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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

How WoT and RJ stacks up against the competition


Wheel of Time vs Song of Ice and Fire  

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  1. 1. If you were creating an all-time top fantasy series list, which would you rank higher?

    • Wheel of Time
    • Song of Ice and Fire


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Since I'm at work still, I will be brief in this opening post. I'll go into some of the details behind my reasoning later on when I get some free time.

 

The question is simple: In your opinion, where does WoT fall on the "All Time" list for this genre? And where does RJ fall as an author on this list?

 

It is my opinion that the WoT belongs at the top of the list, and RJ likewise belongs at the top of the list of authors. My reasoning is simple: the quality of the story and of the writing seem vastly superior to me. Look at the use of foreshadowing through the series, look at the use of small subplots and small characters. The world is well developed, the characters near jump off the pages they come to life and are so well developed. The world building done in WoT vastly exceeds anything else I've even heard of, and I think almost everyone can agree. Look at the website and many other WoT websites that we post on as evidence. How many theories are there discussing what will happen next? Not just any simple theories, but extremely complex theories that analyze thousands of pages of text to find single sentences to support their hypothesis. And what happens when the truth about these theories are revealed? It turns out that half the time, those single sentences in the past were put there for a reason - as a clue. In my mind, that is the eipotomy of quality in writing. RJ scatters bread crumbs throughout his entire story leading us towards the final conclusion and the conclusion of various subplots, and the result is a master work. There has never been a more complete story told than Wheel of Time IMO.

 

For comparison, when I read through A Song of Ice and Fire I see shallow characters that don't appear to come to life. I see a story that strikes home with its realism much harder than WoT does, but I also see something that doesn't exactly itch for me to turn the pages. The story seems to be more event driven, with character details and depth only appearing as necessary to make sense of the current event that is taking place. The characters never really jump off the page to me and come to life, but the sense of gritty realism that is in the story breathes a life of its own into the characters and story. I argue that the dark "realism" that is apparent in a A Song of Ice and Fire merely brings the illusion of "life" to many of the characters. Their story, details, and depth is still seemingly shallow. However, they behave in a more realistic manner in a more realistic story so they likewise feel very alive.

 

I am not trying to make this thread entirely about Martin vs Jordan so please feel free to throw down any other series that you feel are comparable. It does seem that these are the two authors and series that are compared most though on this forum - hence the poll above.

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Still not seeing "facts" or "objective measures" there, Sparky.

 

"Since I'm at work still, I will be brief in this opening post. I'll go into some of the details behind my reasoning later on when I get some free time."

 

Reading comprehension. It's important. Meanwhile, list some facts and objective measures you'd like to see. I'm interested in seeing your own.

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Now... Correct me if I'm wrong here but I was led to believe there were several more fantasy series out there. Now I have been in my shell for a while but I think theres this guy name Tol.. Tolkeyn? Oh yea Tolkien that wrote a series a while back. And Idk some hundred other series out there. But again I've been a hermit for a while. (<---- Previous post riddled with rampant sarcasm)

 

And its all personal opinion anyway. I could say the guy who dreamed up a purple talking 10ft dinosaur had a really good fantasy series. Anyway, there might be general consensus but it won't prove anything.

 

But on that note I'd say WoT, and I love the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. Gotta say kept me in the fantasy realm for a long long time. But

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There are no objetive facts Mark D. That goes to you to Randsc! =P

 

Forshadowing can be seen as an objective measure I guess... as in how well does he execute the foreshadowing, but that also comes down to what someone sees as executing the foreshadowing and yet again we come down to thoughts, feelings and opinions.

One could look at say the descriptive words and do a word count and say that Jordan has more descriptive words (which im sure he does), thus his worldbuilding is better. But that means you are saying that more description and more world building makes for a better story, and that is not always the case.

 

Just because a theory is complex and we are discussing it doesn´t mean the worldbuilding is complex. It just means the fans are obsessed. We discussed Asmodeans murderer for years (well some of you, I didn´t care) and in that discussion people reread the books looking for clues, when RJ said it was obvious who the killer was. Foreshadowing alone doesn´t mean a write is a quality writer. And what is quality in writing anyway?

 

aSoIaF is indeed charachter driven. Cersei and Jaime and their dealings makes them push that Brannon out of the window(cant remember his name was couple of years since I read the books) that was a result of characters actions, not only something that had to happen.

