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Showing posts by: Jason Denzel click to see Jason Denzel's profile
Mon
Sep 24 2012 3:00pm

“Dear Robert Jordan,” a Response to A Memory of Light

Dear Robert Jordan, a Response to A Memory of Light

Dear Robert Jordan,

Today I read your final book. The end of The Wheel of Time came to my hands nearly twenty years after I first picked up its beginning. It was a story well told, a story whose ending lived up to the promises made so very long ago. I’m writing in order to tell you a little about it.

What I’ve loved most about your grand story throughout the years is how true it is. Those who cherish the fantasy genre understand this. Within a story about fictitious people, in fictitious worlds, with conflicts that never actually happened, we have the opportunity to explore what makes us real. The Wheel of Time has, for me, and I suspect for thousands of others, done that better than any of its peers. One of its most fundamental lessons is that time is a wheel, and that endings are simply new beginnings if you have the courage to turn and look the other way. 

[Memories and reactions ahead, but no spoilers]

Tue
Apr 24 2012 10:00am

The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen KingTo the Constant Reader and to new friends walking the unfamiliar Path of the Beam for the first time I say, “Hile! May it do yeh fine.” Be welcome to this special review of Stephen King’s upcoming novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole.

This newest book from “Sai King” is a part of The Dark Tower Cycle, the series known for being both King’s self-proclaimed magnum opus, as well as “the series whose ending everyone hated.” Over the years when I mention the Dark Tower to friends and associates familiar with the series, I usually receive a sigh and a comment about how the ending just wasn’t what they expected or wanted. That it was such a let-down. A disappointment.

[Gather your gunna and take a look at the new book with me.]

Wed
Dec 21 2011 5:15pm

They Had Me at the Singing: Why The Hobbit Adaptations Will Succeed

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyAs reported yesterday, the first trailer for the first Hobbit film has debuted. What’s remarkable to me is how it only took a few seconds for the imagery and sounds of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to instantly take me back a decade and an Age to that triumph of cinema that was the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Once again I felt magic wash over me and capture my attention in a way so few other big-budget films manage to. And judging by the comments here on Tor-dot and on Twitter, I’m not the only one who felt that way.

What is it about these adaptations that captivates us so? Why do they succeed where others fall short? The answer, I think, is surprisingly simple: the filmmakers on Team Hobbit continue to cherish the spirit and integrity of the source material.

[Let’s examine some do’s and don’ts of adapting books for the screen]

Wed
Dec 21 2011 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Roundtable, Final Week: All Singing! All Dancing!

Welcome to the final installment of the Wheel of Time Roundtable! In this weekly mini-series we’ve asked a panel of Wheel of Time experts a number of questions that look at the upcoming final volume in this long-running fantasy series: A Memory of Light and beyond.

We’ve looked at the threat of the Shadow, the threat of everybody else, postulated on what may happen after A Memory of Light, made a wishlist of things we want to see in the final book, and thought about what legacy the Wheel of Time will leave behind.

And you know what? We’re a bit tired of thinking right now, so in this final installment we’re going to imagine what The Wheel of Time:
The Musical!
would be like. Moo ha ha!

[Come play along with us]

Wed
Dec 14 2011 2:05pm

Acceptance, Decay, and Duality. What The Wheel of Time Means: Roundtable, Week 5

Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Roundtable! In this weekly mini-series from Tor.com, we’re asking a panel of Wheel of Time experts a number of questions that look at the upcoming final volume in this long-running fantasy series: A Memory of Light.

The questions will range from the specific, to the silly, to the broad, eventually encompassing the Wheel of Time’s legacy itself.

We’ve looked at the threat of the Shadow, the threat of everybody else, postulated on what may happen after A Memory of Light, and made a wishlist of things we want to see in the final book.

Now we look at the series as a unified whole. In the end, what is The Wheel of Time about?

