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10 Reasons Why I Think Brandon Sanderson is the Better Writer


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So after reading TOM and finally enjoying this tedious series again I picked up all of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn novels, having never read any of his work before (other than his two WOT entries). I know most here will disagree but nonetheless - here are ten reasons why I think Sanderson is a better writer than the late Robert Jordan in no particular order. Mistborn spoilers abound, tread lightly.

 

10. World building – although Jordan’s world is considerably more fleshed out, it took him well over 6 of the novels he wrote to fully develop the world while Sanderson managed to accomplish a very detailed world in only three novels. Sandeson's world is equally detailed and intricate and in truth, is explained in greater depth than Jordan's world in WOT.

 

9. Pacing – the pacing in WOT is particularly frustrating and one of the reasons many readers gave up on the series. Sanderson’s trilogy is brisk and well-paced, particularly the action and fight scenes which build toward satisfying climaxes without constantly dragging the narrative down to see what other characters are doing, particularly when those characters aren’t doing anything of interest. Fight scenes, while interspersed with other plot lines, are still well paced and his chapters are often quite short, especially when the action starts to pick up.

 

8. Systems of magic – despite the scope and magnitude of WOT the system of magic remains a central mystery for the most part, characters having been imbued with a vague sort of mystical power of varying degree by two sides of some "power". Mistborn’s systems of magic are some of the most detailed I’ve ever read. They seem both logical, and despite being fantastic, they seem realistic.

 

7. Artificial tension – so much of WOT, particularly in the later entries, feel artificially endowed with obstacles and discoveries that have no other purpose than to build tension in the narrative. This is particularly obvious in Jordan’s use of various means of fast travel – the Ways, skimming, and finally portals, to allow characters to quickly jump across the world while, when the narrative demands it, fast travel is restricted so that plot lines and tension can be created in the story line. Sanderson does some of this but it’s always through use of specific powers and even then, the travel is not instantaneous and the rules surrounding it remain a constant throughout the series unlike Jordan's constantly fluctuating means of transportation.

 

6. Characters – can anyone keep up with all of the characters in WOT? This can be considerably frustrating when having to wait a year or more between novels, enough time to forget half of Jordan’s plethora of secondary and supporting characters, the darkfriends and foresaken. Sanderson’s narrative revolves around a handful of characters, all well developed, all serving a very real purpose in the overall storyline. Trollocs remain a vague sort of force of evil with no real history or culture to explain their presence other then the fact that they were simply created by the dark one and yet trollocs are insanely ineffective, rarely accomplishing anything other than simply dying in droves.

 

5. Deaths – so far, 13 novels in, and not one of the main characters has died permanently. After so many plots, so many pages, so many events, it’s hard to approach the final novel, the final battle, with any real sense of tension or anticipation because it’s obvious that none of the main characters is any real danger. Sanderson killed off his main character in the first novel and he shockingly remained dead. Other main characters die throughout the story. He certainly doesn’t kill off characters with the casualness of George RR Martin, for sheer shock value either.

 

4. Writer idiosyncrasies – while Sanderson, like all writers, does overuse certain phrases (raised an eyebrow?), Jordan’s series is so full of sniffs, snorts, arms folded beneath breasts – it becomes tedious and I found myself rolling my eyes as I would encounter them in the text. His descriptions of female characters is almost insulting.

 

3. Character development – each of Sanderson’s main characters go through major personality changes as they evolve through the narrative. These changes are both believable and make sense within the context of the story – Vin growing to accept her role as the enforcer and the Hero of Ages, Saysed’s evolution toward Announcer of the Kandra, and Eland’s growth as Emperor for example – all of it works in logical sequence and feels very real. Most of Jordan’s characters devolve into caricature at some point, hanging on to illogical ideas and beliefs well past the point of believability – Rand/Matt/Perrin’s continual refusal to accept their roles through endless pages of exposition that scream out the obvious is ridiculous.

 

2. Scope – Three novels and one secondary story (Alloy of Law) vs. 14 massive volumes and a prequel – this one speaks for itself. Sanderson accomplishes just as much world building, character development, and plot resolution in a fraction of the pages.

Edited by HighWiredSith
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Wow..... can´t believe you actually posted this.... Ofcourse world building is easier when someone else already wrote the entire world for you. If a new reader would start reading in TGS, he wouldn´t have a clue of how the world was put together let alone the cultures etc.

 

The pacing of Brandon Sanderson only seems better because it´s the end of the series, it´s the final 3 books. In the WOT early books (1-5 (imo)), the pacing was just as good as it is now and with a clearer sense of the scenes than BS writes them.

 

What you say about magic being realistic in Mistborn..... How is magic realistic at all? It just means that in mistborn you can relate to it better and understand it. I think it is a great skill to incorporate a magic system that actually takes some intelligence to design and explain.

 

The traveling method is (because RJ is a genius and works through logic of the AOL) built to serve a much larger amount of men. RJ's design of gateways, the ways etc.were in place in the AOL where there were much more people, bigger cities, a (point of view) much richer culture etc.. They are now being used by a people that, people from the AOL, consider close to barbarians. It's like you give a 200 B.C. Roman an AK47. I agree upon the fact that RJ wrote the first books without (real) thought about the later books and so the traveling system is somewhat off.

