Apparently there are anywhere from one to thirty-six basic plots in literature. I happen to like with the succinct list that totals 7 but 36 has some fun ones like ‘murderous adultery’ and ‘an enemy loved.’ (That last one could be a romance title.)
While I first told my brother about the Sword of Truth series, I mentioned Richard’s knowledge of his Han, the inner source of his magic.
“Oh, the Force” was all he said.
The Force gives the Jedi his power. Han is Richard’s source of magic/power. The Force has a light side and a dark side; so too does the magic that comes from one’s Han. Both stories incorporate a sense of morality and man’s use of the Force/Han. Han is the power of life given by the Creator to mankind. The Living Force aspect of the Force implies that it is the energy of living things.
Destiny is a theme common to the Sword of Truth series and Star Wars. And a bajillion other stories as well – Oedipus being one of the oldest.
So the basic ideas Goodkind incorporates into his novels are nothing new. And idea I may come up with for a story most likely won’t be new.
I think all one can strive for is a fresh story. A story that has a riveting combination of details, maybe never seen before. A story with a narrative style that takes your breath away. A story with characters that seem so real or ridiculous or unbelievable or quirky.
What takes me back to the Sword of Truth series is the growing familiarity with the characters and the long-term goals and concerns they deal with. Nothing is ultimately solved in one installment. A short-term battle may be won but the longer war still continues.
Richard and Kahlan are repeatedly separated due to outside forces (like in Faith of the Fallen, Richard is kidnapped) or due to their noble roles in the world – he as the Seeker and she as the Mother Confessor. I want them to be reunited and I keep reading to see how it will be done.
And the series is a fantasy series so I am interested to see how an author will create a new world. What is the mythology of the world? What new beasts might live there? And good old-fashioned magic is always fun.
Goodkind isn’t reinventing the wheel here but let’s be honest – I’m not asking him to. I want a fat book to lose myself in and he succeeds with each installment.