Game of Thrones vs. Lord of the Rings

By Matt Weese on Mar 7, 2012 to Game of Thrones

Today’s guest post comes from tech writer, HBOWatch reader and Game of Thrones fan EJ Parfitt.  He’s been writing for a short time now and has already picked up steam with several tech websites and local news sites .  During his free time, you’re sure to catch him competing in local chess tournaments in downtown Fort Lauderdale FL.  In this post he takes a look at two epic fantasy series– comparing and contrasting the two.

Lord of the Rings is a series of films based on a series of books of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien.  The film adaptation of the prequel The Hobbit is being released in two parts, with the first part being released in December of this year and the second being released in December of next year. Game of Thrones is a television series based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. Martin. The series is aired on HBO, which is available with most satellite TV providers. The second season premiers on April 1st. These two series are both a part of the fantasy genre and are often compared to one another, however, when they are inspected closely, they are quite different.

Lord of the Rings is the story of the hobbit Frodo Baggins and his companions, the Fellowship of the Ring, a group made up of four hobbits, an elf, a dwarf, two men, and a wizard. They journey across Middle-Earth to the land of Mordor to destroy the One Ring, which will in turn destroy the Dark Lord Sauron. Game of Thrones is about the lives of the powerful families of Westeros. The main families are the Starks, lords of the region of Winterfell, the Lannisters, the rich and powerful family of the queen, who have ties everywhere, and the Targaryens, the former royal family, who were mostly killed at the hands of the new king’s army, save for brother and sister Viserys and Daenerys, who plan to take back the throne.

The story of the Lord of the Rings focuses on the land of Middle-Earth and the journey to Mordor. The land of Middle-Earth is populated by many races and fantastic creatures. Magic is used frequently by the wizard characters. The story is primarily about the journey and the land that the characters live in.

Game of Thrones uses a fantasy setting to tell the stories of human characters in human situations. The land of Westeros is very much like Earth in the Middle Ages, with minimal use of magic and fantasy creatures. The beauty of this is that even though the characters are living in a world unlike our own, the story is focused less on the setting and more on the way that the characters interact with one another.

Because Game of Thrones is aired on HBO, the writers have the opportunity to tell a different kind of story than they would be able to otherwise. Game of Thrones is a fantasy series that is aimed at adults, instead of children and teens like Lord of the Rings. This means that the story can be told largely as George R. Martin intended it to be, without having the sexual or violent content censored.

The biggest difference between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones is the notion of evil presented in both stories. In Lord of the Rings, the evil in the story is clear and unambiguous, leaving little to interpretation. However, Game of Thrones presents more well-rounded characters who can be interpreted as good or evil, depending on the viewer’s point of view. For lovers of the fantasy genre, Lord of the Rings is our childhood, but Game of Thrones is our future.

But what do you think, readers?  What are some of the major differences between these two amazing series?  Leave a comment below with your thoughts on which should wear the crown.

  • graeme

    Thay are both greatstories, the difference is that lotr is written far better than got

  • Tom

    I couldn’t get into R.R Martin’s books, myself. He just isn’t a very good writer. The show is great.

    I think the two are apples and oranges, although magic is slowly being introduced into GoT.

  • This is a great article. I am really on the fence about this, because my two favourite authors are J. R. R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin (I have a thing for ‘R.R.”, what can I say?!).

    I think they are both equally compelling books and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. For the most part, I am just so happy that these two brilliant authors wrote their respective series. These books have provided me with hours of reading pleasure. I always get that bittersweet feeling when I’m done reading one of their books. Looking forward to the Hobbit on the big screen and Season III next April! :) Cheers!










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