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Random Thoughts About ASOIAF


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Random thought brought on by another thread dealing with somewhat sexual topics (transgender people). Had me thinking, you know what, id actually enjoy it if Martin stayed away from sex all together. Romance, love, and sex do not seem to be GRRM's strong suite in writing. The descriptions given during his sex scenes have me wondering where George's head is at when hes having sex. A penthouse story or Daniel Steele is more erotic that reading about Tyrions strangely bulbous member, or Roberts course hair in comparison to Jamies. More often or not, sex in Asoiaf just gives me the creeps.

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6 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

This is something ive noticed between GRRM and Tolkien. There is an interview with Tolkien in which he say's he made his maps first, stating that it would be a mess to write the book and create a map after. Something George did. I can see Tolkiens logic as with a map and language set first, writing mustve become much easier. 

For instance. Tolkien pulled from a lot of real world stuff with the Myrkwood being a real mythic place located near Ukraine. The Shire being in England and Mordor being where the Black Sea is and Gondor being roughly the Greeks .As the Gondorians are connected to the Atlantis myth/ Numenor. Numenor likely being pulled from Numitor, one of Romulus and Remus ancestors. With Rome having ties to the Greeks, but Italy and Spain being cut from Tolkiens map likely cause he hated the Latin influence that ruined Old English, which he loved. Plus it simplifies the story, especially not having the Mediterranean sea trade routes.

Now, that all being said. Frodo's journey to Mordor is roughly equivalent to a holy pilgrimage to Jerusalem or a crusade. So his journey is roughly 10-12 miles a day at a years travel. 

Another example is how the Rohirrim come from the North near Dale and is reflected in their linguistics. With people from Dale and The Lonely Mountain having Norse names, while the Rohirrim have names similar to Old English. Like Eowynn, Eomer, Theoden, Hama, and Halfdan. The Distance between these two lands is changed from history though, with the Rohirrim being roughly in the lands that the Goths would've been. Though you do have Theodoric among the Goths, and his name is similar to Theoden. 

 

Martin, working as a gardener, has gardened himself into a few rabbit holes. Though he some how manages to hold a large part of it together, likely through the aid of Elio and Linda. Or else we would have horses changing sex ocnstantly and peoples eye colors constantly changing. Something they pointed out to him before.

With all these other narratives (Yiti, Dunk and Egg, Fire and Blood 2, and i can't remember what all else), I worry about not just ASOIAF, but of those stories as well. I could see the Dunk and Egg show passing his books just like ASOIAF did. 

As an aspiring writer, its something I try to avoid by taking the time to build my world, maps, languages, and history before completing the main story. Or else id be in the same pickle as George or worse, as im no gardener and couldn't wing it like him.

Fortunately, you don’t need to invent new languages, and only Tolkien ever cared about linguistic consistency.  People write articles in Quenya and Sindarin, but it took a kind of mad genius to create these.

But logistics and distances matter to a tale.

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5 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Fortunately, you don’t need to invent new languages, and only Tolkien ever cared about linguistic consistency.  People write articles in Quenya and Sindarin, but it took a kind of mad genius to create these.

But logistics and distances matter to a tale.

Agreed. And yes, Tolkien is given over credit for his languages as many verbs are missing to actually have a functioning language. Though it can add something to have conlangs I think. It just depends on what you are going for and trying to say with them. Im not so into creating conlangs just for the sake of creating them. Klingon i can understand as its an alien race, but creating fake languages with different human groups just to have them isn't something I would go for. 

The map issue is definitely the more important of the world building, i would agree. 

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2 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Romance, love, and sex do not seem to be GRRM's strong suite in writing.

He said in an interview that he wants readers to feel horny when he describes a love scene just like they feel hungry when he describes a feast. I'm definitely not an expert when it comes to that stuff, but I don't think it has the effect he intended.

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26 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

He said in an interview that he wants readers to feel horny when he describes a love scene just like they feel hungry when he describes a feast. I'm definitely not an expert when it comes to that stuff, but I don't think it has the effect he intended.

I like the food porn.

But, I don’t get turned on by the fat pink mast or Myrish swamp.

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39 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

He said in an interview that he wants readers to feel horny when he describes a love scene just like they feel hungry when he describes a feast. I'm definitely not an expert when it comes to that stuff, but I don't think it has the effect he intended.

