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DrPhant0m

Similarities to The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

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So, I know that the notion that there are similarities between ASOIAF and The Farseer Trilogy (and possibly more works) by Robin Hobb is not a new one. I did, however, come to the realization on my own after reading all 5 books (as of this writing) by GRRM... followed by the first three books ("The Farseer Trilogy") by Robin Hobb. After a very brief amount of research, I found out that others have noticed similarities as well. I searched for a few keywords here before posting this topic, and found that there are passing mentions of similarities, but none dedicated directly to discussion of the similarities, and whether or not reading The Farseer Trilogy (henceforth referred to as TFT) will spoil certain plotlines in ASOIAF. So... I'm relatively sure that I'm not duplicating any threads on this forum. Hopefully that all covers me on "threadiquette." In fact... this may very well be my first post. I assure you all that I have gained much from these forums, and I feel that this may finally be my chance to give back in a way that no one else has been able to.



Anyway... I'm sorry for the long-winded intro. I may delete some of that crap if this thread gets some attention. I just wanted to make sure that I excuse myself from taking credit for coming up with this alone.



This thread won't be very enlightening unless you are familiar with the details of the plot of at least the first book of TFT. If you are new to this series, I highly recommend them. Go and read them now, and come back to this thread to share your thoughts. If you have not completed the first 3 books by Robin Hobb, and all current books of ASOIAF (5 as of this writing)... there may be spoilers ahead. As of this writing, I have only read the first three books by Robin Hobb (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest). There are more books that take place in this timeline/landscape that I have yet to read. I should also mention that I've listened to all of the books mentioned here. So, my spelling may be off for some of the odd names/words.



First, a list of similarities. I will encapsulate parallels to ASOIAF in square brackets. Off the top of my head (I plan to come back and add more as they occur to me, but no promises can be made)...



  • The main character, FitzChivalry Farseer is a royal bastard [Jon Snow] that possesses supernatural skills relating to telepathy and the ability to bond with animals [warging]. His "bond animal" is a wolf named Nighteyes [Ghost]. The sect of "witted ones" [wargs] are looked at disdainfully, except for "old blood" [followers of the Old Gods] that can relate. At one point, FitzChivalry is killed, and his consciousness occupies the body alongside that of his wolf, blending as one entity until Fitz's body can be resurrected [Jon Snow's possible outcome post-DWD... and why I'm kind of worried that reading TFT will spoil ASOIAF].
  • There is an ever-present threat from a barbaric clan called the Red Ship Raiders that come from a distant area of the world [whitewalkers/others]. They create violent, mindless thralls [wights/others] in their wake when they overtake small villages. Their true intentions are largely unknown, other than causing chaos and despair from the families of the "Forged Ones" [wights/others].
  • The kingdom of the Six Duchies [seven Kingdoms] is preoccupied with political intrigue and the pursuit of the rightful king, rather than dealing with the Red Ship Raiders. For the majority of the first three books, a young, over-privileged, and heartlessly power-hungry king sits the throne [Joffrey].
  • The rightful king pursues a quest to find "The Elderlings" [Old Gods / Azor Ahai / Children of the Forest / etc] that are uniquely able to help to put down the barbarian threat [whitewalkers]. There are dragons involved [Targaryens, Dany's dragons, etc]
  • There is a mysterious individual by the name of The Fool that is seemingly omniscient, speaks in prophecies, etc. [lots of examples of prophecy] The Fool's gender, age, lineage, motivations, etc. are unknowable, but he is very eloquently spoken, and has a light, powdery complexion. [Varys?]

That's all I'm prepared to offer right now. (I'm doing this at work... haha) I'll add to that list as I think of them, or see them mentioned here and elsewhere.



It is known (see what I did there?) that GRRM is familiar with the works of Robin Hobb, since "Fantasy as it ought to be written. -George R. R. Martin" is quoted on the cover of several books of the series, the third of which being copywritten the year after A Game of Thrones (book 1 of ASOIAF). So... at first, I thought that GRRM ripped off Robin Hobb for the story, and dragged it out over several more years/books. I know that's an unfair evaluation... but that was my kneejerk reaction as I came across several of the plot elements of TFT. I'm aware that many of the themes are present across multiple works in the genre, so I forgive GRRM for the similarities. I appreciate the fact that they are different storylines, and that GRRM has taken some of the common themes and made them specific to his works in ASOIAF. Not to mention all of the additional content in ASOIAF that makes it so enjoyable to follow. I just feel a little worried that I will finish reading all the books by Robin Hobb, and get a glimpse of how ASOIAF will end.



