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Regarding The Witcher Plagiarism controversy

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  • #31
    Originally posted by lemec View Post
    I have also watched it on Netflix.
    I've tried watching it a number of times. For me, it's a "if there's nothing else available" type show. If I had to give an elevator pitch style summary of it, I'd say, "Hercules: the Legendary Journeys but with boobs and swearing." Yeah, that's right, I consider it sub-Xena.

    Also, I'd be pretty disappointed in an Elric series if it was done like The Witcher.

    Originally posted by lemec View Post
    In the light of one of the first scenes, to me, the character looked a little like Elric.
    I think he looks like Elric because he was inspired, at least partly, by Elric. Much like Elric was partly inspired by M. Zenith. Except Geralt seems like what you'd get if you wanted to write Elric fan-fic but never read any of the stories and only had a few Whelan covers to go by.

    As for the P-word controversy, I don't see how it's much of a problem. If there's something about the books that draws you, read 'em. If supporting the author by buying them is an issue, go to the library or a used book store. Otherwise, there's an absolute embarrassment of riches when it comes to other fantasy authors you could choose to read.
    Last edited by Heresiologist; 03-07-2020, 12:29 PM.

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    • #32
      I've not read Sapkiwskis books but The Witcher 3 (not written by the author) was an amazing game, which managed to fill enough content for 200 hours of gameplay without any moments of filler - even random side quests are epic and consequential. That's quite a feat.

      Saw the netflix series but wasn't impressed. Henry Cavill was great but the story and world his Geralt inhabited seemed weak and underdeveloped. In parts it seemed like the decision to make it a non linear narrative was decided before they knew what story they were telling. As it covers decades yet many of the characters don't age you don't get a sense for the passing of time so there's never a feeling of consequence to it.

      As to whether the Witcher is a rip of Elric, I think it quite clearly is conceptually, but I would say that others have used that property to do something a bit different to that which stands on its own.

      Still problematic of course that it makes it more difficult to get Elric on screen. But then, do we need that?
      Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

      Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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      • #33
        The Rageaholic made another video summarizing the plagiarism allegations:



        In his video, he references another video by a YouTuber called The Necrolibriatas:



        These videos should put an end to this discussion. To summarize, Both characters look identical, have the same nickname that they've gotten for a similar reason, and have similarly structured real names. Apart from the main character, the names of places and events are also often similar or identical. Both series have similar story elements and philosophical themes. Sapkowski did know about the Elric series when he wrote his novels and was most likely in charge of translating them.

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        • #34
          My kids love the witcher games, so they loved the series on Netflix. My youngest son even read two of the books. Last week he was showing me a game he was playing and telling me I would love it because he knows I am into dark fantasy so I pointed him to look for Mike and Elric and when he read about it he just said: "this looks like the witcher". I took two of the only 3 MM books ever published in Brazil from my shelf and told him "son you should read this". The show "the witcher" on Netflix was fun but recently hearing that TV producers would not accept Elric as a theme for a show because it was nothing new ( well it is not new it is the very essence of modern dark fantasy ) just made me think further on this so maybe watching season 2 of the show does not seem appealing.

          It is ok for kids like my sons who are 14 and 17 to be not aware of MM and Elric but it is highly strange that the Polish guy who wrote The Witcher wouldn't even acknowledge the influence of MM's books.
          "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
          "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

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          • #35
            Like Game of Thrones with a Lobotomy so is the The Witcher in our lives.... https://youtu.be/exgoaU3Fr5E
            Mwana wa simba ni simba

            The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom

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            • #36
              Yeah, in response to seems-more-hyper-than-raging metalguy's latest vid, I'm gonna have to change my tune a bit. Though I still think many of his points are not the gotchas he'd like them to be, overall, I'm inclining to the opinion the Witcher/Hexer is a reworking of Elric with enough differences for plausible deniability. That said the "Conjunction of the Spheres" stuff seems pretty blatant. However, I'm totally sure that was just a trick of the translation process.

              Really, though, it's Sapkowski's dodgy and evasive responses to obvious questions about inspiration that puts me kinda/sorta in the plagiarism camp. The latest revelation about him working as an SFF translator and the rather close timing between the appearance of Elric translations in Poland and the first Geralt story looks really bad, to this reporter at least. That plus his suing CDProject for millions, after bragging earlier about how they paid him thousands for something worthless, just makes him seem the type of asshole who would do a shallow rip.
              Last edited by Heresiologist; 07-11-2020, 06:53 PM.

