#326: Growing Up Geek/The Hero and The Crown

We continue our growing up geek arc with the novel The Hero and The Crown, which provided Sean entry into the worlds of reading and fantasy. We discuss how his experience (and others like his) lead to lifetime learning, advocate for more flexible reading lists for early readers, and talk about the true purposes of critical reading (as opposed to simple criticism) and how it expresses what we do with the texts we enjoy. All of us remember the Scholastic book fairs fondly, as well as trips to used bookstores. And we run down the week in geek, including the truth behind Sanctuary’s cancellation, some basic information about the new game Diablo 3, Iron Man 3′s newly-increased budget, our take on the Dragon Dogma game trailers, and a funny story about Skyrim clipping errors and how they created the infamous Dragon-In-The-Mountain landmark in Sean’s game.

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The situation that lead to Sanctuary’s cancellation wasn’t quite as cut and dry as Sean suggested. According to a Gateworld interview with Amanda Tapping and Martin Wood, SyFy’s decision on renewing Sanctuary was delayed because of Comcast buying NBC/Universal. Their lease on the sets came up during the time when they weren’t sure, and their financers weren’t willing to sign a 1 year lease on the studio space when they had no idea whether they’d have someone buying the show or not. The interview was from before the cancellation, but that sounds like what probably led to the cancellation.

From the sound of things, I think that Sean and I probably have the same ideal of the perfect woman. For me I think it has to do with being raised on Star Wars (Leia), Metroid (Samus), and Lord of the Rings (Eowyn), as well as a steady diet of comic books (more super-heroines than I can count ((not to mention Catwoman, MEEOW!))). For me, there’s just never been anything sexier than a woman who can kick ass (especially if it involves swordswomanship).

(P.S. Yes I DID, in fact, just invent that last word. Spur of the moment.)

Tonight … on Oddballs Television Workshop

The role of SyFy exec is played by the late great John Belushi, while
Carrie Fisher plays the irate "Sanctuary " fan learning of the cancellation.


And … scene :slight_smile:

Too bad of the cancellation.

I wasn’t much of a reader growing up. The most I read were the Star Wars Storybooks. In my last year of high school, I transferred to a new school. Yeah. Senior year in a new school. It sucked. Basically I had accrued enough credits from my previous school that I had to take just 4 classes to graduate. So, I had a bunch of time on my hands. I spent most of that time in the library. I happened upon ‘Exploring the Earth and the Cosmos’ by Issac Asimov.

I loved his concise explanations and conversational writing style. Mind you, I knew nothing Isaac Asimov. Anyway, one day I was walking through a street fair and there was a table loaded with old paperbacks. I stopped my girlfriend and said, “Hey, remember that guy I was telling you about. Here is a novel by him.” The guy selling the books asked, “You’ve never read ‘Foundation’?” I answered, “No.” He smiled, “You’re in for a treat. This is a trilogy. Here are the three books. That’ll be $1.50. You’re welcome.” Best money I ever spent.

I love libraries personally. Freaking love them. A whole building stacked wall to wall, floor to ceiling with books? That’s my kinda place. I remember when I was in college to get my B.A., often times my classes were scheduled many hours apart…and I would literally just spend hours hanging out in the library in between lectures. Most kids nowadays probably have no idea how to properly use a library. I’m only thirty, and yet I was probably in one of the last generations to be taught how to understand library classification, Dewey decimal system, card catalogs, and all that. Amazing how much things have changed in just twenty years or so.

I hadn’t heard of this book but thanks to Amazon Prime, I should have a copy tomorrow. :slight_smile:

+1 on that :slight_smile:

Does GWC have an “Amazon Link Through” thingy?

The rate at which my wife and I burn through smirking cardboard boxes, I would feel better knowing there is some transaction pennies are going to Texas.


I posted the link I have to GWC’s associate thingy in the thread for Modern Geek #43. :wink:

I haven’t read The Hero and the Crown yet, but I understand that it is a prequel to The Blue Sword. Is the Blue Sword worth reading first? Or is The Hero and the Crown stand alone?

Actually, if you’re going to read them both (great choice btw) go in the chronological story order. ‘Hero and the Crown’ and then ‘The Blue Sword.’ It will explain a few things and you will get all the foreshadowing she gives you in the Blue Sword instead of having to reason it out the hard way. Just my two cents.

Although I will admit after having read both dozens of times now I prefer the Blue Sword to HATC at this point. Mostly cuz Harry and Sungold rock ass!

Sean, I believe you mentioned on the cast that this book got you into playing table top D&D? (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

I’d love to hear you talk about your table top D&D experiences. How many years did you do it? What version of D&D? Favorite characters? What types of adventures? Do you ever Dungeon Master? Did you have a set of painted D&D figures?