 

And your argument that they behave realistic in a more realistic story and that´s why they inspite of their shallowness seem more real..I dk. Just because a story contains rape, incest, violence and lots of medieval food doesn´t mean that the characters need to behave more realistic. And besides what is more realistic. Would it be more realistic for Dany to kick Viserys royal a** and run away, or endure until she met Drogo. It all depends on your viewpoint and what kind of person you are.

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And its all personal opinion anyway.

+1

A kiss for you my Lord Dragon. =)

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I'd like to first state that I haven't read many novels, and the few series I have read have all been Fantasy. I also read ASOIAF 1-4 before I read all the 13 WoT books, but after I read the first four.

For me there's really no comparison. The ASOIAF characters just seem more real to me, and that's already a big plus, but when you add in the twists, character deaths, humor, pacing, and foodtongue.gif, it just blows WoT out of the water. Martin's habit of killing off characters also makes some scenes more tense, because you never know who's next, y'know?

 

Robert Jordan's descriptions are the best I've ever read, and his foreshadowing is unparalleled, but that's just not enough to make up for the unbelievable characters, pathetic villains, slow plot progression, and lack of notable twists, it just comes up short. I know a series doesn't need twists to be good, but it does help. Don't get me wrong, I like the Wheel of time, but I like A Song Of Ice and Fire a whole lot more.

This is just my opinion, of course, and I'm sure, with this being a WoT forum, most of you will disagree. I'm not trying to offend, or anything. rolleyes.gif

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Exactly, Logain's Pet. There are very few objective measures with which to evaluate these series. Those that do exist (measures of sentence complexity, vocabulary, etc) would tend to indicate that Martin's series is the more complex, but even that is difficult to judge since they were aimed at different audiences.

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Still not seeing "facts" or "objective measures" there, Sparky.

 

"Since I'm at work still, I will be brief in this opening post. I'll go into some of the details behind my reasoning later on when I get some free time."

 

Reading comprehension. It's important. Meanwhile, list some facts and objective measures you'd like to see. I'm interested in seeing your own.

 

You're missing the point. Badly.

 

Since you're the one who claimed that if we would discard out biases and examine "objective" measures, we would see the Wheel of Time as the manifestly superior work, I'd say the burden is on you to produce those objective measures.

 

Good luck.

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Still not seeing "facts" or "objective measures" there, Sparky.

 

"Since I'm at work still, I will be brief in this opening post. I'll go into some of the details behind my reasoning later on when I get some free time."

 

Reading comprehension. It's important. Meanwhile, list some facts and objective measures you'd like to see. I'm interested in seeing your own.

 

You're missing the point. Badly.

 

Since you're the one who claimed that if we would discard out biases and examine "objective" measures, we would see the Wheel of Time as the manifestly superior work, I'd say the burden is on you to produce those objective measures.

 

Good luck.

 

Actually, it started with me making a statement that WoT is the better series. You responded to each phrase and statement I made saying "Wrong" in essence. You never backed up or explained your thoughts. You just made statements as if they were fact and then challenged me to back up mine first. I have said that I will when I get off work and have some free time. Your response seems to be a definitive "No" when I ask you to do the same. I will happily indulge in comparing the series, but I'm not going to waste time trying to discuss with someone who responds with one word responses as if they are fact and has no interest in participating in the discussion other than to demand things from me and pick apart what I provide without providing anything of their own.

 

Good luck indeed.

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There are no objetive facts Mark D. That goes to you to Randsc! =P

 

Forshadowing can be seen as an objective measure I guess... as in how well does he execute the foreshadowing, but that also comes down to what someone sees as executing the foreshadowing and yet again we come down to thoughts, feelings and opinions.

One could look at say the descriptive words and do a word count and say that Jordan has more descriptive words (which im sure he does), thus his worldbuilding is better. But that means you are saying that more description and more world building makes for a better story, and that is not always the case.

 

Just because a theory is complex and we are discussing it doesn´t mean the worldbuilding is complex. It just means the fans are obsessed. We discussed Asmodeans murderer for years (well some of you, I didn´t care) and in that discussion people reread the books looking for clues, when RJ said it was obvious who the killer was. Foreshadowing alone doesn´t mean a write is a quality writer. And what is quality in writing anyway?

 

aSoIaF is indeed charachter driven. Cersei and Jaime and their dealings makes them push that Brannon out of the window(cant remember his name was couple of years since I read the books) that was a result of characters actions, not only something that had to happen.