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              • #37
                Upon further reflection I think "kinda/sorta in the plagiarism camp" is a bit too strong. I still don't think Sapkowski is a plagiarist. It's more like I strongly suspect he used Elric books as references when writing his stories about a cynical and doomed bleached white swordsman who travels with a lighter-hearted companion and fights a lot of fantastical, chaos tainted villains associated with a rare conjunction of multi-dimensional spheres.
                Last edited by Heresiologist; 07-14-2020, 01:55 PM.

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                • #38
                  While the Witcher may not be direct enough of a rip off of Elric to call for plagiarism, there is more than enough there for the Witcher’s author to have to acknowledge that the Witcher was heavily influenced by Michael Moorcock

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                  • #39
                    After pouring through much of the material written (and several of the videos produced) about this controversy I have to say my opinions are inclined toward the "blatant rip-off if not out-right plagiarism" camp. I think there is certain more than enough similarity to go well beyond any possibility of coincidence--although I am not certain there is enough to prove it all in front of any but the most favorable judge. As Heresiologist said, "...the Witcher/Hexer is a reworking of Elric with enough differences for plausible deniability."
                    "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                    --Thomas a Kempis

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                    • #40
                      The frustrating thing about The Witcher is that it is a third rate property that's got first taste production values behind it. There are so many great, unmade properties out there like Elric, it's disappointing that things like this get greenlit
                      ​​
                      Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                      Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        What frustrates me no end with a lot of current fantasy writing is how much the authors don't seem to have done any background reading themselves. In contrast to Mike, who seems to have read most of the then-available library ... If looks as though this is just another example of the Shannara Syndrome - not a "direct" copy, but so close it makes something new and original, old, stale and boring. I think of Stephen King's intro to The Dark Tower series, that he didn't want to write Yet Another Tolkien-Clone Fantasy with elves and orcs, because every man and his dog was doing that in the seventies - so eventually he came to write The Gunslinger and it followed from there ... my 0.2c worth!
                        sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

                        Gold is the power of a man with a man
                        And incense the power of man with God
                        But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
                        And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

                        Nativity,
                        by Peter Cape

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by In_Loos_Ptokai View Post
                          What frustrates me no end with a lot of current fantasy writing is how much the authors don't seem to have done any background reading themselves. In contrast to Mike, who seems to have read most of the then-available library ... If looks as though this is just another example of the Shannara Syndrome - not a "direct" copy, but so close it makes something new and original, old, stale and boring. I think of Stephen King's intro to The Dark Tower series, that he didn't want to write Yet Another Tolkien-Clone Fantasy with elves and orcs, because every man and his dog was doing that in the seventies - so eventually he came to write The Gunslinger and it followed from there ... my 0.2c worth!
                          Shannara was my first experience of total disillusionment as a reader. I read sword of Shannara side by side with Lord of the rings (I read fast in those days) and remember thinking at age 15 that this was complete bullshit.

                          I've since read that Terry Brooks to this day pleads ignorance of Lord of the rings and claims not to have read it before he wrote Sword and that similarities in the plot and characters are just coincidence and that he just happened to produce a story that is a case of multiple discovery.

                          With the Witcher, having played through an epic game in the Witcher 3 I'd say that the character is different enough from Elric that any similarities are just superficial.

                          ​​​​​The Witcher series, on the other hand - other than Cavills performance is just poorly written and poorly paced.
                          Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                          Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by devilchicken View Post

                            I've since read that Terry Brooks to this day pleads ignorance of Lord of the rings and claims not to have read it before he wrote Sword and that similarities in the plot and characters are just coincidence and that he just happened to produce a story that is a case of multiple discovery.
                            J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was heavily influenced by Wagner's Ring Cycle. Tolkien took Wagner's Ring, made it more English, chucked in some Christian symbolism and made it less bleak. So, it's not like Tolkien produced something entirely new either (and Tolkien did acknowledge his sources - certainly he acknowledges his influences). In fact, if you watch all 9 Star wars movies - there is something Wagnarian about the Jedi /Sith Skywalker plotline that runs through the 9 movies too.

                            It is not entirely improbable that Terry Brooks was not influenced by Lord of the Rings, but something similar.

                            Derivatives, or retelling of stories has been going on for thousands of years. People like stories, and don't mind if a good one is retold again and again and again.

                            I remember going to the Museum of Ure at Reading University, having just seen some of Shakespeare's plays. There were pots with pictures the story of the fall of Troy that were at least 1,000 years older than Shakespeare's retelling. Did Shakespeare keep these stories alive - so they could be passed down the generations?

