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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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Knopfler or Clapton?

 

Gilmour.

 

 

I said this in the other thread, but I've only read A Game of Thrones and was bored to death so probably won't bother with the rest. The Wheel of Time had me gripped from the first page and I enjoyed it all, even the apparently bad later books. But one thing I hate about discussions like this is when in turns into a competition. It's fun to list your favourite books and series and those you dislike but when it turns into a 'my favourites are better than yours' contest then I lost all interest.

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ok, here's my list:

 

1. Dune series by Frank Herbert

2. WOT by Robert Jordan

3. Song of Fire & Ice by George R. R. Martin

4. Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

 

 

10. Dark Elf Stuff by R.A. Salvatore

 

50. WOT TOM by Sanderson

 

97. WOT TGS by Sanderson

98. Everthing Robert Heinlein wrote.

99. Adept crap by Piers Anthony

100. Mistborn junk by Sanderson

 

Sanderson is turning into a Piers Anthony. It seems with all he's working on its all about quantity. I think he did a "decent" job with TGS and TOM, much the same way Heinlein did a "decent" job with "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" or "Friday"

 

Bottom line is the epicness of the WOT should have required an author to focus and devote a over year plus to nothing but writing TGS and TOM. But Sanderson was able to churn out a couple of "pulp" fantasy fiction novels while doing TGS and TOM.

 

I know this is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way, but Sanderson being a professor at BYU while also churning out some junk way of the kings while also writing TGS, TOM, and now AMOL is just wrong. If you're hired to finish the WOT series, my opinion is you drop everything and spend a minimum of one year doing nothing but one book. My impression was he read the WOT as fast as he could, maybe even just the cliff notes before TGS, then had quite a bit of feedback from the WOT fandom after he had the rough draft of TOM before it hit the publishers, now he's finally decided to do a re-read of the series before completing AMOL. Sorry WOT fandom, but I feel if you're going to finish the WOT series there should be nothing else on your plate but that.

 

How many years ago did Tolkien write LOTR? Its still epic today.

How many years ago did Herbert write Dune? Its stil epic today.

How many years ago did GRRM write The Game of Thrones? Its still epic today.

How many years ago did Jordan write The Eye of the World? Its still epic today.

TGS and TOM are not even close to comparison as far as quality of writing goes to any of the books in the 4 series named above, with the possible exemption of Dune Messiah. Though Sanderson would have to improve his quality of writing to equal the 2nd book in the Dune Series.

 

50 years from now, LOTR, Dune, Game of Thrones, and Jordan's WOT will still be considered epic. Sanderson's claim to fame will be he was hired to finish an epic series and chose quantity over quality. 50 years from now it will be "Mistborn what?" oh, you mean that guy who mucked up the WOT.

 

Now don't get me wrong, RJ's were huge shoes to fill, I put part of the blame on Harriet. The contract she offered Sanderson should have had a clause that said he was not allowed by contract to work on any other books, due to the significance of the WOT, finishing that series is a full time job. GRRM will be remembered for writing some great books, then going off on his quanity over quality wild card junk and the HBO series. Who knows, maybe GRRM will die before he finishes the Song of Fire and Ice and Sanderson will finish the last book in a year while he's also writing three other books at the same time about metallurgy.

 

Yea, I'm sure this will tick off a lot of people, but its my opinions, my observations, and my feelings.

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Well put PiotreKS. I enjoy WoT, and ASOIF both. I also loved the Sword of Truth (despite so many people loving to bash it on this board). I love different things about all of them and they all have their strong points. When I'm reading Martin the characters seem more realistic, like people from our world transplanted into a fantasy setting, while Jordan's characters seem more larger then life, while still maintaining enough realism to be relatable. Wheel of Time is a fantasy story. ASOIF is more like a character drama set in a fantasy world. I'd say Martin is better at crafting characters (but not by much), while Jordan is better at describing scenes and showing you his world. In ASOIF you only really see the world through each POV characer's eyes and rarely hear about things happening elsewhere, while in WoT Jordan paints a much larger picture through rumors and his "wind" intros. WoT is on a much more epic scale as well.

 

If I absolutely had to choose one as my favorite (say, if I was going to be trapped on a desert isle with nothing else to read), I'd pick WoT, no question. I don't get the same enjoyment from re-reading ASOIF as I do from re-reading WoT. Some parts of ASOIF are just to dark and depressing for me. Luckily I don't have to make that choice so it tends to make this argument somewhat moot since I can read whichever one I feel like reading, whenever I want to.