Yea i think in most other things, he's really good at placing you in the scene with his descriptions. Not so much on the sex stuff though haha

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Posted (edited)

I actually think George is very good at writing the emotional aspects of romance, just not the sexual ones. There’s a reason why non-sexual (so far) ships like Jaime/Brienne, Sansa/Sandor, and Arya/Gendry are more popular than the sexual ones. And the sexual ships that are popular are ones like Rhaegar/Lyanna and Loras/Renly, where we never saw any of their romantic scenes together.

Edited by The Bard of Banefort
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I think worldbuilding has always been regarded as a weak spot in the series.  Westeros is too damn big.  It's probably part of why he is so vague about distances and the passage of time.  He prefers to obfuscate instead of facing things head on.

18 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I actually think George is very good at writing the emotional aspects of romance, just not the sexual ones. There’s a reason why non-sexual (so far) ships like Jaime/Brienne, Sansa/Sandor, and Arya/Gendry are more popular than the sexual ones. And the sexual ships that are popular are ones like Rhaegar/Lyanna and Loras/Gendry, where we never saw any of their romantic scenes together.

I thought most ships were non-sexual.  That is kind of the point, imagining which pairings might get romantic or sexual.  By the way, I assume you meant to say Loras/Renly.  I doubt he knows Gendry even exists.  And Gendry isn't his type. 

Edited by Nevets
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10 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

but Italy and Spain being cut from Tolkiens map likely cause he hated the Latin influence that ruined Old English, which he loved.

This is interesting, I never knew this. So Tolkien disliked what the Middle English and modern English became. And would prefer that the Latin language wouldve never influenced Old English.

If Normans never invaded or influenced the language. It is likely that modern English would be more similar to Nordic or German. Because I remember reading that old Anglo Saxons could interact in a conversation with the danish. Supposedly the languages weren’t so different.

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1 hour ago, Nevets said:

I think worldbuilding has always been regarded as a weak spot in the series.  Westeros is too damn big.  It's probably part of why he is so vague about distances and the passage of time.  He prefers to obfuscate instead of facing things head on.

I thought most ships were non-sexual.  That is kind of the point, imagining which pairings might get romantic or sexual.  By the way, I assume you meant to say Loras/Renly.  I doubt he knows Gendry even exists.  And Gendry isn't his type. 

Yes, I meant Renly. Although seeing as Brienne describes Gendry as a mirror image of Renly, he probably is Loras’ type.

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English is a crazy mutt language:) It makes learning and speaking hard, but it grows and you can change a lot with your word choices…there are millions. We have consonant clusters for bite, short words for punch, Latin origin words for heft, Greek words for sophistication, all languages are fair game, and if it is a good word, it will be stolen, used and enjoyed!

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12 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

This is something ive noticed between GRRM and Tolkien. There is an interview with Tolkien in which he say's he made his maps first, stating that it would be a mess to write the book and create a map after. Something George did. I can see Tolkiens logic as with a map and language set first, writing mustve become much easier. 

For instance. Tolkien pulled from a lot of real world stuff with the Myrkwood being a real mythic place located near Ukraine. The Shire being in England and Mordor being where the Black Sea is and Gondor being roughly the Greeks .As the Gondorians are connected to the Atlantis myth/ Numenor. Numenor likely being pulled from Numitor, one of Romulus and Remus ancestors. With Rome having ties to the Greeks, but Italy and Spain being cut from Tolkiens map likely cause he hated the Latin influence that ruined Old English, which he loved. Plus it simplifies the story, especially not having the Mediterranean sea trade routes.

Now, that all being said. Frodo's journey to Mordor is roughly equivalent to a holy pilgrimage to Jerusalem or a crusade. So his journey is roughly 10-12 miles a day at a years travel. 

Another example is how the Rohirrim come from the North near Dale and is reflected in their linguistics. With people from Dale and The Lonely Mountain having Norse names, while the Rohirrim have names similar to Old English. Like Eowynn, Eomer, Theoden, Hama, and Halfdan. The Distance between these two lands is changed from history though, with the Rohirrim being roughly in the lands that the Goths would've been. Though you do have Theodoric among the Goths, and his name is similar to Theoden. 

 

Martin, working as a gardener, has gardened himself into a few rabbit holes. Though he some how manages to hold a large part of it together, likely through the aid of Elio and Linda. Or else we would have horses changing sex ocnstantly and peoples eye colors constantly changing. Something they pointed out to him before.

With all these other narratives (Yiti, Dunk and Egg, Fire and Blood 2, and i can't remember what all else), I worry about not just ASOIAF, but of those stories as well. I could see the Dunk and Egg show passing his books just like ASOIAF did. 