 

I like the amount of characters, I ESPECIALLY like that you do not need to memorize every character's plotlines to be able to follow the story. When I was younger, I skipped all the female plotlines and just read the plotlines of Rand, Mat and Perrin. I asked my mom to give me a review on where the girls where and what they did (about a 2 minute per book). This allowed me to finish the books feeling satisfied. When I got older though, I did a reread and checked every plotline. I think it is total genius that you can write this much storylines without any (big) flaws. If you cannot cope with it, don't read the books.

 

This point I will concede. I love how George Martin just flings major character after major character, although I think he might be somewhat of an addict about killing them. I think a good writer would find the middle ground between Martin and Jordan.

 

I actually love how Robert Jordan portrais the female characters. For a man, I think he did great on writing the perspective of female characters. Furthermore I think it is great how he writes the characteristics of his characters. Especially how he uses their behavior to charaterize them. For example, Mat is far more away from 'home' than nynaeve. You see this in Mat's behavior, his sayings and the way he treats people. Nynvaeve is much closer to the two rivers, you see this in her old one-liners, in her approach to people and in her behavior (thick headed talking to Cadsuane at TGS).

 

On the scoping, I think you should read 'The world of Robert Jordan's wheel of time'. There is so much information there about the world. Every culture in every city is explained, all the maps are there etc. I honestly don't think you could write a story like that, with the world explained so largely with a smaller amount of books without reducing the quality of the books.

 

All heil Robert Jordan!

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I disagree with 90% of what you said.

 

But.

 

I havent read the Mistborn books, so you could say Im biased.

 

One thing Id say though is I think you breeze over Brandons flaws, and only highlight his good qualities. If we were to compare them pound for pound I would say RJs epic misjudgement on the length of WoT is equal to Brandons machine-like production rate. He writes TOO fast, if you ask me. But do these things make either one less than the other? I dont think so, myself. All it means is that RJs ideas were bigger than he thought because of all the concepts involved, and Brandon is very enthusiastic and dedicated. Ive learned stuff about writing from both.

 

Beyond that Im glad you made this thread because its refreshing to see someone praise him.

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Personally, I like them both

 

Each has a style that I enjoy and I think they are complimentary.

 

I like Robert Jordan for the sheer scope of his vision and I like Brandon for his courage to be the one to finish iRJ's epic as well as the novels he has created outside the work he has done to complete the WOT.

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I give Jordan a little bit of a break on some of the items because it went from a 3 book series to a 6 book series to a 12 book series which will end up as 13 books. Going from not having enough pages to flesh out the entire story to then perhaps having all the pages you want/need will cause some issues.

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I think we will have a much more apt comparison as Way of Kings unfolds. Having said that I do not enjoy BS as a writer all that much. The first Mistborn book was good but they got progressivly worse in my mind. In addition his shortcomings as a writer(self admitted) in relation to the work done on the WoT have been well documented. I am a sucker for strong prose and great characterization. On those counts there are some purely god awful moments in TGS and ToM.

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I actually love how Robert Jordan portrais the female characters. For a man, I think he did great on writing the perspective of female characters. Furthermore I think it is great how he writes the characteristics of his characters. Especially how he uses their behavior to charaterize them. For example, Mat is far more away from 'home' than nynaeve. You see this in Mat's behavior, his sayings and the way he treats people. Nynvaeve is much closer to the two rivers, you see this in her old one-liners, in her approach to people and in her behavior (thick headed talking to Cadsuane at TGS).

 

 

really? you think RJ's portrayal of female characters is realistic? I know lots of women, and interact with them on a daily basis. Ever seen the post on FB- the drawing of women in WOT? they all have the exact same facial expression. like a little whiny bitchy kid who can't grow up. there's an abundance of them in the series who elicit Strong personalities and who brow-beat or manipulate other characters to get them to do what they want. where's the nice girl, who's very reasonable and intelligent, who with their strong common sense can get the AS and WO- all the whiny bossy ones to listen based on that?

 

this page is a good read on the relationship/character building between men and women of the WOT.

http://swan-tower.livejournal.com/437323.html

 

this is of course not to bash RJ, but to point out a reality... this series doesn't portray women in reality in a balanced way. its largely one type of woman, like the author wanted to shy away from the delicate damsel who needs to be rescued so much that he went overboard the other way.

 

the female role topic aside... I really enjoy Jordan's WOT, and i don't think that its fair, either, to say he's not as good as Sanderson, because they write differently. if everyone wrote the same exact way, how would this life be any fun?

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By BS's own word, RJ is better than BS. He always says how his prose isn't as good as RJ's and there is a reason he is his fan. I am not saying that BS is a bad writer, I loved, mostly, the way he wrote the last few books, but I think RJ over all is a better writer.

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If you like BS, then you should definitely read the Way of Kings. It is an excellent book, comparable and perhaps even superior to tEoTW. I really enjoyed it and it seems to be the beginning of a great series, one that has the potential to rival the Wheel of Time. It will be great for after aMoL!

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So after reading TOM and finally enjoying this tedious series again I picked up all of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn novels, having never read any of his work before (other than his two WOT entries). I know most here will disagree but nonetheless - here are ten reasons why I think Sanderson is a better writer than the late Robert Jordan in no particular order. Mistborn spoilers abound, tread lightly.

 

10. World building – although Jordan’s world is considerably more fleshed out, it took him well over 6 of the novels he wrote to fully develop the world while Sanderson managed to accomplish a very detailed world in only three novels. Sandeson's world is equally detailed and intricate and in truth, is explained in greater depth than Jordan's world in WOT.