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 7 2011 3:00pm

What We Want From A Memory of Light: The Wheel of Time Roundtable, Week 4

Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Roundtable! In this weekly mini-series from Tor.com, we’re asking a panel of Wheel of Time experts a number of questions that look at the upcoming final volume in this long-running fantasy series: A Memory of Light.

The questions will range from the specific, to the silly, to the broad, eventually encompassing the Wheel of Time’s legacy itself.

We’ve looked at the threat of the Shadow, the threat of everybody else, and what may happen after A Memory of Light. Now we make a wishlist of the scenes we want to see in the final book.

[Read more]

Wed
Nov 30 2011 3:00pm

Ages to Come, Ages Long Past: The Wheel of Time Roundtable, Week 3

Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Roundtable! In this weekly mini-series from Tor.com, we’ll be asking a panel of Wheel of Time experts a number of questions that look at the upcoming final volume in this long-running fantasy series: A Memory of Light.

The questions will range from the specific, to the silly, to the broad, eventually encompassing the Wheel of Time’s legacy itself.

Each week (unless it’s Thanksgiving and we are turkey-bound) a different question will be posed to our panelists, then you, the commenters, will be invited to join in.

We’ve looked at the threat of the Shadow and the threat of everybody else to figure out just what still awaits us in A Memory of Light. Now we turn past the events of the final book, to ponder the layout of The Fourth Age and beyond.

[Andor as a tech capital, a worldwide stedding, and the One Power disappearing]

Wed
Nov 16 2011 3:15pm

We Can Do Bad All By Ourselves: The Wheel of Time Roundtable, Week 2

Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Roundtable! In this weekly mini-series from Tor.com, we’ll be asking a panel of Wheel of Time experts a number of questions that look at the upcoming final volume in this long-running fantasy series: A Memory of Light.

The questions will range from the specific, to the silly, to the broad, eventually encompassing the Wheel of Time’s legacy itself.

Each week a different question will be posed to our panelists, then you, the commenters, will be invited to join in.

Last week we looked at the threat of the Shadow as it loomed over our intrepid heroes, despite their victories in recent books, and we postulated how we’d kill Rand and company ourselves. (Then Leigh adopted a puppy and the light came out.)

This week, we move on to threats of the non-Shadow variety. And boy, are they ever legion...

[Read on for the second question]

Wed
Nov 9 2011 2:00pm

Thinking Dark Thoughts: The Wheel of Time Roundtable, Week 1

Welcome to the Wheel of Time Roundtable! In this new weekly mini-series from Tor.com, we’ll be asking a panel of Wheel of Time experts a number of questions that look at the upcoming final volume in this long-running fantasy series: A Memory of Light.

The questions will range from the specific, to the silly, to the broad, eventually encompassing the Wheel of Time’s legacy itself.

Each week a different question will be posed to our panelists, then you, the commenters, will be invited to join in. Let’s meet our panel, and read the first question, below.

[Undead Trollocs! Pudding mines! And how we would kill Rand]

Tue
Mar 8 2011 4:33pm

Dragon Age II: An Interview with Designers David Gaider and Mike Laidlaw

Dragon Age II

Rejoice, fantasy gamers, for the mighty sequel to Dragon Age is here at last!

Today marks the release of Dragon Age II, the heavily anticipated follow-up to the award-winning role playing game, Dragon Age: Origins. To celebrate its release, I’ve got a special treat for you in the form of an exclusive interview with two of the driving forces behind the game’s design.

Developed by BioWare, the Dragon Age franchise began with the original game Origins in 2009. It’s still available on Windows, Mac, PlayStation 3, and XBOX 360 and is one of the finest examples of character-driven storytelling in gaming history. The original showcased compelling characters and themes within an original world which was developed from the ground up.

With Dragon Age II, BioWare has raised the bar again by embracing a framed narrative and even more epic storyline. I had the privilege to sit down and talk with David Gaider, the lead writer for the franchise, and Mike Laidlaw, the lead designer. Let’s dive into that discussion!

[More below the fold. Did I mention we talk about Felicia Day?]

