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Why Does Ragnarok Manhwa Like Telling Instead Of Showing?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014
ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, show, don't tell
This post is also known as 'the evolution and devolution of the summaries and previews of Ragnarok: Into The Abyss'.

What does that mean exactly? What are some examples of the manhwa telling instead of showing?

There are actually many times in the graphic novel wherein we are told a lot of things instead of being shown.

It really makes you wonder why the comic loves to tell us all about its plot rather than make things more believable by showing us what happened instead. What's wrong with showing us plot-related events? This is certainly more preferable than being told what happened and then being expected to believe that that is what happened just because the graphic novel said so.

The sad thing is that the comic doesn't do this all the time. There are times when the manhwa actually succeeds in making things believable by showing things to us, which proves that it is quite capable of showing, so why can't it show all the time?

Let's take a look at some of the summaries and previews of the graphic novel and see which ones did more telling than showing.

Volume 5 preview

The preview for Volume 5 that appears at the end of Volume 4 can be classified as telling. This is because this is where we are introduced to Himmelmez for the very first time. She was never mentioned in the previous volumes and yet, instead of properly introducing her to us, the preview does the introductions by telling us that she's a Valkyrie and necromancer working for Freya, the main villain/antagonist.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, necromancer, valkyrie, Himmelmez
So, the first time we actually see her in the comic, we wouldn't even have to be surprised anymore since we already know a lot about her.

That's not an exaggeration either because this preview really goes out of its way to tell us all about Himmelmez.

Aside from telling us what she is and who she's working for, we're also told that she's going to be attacking Prontera. We even find out that she apparently has a flying fortress.

As if that wasn't enough, this is also where the pieces of Ymir's Heart are introduced as we're told that Freya has ordered Himmelmez to obtain the shards for her because, apparently, this will ensure that she can rule the world for another thousand years. How that is supposed to work, we don't know, which is a surprise, really, since it seems like the preview doesn't care if it reveals entire plot points to us.

The introduction of Himmelmez and the Heart of Ymir shouldn't have been done in this preview since these 2 were never foreshadowed in any of the previous volumes. It would have been better if we first find out about these two only after encountering them while reading the manhwa.

This preview could have gone much better if we weren't told about things that we've never heard of before. In the first place, these 2 topics have absolutely nothing to do with the ending of Volume 4.

The fourth volume ends in a cliffhanger since we're still in the middle of the fight scene between Loki, Chaos and Skurai. The preview could have given us a teaser of some sort such as making us wonder who will win the fight or if Chaos will be able to save the little girl that got in the way of the fight.

Volume 6 preview

In contrast to the disaster that was the preview for Volume 5, the preview for Volume 6 that appears at the end of the fifth volume is not that bad at all, certainly not when compared to the aforementioned disastrous preview.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, chaos
In this preview for the 6th Volume, we get that Iris Irine and Fenris Fenrir will team up to battle against Bijou while Chaos and Loki will work together to deal with Himmelmez.

Since this is what we just read about in Volume 5, this makes for a good teaser, enticing the readers to want to find out what will happen next.

The mention of blood being spilled from both sides also makes us wonder who will win as this could actually pertain to either the heroes or the antagonists.

The one thing that this preview could have omitted was the mention that the "prodigal daughter will return". This has nothing to do with the previous volume and appears to have come from out of nowhere, so much so that it ends up jarring what would otherwise be a pretty good preview.

The prodigal daughter might refer to Sara Irine, but why would she be known as that? She's never been called by this before, so why start now and why tell us now when the comic could have just shown us?

Volume 8 preview

The preview for Volume 8 that appears at the end of Volume 7 brings us to yet another telling as what appears to be the entire plot of the 8th volume is revealed to us before we even get started reading said graphic novel.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, lidia
For starters, exactly why does this particular preview feel the need to tell us that Lidia will be joining the group again?

Why can't the comic just let us be surprised when this happens instead of telling us about this now? Well, at least we're not told how they will meet with Lidia again (small consolation, that).

This revelation doesn't even make any sense right now because the end of Volume 7 has nothing to do with Lidia, so how could we be told that she will appear in Volume 8?

Volume 7 is the end of the extremely long fight scene between the main characters and the antagonists and yet the preview for Volume 8 is telling us about things that have nothing to do with that.

We're told that the heroes will be riding on an airship and Freya will send some of her minions to cause them trouble. But why tell us all of this now? We could have been given a teaser instead.

After all, considering Chaos and the others are the main characters, it's pretty obvious that none of them will be permanently incapacitated any time soon and that the bad guys won't really win against them. So, it's really like we pretty much know what will happen in Volume 8 without needing to read said manhwa.

Volume 9 preview

At least the preview for Volume 9 that appears at the end of Volume 8 is not that bad though it is still telling. We do know that there is an elven archer since we just saw her in the 8th volume, but was it really necessary to give us her name in the preview? We're told that this elven archer is apparently named Reina, but why tell us this now?

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, elven archer
Why couldn't we have just found out about this when we read the 9th volume? Besides the main characters don't even know her name yet.

Speaking of what else the main characters don't know yet, they also don't know that Reina is apparently one of the last of her kind and yet the preview readily reveals this to us for some unknown reason.

We're even told what her motive for attacking the heroes is - apparently she wants to protect her people's legacy even if it means fighting the good guys. But what's the need to tell us all of this now?

What's wrong with having the readers discover this tidbit of information at the same time as the protagonists? Can't we find out about all of this later on when we read Volume 9? Geffen and Alfheim were mentioned too, but the good thing about this is how the preview is asking us what secrets can be discovered in these places.

Another good thing is how the mention of these places didn't actually come from out of nowhere since these 2 appeared in Volume 8. This serves as a pretty good teaser to make readers curious and want to find out more about these places. The preview also says something about Skurai, but it's vague enough that it sounds like a teaser. Asking questions helps so it doesn't come across as telling us stuff.

Volume 10 preview

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa
The best preview of the series is the one for Volume 10, which appears at the end of Volume 9, and there is no sarcasm to those words.

The preview for Volume 10 really is the best precisely because there is no telling at all. All we get is a very good teaser with lots of questions about Skurai.

The preview hints that we will soon find out about his past and whatever we will find may be shocking and surprising.

There is even a mention of Talatsu, Skurai's cursed sword, as well as the question of what the swordsman has to do with this sword. All-in-all, this particular preview is very intriguing indeed and makes readers want to read the tenth volume just to find out what will happen.

This is how it should have been for all of the previews. It's really unfortunate that this is the last preview we get to see since the manhwa unexpectedly ends in Volume 10. What are your thoughts on the many summaries and previews of the Ragnarok series? Which one do you like best? Which one did you like the least?

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki (CC:BY-SA) based on the image by hayashinomura, CC:BY-SA from deviantArt
- Image is meant to symbolize telling instead of showing - if we're talking about a graphic novel, instead of telling us that the the figures in the image are getting married, we should be shown that they're getting married as well as why and how they're getting married and other such relevant details
- The rest of the pics are enlarged product images from Amazon.com; links shown above via Amazon's Native Shopping Ads widget
- Last image is also from Amazon.com; link shown above

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