VOTE: Is ‘Game of Thrones’ Better Than ‘Lord of the Rings’?

VOTE: Is 'Game of Thrones' Better

Game of Thrones” recently became the most popular show ever on HBO and has already solidified itself as one of the top-rated fantasy projects of all-time, leading us to ask the difficult question—-is “Game of Thrones” better than Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” movies?

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 110

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. JoeO says:

    According to a poll it seems that the Lord of the Rings is still preferred to Game of Thrones
    Not sure if for long …

  2. Gonzo says:

    The Lord of the Ring For sure \m/ GOT is a piece of crap .

  3. NC Smith says:

    A test… which would you read or watch 20 years from now? In my case, that would be LOTR.

  4. Ken Lauer says:

    Things GOT got from LOTR

    Horse lords
    ValyrionLanguage/elven language
    valyrion steel/blades of elven make
    the sense a coming darkness is coming
    a small person can combat evil

  5. Pax says:

    Tolkien created several distinct and functioning languages (he was a linguist after all) as well reams of backstory and context in the Silmarillion. That alone sets his work apart from the imitators. Martin, to his credit, acknowledges that he is merely an acolyte to the true master of the genre.

    Tolkien does owe much to Beowulf however and other ancient tales but his work will probably never matched due it’s depth, maturity and tonal perfection.

    Game of Thrones is too hung up on sex and other banal obsessions to approach the depth of Tolkien’s achievement. I gave up on both the books and the series after realizing what his (Martin) angle was.

  6. Lotr is better in my opinion. The LoTR universe is also much larger because Tolkien dedicated his life to the universe. Before his death he even gave his son a mission to complete his final book.

  7. MixedMedia says:

    LOTR is nice but all the characters are either good or evil. Characters are ruled by their archetypes leaving no room for suspension of disbelief. If you ever thought that Frodo and Sam wouldn’t end the story basking in glorious white light after having defeated the evil Sauron and his black hordes then you’re a fool. “Good characters” should mean that they are somewhere in between good and evil and that their story is spontaneous and interesting as opposed to a character that gets a free pass and who has some kind of set destiny. LOTR as a whole lacks substance. GOT may have gratuitous sex and the show cannot include many big battles due to budget but the characters and story have substance. LOTR deserves respect and it’s place in history like a polished steam train in a museum. The bullet train is it’s successor and the people are hopping on for the ride.

    • Ken Lauer says:

      Not entirely true. In LOTR characters that are essentially falling from grace and turning evil. In Smeagol there was a continuous battle between his good and evil duality that ends just before Shelobs lair.

      The main difference is LOTR is about the quest and fight for the good of humanity, whereas GOT is just sex and politics.

      • Adam Sneath says:

        Not true at all, Boromir, Saruman, Smeagol, Denathor are all examples of characters with both good and evil parts.

  8. 62.08% says NO :O How many ignorant people.

  9. kynan says:

    GOT is not xd xd xd x slide assasin ..hhmmm…

  10. Savvas says:

    Compare lotr to got? seriously? GOT has influence from LOTR everywhere. Tyrion the most beloved character, being an imp.. like lotr has biblo and frodo (hobbits) with very difficult tasks, to show that size does n’t matter and that the smallest person can change the world. In the battle of the wall season 4 episode 9, they brought mumakil type units, called mamooth.. k.. they use the word valar, the gods of middle earth, as a word in “valar morgulis”… and more

  11. karolina says:

    Got is amazing but lotr is freaking epic and beyond comparison!!!

  12. People do realize the 99% of fantasy is in someway influenced from LotR right?

  13. ok, lotr is almost the winner, finally everybody realize the truth… i just watched got for about 5 minutes and say NEEEEEEEEEEEEEXT!, but my mom, my sister and my brother in law, are in love with this show, and i can´t figure it out why……

  14. Van Nelson says:

    They are not even in the same league.
    Lotr is a lot better.

  15. Gusfsss says:

    you’re a bloody idiot if you think so.

