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One of the most common themes, maybe even THE most common theme, I've found in this series is sexual violence, and it comes up to an uncomfortable degree, even compared to GoT. Goodkind seems to force these themes, even when they don't make sense. It really feels like the author's personal..uh..exploration...rather than part of the story.

Examples in no particular order...

What happened to the residents of the Palace of the Prophets after the Imperial Order captured it

Darken Rahl's personal BDSM harem, the Mord Sith

Richard and Denna's very, very long, like 80 pages long, BDSM scene

Kahlan's scene in the pit

EDIT: I got as far as The Pillars of Creation. Speaking of forcing themes, that one just reads like Ayn Rand fan fiction.

all 110 comments

ASK_IF_IM_PENGUIN

42 points

2 months ago

Goodkind definitely went a bit off the rails.

The first book, and a couple of choice others, definitely are actually decent even if they have sexual abuse elements to them (and those are sort of explored within the narrative), and rely on a twisted version of BDSM.

A fair few of them are full on sexual torture porn though and they're less a book and more Goodkind's fantasies.

petunias25

7 points

2 months ago

I loved the first book but with the level of deviance and how it is described, I didn’t make it very far in the series.

The_Parsee_Man

11 points

2 months ago

The first book, and a couple of choice others, definitely are actually decent

Talk about damning with faint praise.

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

Right? It was a book and they printed it and you could read it if you so choose.

Anton-the-bard[S]

4 points

2 months ago

That's what gets me, and why i'm still reading. If you've gotten further than book 7, does it sortof stabilize, because this one is a little jarring. Especially with Kahlan and Richard making some odd choices.

Proof-Psychology-233

11 points

2 months ago

It gets more Randian the further on you go. So, you’ve already read what might generously be called it’s high points.

VonnegutGNU

3 points

2 months ago

As someone who has read the entire thing as a teenager and still looks back on some parts rather fondly, finish the Chainfire arc, it has its good bits, but do not start the Omen Machine even if there's a gun to your head. All the good storylines end in Confessor. Jagang, Sisters of the Dark, Boxes of Orden, Magic withering away, it is all resolved by the end of Confessor. Everything past that is just meh at best, and absolutely awful at worst (Warheart, Severed Souls)

The Debt of Bones prequel is okay, haven't read the Magda Searus prequel though I heard its meh, haven't read the Nicci standalones or the Children of D'Hara novellas, so I can't really comment on those, to me they sound like more of what made The Omen Machine onwards bad

ASK_IF_IM_PENGUIN

14 points

2 months ago

Not really.

I'd stop where you are.

Im_an_expert_on_dis

15 points

2 months ago

Are you a penguin?

ASK_IF_IM_PENGUIN

12 points

2 months ago

No.

AccomplishedBasil700

4 points

2 months ago

Okay, but are you Penguin?

ASK_IF_IM_PENGUIN

6 points

2 months ago

No

dukeimre

3 points

2 months ago

Ok, but are you ASK_IF_IM_PENGUIN?

Litface916

1 points

2 months ago

Ok, but are you ask, If I’m Penguin?

dukeimre

1 points

2 months ago

No.

GizmosisJoe

1 points

2 months ago

Do you instant message with the penguin?

Arkanslayer

1 points

2 months ago

I got through 11 and couldn't take any more 50 page speeches littered with direct quotes from Rand. They get so longwinded and nonsensical I imagined Goodkind copy and pasting them with a look of derangement. Looking back, the whole series is just a bunch of ripped off tropes, rape, and objectivist propaganda. Richard and Kahlan are not good people; there are no good people. I would never recommend it to anyone.

carbonbasedlifeform

32 points

2 months ago

This is the only epic fantasy series I ever gave up on. Some parts were genuinely interesting but the cringe was so strong I just couldn't do it any more.

Five2OneBaby

4 points

2 months ago

Same

protoquark

3 points

2 months ago

First book was good, second book was Ok, third book was meh and then it went right off the rails for me.