 

9. Pacing – the pacing in WOT is particularly frustrating and one of the reasons many readers gave up on the series. Sanderson’s trilogy is brisk and well-paced, particularly the action and fight scenes which build toward satisfying climaxes without constantly dragging the narrative down to see what other characters are doing, particularly when those characters aren’t doing anything of interest. Fight scenes, while interspersed with other plot lines, are still well paced and his chapters are often quite short, especially when the action starts to pick up.

 

8. Systems of magic – despite the scope and magnitude of WOT the system of magic remains a central mystery for the most part, characters having been imbued with a vague sort of mystical power of varying degree by two sides of some "power". Mistborn’s systems of magic are some of the most detailed I’ve ever read. They seem both logical, and despite being fantastic, they seem realistic.

 

7. Artificial tension – so much of WOT, particularly in the later entries, feel artificially endowed with obstacles and discoveries that have no other purpose than to build tension in the narrative. This is particularly obvious in Jordan’s use of various means of fast travel – the Ways, skimming, and finally portals, to allow characters to quickly jump across the world while, when the narrative demands it, fast travel is restricted so that plot lines and tension can be created in the story line. Sanderson does some of this but it’s always through use of specific powers and even then, the travel is not instantaneous and the rules surrounding it remain a constant throughout the series unlike Jordan's constantly fluctuating means of transportation.

 

6. Characters – can anyone keep up with all of the characters in WOT? This can be considerably frustrating when having to wait a year or more between novels, enough time to forget half of Jordan’s plethora of secondary and supporting characters, the darkfriends and foresaken. Sanderson’s narrative revolves around a handful of characters, all well developed, all serving a very real purpose in the overall storyline. Trollocs remain a vague sort of force of evil with no real history or culture to explain their presence other then the fact that they were simply created by the dark one and yet trollocs are insanely ineffective, rarely accomplishing anything other than simply dying in droves.

 

5. Deaths – so far, 13 novels in, and not one of the main characters has died permanently. After so many plots, so many pages, so many events, it’s hard to approach the final novel, the final battle, with any real sense of tension or anticipation because it’s obvious that none of the main characters is any real danger. Sanderson killed off his main character in the first novel and he shockingly remained dead. Other main characters die throughout the story. He certainly doesn’t kill off characters with the casualness of George RR Martin, for sheer shock value either.

 

4. Writer idiosyncrasies – while Sanderson, like all writers, does overuse certain phrases (raised an eyebrow?), Jordan’s series is so full of sniffs, snorts, arms folded beneath breasts – it becomes tedious and I found myself rolling my eyes as I would encounter them in the text. His descriptions of female characters is almost insulting.

 

3. Character development – each of Sanderson’s main characters go through major personality changes as they evolve through the narrative. These changes are both believable and make sense within the context of the story – Vin growing to accept her role as the enforcer and the Hero of Ages, Saysed’s evolution toward Announcer of the Kandra, and Eland’s growth as Emperor for example – all of it works in logical sequence and feels very real. Most of Jordan’s characters devolve into caricature at some point, hanging on to illogical ideas and beliefs well past the point of believability – Rand/Matt/Perrin’s continual refusal to accept their roles through endless pages of exposition that scream out the obvious is ridiculous.

 

2. Scope – Three novels and one secondary story (Alloy of Law) vs. 14 massive volumes and a prequel – this one speaks for itself. Sanderson accomplishes just as much world building, character development, and plot resolution in a fraction of the pages.

What's number one?

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different, not better. there are also many who think of tolkien as better than either one. i know he is good, but i havn't ever been able to get through a whole tolkien book. apples and oranges can only be compared through opinion, and that is personal.

Edited by Testy al'Carr
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Personally, I like RJ better. I think it is largely because of his skill with prose and his attention to detail. He has made the single most realistic fantasy world I have ever read, with a rich history and many compelling characters. He gets so deep into his characters' heads at some points, it makes me shiver as an aspiring writer.

 

I think he struggled with pacing, largely because books that were meant to be a single volume were split into pieces. and yeah, maybe he could have done without straightening skirt/tugging braid/hands on hips/sniffing. :rolleyes:

 

Brandon, on the other hand, I find to be weak with prose and humor. I find myself LOLing in WoT, but so far have rarely chuckled in BS work. He can plot with the best of them, though, and he can invent interesting presmise(s?) and run with it. His pacing is generally more consistent than RJ, and he takes pride in (largely) being able to keep with early story-length estimations. And some of his endings leave me breathless. But I feel that he has trouble getting as deep into character as he could, and since character is what drives the story for me, it keeps me from getting as involved in his work as I do in WoT.

 

So, my .02. BS is awesome, (and a terrific person, from all I've seen) but I personally enjoy RJ's work more.

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I have read tolkien's lord of the rings and the hobbit and I recommend at least the hobbit for people who cannot get past LoTR, I know it's long.

lotr long? i have the trillogy in my house (it isnt mine) in a box set of soft back books, and it is only a hair bigger than the soft back version of the fires of heaven. i have to admit that i havn't tried reading it since i was a teenager (last time over a decade ago), and i could likely manage it now, but i read the fires of heaven and all the previous rj books while i was a teen. tolkien's stuff just wasn't interesting to me. and i have been through the hobbit (when i was in 5th grade in 94 my mom worked with me to get through the hobbit) but i have never felt a need to re-read it. but the 3 books that compose lord of the rings are compartively tiny next to the wheel of time. even if you add the silmarillion it is still relatively short. i just couldn't get into it, it didn't capture me. but that doesn't mean it is bad. i differ to those who like it that it is excellent, and the books that i love likely wouldnt exist without it. i, as in me, didn't enjoy it. but i would reccomend you don't come to this forum and claim that the lord of the rings is long, if you have read the wheel of time, you have read something many times longer.

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By long, did you mean long-winded? Because I've made it to Return of the King, but I keep losing interest halfway through the twelve-page description of the noble parties entering Gondor.

 

Not so bad as the 23-page(I counted) scene of Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli running after the Orcs in book 2, but still not so fun.

 

I've read The Hobbit 3 times, though, and intend to read it again this year. But I have no intention of trying the world books for LotR

Edited by Sephie
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try reading the history of middle-earth, that's 12 volumes long, that plus LotR plus the Hobbit, plus the Silmarillion would be long.

that it would, and you show my lack of knowledge about tolkien's universe, because i thought the silmarillion covered the history. i remember when i was a kid my mom talking about all the family lines and later i figured it was in the silmarillion when i learned about it. i guess my mom is a fangirl. i just find that idea hilarious because she is over 65, and the idea of a 65 year old fangirl is hilarious. by logic i understand that she wasn't always 65, (she was 36 when i was born) but as many are about their mothers, the idea makes them think of their parent at their current age.

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It's the evolution of fantasy. First there was Tolkien, then there were the guys who read Tolkien, and now there are the guys who read the guys who read Tolkien. Tolkien is like a vintage car, you may admire its beauty and its history, but you keep in in a garage for most of the year, because it just can't compare to modern cars who are better in all regards. Same with Tolkien, you read it to get an appreciation for how Fantasy started, but you don't compare it in detail to good modern works.

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Unlike technology, culture doesn't grow stale with the years. We live in a different time, and most of us (myself definitely included) have much shorter attention spans than what readers used to have (which is why Tolkien's work can be hard to digest), but that doesn't make current prose superior to it. It's like comparing Greek tragedies to The Matrix (I know, what an awful example, if I were trying to seem hip).

 

Back to the point, Sanderson writes a new kind of fantasy, and I think he has the makings of an excellent writer (I surly agree that his plots are nothing short of genius). He is showing signs of maturing with his worldbuilding (as a cursory comparison of Mistborn and the Stormlight Archives would show). I especially enjoy his short stories and novels. But, for me, it's the depth of characters and quality of prose that make a truly good work of literature, and he does still have a way to go with regard to these aspects. That's just fine; I am still buying what he's selling. I just remain unconvinced by claims that he's already there (I truly can't even begin to see the case for the scope of the Mistborn world and the depth of its characters comparing to that of tWoT).

 

One last point -- his humor. That's a big deal for me, and I do believe it's an acquired skill to some extent, but I don't see signs that he's unhappy with his current performance in that department, which worries me. It's not a coincidence that his brooders (Kelsier, TenSoon, Vasher and Kaladin, to name a few) make for superior characters, but every story needs a different kind of people as well (like Mat so richly demonstrates). On the up side, I guess Barid will have reason to enjoy AMoL :smile:

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So after reading TOM and finally enjoying this tedious series again I picked up all of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn novels, having never read any of his work before (other than his two WOT entries). I know most here will disagree but nonetheless - here are ten reasons why I think Sanderson is a better writer than the late Robert Jordan in no particular order. Mistborn spoilers abound, tread lightly.

 

10. World building – although Jordan’s world is considerably more fleshed out, it took him well over 6 of the novels he wrote to fully develop the world while Sanderson managed to accomplish a very detailed world in only three novels. Sandeson's world is equally detailed and intricate and in truth, is explained in greater depth than Jordan's world in WOT.

 

I agree that Sanderson does create vibrant, complex worlds, but I don't agree necesarily that they are on parr with Jordan's. In particular I found... stretched parts... in WoK, areas were the worldbuilding didn't quite reach the scope of the story he was telling--not in concept, the concepts were great... but in the small detail there were definately weak parts, and as result his world in WoK is no where near as immersive as the Wheel.

 

His shorter books, whilst lesser in scope, are more encompassing than his larger attempts (the first Mistborn book, for instance, I found incredibly well developed). In his defence of course it took Jordan six books (personally I think Jordan really started to get the world rock solid by book four but meh) to get a solid grip. And too Sanderson jumped into the huge epic at around the book four equivelant stage, which couldn't have helped--I've only seen George Martin do that with complete smoothness. Even Erikson didn't entirely manage it.

 

That being said, I do not feel Sanderson's skill equals Jordan's here by a considerable amount. The scope of the world must be taken into account when judging the texture of its depiction, and I don't feel Brandon comes close.

 

.9. Pacing – the pacing in WOT is particularly frustrating and one of the reasons many readers gave up on the series. Sanderson’s trilogy is brisk and well-paced, particularly the action and fight scenes which build toward satisfying climaxes without constantly dragging the narrative down to see what other characters are doing, particularly when those characters aren’t doing anything of interest. Fight scenes, while interspersed with other plot lines, are still well paced and his chapters are often quite short, especially when the action starts to pick up.