 

And your argument that they behave realistic in a more realistic story and that´s why they inspite of their shallowness seem more real..I dk. Just because a story contains rape, incest, violence and lots of medieval food doesn´t mean that the characters need to behave more realistic. And besides what is more realistic. Would it be more realistic for Dany to kick Viserys royal a** and run away, or endure until she met Drogo. It all depends on your viewpoint and what kind of person you are.

 

Then let's use subjective thoughts and slowly narrow it down to objective criteria?

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Still not seeing "facts" or "objective measures" there, Sparky.

 

"Since I'm at work still, I will be brief in this opening post. I'll go into some of the details behind my reasoning later on when I get some free time."

 

Reading comprehension. It's important. Meanwhile, list some facts and objective measures you'd like to see. I'm interested in seeing your own.

 

You're missing the point. Badly.

 

Since you're the one who claimed that if we would discard out biases and examine "objective" measures, we would see the Wheel of Time as the manifestly superior work, I'd say the burden is on you to produce those objective measures.

 

Good luck.

 

Actually, it started with me making a statement that WoT is the better series. You responded to each phrase and statement I made saying "Wrong" in essence. You never backed up or explained your thoughts. You just made statements as if they were fact and then challenged me to back up mine first. I have said that I will when I get off work and have some free time. Your response seems to be a definitive "No" when I ask you to do the same. I will happily indulge in comparing the series, but I'm not going to waste time trying to discuss with someone who responds with one word responses as if they are fact and has no interest in participating in the discussion other than to demand things from me and pick apart what I provide without providing anything of their own.

 

Good luck indeed.

 

Actually, this started with your quite silly statement that anyone "objective" and not "biased" MUST find tWoT to be a superior series.

 

Respond to my contention, now being made for the third time, that the character of Tyrion Lannister is more richly realized than any of Jordan's characters. Don't hold your breath waiting for "objective." As Logain's Pet has kindly pointed out to you, there is no such thing. But just tell us this: which of Jordan's characters is more completely developed than Tyrion Lannister? Or Jaime Lannister? Or Stannis Baraetheon?

Edited by randsc
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I think Lord of the Rings is one of the most boring reads I've ever read in my life. So I really have little esteem for that series.

 

Even the movies became quite boring.

 

They throw around a lot of possible exciting characters like Gandalf, Sauron and Saruman, but they are all so briefly used

in the actual books as compared to the boring snoring Hobbits. Plus all the hype about the "rings", well we only really see one

ring being used and it doesn't do anything very exciting except make the wearer 'invisible' (but visible to Sauron). What about

the power of the other rings? I don't recall them doing anything.

 

The only other series that sort of compares with WoT and ASoIaF is Sword of Truth, but even though it can be quite intriguing it just gives such an overall

negative vibe when you read the series that it actually can put you in a bad mood from reading it too much. Everyone's being raped and

gutted and beaten and disemboweled so often that it is just too much.

 

If you want a perfect fantasy series what you'd need is WoT minus about 3 books worth of dress, tea and Bowl of the Winds details, then

you'd need to interject some of the grittiness of ASoIaF where 'villains' have plans that actually kill 'heroes' (a la the Red Wedding at

least one hero does die forever).

 

So if Egwene, Elayne, Aviendha or Nynaeve PLUS Lan, Mat or Perrin were killed forever and the Forsaken were actually frightening like they

were supposedly in the AoL then you have a perfect series. Lots of details and in depth richness combined with 'Stark' reality.

Edited by alykyn
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Yeah, the rings don't do anything. Except give their bearers what amounts to immortality. And invisibility. And the ability to interect with spirit worlds. Other than that, not so much.

 

But apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

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Randsc: I think Jaime is awesome. I hated him in the beginning but his arc with Breanne I think her name was is really <3 But I do think there are chars that are as completely developed as Jaime. Rand is one, Nynaeve, Mat, Min... I can understand their choices even if I don´t always agree with them.

 

I remember thinking the Shannara series was great when I was 11... I don´t know what I would think about it now. I guess my preferences have changed. You could compare how many copies of each book have been sold but I dk how you would do that since WoT is 13 books and the IceFire is 4. But then I guess Harry Potter would be the best.

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These are matters of opinion, of course (not "objective" measures) but I obviously don't agree. Especially with Nynaeve. I like the chracter, but she's pretty two-dimensional.

Edited by randsc
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These are matters of opinion, of course (not "objective" measures) but I obviously don't agree. Especially with Nynaeve. I like the chracter, but she's pretty two-dimensional.

 

How is she 2-dimensional?