Sun
Mar 6 2011 1:00pm

Best SFF Novels of the Decade: An Appreciation of Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonMistborn: The Final Empire (more commonly referred to as simply, Mistborn) is the first novel in an epic trilogy written by fantasy superstar Brandon Sanderson. Originally published in 2006, the novel was the beginning of Sanderson’s first attempt at publishing a multi-volume series. It is also, in my little ol’ opinion, his best solo-written work to date. And yes, I’ve read all his books, and yes, that includes the colossal The Way of Kings.

Sanderson’s meteoric rise to fame is practically the stuff of legend now, but I’ll admit that I was pretty skeptical when I read Mistborn. Let me explain what happened.

[Read more]

Tue
Jan 19 2010 1:49pm

The Shadow Rising ebook now available for sale

Very often I am faced with a question that, at one time or another, every Wheel of Time fan has to answer: “Which is your favorite WoT book?”  That, or its close cousin, “Which do you think is the best WoT book?” And like so many other die-hard fans will tell you, I just can’t decide.

Sometimes I tell people that I love The Great Hunt the best for its frantic pace, streamlined narrative, and amazing climax. Other times I love The Fires of Heaven, where we get a nice big dose of political intrigue mixed with some of the best action sequences in the series. And sometimes I’ve even been known to give a very Robert Jordan-like response and say that my favorite WoT novel is the one I’m reading right now.

So when Tor invited me to announce the release of one of their ebook novels, I decided I would introduce The Shadow Rising. I chose it in part because one of my fondest memories of Robert Jordan involved this book. Wanna hear it? Well, settle in kids, and have a listen.

[The Shadow Rises below the fold....]

Fri
Nov 20 2009 4:46pm

The Duel, part 2: How I will defeat Brandon Sanderson

In the two weeks since I announced my intent to challenge Brandon Sanderson to a game of Magic: The Gathering, I’ve been made all-too-aware of three undeniable facts:

  1. Brandon is more popular than me

  2. Brandon is a better Magic player than me

  3. And most of you want me to get trampled into the ground

There is no doubt, as I wrote in Part 1 of this series, that Brandon is a superior player of this game, and my lifetime 1-4-1 record against him is testament to that. (My one victory came because he started with a handicap). I imagine this match to be akin to a One Power duel between a post-stilling Siuan Sanche (me) going up against Egwene (him). I probably don’t stand a chance, and most of you guys seem to think that. One endearing Tor.com reader even said I would get “smoked like a Christmas ham.”

Well this ain’t Chistmas yet, buddy. And I’ve... ahem... got some cards up my sleeve. What happens if you give Siuan an angreal, and Egwene some forkroot? The rules of our game have proven to be in my favor, and so there is hope yet. So let’s dive in, and discuss what my plan of attack is.

Oh, BTW, Brandon, if you’re reading this, um... don’t.

[Read on to discover how to defeat an Allomancer]

Wed
Nov 4 2009 5:05pm

The Duel, part 1: Help Me Defeat Brandon Sanderson

Alright folks. The time has come. I’m tired of being beaten down. I’ve been picked apart, dismantled, and routinely defeated too may times. It is time for me to rise. To lift my face despite the bruises and accept the challenge before me. It is time to redeem my honor. My ji.

I will defeat Brandon Sanderson at a game of Magic: The Gathering.... And you’re going to help me.

In return, we’re going to twitter the game live and report back to Tor.com once it’s all done. To pull this off, I’m going to need a lot of help.

[Read On To Find Out more]

Thu
Jul 23 2009 2:43pm

Beyond the Aryth Ocean: BONUS Part 4: A review of selected Wheel of Time maps

Bonus!

Welcome to the Special Bonus, “4th of Three,” All Wheel of Time, Ultra Mega Map Review Article of Dhoom!

In previous articles (here, here, and here) I shared and discussed some of my favorite fantasy-themed maps. We talked about landscapes illustrated for books, digital worlds mapped out for us to explore on the computer, and some unusual maps designed as accessories for gaming.