                            I think sometimes we are too precious about originality - after all millions of people tune into predictable paint by numbers cop shows every week.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by sandy View Post

                              J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was heavily influenced by Wagner's Ring Cycle. Tolkien took Wagner's Ring, made it more English, chucked in some Christian symbolism and made it less bleak. So, it's not like Tolkien produced something entirely new either (and Tolkien did acknowledge his sources - certainly he acknowledges his influences). In fact, if you watch all 9 Star wars movies - there is something Wagnarian about the Jedi /Sith Skywalker plotline that runs through the 9 movies too.

                              It is not entirely improbable that Terry Brooks was not influenced by Lord of the Rings, but something similar.

                              Derivatives, or retelling of stories has been going on for thousands of years. People like stories, and don't mind if a good one is retold again and again and again.

                              I remember going to the Museum of Ure at Reading University, having just seen some of Shakespeare's plays. There were pots with pictures the story of the fall of Troy that were at least 1,000 years older than Shakespeare's retelling. Did Shakespeare keep these stories alive - so they could be passed down the generations?

                              I think sometimes we are too precious about originality - after all millions of people tune into predictable paint by numbers cop shows every week.
                              I think the similarities are so close to Lord of the Rings that it can't be a coincidence. Tolkien was familiar with and influenced by classic literature, there's none of that detail in Sword of Shannara. It's very clearly a carbon copy of Lord of the rings down to the characters, settings and story beats and Brooks' denials about it were more likely so he didn't get sued by the Tolkien Estate.

                              It's always rankled me that while Brooks has gone onto to other things and still seems to be a bestselling author to this - that the book that started his career was a blatant rip off of a superior work.

                              I think that's largely symptomatic of a general trend in publishing in the US at the time. Interestingly, the IP laws in publishing in the US were quite different when LOTR was first published and one of the first widely available editions of the book (in the US) was actually a bootleg that Tolkien received no royalties for.
                              Last edited by devilchicken; 09-25-2020, 12:52 AM.
                              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by sandy View Post

                                J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was heavily influenced by Wagner's Ring Cycle. Tolkien took Wagner's Ring, made it more English, chucked in some Christian symbolism and made it less bleak. So, it's not like Tolkien produced something entirely new either (and Tolkien did acknowledge his sources - certainly he acknowledges his influences). In fact, if you watch all 9 Star wars movies - there is something Wagnarian about the Jedi /Sith Skywalker plotline that runs through the 9 movies too.

                                It is not entirely improbable that Terry Brooks was not influenced by Lord of the Rings, but something similar.

                                Derivatives, or retelling of stories has been going on for thousands of years. People like stories, and don't mind if a good one is retold again and again and again.

                                I remember going to the Museum of Ure at Reading University, having just seen some of Shakespeare's plays. There were pots with pictures the story of the fall of Troy that were at least 1,000 years older than Shakespeare's retelling. Did Shakespeare keep these stories alive - so they could be passed down the generations?

                                I think sometimes we are too precious about originality - after all millions of people tune into predictable paint by numbers cop shows every week.
                                Actually, I think Tolkien, who after all was a fluent reader of Old Norse and Old English, took the Ring itself from the tales in the Eddas - there's one about a dwarf, Otr, who took the form of an otter, being killed for his pelt by Loki and having to pay weregild - bloodmoney - for him to his father King Hreidmar in compensation. To fulfill to the letter the weregild agreement Loki was forced to give up the ring Andvarinaut, stolen from the dwarf Andvari and thus cursed ... the whole thing leading to Fafnir, Otr's brother, becoming a dragon ...

                                Tolkien knew enough to not need to rely on Wagner's treatment of the same basic story/ies. But most of what passes for heroic fantasy these days is a rehash of Tolkien's work, without ever having taken the time to go into the background stories and learn them well enough to make their own version of the background stories. So Tolkien has in effect become the background story - and judging from his comments on CS Lewis' Narnia Chronicles, he hated that.

                                As far as Shakespeare and the fall of Troy goes, those stories had become part of the background story of Western Europe's literate elite. Much as the stories of Boccaccio and the poems of Petrarch etc, had become part of the international culture. Chaucer used them. Shakespeare was bound to as well.
                                sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

                                Gold is the power of a man with a man
                                And incense the power of man with God
                                But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
                                And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

                                Nativity,
                                by Peter Cape

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