MorgulisMaximus

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

233 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Leap said:

To be fair, the series is incredibly inconsistent like this. You get one book that's almost all Rand, another that's mostly Mat, another that's mostly Egwene, and so on. The difference is that unlike ASOIAF, all of these characters are actually directly linked to Rand. Rand is definitely the protagonist of this series, that's kind of the point of him being Lews Therin Telamon reincarnated, or something. The fact that a lot of the series is devoted to supporting characters is as much a product of the abominable length as it is the story actually being about them. It's like Lord of the Rings - Frodo is the protagonist, but that doesn't mean the Fellowship don't get their own story.

The fact that Rand barely appears in a book named after him is not an indication that the story is not about any one person, it's an indication that naming the book after your protagonist and then spending hundreds of pages deliberately not having him on page is kind of a shitty approach to writing a book.

 

Whether Rand is the central protagonist might well be just an indefinite matter of opinion...

The Hobbit is clearly the story of Bilbo Baggins. But is The Lord of the Rings really just the story of Frodo? I think that is very debateable...

 

 

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4 hours ago, Jo498 said:

I'll take this as sufficient warning not to bother with "The Eye of the World". My recollections of Shannara are very dim but for me the "Iron tower" series by McKiernan took the prize among the most blatant Tolkien rip-offs.

Tolkien's shadow covered most of the Fantasy genre for many many years. I think GRRM might become the new JRRT in the years to come. GRRM, thanks in part to HBO, has far wider audience appeal than "traditional" tolkien-esqe fantasy. JK Rowlings will also be hugely influential in the years to come as all those once-children grow up and become writers.

Also, as our discussion indicates, readers are completely fed-up and bored of Tolkien clones. Readers want creativity and new plot structures.

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46 minutes ago, MorgulisMaximus said:

Tolkien's shadow covered most of the Fantasy genre for many many years.

Once again, we're not talking about "Tolkien's shadow covering The Eye of the World". We're talking about borderline plagiarism.

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35 minutes ago, baxus said:

Once again, we're not talking about "Tolkien's shadow covering The Eye of the World". We're talking about borderline plagiarism.

An understandable opinion if you only read book #1. But let's consider what happens afterwards:

First of all, Tolkien had almost no female characters. Jordan literally has hundreds of female characters. I often felt he had too many female characters. In fact, Rand appears to marry 3 women (not sure, because I haven't quite reached that yet).

With the exception of Moraine, none of the hundreds of women in the story have any comparable role in Tolkien. They hold many of the highest positions of power but their character storylines are extremely non-Tolkien.

I was surprised that Jordan was even able to get into the minds of female characters so often... perhaps his editor and wife played a role in creating these characters?

 

Next, Tolkien is strictly influenced by Anglo-Saxon lore. Jordan is very heavily influenced by many more cultures including East Asian and South Asian. The good vs evil concept is very much western... surprisingly, Jordan becomes much less good vs. evil as the series progresses and adopts a more eastern philosophical tone. Westerners might consider an eastern novel like Romance of the Three Kingdoms to be very amoral but it's really just a different way of thinking.

Edited by MorgulisMaximus

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Major authors in fantasy are almost certainly bound to be influenced by writers that have come before them, and by each other.  That doesn't mean that they've based their characters on each others' stories, unless they've deliberately ripped off that story, like McIernan and his Iron Tower, of taken a story and written it from an alternative point of view (eg Jacqueline Carey's Sundering novels).

And, it's always going to be the case that there are some stock tropes and characters that just turn up in many stories. The heir to the Throne, who's on the run;  the ordinary person who goes on a dangerous quest and proves his mettle;  the minor nobleman who just falls outside of the elite, and resents his status accordingly;  the servant who's much more competent than his master;  the Dark Lord and so forth.

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16 hours ago, Gronzag said:

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

I think that Leto and Jessica have a lot in common with Ned and Catelyn, while Paul has characteristics in common with both Robb and Daenerys.

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Another influence on ASOIAF is Les Rois Maudits.

Philip the Fair and his daughter Isabella have much in common with Tywin and Cersei.  Robert d'Artois (Druon's favourite character) has much in common with both Robert Baratheon and Littlefinger.

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5 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

IIRC, the issue with McKiernan is that he wanted to write a sequel to LOTR, was told "no", so changed the names and published anyway.

Didn't he come up with a pair of characters called Brodo and Flam?

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14 minutes ago, SeanF said:

I think that Leto and Jessica have a lot in common with Ned and Catelyn, while Paul has characteristics in common with both Robb and Daenerys.

Jon too has some characteristics of Paul.