Any thoughts? Please be kind. GRRM and Robin Hobb are both talented authors.. and I don't mean to imply that the former is a ripoff of the latter. In fact, I've seen it written that they are friends. As stated, I have confidence that GRRM will finish the series in his own way, but I have a reasonable doubt that the similarities between the works will lead me to conclusions prematurely, and I'll essentially spoil it for myself having read TFT and further works by Robin Hobb.


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There's another thread kicking around here by a poster who thinks ASOIAF has borrowed heavily from the Wheel of Time series and is making predictions based on that. There's also discussion about ASOIAF and Ragnarok.



Authors don't live in a bubble - they are inspired by everything around them. So yeah, there are similarities, but you'd expect that. Nothing is truly original, but there can be different combinations and takes on source material that make it unique. So I don't think you really have to be concerned that you'll spoil yourself by reading more Hobbs.


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Other than the idea of Wit-bond and warging, the other similarities you noticed seem pretty forced, or perhaps a better word would be generic attributes of secondary world fantasy imo.

And beyond the Farseer books I think they diverge even further, so keep reading, you'll not spoil yourself and they are interesting books. The Liveships Traders and Rain Wilds Chronicles are also set in that world, but written, like ASOIAF, in multiple POVs, rather than the single POV from Fitz and (Fitz and the fool trilogy spoiler)

Bee, in the latest book

that Hobb customarily falls back on.

And there was an event last year that both authors attended to launch their new books (Fool's Assassin and WOIAF). They were both also established authors prior to these series (though Robin Hobb wrote as Meghan Lindholm then)

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I do realize that some of the similarities I mentioned were somewhat loose, and I also mentioned that I'm sure that some of these are common themes within the genre, so they could be considered akin to the "public domain" of fantasy writing. But, they seemed similar enough that I could see the influence of one upon the other. I've only recently started reading again (since RL Stine and Goosebumps 20 years ago) thanks to my having a long commute... so I'm not brushed up on similar works, and the similarities they all share. I hope that I haven't come across as too much of a novice... and I hope that I haven't given the impression that I do not give both of these authors their due respect.



Thank you for the input. I'm glad to hear that the later books by Hobb diverge from similarities, as I am excited to continue reading from this talented author. I'll try to consider the similarities an homage, and try to remain surprised if I'm lead down a familiar path. It's just that... at the end of Assassin's Quest when...



Verity constructs his dragon, feeds it with his feelings/memories, and then gets sucked into it to be come a dragon incarnate and defeat the raiders




... I was just worried that if I read any further in Hobb's anthology, more of the similarities between her works and GRRM's would present themselves, and I wouldn't be as impressed as I proceed through ASOIAF. I guess that's a luxury that I have, being somewhat new to the fantasy genre. It's all new to me. On the other hand, no matter what series I finish first, I'll experience everything a first time.



Thanks again for your input. Please feel free to contact me any time to discuss theories, plotlines, etc. of these great novel series.


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I think if you look hard enough, you can probably see similarities between any series. Someone once said (I can't remember who), that everything has could be written about has already been written, but it is what you do to make it your own that makes it special.



I think this holds a lot of truth. Every day, Authors are inspired by other Authors works. I would venture to say inspiration from their peers is one of the main catalysts of an Authors imagination.