    • Tasha says:

      People are entitled to their opinions, but how someone views another with a differing opinion…is also an opinion. So, you are entitled to your opinion, and others are entitled to their opinion about you. You can have your opinion, but that doesn’t mean people have to like, agree or respect you for it. (The same goes in reverse too)

    • I agree his comment was harsh and offensive. However, there is no opinion in this matter. Only right and wrong im afraid.

  16. Daryle says:

    I personally have to separate out the films from the books. Book-wise, I have never been able to get through the Lord of the Rings books – too dark, too MALE, and simply not an enjoyable read for me. The Song of Fire and Ice has such fascinating characters, women play key roles, and Martin’s flair for dialogue makes the books absolutely wonderful. I strongly disagree with those who say everyone in The Song of Fire and Ice is basically evil and all that all will die in the end. There are some wonderfully noble characters – Brienne of Tarth, Jon Snow, Samwell Tarly. Perhaps I am naïve, but I do think that good will triumph over evil in the end in a wonderful way…at least I hope so.

    As for TV show GoT vs. the movies for LoTR, I have to agree with those who say it’s an unfair comparison. Both epic sagas – hard to do with either of them on the small screen what one might do on the big screen with a big screen budget. I frankly didn’t get care for the first two LoTR movies, though I liked the third. Game of Thrones – some episodes were better than others – but overall, it’s better than 95% of the other stuff on TV.

    But upon reflection, I think I like GoT because I like the BOOKS so much. If I hadn’t read the books (twice, actually), I don’t know that I would like the show as much.

    And it’s funny….to all the people who said it was a dumb question….it evidently wasn’t, given the number of responses it precipitated!

    • Tasha says:

      Odd, I found Martin’s story to be riddled with darkness (and incredibly depressing). Tolkien’s is about hope, honor and morality. Very heroic and noble people, the opposite of Martin’s.

      And as for women, Tolkien didn’t need to add incest, rape and murder into the mix to have likeable, heroic, brave and strong women. He had women leaders and fighters-they were not the focus of the story, but at least he had positive female role models.

      • Jeremy says:

        To be fair, that was accidental and Turin introduced his intestines to Gurthang afterwords.

        The Lord of the Rings itself is definitely a bit of a sausage fest, but there are a lot of strong women throughout the lore. Men do dominate, but there’s probably more men in GoT too. The nature of the societies they portray.

      • Danseru-kun says:

        Agree with Daryle on women, The Hobbit book has no important female character, or at least a female character with a long dialogue. As for LoTR, I agree that Galadriel and Eowyn are wonderful and compelling female characters (Arwen too in the movies) but that doesn’t erase the fact that at least 95% of lines and actions in the books are done by male characters.

        The measure of feminism isn’t one or two “strong female character” that kicks ass in a sea of dudes, what is better is a good male-female ration with female characters having diverse roles, personalities and contributions to the story like male characters. GoT gave us that, we have women who are complex, complicated, weak, strong, kind, cruel, ambitions, smart, stupid and so forth.

        I have my own likes and dislikes in both series, and I can’t say which I love more since they are too different. But as a woman I can say that despite all the unnecessary sexploitation I have never seen a SET of women in fantasy as empowering as we see in GoT.

      • Tasha says:

        He used it as the same context as the Arthurian Legends. It wasn’t the focus. (Plus, the brother/sister thing is not new, but it is rarely represented as being a positive thing. It was often symbolic, but people are too dim to get that…. )
        Anyway, an entire culture based on incest wouldn’t get very far….. so Martin’s is very unrealistic. The only purpose is to be dark. Shock for shocks sake.

      • TK says:

        Tolkien had already done the incest thing in The Silmarillion. Read about Turin Turambar.

  17. I’m pretty sure George R.R. Martin would have a heart attack if he knew GoT was being compared to/going up against LOTR. GoT is probably the best, if not one of the best TV shows, and fantasy sagas of all time…but it does not come close to what Tolkien created…not even REMOTELY close. This poll is a joke.

