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  1. #1
    Spectacular Member Valentis's Avatar
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    Default Game of Thrones George Martin was bad with naming places.

    As well planned out and thought-through the world of Westeros and the characters are, George Martin had the laziest and poorly constructed names in fantasy and science fiction. He could not come up with anything more obvious to save his pen. It was one of his main weaknesses. These names are lazy with a capital L.

    Winterfell
    Iron Lands
    High Garden
    The Storm lands
    Riverlands
    Kings Landing
    Essos

    The names of his fantasy places all read like crop-out names created by a writer who is not fully experienced. J R R Tolkien was much more talented in coming up with names.

    Lord of the Rings

    Rivendell
    Isengard
    Mikwood
    Gondor
    Lothlórien
    Rohan
    Minas Tirith

    JK Rowling was also above Martin, although the Harry Potter universe was not entirely made up like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones . The names of the wizarding schools and wizard towns names were more creative.

    Wizarding World of Harry Potter

    Hogsmeade
    Godric's Hollow
    Beauxbatons
    Durmstrang
    Hogwarts
    Ilvermorny
    Castelobruxo

    Science fiction writers are more creativity than Martin. They did not leach off Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Neptune.

    Star Wars

    Coruscant
    Tatooine
    Endor
    Naboo
    Serenno
    Hoth

    Star Trek

    Vulcan
    Qo'noS
    Ferenginar
    Romulus
    Betazed
    Cardassia

    Unlike other creators, Martin only mostly seems to be twisting and adding words to common words like Winters, Kings, Gardens, Summers, East and Rivers to name places in Westeros. Nothing seem named from scratch.
    Last edited by Valentis; 05-14-2020 at 12:11 AM.

  2. #2

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    Mereen, Qarth, Volantis, Dorne, Braavos, a bunch of others I can’t remember (and I never read the books)?

  3. #3
    Spam Hunter Conn Seanery's Avatar
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    Game of Thrones isn't straight-up fantasy like those other properties you mention. It's fantasy that's more grounded in reality, medieval times with a twist. Martin's naming of places isn't "bad," it's purposefully direct/simple, familiarity is intentional. Not everything in fantasy has to sound like something you could just as easily draw from a random fantasy name generator.

    Also, it's somewhat ballsy to hold up Harry Potter stuff like it's much better. "Remus Lupin?" Gee, I wonder what he's going to turn out to be. "Diagon Alley," no cheese there. "Hogwarts?" Hog + warts. Wart hog. "Sirius Black," hmmm, I wonder what our first impression of him is designed to be. Not going to go deeper than that (especially since those are essentially children/YA books, so the cheese is forgiven) but come on.
    Last edited by Conn Seanery; 05-14-2020 at 07:00 AM.
    Conn Seanery
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  4. #4
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    I actually prefer names that don't sound like you are gargling your own lung.

    Fantasy locations and characters often seem to suffer from unpronouncable names.

  5. #5
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    You’re so right OP I wish this dude would’ve used names like Gobblygook and BlahBlahBlooey instead of those names, hurts
    My brain too much !

  6. #6
    Spectacular Member Valentis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conn Seanery View Post
    Game of Thrones isn't straight-up fantasy like those other properties you mention. It's fantasy that's more grounded in reality, medieval times with a twist. Martin's naming of places isn't "bad," it's purposefully direct/simple, familiarity is intentional. Not everything in fantasy has to sound like something you could just as easily draw from a random fantasy name generator.

    Also, it's somewhat ballsy to hold up Harry Potter stuff like it's much better. "Remus Lupin?" Gee, I wonder what he's going to turn out to be. "Diagon Alley," no cheese there. "Hogwarts?" Hog + warts. Wart hog. "Sirius Black," hmmm, I wonder what our first impression of him is designed to be. Not going to go deeper than that (especially since those are essentially children/YA books, so the cheese is forgiven) but come on.
    Game of Thrones is more cheesy and straightforward with no imagination.

    Garden just add high =highgarden

    winter just add fell= winterfell

    landing to kings = kings landings

    Add land to river = riverlands

    Add another land to storm =storm lands.

    Come on, this is a total crop out. Martin was a fantastic writer with plots. He knew how to create characters but place names was not his strength at all. Nothing is imaginative here. HP sounds completely original. Knocking HP on the grounds of children/ya stuff is silly. harry potter was a completely well thought out universe that moved on from its ya/children moments after the first book. As Stephen King once said, the HP universe could only be pulled off by a person with a unique imagination.

    Game of thrones is high fantasy, harry potter was more grounded in reality since it blurs the line of high and low fantasy. the world of harry potter is a magical world set on earth like star trek. it parallels and talks about real places , London, Los angles, Scotland, Ireland. The world of game of thrones is completely made up, earth does not exist in game of thrones. meaning it should have been far more constructive with names like lord of the rings.
    Last edited by Valentis; 05-14-2020 at 09:46 AM.

  7. #7
    Spectacular Member Valentis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shades of eternity View Post
    I actually prefer names that don't sound like you are gargling your own lung.

    Fantasy locations and characters often seem to suffer from unpronouncable names.
    Its fantasy, that is what it is suppose to be. I hate that Martin got lazy with it. His name capital of the main kingdom is KINGS LANDING. He could come up with something better.

    Unpronounceable names are easy when you know most of these fantasy worlds make up their own language that becomes real to their fans. lol.

  8. #8
    Spam Hunter Conn Seanery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valentis View Post
    Game of Thrones is more cheesy and straightforward with no immigration.

