if Hobb didnt write first person

ratsy

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I was just wondering what Hobb's book would be like if she didnt write them in first person. We could have followed the fool and got a sense of him other than through Fitz's eyes. I know that everyone feels that Hobb is a little unfair and cruel to her main characters. We may think this because we feel more connected to her characters like Fitz and Nevare because they are the entire focus of her books.

What if we had flipped following charaters in the farseer books and followed the characters like Verity, Regal, Burrich, Chade or the Fool. The stories would have seemed entirely different to see what Chade did when Fitz wasnt around or to get a sense of humanity from Regal.

Just wanted to hear others thoughts on this
 

dreir

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Humanity? From Regal??
He wouldn't know humanity if it slapped him in the face..
Yeah I really really hate him.. :D

- Dreir -
 

ratsy

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Does no one else have an opinion on Hobb's writing style? It is funny, I am reading Forest Mage and I remember reading someones blurb on it saying they are tired of hearing about food. I like that Hobb does that because the writing is in first person and it gives a sense of what Nevare is feeling. In his current situation food has become all consuming.(no pun implied). It drives him and is relavent to the story. If this was written in any other perspective this would not translate.
 

kaylus

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I'm not sure anything would be gained by Robin Hobb not writing in the first person. I will have to admit this -- I started the Farseer trilogy about a week ago and am almost complete, but when I first picked up the books was about 4 months ago. I read the first two chapters and actually put them down and didn't come back to them until just now.

The 1st person perspective is so rarely used that most people are turned off by it, I know I was. After finishing a few other books I picked up Assassins Apprentice again and forced myself to start reading it (I bought it, I'm going to read it!). Now I'm actually rather hooked on the style.

Yes, you could go with a 3rd person limited omniscience "FitzChivalry felt the hunger gnawing inside of him" and still get by decently enough. Although I sincerely believe that you wouldn't be able to get as much of the sympathy, compassion, shared anger, etc.

I've actually been at a point or two in these novels where I cast the book down in disgust (not at the book or author, but at a character) over something done to the main character. I haven't gotten that kind of connection often in books, so it speaks well for her writing and her style acts as an appropriate courier to convey the feelings and emotions of the characters.

Now, I have been randomly stricken with thoughts while reading "Wow, I wonder what this looks like from Molly's side", or other characters, and realizing how this writing style lends itself to opening up your imagination. I wouldn't mind reading 1st person prose on some of the blander characters to watch how their paths intersect and work upon the main character.

Hmm. My two cents. I'm going to get breakfast now. Hungry.
 

Yuoaman

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I couldn't imagine... it seems to flow so naturally that I couldn't imagine it in any other style. Though I will admit, I was tempted to just put it down after I started reading, though I am glad that I did not.
 

sven_m

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I really like the 1st-person POV, as it is written as well as in her books. I enjoy that we know just as little as the main-character in the "Farseer" books. Most 3rd-person books have the reader know more than the main character, which means that the reader is constantly waiting for the main character to catch up. Here, we really live with the character.

However, the liveship-trilogy is written in regular 3rd-person perspective. As it is set in the farseer-universe, this allows a good comparison to the other two farseer-trilogies.
On the other hand, "Soldier" is 1st person in a completely different universe.

In my opinion, "liveship" is nearly as good as "farseer". It took me a little longer to get into the story, but I really enjoyed it starting the second novel. On the other hand, I really disliked "Soldier" and didn't even read the 3rd book.

So: no, "Farseer" would not be much different if written in 3rd person. It is the story and universe that makes these books work. And no 3rd-person could have saved "Soldier", in my opinion.
 

thaddeus6th

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Only just begun the second Assassin book, so can't offer a comprehensive view of all Hobb's stuff.

However, I do like the use of first person, and it's very well done (with Fitz at least). Not sure if the books would be as good in third person.
 