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Ofc they are opinions only. I like old Nynny.. she has a temper but she really cares for people, for Rand. She likes her Healing, sure she doesn´t have the best of manners but she is kind in her own way lol. In what ways do you think she is two-dimensional?

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Oh, I like Nynaeve. "Two-dimensional" isn't an insult, merely a description. It refers to a character who undergoes relatively little change or growth in the course of the book(s).

 

Now, that can be argued, of course. But one of the things that most appeals to me about Nynaeve is how little she changes. Her devotion to her people, to the Two Rivers, her suspicion of Aes Sedai, her fire, even her (now somewhat, but not much, tempered) misandry have stayed consistent throughout.

Edited by randsc
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no contest. i got more shocks and suprises in ASOIAF. and more importantly a sense of dread that has been lacking in WOT for a long long time

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Oh, I like Nynaeve. "Two-dimensional" isn't an insult, merely a description. It refers to a character who undergoes relatively little change or growth in the course of the book(s).

 

Now, that can be argued, of course. But one of the things that most appeals to me about Nynaeve is how little she changes. Her devotion to her people, to the Two Rivers, her suspicion of Aes Sedai, her fire, even her (now somewhat, but not much, tempered) misandry have stayed consistent throughout.

 

That´s true. She has changed but not so much. Come to think of it, maybe one of the reasons I like Nyn now is because she is who she is despite everything. Irl most people hardly change, and if they do it´s minor changes. One of the reasons I guess I didn´t like Nyn in the beginning was that she reminded me of myself, lol.

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But just tell us this: which of Jordan's characters is more completely developed than Tyrion Lannister? Or Jaime Lannister?

 

None...

Edited by Suttree
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no contest. i got more shocks and suprises in ASOIAF. and more importantly a sense of dread that has been lacking in WOT for a long long time

 

Wow, I actually agree with you, for the first time. Ever.

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Wheel of Time for me. I like ASOIAF too, but I don't care about the characters as much. Sure, they are really well developed, but in general we get practically no time with them before they are killed off. This was a really cool thing in the first book or two, but it honestly got old for me and prevents me from getting seriously invested in the characters. I also don't really like how major plotlines, which have been foreshadowed to have a huge impact, just fizzle out and die. There's lots of great things about the books too of course, and I do really like the series, but WOT is better in my opinion.

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Guest PiotrekS

Knopfler or Clapton? Star Wars or Star Trek? Einstein or Planck? Michelangelo or da Vinci? Jordan or Martin?

 

C'mon people, obviously nobody can "win" such an argument! It makes sense of course to discuss your personal preferences and explain why you think what you think, but treating it like a battle and even argue on who the burden of proof falls... We're all in exactly the same position.

 

When two artists reach a certain threshold of excellence, it is no longer possible to say who is "better". Both are great and only subjective preferences matter.

 

The "objective" criteria proposed here are IMHO useless - e.g. sentence complexity doesn't have to mean that a writer is a better sculptor in language. Sometimes you may argue the opposite - that the simple, laconic and elegant prose is more likely to come from a master.

 

I'm not going into comparisons, because I'm only a beginner in Martin's world. But I have to say that we shouldn't be too quick to criticize Jordan's style. Although it is unfortunately repetitive - that I concede - Jordan managed to reach a very difficult equilibrium with simple, natural and easily understandable language that somehow doesn't sound modern. I've noticed this when comparing the original with the Polish translation, which is a disaster - the translator totally failed to convey that feeling, so the language is either excessively archaic or ridiculously modern and simplistic. It wasn't easy to get right, which is also a testament to Jordan's craft (and the sad lack of it on part of the translator).

 

As to other series, I'm pretty convinced that neither Jordan nor Martin can rival Ursula Le Guin's maestry in poetic language. The Polish author - Andrzej Sapkowski, he's slowly translated into English - is probably able to depict warfare with better realism and stronger emotional impact certainly than Jordan - and he has some pretty complicated characters too! There is one huge battle scene of his I find particularly impressive - when the battle is shown from a plethora of different POVs, including the schoolchildren in the future school, the writer who is finishing his chronicle, people from both armies...It is great, because everyone is saying something different about it, and you also have lots of different styles used. But he's unable to keep this high quality the whole length of his Witcher series, which starts fantastically - like a masterpiece - and ends very weekly.

 

And I think nobody I know can rival Tolkien in terms of worldbuilding, although Jordan is also great.

 

I'm glad for every new book that is still written, and for the people who are passionate enough to discuss books today :smile:

Edited by PiotrekS
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