will Cause Defeat' and 'The Long Game Is The Only Game Worth Playing.' He would much rather break someone down slowly than try to overcome it all at once -- hence his leaching away Van's support so that he's physically overworked and emotionally wounded. It's of a piece with his use of the fear spell in the Griffin series, and we see it again, as you say, with his attempt to destroy the Vale by suborning its leadership.

Maybe Ma'ar took to heart his failures against Urtho, because he seems to be strongly averse to the "raise an army and conquer directly" method. And I think he even learnt from his first destruction, because 'the power of love/loyalty' is what led to Skan's unexpected attack -- so now he's careful to demoralise his opponents and keep them emotionally detached and isolated (so there's no one they love enough to pull crazy heroics for). He just underestimated how much Vanyel loves Valdemar itself, this time around.

He very well might have tried to suborn some Herald-Mages, though I think after the first couple he tried he'd have decided it was a waste of time; Heralds generally have a moral centre you can bounce boulders off of, so I don't think he would get far. (Better by far to suborn a few Bards! The emotional effects of their Gift are so often overlooked, but it's the perfect tool to carry something like a fear spell into a protected area...) Physical distance would be an element, too - most Herald-Mages seemed to stay around Haven a lot of time, so getting to them in order to test their loyalty could be difficult. Whereas Bards travel a lot - and even cross international borders! If a "Bard from Rethwellan" showed up at the Valdemaran court saying he'd heard they were looking for good players, nobody would ask him how long it took him to get there or whether he took any strange detours into the borderlands.

Likely the wouldn't even check with Rethwellan to see if he was from there, unless he was going to be directly interacting with the King or in some other similarly sensitive position. Bards on Velgarth seem to be identified by their Scarlets and their Gifts -- if you've got those, you must be a Bard, right? No one seems to keep track of them on an international basis, and they go where they please and work for a wide variety of people! It would be so simple to lure a few out to the Border with rumours of a rustic-but-rich lord looking for talented performers for his household; and once you've captured them and suborned a couple, no one would look twice at them showing up somewhere else...

Date: 2017-07-17 10:19 am (UTC)
kaza999: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaza999
heralds fortunately have companions, which i think makes sublimating them a little difficult--however you're right, bards have no such protection, and a lot of them have gifts, especially of the affecting people's emotions variety, meaning leareth would love getting his hands on one of them

i'm just thinking of an au where leareth didn't lose his patience with van (because what is the last act of magic's price if not leareth getting sick of his decades-long game with valdemar?) and instead tried to sublimate the people around him

there are so many possibilities. medren is a target, he's got a powerful gift and frequently travels. stef, obviously, if gotten alone somewhere. heck, even bard breda if leareth wanted to try and get at the heralds less directly, and having any powerful bard under his control would be pretty beneficial to him

there's even the possibility that he could attack k'treva like he attacked k'sheyna (only with more effectiveness because i believe he loses strength with each reincarnation?)

Date: 2017-08-07 07:15 am (UTC)
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] kat_nic
OH MY GOD NEW PEOPLE HI. i am sorry i am a garbage mod who barely keeps up with her own com.

I honestly can't believe that a whole meta thread happened and I or [personal profile] thene or [personal profile] gildaurel were not a part of it!

I am so bad at keeping up with...anything, really. But yeah, I 100% created this community to be a safe space for airing our grievances (and posting porn because lhm_fanship didn't allow it) so rant away.

It's fun to come up with fanon/headcanon to explain away the flaws, but honestly i think it was just that Elizabeth Wollheim (or whoever actually edited the books) was just not very fucking good at their job. I mean, the typos and grammar/punctuation errors alone point to that, but then we have the continuity problems and plot holes and a really crappy story structure--so much is told and not shown, important plot points are mentioned once then dropped, not to mention all the latent misogyny. :///

Date: 2017-08-08 11:12 pm (UTC)
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] kat_nic
Intro posts are totally fine! Or people can just jump right in with fic, art, meta, whatever.

The other comm over on lj is...well. They are kind of "author can do no wrong" I kinda didn't want to harsh their vibe with my salty love/hate dynamic, plus i wanted a place to put the porn. All the porn.

that is totally what that tag is in reference to. Distracting is...the nicest way to put it lmao

Yes! So much! I had a fic idea that I was bouncing around before I hit a slump, to fill in Van and Stef's first months back in Haven as a couple, because there is no way that was a smooth transition. Maybe someday?

Date: 2017-08-22 04:57 pm (UTC)
kaza999: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaza999
late to the party and all but a fic that covers van and stef's first few months as a couple would be awesome to read!

Date: 2017-09-20 04:19 am (UTC)
thene: Happy Ponyo looking up from the seabed (Default)
From: [personal profile] thene
Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat you have to write this now, did u know that

/is very late to all parties

Date: 2017-09-20 04:46 am (UTC)
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] kat_nic
I'M TRYING. WHAT ARE WORDS.

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