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Mwm

Can you recommend any book series where the characters are as amazing as ASOIAF?

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I’ve read somewhere along the lines of four hundred books and have yet to come across characters as interesting as ASOIAF...

Edited by Mwm

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Opinions vary.  I’d not rate ASOIAF’s characters quite as high.

Take a look around this board for some threads.  Every book I’ve read for the last decade has come from a recommendation I got here.  

Many of them I’d put on a par or better with Martin’s works.

(Particularly since most of them are or will one day be finished...) 

:leaving: 

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Luke Skywalker from Timothy Zahn’s novels from the 1990s (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, Specter of the Past, Vision of the Future).

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There are thousands of books and series with characters far more interesting. :read:

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It's not that the characters themselves are so amazing. It's more the POV narrative style that really sticks out for me in putting you inside that character's head and seeing only that character's point of view. 

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On 1/14/2019 at 7:53 PM, Pecan said:

It's not that the characters themselves are so amazing. It's more the POV narrative style that really sticks out for me in putting you inside that character's head and seeing only that character's point of view. 

Personally, I think what sets Martin's work apart from most other fantasy is not the characters, as lots of fantasy novels have as good or better characters.  It's the depth.  Martin describes his world ten times better than most other fantasy authors.  He just leaves them in the dust when it comes to detailing every little aspect of his world.  The world feels lived in and the history matters.  You can almost taste the food.  He's just excellent when it comes to describing what truly feels like a living, breathing world that doesn't feel like it exists solely as a vessel for the characters that inhabit it like many other fantasy worlds. 

And you can really see that with the two history books for his world that Martin has released thus far (and there's at least one more coming).  I can't imagine most other fantasy authors have anywhere close to that much history written down for their fantasy worlds, and when you read ASOIAF I think that stands out.  All these little grudges between families.  All the small details that end up mattering a great deal later.  The way history has a tendency to repeat itself, or how a character simply humming a song can have dark implications that readers actually pick up on.  

Because of the depth of his world, we have a site like this where people have spent countless hours discussing thousands of theories, something I haven't really seen for that many other works of fiction.  

Edited by briantw

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14 hours ago, briantw said:

Personally, I think what sets Martin's work apart from most other fantasy is not the characters, as lots of fantasy novels have as good or better characters.  It's the depth.  Martin describes his world ten times better than most other fantasy authors.  He just leaves them in the dust when it comes to detailing every little aspect of his world.  The world feels lived in and the history matters.  You can almost taste the food.  He's just excellent when it comes to describing what truly feels like a living, breathing world that doesn't feel like it exists solely as a vessel for the characters that inhabit it like many other fantasy worlds. 

I agree with the depth thing, but I apply it more to the characters than the world.  There are plenty of other fantasy books that have characters with as much depth as the characters in ASoIAF.  But it's usually just a few central characters.  ASoIaF has dozens of characters that feel like real people.  The worldbuilding is great too, but I'd but Tolkien and Bakker on the same level or higher.

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On 1/14/2019 at 5:47 PM, Darth Richard II said:

That’s...not a unique or new narrative style. At all.

If you're responding to me, I didn't claim it was unique. It's more the way he does it. He does something different. I'm not sure what it is exactly.

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Richard Nell's KINGS OF PARADISE is one of the few grimdark books I think which stands up with George R.R. Martin.

Joe Abercrombie's THE FIRST LAW is also up there.

And the Rob J. Hayes series BEST LAID PLANS duology.

Scott Lynch's GENTLEMAN BASTARDS is also really-really good.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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Actually, the world building is among the weakest aspects of SoIaF, I think. Clicheed late medieval Europe with a few other tropes thrown in, mostly well done, but not at all great, original or deep.

Edited by Jo498

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7 hours ago, Jo498 said:

Actually, the world building is among the weakest aspects of SoIaF, I think. Clicheed late medieval Europe with a few other tropes thrown in, mostly well done, but not at all great, original or deep.

:agree:

There is nothing wrong with the OP loving GRRM's books.  It's really nice to love things, particularly when we are very young, and haven't got the history of sf/f and fiction and literature and history etc. that those of us who have lived a lot longer possess.

