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View Diary: Books Go Boom! How 'Lord of the Rings' is Not a Very Good Book - and Yet, is a Great One (296 comments)

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  •  And yet he's all about (1+ / 0-)
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    Brecht

    the Wars of the Roses, which are definitely PAST. I confess I'm not quite sure what you meant in that comment.

    Ice & Fire seems very plausible to me (well, except for the fantasy elements which -- this being fantasy -- belong).

    English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

    by Youffraita on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 12:29:46 AM PDT

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    •  Tolkien wasn't inventing Middle Earth to make (2+ / 0-)
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      RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

      a statement - he just got carried away with an unusual personal game, and LotR was the prize he found at the end.

      Martin has had a career with ups and downs, in different genres, and TV. And he came to Epic Fantasy half a century after Tolkien. After he'd written a few installments, his Ice & Fire series became by far his greatest success, and now he's deep into the TV adaptation of it too, and conquering the zeitgeist.

      Martin is a writer who's learned many professional skills, and has absorbed the books by his best Epic competitors. And he finds he's writing his masterpiece, his shot at making it into the Canon.

      So in creating his orange, he's making a statement on many levels, and I believe he's trying to encompass the best that Epic Fantasy's achieved, and express his whole imagination and personality, and is also deliberately changing the formulae. He is writing towards eternity, and inventing new edges for Fantasy.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 05:53:49 PM PDT

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      •  Okay, well, damn, I read something today (3+ / 0-)
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        Brecht, poco, RiveroftheWest

        that I really would like to blockquote to you, with a link to the original & it wasn't Maureen Dowd and I don't think it was the Baltimore Sun, so I am kind of at a loss...maybe it was Saturday's NYT review of the fourth season of the show Game of Thrones...except I can't find the quote there, either.

        What it was, it was someone saying something nice about Tolkien kind of Christianizing his worldview in LOTR (no, I do not know exactly what that means) vs. Martin having a (insert ancient Greek philosophy here) on the subject. The writer wasn't pro or anti either author: just saying that the worldviews were different, and Martin was, perhaps, more realistic (if you're me) or more cynical (if you're Tolkien).

        English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

        by Youffraita on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 12:34:27 AM PDT

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        •  And some readers who read fantasy to escape prefer (3+ / 0-)
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          poco, RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

          to escape to a more black and white world, where good people often come into great power, and where good can triumph outright in the end.

          Tolkien comes closer to this than Martin. Both of them are complex men. Having read some of Martin's chilling horror (e.g. Sandkings), and some of Tolkien's whimsical tales, I suspect that Martin has deeper and colder darkness in his imagination; and he lives in a darker and more cynical time, where selfish people have taken over and degraded many of our institutions and much of our culture.

          If there is a religious underpinning of Fantasy Epics, it is the Battle between Good and Evil, in all its forms. Tolkien and Martin each handle this well, according to the texture of their worlds.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:55:18 AM PDT

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          •  That's it exactly: I love Martin's work (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brecht, RiveroftheWest

            because it isn't black/white, good/evil, in the classic sense.

            You don't want a favorite character to get offed? Don't read Martin. (Or Rowling, for that matter.)

            I also love Martin (and Rowling) b/c they have created sprawling worlds of wonder with the potential for good OR bad to be revealed whenever you turn a stone.

            If you know what I mean (and I'm sure you do).

            English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

            by Youffraita on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 12:13:29 AM PDT

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