Grim/dark = realistic? Where did this idea come from? - Page 6


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Thread: Grim/dark = realistic? Where did this idea come from?

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Mish View Post
    I remember R.R. Martin commented that "Game of Thrones" is brutal on purpose as it is meant to be anti-war and show how brutal and senseless war is. Which is true in a sense. As nothing in the books or the show is as brutal as for example bombs being dropped on civilians, schools and hospitals, which still happens regularly in the modern world to the apathetic ignorance of most people. So I think grim/dark = realistic here is fit for purpose as it reflects the horrors of war that humanity appears to still have endless appetite for.
    Certainly Martin was intentional when he chose the tone and focus of his books. But what weirds me out is the insistence that Game of Thrones is more realistic than, for example, The Chronicles of Narnia. It really isn't. They're just reflecting different aspects of reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by KenTR View Post
    As far as books and films go, people prefer the darkness to the lightness because it makes their own lives seem better in comparison. I myself am a fan of what I call "feel bad" movies and books. I love horror movies. I consume stories of cruelty and hopelessness and despair because once finished, I can close the book or turn off the TV and say Well, my life isn't so bad after all! Or, Whew. Maybe that lump on my neck isn't an ancient evil medicine man about to be reborn to wreak havoc upon the modern world (my unyielding admiration to anyone who can name that story).
    Meh, that isn't why I watch horror movies at all. Horror to me isn't a way to feel better about my own life (I could just make a cup of tea if I wanted that). All good art is an enhancement of life, not just an escape from it. I like darkness in a story because of 1) the intensity, when I can feel the tension between good and evil so viscerally 2) the fear or awe created by an encounter with something much larger and stranger than myself. Really my favorite is when extremes of light and dark are woven closely together. That's what feels most real to me, as opposed to the monochrome that is the moral background some books and films (the kind where the good guys are only marginally less contemptible than the bad guys, or are considered "good" only because they're nicer. ugh)
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



  2. #52
    I think culture is a big part of the discussion. Westerners with a mechanistic or modernistic outlook on life tend to have this expectation that they are in control of their destinies -- and when they aren't able to succeed in whatever their goals were, the result can often be the nihilism you mentioned. I live overseas, and in my work with Syrian refugees I have been repeatedly surprised at how little they ask the "why" questions that we Americans would ask if our homes were bombed out. They don't have the same humanistic view of the self-made man. Everything is controlled by Allah, so it's more of a fatalistic or destiny-based view of life, and they figure that if bad things happen to them, Allah must have some good reason for it. They are definitely sad and frustrated, but they don't ask why or wallow in angst or nihilism like we would probably do. From what I have observed, people in this part of the world tend to watch a lot of comedy as their way of dealing with dark realities. They don't question it, they just escape it. Although there have been a few serious films that recently came out highlighting the darker side of Middle Eastern life, like Capernaum, which has a vaguely similar character arc to Slumdog Millionaire.

    Anyways those were just a few thoughts that came to my mind. Like you, I'm not a big fan of nihilism for the sake of nihilism. Let there be a thread of hope somewhere in the plot.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord View Post
    Meh, that isn't why I watch horror movies at all. Horror to me isn't a way to feel better about my own life (I could just make a cup of tea if I wanted that). All good art is an enhancement of life, not just an escape from it. I like darkness in a story because of 1) the intensity, when I can feel the tension between good and evil so viscerally 2) the fear or awe created by an encounter with something much larger and stranger than myself. Really my favorite is when extremes of light and dark are woven closely together. That's what feels most real to me, as opposed to the monochrome that is the moral background some books and films (the kind where the good guys are only marginally less contemptible than the bad guys, or are considered "good" only because they're nicer. ugh)
    That was another careless generalization on my part. People have all sorts of reasons for liking horror movies/books. Some people just like to be scared. I find that plain old thrillers are more successful in generating unease these days. I can't remember the last time I was truly frightened by a horror film. Jump scared just piss me off because they're a cheap shot, but they seem to be popular in the teen horror genre.

    Blurring the line between that dark and the light is usually the mark of a good story, period. The first season of "True Detective" delved into this successfully.

    If a cup of tea was enough to make me feel better about my life, I'd probably be screaming in pain from kidney stones right about now.

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by KenTR View Post
    Blurring the line between that dark and the light is usually the mark of a good story, period.
    Mmmh... I disagree. I actually find blurred lines sometimes create eh stories. I'm more talking about interplays of light and dark, not moral greyness. It can be a flat-out conflict between good and evil (woo!), or more of an exploration, or a kind of "this thing you thought was evil is good" or "this thing you thought was good is evil," but I find that too much moral ambiguity leads to confusion or tedium. You don't want to eliminate the concepts of good and evil; you want to use them in interesting ways.
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord View Post
    Mmmh... I disagree. I actually find blurred lines sometimes create eh stories. I'm more talking about interplays of light and dark, not moral greyness. It can be a flat-out conflict between good and evil (woo!), or more of an exploration, or a kind of "this thing you thought was evil is good" or "this thing you thought was good is evil," but I find that too much moral ambiguity leads to confusion or tedium. You don't want to eliminate the concepts of good and evil; you want to use them in interesting ways.
    Agreed. And I was wrong about "True Detective" too. That show was anything but morally ambiguous.

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