  18. marjolein says:

    legolas!!!!!! xxx <3

  19. marjolein says:

    LOTR!!!!! <3 <3 :p legolas,<3 aragorn, tranduil, gimli, elrond, haldir, arwen tauriel, gandalf, …. <3 <3

  20. Jan Jarrell says:

    This whole ‘which is better’ concept is disgusting. They are two totally different works. You’re asking people to compare cabbage with a cell phone. Neither is better!! Both are fine in their own world!!

  21. Arwen says:

    Never! Tolkien is god <3

  22. Alerase says:

    So, I think that the books of ‘Game of Thrones’ are more interesting but on TV it’s terrible.

  23. fozz says:

    Game of Thrones for me is a much more entertaining and better story that Lord of the Rings/Silmarillion/Hobbit etc. This is coming from someones who from a very young age has read Tolkein’s work and considered LOTR etc. to be the best story ever written. Until now. JRRT is undoubtedly a true pioneer and magnificent writer who created a world and a saga which has inspired an entire genre, not least of which GOT/ASOIAF. His books are beautiful and the depth is incredible – i.e the very own languages and history, lore and songs etc.

    However, I have been watching GOT (I cannot comment on GRRM’s writing I have no time to read the books – I wish I had discovered them when I was younger) and no other story has gripped me or interested me as much of this. It’s the scope, the different storylines, the ambiguity. It fits so much more in a modern world where we must question everything. LOTR comes from a time when there was so called ‘good’ and ‘evil’ (or at least considered that way due to ignorance), black and white etc. Our enemies were other countries from far away, evil nazis who committed genocide. People had grown up okay with our governments ideas of colonialism and persecution of indigenous populations and having less concept of the other side. Game of Thrones doesn’t really take sides, even the more ‘good’ characters’ still exercise capital punishment etc. It’s a realistic picture of a medieval world. You know roughly what will happen in LOTR. A few characters may get killed off you but know Aragorn’s going to be King and the Ring is history. How you get there is the beauty of the story, but GOT has me on the edge of my seat thinking ‘will he survive this?’ Will everyone just die in the end or will they be saved. You know right from the start that Sauron/Morgoth isn’t going to win in the end.

    One last thing is when you start looking at the whole LOTR saga, it does get a bit religious for me. Having basically ‘God’ create the world, save the world is not something I agree with and is not great storytelling. Fantastic mythos, maybe people will find it in 1000 years and look back on it like the very stories Tolkein studied, but GOT is just more exciting.

    • Tasha says:

      I’m not religious, but I understand the morality which Tolkien wrote and valued. *That* is the key difference between his writings and Martin’s. Tolkien’s world shows a very strong morality, Martin’s has none.

      • John says:

        How does Martin’s world not show strong morality? Sure honor and courage aren’t always rewarded like in the stereotypical fantasy world but that doesn’t mean there aren’t highly respectable, righteous people. Martin’s world is much more relatable to the world we live in where things aren’t always black and white – where telling a drastic lie is done to save loved ones and cold-blooded murder can be justified.

        Look to Sandor Clegane for the embodiment of the real world’s response to good intentions. My heart broke to pieces for him but I prefer what happened over a fairy tale of redemption and happily ever after.

      • John Red says:

        Good look living in the real world if you expect it to be morale.

  24. Tasha says:

    There is no comparison. Tolkien wrote meaningful stories about good people. He had a point, a morality. A theme of hope in dark times. Game of Thrones is the opposite. There is nothing good or noble in Martin’s writings. His view is dark and cynical. It’s nothing more than political drama masquerading as fantasy.

    • Tasha says:

      In your world. Not mine.

    • Tristan says:

      I’ve seen your comments up and down here, and I have to say I agree mostly. I watch/read GoT, even though I don’t enjoy it, I like it, or I enjoy it but don’t like it. It’s all back stabbing and betrayal, anyone with loyalty and morals is killed because dishonourable people aren’t hindered by things like loyalty and morality. It’s an interesting and, as you said, entirely cynical look into political corruption, most the characters are terrible people, and you end up watching it in the hopes of seeing them pay for all the wrong they do. There are many intertwining character arcs going on, some that you route for because that person is not as sadistic or evil as the rest, but mostly I hope the dragons come and burn everything in the end.

