I’ve read the first book of Martin’s series, and obviously (if you’ve been following my posts), I’ve read a lot of Tolkien. There are some superficial similarities between the two (time period, the existence of dragons, etc.), but that’s essentially where it stops.
Why is this? Because these stories operate by a different metaphysic (how reality is viewed). Tolkien’s world is a sub-creation of the Christian mythos while Martin’s is not. Mercy does not triumph over judgment in Martin’s world.
This is why Martin’s protagonists regularly descend into the debauchery and perversion of the world to be part of it, while Tolkien’s do not. Indeed, even the one semi-noble dude in GoT gets his head chopped off, and it isn’t even in a sanctifying or redemptive manner like many of Tolkien’s.
I know Martin has expressed gratitude for Tolkien, but given the fact that he created a series that, in many ways, is antithetical to what Tolkien cherished, his gratitude is a bit twisted.
Bottom line: Let’s stop comparing these guys. They are NOT the same in pretty much any way.