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Is George R.R. Martin the “American Tolkien”?
American Prowler ^ | 5.31.13 | Anne Hobson

Posted on 05/31/2013 12:43:32 PM PDT by nickcarraway

With the end of the third season of Game of Thrones in sight (June 9th), a global audience of over 5 million is debating whether or not George R.R. Martin is the rightful “American Tolkien.” I argue that while The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones have striking similarities, Martin is actually pioneering a distinct genre—a new kind of fantasy novel informed by historical fiction and politics. Martin admits that he was influenced a great deal by Tolkien, and mirrored the structure of his novels off of Tolkien’s work:

“Tolkien begins his story in the Shire with one group of inhabitants, hobbits, but eventually expands the tale in ever-widening orbits to cover many races and huge tracts of land. That’s what I wanted to do too. I wanted to start with a tight focus on a few characters and one place in the world, and as the story is told, the world will continue to get bigger and bigger and more people get drawn into the conflict,” Martin told the Detroit Free Press.

(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; TV/Movies; The Hobbit Hole
KEYWORDS: gameofthrones; georgerrmartin; jrrtolkien; tolkien
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1 posted on 05/31/2013 12:43:32 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

I have not read the books mentioned here but I really like this author. The fellow has been writing for decades.


2 posted on 05/31/2013 12:46:17 PM PDT by Nateman (If liberals are not screaming you are doing it wrong!)
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To: nickcarraway

Yes, although I will say that I found “A Song of Fire and Ice” to be more interesting that “The Lord of the Rings”, and the characters to be far deeper and more compelling.

I have not read “The Lord of the Rings” twice, and I don’t think I have will. I just started book 3 of “A song of Fire and Ice” for the second time, and I’m loving it again.


3 posted on 05/31/2013 12:48:13 PM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: chris37

have = ever*

oops!


4 posted on 05/31/2013 12:48:43 PM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: nickcarraway

I looked it up on Wiki to see what it was. The plot was underwhelming, but maybe it reads better.


5 posted on 05/31/2013 12:49:32 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberals are like locusts...)
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To: nickcarraway

No!


6 posted on 05/31/2013 12:51:02 PM PDT by Bayard
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To: nickcarraway; Anoreth

I read a bit of that first “Fire and Ice” book to see what it was, since my son had it out of the library. It’s workmanlike narrative, sequential and all that.

One re-reads Tolkien less for complex plotting than for the beauty of his language. His writing is like being in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception: something exquisite with perfectly-wrought detail everywhere you look. If unashamedly gorgeous composition isn’t your thing, then he would probably not be a favored author.


7 posted on 05/31/2013 12:53:08 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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To: nickcarraway
I'm watching 'Game Of Thrones' and somewhat enjoying it, but this George R.R. Martin character is a dirty perv.

No, he's no J.R.R. Tolkien. He just has a pretentious double middle initial like J.R.R. Tolkien originated in the fantasy fiction genre. What a copycat.

8 posted on 05/31/2013 12:53:33 PM PDT by The KG9 Kid (Demand Common Sense Nut Control.)
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To: nickcarraway

Not NEARLY as much sodomy in the Tolkien Books./s

I guess I’m just an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy about things like that.


9 posted on 05/31/2013 12:53:52 PM PDT by left that other site (You Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Set You Free...John 8:32)
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To: The KG9 Kid

Why would you call Martin a dirty perv?


10 posted on 05/31/2013 12:57:07 PM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: chris37; nickcarraway

I haven’t seen the show or read his books. How do they compare to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series?


11 posted on 05/31/2013 12:58:05 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I'll raise $2million for Sarah Palin's next run. What'll you do?)
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To: The KG9 Kid
but this George R.R. Martin character is a dirty perv.

Explain, please. His bio on Wikipedia lists him as being a demonicRAT and supporter of the 0bmanation ... is there more to it than that?

12 posted on 05/31/2013 12:58:52 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: nickcarraway

Well, they do both have 4 names with the middle two starting with R... Both combined the legend of Atlantis into their stories. Tolkein added what seemed to be a level of depth in his books, however, especially The Silmarilian. Probably because he spent half his life working on it and never really finished.


13 posted on 05/31/2013 12:59:32 PM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: Perdogg

ping


14 posted on 05/31/2013 12:59:37 PM PDT by EveningStar ("What color is the sky in your world?" -- Frasier Crane)
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To: nickcarraway

I don’t know...are really long boring poems inserted into the text involved?


