Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

How WoT and RJ stacks up against the competition


Wheel of Time vs Song of Ice and Fire  

116 members have voted

  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


Recommended Posts

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.

 

The thing about older books, movies, games, songs, etc, is that it becomes very difficult to judge their relative quality, for a few reasons.

 

A) As later pieces of work are created that use the same concepts, themes, ideas, etc, some of those later pieces may in fact put those concepts, themes and ideas to better use.

 

B) While the original piece may have been original at the time of creation, later pieces of work using the same concepts, even if not done so well, may reduce the entertainment value of the originality of the work.

 

C) Later pieces of work will naturally have a wider body of influence upon them, and that wider body of influence potentially allows for greater richness in later work.

 

D) Later pieces of work may be more accessible, due to cultural shifts causing large stylistic trends.

 

E) Newer pieces of work may benefit from further technical options; this applies most strongly to games, followed by movies, music and then books.

 

F) Older pieces of work might benefit from an enshrinement factor. Because the piece of work is a classic, it's put on a pedestal by older fans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 174
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

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.

 

bahahahahaha - bought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes, that did!! Nice!!

 

Oh yeah - I haven't read George Martin, so can't vote... Yet... :-)

Edited by francy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it laughable that those are the only two series' listed. While I don't object to the question, I think the scope needs to be a bit broader.

 

1) LoTR (and Hobbit + others) have to be there. People, Tolkien created entire languages to write his books. You may or may not be a fan (I am). But it's hard to compare any creation of a fantasy world to Tolkein's, as they are almost all going to be found wanting as an act of sheer creation.

 

2) Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula LeGuin). Old school as well. Worth a mention.

 

3) Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin. Not finished either, and pretty incredible, I think.

 

4) Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Stephen Donaldson. A fantastic anti-hero.

 

Lots of others deserve mention as well. Terry Brooks. Piers Anthony. Roger Zelazny.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it laughable that those are the only two series' listed. While I don't object to the question, I think the scope needs to be a bit broader.

 

 

3) Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin. Not finished either, and pretty incredible, I think.

 

Did you not see this choice on the poll? You do know only the TV show and first book are called Game of Thrones right?

 

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.

 

How comedy is this considering Martin is one of the few fantasy authors, who even comes close to portraying a historically accurate representation of medieval society.

Edited by Suttree
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

 

bahahahahaha - bought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes, that did!! Nice!!

 

Oh yeah - I haven't read George Martin, so can't vote... Yet... :-)

 

 

Apparently, Mark is working a 72 hour shift, because he has not returned with his "objective" measures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest PiotrekS

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.

 

bahahahahaha - bought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes, that did!! Nice!!

 

Oh yeah - I haven't read George Martin, so can't vote... Yet... :-)

 

 

Apparently, Mark is working a 72 hour shift, because he has not returned with his "objective" measures.

 

:smile: It seems working on objective measures of literary value can be quite time-consuming.

 

I remember this scene from "Dead Poets' Society" when a teacher draws a literary value graph on the board, where one axis is something like linguistic excellence, the other is social importance of the subject, you join the dots, measure the area and voila! You have the literary value of any work of literature. :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

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.

 

I think your metaphor is exactly the right thing - there certainly is not something like a better or worse book between the two series. The only thing there is that both are very important series for the genre. You may like or dislike one or the other - but in the end it all comes down to your personal opinion.

 

When I tried the first book of A Story of Fire & Ice I just hated it. It just looked like the only thing happening is brothers fucking their sisters - which is not what I want to read about.

 

 

Aside from the discussion over WoT or ASoFaI:

 

I have to admit that I am missing Tad Williams with his "Memory, Sorrow & Grain" trilogy in the discussion.

 

Another important thing would be "His Dark Materials" by Philipp Pullman.

 

In think we do have to add Harry Potter to the discussion - because it already had much influence on the genre and will have more in the future. That it totally sucks is something different.

 

 

In the end - there are many many things to consider - and every list would be just your own personal list, there is no objective best.

