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Aldarion

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  1. Agreed. In Tolkien's work, there is far more hope, which automatically makes it more appealing. But it also differs in how things are portrayed. Tolkien's works are actually full of horror (especially of the fridge variety), but he tends to show only things that are necessary for the story, and as a result, most of it is implied rather than outright stated. Martin by comparison seems to go more for shock value and what Tolkien would likely consider unnecessary detail. To me, Tolkien's approach is actually far more fun, because there is more to think about and analyze - it sucks the reader into the story, whereas with Martin, I always felt kind of detached when reading it. Thank God he's so good at writing characters, otherwise I would not have been able to actually become invested into the story. Basically, for Martin, world is a background stage for his characters to act and develop in; for Tolkien, world itself is a character. Agreed. Fantasy is about escapism, but Martin's work is simply too grim, cynical and similar to real life to offer any real value for that purpose. It reads like a history novel more than like fantasy - I honestly found more escape reading John Haldon than I did George Martin.
  2. As I said: politics. Politics are all about power. Not really. All we have seen in ASoIaF so far is that evil people cause evil things to happen because they use power for evil, while good people cause evil things to happen because they have no clue what they are doing. Tywin is evil, but has actually been an effective administrator. Yet his will to dominate everyone still caused evil to happen. Cersei is both evil and has no clue what she is doing. And good people (Ned Stark, Jon Snow) drop like flies while achieving nothing, or else play supporting roles of limited importance (Davos, Sansa, Brienne).
  3. Hope and faith =/= religion. Religion is no different from any other political ideology. Faith, while definitely an element of religion, is something completely different. It is. Just in a different way.
  4. That is just largely irrelevant dressing, and completely misses the point I was making. What I was talking about is the fundamental message and/or nature of the work. Lord of the Rings for example is all about hope and faith, and is written in the vein of old mythology. In its nature, it is similar to Bible, Illiad, Odyssey and so on - a religious and mythological work, and is meant to inspire. A Song of Ice and Fire has none of this. It is all about politics, humans being pieces of crap... there is little hope to be had, to the point that it could be argued extermination of everything alive in Westeros may not even be a bad thing. It is a fundamentally postmodernist work, technically extremely well written but with no soul to speak of. That is the difference I was talking about.
  5. Eh, that varies a lot. In medieval times, anything with walls was often classed as a city - smallest city could have as a few as 40 inhabitants, so long as it had (stone) walls and a city charter. As for proportion of population, 8% I suspect is true for England, but could be anywhere between 2% and 20%. Probably, although I'm not sure Martin actually respects logistics in that sense. Robb's army is small enough for its behavior to be excused - 20 000 men is just about the upper limit you can feed by foraging - but something like Wildling host at the Wall or Renly's army would have been in danger of starvation. Westeros is a far cry from having Byzantine or Ottoman administrative organization, after all.
  6. It is a handicap in terms of becoming a long-lasting cultural phenomenon. Fantasy is all about escapism, and Martin's world is in many ways simply too similar to the real world. Worse, it is in some ways similar to modern world. And there is also the fact that almost all modern fantasy - ASoIaF included - is treading the path that Tolkien had made. Warhammer 40k is a much more unique setting, despite almost being a Tolkien ripoff, simply due to actually bringing something new and unique to the table (specifically, a blatant marriage of history, religion, fantasy and science-fiction, that is only even approached by Star Wars).
  7. Unlikely. Comparing it with a series that does have long-lasting cultural impact, ASoIaF simply does not have many of the things that have made Lord of the Rings so lasting. Just to give an example, but LotR is an openly mythical and heroic setting while ASoIaF is from the outset created to be more realistic. And this heavily works against ASoIaF, especially since Martin seems to have confused cynicism for realism. Tolkien has - possibly due to his experiences in First World War - recognized the importance of escapism for fiction, especially fantasy. Tolkien's work has more in common with the Illiad and Odyssey, whereas ASoIaF has more in common with school history book. And this means that Lord of the Rings are simply more accessible (that, and they are shorter and simply better-written). Another problem is that ASoIaF is simply not finished yet. And if it never ends up being finished, it will be like... Lord of the Rings without Return of the King.
  8. I ran some numbers here if you are interested: https://fantasyview.wordpress.com/2020/04/21/population-of-westeros/ Anyway, specific number of 40 million is... not impossible, but not the only plausible one. It is just the simplest estimate (army = 1% of population), but may well be wrong. You can go from as low as 12 million to as high as 98 million people. Anything below or above that is difficult to support, although I personally do favor the higher end of the scale.