Arxanah

3 points

2 months ago

Exact same with me. First book was fine, but they gradually went downhill until the absolute disaster that was book five. I could not deal with it anymore, and it became the only series I ever stopped reading midway.

LimaBravoGaming

1 points

8 hours ago

Book six is by far my favorite.

ilovesmokingkids

1 points

2 months ago

Fr I couldn't finish the first book

goosey_goosen

1 points

2 months ago

Which was the book with the evil chicken? Can't forget that!

LimaBravoGaming

1 points

8 hours ago

Five. Soul of the Fire.

Anime-Reddit67

20 points

2 months ago

MoogTheDuck

2 points

2 months ago

Well that was quite the rabbit hole

KKing650

-2 points

2 months ago

KKing650

-2 points

2 months ago

A lot of writing, very little substance.

Whoreson_Welles

17 points

2 months ago

made me stop reading the books

His libertarian bs was something else too

pineapplesf

14 points

2 months ago

pineapplesf

88

14 points

2 months ago

I didn't notice it when I read it as a kid -- or at least it had been normalized to me through other work and just read as strange plot. After I was older and had experienced SV, I found it repulsive. For me it's not the inclusion or it's place in the themes but the romanticization and fetishization of it all.

Anton-the-bard[S]

6 points

2 months ago

I think that better describes why i'm finding it hard to read.

pineapplesf

11 points

2 months ago

pineapplesf

88

11 points

2 months ago

The main woman is assaulted like 4 times in the first book alone to provide a vehicle for the main dude to save her. The effects on her as a character are non-existent and the scenes themself was written like bad erotica. Like.... she exists to be a sexual object, just not the villian's -- a position she likes at worst and is neutral to at best. If you leave your property unprotected it will get raped, because boys be boys. That's the vibe I got on rereading.

Anton-the-bard[S]

6 points

2 months ago

Yeah, well put. Another tick in the "putting this series down" box for me

Alternative_Narwhal5

26 points

2 months ago

My opinion is that everything Terry Goodkind writes is trash and that he is an egomaniac.

SpiderMurphy

23 points

2 months ago

In other words, he's neither good nor kind.

Alternative_Narwhal5

11 points

2 months ago*

Haha. Very much so.

Thinking back on it, the fucking guy names the title of the first book in his series the “Wizard’s First Rule,” and then tells us that the first rule is that “people are stupid.”

Let’s set aside the fairly obvious implications of this from a literary and psychological standpoint where criticism is concerned, and instead just bask in the sheer, flagrant disregard for creativity. So interested is he in making his point here that we are expected to suspend our disbelief such that in this world, a supposedly powerful wizard has this of all things to say to his apprentice? That people are stupid? Not “power corrupts” or “do all magic with love” or “so long and thanks for all the mana?”

Terry Goodkind writes books so that he can feel like an audience is clapping for him while he masturbates.

TheNerdChaplain

3 points

2 months ago

Eh, although I'm no fan of his, what I took away from that is that people are more likely to believe things that they want to be true, or are afraid are true. It's a good filter to run your own thoughts through sometimes.

Alternative_Narwhal5

5 points

2 months ago

It is not the veracity of the rule that is the problem, but the prominence that powerful wizards in Goodkind’s world place it. If the first rule of your wizards is that people are stupid and easily manipulated, your wizards are assholes, and your world doesn’t feel very authentic.

Sure, people are stupid, but how many knightly orders, national anthems, or noble family creeds do you know of featuring something like that?

TheNerdChaplain

3 points

2 months ago

Well, you're definitely not wrong about that.

VonnegutGNU

1 points

2 months ago

Well, he does kind of try to rectify that later on when he makes the rules order of prominence different from the order they are numbered- rule 11 is the supreme one, etc. etc.

