- The fickleness of reader sympathy, and
- The importance of letting kick-ass characters kick ass. On stage. In full view.
I've been looking for reference visuals, and I've been struck by how rarely you get an onscreen, kick-ass magical duel. There are, of course:
- Harry Potter vs. Voldemort et al. (which had its good moments, but overall... eh.)
- Gandalf vs. Saruman (excellent duel)
- Gandalf vs. the Balrog (powerful, though it was shorter than you think)
- and the magical duel in Willow (was interspersed with other things going on)
The literary example that my dear friend always held up as the yardstick was the magical smack-down at the end of the first Thomas Covenant series -- which I read about a thousand years ago and have only dim memories of. But it was kick-ass. I think.
Stay tuned, I've got more thoughts on this. One-upmanship is a problem in these sorts of situations. If you've got a favorite kick-ass magical duel, recommend it!