As an aspiring writer, its something I try to avoid by taking the time to build my world, maps, languages, and history before completing the main story. Or else id be in the same pickle as George or worse, as im no gardener and couldn't wing it like him.

Just a few thoughts from this - apologies for failing to format this properly, the software is not behaving itself today...

Mediterranean - whatever he felt about the language, the chapters set in Ithilien suggest he either loved the landscape there from personal experience or he had a good idea why it might appeal to an Englishman.  There's also a surprisingly good analogy for Cirith Ungol hidden away in the southern French Alps - I do wonder if he visited it, or more likely heard about it.

Eomer was the possibly mythical founder of the Angle royal house of Mercia.  The Visigothic king Theodoric met a very similar end to Theoden.  The Gothic language is not too far removed from Old English - I'm an English speaker with limited knowledge of German, and whilst I certainly could not translate a Gothic text, I do have a sense of what it is saying - far more so than Danish or Swedish, for example.

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3 hours ago, The Young Maester said:

This is interesting, I never knew this. So Tolkien disliked what the Middle English and modern English became. And would prefer that the Latin language wouldve never influenced Old English.

If Normans never invaded or influenced the language. It is likely that modern English would be more similar to Nordic or German. Because I remember reading that old Anglo Saxons could interact in a conversation with the danish. Supposedly the languages weren’t so different.

IMHO both French, as the language of literature, and Latin as the language of the Church, would have grown in prestige in England, even if Harold had won.  And sooner or later, an English king would have gained territory in France, through marriage or conquest.

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11 hours ago, The Young Maester said:

This is interesting, I never knew this. So Tolkien disliked what the Middle English and modern English became. And would prefer that the Latin language wouldve never influenced Old English.

If Normans never invaded or influenced the language. It is likely that modern English would be more similar to Nordic or German. Because I remember reading that old Anglo Saxons could interact in a conversation with the danish. Supposedly the languages weren’t so different.

Yea he talks about it in the appendixes or opening letter to his editor, i can't remember which. He used a little of Latin and Greek linguistic features to do with structure for his Quenya language, but mostly Quenya was inspired by Finnish, while Sindarin was inspired by Celtic. 

As for Old English, some examples of replaced words are Tungol, for Star. Became Steorra from Latin/French. Or Fell for Mountain which in Norse would be Fjall. The Norse and Old English definitely would have understood each other better than modern shows depict them, like Vikings. Germanic languages are pretty close with German being the most distinct due to the High German sounds shifts. So Day, would be Dagr in Norse, and Daeg in Old English, but Tag in German. Like in Guttentag, 

Though some Latin and French words are similar to Germanic ones as each came from Proto Indo European. Where as Hungarian and Finnish are language isolates that didn't come from Proto Indo European, but actually are Uralic. Possibly predating the Indo European spread, as Basque also predates P.i.e.  So Tolkien was essentially saying those older languages came from the Elves, but got muddied with time by Sindar Elves and men till they resembled Celtic and Germanic dialects.

Edited by AlaskanSandman
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8 hours ago, Lord Browndodd said:

Just a few thoughts from this - apologies for failing to format this properly, the software is not behaving itself today...

Mediterranean - whatever he felt about the language, the chapters set in Ithilien suggest he either loved the landscape there from personal experience or he had a good idea why it might appeal to an Englishman.  There's also a surprisingly good analogy for Cirith Ungol hidden away in the southern French Alps - I do wonder if he visited it, or more likely heard about it.

Eomer was the possibly mythical founder of the Angle royal house of Mercia.  The Visigothic king Theodoric met a very similar end to Theoden.  The Gothic language is not too far removed from Old English - I'm an English speaker with limited knowledge of German, and whilst I certainly could not translate a Gothic text, I do have a sense of what it is saying - far more so than Danish or Swedish, for example.

Well he was veryyy inspired by Greek. The Blessed Isle of Elysium matches that of Tir na nOg found in Celtic myth, that to the west lay undying lands of the gods. With Numenor matching Atlantis (Likely inspired by Numitor, ancestor to Romulus and Remus of Rome. All who come from Aeneas of the Trojan war. Rome likely being originally a Greek colony that broke away.) With a touch of Lyoness slipping under the ocean waves one night inspiration. 

And Gothic to my knowledge preserves the Germanic language before the shortening of many words. Like the dropping of z in Germanic languages. 

Compare Waranos from Proto Indo European (Reconstructed) to Ouranos from Ancient Greece (Uranus in Latin) to that of Wodanaz in Old German. Wodanaz becoming Woden in Old English, Wotan in German, and eventually worn down the smallest in Norse with Odin. Odin and Uranus are cognates. 