      LotR shall forever have the high ground over this.

    • Neurion says:

      I completly agree that they can’t be compared. However, GoT is fantastic. The characters are incredible, the story is so exciting, and the music brings it all together.

      • TK says:

        While it has merit, GoT bugs me ultimately because none of the political machinations we are watching ultimately matter. And maybe that’s “the point”, but I can watch family kill family for season after season and it won’t matter once winter finally comes. So who wins the game of thrones is irrelevant. The White Walkers will come and kill everyone or not and something will happen with dragons. Everything else is just wheel-spinning until then. It’s like watching LOST all over again, and just like LOST, everyone you like dies before the end.

      • Tasha says:

        Sorry, but I disagree. I loath Game of Thrones, books and series. There is no story or point. No hero’s journey, no growth. I don’t find it exciting, just dark. Very depressing.

  25. Bill Carroll says:

    I choose the third option: Each has their own good qualities.

    • John J says:

      I’m sorry Tasha, but no story or point and it’s rather depressing. Yes there are sad parts, but when you see Jon Snow become Lord Commander through Sam’s tactic, (won’t go into it to much) I celebrated and was thinking, good on him. The thing that people say everybody dies is a load of ********.

      Main and Minor Characters (PoV’s in the books)
      Dead- 3
      Alive- 19
      Unsure- 2

  26. Shellen Aara says:

    O que é interessante é a quase completa hipocrisia dessa votação: George R. R. Martin é um super fã de Tolkien, o próprio diz que tem seu estilo baseado em seus sentimentos depois de ler a literatura do mestre J. R. R. Tolkien. Não podemos comparar as duas “sagas”. São grandes obras de dois imensos autores que merecem grande reconhecimento. Simplesmente não há uma comparação em GOT e LOTR ao meu ponto de vista. É Hipocrisia compará-los!

  27. Bee says:

    Pathetic question! GoT will never be a classic, it is not at all timeless like the LOTR. It is just drama/violence/porn, there’s no beauty to the story at all. The only reason GoT is winning this poll is because it is a trendy thing to love right now. It will pass. No one will remember GoT in 100 years but they sure will remember the LOTR.

    • Erik W-a K says:

      That’s stupid, it’s only four years old, what do you know will be classic in the future or not ? A Song of Ice and Fire is a Great book series, and will last forever. The TV show like it or not is an ADULT program that Fantasy fans have been waiting for. I love LOTR/Hobbit (Books) my whole life, I’ve enjoyed the Animated movies as a kid, and I liked the live action movies, but it’s “Family friendly”, with too much child like silliness, and watered down violence (no blood), and very little romance (the books anyway). Game of Thrones, LIKE a Song of Ice and Fire, LIKE The Hobbit, LIKE Lord of the Rings will last forever. Hater.

      • John J says:

        Stop saying it’s porn when it is clearly not, you obviously haven’t watched the show when you say it. In the first two series’s there is probably the most and out of over 1000 minutes of screen time there are only 16 minutes of visible nudity. And most is sometimes just a glimpse of a naked woman in a brothel. Which is very real and appropriate to fit the time period it is based off as that is what was there if those times even if its a fantasy world.

    • Lambo says:

      Game of Thrones might not be, but A Song of Ice and Fire will certainly be around in 100 years and is certainly a classic. It’s a breath of fresh air in a stagnating genre that Fantasy has become.

    • Amarantha says:

      I did vote ‘no’ though I really like GoT. But it’s almost impossible to compare this show with LotR = both is fantasy, yes, but two different things. And I agree with Bee: LotR is made for the eternity, GoT is just a hype.