No, you are quite right. I wanted so badly to slay a dragon or have an enchanted semi-self aware sword that I began to actively look for ways to experience that. D&D foot the bill.

lol, well there’s a lot there, at least for me. It was kinda rough because my first foray into D&D was actually a PC game that same year that came out called Curse of the Azure Bonds. (see the post here: http://galacticwatercooler.com/2009/04/28/a-cursed-young-man/) After that I began to hear about table top games. 2nd Edition just came out that year I played on and off with friends I could find for 4 years. After learning about play yep I started to run a game… it was entertaining but rules often gave way to story in my games.

Yes, I had painted figures but I made them myself no awesome pewter, painted affairs for me. I was uber poor.

Now that I’ve listened to the podcast, I see that my question was pretty much covered in it. That’ll teach me to get ahead of myself. I’m going to try to find a copy of them both anyway, it sounds like something I may enjoy. I’m about ready for some new material. I’m about to finish a re-read of David Eddings Belgariad/Mallorean cycle and I have the Discworld books on my phone for when I’m out and about (I’m about halfway through Wyrd Sisters). Some new heroic fantasy should do nicely. I’ll have go looking for some recommendations soon, there’s so much out there its hard to decide what to go for next.

Funny enough I think the first Dragon books I read were the Pern books and I loved them. But that fantasy/sci fi mix appeals to me somehow.

Regarding "The Outsiders " …

Chuck, tell Sean … "stay gold Ponyboy " :slight_smile:



PS. I have read The Outsiders … and took nothing away from it … except that I loathe that book.

your mileage may vary.

Outsiders was a pretty good movie, but I can’t imagine enjoying the book when I was in grade school, lol.

I bought my wife “The Hero and the Crown” a couple of Christmas’ ago. She’s a huge Robin McKinley fan and devours her books. We ready “Beauty” several years ago together - Sean, you’ve made me want to sit down with our copy and give it a go :slight_smile:

Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

I just watched ‘The Outsiders’ for the first time about a week ago. I said, “Oh Snap! Coppola directed this? I didn’t know that!!”

My wife loved the film when she was younger…for…um…obvious reasons. She made me giggle when she recited Robert Frost in tandem with C. Thomas Howell.

I asked her, “You were totally a Dallas girl. Weren’t you?”
She shook her head, “Nope. I had a crush on Johnny.”
mouthgape “Really?”
“Yep. I liked the wimpy guy.”
shrug “Huh.” pregnant pause “So, I’m like Johnny?”
mrstalosgiggle “Nope. You’re Two-bit.”

The discussion of Shelock and the character of Sherlock made me think of this retrospective/biography I heard on NPR recently…

Sherlock: A Character Who’s More Than Elementary, by John Powers

I found this interesting, Although I’m not sure about John Powers’s idea that any of the current popular characters won’t last… only time will tell what other characters will join Sherlock as a lasting character.

It was fascinating for me as a teacher of literature and culture to hear you all talking about books in the way you did. I know a number of people who resist the idea of studying literature because they say it “ruins” it for them. That makes me sad, because for me being able to see all of the moving pieces in the work is part of the pleasure I get out of reading. It’s probably part of why I love the Baroque so much, too - and poetry goes into that as well. While I don’t really read any poetry in English, I do read a lot of it in Spanish, and I quite enjoy it. It’s a different kind of enjoyment from what I get out of reading non-fiction, or a good novel or other narrative form, but for me reading and understanding poetry has always been like a puzzle that has an infinite number of solutions. It’s so cool to have that click moment when you get the connections between a particular metaphor and something else. It’s that expansiveness in a relatively rigid form that I find so fascinating. I say this though recognizing that poetry is generally difficult for us (which is fascinating in and of itself given the history of verse in the oral transmission of cultural artifacts), but I find it immensely rewarding. Which is why I am teaching a class exclusively on poetry in the fall semester. I’ll report back :slight_smile:

I know I’ve mentioned elsewhere that when I was growing up I read almost exclusively fiction written by women, with strong(-ish) female protagonists. For whatever reason as a child I was already very aware of the fact that my identity was wrapped up in my physical sex. Anyways, in terms of the who do you identify with question - without a doubt I identified with Aerin in The Hero and the Crown, and with Menolly in the Pern series (sorry Sean I loved those, though as an adult the romance aspects squick me out with the problematic power dynamics. But the Harper Hall trilogy was and always will be awesome), and with any number of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s rebellious feminist characters. I empathized most with Alia in Dune, and I recognize that were I still I identified with these figures, reading in that particular mode, I would have identified with Katniss in The Hunger Games. I’m also very much a type-A personality with masculine speech patterns (hello, interruptions galore). I also tried reading Asimov as a kid, since my Dad loved the Foundation series and I admired my Dad - but I didn’t actually enjoy them until I was an adult. In fact, of Asimov’s work my favorite remains to this day The Gods Themselves, which I first read when I was 13 on a book binge from the public library. I would love to hear more about the girls and women in these stories as objects for self-identification or for possession, or for other things too. But since I’m slowly catching up on podcasts, maybe you have :slight_smile: