George R.R Martin, well-known for the ASOIF (A song of Ice and fire) series, winner of many accolades and a renowned and highly praised author, is known and often the source tribute for producing a stellar fantasy series which has received critical acclaim. However, while it is not wrong to admire George R.R Martin’s appalling prose and his creative and highly imaginative world, one must simply not forget J.R.R Tolkien’s contribution to the fantasy genre. Labelled by many as ‘the father of the fantasy genre’, Tolkien’s writings are almost universally praised for being innovative, refreshing and having a tinge of eye-catching appeal to them, all at the same time.
Today, we dig deeper into the worlds of both authors, one from contemporary times and one who’s classical writings can simply not be forgotten.
In order to avoid controversy we shall divide the argument in favor of both writers.
Arguments in favour of George R.R Martin:
It is safe to say almost all of Martin’s characters are well developed with great personalities. Unlike Tolkien’s characters, who are comparatively shallow and one dimensional, Martin’s characters have a lot more going on for them. Throughout the first few books, we see Robb Stark transition from a young boy, green as the grass into an alpha male, and a proper lord; one to be reckoned with. Similarly, Arya Stark, Tyrion lannister, Joffrey Baratheon all grow exponentially.
– The gritty, grotesque realism to the plot:
Let us be honest here, we are all tired of seeing the main character, despite always being against the odds, pull off a deus ex machina and beat the bad guy at the end; or the fact that the good and bad guys are so clearly distinguished, it’s just not fun anymore. However, Martin’s story is completely realistic. It revolves around politics and the struggle for power, something that is common even in contemporary times. And although, such subjects can often be considered controversial, Martin presents them in an extremely congenial fashion.
Arguments in favour of J.R.R Tolkien:
J.R.R Tolkien’s plot is simple and crystal clear and his characters can be seen as black and white, the former representing the villains or the bad guys and the latter the good guys, with perhaps the exception of Saruman. However, the way he writes and immerses the reader into his plot is remarkable; and his prose makes it an interesting ride from start to finish. George R.R Martin, on the other hand, has dozens of sub-plots rather than a main plot, his characters are all divided up and each busy with their own tedious tasks and the readers often feels that there is little to connect them all except the Iron throne, which to some might also seem a little far-fetched.
– Innovation, prose and his own languages:
It is common knowledge that J.R.R Tolkien majored in Linguistics. However, one has to acknowledge the fact that he has almost a dozen languages created just for the Hobbit, different languages for elves, dwarves and even Ents. An amazing accomplishment as it is. As having majored in linguistics, Tolkiens prose was also top-notch and helped deliver his message perfectly. While, George R.R Martin himself writes well and has an appealing prose, one can simply not compare it to Tolkien. Tolkien was also the main driving force behind the rise of the fantasy genre and without him, we would probably never see the fantasy genre’s tides rise so high. All in all, J.R.R Tolkien in his lifetime achieved some noteworthy accomplishments.
Both authors have also created fabulous and absolutely immersive worlds. Westeros, the world created by Martin and Middle Earth the world created by Tolkien are both entertaining and interesting in their own rights.
With that, we conclude our deep insight into both fabulous and renowned authors. In the end, both authors have their strong and weak fortes; the readers, however, must favour whoever is their cup of tea.