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2 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Well he was veryyy inspired by Greek. The Blessed Isle of Elysium matches that of Tir na nOg found in Celtic myth, that to the west lay undying lands of the gods. With Numenor matching Atlantis (Likely inspired by Numitor, ancestor to Romulus and Remus of Rome. All who come from Aeneas of the Trojan war. Rome likely being originally a Greek colony that broke away.) With a touch of Lyoness slipping under the ocean waves one night inspiration. 

And Gothic to my knowledge preserves the Germanic language before the shortening of many words. Like the dropping of z in Germanic languages. 

Compare Waranos from Proto Indo European (Reconstructed) to Ouranos from Ancient Greece (Uranus in Latin) to that of Wodanaz in Old German. Wodanaz becoming Woden in Old English, Wotan in German, and eventually worn down the smallest in Norse with Odin. Odin and Uranus are cognates. 

Interesting, thanks.

Tolkien generally disliked imperialism and was no great admirer of its Roman variant.  OTOH, he seems to have liked the Eastern Empire, and modelled Gondor off it, in some respects.  

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19 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Interesting, thanks.

Tolkien generally disliked imperialism and was no great admirer of its Roman variant.  OTOH, he seems to have liked the Eastern Empire, and modelled Gondor off it, in some respects.  

Well Gondor seems to be roughly located where Istanbul/Constantinople would be and was sacked and controlled by the Germans at one time when Germans controlled most of Europe following the Roman Collapse. The Haradrim seem modeled on the Middle East. With the Haradrim and Gondorians being descendants of Atlantis/Numenor. The United Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor having parallels in the Romans Churches East and West halves, or the Two Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. As most Europeans dynasties tried to link them selves to the ancient biblical tales such as British Israelism. Im not sure Tolkiens feelings on the real world idea, but seems to be going for a similar idea in his story telling though.

A missed Opportunity I find though is the location of Nain, Israel and the association that could've been made to the Norse dwarf Nainn from the Völuspá. Given that Durinn in myth was known for relocating the Dwarves. It would've fit to have a Dwarven kingdom in the south that Durinn led some of his people from to the Northern lands. Specially given the association of the word Elf to Alb, meaning white, found in words like the Alban kingdoms of Scottland and Italy. Alban with its root Alb meaning white, is similar to the Semitic/Phoenician word for white or milk, Laban. Also where the Lebanon mountains get their name, for the snow white peaks. Same reason the Alps got their name from the same root of Alb. Alb became Alv in German then becoming Alf in Norse and Aelf in Old English. Becoming Elf in modern English. The Dwarves are among the Alfar, as was Gandalf, so listed in the Völuspá.    

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14 hours ago, The Young Maester said:

This is interesting, I never knew this. So Tolkien disliked what the Middle English and modern English became. And would prefer that the Latin language wouldve never influenced Old English.

If Normans never invaded or influenced the language. It is likely that modern English would be more similar to Nordic or German. Because I remember reading that old Anglo Saxons could interact in a conversation with the danish. Supposedly the languages weren’t so different.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_constructed_by_J._R._R._Tolkien#Mannish_languages

  • Lô- / loh- corresponding to Anglo-Saxon éoh, "war-horse", and the derived names Lôgrad for "Horse-Mark", and Lohtûr for Éothéod, "horse-people". This word is an exact homonym of the Hungarian word for "horse", . The Rohirric word for "horse" has been identified as a cognate for Tolkien's Elvish words for "horse": rocco (Quenya) and roch (Sindarin). All names beginning with Éo- supposedly represent Rohirric names beginning with Lô- or Loh-, but the Rohirric forms of names such as Éomer and Éowyn are not given.[5]

 

 

An example of Tolkiens work process. So in Elvish, inspired by Finnish/Hungarian, horse is Loh/Lo. The People of Rohan speak a language inspired by the Elves, that Tolkien then translates into an English corresponding Name with the root Eo for Horse. Eo descending phonetically from Lo. Even though in the real world Eo descends from a different origin. This is one such process for his conlang creation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf:_The_Monsters_and_the_Critics

Tolkien wrote a book about Beowulf and did a translation of the Book. Pulling some names like Theoden, Hama, and Halfdan from Beowulf. He was a big lover of Old English.

Dainn, Durinn, Dwalin, Gandalf, Frodo and the like are all from the Norse sagas.

My favorite one though is Fearon from Norman French meaning a smith of Iron. Im assuming is what inspired my favorite Elf, Feanor, the "Spirit of Fire" who forged the Silmarils. 

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