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Indeed, similarities are numerous in the trilogy (or rather a "sexology" - "The Tawny Man" / the fool's trilogy follows after the assassin's, with a dragon called Icefyre!). The Fool is actually more Mel than Varys. And the big outcome of the first trilogy is


the awakening of dragons out of stone


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Indeed, similarities are numerous in the trilogy (or rather a "sexology" - "The Tawny Man" / the fool's trilogy follows after the assassin's, with a dragon called Icefyre!). The Fool is actually more Mel than Varys. And the big outcome of the first trilogy is

the awakening of dragons out of stone

those aren't dragons

And to Hempflower Knight, I disagree. Maybe I'm judging more from the later books in the series, but I always found Hobb's prose to be utterly beautiful. Certainly, I find it superior to Martin's in a Game of Thrones. I feel his writing has improved in later volumes, but in a Game of Thrones is felt a bit rough/raw. I'd say they are both on par with each other, albeit they are different styles.

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^^Agree (don't spoil the spoiler ^_^), but I still prefer GRRM, probably because I am male. Robin Hobb's feminine approach is too blatant at times IMHO, especially through her male POV (Fitz) and his interacting with other characters, women of course, but also the Fool

or father-like figures like Burrich or his "son".


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Considering TFT and the first three ASOIAF books came out around the same time (mid to late 90s), it's hard to say whether either of them borrowed from the other. It's more likely that the similarities are simply a reflection of fantasy tropes popular at the time.

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^^Agree (don't spoil the spoiler ^_^), but I still prefer GRRM, probably because I am male. Robin Hobb's feminine approach is too blatant at times IMHO, especially through her a male POV (Fitz) and his interacting with other characters, women of course, but also the Fool

or father-like figures like Burrich or his "son".

Interesting that you think that actually. I was pretty much the opposite, at first. Didnt know that "Robin Hobb" was female until I looked her up online. I thought she was male. I only really found her approach blatantly feminine in Rain Wilds.

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Interesting that you think that actually. I was pretty much the opposite, at first. Didnt know that "Robin Hobb" was female until I looked her up online. I thought she was male. I only really found her approach blatantly feminine in Rain Wilds.

In a way you are making my point (if indeed you are a girl as Helena would suggest)! ;)

EDIT: I also initially thought "Robin" was a man, but I went on to check online after getting the (right) impression through my reading that the author was a woman.

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In a way you are making my point (if indeed you are a girl as Helena would suggest)! ;)

EDIT: I also initially thought "Robin" was a man, but I went on to check online after getting the (right) impression through my reading that the author was a woman.

Yeah, female.

I rarely notice much difference between men and women writing. I assumed Robin Hobb was a man because it was written from a male POV I guess. I'm just curious, what gave the feminine impression to you? In Rain Wilds i thought it was noticeable because:

there was an awful lot of relationship and romance, and it was written in a subtler way that I would generally associate with a female

but I cant think of what clued you in in Farseer. But like I said, I'm not very perceptive with these things.

I do like Hobb's writing a lot though. Also, 1-0 to Hobb when it comes to sex scenes ;)

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Well, you give one the answers: the sex scenes to start with, so differentiated between Fitz and Molly (real love) or Fitz and whatshername the minstrel (sex friend). Romance and relationships are also plenty and as you say described in a very subtle / suggestive way, even between men (the relationship with Nighteyes or the Fool for instance). And also a tendency to stress the weakness of male characters against the female strengths (Kettricken !). And female dragon, lengthy description of internal conflicts or physical pains (men do not expand on these usually...). But the real give-away for me was the Fool: only a woman or someone with a very feminine sensitivity could come up with this character. In a way the male (macho even...) version of the Fitz / Fool couple is GRRM's Stannis / Melissandre IMHO.


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Thanks for that, interesting. Hobb's real strength is definitely the emotional stuff so I see what you mean I guess.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the macho version of their relationship. Sort of like the bare bones, all romatic notions set aside? But damn its a complex relationship they have. My head hurts just thinking about it. Though, if anything I might suggest its closer to Arya/Gendry

A close relationship, which one of them (debateable, with Arya and Gendry) wishes was something more than friendship/familial. Bonds formed at a young age.

I sort of see what you mean about female characters too. Liveships is VERY noticeable for that. Ronica, Althea, Keffria, Serilla, Malta, Etta...all strong in different ways. Not to say she cant write great male characters though - Fitz is proof enough of that. I will say that she has a tendency to include the one extremely hateable villain, who is usually male - Regal, Kyle, The Piebald man. But she still has great characters like Verity, Burrich, Shrewd, Galen

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