 

To quote "Dead Poet Society":

Excrement. That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. We're not laying pipe.

We're talking about poetry. How can you describe poetry like American Bandstand?

"Oh, I like Byron. I give him a 42, but I can't dance to it."

Now, I want you to rip out that page.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it laughable that those are the only two series' listed. While I don't object to the question, I think the scope needs to be a bit broader.

 

 

3) Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin. Not finished either, and pretty incredible, I think.

 

Did you not see this choice on the poll? You do know only the TV show and first book are called Game of Thrones right?

 

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.

 

How comedy is this considering Martin is one of the few fantasy authors, who even comes close to portraying a historically accurate representation of medieval society.

 

It's not meant to be comedy. Martin isn't portraying a "historically accurate representation of medieval society". He's trying really, really hard to be shocking. Bashing in a baby's head and then raping the mother with its brains on your hands? Having sex with your brother in a church next to your father's dead body? That's not history. Acts like that weren't common around the time of the Wars of the Roses. That's pushing the envelope for the sake of pushing the envelope.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it laughable that those are the only two series' listed. While I don't object to the question, I think the scope needs to be a bit broader.

 

 

3) Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin. Not finished either, and pretty incredible, I think.

 

Did you not see this choice on the poll? You do know only the TV show and first book are called Game of Thrones right?

 

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.

 

How comedy is this considering Martin is one of the few fantasy authors, who even comes close to portraying a historically accurate representation of medieval society.

 

It's not meant to be comedy. Martin isn't portraying a "historically accurate representation of medieval society". He's trying really, really hard to be shocking. Bashing in a baby's head and then raping the mother with its brains on your hands? Having sex with your brother in a church next to your father's dead body? That's not history. Acts like that weren't common around the time of the Wars of the Roses. That's pushing the envelope for the sake of pushing the envelope.

 

The first act you mention isn't described in graphic detail, it doesn't even happen live in the books. We hear about it from other characters years later and it is needed to set up motivations for what is going on down in Dorne. If you think those types of things didn't happen when kingdoms changed hands you are mistaken.

 

As for the Lannisters there are many historical precedents to that in royal families. Either way both examples you give are integral to the plot and hardly could be described as just being there to "push the envelope".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horrible things happen, and not just in the distant past. Consider these eyewitness accounts:

 

At one time, I saw how a young boy of about ten was killed... This happened in front of my own eyes. The mother sat on the ground and her young son sat beside her. The young boy was placed on his mother’s lap. The young boy was killed. His head was cut off. The body remained on the lap of the mother. The ... soldier placed the head of the young boy on his knife and showed it to everyone.

 

There was a young woman with a baby on the way to the bus. The baby cried and a ... soldier told her that she had to make sure that the baby was quiet. Then the soldier took the child from the mother and cut its throat. I do not know whether ... soldiers saw that.

 

These incidents occurred after the WoT was begun.

Edited by randsc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it laughable that those are the only two series' listed. While I don't object to the question, I think the scope needs to be a bit broader.

 

 

3) Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin. Not finished either, and pretty incredible, I think.

 

Did you not see this choice on the poll? You do know only the TV show and first book are called Game of Thrones right?

 

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.

 

How comedy is this considering Martin is one of the few fantasy authors, who even comes close to portraying a historically accurate representation of medieval society.

 

It's not meant to be comedy. Martin isn't portraying a "historically accurate representation of medieval society". He's trying really, really hard to be shocking. Bashing in a baby's head and then raping the mother with its brains on your hands? Having sex with your brother in a church next to your father's dead body? That's not history. Acts like that weren't common around the time of the Wars of the Roses. That's pushing the envelope for the sake of pushing the envelope.

 

 

 

As for the Lannisters there are many historical precedents to that in royal families.

 

Really? Not counting ancient Egyptians or their imitators like the Ptolemys? In a church? Next to a putrid dead body? Of their father?