  28. malcolm says:

    I love ASOIAF ive been reading it since the first book came out and i think the TV show is one of the best adapted series ever made …so far
    and that’s why i couldn’t vote for it,its just not complete the book series isn’t even close to being finished never mind the TV show and LOTR is,Peter Jackson’s films may be a very loose adaptation but it is finished its a complete thing and great for what it is …so i had to vote LOTR

  29. Jarno L. says:

    When I read the headline I first thought “not”. Then I read the text and noticed that this was not about the books but about the series vs. Peter Jackson’s movies where the entire story and great characters created by Tolkien are ruined. The movie with it’s characters have little to do with the books of Tolkien.

  30. Jamie O'Meagher says:

    The reason why GoT has more votes than LOTR is because GoT has become trendy to watch and support. I think the majority of people who voted for Thrones haven’t read or watched properly The Lord of the Rings. I understand some people just simply prefer GoT over LOTR, but I believe that Tolkien’s works, and Jackson’s portrayal of Tolkien’s works, are on another level entirely to anything anyone has done before. No disrespect to Thrones. LOTR > everything.

  31. You can not compare the two at all…Game Of Thrones is filled with sex, nudity, deceit and violence to where LOTR’s is as wholesome as can be. Both series of books are Fantastic, but to try and say that one is better then the other PFFFF!! So no vote from me on this at all, I personally LOVE them both and see no comparison.

  32. Seriously disappointed in those who said yes…. The show is good but NOTHING can be like LOTR…..

  33. Tristan says:

    A Song of Ice and Fire is great, but Lord of the Rings is better, if you’re going by the books. Tolkien’s work is legend, has been and will continue being an inspiration to writers. And though both fall into the “fantasy” genre, they fall at different ends of the fantasy spectrum.

    However, trying to compare the LotR film to the GoT show is pretty damn stupid. Imagine if LotR had been a show, would it have been better or worse? Or if GoT had been a series of films? There are people that don’t or will not watch GoT for it’s nudity and violence, but LotR is okay,

  34. 時大姐 says:

    I hate it when people compare great movies(or TV series), they’re all great in different ways. Why can’t people just appreciate them.

  35. Zoe says:

    This poll is ridiculous. Nothing is better than Tolkien’s works. He is the father of fantasy literature and his works are the main inspiration for whatever came after it, like GoT. This is an insult to the Professor. Martin sucks.

  36. Mary says:

    Okay, this is absurd. George Martin said that he is a huge LOTR fan, and his books are clearly based on Tolkien’s work. NOTHING is better than LOTR! Tolkien’s the father of fantasy. End of story.
    And, came on, 17 Oscars. Bitch, please.

  37. Bruna Martins says:

    There’s no need for this comparison.

  38. Bogdan says:

    how the fuck can you say that the Game of Thrones is better than LOTR , Are you guys\girls retarded or what?

  39. Winter says:

    Interesting that the question is about the film versions, but most of the commentary seems to focus on the books. The LOTR movies were over all much more faithful to the original stories than the GOT series has so far been to the books. Yes, there was sex in the Ice and Fire books, but proportionally not even a tenth of what is in the series, especially the first two seasons. They left so much out, and yet they also added a lot, and what did they add? SEX!!! And although it would be difficult to add to the violence from the books, they even managed that! The whole story line with Ramsay Bolton torturing Theon was not in the books. We just suddenly became aware that Theon was Reek without all the detail of how it came about. So video versions, there’s no question. LOTR definitely gets my vote there, simply because they stuck pretty close to the story.

    But whether or not we are discussing print or video versions, there’s no real comparison between the two. It’s not so much that they appeal to different audiences, because I am pretty sure the majority of those who have read Ice and Fire have also read Tolkien (though people who watch the GOT series might well have never seen the LOTR movies or read either set of books.) But the moods are so different. Even when it’s dark, Tolkien has a basic optimism that Ice and Fire simply doesn’t have. The Ice and Fire books are so dark that I had to stop in between books so that I could recover my mood. Not to mention that with LOTR, I didn’t have to draw a chart on the wall to keep all the characters straight. And while I can read one of the Tolkien books in one or two sittings, one of the Ice and Fire books takes me a week.