Also:

Vladimir - Tywin

Glossu - Gregor and Ramsay

Alia - Arya

Freemen - Wildlings

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39 minutes ago, Gronzag said:

Freemen - Wildlings

I don't think this is a good comparison. The Fremen are badass warriors that defeat technologically superior enemies. The wildlings, while ferocious in their own right, easily get swept by a much smaller army. There are also the religious and societal aspects. The wildlings are only about "to each their own". The Aiel are a much better comparison with the Fremen than the wildlings ever will be.

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1 hour ago, Corvinus said:

I don't think this is a good comparison. The Fremen are badass warriors that defeat technologically superior enemies. The wildlings, while ferocious in their own right, easily get swept by a much smaller army. There are also the religious and societal aspects. The wildlings are only about "to each their own". The Aiel are a much better comparison with the Fremen than the wildlings ever will be.

I agree about Aiel, they are really a blatant ripoff, but there is also a similarity between Fremen and wildlings in the sense that they are both there for a good guy to win them over to fight for him, install him to into power position, and teach him something about "the way of the land".

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4 hours ago, baxus said:

Once again, we're not talking about "Tolkien's shadow covering The Eye of the World". We're talking about borderline plagiarism.

There are similarities, but calling it "borderline plagiarism" is a massive stretch.

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I've just finished a nostalgic re-read of Feist's Magician, and I still find it difficult to believe that GRRM has, as he claims, never read that book. Not only does it start subverting, more gently, some of the sort of fantasy cliches that GRRM later goes more hardcore on- and it's an early example of a more political fantasy, but the Starks are really, really similar to the ConDoins and Westeros bears a strong resemblance to The Kingdom flipped on its side.

Maybe he was indirectly influenced, I dunno, but for real, there's some definite DNA transfer in there.

 

5 hours ago, MorgulisMaximus said:

 GRRM, thanks in part to HBO, has far wider audience appeal than "traditional" tolkien-esqe fantasy.


GoT and aSoIaF are popular, sure, but they're nowhere close to having as wide an audience as Lord of the Rings.

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Eye of the World was my favorite because of the Tolkien similarities.  Maybe I should give Brooks a try.  :P

Also, can anyone expand on Martin citing Cook as an influence?  Couldn't find anything.  Not that I doubt, just interested to hear more. 

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5 hours ago, MorgulisMaximus said:

Agreed, the structure is very similar. But it feels like Robert Jordan did not envision the magnitude of his full story while writing book #1. It seems like he adds "fudge factors" to later books in order to make it possible to expand the scope of his story.

That said, I feel that Robert Jordan became a lot more creative after Eye of the World. He actually ended up building his own world in enormous detail and that world had very little resemblance to Middle-Earth.

I seem to remember reading an interview with Jordan once where he said that he deliberately chose to make the Two Rivers an echo of The Shire at the beginning of Eye of the World to make it more accessible for readers.

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27 minutes ago, stonebender said:

Maybe I should give Brooks a try.  :P

 

Terry Brooks is actually a great writer! The only problem is he has trouble coming up with his own plot lines.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was a great movie, but it seemed to steal many of it's ideas from a LucasArts video game called The Secret of Monkey Island. In turn, The Secret of Monkey Island was undoubtedly influenced by the Walt Disney ride which opened in 1967.

 

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54 minutes ago, David Selig said:

There are similarities, but calling it "borderline plagiarism" is a massive stretch.

Well, I wouldn't say it's that a massive stretch at all.

It's just a matter of how many similarities you're willing to chalk up to "well, every fantasy book has some similarities" excuse.

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57 minutes ago, David Selig said:

There are similarities, but calling it "borderline plagiarism" is a massive stretch.

I agree. I mean, it's very similar(I believe on purpose?) but I don't know if I would quite go the plagiarism route. I'm pretty sure no one throws a ring into a volcano.

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5 minutes ago, baxus said:

Well, I wouldn't say it's that a massive stretch at all.

It's just a matter of how many similarities you're willing to chalk up to "well, every fantasy book has some similarities" excuse.

Oh, I believe it was done deliberately so I don't even know if calling them similarities is even correct.

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52 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

I've just finished a nostalgic re-read of Feist's Magician, and I still find it difficult to believe that GRRM has, as he claims, never read that book. Not only does it start subverting, more gently, some of the sort of fantasy cliches that GRRM later goes more hardcore on- and it's an early example of a more political fantasy, but the Starks are really, really similar to the ConDoins and Westeros bears a strong resemblance to The Kingdom flipped on its side.

Maybe he was indirectly influenced, I dunno, but for real, there's some definite DNA transfer in there.

 


GoT and aSoIaF are popular, sure, but they're nowhere close to having as wide an audience as Lord of the Rings.

Eh, don't think the sales of asoiaf have even come close to WoT. *summon wert*

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