It's feels like ages (has been some years actually) that i contributed some bits here, but i came across an interesting article today. It's about the 'Star Wars sextett' and some musings about it's underlying "musical or poetry-like" structure as a whole. You can read it here: http://www.starwarsringtheory.com/ring-composition-chiasmus-hidden-artistry-star -wars-prequels/
After reading that article - which is great i think - i started wondering where else this ring theory or 'chiasmus' could be found. Just as i looked onto my bookshelf an all those great WoLaS books :-)
Well to come to the crux of the matter ... i do wonder if Janny uses 'chiasmus'-like techniques in the overall story or portrait of WoLaS e.g. repeating parts of the character attributes of the main protagonists and historical outcomes in certain patterns. The above mentioned article refers to some rules of using the ring theory in storytelling like splitting the story in specific parts, having parallel sections (light and dark anyone?) or closure of storyarcs an two levels. The last thing is what facinates me the most in the moment.
I cite: "Finally, the ending of a ring composition must join up with the beginning and make a clear closure on both a structural and thematic level. “The exposition will have been designed to correspond to the ending. When it comes the reader can recognize it as the ending that was anticipated in the exposition.”
It has been so long that i read one of those great books, but i remember some forum posts about planting some story "seeds" very early on in the first books maybe even the prologue of the first one and i wonder if we will end the journey where we readers started so long ago. Just my two cents before midnight, but maybe it's worth discussing about. (And please forgive my grammar and "denglisch", it's not my native language...) Has anyone recognized some patterns in Janny's story as a whole...? Within the books as "rings within rings"? Or reversed character development arcs?
I think i have to reread the books...
Pablo, excellent post, and one worthy of consideration. I think that any successful epic must use something of this approach you describe. The difference being that in Star Wars it was executed extremely badly, particularly in the prequels, and the latest sequel, despite some bright spots, is exactly the same plot as the very first movie from 1977.
WoLaS, on the other hand, is far more intricately constructed, and the evil is not so purely evil, and the good not so obviously good. The balance is, by its lack of being obvious, is obvious (forgive that laboured oxymoron), and gives this story much more visceral power. Most readers by this point, for instance, are not very fond of Lysaer, but can see how he came to be what he is, and can see that he has some part to play for good before the end of this story. Whether he is redeemed or not is another question, but he may play the role similar to Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, or Gollum in Return of the King (for Gandalf said
"For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours not least."
Is Lysaer Janny's Vader/Gollum? Neither of them was Sauron or Emperor Palpatine, who were much more pure manifestations of evil (characterized mostly by the lust for power and control), having some parts of Anakin/Smeagol left. Lysaer has desired power in the past, but appears to have veered away from it with the lessening of the Curse after the events of Stormed Fortress.
As for circles within circles, WoLaS makes Star Wars look like Dick and Jane in the complexity department. I have some idea where Star Wars is going. I have much less of an idea where WoLaS will end up. Janny has never included superfluous filler. Every obscure reference has a point to which to link in the future, as we have seen in the individual story arcs (Fionn Areth being a good example), and the development of the characters like Dakar, Sulfin Evend and Tarens. (Lucas was terrible at character development. Everyone hated Anakin Skywalker as a whiny teenager, and he did not transform him into Vader at all well). The over-arching themes and plot lines will circle back, and surprise us with amazing twists (Janny, you have kept raising our expectations).
Perhaps the next posters could look at what circles Janny has completed and which remain unfinished? I'll put on my thinking cap.
Pablo, thanks for starting this thread. It is a good 'un!
Before I start in on the complexity of the Star Wars story are you referencing only the movies or the entirety of the books in EU or post Disney?
Just the movies. I read a couple of the books 30-35 years ago, but just movie adaptations.
I have no knowledge of the Star Wars multi-verse, though I understand the plots widen and conflict, similar to the Star Trek books.
DJ, I thought you'd be along to post on this one!
Well that view about "The force awakens" is quite intersting to hear Clansman. I think that is the perfect example about what that StarWars article is about. I had the same thoughts about TFA at first after watching it. The similarities in regard to "A new hope" are quite obvious: A kind of Death Star has to be destroyed, the mentor of the force sensitive protagonist dies and so on. What got me thinking is how the film shows in what way the new generation/iteration of protagonists deviate from their decicions and develop in the story. If the mentioned ring theory would be correct Disney would have made a genious move because they seem continue that form of storytelling (Lucas hasn't been involved that much in the production).