    Martin has created a series of truly awesome scope, so if we are asking which is the most impressive accomplishment book wise, I have to go with Ice and Fire. I’d really hate to be his editor looking for inconsistencies! Let’s all just hope he lives long enough to finish the whole thing. But do I think that means the stories are better? Not at all. There is not choosing whic his better. Which do I enjoy more? Tolkien. And why? Because en-joy has joy as its base, and there is absolutely NO joy in the Ice and Fire books.

    • tyelko says:

      “The LOTR movies were over all much more faithful to the original stories than the GOT series has so far been to the books. ”

      Nope. They turned Tolkien’s values upside down and the story into the antithesis of what it originally was. Contrary to their claims, the makers might have read a lot but understood very little about how the world Middle Earth is set in works. In a story of which Tolkien once wrote in a letter that it is ultimately about death and the desire for deathlessness, they misunderstood completely the concept of death and turned enemies who were out to dominate the free will into cliché genocidal maniacs.

      And it would have been so easy to recognize the mistake:

      One Ring to RULE them all, One Ring to find them
      One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness BIND them.

      Not One Ring to kill them all…

  40. Trillian says:

    There is no comparison between the 2 books. They have appeal for different types of audiences. LOTR has good triumphing over evil, fantastical characters and was the basis for current fantasy novels. GOT has a lot of action, gore, sex, & death ( and yes I like both series of books, but facts are facts lol) It has an appeal for a more modern reader. LOTR is a timeless classic

  41. Mirin says:

    I love the ASOIAF book series but the television show is nowhere near as good as the LOTR movies.

  42. Buck Odoms says:

    Here is another one for you all. Name the actor(s) who played in both. And which character portrayal was best?

  43. Freddie Astaire says:

    I think people are forgetting an important aspect when comparing Tolkien and Martin; the time periods in which each author lived. Tolkien was writing in the early to mid 20th century, while Martin is a contemporary writer. Martin’s stories would have been considered incredibly violent, horribly so, by readers of Tolkien’s time. The Lord of the Rings is a beautifully written story; the prose is elegant, sometimes poetically so. There are no loose ends, no inexplicable plot turns, no forced mechanisms that can make the story seem hollow.Tolkien is considered the standard by which other fantasy writers are measured for a reason; the man was a professor, for goodness’ sake. This is not to say that Martin is not a good storyteller; he is, and sometimes Tolkien gets so caught up in providing geographical detail to increase realism, that the pace of the story suffers. To compare the two is almost unfair; society’s needs for action, violence, and a galloping story line just keep increasing. I think it comes down to this: Tolkien’s beautiful books stand the test of time. Martin’s gore-fest may be more entertaining, and easier to read, but Tolkien was the better writer.

    I think Tolkien would be pleased by Peter Jackson’s version of Lord of the Rings. For me, Game of Thrones is entertaining, but I find myself questioning the characters’ motivations, the level of violence is overwhelming, and sometimes the plot seems so contrived. I often find myself asking why certain events unfold in the ways that they do.

  44. Peggy Smith says:

    I’m not sure why you would even insult either movie by trying to ask that question!!! They are both so spectacular in their own right, based on amazingly well-written books, produced stunningly and cast brilliantly.

  45. lololololololol how stupid. lord of the rings had history behind the book. game of thrones is a sub par fantasy sucked up of every single fantasy ever written.

  46. Dan28 says:

    I would say A Song of Ice and Fire is more enjoyable to me than the LotR. I also find Tad Williams’ Memory Sorrow and Thorn trilogy a more enjoyable read than LotR (Martin has stated if it wasn’t for this trilogy, he probably would not have ever began Game of Thrones).

    I like the above two series of books better than LotR as someone whose love of reading was started by being forced to read The Hobbit in junior high for a class. I have reread the Hobbit and LotR many times since. I find Tolkien was too black and white, good or evil with not enough grey area. He dealt in absolutes for the most part, which is not realistic (though I see the irony in looking for realism in a world of magic) He also seemed to not like female characters that do much. (yes I’ve read the Silmalrillion where there were a few more female characters)

    • Tasha says:

      Seriously? “Tolkien didn’t like females much”? And Martin *does*??? Tolkien does not get much credit for it, but he did actually write good, strong women. Women who fought and lead.

