Figures my computer fritzes as soon as a good thread is started and I don't see it for a week. Nice to finally get back.
Rogue27, well said.
Sleepy hollow, if you want ubergood and uberevil, black and white, wizards with lightning bolts coming out their backsides, then Tolkien is for you.
If on the other hand you enjoy reading about a world without elves, orcs, dwarves, and wizards, a world where all characters have shades of grey in their soul, a world where magic is something most people wouldn't believe in, where ethnicities (SP?), theologies, and political systems closely and believably mirror our own world's, then Ice and FIre may be more up your alley.
It really is apples and oranges as many people would rather have nice white knight types saving the world, than have main adult male characters looking longingly at 13 year old girls, or spend all their time trying to figure out who the good guy is.
Timberwolf899, you bring to mind a good point, that GRRM barely touches on the linguistic differences in his major cultures, while Tolkien was a linguist, and it certainly showed. I was however disappointed with Tolkien's comparative lack of concern with fleshing out religious and cultural differences, though the difference between orc and elf could kinda be thought similar. I wish GRRM had half the linguistic background Tolkien did, but am much happier with his various portrayals of real-ish world ethnic groups compared to the maneating orcs and forest dwelling elves found in LOTR. As rogue27 said, I find Martin's a more realistic setting. If you like fantasy for fantasy, you've made the right pick.
Joebot, You mean Baratheon, not Bannisters, and I agree existing TLG heraldry should make ASOIF MOCs reasonably easier, and more common, just a shame more lego enthusiasts haven't heard about it. If I ever get a digicam I'll show pics of my Renly Baratheon, which uses the FM shield to effect. Off topic, kinda, but you didn't find AFFC on par? I know the splitting of it is a bit of a letdown, but I thought it a proper continuance. What's your beef? My fingers are also crossed GRRM dosen't pull a Robert Jordan on us, let's hope for summer 2010.
Hella rant, yes?
When I was a lad my mother told me that if I stood around all day with my mouth open a weasel was liable to mistake it for his den and jump right in. If you have something to say, say it, otherwise, beware of weasels.