15 posted on 05/31/2013 12:59:43 PM PDT by AndrewB (FUBO)
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To: AndrewB

My kids really like Tolkien’s poems, especially if I sing.


16 posted on 05/31/2013 1:00:32 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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I loved books 1,2,3 of game of thrones. It took him it seemed a decade to complete book 4, while throwing excuse after excuse on his web page, then when the announcement finally came that book 4 would come out soon, he explained how it would be written where half the characters would be in book 4, and a simultaneous timeline of the other half of the characters would be in book 5, I was already pissed. After book 4 finally came out, and I read it, I was ready to find George RR Martin and strangle him personally (plus it doesn’t help that he is a big big big lib)....I was livid at the suckiness of book 4.

When book 5 came out, I read it (because I had to), and was pleasantly surprised, and feel he has at least somewhat redeemed himself for the travesty of book 4. We will see if he can finish off what started as an incredible series well.


17 posted on 05/31/2013 1:00:37 PM PDT by dsrtsage (One half of all people have below average IQ. In the US the number is 54%)
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To: nickcarraway
Huge...tracts of land ping...


18 posted on 05/31/2013 1:03:14 PM PDT by AndrewB (FUBO)
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To: Tax-chick

While I somewhat like the “Song of Ice and Fire” series (the first book being “A Game of Thrones”) Martin isn’t the writer that Tolkien was, and certainly not the scholar. I can easily imagine even Martin laughing off this comparison.


19 posted on 05/31/2013 1:03:22 PM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: Tax-chick

Stop, stop...no singing!


20 posted on 05/31/2013 1:03:49 PM PDT by AndrewB (FUBO)
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To: AndrewB

I was just on a Kardashian thread and thinking of the exact same scene.


21 posted on 05/31/2013 1:03:50 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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To: nickcarraway

In a word: no.

In two words: hell no.

Martin is a novelist, Tolkien was not. Tolkien was a linguist and creator. The stories that we have are derivative of his lifetime of work and serious scholarship that recreated the entire field of “fairy tales”, as Tolkien described his own work.

Martin’s work, while very good, is derivative of Tolkien’s establishment of the modern Sword and Sorcery genre.

Martin is not the “American Tolkien” any more than Terry Brooks or Robert Jordan were. He is the hottest thing in the genre right now, but he doesn’t compare to man who created an entire genre of literature.

All without being a novelist.


22 posted on 05/31/2013 1:03:58 PM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius (www.wilsonharpbooks.com - New Robin Hood book out!)
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To: nickcarraway

Many of Martin’s ideas come from Druon’s historical fiction novel The Iron King.


23 posted on 05/31/2013 1:04:08 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“I haven’t seen the show or read his books. How do they compare to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series?”

Unlike the Wheel of Time, Martin’s book don’t completely suck ass.


24 posted on 05/31/2013 1:04:31 PM PDT by altsehastiin
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To: nickcarraway

Uhhh no. And I like Martin, written a lot of good stuff. But he’s never really had the vision of Tolkien, I don’t think anybody has actually. Asimov’s future history kind of comes close, but even his stuff you can sense that he’s gluing books together after the fact, Tolkien’s world was very well defined very early in his process.


25 posted on 05/31/2013 1:04:40 PM PDT by discostu (Not just another moon faced assassin of joy.)
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To: nickcarraway

No.


26 posted on 05/31/2013 1:04:48 PM PDT by Little Ray (How did I end up in this hand-basket, and why is it gettingthe so hot?)
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To: Tax-chick
My kids really like Tolkien’s poems, especially if I sing.

Seriously?

I'm more than a little curious to hear that.

27 posted on 05/31/2013 1:05:11 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Tax-chick

I liked that song, “One Tolkien Over The Line”...


28 posted on 05/31/2013 1:05:12 PM PDT by newfreep (Breitbart sent me...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Not well IMO, I think the WoT is superior.


29 posted on 05/31/2013 1:05:20 PM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: left that other site

You ain’t the only one!


