Twelve years ago, on a dusty shelf in the back of a library I found a novel called The Eye of the world. It was a lofty volume but I thought i would give it a try. I remember in those days feeling lost for something to read. I had finished Northern Lights, The Subtle knife and The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman and was lost for something to read and so I started the wheel of time. I remember being immediately sucked in, it was to be the book that completely set me as a avid reader, especially of high fantasy. I recall reading the volumes over days, not being able to put it down. In many ways the wheel of time has been thee when I needed it the most. Those times when I needed to get away I could always immerse myself in the Wheel of time and forget.
In many ways its been a constant companion, always there at the back of my mind, remembering the characters the places and the majesty of it all. It inspired me to write. Not to best, or to imitate, but to create something new. In many ways Robert Jordan took what J.R.R Tolkien started with The Lord of The Rings and re-made it. I shan’t give a plot summary, partly because i feel it is far to vast, and detailed to give, but also because I wouldn’t want to rob you of the journey.
But what I will talk about is what I think makes the wheel of time so empowering. The simplest explanation is the detail; from the world right down to the character. Each is detailed in ways beyond comprehension. I always imagined Jordan must have a room full to rafters on notes. Not just on the characters but on the history, on the story being told and on the future. To me, it is a work of genius, one that i secretly never wanted to end.
But everything must come to an end and indeed it did. When Robert Jordan Died in 2007 I was mortified. A literary genius was lost, and a saga would never be completed. I had read the final Wheel of Time Volume and though I did wonder, I was settled in the knowledge that it would never end. Then along came Brandon Sanderson. WHen the announcement came I was a bit dubious. How could this person complete the wheel of time from notes? How could I trust anything that came in the then final volume A Memory of Light? And yet when it came out I found myself purchasing it. I read without pause from beginning to end and only then realised how much I missed the movement and grandeur that the Wheel of Time offered. I was motivated again and my novel, which had been stuck suddenly found new light, as I was inspired once more.
On the 9th January 2013 I purchased the final volume of the wheel of time, then refused to read it. It was not that i didn’t want to but i realised I couldn’t remember all that had passed. To end without knowledge of the fore would be bitter and so I started on A New Spring the prequel and began a reading saga that took months. I knew that the whole series had to be read by the time september came, when I would be returning to University and would inevitably begin reading novels for University (Most of which make reading a chore.)
It was close but I did it, reading the last page was horrible and yet gratifying. The Wheel of Time had finally come to an end, but had done so in a beautiful and perfect way. It was enough. Strangely it did not fall pray to that usual affliction of some books and films. Many I have seen and read, where several characters appear at the end, rising from nothing, just to be slaughtered to save from killing one of the long time characters. The Wheel of time did not do this. Some VERY poignant characters die. I won’t say which, but their deaths are fitting and upsetting and Traumatising – as it should be.
Thinking on it, i can only marvel at the greatness that is The Wheel of Time. No doubt in the years to come, I will re-visit the series. But in the interim, I will remember a series that has for the most part been a massive inspiration and will revel in the memory of its characters.