 

My issue isn't that Martin includes disturbing material, or explicit (and generally pathological) sex, or what have you. It's that there is such an overwhelming concentration of it, and there are SO many details calculated to shock, that I don't think it does come off as realistic. Hideous things happen in the world--but not usually in such density, between a small number of people and only a few years. It all gets to feel a bit sadistic.

Edited by graendalzooescapee
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey... sadistic can be refreshing. Lol... I do understand your point, and some of it seem farfetched but hey, it still works for me. Some people can be that fucked up. I think it comes down to personal taste/preference/something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WoT would be divine if it wasn't so incredibly flawed ;)

 

I was thinking about this the other day while reading a thing about The Hobbit. Tolkien went back later and changed parts to make the story work with the LORT. Steve King also did this with The Gunslinger, the first book in the best series in the whole world. :biggrin:

 

I'm so sad that RJ passed away. It would be cool if BS did it, but it wouldn't be the same...

 

 

The WOT is a fabulous series, but with much room for improvement, I think we all agree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh yeah, about the OP...

 

I can't vote in a poll like this until I've finished reading each series.

 

 

I read Song of Ice and Fire about 6 months before the 4th book came out, and I thought it was awesome. When the 4th came out I did a reread and was really looking forward to finding out what was going to happen. I checked Martin's website, and he said the new book would be out the first of next year. Nice! I checked back months later, after the next January, and he had some excuse and a promise that it would be done by the first of next year. Meanwhile, he is a busy man. Writing writing writing. About the Green Bay Packers. Check back a year later for a new excuse, and a new promise... the first of next year. My friends and I actually use this phrase to mean never or highly unlikely. In Randland it would go like this:

 

Ba'alz: You will serve me Lews Therin!!

Rand: Give me until the first of next year....

 

 

Ah well, I realize I'm just impatient. It still pisses me off though, and makes me unable to rank the series higher than WOT. And I'm not sure I ever will, even when it's all wrapped up, mainly because of this:

 

 

He's trying really, really hard to be shocking. Bashing in a baby's head and then raping the mother with its brains on your hands? Having sex with your brother in a church next to your father's dead body? That's not history. Acts like that weren't common around the time of the Wars of the Roses. That's pushing the envelope for the sake of pushing the envelope.

 

 

I equate it to listening to Eminem. I don't mind Em, but when he raps about killing his g/f I do have to roll my eyes. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're obviously not a Martin fan. He writes about the Giants, not the Packers. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interstingly, although the advocate of "objective criteria" has been back and made posts, no "objective criteria" have yet been supplied.

 

I begin to despair of seeing them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interstingly, although the advocate of "objective criteria" has been back and made posts, no "objective criteria" have yet been supplied.

 

I begin to despair of seeing them.

 

That's because they do not exist, at all. It's pretty subjective stuff. If you like a series with lots of magic, you'll prefer WHEEL OF TIME. If you prefer a series where magic is very rare, but has a major role when it does appear, you'll go for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. If you like a series which is more unflinching in its violence and sexuality, you'll prefer A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, but if you want one where things are more implied than said outright and you can give the first book to your 12-year-old child without any worries, than WHEEL OF TIME is the way to go.

 

Broadly speaking, I prefer A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE for its greater delving into psychological motivations and characterisation and for its more restrained use of magic. More prosaically, ASoIaF, for all of its problems, doesn't contain a book as awful as CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT in its count (yet). But at the same time I started reading THE WHEEL OF TIME first, think the story and concepts are basically superb despite the immense longeurs in its second half and am waiting for A MEMORY OF LIGHT as eagerly as anyone.

 

More to the point, when people start trying to get the two series into a stand-off it's annoying to the huge numbers of people enjoy both. George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan were friends, and GRRM thanked RJ and his fans many times for helping make A GAME OF THRONES a success after Jordan blurbed it. In addition, the success of THRONES on TV will likely renew interest in a screen adaptation of WHEEL OF TIME (which would actually be a great way of returning the favour). The two works are also somewhat complimentary, with each having strengths and weaknesses that the other lacks. Robert Jordan himself said GRRM doesn't write like him, but that's good as if everyone wrote the same it would be boring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apparently, Mark is working a 72 hour shift, because he has not returned with his "objective" measures.

