Pride Lands Online

FOREWARD: This is not meant to be of insult to anyone. The ideas presented here are the opinions of me, myself, and my associate I. Comments (especially clarifications), flames, are accepted on a PRIVATE BASIS (highlighted for those who see nothing but caps), seeing as this could be potentially dangerous if not read correctly. Please read all of it, and contemplate before making a reply that could cause you the unnecessary agony of seeming less intelligent.

__________These comments are not meant to be damaging, they are merely a realistic 'stand back' look at TCS from a different perspective. I voluntarily give this a MA rating (mature audiences).

Simba Wiltz
-Chronicles of the Pridelands, a critical look.

__________There is no doubt in my mind that The Lion King has produced some of the greatest fanfiction writings ever. One only needs to find the right site, and an entire world of reading can be opened up to you. Among these fanfics, one seems to stand out in particular as 'the' fanfic, or the best fanfic ever. That series needs no introduction, and will be referred to as The Chronicles Series (TCS). Hailed by most TLK fans as the best thing since the movie, TCS has had unbridled success in its following. Others have taken ideas from it and branched off, immortal characters made within its storyline have become personalities and idols for people to worship, and an entire MUCK was based off of this story, something not done since TLK Muck opened with 'The Tales of Tanabi' as its canon story. However, in looking at the plethora of fanfics before us, one is tempted to ask: What makes this series so great? How is it, that when people pour their hearts and souls into a story equally, that one story may stick out so far from the others. Authors of other fanfics would be litterally 'lion' if they did not at least contemplate ONCE what makes the Chronicles series stand out from their own works. The Chronicles Series will always be successful because of its structure, its effect on the reader, and its effect on other fanfic authors.

__________The structure of Chronicles of the Pridelands is not unique. It has chapters, paragraphs, sentances, much like any other reading. However, there are other things of note to mention. First, the carefully laid out and explained characters gives the reader more security while reading. There is not the extra thought involved with attempting to remember what one person did (as long as you follow the series in order), or remember what a character looks like, or how their personality is. It is normally spelled out in enough detail that the reader becomes intimate with the character. This does not imply that other fanfics do not describe their characters. In fact, there have been much better descriptions in other fanfics of the same characters. However the trick to descriptions is also in the actual writing of the story. The sheer length of the stories allow you to observe each character as their personalities truly are.
Therefore, instead of being compelled to take the author's word for the the description, you are allowed to experience the character, and make your own conclusions as well. A very powerful narrative technique in writing. The length of exposure to characters is almost unparalleled. With TCS, one is able to actually follow certain characters from their births to their deaths, and experience all the emotions and trials of the character's life.
This synopsis of the existance of a character puts the reader in a proverbial "God mode" when observing a character. It allows one to see everything, from life onto death. Another powerful narrative technique. Something else of note is the unique points of view that TCS offers. Although experimented with in many fanfics, the points of view shifts are deft and often apt for the situation. Combined with the god-like view of characters, this gives the perfect omnicient view.

__________Plot structure is quite an interesting facet of TCS as well. When asked on how it was possible to make such a complexly structured storyline and maintain the structural integrity of the writing, I was told that "outlining is normally the hardest part. When you get about halfway through the story, it pretty much writes itself." Many authors outline their stories, so that in itself is not unique. But the creative structure of the stories makes a particular effect on the reader, which is the next portion of this essay.

__________TCS has an effect on readers unlike most of the other fanfic stories. This is partially due to the fact that the readers do have such an omnicient position, and also the multitude of characters. However the best explaination for why TCS is so loved by its readers was given by a Psychologist named Lawrence Kohberg.

__________Kohberg devised what he called the stages of morality as a developmental theory. The 6 stages all deal with the reasons why humans do things in terms of their morality. The first stage is very primal, and seeks only to avoid punishment. The second stage is definied by the motivation for reward. These two stages make up what he termed preconventional morality, the level upon which he assumed children start out on. The third stage is the 'good person' orientation, a morality that does things on the basis of being considered a good person or not. The fourth stage is an authority orientation, saying that the basis is whether a person is an authority figure or not.. This is called conventional morality, and is the second area of development according to Kohberg. Then, he makes the fifth and sixth levels Post-conventional morality. The fifth level is morality based on social contract, the idea of everyone having their place and their place is the reason they act a certain way. The sixth level, and highest in Kohberg's opinion, is the Ethical principle orientation. This puts morality on the basis of a higher principle, such a religion or cult type ideas. The stages progress in order but at any given time one can move up and down the morality system.

__________This information is inconsequential until you begin to look into the morality of the characters. In most stories, the characters rarely extend past Conventional Morality. They do things because they are 'good characters' or 'bad characters' or they act upon the basis of an authority figure. This puts their morality below most of us, who operate mostly on the principles of a religion or other value system. However, TCS creates an entire religion, and makes its characters adhere to it. This, seemingly simple choice takes the characters to another level: Post-Conventional Morality. By raising the characters to a post conventional stage, the authors of TCS put the characters in a direct line with the human readers. The conflict of morality in the characters brings an internal conflict within the readers, thus bringing them into the story moreso. It is one thing for a character to mourn the loss of another killed in an attack. However, when you add the idea of 'beliefs' into the picture, it makes the characters less flat, and perhaps more hopeful. Instead of simply accepting death as part of the circle, they look to their higher power for guidance. These parallels to human actions tends to excite a more empathetic chord in readers, as opposed to the sympathetic feeling for most. In that way, its effect on the reader makes TCS even more successful.

__________Perhaps a more subte effect, but one worth noting is the effect of TCS on other fanfic authors. Although one might not think of it directly, the way that TCS is styled acts as a double edged sword. On its forward strike, it is an incredible story, fashioned in a professional way that touches the hearts of many. However, on the backlash, it tends to almost belittle the works of others, no matter what the content. Many authors look at TCS and are awed by its skillful execution. It makes them strive for better, and come up with even more ideas that spring off of the incredible story. However, at the same time, to others, TCS is a threat to their self-esteem and egos. In their minds, they have put just as much heart and soul into their works, and yet no matter what they do, they are always overshadowed by this mosterous story.

__________TCS does not become daunting until one attempts to make a story that might be comprable. The First task is to make characters that are interesting and round enough to attract attention. But . . . you can't do that because TCS has already explored every template for a character that you can think of. Next challenge, to make an interesting plot that is believable. However .

Simba Wiltz
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Critique Intro