Terry Goodkind's Influences

Gonk the Insane

Back from Sabbatical
Aug 16, 2015
Cambridge, England
Some 15 years or so after first reading it, I've revisited Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, Thorn* series, and after finishing the first volume I came away thinking that Williams may have been an influence on Terry Goodkind. I'm sure that he has influenced many authors, of course, but it got me thinking.

I seem to recall that Wizard's First Rule was not only Goodkind's first published novel, but also the very first he wrote. I think I remember reading, too, that he wrote this with very little knowledge of writing fiction, one of those authors who decides to write a book and produces something good on their very first attempt. Wikipedia waxes lyrical about the influence of Ayn Rand's philosophies, but I've never read anything about genre authors who influenced him as a writer, either consciously or unconsciously, and as Williams' series came out a few years earlier I wonder whether Goodkind may have read it and been influenced by it.

It was subtle things that led me to connect the two: languid prose, heavy on description of the landscape; depth of examination of moral dilemmas; gentle pacing. Later I made another tenuous connection in naming: Stone of Farewell vs Stone of Tears - something so tenuous it's hardly worth mentioning, but hey.:sneaky:

I had never considered which Fantasy authors might have influenced Terry Goodkind, nor do I know if he even read Fantasy before sitting down and writing, but I'm curious if anyone else read another author's work and thought they might have influenced him?

One of the things I loved about Wizard's First Rule is, despite its flaws, it seemed so very different to any other book I had read, and felt as though he paid little attention to anything else in the genre. This, of course, could just be down to my shallow breadth of reading, or perhaps just how much I loved it. I wonder what others think though?

* I wrote Sorrow as Sorry originally. That would have been the worst series name ever - Memory, Sorry, Thorn:whistle:
I think Goodkind once said that he didn't read fantasy, or at least that it wasn't a genre that he was interested in or thought was any good (until he got there). I got the impression with WFR that it was influenced by pop-culture fantasy like that in Warcraft, with lots of monsters, cranky wizards, Victorian-type inns, and a setting that's clearly rural but isn't fairy-tale, medieval, renaissance, or anything else specific in style. I think a lot of epic fantasy in the 1980s was like that.

The main link I'd see between the two books (I stopped at WFR, although I've read some of the one with the Communist statues) is that the pacing of both books is iffy. Williams slows down enormously whenever someone gets lost, and WFR has about 40 pages of stuff in a dungeon.
I honestly think he just read Ayn Rand and filtered his thoughts through fantasy (though he insists it isn't fantasy idk). He's never mentioned another fantasy author as an influence, that I know of anyway.

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