  9. Mongols had ALL the advantages Dothraki allegedly have, and more (their armor was better in some ways than European equivalents), and as many warriors as a large-ish khalasar, and yet they still got beaten in their invasions by forces that were in terms of tactics and equipment similar but inferior to what Westeros fields. There is nothing ruling houses of Westeros could have done to stop the Khalasars? More like, there is nothing they would need to do. A single khalasar, or even two of them, would hardly be a threat that would warrant a full-scale mobilization. War against them could be safely left to whichever Lord Paramount had the misfortune of having khalasars land in his kingdom. Not that the war would last long. From what we have seen of Dothraki, they would underestimate the Westerosi (on the account of them not being nomadic horsemen), accept the pitched battle which Westerosi specialize in, and get slaughtered. At this point in the story, Daenerys hardly has the respect she would need to stop them from suiciding themselves against Westerosi knights. And even if they acted smart - avoiding pitched battle, and instead raiding etc. - guess what? Westeros is almost perfectly suited to counter that. In fact, castles exist to counter such style of combat, and sooner or later Dothraki would get forced into a pitched battle and wiped out. Much like what happened to Mongols in their 1285 invasion of Hungary.
  10. Been a while since I've read these scenes, but it seemed to me as if Viserys saw her as his property. And rape is a common way of establishing such.
  11. Losing Cumans definitely was a massive blow, and helped Hungarian defeat... along with bad deployment, tactics and some very questionable leadership. But Mongols also had better equipment, which is rather contrary to very frequent image of lightly armored horse archers defeating heavily-clad Western knights. Fact is, between the Mongols and the Hungarians in 1241., it was Hungarian troops who had lighter armor and fewer armored cavalrymen. Mongols didn't take castles because they couldn't. They destroyed all the towns and castles they could - meaning, wooden castles. Hungary was devastated in the 1241. invasion because the entire kingdom had a grand total of ten - TEN! - stone castles. And most of those were on the western frontier with Germany, and thus largely useless against the Mongols. Other than those ten castles, as well as old Roman / Romanesque castles and cities in southern Croatia, all other fortifications were made out of earth and wood and thus fell to Mongols relatively easily. But Bela IV. wasn't stupid, and as soon as the Mongols packed up and left, he initiated military reforms. In 1285., Mongols again invaded Poland and Hungary. But as I said, it was very different beast to 1241. invasion: unlike in 1241., both countries had large numbers of stone castles, as well as large numbers of crossbowmen and heavy knights. So what happened was that they simply retreated into the castles, let Mongols charge around across the countryside before coming out and defeating the (now weakened) Mongols in open battle. In fact, Mongol casualties in the 1285. invasion were so massive that their army had effectively ceased to exist by the time they managed to escape Hungary. It is already addressed here, but fact is that timeline simply doesn't add up. Nor do the other such examples. Mongols had never - never - stopped the campaign because of the election of the khan, be it either before or after the invasion of Hungary. If that really was the reason for their withdrawal, then Hungary/Poland would be a unique example in Mongol history. It is also almost certain that Mongols were not even aware of khan's death when decision had been made to retreat. And their retreat, once they had left Hungary, showed absolutely no indication that they were in any sort of haste - they wasted time chasing around Cumans, invading Russia and more along the way. All of this suggests that they were either unaware of khan's death, or did not consider it important. Invitation for the khuriltai was only made (or received) in 1243. - and Batu refused to attend. So yeah. On balance, it is a lie made to save face.
  12. Hungarians at Mohi: 1) made a massive tactical blunder 2) didn't have crossbowmen, large numbers of heavy cavalry, any plate armor, or literally anything that defines your average Westerosi army And you know what they did the moment Mongols retreated? Organized feudal heavy cavalry, hired crossbowmen and built stone castles. Result? They completely wiped the floor with the Mongols when second Mongol invasion happened in 1285. There is a reason why 1285. invasion is much less known than 1241. one: it was simply not worth mentioning much, because it was a massive disaster for the Mongols. They came, they saw, they were conkered. But even in the first invasion, Mongols weren't able to deal with the castles. In fact, claim that "all of Central Europe (consequently soon to be Western Europe) only got saved when Batu went back home to press his claim for khan" is a bald-faced lie which Mongols promoted in order to save face. Elections for khan had nothing to do with Mongols leaving Europe. European castles and knights, however, did. In fact, they were decisive. Second link is the most relevant for your claim, but I suggest you read all of it: https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/18/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-1-overview-of-the-invasion´┐╝/ https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal´┐╝/ https://historyandwar.org/2021/12/09/mongol-siege-of-klis-fortress/ https://historyandwar.org/2021/12/16/how-mongol-invasion-shaped-hungarys-defense-strategy
  13. More like, for no reason at all. As Terror points out: And in fact, even the Mongols did not fare very well against knights and castles - despite having siege weapons and heavy cavalry. So more I think about it, more I believe that the original plan was basically set up to get them both killed, as despite what Jorah Mormont may think, Dothraki stand no chance against Westerosi. However, it is not that simple. As Peaches pointed out: It might also be that Dothraki were merely a prop designed to make Viserys look credible by giving him an army. And while I don't think many Westerosi lords would have found Dothraki a "credible force", it may have been enough to turn the Robert-hating lords away from him.
  14. Agreed. But slaves never want to be slaves - in other people, what people want or do not want does not necessarily matter. But that brings me back to need to introduce alternative economic system, and make sure it is well established and stable, before Daenerys leaves. Yeah, she needs to destroy the Masters' influence in the entirety of the Slaver's Bay, not just Meereen, because it is a complete system.
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