MorgulisMaximus

Was GRRM influenced by Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series?

233 posts in this topic

I was tired of waiting and waiting for GRRM to finish The Winds of Winter so I picked up Eye of the World the first book to Robert Jordan's enormously long Wheel of Time series (15 books. 10,000+ pages).  Little over a month later, I've been gotten through half of the series. I was extremely impressed with the first few books. The writing style of Robert Jordan is superb, probably on par with GRRM (in some ways). By book seven the series grinds to a crawl much like GRRM's A Feast for Crows.

Much of the WoT was published before AOIAF. I have noticed more than a few similar plot lines in both series. It would have been chronologically impossible for Robert Jordan to have been influenced by George R. R. Martin. But I think there is a real chance that parts of ASOIF were influenced by Robert Jordan.

Just a few of many examples:

Rand al'Thor grows up without realizing that his parents are not his true parents. As a baby, he arrived at his home town with his "father" returning from war. The eighteen-or-so year difference between the previous war and beginning of the story also parallels ASOIAF.

Rand al'Thor eventually leads the Aiel people... Jon Snow eventually leads the Wildlings. Aiels are similar to the Wildlings in many ways.

The Sea People (Atha'an Miere) happen to be black, just like the Summer Isle people in ASOIAF.

The Seachan have many similarities to Euron Greyjoy and his forces. Similar to Euron the are an invading force which returned from the other side of the world. They enslave sorcerers and use them for military purposes. 

Many more similarities. I will try to share some more later...

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4 minutes ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

Nope, Martin has never read WoT.

Lucky!

 

OP, a lot of these similarities are not particular to The Wheel of Time. The Aiel are themselves a rip-off of the Fremen, from Herbert's Dune. It's also true that both Jordan and Martin were/are heavily inspired by Tolkien. (I mean, do the Ogier remind you of anyone?). 

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1 hour ago, Leap said:

Lucky! 

I agree. TWOT is a cringe-worthy compilation of the worst fantasy cliches.

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7 minutes ago, Gronzag said:

I agree. TWOT is a cringe-worthy compilation of the worst fantasy cliches.

[Braid tugging intensifies]

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Although GRRM mentioned it himself (I think) a comparably little known influence is Vance's "Lyonesse". Apart from the pseudo-medieval settings, the political plots are quite similar: intrigues and war for the overlordship among a handful of kingdoms, a strange prophecy leading the bad guy to even worse decisions. Children/heirs of dubious parentage, a prince lost/sold into slavery. A sad princess barely escaping an arranged marriage. An impish tomboy princess. 

The mood is quite different, though and there is plenty of over the top high magic in Vance's trilogy.

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I recently read the WOT series for the first time. I noticed some parallels with Martin, but it was definitively more Tolkien inspired.   

I didn't think it was as bad as some of the posters suggest.  It seems to be the series that re-invigorated the genre and the tropes were re-introduced to a new generation.. So while Martin wasn't directly inspired by the work, it definitely paved the way for the success that he had with ASOIAF. 

It did heavily influence Sanderson's work, who would go on to finish his hero's series. 

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Martin read The Eye of the World, but I believe after A Game of Thrones was published and Jordan wrote some nice things about it for the cover blurb. I believe Martin decided to wait for the series to be completed before reading the whole thing, but I'm not sure if that was because of its place in the fantasy pantheon or because he felt it would be polite to Jordan, whom he corresponded with and occasionally appeared on stage with at conventions. If the latter case, he probably doesn't feel the need to follow through for obvious reasons.

When it comes to direct fantasy influences on A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin has namechecked Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn sequence, Jack Vance's Dying Earth and Lyonesse series, Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series (and, for its structure, the Gap SF series), Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, Glen Cook's Black Company and Tolkien as being much more direct influences. I think he's also cited Dune as a more general and less direct influence.

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3 hours ago, Leap said:

OP, a lot of these similarities are not particular to The Wheel of Time. The Aiel are themselves a rip-off of the Fremen, from Herbert's Dune. It's also true that both Jordan and Martin were/are heavily inspired by Tolkien. (I mean, do the Ogier remind you of anyone?). 

I felt that only the very first book "Eye of the World" had Tolkien qualities. Afterwards, the series seems to be heavily influenced by real-world religions, philosophies and cultures.