      Martin just writes about kinky, dark, incestuous sex and murder. His world is dark and depressing. While people claim Tolkien wrote ‘black and white”, at least he had the “white” (the good) His world wasn’t a black hole of despair. Unlike Martin’s, Tolkien’s stories have depth and a far more interesting, complex and real world.

    • you also have to keep in mind he did not want to write LotR; he was writing until his death the Silmarillion that he could not get published. His publishers wanted a sequel to The Hobbit.

    • Not enough Females in Tolkien’s books. Wow, I am a women and it does not at all bother me. Keep in mind when these books were written. They were written in a time that women for the most part were house wives and really had no importance at all to warrant having a ton of female characters that will actually do anything for the story..He had just the right amount of female characters in my opinion. Also keep in mind that a lot of his vision took place in the trenches of war and I am sure that women were the last thing that he wanted to think about.

  47. Tony Vindett says:

    GoT is considerably better than LotR, both on the page and on the screen. Sure, JRRT paved the way for fantasy writers but that, in and of itself, does not mean LotR is better. I mean we wouldn’t have cars without carriages, but I doubt any of us would rather travel by carriage over a car. Just because something came first doesn’t mean its better, in fact, it rarely means that.

    While LotR did create almost all of the normal fantasy tropes we know and love, it also gave us very, very, very poor story telling. JRRT’s strength was in world building not story telling. He’d have been better off creating his world of Middle Earth and letting and actual author write the story that exists in the world JRRT created. This is why GoT is so much better. GRRM is just as adept at world building but he’s also an incredible story teller. JRRT, wrote himself into numerous corners where he had to invent something at the last minute to get his protagonists out of the jam (just like every Harry Potter). That’s weak writing/storytelling.

    • I don’t think it’s weak storytelling to save your characters – they just chose not to tell them (all) die. In fact, there’s multiple character deaths in both Lord of the Rings AND Harry Potter, so I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about.

      I think it’s weak storytelling if you continually kill off characters (literally, -continuously-) killing characters, like in GoT (at least the novels), to keep people transfixed and interested.

      How is LotR poor storytelling? I loved the books, and I loved the Hobbit. I don’t think you’ve read the books if you don’t believe there’s storytelling. The movies alone did not cover everything, obviously.

      But sure, I guess you’d think GoT is better if you like sexual themes every episode, rape, incest, and constant killing. (Lot of storytelling there!)

      • Tasha says:

        Interesting that you mentioned the cars and carriages! Given that Tolkien was very, very much against industry…..He loved nature.

        Odd that should be mocked nowadays….

      • Tasha says:

        @Tony Vindett
        So, what is the reason you like the Game of Thrones series, books and/or series?
        ( I have yet to see an answer to this that disproves my theory of it reflecting a world view.)

        I can list off several reasons why I love The Lord of the Rings, and why I despise Game of Thrones (and have done so in this comment section)

        From what I have seen, people are simply being called out on their reasoning. I don’t think people necessarily like the series due to the sex/violence, but I do think they are drawn to something that reflects their own viewpoint/belief. That belief has been in cynicism. That there is no good/bad.
        Whereas most fans of Tolkien, agree and appreciate his point. That there is good + bad and the good is worth fighting for. Even in the darkest times, people can still be heroic and *moral* (That is something I have seen GoT people really hate, the morality of Tolkien.)

        What about the series appeals to you?

      • Tasha says:

        I couldn’t agree more Lindsey!

        I continue to be amazed (even thought I shouldn’t be) that just because something is ‘dark’ that makes it good writing! They don’t give any thought to what the point of the story is. What the author is trying to say. They tend to look at morality as something to be scorned, something that is weak. (I suppose to some, Tolkien was “weak” for not having a main character kill his lover because she “betrayed” him with his father…To Martin, & his fans, betrayal means being tortured & raped. Very progressive…..)