 

Whilst there are certainly elements of Jordan's pacing that irritate me--the journey from Whitebridge to Caemlyn, the trip by Elayne and Nynaeve to Salidar probably the clearest in this--I also happen to really love some of Jordan's slower scenes--usually because they have the most happening in them, just played out on a much more subtle landscape.

 

And, by the same note I enjoyed the brisk pace of Brandon's trilogy. However as he has become more popular, and the resultant increased demand for his books I've invariably found that the plot has suffered from the pace. Time and again the cardinal rule of 'show don't tell' is broken, with characters laying out the plot so that the story can move forward to the next action piece--the clearest example of this being in Alloy of Law were he had scene after scene in which the characters literally create a pinboard up on a wall laying out the plot for the reader.

 

Ultimately for me this breaks the fourth wall, making it impossible to fully immerse myself in the world at hand which was the great value to Jordan's work. I suppose it comes down to personal taste--if plot gratification is all your looking for than this will work just fine--and a great many Wheel fans after so many years are looking for just that--but in the long run, as much as I've loved the stepped up pace of tGS and TofM, no i do not regard the pace of Brandon's work as a plus, because in achieving that pace other things are sacrificed.

 

As I said, personal taste.

 

 

Systems of magic – despite the scope and magnitude of WOT the system of magic remains a central mystery for the most part, characters having been imbued with a vague sort of mystical power of varying degree by two sides of some "power". Mistborn’s systems of magic are some of the most detailed I’ve ever read. They seem both logical, and despite being fantastic, they seem realistic.

 

Whilst I regard Brandon's innovative and original systems of magic as being one of his greatest skills, and look to Brandon as being the trendsetter when it comes to the creation of magic systems, I do not agree with your presentation of the One Power. The One Power is one of the hardest hard magic systems around, explained in full scope to be understood by the reader to a very great degree within the scope of laws that have--with the exceptions of the early bookisms, and the possible exception of Rand at Maradon--have stayed solid since about book four onwards.

 

Is Brandon better than Jordan in this? Perhaps. He's created several metaphysical systems, Jordan created one, but Jordan's one is expansive.

 

 

7. Artificial tension – so much of WOT, particularly in the later entries, feel artificially endowed with obstacles and discoveries that have no other purpose than to build tension in the narrative. This is particularly obvious in Jordan’s use of various means of fast travel – the Ways, skimming, and finally portals, to allow characters to quickly jump across the world while, when the narrative demands it, fast travel is restricted so that plot lines and tension can be created in the story line. Sanderson does some of this but it’s always through use of specific powers and even then, the travel is not instantaneous and the rules surrounding it remain a constant throughout the series unlike Jordan's constantly fluctuating means of transportation.

 

Narrative convenience is always an issue. Jordan's switchback on travelling in KoD and the shadowspawn not being able to pass gateways is one offered pointed to as a retconn.

 

That being said, to my mind the vast majority of the clunkier variations of the methods of travel being twitched to create artificial tension have been in Brandon's books. From the wierd silence in the Black Tower, reversed when Nynaeve is suddenly able to reach Myrelle, to the way the Portal Stones are suddenly a viable method of transport for an army without killing all the channelers involved (and leaving the question that if the Shadow had access to that much channeling power why didn't Graendal simply use her channelers to kill Perrin), to the ta'veren twisting that brought Verin to Mat.

 

Thinking about it, the only truly detailed 'descovery for plot convenience' that I can really remember RJ doing, was the discovery of Callandor's flaw, and that was foreshadowed from Rand's second use of it, way back in the Shadow Rising. *shrug*

 

 

6. Characters – can anyone keep up with all of the characters in WOT? This can be considerably frustrating when having to wait a year or more between novels, enough time to forget half of Jordan’s plethora of secondary and supporting characters, the darkfriends and foresaken. Sanderson’s narrative revolves around a handful of characters, all well developed, all serving a very real purpose in the overall storyline. Trollocs remain a vague sort of force of evil with no real history or culture to explain their presence other then the fact that they were simply created by the dark one and yet trollocs are insanely ineffective, rarely accomplishing anything other than simply dying in droves.

 

I can keep track of them all, yes. But it seems to me that your making the point that you prefer works of lesser scope because the storylines easier to keep together--which is fine, and a definate reason you'd prefer Brandon's work to Jim's (though with the Way of Kings how long that will remain a definable difference between the two remains to be seen).

 

As for it being an argument in the weight of one writer being better to the other, I don't necesarily see that this point slants in Brandon's favour...

 

I do, however, agree with the comment about the ineffectiveness of the Trollocs. Then again, the Koloss play a very similar role in Mistborn--though against that Brandon does seem to be playing with the 'evil orc' concept in WoK, so *shrug*.

 

 

5. Deaths – so far, 13 novels in, and not one of the main characters has died permanently. After so many plots, so many pages, so many events, it’s hard to approach the final novel, the final battle, with any real sense of tension or anticipation because it’s obvious that none of the main characters is any real danger. Sanderson killed off his main character in the first novel and he shockingly remained dead. Other main characters die throughout the story. He certainly doesn’t kill off characters with the casualness of George RR Martin, for sheer shock value either.

 

 

Agreed. This has been, and continues to be, a major criticism I hold against Jordan and the Wheel. Probably the largest alongside the general ineffectiveness of the Shadow. Brandon's promised us that people die in aMoL, though, so here is hoping.