30 posted on 05/31/2013 1:06:09 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: dsrtsage
I just started book 5 today. I didn't mind the split on book 4. There are so many characters, I rather enjoyed being able to concentrate on their story lines. I'll see how I feel about it after I finish book 5
31 posted on 05/31/2013 1:06:34 PM PDT by FarmerW ( - Milton Friedman - The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.)
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To: vladimir998

Us Fuddy-Duddies need to stick together! :-)


32 posted on 05/31/2013 1:08:53 PM PDT by left that other site (You Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Set You Free...John 8:32)
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To: ArrogantBustard

You know you’re invited to visit us here in Boring, anytime!

The boys were falling off the sofa laughing at the song about the troll and the bone, from the first part of “Fellowship of the Ring.”

Maybe it has to do with their listening to Homer from birth. They like poetry, especially narrative.


33 posted on 05/31/2013 1:10:04 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I am only familiar with Robert Jordan’s first Wheel of Time book, but I would say that Martin’s are vastly superior. The writing quality is not so different perhaps, but the scale and scope of the story, the richness in characters, character development, plot twist, outright surprises (such as killing off characters whom you believed he would NEVER kill off), puts Martin’s series on a level that Jordan can’t really touch.

If you like fantasy, you might want to look into Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle). Excellent book.


34 posted on 05/31/2013 1:11:13 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: dsrtsage
I couldn't agree with you more. I almost didn't buy the 4th book because of all the BS. Then when I finally read it I wanted to break stuff. I resisted buying the 5th book for the longest time but finally broke down. I grudgingly admit that it was ok.

The show is...like any book adapted by HBO really. Good production values, good acting, inspired costumes, and ridiculously over sexualized.

35 posted on 05/31/2013 1:11:21 PM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: AndrewB
Stop, stop...no singing!

They get that way once they're teenagers ... but Anoreth got into saga-singing once she went to sea. Had some of her crewmates learning Old Norse with her.

36 posted on 05/31/2013 1:12:17 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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To: Durus; altsehastiin; vladimir998

Jordan has a thing called “The Game of Houses” (Noble houses) in his novels, which made me suspicious of this “Game of Thrones” when I first heard of it.


37 posted on 05/31/2013 1:13:11 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I'll raise $2million for Sarah Palin's next run. What'll you do?)
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To: left that other site

There isn’t that much sex in the books themselves, and very little is explicit, mainly just what is implied.
His stuff is not as squeaky clean as Tolkien, but its nowhere near what HBO did with it.
Martins characters are very, very flawed, by design.


38 posted on 05/31/2013 1:13:17 PM PDT by buwaya
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To: nickcarraway

As soon as he brought in incest, I stopped reading. All I perceived was empty violence and sex.


39 posted on 05/31/2013 1:13:17 PM PDT by Essie
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To: altsehastiin

I just finished the final Wheel of Time book, by the way, and it bugs me that the NYT compared Jordan’s imaginary world to Tolkein’s, which was printed on every cover of those 14 books. Are they just stupid or something? The two were nothing like one another.


40 posted on 05/31/2013 1:14:28 PM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: ArrogantBustard; nickcarraway; Bayard; The KG9 Kid; All
Thread from last year:

Game of Thrones Author Blasts ‘Racists and Oligarchs’ Who Support Photo ID Voting

41 posted on 05/31/2013 1:14:48 PM PDT by EveningStar ("What color is the sky in your world?" -- Frasier Crane)
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To: ArrogantBustard; Tax-chick

Have they read “Bored of the Rings?” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bored_of_the_Rings


42 posted on 05/31/2013 1:15:07 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I'll raise $2million for Sarah Palin's next run. What'll you do?)
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To: buwaya

I will take your word for it, as I am judging by what I have seen on HBO.

If what you say is true, than HBO is doing a grave disservice to the author by changing the entire tone of the work.


43 posted on 05/31/2013 1:17:14 PM PDT by left that other site (You Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Set You Free...John 8:32)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; ArrogantBustard

I think my 16-year-old has. It’s on a shelf at the top of a closet, with other books we either don’t want them to read, or don’t want them to destroy (like the complete set of Horatio Hornblower novels).

I’m currently reading Tolkien to “teh byos,” who are 11, 9, 7, and 4. Sometimes the teenage girls (13 and 15) show up, too, if they’re not being allowed on the computer at the time. I tell them that every page has at least one word they might find on the SAT.


44 posted on 05/31/2013 1:18:30 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The Commie Plot Theory of Everything. Give it a try - you'll be surprised how often it makes sense.)
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To: EveningStar

Hmmm...