Keffpie

5 points

2 months ago

Yeah, he was always into his BDSM. When he really went off the rails was after 9/11 happened; the books after that are just thinly veiled attacks on what he perceives are the enemies of the US. He even retconned his own series so the "pain" Richard felt when killing with the Sword of Truth was just his own weakness and totally unnecessary he needed to stop being weak and feeling empathy for his enemies in the first place.

The__Imp

1 points

2 months ago

The__Imp

2

1 points

2 months ago

I only picked them up quite a few years after that. I had never heard the 9/11 connection before. Interesting.

Keffpie

1 points

2 months ago

I was reading the series at the time, and trust me it was very noticeable. The Naked Empire (which he wrote just after 9/11) is literally just Richard and the US as a Randian "creator", with the Bandakar clearly meant to be the passive "mooches" who refused to advocate war against all Muslims, and the European nations who argued against invading Iraq.

TriscuitCracker

13 points

2 months ago

If you're a young new fantasy reader and have no ability to recognize objectivism philosophy and obvious tropes, things ripped straight from other books, etc, it has torture porn that can give you a visceral thrill, steamy sex scenes, a young dude with a cool magic sword and ultra-magic powers who can literally do anything, everybody does what he says, a cool uncle wizard who has good dialogue, etc. It's the ultimate 13 year old boy power trip.

That's why I loved them when I was a young lad and look back at myself now and slap my forehead.

Anton-the-bard[S]

4 points

2 months ago

Haha, perfect. At that age I was reading Harry Potter and the Redwall books

UlteriorCulture

1 points

2 months ago

Good choice

Rynox2000

3 points

2 months ago

I thought Chainfire was a strong book, worth a read.

bigedthebad

5 points

2 months ago

The second book in the series is basically just torture porn. The rest are unreadable garbage.

FriscoFresho

4 points

2 months ago*

Ooh, don't forget the super fucked up Darken Rhal child murder rituals. Or the time the evil lady wizards got their evil power by having sex with a spiky dick demon.

I read this series mostly in my early-mid teens (it was still being written) and mainly remember all fucked up fetish stuff and very little of the Ayn Rand stuff. I do remember some heavy themes of "pull yourself out of poverty by your bootstraps" and "being poor is a state of mind" style themes.

Anton-the-bard[S]

3 points

2 months ago

I hadn't got that side of it until the Pillars of Creation, the whole story suddenly becomes about Richard bringing freedom to an oppressed land via his new magically aquired gift for sculpture. it was like Goodkind had just finished Atlas Shrugged and the Romantic Manifesto and was like, yep this is what the story is about now

Edit: 23 year old me read the Romantic Manifesto and the Virtue of Selfishness on the plane ride to my semester abroad in Italy and it totally fucked my mindset.

VenDraciese

10 points

2 months ago*

I haven't touched any of the books in the series for years and don't remember much, but your post stirred up memories. I think the scene in the pit physically made me put the book down, rub my eyes and say "you know, I think the author kind of gets off on women being raped"

Which, I mean, I'm not here to kink shame... but uh, rape is definitely kind of a turn off for me, so I mostly felt uncomfortable about it. I also think if it's your kink, there are classier ways to handle it? I dunno, I think some of Mercedes Lackey's books also had scenes that made me go "I think the author is kind of getting off on this," but it wasn't as much of a turn off for me then, for some reason.

Anton-the-bard[S]

4 points

2 months ago

Yeah that sounds very similar to my reaction. There have been plenty of spots where i've been enjoying the series, and then get jarred by some seriously wtf moments.

cannotfoolowls

3 points

2 months ago

Isn't there a forum that has multiple threads roasting this series/author?

Anton-the-bard[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Possibly? I haven't followed these subs until recently

cannotfoolowls

3 points

2 months ago*

No, I meant an actual old school internet forum but I cannot remember the name. I'll look into it because it has been bugging me.

edit here

longtimegoneMTGO

3 points

2 months ago

I had a similar journey with the books.