 

 

4. Writer idiosyncrasies – while Sanderson, like all writers, does overuse certain phrases (raised an eyebrow?), Jordan’s series is so full of sniffs, snorts, arms folded beneath breasts – it becomes tedious and I found myself rolling my eyes as I would encounter them in the text. His descriptions of female characters is almost insulting.

 

I've never minded the idiosyncracies of Jordan's writing, though I always have a good laugh at Isam's WoT Summary. If you've never read it, you should... it takes this point and makes of it art.

 

I don't necessarily agree that his depicitions of women are insulting. I've always thought that Jordan made a decent job of depicting the slope of gender power that might occur within a society in which women hold the highest position, and men hold the lowest (resulting from the realities of the Power). One may note, for instance, that gender inequality and the resultant attitudes of the women are far less apparent in Seanchan and Aiel society, where the balance of power between the genders has remained more equal. For instance I love the scene where Aviendha takes Elayne and Nynaeve to account for the way they've treated Mat.

 

And much the same as I wouldn't be insulted by a misogynistic depiction of a male character (or many male characters) in a world based in a patriarchy, so too do I not find the depictions of the female characters insulting...

 

This really is a different discussion though, so if anyone wants to follow up on it, lets create a new thread.

 

 

3. Character development – each of Sanderson’s main characters go through major personality changes as they evolve through the narrative. These changes are both believable and make sense within the context of the story – Vin growing to accept her role as the enforcer and the Hero of Ages, Saysed’s evolution toward Announcer of the Kandra, and Eland’s growth as Emperor for example – all of it works in logical sequence and feels very real. Most of Jordan’s characters devolve into caricature at some point, hanging on to illogical ideas and beliefs well past the point of believability – Rand/Matt/Perrin’s continual refusal to accept their roles through endless pages of exposition that scream out the obvious is ridiculous.

 

I regard one of Jordan's greatest skills is the subtle development of characters over the course of their arcs. Egwene's evolution is one of my favourites, from brat to her struggle with Nynaeve for equality, to her apprenticeship with the Wise Ones, to her gaining a sense of equality with Moiraine, to her submitting to the Wise Ones for her lies, to her time as figurehead amyrlin and turning into genuine amyrlin, to finally her guirillea war against Elaida... she grows and changes steadily, but so smoothly you don't even really feel it happening. My one sadness is that she seems to revert in TofM.

 

Rand's the same, so is Mat and Perrin and Nynaeve. Elayne doesn't really grow at all, but meh. Perhaps clearest was the way in which Jordan managed to keep Elaida from becoming a caricature--that must have taken massive skill. So yeah, sorry, but on this one I disagree completely. Jordan's characters have only been caricatures under Brandon's hand, and whilst that has been a major rub for me on tGS and TofM, it doesn't really lend much weight to your position.

 

 

2. Scope – Three novels and one secondary story (Alloy of Law) vs. 14 massive volumes and a prequel – this one speaks for itself. Sanderson accomplishes just as much world building, character development, and plot resolution in a fraction of the pages.

 

I disagree. Brandon has accomplished what he's accomplished, and that is no small thing, but there is no way it's comprable to what Jordan's accomplished.

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Unlike technology, culture doesn't grow stale with the years. We live in a different time, and most of us (myself definitely included) have much shorter attention spans than what readers used to have (which is why Tolkien's work can be hard to digest), but that doesn't make current prose superior to it. It's like comparing Greek tragedies to The Matrix (I know, what an awful example, if I were trying to seem hip).

 

I think entertainment is a lot like technology. Whether it's literature, music or television it's all a professional commercial product. Just like technology in entertainment people learn from the previous works and try to improve on it based on the current mindset. And entertainment also does grow stale. Which is why I regard Tolkien as a historic cultural piece and not as entertainment.

 

One last point -- his humor. That's a big deal for me, and I do believe it's an acquired skill to some extent, but I don't see signs that he's unhappy with his current performance in that department, which worries me. It's not a coincidence that his brooders (Kelsier, TenSoon, Vasher and Kaladin, to name a few) make for superior characters, but every story needs a different kind of people as well (like Mat so richly demonstrates). On the up side, I guess Barid will have reason to enjoy AMoL :smile:

 

I, too, think humor is important but a large part of it depends on the tone of a story. RJ's world is far more idealized than many of the newer pieces of epic fantasy. Right now darker, harsher and grittier works are prevalent. And with that tone humor often gets left behind. I personally would like it if the general tone in fantasy became a bit more lighthearted again where characters have time to joke

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I was not sure if I shouild reply to this topic, most of it is a matter of opinion and taste, which is as valid as the next persons interpretation. However, since it was created as a thread here, I assume that some kind of reply was wanted or expected.

 

Having said that, I am not attempting to discredit anyone's opinions here. As far as I am concerned, there can be no "better". They can be better at some things, but it is a matter of taste for the most part, when you reach this level of writing.

 

I respect both authors greatly and both are among my favourite.

 

 

10. I can't agree with this statement. Also, I can't disagree. It isn't valid comparison. Jordan's work encompasses 15 unique nations with different cultures and customs, and introduces another continent with their customs and traditions (the Seanchan) also referencing Shara, to a lesser extent. There is also the culture of the Age of Legends introduced. Tar Valon and the Aes Sedai have different customs, the Black Tower is a new culture. 3000 years of history from the breaking is built upon.