“who thinks Obama is “the most intelligent president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter,”

“and yes, angry I’ve become as I watch the ...other states where Republicans and their ‘Teabagger’ allies control key seats of power.”

Great guy! Good person to support with money. The second coming of Tolkien, only without morality!

Yech...


45 posted on 05/31/2013 1:19:28 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberals are like locusts...)
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To: nickcarraway

I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy over thirty years ago, and have forgotten most of it. I only saw the first of the three movies, and wasn’t interested in seeing any more. I’ve been watching the Game of Thrones series, and am enjoying it, but have not been moved to read any of the books. About 10 years ago, I read an older novel of Martin’s titled “Fevre Dream.” It’s about vampires, and set on the antebellum Mississippi River. I thought it was a pretty good book, and plan to read it again once I get through all the other books on my shelves.


46 posted on 05/31/2013 1:21:53 PM PDT by mass55th (Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway...John Wayne)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I can’t say on that comparison, vet, because I have not read or heard of the Wheel of Time series.

Regarding martin’s books though, my brother bought me the first 4 of the available 5 for my birthday, and I thought to myself, dammit, I do not want to read this, the author is some idiot liberal.

But knowing he would make sure I read them, I began to force myself to read one chapter per night so as to not be rude to him by rejecting his gift.

By the end of book three, I had to find ways to prevent myself from reading more than 6-8 chapters a day so that I would not consume them too quickly, and then when I got to the end, I started over at the beginning and began to buy the HBO series on blu ray.

The books are a long, slowly developing arch about a number of people who desire the power of a throne but are unfit to wield that power, and about the schemes and plots they devise to acquire that power.

The beauty of the books lies in the staggering depth of the characters. I have never come across characters this well developed in any book that I’ve ever read. The way the chapters are presented lends to this in that each chapter is seen through the eyes of one of the key characters with each chapter being named after one of those characters.

If you ever read them, vet, I highly recommend doing so in a digital format such as Kindle, because while the novels are cheaper, the print is small and compact, and it is not easy on my aging eyes at all. The Kindle has a space between each line of text which makes reading it so much easier.


47 posted on 05/31/2013 1:22:26 PM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I haven’t seen the show or read his books. How do they compare to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series?

They are considerably better. I say that as a one-time huge fan of Jordan who became incredibly disappointed at the way he lost his way in too many irrelevant plot lines after the fourth book and also the way he depicted all of his female characters into perpetually angry harridans, as if that was supposed to be some sort of feminist statement. Actually, I think he was just writing down the way his wife talked to him. :)

Brandon Sanderson made a heroic effort to salvage the Wheel of Time series, but fell short - as there were just too many plot lines and no real way to end them all satisfactorily. After hearing for years from Jordan that the first thing he wrote was the final scene of the final book, we were expecting it to be something epic. Nope...

George R. R. Martin is a different kind of writer - no artificial politeness or fake chivalry from him. He spares the reader nothing of the human experience, though HBO adds some gratuitous sex scenes that go beyond what Martin actually wrote in the books. Still, and despite some minor plot changes, the HBO series is a nearly miraculous adaptation of a huge work of fantasy - something I never thought I would see attempted by a major cable network.

My only warning would be - if you are the kind of reader (as so many FReepers seem to be) that requires black-and-white characterizations of good and evil in you fiction, then go watch a John Wayne western, instead. Martin's characters defy classification, and even the "heroes" have significant flaws. If not, then I encourage you to read "A Song of Ice and Fire" - just be warned, that the rest of the fantasy genre will seem trite and insipid by comparison when you are finished!

48 posted on 05/31/2013 1:22:44 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: Durus

It’s pretty obvious that he’s read none of the books.


49 posted on 05/31/2013 1:23:41 PM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: nickcarraway
No. If he were, he series would be over already and he'd be writing little bits of history to fill in all the appendices.

Five books in and I'm not even sure what the story is! A Song of Ice and Fire? Winter is finally coming (the title of the first chapter of the first book) and the fire is still half a world away, although it was revealed in the first book. And these two stories half a world apart have barely connected; instead, we get everything in between!

Yeah, I'm still reading them and watching the show. Why do you ask?

50 posted on 05/31/2013 1:24:32 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith (Rome didn't fall in a day, either.)
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