Posted by Casey on September 17, 2007
James Oliver Rigney, Jr. aka Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series died over the weekend.
I’d probably have more to say about it if I hadn’t given up on the series eight or nine years ago.
Back then, I’d eagerly await the publication of each volume and devour it over a weekend. Then one day, I bought the next eagerly awaited volume, opened it up and didn’t recognize any of the people or the setting. It was at that point I realized Jordan had finally crossed the line that he had flirted with crossing in the previous volumes. He had gotten so deep into world-building and history-building he forgot the most important reason why we were obsessively following the series.
We wanted to read about the main characters–all three hundred of them–we didn’t want to open up a new volume and have to figure out when these minor characters appeared in the previous half-million pages and why he was writing about them at the particular time when we were anxious to read about Mat’s or Perrin’s or Egwene’s fate.
Having said that, there are moments of great brilliance in these books I still think about today. I love the warrior women of the Aiel and the Aes Sedai. The reader can’t help but get deeply immersed in the world and in the lives of the characters. But there are so many characters vying for attention and too many story threads and too much irrelevant detail that important things like direction of story tend to drag, stall, or completely disappear.
Maybe when the series is completed, I’ll revisit it. Despite its flaws, there is much to love about the characters and the world Jordan lovingly crafted. Many of the characters are like old friends. My memory of them has a curling up with a good book on a rainy day kind of comfort for me.
“When the series is completed?” you ask.
Jordan wrote the ending before he started the first book. He also spent the time after learning he had a rare blood disease to work on the final volume and to outline and make notes of what’s left to be done. His wife is an editor and a writer, so the work has been left in more than capable hands.
Here’s a link for the uninitiated into the Wheel of Time work . . .
Other Wheel of Time sites . . .
Here’s a link to the official Robert Jordan site, but it crashed shortly after the reports of his death. Hopefully, it’ll be back up soon.