The Rivendell Point

Non Harry Potter Book Discussion
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Astra Holt
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Post by Astra Holt » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:39 am

Not exactly Lord of the Rings...
My sister developed this concept, and I thought since we have so many avid readers here, some of you might like to try this out.
She is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and she would get discouraged when friends would say, "Oh, I tried that one, but it didn't hold my interest." only to find out they didn't make it past the first chapter or two. so she would tell them, "Stay with it until they get to Rivendell, THEN make up your mind if it is interesting."
From this, she developed the concept of the Rivendell Point. This is the point in any novel where, if you've read that far and still don't care what happens, you aren't going to like the rest of the book. The idea is to encourage the person to read until things really get going, rather than getting bored with the setup portion and missing the whole plot because they gave up on it right before it would have grabbed them.

For instance, when she told me about a book called Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, she said, "Read until Harry gets to school--that's the Rivendell Point. If you don't care by then, it's not for you." (I think I came up for breath around...oh, I think it was the end of Goblet of Fire, and that was because that was all that was available at that time!)

So my question for you is, what book would you like to recommend to anyone who may not have found it yet, and what is its Rivendell Point?
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Faye Laramie
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Post by Faye Laramie » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:07 am

What an interesting concept, and I agree. Some books are just tough to get into, but once you do, they FLY. I completely agree with your sister's Rivendell points for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings just has a lot of set up and backstory, designed to be read as "myth" - but the first chapter of the HP book was just sloppy.

Again I'm going to plug Sherwood Smith's Inda books. The first one, Inda, is tough to get into because it's set in a completely different world, and the titles, naming customs, attitudes toward life in general -- the society as a whole -- is completely foreign, and there is a learning curve before one finally "goes native." Worse yet, the reader has to adjust to the omniscient point of view (also called "head hopping"), Smith often changes perspectives, sometimes in the same paragraph. This can be jarring and confusing for someone who is not familiar with the style, and in a way makes it difficult for the reader to relate to ONE protagonist (despite its title character, the novels are far from just Inda's story. He is a critical character to be sure, but certainly not the only important one).

It's Rivendell point would also definitely be when Inda reaches the military academy (the country is much like Sparta, but you'll find that the customs are different). The circumstances are a bit convoluted--it's tough to explain as I have retyped this paragraph three times now to no success.

It's so worth it, though. Slogging through the vocabulary might be daunting, but when one finally catches on, these names, titles, insults, slang, etc. begin to all mean something. There are layers upon layers of intrigue, worldbuilding that's been bubbling inside Smith's head for 40 years, and not a single wasted character.
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Prof. Opal Dragonfly
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Post by Prof. Opal Dragonfly » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:15 am

I think that's a wonderful concept!
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Megaera Selwyn
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Post by Megaera Selwyn » Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:50 am

Oh, what a clever idea! I'd always told my friends to read some books up to a certain point, but it never occurred to me to name the concept. I like the Rivendell Point; I shall use it from now on! :D

I'll mention two series I love that I've heard people say are "boring" - maybe sharing their Rivendell Points will help?

Firstly is the Ender's Game series, by Orson Scott Card. It's one of my top five favourite series, but it can be tough to get into at first. It's not exactly a cuddly, happy-ever-after series; however, neither is it all dark and depressing. The first book, Ender's Game about a future of Earth where 50 years ago from that present (the precise dates are never stated), aliens known in human derogatory slang as the 'buggers', attempted to invade and destroy Earth. The humans managed to fend them off, but barely. Then 50 years later, the International Fleet (the chief military force of the planet) received intel that the buggers were on their way for a second attempt. Their last hope was to begin training the top minds humanity has to offer to destroy the buggers once and for all. The catch? Those top minds are all extremely intelligent children, beginning their training on the orbital space station at 6 years old.

Despite that, it is not as outlandish as it sounds - the series does an excellent job of relaying the "human condition" and handles a myriad of philosophical and ethical military dilemmas admirably. I'd say Ender's Game's Rivendell Point would be around chapter 19 or 20; when Ender is given his own command and starts to realise things about the buggers and who the real threat is. If you're not hooked by then, it's probably just not your cuppa.

The other series I'll tout is the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. They detail the journey to adulthood and associated adventures along the way of Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben. They are extremely well-written; I dare to compare them with Lord of the Rings, although the plots are different. Offhand, I'd say they're sort of a cross between the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and a King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table mix. I've heard many people think they're childish though, probably because the summaries are not very good. But I enjoy the good-triumphs-over evil plots, and its moral values are very good.

I'd say the series' Rivendell Point is about midway through the second book. It's written in such a way that one book picks up right after the other lets up. If it's not interesting by then, it probably won't ever be to you.
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Chloe Fairchilde
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Post by Chloe Fairchilde » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:21 pm

Interesting concept. My mom is an avid reader, but only likes certain genres (mainly murder mysterys). When I lived with her, sometimes she'd come by and ask me if I had anything to read. I'd recommend a book I knew was good and she'd reject it based on the description. Finally I got to where I'd tell her "just read the first chapter" and lo and behold, she'd like it! :rolleyes: That's how I got her reading Harry Potter, actually. Now I'm going to have to think of the Rivendell point and have her read to there.
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Lily Diggory
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Post by Lily Diggory » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:56 am

Its a wonderful concept. I'll look out for it in my books. In the Lord of the Flies, the end of Chapter 2 then it isn't for you.
Last edited by Lily Diggory on Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kai Daniels
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Post by Kai Daniels » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:29 pm

I loved the start of Lord of the Rings, even before Rivendell.
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