So, I’ve started re-reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
I know, I know…
I actually really, really like the series, and I’m both thrilled and sad that it’s coming to an end next spring. I came to the series late, not starting it until late July of 2004 when I was laid off from my software development job in Colorado. I started with New Spring and plowed all the way through Crossroads of Twilight, averaging, about 250 pages a day. And when Knife of Dreams came out a little more than a year later, I gobbled that one up, too.
And then, like everyone else, I waited.
And slowly forgot a lot about the series.
And then Jordon passed, and I was sad. I wanted to read more of his words. Rand, Perrin, Matt, and so many others seemed, in many ways, to sort of transcend traditional storytelling. The arc was so huge, and the details of the story so focused and minute, that Jordan’s universe sort of took on it’s own sense of being. The defeat of The Dark One, to me, stopped being important. What was important was the 1000 or so page “slice of life” that Jordan carved out of each book.
Were the books perfect? Oh, hell no. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But the little things, the real things that moved WoT beyond a simple Hero’s Quest tale… those moments, and they are scattered throughout the books, are what make the universe work. And I find them irresistibly compelling.
I haven’t read any of Brandon Sanderson’s additions, but readers of rfdc will know I’m a fan. In fact, I’ve managed to avoid reviews, synopses, anything and everything that has to do with his completion of Jordan’s series. I bought each the first two when they were released, but decided to wait until I could do the same thing I did back in ’04 – sit down and read them all back to back to back. The third is on preorder. It has been for a while now.
I won’t be commenting on them, but I did want to share something I had forgotten about.
I’m not sure when Jordan started putting in the “About the Author” page in the back of his books. It’s in New Spring, not in The Eye of the World, and I’m too lazy to go downstairs and page through the books that came out in the intervening 15 years. Here’s a passage from the end of that page:
“He enjoys the outdoor sports of hunting, fishing and sailing, and the indoor sports of poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting. He has been writing since 1977 and intends to continue writing until they nail shut his coffin.”
They nailed shut the coffin of James Oliver Rigby in September of 2007, less than a month from his 60th birthday. And he wrote damn near right to the end – almost 3.5 million words in the Wheel of Time series alone. Good on you, James. Good on you.