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LotR vs. ASoIaF, which novel series do you prefer?


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#1 First of My Name

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:39 AM

Sorry if this is the kind of thread that gets locked immediately but I searched twice and could only find theads which pitted characters from the one against the other. My vote defintely goes to ASOIAF, primarily because I hate LOTR. Yes, I hate LOTR. I don't know why, I like the story by itself , I liked the movies, and I think it's original, but the months it tok me to read those books were a torture. ASOIAF is better for me in everything but the fact that you don't have to wait for the next book with LOTR. But, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm interested in hearing yours.

#2 A Real Dire Wolf

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:45 AM

I subscribe to the consensus that Tolkien was a fantastic world-builder, but not that great an actual writer. Also I'm not too fond of some of his views, some of which are reflected in pretty strongly in his work (mostly thinking of his stance on science and technology and all that stuff here).

So, I prefer ASOIAF, but I respect LOTR for inspiring GRRM and so many other writers in the first place.

#3 Northbound

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:50 AM

While, I loved LoTR and I still do. But I read them, when I was a teenager. They were and will always be a great series to me. However, now that I'm in my late 30's, LoTR doesnt come close to ASoIaF. The sheer size of the plot, world, darker characters and themes; dwarfs LoTR.

#4 Ser Wun Wun

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:55 AM

I tried to read LOTR a little while after finishing ASOIAF, but I couldn't get into it. After like 100 pages I was thinking to myself "where is the incest? No crippled children? WTF man! Booooooring."

Seriously, I couldn't get into it b/c I kept comparing it to ASOIAF and it wasn't stacking up well. The same thing happened when I tried to read the Wheel of Time series.

I subscribe to the consensus that Tolkien was a fantastic world-builder, but not that great an actual writer. Also I'm not too fond of some of his views, some of which are reflected in pretty strongly in his work (mostly thinking of his stance on science and technology and all that stuff here).

So, I prefer ASOIAF, but I respect LOTR for inspiring GRRM and so many other writers in the first place.


What views, specifically? Was he a technophobe or something?

#5 Valyrian Spoon

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:01 AM

I subscribe to the consensus that Tolkien was a fantastic world-builder, but not that great an actual writer.


I agree with this. Although to be fair there are a some who say the same reguarding GRRM.

The main thing I prefer in ASOIAF over LOTR is the fact the characters don't burst into song every five minutes.

#6 Nictarion

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:02 AM

I prefer ASOIAF. I never thought I would say that before reading the series as I love LOTR. I told my brother I liked ASOIAF better after I read it and before he read it, and he thought I was crazy. Then he read ASOIAF and now agrees.

#7 Caris

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:04 AM

I never felt the need to re-read LOTR. I think I'm on my 3rd full read-through of ASOIAF. In two years.

Both have their issues, however. The writing gets a bit ponderous and slow in LOTR, and the editing could be a bit tighter in AFFC and ADWD. I prefer the sense of grimy reality in ASOIAF to the very pristine high fantasy of LOTR. It feels more accessible, which I like: while it's true that fantasy acts as an "escape," having elements of reality makes it feel less impossible, like a world that is just a little more alive than ours (not better, clearly, but maybe younger and wilder).
That got heavy fast.

#8 Naathi Prince

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:06 AM

I prefer LOTR, simply because I appreciate the entire universe Tolkien made. You wouldn't have a "Randyll Tarly is a bad commander thread" for a Tolkien book, because Tolkien would have a manuscript detailing every single movement of the Battle of Ashford.

#9 The Dornishman's Wife

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:08 AM

LOTR was a good read (and reread actually), Tolkien has an excellent command of language, maps out amazing details and deserves lots of kudos for trailblazerness.

But (and now you know my first paragraph doesn't count): His characters and plot are simply flat compared to more advanced works. Also, epicness comes cheap if you're treating yourself to an unkillable mustache curling superevil supervillain who enslaves whole continents and glorious superhumans with superendurance and supernobleness from the superold superdynasty of supermight. If you still need your characters to declare "Now this is the most epic epicness ever, omg, *seriousface*!" every two pages, you've obviously not even gotten your money's worth out of these devices.

Edited by The Dornishman's Wife, 25 April 2013 - 09:15 AM.


#10 E-Ro

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:10 AM

Never even read Lotr. Don't judge me

#11 Hear me Meow

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:21 AM

I read lotr when, I suspect, I was too young to really appreciate it.

I've never re-read it, so my opinion of it isn't terribly high. I honestly prefer the Hobbit.

Edited by Bran the Cute, 25 April 2013 - 09:30 AM.


#12 thenedstark

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:25 AM

LotR/Legendarium was the first attempt at building a completely made up world. Though I wouldn't like to prefer one of either series over the other, there are some good/bad points about each work. Also, I have to admit that Tolkien did allow too many prejudices of his time to influence his work. From a literary standpoint, I am not a very good judge either way.