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I'm looking back at Martin now in advance of Dance with Dragons (because I really can't remember the plot), and while I'm more impressed with it than the first time around, I really don't think there's any comparison with WOT. Martin probably has nicer prose, and the "crab boiling" introduction of magic is extremely effective, but it falls short on just about every other measure as far as I can see. The characters are less distinctive, the worldbuilding is less creative (I mean, the Others are scary and all, but they're terribly cliched), and at the end of the day, the story just doesn't have a lot to say. I'm hard pressed to think of any big picture themes in it. Jordan worked with so many intellectual themes--historicity, realpolitik, and yes, gender, to name some of the most obvious--and I don't see an equivalent in Martin. He's really just telling a story. Telling it very well, but without much to say beyond the narrative.

 

And I do think the "grittiness" is often gratuitous. It's not realistic. It's as though Martin has a list of atrocities in front of him and is trying to get them all in. Incest, check. Child murder, check. Brutal rape, check. Child marriage, check. Sick medical experimentation, check. And so on.

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And I do think the "grittiness" is often gratuitous. It's not realistic. It's as though Martin has a list of atrocities in front of him and is trying to get them all in. Incest, check. Child murder, check. Brutal rape, check. Child marriage, check. Sick medical experimentation, check. And so on.

 

Agreed. I also think I need a to clarify a bit. Martin's characters seem more like real people. Like, Tyrion Lannister or Jon Snow was just someone who could be some guy you know at work, but they happened to live in this fantasy world. With Jordan, it's easier to see his characters evolving over turnings of the wheel into legendary figures. I could easily imagine people in three thousand years telling stories about Perrin, Mat and Rand. I couldn't imagine the same regarding Tyrion, or Catelyn Stark, or Jaime- maybe Daenarys I suppose....

 

It really depends on what you like. If you prefer epic story telling, go with Jordan. If you prefer something darker and more small scale, go with Martin. For my money I'll stick with WoT if I have to pick one. If I'm reading fantasy I want it to be epic and earth shattering. ASOIF is NOT epic and earth shattering. It IS good storytelling and I do enjoy it, just nowhere near as much as WoT.

 

To use a tabletop RPG analogy, Martin is like a game of Vampire- the Masquerade, while Jordan is more like a game of Exalted (anyone who likes fantasy tabletop RPGs and hasn't played Exalted is SERIOUSLY missing out and if you have played Exalted you know precisely what I'm talking about).

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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?

 

Hmm let's analyze how these traits actually read in Lord of the Rings:

 

Immortality? Boring! Who gives a damn? That really made the story SO exciting!

Invisibility? Woohoo, that's GROUND BREAKING! Oh yes, Frodo going invisible really scared us all!

The ability to interact with spirit worlds? When the hell did that happen in Lotr? Even if it had, who cares, it's 'this' interesting.

 

Lord of the Rings should have been called Lord of the Bo-rings

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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.

 

 

Which plotlines did you mean? Like about the direwolves being 'important'?

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And its all personal opinion anyway.

+1

A kiss for you my Lord Dragon. =)

 

I'd like to start off and say... Right back at ya :happy:

 

Then I'd like to reiterate the futility of this thread.

 

While it does provide a place for people to argue over the merits of particular authors writings style, vision, scope and detail of their world and blah blah blah(<---Insert pompous literary analysis talk here) it lacks fact. Because the fact of the matter is... It comes down to the reader. What they want, and what they feel they get. Its all based on opinions which are based on feelings. While you can argue that oh... RJ has a better style talking about the bird in the distance crying out as Nynny talks to such and such about the change in weather vs Terry Brooks telling you what she said. It comes down to what the reader wants.

 

For all intents of purposes this thread is moot. I don't expect the arguments to end but at the end of the day, nobody is going "to win" You can back it up with claims of verb usage, adjective, blah blah blah and such but it doesnt matter.

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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

 

Agreed. ASoIaF all the way. Though I find it funny that someone would even have this poll on a biased forum :tongue:

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Guest PiotrekS

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?

 

Hmm let's analyze how these traits actually read in Lord of the Rings:

 

Immortality? Boring! Who gives a damn? That really made the story SO exciting!

Invisibility? Woohoo, that's GROUND BREAKING! Oh yes, Frodo going invisible really scared us all!

The ability to interact with spirit worlds? When the hell did that happen in Lotr? Even if it had, who cares, it's 'this' interesting.

 

Lord of the Rings should have been called Lord of the Bo-rings

 

I agree with Randsc on this one. You can't seriously treat the rings in LotR like some gadgets from RPG game, which should give you +10 to all stats and this powerful killing punch. It is much more metaphysical than, e.g., WOT.

 

And of course, LotR is great not because of the action - sorry for this really obvious point.

