As a huge fan of Tolkien who just started watching Game of Thrones (I won't be reading Martin's books anytime soon though) I noticed that the two authors' universes are very similar in a lot of ways, but in my opinion they are way more different than most people make them out to be.
GoT seems to present itself as much more realistic, aiming to display humans rarely as just basically good or basically bad. It portrays most people as selfish, caring about their interests first (or only) and showing little regard towards others. So yeah, pretty pessimistic approach. I'm saying all this as someone who, I repeat, has never read Martin's works and doesn't even know that much about GoT, this is just the things I've noticed so far.
And then there is Tolkien, who I know waaaay more about. Now Tolkien's books are supposed to be optimistic. They were written that way. Tolkien loves beauty, honor, happiness, and goodwill in general. That's why he spends so much time describing forests, history, peoples, languages, food and so much more (which is a common criticism but I personally love it). Yes, Tolkien's characters are technically romanticized versions of great heroes, inspired by Germanic mythology. That's not the most realistic thing in the world. But that doesn't mean it's a bad thing in a book. It's kind of nice actually, when you read Tolkien's books, which can often be very dark and serious (I mean just look at the whole character of Gollum/Sméagol), but there is still that sense that there is still good in this world, that is worth fighting for. That there is always hope.
One more thing I'd like to touch on is the subject of sex (or lack thereof). Sex is everywhere in GoT. You don't need to even watch the show to know that. In real life, most people are obsessed with sex, it's one of our greatest weaknesses. So yeah, realistic. Then there is Tolkien, who I'm pretty sure never wrote about sex at all. But holy shit can he be romantic. I'm not talking about Arwen and Aragorn, they aren't that romantic in the books (they are in the movies though), but that short part where Faramir and Eowyn fall in love is one of the most beautiful things I remember reading. There is also Beren and Lúthien. Tolkien just didn't really want to focus on romance, but dammit if he did, it would be absolutely amazing. Anyway… sex. You could say that Tolkien didn't write about it because he was a professor, and a conservative Catholic who wrote LOTR in the '50s, and yeah, sure, that's the reason I guess. But does there really have to be sex involved? Or rather, is it possible that Tolkien's books are even better because there is no sex in them? Hmm.. who'd've thought. And yeah, they are. Personally, sex really isn't that big of a deal. Romantic love is just infinitely cooler. But wouldn't sex make it even better? Yeah… no, not necessarily. In my relationship with my boyfriend, I will sometimes deliberately avoid involving anything sexual, because it kinda ruins it. It's almost like we have two modes, the sexual one and the non-sexual one (I didn't wanna say asexual because that kinda doesn't sound right). Yeah, I understand a lot of people aren't like that, but that's how it works for me (or us two, I should say). So what I mean by all that is that sexual content can kinda ruin something. And that's why LOTR is better without sex.
So yeah, I'm asking people who know more than me, about Tolkien as well, but definitely about Martin. How do you compare those two in these ways, what are the things you personally like?
Source: reddit post