#13 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:28 AM

The question is rather like setting up a Homer v. Shakespeare comparison: you are dealing with two very different authors, with very different backgrounds and values, trying to achieve very different results.

ASOIAF is a series of novels. It explores characters, tries to make them realistic and complex, and is founded on a very secular worldview. In some ways it is almost a medieval-flavoured soap opera, what with Martin's background writing for TV.

LOTR is not a novel. The novel is an eighteenth century invention, whereas LOTR hearks back to the more ancient form of the epic. Characterisation is not part of the epic tradition, and is not what Tolkien was aiming for. He was trying to explore mythic and cosmic themes of the nature of evil, the transience of existence, the nature of courage, and so on, and do it in a setting that was, by necessity, 'larger than life'.

Personally I prefer LOTR. But that's a subjective reaction - as I said, it's apples and oranges.

Edited by Roose Bolton's Pet Leech, 25 April 2013 - 09:37 AM.


#14 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:31 AM

LotR/Legendarium was the first attempt at building a completely made up world.


Not quite. It popularised secondary world fantasy, but the likes of E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros predates LOTR by a good three decades.

#15 Sister of Wolves

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:34 AM

I absolutely loved the LotR books as a child and treated my classmates to an hour-long presentation long before the movies came out and started the whole LotR hype /lol.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' /> I reread the books at least thrice during that time but when I tried again after I had read the ASoIaF books I just couldn't bring myself to do it again. In comparison GRRM's characters are just so much more interesting and fleshed out and the story is so complex and compelling!

I agree with Roose Bolton's Pet Leech that the two stories are very different and that such a comparison is not really fair but given the choice I would chose ASoIaF every time!

#16 Grand Maester Mithrandir

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:45 AM

Please dont make me choose /crying.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':crying:' /> I love them both, but like someone said earlier ASOIAF is more suitable once you are matured

#17 StannisBamfatheon

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:50 AM

Apples/Oranges. I think in my heart I'll always hold LOTR in high regard because of childhood nostalgia, when I was a teenager I loved them and the story really spoke to me. Now that I'm 24 though I definitely appreciate the intrigue/adult themes of ASOIAF. I dunno why you have to pick one over the other they're so very different. GRRM has said though the "American Tolkien" moniker honors him greatly so that's pretty cool.

#18 Groat

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:53 AM

The question is rather like setting up a Homer v. Shakespeare comparison: you are dealing with two very different authors, with very different backgrounds and values, trying to achieve very different results.

ASOIAF is a series of novels. It explores characters, tries to make them realistic and complex, and is founded on a very secular worldview. In some ways it is almost a medieval-flavoured soap opera, what with Martin's background writing for TV.

LOTR is not a novel. The novel is an eighteenth century invention, whereas LOTR hearks back to the more ancient form of the epic. Characterisation is not part of the epic tradition, and is not what Tolkien was aiming for. He was trying to explore mythic and cosmic themes of the nature of evil, the transience of existence, the nature of courage, and so on, and do it in a setting that was, by necessity, 'larger than life'.

Personally I prefer LOTR. But that's a subjective reaction - as I said, it's apples and oranges.


Wow great summation. I always thought the way Martin implements his characterization is more in common with some of the great American authors (Steinbeck, fitzgerald, etc..) than anything in fantasy I have read to date. I love LOTR, but the characters are what win me over for ASOIAF everytime, more so than any other fantasy story I have ever read. And some of the goofy side characters that Martin makes (Delorous Edd, Irri and Jiqui) are just so quirky they could not have come from someone without a lot of television experience.

Although, I really hate his tv, cliffhanger, tune in next week, endings he is so fond of.

#19 Hukthagz

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:54 AM

I used to think that Tolkien was all about world building, legend compiling, language inventing and sucked at writing decent characters. Then i started reading Silmarillion, CoH etc and realized that he's almost as good as GRRM. So for me Tolkien:3 GRRM:1. GRRM's score may rise depending on his later reveals of about the world he created.

Edited by Hukthagz, 25 April 2013 - 09:55 AM.


#20 Prince of the North

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:56 AM

While, I loved LoTR and I still do. But I read them, when I was a teenager. They were and will always be a great series to me. However, now that I'm in my late 30's, LoTR doesnt come close to ASoIaF. The sheer size of the plot, world, darker characters and themes; dwarfs LoTR.

Please dont make me choose /crying.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':crying:' /> I love them both, but like someone said earlier ASOIAF is more suitable once you are matured

+1

And, as RBPL says above, they are not really the same thing. It really is possible to love them both. Now, out of all the LOTR-related writing I have the most fondness for The Silmarillion.