 

Mistborn comes nowhere close to this level of intricacy, it is one nation with no history bar the first "change" of the world.

 

As I said, the comparison is not valid. Mistborn was created as a trilogy. Wheel of Time is something larger in scope. WoK is of WoT scope, and perhaps when it is finished, it will provide a valid comparison, but not Mistborn. They are two completely different types of World Building.

 

9. Pacing is a matter of taste. Personally, I like both for what they are, I don't think one is better than the other in this regard. WoT is purposely built on slower moments to develop the world/history/characters. Mistborn is a fast paced trilogy. Two different things. Again, until WoK is complete, there is no comparison here.

 

 

8. Taste again. Both author's magic systems are among the best in Fantasy. It depends what you want. A well developed power based in physics shrouded in mystery or a well structured system based on chemicals/metals. I like the WoT magic more for the mystery that still surrounds the OP and ter'angreal. The (re)discovery of different Talents and weaves and ter'angreal, which have been developed from a rich history. The Mistborn magic, while one of the best, is too straight forward. There is no mystery nor discovery, apart from discovering new metals, you know what you get with each metal. There is no experimenting, or side effects. You know what you get, it is simple.

 

 

7. I don't think any of these methods are author conveniences. Travelling was mentioned early on in the EotW. The Ways have a history and plot importance bar getting somewhere fast. Portal stones also have a point in the story besides fast travel. Now, I agree with Luckers in saying that there are inconsistencies here, however, I believe that RJ created these things with a purpose in mind, not just for convenience.

It is curious that after you criticise the slow pace of the WoT, you can then criticise Travelling that speeds up plots. Mat and Perrin especially spend long amounts of time travelling "normally" when they could just Travel, or use the Ways.

 

6. A matter of taste. I love the large cast, it keeps it fresh with different points of view and ideals, while also creating the feeling of a "living world". This is not a valid point to say Brandon is better. It is simply a matter of taste.

 

5. Again, taste. I understand and partially agree with the issue, however, killing or not killing main characters does not define who is a better writer.

 

4. This is a part of the world. It is a development of a Female dominated culture over 3000 years. It is an opinion, if it is insulting to someone, that is valid. It does not make the writing bad, because it has valid reason for these characters to act so, in most cases. I will say that there is issue with this, no doubt, however, I would not consider Brandon any "better" because of it. It is a part of the story, not writing. IN fact, Brandon's depiction of the female cast makes it somewhat worse.

 

3. I am not sure how you can even compare Mistborn with WoT in regards to Character development. They are two completely different types of stories. Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene and Nynaeve are among the greatest developed characters in any series. I think you take issue with the fact it is realistic. People do not just change in a night. Perrin's development takes a turn for the worst, I will agree, however, for the most part, it is realistic. The changes in the characters are real, and for the most part believable. Egwene's development can be criticsed, however, it is only in tGS and ToM, where this is an issue. Mistborn is a triology, and lacks the volume for a more complete development. Elend turns from a scruffy, good natured idealist into a picture perfect King in a matter of pages.

 

It is not comparable. WoK, again, when it is finished, will give a more valid comparison.

 

2. This statement is inaccurate . As mentioned earlier in world building, RJ develops over 20 unique peoples with their own traditions, history, beliefs, governments, style, accents etc.. with a history spanning over 3000 years. Mistborn is nowhere near this scope.

 

This does not make Brandon's writing any worse, it is simply different. WoK may compare to this, when more is revealed, however, we know too little to compare it.

 

 

One last point -- his humor. That's a big deal for me, and I do believe it's an acquired skill to some extent, but I don't see signs that he's unhappy with his current performance in that department, which worries me. It's not a coincidence that his brooders (Kelsier, TenSoon, Vasher and Kaladin, to name a few) make for superior characters, but every story needs a different kind of people as well (like Mat so richly demonstrates). On the up side, I guess Barid will have reason to enjoy AMoL :smile:

 

Mwhahaha, and I suspect that's exactly what Brandon was thinking aswell!

 

But yeah, I do agree with your statement. Brooding characters are Brandon's best, I think he finds it hard to write light-hearted material without making it look forced. Something with RJ did expertly, while the world is falling apart around them, RJ could still make Mat or Loial etc.. make us smile in a way it seemed natural.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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10. World building – although Jordan’s world is considerably more fleshed out, it took him well over 6 of the novels he wrote to fully develop the world while Sanderson managed to accomplish a very detailed world in only three novels. Sandeson's world is equally detailed and intricate and in truth, is explained in greater depth than Jordan's world in WOT.

Sanderson manages a decent amount of worldbuilding, but even if we just compare first books I think EotW comes out ahead of TFE. Over time, Randland has had a greater opportunity to grow, but RJ also made the most of that opportunity, in a way that BS didn't. I'd say RJ's is the world that is more detailed, more intricate, and explained in greater depth. RJ's feels much more like a living, breathing world, like there is a far greater life to the world outside the confines of the story.

 

9. Pacing – the pacing in WOT is particularly frustrating and one of the reasons many readers gave up on the series. Sanderson’s trilogy is brisk and well-paced, particularly the action and fight scenes which build toward satisfying climaxes without constantly dragging the narrative down to see what other characters are doing, particularly when those characters aren’t doing anything of interest. Fight scenes, while interspersed with other plot lines, are still well paced and his chapters are often quite short, especially when the action starts to pick up.
I found many of Sanderson's action scenes to be something of a drag. Further, only the first Mistobrn managed to keep up a decent pace, the others having problems in this regard (WoA most of all). Way of Kings likewise. Further, he has to rely on blunt exposition at times to keep the pace up, so it feels at times less like a naturally fast pace and more like the author is shoving things along.