    Garden just add high =highgarden

    winter just add fell= winterfell

    landing to kings = kings landings

    Add land to river = riverlands

    Add another land to storm =storm lands.

    Come on, this is a total crop out. Martin was a fantastic writer with plots. He knew how to create characters but place names was not his strength at all. Nothing is imaginative here. HP sounds completely original. Knocking HP on the grounds of children/ya stuff is silly. harry potter was a completely well thought out universe that moved on from its ya/children moments after the first book. As Stephen King once said, the HP universe could only be pulled off by a person with a unique imagination.

    Game of thrones is high fantasy, harry potter was more grounded in reality since it blurs the line of high and low fantasy. the world of harry potter is a magical world set on earth like star trek. it parallels and talks about real places , London, Los angles, Scotland, Ireland. The world of game of thrones is completely made up, earth does not exist in game of thrones. meaning it should have been far more constructive with names like lord of the rings.
    GoT had both familiar and fantasy sounding names. There's nothing wrong or lazy about it, unless you're entrenched with your side of it simply to validate the purpose of this thread.

    And I'm not knocking HP, I love the books & films. But it seems hypocritical to accuse Martin of crappy GoT names when Rowling was no better. And to be clear, I'm going by your definition of "bad," I don't actually have any real problems with those HP examples I gave.
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  9. #9

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    Meereen. Qarth. Asshai. Yi Ti. Volantis. Braavos. Valyria. Astapor. Yunkai.

    It's almost as if there's a consistency with the naming conventions of the English-speaking Westeros vs. the rest of the world. Like Martin is establishing a difference in cultures with how they name their landmarks.

    Nah, that can't be it. He's just lazy. Surely Game of Thrones would be vastly improved if King's Landing was called Clovidiana and Winterfell was named Stipankyanovi Castle.
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  10. #10
    Extraordinary Member Cyke's Avatar
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    I dunno, the Westeros naming convention didn't bother me because we see so much of that in real life. In North America, where so many cities and states are really variations of the original Native American names and thus named after what makes those locations so specific, they're every bit as literal as Westeros. And it's true around the world. There's no immigration to the names because the names come from the locals -- just as much as Native American locations are named after the very descriptors of the land in Native American languages, it makes perfect sense for Westeros locations to be named literally in the Common Tongue of Westeros.

    I mean, the name "Belfast" is an old Irish term that literally means mouth of the sandbank ford, which is where the city is actually located on the River Lagan. "Beijing," translated from Chinese, means "Northern Capital." They're even more direct than Kings Landing and even the Storm Lands. If anything, naming locations literally is much more grounding because there's so much historical precedent in it.

    Rivendell only sounds more exotic because its name is part Elvish/Sindorin calque for valley of the cleft, but that's true of any English name derived from another settler (French, Spanish, Indigenous, etc).
    Last edited by Cyke; 05-14-2020 at 10:16 AM.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    Game of Thrones George Martin
    Ooooh, THAT George Martin.

    But joke aside, well, i don't know. Mirkwood doesn't sound to me like a master piece of original inspiration either for being honest. Neither are BeauxBatons or Drumstrang. (when you have some knowledge about the languages used)

    Names like Minas Tirith or Minas Morgul are cool though, no denying that, expecially cause they mean something, cause there is a lore to explain why those places are called like that.

    I'm way more concerned by how needlessly fat his books tend to more and more be than his apparent lack of work on fictional names.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member AndrewCrossett's Avatar
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    His names seem perfectly fine to me. In the real world people gave places names that meant sense to them. They only came to sound exotic when they got garbled over the centuries and people no longer spoke the original language.
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  13. #13
    the devil's reject choptop's Avatar
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    Of all the things to complaine about the names? They are perfectly fine nothing much wrong with them at all...

  14. #14
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    Around where I live we have such lovely places as Brookfield, Elm Grove, Oak Creek, New Berlin and Menomonee Falls. These places sound boring as F***. Because they are. Places people live usually are. Boring is safe and familiar. And we tend to name places for things that happened there, people that lived there before us, or natural features that we see there.

    King's Landing is where the eventual King's army landed. That makes sense. Winterfell is the name of the keep that holds the North, or you know, the place where the climate turns and it gets cold and snowy. What might you call a place you visited and then it turned to winter?

    Compare that with the places Martin actually intended to sound exotic. Braavos. Asshai. This isn't a case of being unimaginative, it's a case of trying to create a tone with his word choice. Westeros is supposed to feel familiar and plain, by design. It's a lived in, run of the mill kind of place you can easily picture in your mind. And most importantly, it's a place where magic isn't. It saves him time in establishing his world before he burns it all down.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member MRP's Avatar
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    Martin was using a naming convention that is ubiquitous in human culture and how many of the place names in our own world were achieved.

    Name's like Hartford in Connecticut is literally hart's ford i.e. the place in the river where the deer cross

    Springfield-i.e. where the spring fields were located and the village grew around it

    it's a naming convention found in many Native American place names too, they just sound exotic before they are translated into English because we are unfamiliar with the language.

    And the conceit is that for those of the Seven Kingdoms, those place names should feel organic, natural and commonplace while those form far away lands sound exotic.

    It's not that he's bad at naming things, it's that he used actual real world naming conventions instead of just pulling exotic "cool sounding" names out of his ass that no one would ever come up with in how they named a place if their fantasy world actually existed. It actually adds a lot of verisimilitude to the Seven Kingdoms because that's the way humans have been coming up with place names throughout all of their recorded existence.

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