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If I was putting together a list of the all time greats of fantasy fiction, I have to say I would probably not include either RJ or GRRM. This is less due to perceived deficiencies in the writing, and more because I feel that one of the qualities that an "all time great" should possess is the ability to stand the test of time. Works such as Lord of the Rings, the Gormenghast trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia, Phantastes, possibly Book of the New Sun if that isn't counted as science fiction, authors like Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Robvert E. Howard, Lord Dunsany, these are all worthy of consideration. It could be that ten years from now, WoT will be far less known. Fifty years on, no-one reads it. Or maybe, fifty years from now it will be held up as a literary masterpiece, and Jordan is mentioned on the same pedestal as Dostoyevsky or Shakespeare. Probably not, of course, but I think it's a bit silly to proclaim a work in progress as an all time great when we don't know how it will be thought of once the dust has settled. Same with ASoIaF. As for greatest current fantasy series/writer, that's different matter. Of course, it largely seems to come down to a "who's your favourite author" contest. Not hugely interesting. As for particular works being "boring", this is a rather subjective measure. What one person finds boring, another will love.

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It really depends on what you like. If you prefer epic story telling, go with Jordan. If you prefer something darker and more small scale, go with Martin. For my money I'll stick with WoT if I have to pick one. If I'm reading fantasy I want it to be epic and earth shattering. ASOIF is NOT epic and earth shattering. It IS good storytelling and I do enjoy it, just nowhere near as much as WoT.

 

 

Very well said, I agree completely. Martin does develop his characters in more meaningful ways, they can be easier to relate to its true, but the overall story doesn't captivate me nearly the same way that the WOT did. Im dragging butt trying to get through Storm of Swords, whereas every time I got my hands on a new WOT book I couldn't put it down. Jordan is perhaps the best world-builder since Tolkien (LOTR WAS epic, although yes, it could be overly descriptive boring at times, but at least it was 100,000 times more readable than Samirillion [sp?]), and he crafted a great good vs. evil story that will stand the test of time. ASOIAF is more flavor of the month to me.

 

It is true that it wont be possible to find objective evidence of one being better than the other, and its also true that it depends what youre trying to get out of the story. Even though Sanderson didn't fully commit himself to finishing the WOT, I still feel he's doing a great job, and everyone will judge him so much more harshly right now, so soon after tGS and ToM, but in the end I think his work will stand up to the rest of the series.

 

I think too much is made of twists in stories nowadays. We've come to correlate a story having many twists and turns as being a good story, not just in books but in movies as well. Often whole movies or novels are essentially based on one big twist (the sixth sense, shutter island to name a couple of examples) and I suppose they can be great when you don't see them coming, but I just feel like it's become too predominant lately and is bordering on becoming a crutch of many newer authors. It's never good when everything is so predictable your eyelids hardly flutter when you read the bomb-drop WTF moment, but sudden unexpected turns shouldn't be the only source for true enjoyment in the novel. Many times the anticipation of receiving a gift for a birthday or christmas when you were younger was almost as good if not as good as the gift itself; likewise a good author should be able to heighten tension and suspense throughout whole chapters of the book, not just in meager doled out amounts.

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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.

 

 

Which plotlines did you mean? Like about the direwolves being 'important'?

 

 

Yeah, that's one example. Like I said, I haven't read AFFC yet so I may just not have the full story, but SPOILERS SPOILERS:

 

The plotline with the wildlings basically just ended with no real resolution or consequence as far as I can tell, Robb gets his head chopped off jarringly ending one of the main plot and character arcs of the past 3 books, etc. To me, the killing-off-main-characters thing worked really well in book one, partly because it was so different, but there's a reason most authors don't kill off protagonists (at least not until the end of the novel). Book's depend on the main characters to carry the plot forward and reader's depend on them to have someone to connect to in the story. That's my take anyway, and that's why I don't like it as well as WOT.

Edited by Waffleboy
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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.

 

Consider it argued :biggrin: I wanted to make sure my personal definition of a 3-d character was one at least partially shared by some people. After seeing many different interpretations, I found a table here that illustrates my thoughts as close as possible on a 3-d character.

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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.

 

Consider it argued :biggrin: I wanted to make sure my personal definition of a 3-d character was one at least partially shared by some people. After seeing many different interpretations, I found a table here that illustrates my thoughts as close as possible on a 3-d character.

 

Yeah, I'm not fully on-board with that table. It certainly isn't true, for example, that the reader doesn't really know two-dimensional characters. I think you would find that the description I gave was more widely accepted. A two-dimensional character is one who does not change or develop much through the course of the story.

 

Even using that article's definitions, you could argue Nynaeve is a two-dimensional character. Consider what we know of her history, for example. That didn't take long, did it? Consider all of the times when her actions or attitudes were unpredictable. That didn't take long either, did it?

Edited by randsc
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Consider all of the times when her actions or attitudes were unpredictable. That didn't take long either, did it?

 

Maybe I didn't "get" her character but I found many of her actions unpredictable. Of course, I am horrible at "reading" a person and understanding them so that probably comes into play.