However, it is important to understand too, that there is nothing original in GOT.  I was there when he was planning his GREAT BIG FAT BESTSELLING FANTASY TRILOGY.  Yes, that's what he said on the first sfwa / sf/f online community in the days of dial-up, before browsers and online websites.  He was researching what readers found most popular in the most popular and successful epic and quest fantasies published.  He didn't even pretend to conceal that he was looking in order to extract those elements that other authors had success with and put them ALL in his. He was quite happy talking about it.

His history research negligible, particularly to those of us know the stuff.  His world-building is awful.  There is no point to much of what he included other than that some other fantasy author had done it, including, for just one instance, "Castle Black" from Steven Brust's Taltos cycles, which Steve had been publishing for years already, starting in the early 1980's.  Why are there dragons?  Because Pern and every other woman at sf/f cons is carrying a stuffed dragon on her head.  Because Robin Hobb does dragons and is in her own way as popular as Anne McCaffrey -- and Hobb had the first dwarf character, the Fool whom readers loved, whose first appearance in a 1990's series long before publishing a series that centered him -- and human - animal shifting too -- as have many other fantasy writers long before -- even T.H. White does it in first book of The Once and Future King.  A fool is also centered in Guy Gavriel Kaye's  immensely popular Tigana (1990).  The grimness that is a feature, not a bug, in C.J. Cherryh's and Glenn Cook's novels -- one can go on and on.  All these were popular and publishing long before GOT was a glimmer in this sf-horror short fiction writer's eye. He carefully included all the tropes out of LOTR.

However, not knowing what to do with all of it when he threw it in, he just kept going and going and getting further and further away from any resolution.  Just for starters: What is the point of Winter and the zombies? 

My own favorite impatient question about the series is: Why doesn't  Sam lose weight during his prolonged deprivations and exertions?

World building? Characterization?  Not much and quite incoherent as well. 

 

Edited by Zorral

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1 hour ago, Darth Richard II said:

I dunno about the Hobb thing, if I recall correctly both GoT and Assassins Apprentice were published around the same time.

Actually I think Hobb either read an ARC or just read GoT while her mother was dying in hospital or something like that. Sure there i read .org heard about that...likely when they did 5e WOAIF/Fool’s Assassin promotional stuff.

also, since when was the Fool a dwarf?

And GRRM would have been working on ASOIAF at the same time Hobb was writing assassin’s apprentice given their publication dates. Iirc George began work in ‘92/93?

I actually agree his worldbuilding is the weaker parts of the series. But don’t think I can agree with Zorral’s implication of plagiarism/stealing ideas, or at least no more so than any fantasy author does

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1 hour ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Actually I think Hobb either read an ARC or just read GoT while her mother was dying in hospital or something like that. Sure there i read .org heard about that...likely when they did 5e WOAIF/Fool’s Assassin promotional stuff.

also, since when was the Fool a dwarf?

And GRRM would have been working on ASOIAF at the same time Hobb was writing assassin’s apprentice given their publication dates. Iirc George began work in ‘92/93?

I actually agree his worldbuilding is the weaker parts of the series. But don’t think I can agree with Zorral’s implication of plagiarism/stealing ideas, or at least no more so than any fantasy author does

Yeah, I feel that if someone is going to be as condescending as I found Zorral's post (even at my advanced age), it might pay to get facts right. It's ok to love ASOIAF when you're young and ignorant. Really could have phrased that better.

 

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12 minutes ago, Wall Flower said:

Yeah, I feel that if someone is going to be as condescending as I found Zorral's post (even at my advanced age), it might pay to get facts right. It's ok to love ASOIAF when you're young and ignorant. Really could have phrased that better.

 

Yeah that’s a.     Nicer way to say what’s I was thinking. Still a bit stuck on the whole fool as dwarf thing,

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2 hours ago, Wall Flower said:

Yeah, I feel that if someone is going to be as condescending as I found Zorral's post (even at my advanced age), it might pay to get facts right. It's ok to love ASOIAF when you're young and ignorant. Really could have phrased that better.

 

I agree. I don't post on this forum all that much, but I have been here a while now and it's just kind of funny to me how consistently fashionable it is among certain veteran posters to explain to the rest of us how mediocre George's work is. I've been reading those kinds of comments around here for years.  I guess it never gets old explaining to the rest of us how stupid we are and how smart you are. 

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