Of course Janny has much more space to paint a broader tapestry in the book format, so i appreciate both and don't mind the simpler way Star Wars presents it's themes. And because of its simplicity Star Wars is so good as an example in understanding the ring theory on its own. And maybe its my luck to have forgotten so many details about WoLaS ... So i just remember outlines "of patterns" Of course Arithon and Lysaer can live in their extended livespans more, than one generation/iteration. Maybe you could say they are likes "higher entities as "the jedi" and "the sith". They are some kind of constant through out the whole story arcs, but also change in relation to their conflicts and relationships of their supporting characters (even the "evil" ones). What i do remember is that in each arc they have one or more specific supporting companion. Be it Dakar, Sulfin Evend or Tarens.
For example: Each time or in each following generation Arithon starts in some some form of dire situation or is pulled into a conflict. Then he crosses paths with his "story-arc-companion" like Dakar, Fion or Tarens. Each of these are opposed to him in the beginning but change their views over time (mini-circle). And each time it's a "little" different. In Lysaers case the situation is often mirrored i think (bad memory). Please forgive my oversimplification, but i think that is something Janny wants to show us. An oversimplification that happens in the generational memory. Both of them are not quite pure good or evil. They are (still) cursed, face 'impossible' situations and even wars but we already know the outcome which is "remebered" in the first prologue; how they are labeled ultimatley, because Atheras human population tends to "think" in terms of western dualisms like good and evil, light and dark as opposed to an integrated view which we readers experience (because of all the wonderful details).
I think we are in the middle of the turning point of one of the bigger circles, as Lysaer becomes more and more contious about his cursed behaviour he fights it even. And thats just because of his supporting characters like Sulfin Evend aaaand now his future 'love interes'. Gosh whats her name again X-D And she's initially not on his "side" which will change... but maybe in a different way as Talith? At the same time Arithons "downfall" has to beginn soon (maybe in form of a trusted supporting charakter who turns on him, or big "charade/event" were Lysaer gets all the credit for saving Athera from the Koriani..?). Maybe there are even rings for all bigger parties/entities like the Seven (redemption/disbandonment?), the Koriani (they cannot wreck evil for eternity because we know from the start that Athera as a whole survives their meddlings). But maybe i go overboard with all that stuff :-D
Oh and please don't think that the Star Wars lore ist "simple" to me. I'm well aware of that big canon stuff like CloneWars, Rebels and the new books. I'm just talking about the movies as an example. So no offense intended!
Clansman knows me well after all these years as the resident Star Wars Buff and Lysaer supporter (he is the most Sith like). to properly get all the story from the movies one must go on to read the books ie the prequel books did a much better job of showing Anakins downfall than the movies did.
A common misconception is that it is black and white, good and evil. This is what led to the fall of the Jedi order as they didn't see grey while the Sith are not inherently evil. Yes the action of the person can be evil but the Sith doctrine simply teaches to mold the force to your will while the Jedi try to follow the will of the force. Both sides want law and order but the Sith be leave that this can only be accomplished by the absolute authority.
Now I will go read the ring theory so I can chime in on that side for the story.
Oh and for the record it was for the love of a woman that Anakin fell from the light. If Padme had just said no everything would have been alright (blame the woman)(now ducks for cover).
While lots of things come full circle in Janny's books, I prefer to think of it as a ripple theory. We start out just seeing the splash, the obvious action that makes the ripples we cannot yet see, but Janny put everything in there for later when we start looking for more. Each arc, she shows as more how everything is connected, how to see more ripples, till finally in the last arc, we get to see the whole picture.
The ring theory is still there I suppose, but I think Janny's version is a bit more complicated. We see similar events played out at different points, similar scenes, set themes central to the story, but the players react differently, as they grow and change through the story. And Janny sometime cleverly disguises things, so we do not recognize the connections till later, after we have advanced further in the story.
You have no need to apologize for your "denglisch". It's far better than many people I know whose native language is English.
Very bad american speak I do thank you.