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The way I see it, it's a little like comparing something like

to something like
. Yes, they're the same genre, yes, there are things that can be compared and contrasted between the two items. You can find things to complain about with both. But comparing the two is pretty much an exercise in stating your personal taste preference. It's like comparing Star Wars to RDM version of Battlestar Galactica. It's like comparing The Dark Knight and the Godfather. It's like comparing World of Warcraft and Mass Effect. It's Pepsi and Coke.

 

The Wheel of Time is like a big family picnic. You've got BBQ burgers and chicken, Caesar salad, corn on the cob, potato salad, cold cut sandwiches, garden salad, baked potatoes, ice cream and apple pie, and everyone is drinking cola or beer. A Song of Ice and Fire is a banquet. You've got roast boar, stew, haggis, duck, venison, swan, rabbit, plums in rose water, meat pies, sweet pastries, stewed apples and candied pears and grapes, and wine and water to drink (and beer and mead at the lower tables). I think that you could make a strong argument for A Song of Ice and Fire being constructed with more care in some ways, that it's more comfortable with deviating from the familiar. But there's also a good argument that the Wheel of Time makes much better comfort food, and that at the end of the day it just tastes damn good.

 

Last time I think of analogies while hungry. For a little while, at least.

 

Compare Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Hurt Locker. Both take place in desert-like places for the most part, feature male protagonists who don't quite fit in back in America, who take extreme risks and dodge death on a daily basis. The Hurt Locker has won an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director. But I think that you're going to have a hard time making the call that The Hurt Locker is a better film than Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark - and vice-versa.

 

The WOT and ASOIAF both make it into my canon of Fantasy genre novels that everyone with an interest in reading fantasy should read, and I'd consider them some of the better novels in that grouping.

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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.

 

I think both Jordan and Martin would disagree with your opinion of LotR. And I know that neither would be thrilled to be compared to Goodkind :rolleyes:

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Those that like the grittiness of I&F, I approve of telling of people being ripped apart or sex scenes but I don't find it necessary to describe where every little body part went etc. As I said in another thread Ned and Rob were too honorable to live. Rob's death was telegraphed by Ned's death. Gore for gore's sake is not appropiate. Dumais Wells made Perrin reluctant to use the Asha'Man.

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Compare Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Hurt Locker. Both take place in desert-like places for the most part, feature male protagonists who don't quite fit in back in America, who take extreme risks and dodge death on a daily basis. The Hurt Locker has won an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director. But I think that you're going to have a hard time making the call that The Hurt Locker is a better film than Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark - and vice-versa.

 

Ugh... not the Hurt Locker... I'm an Iraq vet and I made it through about the first twenty minutes of that crap before I had to turn it off. To me it looked like a movie made by a bunch of high school students who only know about the war from reading the newspaper and watching TV (yeah, I know the writer supposedly spent time embedded with EOD, if so they apparently never left the FOB and/or paid very little attention). Of the two Raiders of the Lost Ark is probably the more realistic.... but anyway, I digress.

 

Whoever said it was like comparing Star Wars to RDM Battlestar Galactica is spot on. I'm a huge lifelong Star Wars geek, but BSG was and is my favorite TV series of all time. You really can't compare the two despite them both being classic space opera.

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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.

 

I think both Jordan and Martin would disagree with your opinion of LotR. And I know that neither would be thrilled to be compared to Goodkind :rolleyes:

 

 

Lotr was boring, many people agree. If you remove Gandalf from the series no one would have even wanted to read it. The best scenes in the series

involved Gandalf fighting the Balrog, or Saruman. It had great potential, but it over used the Hobbits and severly underused the other ring bearers

and their abilities to fight back against Sauron. It was all on Frodo, well actually Sam was the real hero, Frodo already gave in at the end.

 

Anyhoo, Jordan and Martin wrote their books much better than Lotr. Maybe for it's time it was 'all that', but by the time I read it there was nothing

I hadn't seen before by Jordan, Martin (or Goodkind) that wasn't done much better.

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All these people calling LOTR boring makes me :ohmy:, :sad:, and :unsure:. ( :smile:). It's my favorite fantasy book of all time, and maybe my favorite book of all time.

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I think voting for a favorite author on a Wheel of Time Community Forum is pointless.

 

With that said, I'll say what I've said before about Martin and Jordan:

 

They're different.

Some people like the struggles of good vs evil, a clear cut right vs wrong - Jordan.

Some people like their world a little more gray, and political - Martin.

 

I think the backstory of Marin's world, and his inclusion of Religion, and foreign language makes his world much more believable, but this is fantasy we're talking about.

If you like prophecy, magic, and monsters, you'll prefer Jordan.

 

If you like Middle Earth - Jordan.

If you like Middle Earth mixed with the Sopranos - Martin.

 

They are just different. Get over it.

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