        What makes Tolkien such a strong author (to me) is *what* he is writing about, how poetically he tells his story. His themes of morality, courage, love, pity and hope.

        I find people are drawn to things that echo their own beliefs. So, darkness and cynicism attracts darkness and cynicism.

      • AHughes says:

        I agree 100% with you Lindsey. Not that Martin isn’t a good storyteller, but he’s not a great one like Tolkien. Without the rawness and shock associated with GoT, it wouldn’t have near the following it does. Saying Tolkien isn’t a great storyteller is like saying the Beatles weren’t famous. You may not have liked the Beatles, but there is no denying their fame. It’s the same with Tolkien. You may not like The Hobbit or LoTR, but there is no denying his ability as a storyteller and writer.

        You yourself said, and I quote “While LotR did create almost all of the normal fantasy tropes we know and love, it also gave us very, very, very poor story telling”.

        Three ‘verys’… really? I’ve seen very, very, very poor storytelling and I can’t think of one example that created the following Tolkien did. He inspired books, movies, role playing games, video games, etc. I mean sure Martin has the books and I believe I saw a game created (does anyone play?), but these days it’s all about bandwagons. Jump on them while they are rolling and bail off when they slow down.

        How long will Martin’s bandwagon roll on? The Hobbit was published 77 years ago and we’re still talking about it. The motion pictures are just now out, with one left to air. I wonder which story my great grandchildren will know? Whose name will they recognize, Martin or Tolkien? My money is on Tolkien, but I happen to like his stories very, very, very much…

      • Tony Vindett says:

        WADR, you completely misunderstood.

        The weak storytelling comes from inventing an “out” for the protagonists at the very least second. For example, the ghost army from LotR (I can’t remember their name). All along, our protagonists fight numerous wars and battles and then when they are faced with their toughest challenge yet….”oh yeah, there’s this unstoppable ghost army, so go get them real quick”. Its like Harry Potter, everyone’s about to die and….”oh yeah, there’s a spell that fixes everything!!!!”

        I also think its odd that you’ve chosen to attribute to me that I’m in to GoT for the sex without a stitch of evidence leading you to that conclusion. It makes me wonder of the sex is the main reason you don’t give GoT its due.

  48. FrodoRox says:

    At least in LOTR I could remember the characters names! GOT has so many characters and you see them so little and so randomly, I can’t keep up with who is who and what they mean in the grand scheme of things. Maybe if GOTR had been released in 3-hour segments I could keep up, but not as it is one hour per week on HBO.

  49. Lord of the Rings along with its parent “The Silmarillion” are unquestionably the superior literature. However, as a story, I would argue that Game of Thrones is more ‘entertaining,’ especially for the masses.

    LOTR and Silmarillion are true high forms of literature. A beautiful composition of words, ideas, grandeur and sweep. Game of Thrones (books and TV) is more like entertaining, crowd pleasing, addictive soap opera. Game of Thrones is not meant to be something like lyrical literature, but more like a gritty, brutal, fantastical send off to the middle ages. As literature, it is unquestionably inferior to both Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, but it does make for better melodrama.

    And to those people complaining about the eagles in LOTR — read: Silmarillion. It is very dark, tragic and full of despair. There are no eagles flying down to save the day. But it is the true definition, the epitome even, of Epic.

    Nothing in GRR Martin’s works comes even close to The Silmarillion. As for LOTR, I would live comfortably if Game of Thrones were never written, but the world will be the poorer if LOTR were never written.

    • TK says:

      I’m rereading Silmarillion right now, and while I’d agree it’s darker and beautiful, there are still eagles swooping down to save the day. It’s less over than flying lots of people out of danger, but it’s happened twice so far.

      For those for whom Silmarillion is too dense, try The Children of Hurin, which covers only one part of it, and is less dense (though certain portions are lifted straight from Silmarillion to fill in gaps in Tolkien’s text, and those can get a little wordy with proper nouns).

More Film News from Variety