 

Apparently, you live in a world where an online fantasy forum is more important than work and real life commitments. Must be nice.

 

I actually was trying to compile some objective criteria to compare the two books, but frankly I'm not going to waste my time doing so for some guy who has nothing really to add to the discussion. Your interests seem to lie in standing on the sidelines and criticizing while making broad statements as if they were fact and then refusing to explain or corroberate any of your statements when asked to do so. After spending some time comparing the series from an analytical view, any statistics and facts I provide can really be twisted either way and dismissed just as easily by either side of a debate. Add that to the amount of work it was turning out to be, and it's not worth my time when nobody else wants to participate. So you may now leave the thread if that is your only reason for posting here.

 

As for finding a WoT character that is more developed than Tyrion or Jaime Lannister...you have got to be kidding me. Rand al'Thor has gone from an 18 year old naive farmer kid to the king, savior, and destroyer of the world. Not to mention, he has slowly been dealing with a creeping insanity over 10,000 pages of text that was so masterfully written that throughout most of the series many readers were entirely unsure if his insanity was just a compilation of odd character quirks or true insanity.

 

In the past, I thought of ASOIAF as an event driven story. I was looking at it from the wrong angle - it is indeed a character driven story that is about the characters. The story and ongoing plot is evident in the background as the characters progress. WoT is a story that is very event driven, and we see the characters develop through the events and story as it unfolds. The difference is that ASOIAF is primarily about the characters, but a WoT is about the events. We watch the characters develop and mature from afar in WoT, but we experience it first hand in ASOIAF. Each series has a distinctly different flavor that appeals to a different audience, but it really doesn't change the character development and depth that I can see. Sure, characters in ASOIAF feel more realistic...but that is because the entire story is about everyday people (kind of) dealing with normal and real issues that we can relate to. WoT is about legendary heroes and likewise it is much harder to relate to these characters and the struggles they are going through. How can you relate to Rand al'Thor being the savior of mankind and his struggle for sanity? How can you relate to Mat Cauthon or Perrin Aybara being ta'avern and leading thousands of men in epic battles across the continent? We can't. But we can relate to Jaime and Tyrion Lannister and their mundane every day struggles with seemingly unimportant (and therefor realistic) events.

 

In summary: just because ASOIAF strikes closer to home with its cast of characters that are easy to relate to does not mean the characters are more developed or deeper. It just means they are more ordinary and deal with more ordinary problems and it says nothing about their depth and development.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interstingly, although the advocate of "objective criteria" has been back and made posts, no "objective criteria" have yet been supplied.

 

I begin to despair of seeing them.

 

That's because they do not exist, at all. It's pretty subjective stuff. If you like a series with lots of magic, you'll prefer WHEEL OF TIME. If you prefer a series where magic is very rare, but has a major role when it does appear, you'll go for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. If you like a series which is more unflinching in its violence and sexuality, you'll prefer A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, but if you want one where things are more implied than said outright and you can give the first book to your 12-year-old child without any worries, than WHEEL OF TIME is the way to go.

 

Broadly speaking, I prefer A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE for its greater delving into psychological motivations and characterisation and for its more restrained use of magic. More prosaically, ASoIaF, for all of its problems, doesn't contain a book as awful as CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT in its count (yet). But at the same time I started reading THE WHEEL OF TIME first, think the story and concepts are basically superb despite the immense longeurs in its second half and am waiting for A MEMORY OF LIGHT as eagerly as anyone.

 

More to the point, when people start trying to get the two series into a stand-off it's annoying to the huge numbers of people enjoy both. George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan were friends, and GRRM thanked RJ and his fans many times for helping make A GAME OF THRONES a success after Jordan blurbed it. In addition, the success of THRONES on TV will likely renew interest in a screen adaptation of WHEEL OF TIME (which would actually be a great way of returning the favour). The two works are also somewhat complimentary, with each having strengths and weaknesses that the other lacks. Robert Jordan himself said GRRM doesn't write like him, but that's good as if everyone wrote the same it would be boring.