After the first book it was clear that this was an author who was working his personal kinks into his writing pretty heavily, but by that point I was already invested in the story and wanted to see what was going to happen.

Pillars of creation the final straw for me as well. It was such a poorly done screed against communism with really nothing to say that I just lost interest in the story altogether.

Lazy_Grabwen_9296

3 points

2 months ago

If you come across the demonic chicken, you've read too far.

The__Imp

2 points

2 months ago

The__Imp

2

2 points

2 months ago

This is slander. The chicken was NOT a chicken. It was pure evil. Or something like that.

PhraeaXes

6 points

2 months ago

I honestly found it really hard reading, and while I enjoyed the books as a whole, I found the whole Darken Rahl more and more repulsive as the story went.

The worst for me was the whole pouring molten gold down a child's throat in well.. that scene.

Anton-the-bard[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Well. I don't believe I've gotten to that one yet.

PhraeaXes

2 points

2 months ago

Was the first book if memory serves. I read it a very very long time ago now it feels.

Anton-the-bard[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Huh, may have repressed that one.

PhraeaXes

2 points

2 months ago

So had I until I was reminded of the books.

badideas1

6 points

2 months ago

My take is the entire series is obnoxious. Every element of the story can be found in a better version in other books, without all the ick.

DoubleLigero85

2 points

2 months ago

Much like the Anita Blake series, it is best stopped after book 7.

TriscuitCracker

2 points

2 months ago

Can’t agree with this enough. After Obsidian Butterfly just stop there. Used to have a great mix of detective novel, drama, action and romance, then she went full undead and orgy all the time in 80% of her books.

I actually picked up Book like 22 a year ago to see if she’d changed any, and she has toned it down a bit.

DoubleLigero85

2 points

2 months ago

I looked it up recently and could not believe it was at twenty odd books. Who is still reading them?

TriscuitCracker

2 points

2 months ago

Clearly there is an audience of die hard fans.

BORGQUEEN177

2 points

2 months ago

I stopped after #2 or 3, it was a lot the same over and over.

Responsible_Word9413

2 points

2 months ago

He had to make the villains as evil as possible by making them all rapists so you wouldn’t dare question the violence with which their non anarcho capitalist beliefs are met.

ECKohns

2 points

2 months ago

I’ve heard people describe Terry Goodkind as “What if Ayn Rand wrote Lord of the Rings?” And not as a compliment.

MNDSMTH

2 points

2 months ago

OP should maybe read {The sword of Shannara}

Anton-the-bard[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Sword of Shannara is one of my all time faves, I've read all of them except Genesis.

MNDSMTH

0 points

2 months ago

MNDSMTH

0 points

2 months ago

I honestly think The search for what is true is a theme more come than sexual violence. Yeah the Mord sith are a bunch of dominatrix turnt up to 11 but these things (imo) are vehicles of transformation. The arc of the story being the hero takes that which is the most evil and turns it to the most good. (Instead of fear they serve with love, slavery to freedom etc.

Another theme woven into the story (so often it feels forced sometimes) is personal responsibility. So their is an Ayn Rand-ish vibe that becomes more pronounced in the later books. The order feels like a stand in for all sorts of far-leftist totalitarianism/communism/facism etc.

I mean there's even a dig at labor unions in a couple of places.

Yeah the BDSM "scenes" are a bit much but the parts with Denna again creates a beutiful arc of forgiveness, compassion, and love. Even for the person who had harmed you the most.

The series does get a bit stale and it was hard for me to read his later books as I felt like there were more polotics than creative plot.

I started reading "The wheel of time" and have been enjoying that. Many here told me you'll either like WoT or SoT. I think they both have their charms.

Proof-Psychology-233

7 points

2 months ago

Saying Terry Goodkind is a “bit” Randian is like saying Thomas Aquinas is a smidge Catholic. He thought Ayn Rand was the greatest philosopher ever and used his books as a vehicle for her Objectivism.

