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Thread: Sanderson vs. GRRM Plots
June 15th, 2009, 03:28 AM #16
I 've just finished Well of Ascension, and I find it hard to compare the plots of Sanderson with those of GRRM. I know the original poster referred specifically to the plot twist at the end of book two, but overall I found Sanderson to write a pretty straightforward, linear story taking the characters from point A to point B. It's kind of obvious the author will need to turn the cards on the heroine in order to provide material for another volume. It's even pretty clear where the heroine will go in the third installment. With Martin there are seven to ten main storylines to Sanderson's one, and all of them strike off at a tangent in unexpected ways.
June 15th, 2009, 06:08 AM #17
Comparing GRRM and Sanderson is not completely valid; it's not wise to compare GRRM to every author out there...people have taken him too much as a referential point (comparing authors to GRRM to assess their value is not ok).
Sanderson has his own merits, as does GRRM...but putting them in the same basket is a waste of time. GRRM vs. "random author name" reminds me of the countless futile "Metallica vs. Megadeth" threads you find on music forums.
August 18th, 2010, 06:55 PM #18
I think I agree, on some terms.
Firstly, GRRM is one thousand times a better writer. He writes well and fluently. He builds worlds that I would just love to take a dive into, he creates characters that could be my friend, my enemy, my neighbour, and he brings them to life (and kills them...)
Honestly. I have no idea of ONE SINGLE TRAIT of Vin's personality, because I swear to God that girl changes on an hourly basis. But, I know nearly every guard who captured Arya and Gendry in A Clash of Kings. I know their names and personalities better than I know one of Sanderson's main characters for fuzz sake.
However, yes, a few of his plots seem to take years to get started, to be too obvious, to be to worked, to have twists that sometimes feel that they are just there because he is worried fans might think he is being to obvious, like some big, cruel circle. Like - SPOILER, maybe? - I personally want Syrio to be Jaqen, to be the strange man in Old Town, to be Arya's sort-of Guardian. But I think George might think it to obvious by the time he get's there.
But, to be honest, aSoIaF is getting to the part where magic is really coming to life. Real fear, real trouble is bruing and not everything is about political warfare and council meetings. So, I think this point won't last for long. I hope, anyways.
August 19th, 2010, 03:57 AM #19
I think I am one of the few who isn't that impressed with the Red Wedding, so while GRRM is stronger in other parts (one could ask why I have to state that when we're specifically talking about plot twists... ) Sanderson is stronger in the plot twisting ways. And that applies both to The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension. That Robb's kingdom was finished was obvious even before the Red Wedding. Bereft of allies only a act of god (Martin) could have saved him and that would have made for a pretty crappy story-twist (if bigger than the red wedding). Sanderson twists the plot both by main character-deaths and other more subtle ways.
His he an better overall author than Martin, of course not but were talking plot-twists here and not suprisingly Martin isn't best at everything.
August 19th, 2010, 09:25 AM #20
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I really didn't consider the Red Wedding a twist, just a rising action point. Martin hinted at it so much it was clear something big was coming. There are other, more unexpected twists in aSoIaF, though perhaps not as intense.
On the other hand, I didn't see Ruin coming at the end of Well of Ascension, but given the clues and the fact that there was a sequel it was clear something was going to happen. Sanderson made you expect the unexpected, so there was a twist, but you knew there would be so it wasn't exactly shocking.
The kandra/Zane deal was a much more unexpected twist in Well. Stannis appearing in the north was more shocking in SoS.
August 19th, 2010, 12:11 PM #21
I don't know if I should be sad or laughing. I think I found more plot twists in my microwave warranty and return policy agreement than in stuff that Sanderson writes.
His whole "planet" to me seemed maybe the size of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (if that big, yet he still managed to make it empty and dull), the plot was as childish as it gets without being absolutely silly, his characters are generic cardboard cutouts I don't think I could care about if my life depended on it.
Comparing Sanderson to Martin is like comparing those daytime court TV shows to, I don't know, LotR movies. (lol) =p
August 19th, 2010, 12:20 PM #22
so.......not so much a Sanderson fan?
I haven't gotten around to him yet though I did just pick up the first Mistborn novel from a used bookstore. I have, however, seen numerous posts and reviews from people with excellent taste in books who have quite liked him. Perhaps they are all secret daytime court TV fans but I rather think you are overstating a bit.
Last edited by heretics fork; August 19th, 2010 at 12:21 PM. Reason: clarification
August 19th, 2010, 12:51 PM #23
August 19th, 2010, 12:58 PM #24
August 19th, 2010, 12:59 PM #25
You are very much overstating, as it is anything but awful. It is however completely different type of fantasy from what Martin writes. I still think any sort of comparison between the two borders on the ridiculous.
August 19th, 2010, 02:44 PM #26
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The only plot twist I can recall in WOA is some stupid side character named Elend Venture ended up taking over the entire book. I definately didn't see that coming.
August 19th, 2010, 03:07 PM #27
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August 19th, 2010, 03:20 PM #28
August 19th, 2010, 04:36 PM #29
Same thoughts, different year it seems.
Last edited by hippokrene; August 19th, 2010 at 04:49 PM.
August 19th, 2010, 05:12 PM #30
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So, I may have been a bit misleading on the thread title. I was not trying to compare GRRM and Sanderson as writers. That was not my purpose. My purpose was to compare two types of plot twists, the kill off someone who was supposed to be the main character plot twist (which Sanderson uses as well), and the more foreshadowed misleading you on reality plot twist. So I used the end of the Well of Ascension as an example (the thing with the Well, not the who's the kandra? mystery thing) because it caught me completely by surprise, even though it's foreshadowed quite a bit. Something like the end of the Sixth Sense would also work in this category.
I think it is less difficult to do something like GRRM did with the Red Wedding, even though we give him a ton of credit for it and it is the main reason that many people consider Storm of Swords to be the best book in the series. I think the foreshadowed misleading is more difficult to pull off, because in order for it to work you can't allow the reader to catch on. (I know the thing at the end of WoA didn't shock a lot of people, but it worked for me so I started the thread.)