 

You have a very interesting use of caps...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More to the point, when people start trying to get the two series into a stand-off it's annoying to the huge numbers of people enjoy both. George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan were friends, and GRRM thanked RJ and his fans many times for helping make A GAME OF THRONES a success after Jordan blurbed it. In addition, the success of THRONES on TV will likely renew interest in a screen adaptation of WHEEL OF TIME (which would actually be a great way of returning the favour). The two works are also somewhat complimentary, with each having strengths and weaknesses that the other lacks. Robert Jordan himself said GRRM doesn't write like him, but that's good as if everyone wrote the same it would be boring.

This.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More to the point, when people start trying to get the two series into a stand-off it's annoying to the huge numbers of people enjoy both. George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan were friends, and GRRM thanked RJ and his fans many times for helping make A GAME OF THRONES a success after Jordan blurbed it. In addition, the success of THRONES on TV will likely renew interest in a screen adaptation of WHEEL OF TIME (which would actually be a great way of returning the favour). The two works are also somewhat complimentary, with each having strengths and weaknesses that the other lacks. Robert Jordan himself said GRRM doesn't write like him, but that's good as if everyone wrote the same it would be boring.

This.

 

If it's annoying you dont have to read. The whole point is to compare the pluses and minuses of each series.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark, you're not getting it.

 

There are no "facts and statistics" that you can compile to demonstrate the superiority of WoT. No "objective criteria" that when considered without "bias" will lead inevitably to the conclusion that Jordan was a better writer than Martin. There is no regression analysis that yields a value representing literary merit, no model for a "masterwork", no OLAP cube that can be queried for the answer to, "who's the best-est?"

 

So, way back at the beginning of this mess, when you claimed that if people would just examine the two series "objectively" and without "bias" they would agree with your position, what you were in effect saying was, "I'm right and you're wrong, nanner-nanner-boo-boo."

 

What DO exist are certain scales and metrics for measuring things like sentence complexity and vocabulary level. Looking at those, I guarantee Martin will score out higher. But I'm not going to claim that means Martin was a better writer. I am sure Jordan could have written extremely complex sentences using obscure vocabulary; he chose not to. The WoT is not a lesser work, and Jordan wasn't a lesser writer, because he chose to employ simple and accessible language. And WoT is not a greater work, and Jordan a greater writer, because he used 2,783,467 words to describe the physical world while Martin used a mere 783,243 words.

Edited by randsc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest PiotrekS

 

There are no "facts and statistics" that you can compile to demonstrate the superiority of WoT. No "objective criteria" that when considered without "bias" will lead inevitably to the conclusion that Jordan was a better writer than Martin. There is no regression analysis that yields a value representing literary merit, no model for a "masterwork", no OLAP cube that can be queried for the answer to, "who's the best-est?"

 

What DO exist are certain scales and metrics for measuring things like sentence complexity and vocabulary level. Looking at those, I guarantee Martin will score out higher. But I'm not going to claim that means Martin was a better writer. I am sure Jordan could have written extremely complex sentences using obscure vocabulary; he chose not to. The WoT is not a lesser work, and Jordan wasn't a lesser writer, because he chose to employ simple and accessible language. And WoT is not a greater work, and Jordan a greater writer, because he used 2,783,467 words to describe the physical world while Martin used a mere 783,243 words.

 

Well said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, in fairness:

 

There are what might be called "historically accepted" or "traditional" standards of artistic merit. Those are fine, and I actually have a great deal of respect for them. But they are not truly objective, even if they are sometimes described that way.

 

And even using those standards, I still say you won't be able to demonstrate the manifest superiority of the WoT. I think a previous poster put it very well by saying something like, "You can make a strong case that ASoIaF is more carefully-constructed."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...