Hello Internet! Today, I am going to talk about something I recently found when I started reading A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin that sparked me to really look at the comparison between his books and Tolkien’s famed The Lord of the Rings. I posted on my facebook wall;
Started reading A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin today and in the first pages, there were quotes about how great the book is (as usual). One of them said that the reading “reflects our current world better than The Lord of the Rings.” …. Is it just me or did anyone else who has read that book have a “well no sh*t” moment?
It’s not like The Lord of the Rings came out at the same time, guys… The Lord of the Rings was first published in 1954 versus Game of Thrones which was first published in 1996.
Of course Tolkien’s work does not reflect our current world like Martin’s work. That statement is similar to stating that the sky is blue. The Lord of the Rings was written during a time where our social norms of today would be looked down upon. For example, the concept of platonic love between two men was known, but rarely (to my knowledge and research) shown in media of any sort. Also, the 50s were still quite conservative compared to what you would see now. (Note: there is absolutely no sex shown in the six books, and kissing was barely described) Whereas Martin’s work is not. Yet, that makes Martin’s work more enjoyable for the “modern” fantasy fan. George R.R. Martin’s work is also awe inspiring because of his pushing of the boundaries of written work. He created a world that shocked many because of the sheer depth of the history and lore. We as readers may never know the full histories of Westeros (unless Mr. Martin decides to write us a textbook on his realm) because the characters themselves don’t even know the truth from fantasy! That in itself is so amazing and oddly easy to relate to because we don’t even know our full histories yet as inhabitants of Earth.
But I digress before I go all fan-girly here…
Truly, the comparison of Tolkien vs [insert fantasy writer here] has become a topic that has beaten the dead horse bloody. Tolkien was one of the first epic fantasy writers that gained popularity and inspired many of the writers we know and love today to start writing in this genre. Which brings me to the conclusion of why I think the comparison is unfair…
Just think, if Tolkien had never written his books, we wouldn’t have many of these writers now. These books we adore so much, would not be here if Tolkien hadn’t lit the flame of fantasy. He is, after all, known as the “father of modern fantasy” for a reason.