« on: February 27, 2013, 06:31:29 PM »
I think the main thing to remember about Tolkien, is that he was a writer of his time, not to mention one of the first modern fantasy writers. His style matches the age he was writing in, and his generation, not to mention the inspiration from the various histories, myths and sagas he drew ideas from. By today's standards, it's quite slow and methodical.
Martin shares many aspects of what we now call 'Epic' or 'High' fantasy, a genre arguably created by Tolkien, in that he writes on a grand level, with multiple narrative strands and a huge story arc. However, Martin writes for the modern audience. His prose style is modern, his action more visceral and, crucially, he has many more characters with their own narrative strand. This means he's constantly moving various pieces of the story along from many angles, and just when you get hooked on one, he swaps onto the next. This has a duel affect, both driving you on to get back to that character, while also developing a need to get back to the current character. It's almost cruel, but very enjoyable.
Also, Martin has said he drew some inspiration from The Twelve Caesars, and so we have a lot of politics, betrayals and in fighting. It's also not a cheerful read - it's bleak, captivatingly so, and nobody is safe. Women, children and pets - no one is safe. The sense of immediate peril is evident through much of the book, and gives it an urgency not present in Tolkien's books. At least in my opinion.
Or, to paraphrase Clerks 2, Martin's story isn't a series of books about walking...