Beloved Fan

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Until I started reading Assassin's Apprentice, I would never have thought that I could take to a book written in the first person style. But boy was I wrong. The writing style was the best that I have read for years and NO it should definately not be changed, its perfect as it is.

After finishing the six Farseer books, I have just started to read the Liveship Trilogies, and although they're good, I don't like the fact that they are not told from someone's own perspective as I miss the thoughts and feelings projected in the Farseer books.
 

ratsy

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I in no way think that Hobb should have written these in 3rd person. That was not what I was getting at. I was just saying that the books would have been a lot different if they were not written in first person. I think the first person style is what drives the stories to be so great.

I am having Ship of Magic delivered to my house today and look forward to checking out a different style although I have a feeling that these books with pale in comparison to the Farseer and Tawny books
 

dreir

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Until I started reading Assassin's Apprentice, I would never have thought that I could take to a book written in the first person style. But boy was I wrong.
My feelings exactly!

Ratsy, I'm sorry to 'disappoint' you but I think you will find the Liveship series just as good :). Hobb is just too good to turn out inferior stuff.

The reason why many people (me included - I'm never gonna read book 3 ever) hate the Soilder Son trilogy is not because it's bad, but because Hobb is so good at making us share Nevare's emotions that we feel so depressed and rotten because of it. I just hope that her next protagonist is more like Fitz than Nevare (call me a pessimist, but I just don't think any upcoming heroes from her would get much sunnier than our beloved Fitz :D).

- Dreir -
 

ratsy

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I found that although Fitz got beaten down physically and emotianally, he just seemed a stronger person than Nevare. I must admit though, I would have hated for her to make the characters similar. I will read the 3rd book. It is very glum and depressing but there is usually light at the end of the tunnel.

Ship of Magic is great so far. It is amusing to see the connections between the series' already. Hobb does such a great job of dragging the reader in an keeping interest. I can't wait to read them all!!!
 

shadow-rat

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I really like the 1st-person POV, as it is written as well as in her books. I enjoy that we know just as little as the main-character in the "Farseer" books. Most 3rd-person books have the reader know more than the main character, which means that the reader is constantly waiting for the main character to catch up. Here, we really live with the character.

However, the liveship-trilogy is written in regular 3rd-person perspective. As it is set in the farseer-universe, this allows a good comparison to the other two farseer-trilogies.
On the other hand, "Soldier" is 1st person in a completely different universe.

In my opinion, "liveship" is nearly as good as "farseer". It took me a little longer to get into the story, but I really enjoyed it starting the second novel. On the other hand, I really disliked "Soldier" and didn't even read the 3rd book.

So: no, "Farseer" would not be much different if written in 3rd person. It is the story and universe that makes these books work. And no 3rd-person could have saved "Soldier", in my opinion.
I totally, totally agree with all of this!

In my opinion, Liveship works well as third person because we need to have intimate knowledge of everyone's motives, take the Rain Wilders, or Kennit, or Malta for example... If we didn't get a real close look at their motives and their individual journeys, then there would be far too much missing from the story as a whole. We wouldn't be able to understand nearly as much of why things are as they are, and it just wouldn't work from, say, only Althea's POV.
Farseer, however, I think is the opposite: What is precisely so GOOD about it is that we DON'T know everyone's motives, and we don't need to: It isn't a story about the Six Duchies and all that goes on there: That would be something very different entirely. It is the story of Fitz's life, which often coincides with the comings and goings of the Six Duchies politics etc. I'm sure Hobb could write a very decent book from many points of view in the Six Duchies, but it wouldn't at all be the same story, so I'm inclined to say it wouldn't be as good: I love the Farseer stories for what they are, damn it!! Hehe

As for Soldier Son, and Nevare... Ugh... See Sven's comments above: I didn't even pick up the third book either!! Shame, really...

