The Worlds of If review blog had an interesting post regarding fate and fortune in A Song of Ice and Fire as seen from the perspective of certain points raised by David Quint in his study of Renaissance heroic poetry. Namely, Quint contrasts the role of Fate in unified epics (ala the Iliad or The Lord of the Rings) as opposed to Fortune in more episodic literature (e.g. the Odyssey), and the blogger at Worlds of If points out how these ideas might apply to seeing some of the innate differences between Martin’s series and Tolkien’s before it. Some thoughtful points are raised that help to get into the heart of how Martin’s take on epic fantasy is different from what came before.
Two caveats: there are general spoilers for the first three books, and I’m not sure about the application of the term “anti-Epic Fantasy” to the series, which I think may be going a bit too far.