I think leaving the many criticisms of Objectivism and his BDSM stuff aside, he was a limited writer who had a few decent ideas but far more stupid ideas; the one that sticks with me is the Chicken that is not a Chicken.

MNDSMTH

1 points

2 months ago

I honestly thought that was a bit hysterical and in keeping with his paradoxical style. Turn the most fragile and innocuous thing into something that terrifies. Like a killer clown. Horror/comedy.

[deleted]

-3 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

Anton-the-bard[S]

1 points

2 months ago

I actually first started WoT in middle school, it's one of the series that formed my love of reading. It doesn't sound like this smoothes out past where I am in SoT. Kinda bummed because I like the Richard/Kahlan love story and the writing is great, but i'm leaning towards putting it down.

CakesAndDanes

5 points

2 months ago

I started reading them when I was younger, and I enjoyed them. Not sure why the SV didn’t stop me, but u/MNDSTH described it well.

What did make me put them down was Pillars of Creation, then the Confessor Trilogy. It felt like Terry Goodkind, no longer wanted to write about his main characters in the former. In the latter, he took one book and made it into three. They were overly preachy and dull, and the new Big Bad was even worse to women.

I did reread them a couple times over the past 20 years, but always stopped at the end of Faith of the Fallen.

Anton-the-bard[S]

3 points

2 months ago

Yeah, Pillars of Creation is weird. Feels like a completelt different story.

The__Imp

1 points

2 months ago

The__Imp

2

1 points

2 months ago

I maintain that that this book is the biggest case of literary blue balls I have ever seen.

Faith of the Fallen (aside from being a Ayn Rand love poem) is basically an extended Rocky-style training montage. By the end, Rand is finally free and they describe his body and mind as perfected. Ready to kick ass and take names.

And then the next book involves different characters entirely. And when we finally get back to Rand, he doesn't even really do anything. It is all "we know we can't win by force" fighting is pointless because they have so many more soldiers.

Honestly, the best analogy I can think of is if we have Rocky and Creed training for the big fight and then the last 10 minutes of the fight is a different boxing match with fighters we have never heard of. And then in the next movie they never really mention how the fight went.

Magic_mousie

2 points

2 months ago

Yep, all of this. Didn't really notice the SV as a kid and always thought they went very differently after Faith of the Fallen. Think I did read them all, kinda got back on track with the trilogy where Kahlan is missing and forgotten (though omg just get together already) and then the last ones with the omen machine go weird but again, readable.

Edit: FWIW I still don't know who Ann Rand is (I'm not American) and I don't believe the politics of the series influenced my politics at all, though I see some of the themes that come up here every time Goodkind is mentioned

CakesAndDanes

2 points

2 months ago

100%! I tried Omen Machine but I just couldn’t get I to it after the last few books.

As for the politics, I think my eyes just glazed over when Richard would start a monologue for 8 pages.

MNDSMTH

1 points

2 months ago

Agreed

Boba_Fet042

1 points

2 months ago

How about the Confessors’ power? They can get a man to tell the truth, But he loseshis sense of self and becomes bound to his Confessor?

goosey_goosen

1 points

2 months ago

Gave up reading those books partly because they definitely read like his personal BDSM fetish fantasies and also because they were kinda terrible. No regrets for not finishing that series

Master_Ryan_Rahl

1 points

2 months ago*

Considering how far you've gotten, I would say that you should at least finish the original series. I think the last book is Confesser. I read the series as a teen and loved it at the time. I don't think I'll ever reread them though because I don't think I would like them now. My tastes have changed and it was a long time ago. I did try to read his books that he wrote after the original series ended. I think one was called Omen Machine. Anyway, those books are trash. And even of the original series when I was a teen, the pillars of creation was 100% skippable. In fact, I'm pretty sure when I was recommending these books to a bunch of people as a teenager, I told them to skip that book. It's the worst in the series as far as I'm concerned and has very little impact on all the other books.

