Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Regarding The Witcher Plagiarism controversy

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • devilchicken
    replied
    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 plot and characters 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.

    Interestingly, the IP laws in publishing in the US were quite different when LOTR was published and one of the first widely available editions of the book (in the US) was a actually a bootleg.
    Last edited by devilchicken; 09-23-2020, 07:15 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • sandy
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • devilchicken
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • In_Loos_Ptokai
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • devilchicken
    replied
    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
    ​​

    Leave a comment:


  • EverKing
    replied
    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."

    Leave a comment:


  • Tanelorns peace
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Heresiologist
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heresiologist
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kymba334
    replied
    Like Game of Thrones with a Lobotomy so is the The Witcher in our lives.... https://youtu.be/exgoaU3Fr5E

    Leave a comment:


  • zlogdan
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Yugomorph
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • devilchicken
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • Heresiologist
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • lemec
    replied
    Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
    I have watched the series on Netflix, and I think I had not seen any clear plagiarism. Although I think I said something about it somewhere in the past and I cannot find where.
    The series on Netflix was good and even inspired my youngest son to read the books.
    I have also watched it on Netflix.

    In the light of one of the first scenes, to me, the character looked a little like Elric.

    As far as I remember, the series mentions The White Wolf,
    and at least one characters says, "The Conjunction", but they did not add, "Of The Million Spheres."

    There was a lot of original material, as far as I know, to the story, but the show did seem to walk very close to the line to Mike's creations.

    And, Spoilers, I think the short story Red Pearls by Michael Moorcock:

    (it may have been a different Elric story)

    Last edited by lemec; 02-01-2020, 04:55 AM. Reason: I had a little more to say, and I had to correct my Spoiler tags.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X