Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is George R. R. Martin the New Tolkien?

Every once in awhile you hear about a fantasy author being the next Tolkien.  I have seen this a few times in reviews of George R. R. Martin's book A Game of Thrones and his other books in the Song of Ice and Fire series.  I started reading it to find out.  My opinion is that he is not at all like Tolkien in his writing.  People may be comparing him to J.R.R Tolkien because they both wrote long epic tales that span many books.  They are both writers of the same genre.  Here is really where the comparisons stop,  unless you count their names being similar; J.R.R Tolkien, George R. R. Martin.  That is kind of weird.

Tolkien wrote of elves and dwarves and magical things.  Lord of the Rings was linguistic in nature as well.  There were hardly any women in Tolkien's stories.  This was remedied in the Lord of the Rings movies by creating larger roles for Arwen and Eowyn.  Also, in The Lord of the Rings the big bad guy marched a few thousand orcs at you when he felt like being a jerk.

George R. R. Martin's work is very different.  There is some magic or supernatural things that go on but it isn't the same style as Tolkien. It is almost written as a medieval history. There are many women and a whole lot of wenching that goes on.  Lots of smut and violence.  The people in his stories are about as awful as orcs, maybe worse.  Many of the characters you like end up dead or maimed or wronged in some way.

Don't get me wrong.  I did love A Game of Thrones.  It is a very different read than most fantasies.  I have to say I still love my Tolkien with his underlying message of "don't count the little guys out!"  I will have to see where Martin takes me in the rest of the series.  A good thing about his books is that they are very long, as I am a very fast reader.