Comparative Essay - Anthony Vs. Goodkind

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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Since J.R.R. Tolkien's epic classic "Lord of the Rings", the fantasy genre has been regarded with a newfound respect. Today, many authors have tried to attain Tolkien's level. Two writers, Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind, are reminiscent of Tolkien's works. But how do these two writers distinguish themselves? Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind are opposite in terms of their writing styles, their plots, and their characters.

Writing styles differ from author to author. Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind are fairly dissimilar in their styles. Anthony is humorous, favouring jokes related to his other books, innuendos, and puns that all at once make the reader reflect and titter. The witty titles to his "Xanth" series will repeatedly grab the reader's attention. Goodkind, on the other hand, uses a more serious, rational tone. He incorporates real life issues that might seem out of place for the readers. "Soul of the Fire" is a poor dissertation on the failings of democracy and "Faith of the Fallen" presents us with the author's views on communism.

Goodkind's attempt to infuse his own ideas about politics might deter and bore some readers but, as much as these two writer's styles hold opposing views, so do the plots to their compilations.

A plot is a fundamental sequence of events in a story. Anthony and Goodkind are quite different in organizing their plots. Anthony's "Apprentice Adept" series is a wild and exciting story of "good vs. evil". The good and evil are mirrored worlds where one will find that each character has a "double" in the other world though has a different name. Goodkind, however, keeps writing the same plotlines with little variation. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back etc. That particular scenario only applies to the first book of "Sword of Truth". The remaining books simply revolve around boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. The plot draws the reader into the character's lives and helps the reader understand the choices that the characters make.

Characters are a very important part of a novel. If a reader can relate to or visualise what the individual says or does the author has then successfully developed his character. Anthony and Goodkind hold opposing views of character development. Anthony's characters are very unique and have diverse personalities. His sequence of psychological books "Tales of Immortality" has a different mythological personality as the main character. "On a Pale Horse" tells of how a young man, wanting to commit suicide, accidentally shoots Death. He then has to take up the position as the Grim Reaper. "Wielding a Red Sword" and "Bearing an Hour Glass" are façades to the Roman god of War, Mars and Father Time. This is truly an interesting way of portraying characters. Goodkind's characters, on the contrary, are at best stereotypical. Zedd, the First Wizard of "Sword of Truth", is a duplicate of Gandalf or even Merlin. The gentle woods guide turned warrior God has been done before and does not appeal to most audiences. His characters can bore the reader, as he tends to over develop the main characters; the audience can predict what a character will do or say and thus it make the story much less enjoyable.

Fantasy tales have always been a favourite with audiences starting with J.R.R. Tolkien's unforgettable "Lord of the Rings"; a reader enjoys forgetting the real world to be drawn into heroic adventures and thrilling magical battles. Piers Anthony and Terry Goodkind, two completely opposite writers, distinguish their works with their writing style, their plots, and their characters. Praise to the great inspirational minds of today!

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