Shadow xx
 

Mazer

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I'm halfway through Liveship Traders and I don't like it nearly as much as Farseer. While both series are pretty harsh on the main characters, I found that in Farseer, being in Fitz's head made anything seem interesting, while most of the Ship of Magic was simply depressing - one disaster after another.
 

manephelien

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My problem with the Farseer and Tawny Man books is that I don't like Fitz at all, he's so whiny, although I admit with the cards he's dealt he has just cause. But the whininess makes me feel very unsympathetic towards him, to the point that I want bad things to happen to him.

Funny thing is, I don't think I ever noticed Farseer was written in the first person!

Same with Soldier Son, I couldn't relate to Nevare at all and haven't read the last in the series yet, and I doubt I will anytime soon. With a 7-week baby my reading time's limited anyway, so I'm not going to pick up a book I fear won't be satisfying.

I loved Liveship Traders though. I would hate to think that it's because the main protagonists are female, but that may just be the reason. I'm sorry to say that I find Hobb's main male characters unsatisfactory, she writes females so much better. Usually I don't have this much trouble relating to male characters as I do with Hobb for some reason I suspect has to do with the way she writes them.

Can't wait to get my hands on Dragon Keeper, once hubby's done reading it. Even if I'm lucky if I get an hour's reading time a day...
 

Lynon

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I think the great thing about 1st person is that it allows you to really connect to the protagonist and get to a higher level of empathy for them. It also allows for better plot twists as you rarely know what other characters are doing behind the protagonist's back. The main drawbacks are that there is only one point of view in the story, so you rarely truly understand other characters motives and that you know that the protagonist will live (as they are retelling the story).

3rd person deals with the drawbacks of 1st person, but takes on the advantages of 1st person as disadvantages.
 

HareBrain

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I think the great thing about 1st person is that it allows you to really connect to the protagonist and get to a higher level of empathy for them.
This sounds like it should be true, but I don't think it necessarily is. We empathise with someone who's upset because we see that they're upset (as in third person) rather than because they've told us they are (as in first).

Also, a past-tense first person narrative can carry a feel of distance between the narration and the events and feelings it describes, especially if you know that the narrator is telling the story after a long time. In that case, third person can feel closer to the events.

Of course a great writer can make either one work, but I don't think greater empathy and immediacy are reasons to choose first person; they're often reasons to choose third-person-intimate.

And it amazes me that people think first-person is rare. It's only rare in genre fiction - in contemporary fiction it's very common.
 

Lance

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In all honesty; i've never really payed much attention to the "1st person" aspect of her writing, infact it never really struck me it was until i read this thread. However, now i come to think of it, It is very effective for the flow of the storyline, especially the mystery of characters: Will, the fool, etc. Even if it is a little frustrating at times.
 

FionaW

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First person with changing POV would have done it for me - I would have loved to have seen inside Regal's head and discovered how he justified the things he did. The challenge of POV is dealing with the antagonists' thoughts - very few people believe that the things they do are bad or wrong, and everyone has their own reasons/justifications.

I enjoyed Assassin, but I far prefer to have multiple points of view in a story - that is why I read, to watch the same series of events being experienced and analysed by several different people. As a writer it's fun to show different people interpreting/misinterpreting the same event.

First person POV is what I live every day. I prefer, when I read, to experience something bigger.
 

Elbo

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I agree with you. The Farseer Trilogy from Regal's perspective would be rather interesting. Just as Fitz rationalised his failings, so would Regal. I would like to see those rationalisations, as Regal is a character who shaped the series. There is a moment in Assassin's Quest where we see into Regal's mind, but that is far too short.

However, I think part of the purpose to writing first person is about totally understanding a character. The perspective you see the events from changes the events themselves. I find a single line of story soothing after the twitchy, jerky narratives so common to modern fantasy.

Multiple points of view can add thrills to a narrative. But I think that a single constant storyline can allow a story to develop momentum better.

A possible solution, which I have seen done elsewhere, is to make a seperate book of another point of view, giving you the best of both worlds.
 
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