The Ogier Loial reminds me of Samwell Tarley (i.e., an over-sized bookworm). Ogiers in general might have some similarities to the Giants north of the Wall (i.e. assuming the Giants might have built the Wall... which is a sketchy assumption).

Edited by MorgulisMaximus

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1 hour ago, Jo498 said:

Although GRRM mentioned it himself (I think) a comparably little known influence is Vance's "Lyonesse". Apart from the pseudo-medieval settings, the political plots are quite similar: intrigues and war for the overlordship among a handful of kingdoms, a strange prophecy leading the bad guy to even worse decisions. Children/heirs of dubious parentage, a prince lost/sold into slavery. A sad princess barely escaping an arranged marriage. An impish tomboy princess. 

The mood is quite different, though and there is plenty of over the top high magic in Vance's trilogy.

I would argue that The Wheel of Time is more science-fiction oriented than psuedo-medieval. For example the multiple dimensions/worlds. Travels between space and time. The bore-hole at Shayol Ghul appears to have been made by somewhat modern-day like scientists, albeit thousands of years ago in The Wheel of Time framework.

There is also lot of emphasis on modern-like research and discovery when it comes to magical abilities and magical items.

Edited by MorgulisMaximus

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

I think he's also cited Dune as a more general and less direct influence.

There are quite a few very similar characters in Dune and ASOIAF.

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12 minutes ago, MorgulisMaximus said:

The Ogier Loial reminds me of Samwell Tarley... i.e., an over-sized bookworm. Ogiers in general might have some similarities to the Giants north of the Wall... i.e. assuming the Giants might have built the Wall (which is a very tenuous assumption).

The Ogier seemed to me to have more than a passing resemblance to Tolkien's Ents. 

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Martin read The Eye of the World, but I believe after A Game of Thrones was published and Jordan wrote some nice things about it for the cover blurb. I believe Martin decided to wait for the series to be completed before reading the whole thing, but I'm not sure if that was because of its place in the fantasy pantheon or because he felt it would be polite to Jordan, whom he corresponded with and occasionally appeared on stage with at conventions. If the latter case, he probably doesn't feel the need to follow through for obvious reasons.

When it comes to direct fantasy influences on A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin has namechecked Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn sequence, Jack Vance's Dying Earth and Lyonesse series, Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series (and, for its structure, the Gap SF series), Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, Glen Cook's Black Company and Tolkien as being much more direct influences. I think he's also cited Dune as a more general and less direct influence.

 

Very interesting! I never read any of the books below (except for watching the Dune movie).

It's very interesting how Martin and Jordan independently created massive worlds and stories which ended up having some uncanny similarities.

Another similarity is the emphasis on female characters. Tolkien had approximately ZERO female characters... okay probably one or two minor characters. But Martin and Jordan both have at least 50% female characters (actually, probably closer to 60% for both authors). And female characters in the very highest positions of power. 

 

 

Edited by MorgulisMaximus

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12 minutes ago, Leap said:

The Ogier seemed to me to have more than a passing resemblance to Tolkien's Ents. 

Yes, Ogiers have tree singers and like to build gardens. But they are also amazing builders of towers and palaces... and great historians. Ents don't have the cultural aspects of Ogiers.

Ogiers probably derives from "Ogres"... but of the friendly Shrek variety.

 

Edited by MorgulisMaximus

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4 minutes ago, MorgulisMaximus said:

Yes, Ogiers have tree singers and like to build gardens. But they are also amazing builders of towers and palaces... and great historians. Ents don't have the cultural aspects of Ogiers.

 

I mean, apart from the Entsmoot and the tendency to talk very slowly and criticise their fellow human travelers for being ''Hasty'', and the fact that the one Ogier travelling with our heroes is also the one who is just a little bit hastier than all of his fellow Ogier/Ents. And that they live much longer than the average human and as a result don't like to get tied up with the politics of the land, but end up doing so anyway because it's War. 

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2 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Everyone knows WoT is a Sword o f Truth rip off. :P

Ha! I tried to start reading the Sword of Truth... but Terry Goodwind just doesn't have the literary skill of GRRM or R. Jordan. Goodwind's basic grammatical skills are lacking. I found that to be a big turn-off. 

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