But now it’s time to reverse course and talk about some maps very near and dear to my heart. I guess no matter how hard I try, I’ll always come back to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Sure, I could talk about WoT all day long on Dragonmount, but I suppose this was to be expected. After all, the purpose of a good map is not only to lead you to adventure, but to guide you home.

[The Wheel weaves after the jump]

Fri
Jul 17 2009 2:08pm

Beyond the Aryth Ocean: Part 3: A review of selected maps in other fantasy media

And we have arrived! Welcome to the third and final part of our article series on Awesome Fantasy Maps. So far we’ve discussed maps from novels and computer games. For this last article, I’m going to discuss maps found in other, more “miscellaneous” categories of fantasy entertainment.

Part 1 of our discussion of maps in fantasy novels can be found here. Part 2, in which I review maps from fantasy computer games, can be found here

[Land Ho! See more lands beneath this here southern fold…]

Wed
Jul 15 2009 10:49am

Beyond the Aryth Ocean: Part 2: A review of selected maps in fantasy computer games

Welcome back! Whether you bookmarked, RSS’d, or just wandered in, you’ve arrived at part two of our three-part series where I’ll discuss the maps found in various fantasy-themed worlds.

In case you missed it, you can go here for the first part in the series, where I showcased some maps from a few well-known fantasy novels. For this article, we’ll be exploring the terrains of maps found in some well-known computer games.

Now, at the risk of sounding old and “Get off my lawn”-ish, I’ll state that I believe they just don’t make game maps like they used to. Nowadays every game has an auto-map feature, which is cool, but I kind of miss having a good, hard-core RPG where I’ve got to map my own way. I’ll discuss a few of those games below, but one that comes to mind is the old Wizardry series. I remember playing Bane of the Cosmic Forge as a teenager and being scared out of my pants because I was lost in some dark, digital forest late on Halloween night one year. (I was also probably coming off of a sugar high, which couldn’t have been helping). The only way I could possibly have finished that game was to rely on my hand-drawn maps where every step was meticulously documented. Maybe “kids these days” don’t have the patience. Or maybe I’m just Old School, yo.

Let’s take a look at some maps, shall we?

[Insert your game disk and launch after the jump!]

Fri
Jul 10 2009 4:30pm

Beyond the Aryth Ocean: Part 1: A review of selected maps in fantasy novels

Well, well, well. After a decade of reporting and blogging about all things related to Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time, I’m going to do something incredibly impulsive and crazy. Are you ready for this? Get your party hats on. … Wait for it… I’m going to talk about something else for a change!

Yup, that’s right. I, Jason Denzel, a.k.a The Guy Who Runs Dragonmount.com, am going to venture over the borders of Randland, and beyond the horizon of the Aryth ocean to talk about (gasp!) Other Things. I know, I know… calm down, people. It’s a big step, but I’m feeling good about this.

On one hand, I feel a lot like Gollum probably did when he came crawling out of his cave after a thousand years or whatever it was. (“The sunnn! It burns-ssss!”) And on the other hand, I’m feeling pretty good about this little adventure. It’ll be interesting to explore topics with you that don’t involve, “When does the next book come out?” (And before you even dare to ask in the comments: Nov 3.)

Besides, you guys have Leigh to keep you busy with the whole WoT thing. She’s doing a fine job. *Waves to Leigh*

So here we go! For our maiden voyage, in the grand spirit of new adventures and unexplored horizons, let’s take a look at some of the great maps of fantasy literature. This is by no means a complete list of the great ones, or even the most well known. Rather, it’s a list of maps that I’ve pored over for hours during my childhood, and ultimately, have inspired me to imagine my own fantastic worlds.

This is the first article of a three-part series. In this first article, I’ll look at maps in some well-known fantasy novels. In the remaining articles, we’ll discuss maps from computer games and other types of fantasy entertainment.

[Arr! Thar be maps and monsters after the fold!]