 

8. Systems of magic – despite the scope and magnitude of WOT the system of magic remains a central mystery for the most part, characters having been imbued with a vague sort of mystical power of varying degree by two sides of some "power". Mistborn’s systems of magic are some of the most detailed I’ve ever read. They seem both logical, and despite being fantastic, they seem realistic.
The OP is a very detailed magic system. Also, HoA left me less than impressed with Allomancy, and the annotations on his website only made this worse. Atium, in particular, was something I had a problem with, as it felt like the author was flip-flopping a bit on just how it related to the other metals.

 

7. Artificial tension – so much of WOT, particularly in the later entries, feel artificially endowed with obstacles and discoveries that have no other purpose than to build tension in the narrative. This is particularly obvious in Jordan’s use of various means of fast travel – the Ways, skimming, and finally portals, to allow characters to quickly jump across the world while, when the narrative demands it, fast travel is restricted so that plot lines and tension can be created in the story line. Sanderson does some of this but it’s always through use of specific powers and even then, the travel is not instantaneous and the rules surrounding it remain a constant throughout the series unlike Jordan's constantly fluctuating means of transportation.
RJ doesn't change the rules.

 

 

6. Characters – can anyone keep up with all of the characters in WOT?
Yes.
This can be considerably frustrating when having to wait a year or more between novels, enough time to forget half of Jordan’s plethora of secondary and supporting characters, the darkfriends and foresaken. Sanderson’s narrative revolves around a handful of characters, all well developed, all serving a very real purpose in the overall storyline.
So does RJ's. The big difference is that RJ is better able to flesh out his supporting cast. Sanderson himself said in the annotations to the Mistborn books that he tried to get each of the supporting members of Kelsier's crew at least one good scene per book, and sometimes struggled to do that. Sanderson is not great at developing his supporting cast, and even his main cast have problems. He is not a master of characterisation.

 

5. Deaths – so far, 13 novels in, and not one of the main characters has died permanently. After so many plots, so many pages, so many events, it’s hard to approach the final novel, the final battle, with any real sense of tension or anticipation because it’s obvious that none of the main characters is any real danger. Sanderson killed off his main character in the first novel and he shockingly remained dead. Other main characters die throughout the story. He certainly doesn’t kill off characters with the casualness of George RR Martin, for sheer shock value either.
Killing characters is not in itself a good thing. Saying no-one has died permanently isn't really saying anyting at all. So what? Why should they die? Death should serve some purpose - to push forward the plot, or help to develop the characters or themes. None of the main characters has died yet because none of them needed to. If you need a character to fulfill a role in the story, removing them from the story before they have fulfilled that role is stupid, unless you have some way to bring them back. Kelsier not coming back was not shocking. He had a part to play, and after he died there was precious little reason to invlve him in the plot again. Not that he did stay out of it. When Martin or Bakker or other writers kill characters, they do so for a reason, not shock value (and Martin's habit of killing people is overstated anyway. I bet alot of people will end up being disappointed that the promised bloodbath is not as severe as expected, because so many characters they get attached to survive for half the series or more. Hell, only two of the eight POVs from book 1 are dead). Same with Sanderson, same with RJ. At the LB, if there is no need for them afterwards killing them off is viable. The fact that no-one has died yet does not indicate no-one will die in the future.

 

4. Writer idiosyncrasies – while Sanderson, like all writers, does overuse certain phrases (raised an eyebrow?), Jordan’s series is so full of sniffs, snorts, arms folded beneath breasts – it becomes tedious and I found myself rolling my eyes as I would encounter them in the text. His descriptions of female characters is almost insulting.
Seems to me like some of BS's idiosyncracies could be solved by him getting a thesaurus (is there any author more in need of a synonym for tempest?), while many of RJ's are tics of the characters themselves. As such, I tend to find RJ's less annoying in this respect.

 

 

3. Character development – each of Sanderson’s main characters go through major personality changes as they evolve through the narrative.
So do RJ's. Also, RJ's has far more character arcs, many of them better done. And Sanderson destroys any sympathy I had for Vin with the way he killed her off.
Most of Jordan’s characters devolve into caricature at some point, hanging on to illogical ideas and beliefs well past the point of believability
Real people often hold on to illogical beliefs long after they should have abandoned them. Look at anyone who has ever got into a debate with me, for example.

 

2. Scope – Three novels and one secondary story (Alloy of Law) vs. 14 massive volumes and a prequel – this one speaks for itself. Sanderson accomplishes just as much world building, character development, and plot resolution in a fraction of the pages.
Indeed, it does speak for itself. The scope of WoT is far larger than Mistborn. Or any of Sanderson's works, save perhaps WoK (or the Cosmere as a whole - I think Sanderson's masterplan might well eclipse WoT, given that it encompasses multiple series and worlds, numerous casts of characters and magic systems, etc.). Sanderson accomplishes a fraction of the world building, character development and plot resolution in a fraction of the pages. As an author, Sanderson has many good points. He also has a lot of limitations, and I don't really think he truly outshines RJ in any area to a great degree. He might, one day, but not yet.
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