Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

captainhowdy82 t1_j1vb8ir wrote

Lol he’s not for me, either. I tried to read Stormborn and hated it. I found the explanations of the magic system to be super tedious.

Edit: Mistborn?


Dostojevskij1205 OP t1_j1vbtr8 wrote

I sort of enjoyed the discovery phase of the magic system, but now that it's established I do feel that it's lost some of it's... magic.

And there too you'll get the same description from every character every time they draw in stormlight.


Lord0fHats t1_j1zeag7 wrote

Any sufficiently explained magic is indistinguishable from science.

Which is why I don't really agree with his soft/hard magic division. Hard magic isn't magic at all. It's macguffin powered science. Magic is supposed to be mysterious and mystical imo. It can't exist on a 'hard' scale. If I fully understand the rules and 'systems' behind 'magic' there's nothing magical about it. It's a bounded system that has become a fictional science.

Which isn't a bad thing. I can see it's appeal and like plenty of books with such things, even Sanderson's. I'm just less interested in it and generally not as impressed by munchkinry as others and find the soft/hard magic concept to be an explanation in search of a concept rather than a useful division.

Honestly, if you want to see a marvelously made 'magical' system with clear rules that maintains mystery and mystic qualities, read Wildbow's urban fantasy (Pact and Pale). The ways he writes Practioners is a highlight of some truely excellent world building, and harkins to the kind of magic you'd see in Shakespearian theatre built on pacts, oaths, and traditions rather than a fantastical conservation of thermodynamics. It strikes a great balance between magic being explainable but still mystic because it mostly runs on the momentum of 'this is how we do it and we've always done it this way so follow the proper procedures!'


FatalTragedy t1_j2491ah wrote

>find the soft/hard magic concept to be an explanation in search of a concept rather than a useful division.

Except it clearly is still a useful division, given that you actually have the same division. You just call it something different. What Sanderson calls hard magic you call not magic at all, while what Sanderson calls soft magic you just call magic. But the division is still there.


Lord0fHats t1_j250ur3 wrote

If I found it useful I'd use it.

The only time I ever discuss the idea is in reference to Sanderson and how I don't agree with him.

Magic is magic.

Not magic isn't magic.

Semantics doesn't change my opinion on the topic.


EmpRupus t1_j1ygy0o wrote

Yeah, this is my problem with him. His magic doesn't have the mystical quality to it. It feels super-logical and gamified to the point of just coming across as "technology" and not "magic".

Love his writing-related lectures on youtube though. Super useful advice on plotting, characterizations etc.


rumham_irl t1_j1yhlb1 wrote

That's what I really enjoy about his "magic", personally. I don't know if it has to do with being an engineer.. or maybe the other way around? But having such practical reasons and even explaining some metals as the body of other gods was great and kept me engaged.

Wondering if the characters had reserves or vials on them or other tricks up their sleeves kept the magic interesting imo.

And I could be wrong, as I've only read the series (all 7) once, but I believe that the mist itself is never fully explained? That filled the traditional role of the "mysterious" origin of the magic. But once again, I may be a bit off here..


itsAshl t1_j1vdh4s wrote

So interesting. His approach to writing about magic is like literally the thing that makes Sanderson my favorite author.


captainhowdy82 t1_j1vltn4 wrote

People read for different reasons. I found the extreme detail on the magic took me right out of the immersion and immediacy of the action. Character and plot are always going to be the reasons for reading for me. I don’t really care about the technical intricacies of the metal magic stuff unless it’s creating obvious logical contradictions. Like Sanderson should know how his magic works, but it’s not more important than the plot or characters.


__babyslaughter__ t1_j1vu20t wrote

Some people like overly designed crunch.

Others prefer softer systems that focus on other aspects of story telling.

I don’t think there’s a wrong or a right.

But look at Gandalf. We never hear any mechanical aspect of his magic that i can think of. Sometimes he literally just seems like a guy who is deceptively powerful in hard to describe ways. No fireballs, no “speak this incantation to cast this spell” he just has this magical nature that you can’t quite put your finger on. To me, that seems like how magic would appear to a normal person in a fantasy world.

I appreciate soft magic. I can appreciate hard magic but it needs more than just an insanely well fleshed out world and magic system, which are the two things Sanderson has in spades. The other aspects of his writing don’t resonate with me


Lord0fHats t1_j20c64a wrote

Part of it is just a matter of deep lore, characterization, and proper world building.

People familiar with the broader context of Lord of the Rings know Gandalf is a Maia, and basically has all kind of god-like abilities. But he was sent to aid the Free Peoples, not become their lord or hero. He was explicitly forbidden from using his powers except in vague and undefined contexts.

He notably only really uses magic through the stories when faced with higher evils like the Balrog, Saruman, or the Nazgul. At other times, his efforts are physical or restricted to advising the course of events. And of those evils he uses his powers against, only the Balrog is one that he outright defeats himself.

Thing is most people know and criticize Gandalf by his clones in subsequent fantasy, which lack explanations for why the powerful wizard doesn't do powerful wizard stuff.