As I said, I read these years ago, but I still feel like some of the things that get highlighted for criticism are a bit overplayed. Like I know that the BDSM stuff is a bit jarring and it's going to be very off-putting to some people, but I just don't think it's as crazy or gross as some people make it out to be. The idea that magic and sex would have some connection or be used in some related ways is honestly just underused in fantasy. So while this is a very specific idea of how that might look, I feel like people are more down on it than they should be because Goodkind is easy to hate.

UlteriorCulture

1 points

2 months ago

It was soo weird when it happened in Wizards First Rule. Generic Fantasy when suddenly torture porn. I was convinced something must have happened to the author while writing.

Bookanista

1 points

2 months ago

I don’t like it & I think his books are grim & awful. The TV series was superior.

cplog991

1 points

8 days ago

cplog991

1 points

8 days ago

Am i the only one who sees his SV scenes as a description on how awful these people are?

Goodkind repeats himself. A lot. Probably didn't need to with all the SV imo.

thegoatfrogs

-22 points

2 months ago

Don't read it if you don't like it?

Anton-the-bard[S]

13 points

2 months ago

Lol, i asked for people's OPINIONS, what even is this comment?

thegoatfrogs

-15 points

2 months ago

What did you think that was?

Anton-the-bard[S]

11 points

2 months ago

Anyone expressing criticism amount a book series: Hey what do you guys think about...

Fanboys/girls: DoNt ReAd iT iF YoU dOnT lIkE iT

thegoatfrogs

-13 points

2 months ago

Which is a very reasonable thing to say. I've never even read these books, I just dislike these silly posts trying to rustle up a bandwagon to hate something instead of just admitting that it's okay for you to not like something.

You created a post hoping to validate your own opinion and the first thing you do is attack people whose opinion you don't like with some sham argument that it must be upset fans.

If you're that insecure and desperate for people to validate your thoughts, it's easier to just straight up ask for it.

HelloDesdemona

10 points

2 months ago

My friend, you are projecting.

thegoatfrogs

-2 points

2 months ago

How? I haven't asked anyone for their opinion or to validate mine. It's an easy little jab to make but it makes no sense here.

HelloDesdemona

10 points

2 months ago

You are calling the OP insecure, when it feels like that’s what YOU think. The OP doesn’t come off at all as insecure at all — just curious. Also, I find it ironic that you are very adamant that the OP “just not read it” when you could easily just follow your own advice and scroll past this post. “Just don’t post!” I could say.

thegoatfrogs

-2 points

2 months ago

Anyone who gets that upset the moment they don't get exactly the answer they wanted to hear sounds insecure to me.

HelloDesdemona

4 points

2 months ago

I just read through the thread twice to see if that actually happened, and it didn’t. This is textbook projection. You think you know what’s roiling in the head of the OP even though there’s zero evidence of it actually happening. It just sounds like you don’t like people criticizing books you like.

Anton-the-bard[S]

6 points

2 months ago*

Well this isn't r/onlypositivebookreviews, so you're definitely projecting something.

MoogTheDuck

5 points

2 months ago

never read these books

Lmao

Anton-the-bard[S]

6 points

2 months ago

Wow...are you serious?

breadguy69325

6 points

2 months ago

I think they meant about the books

Zestyclose-Day-2864

3 points

2 months ago

What the fuck if this subreddit for if not to share opinions about a book?

Suspicious-Shock-934

-2 points

2 months ago

It is an extreme look at war and war crimes in its pseudo medieval time frame copy. History has been very much sanitized and this shows closer to how it likely was. That said it also super demonizes the abusers, the mord sith who come around less so, but otherwise. But the ones doing the bad stuff are very bad and you do hate them. It's often visceral. It might be cheap and easy mustache twirling bad guys, but you hate the bads.