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September 18, 2007



I can't recount the number of times I have been in a discussion with people who started reading the Wheel of Time from the first publishing of the series who feel that it became too long winded with no apparent ending and how they tossed the series aside never to look back.

Me, I did not have the pleasure of starting the series at the beginning. Wasn't even in my sights back then.
I came to the Wheel of Time many years later when my wife (then girlfriend) handed me Eye of the World after introducing me to the Lord of the Rings series (yes, I came to the fantasy genre late)
By then there were ten books out, and I absorbed them much like a contraceptive sponge in a whore house.

In short I was hooked. It is perhaps because when I started there were so many volumes of the series out that I faithfully stuck with it.
Hell, I got ahold of anything I could!

The only book I found less than satisfying was Crossroads of Twilight, which Jordan himself admitted was not the best, but essential.
Knife of Dreams, the last book to come out, was in short amazing. Heralding back to the opening volumes the pacing was intense, the characters as rich and vibrant as ever and the plot threads that had been established long before had started to come together to a cohesive ending.

In short, it was the opening of the final act.

As I have said previously, I am a immense fan of Jordan's work, and though his fingers shall not be typing out the final words of Memory of Light, I have no doubt it will be finished. It seems that even though Jordan never faltered in his fight against his disease, he was cognizant of the potential loss of that battle. As such he dictated the plotlines, notes, and whole chapters onto tapes that are to be transcribed.
His wife, Hariet, was also prepared to finish the book should he have fallen.

While A Memory of Light will be a little dimmer having not been penned fully by it's creator, I feel that it will see the printing press, and will stand as Jordan intended it to, the final piece of a literary legacy that read as a whole is an engaging, highly detailed and wonderous piece of work.

Mark Engblom

Wouldn't you know the book after the one that drove me from the series turned out to be a good one.

Your post inspires me to get back to the books and push through the remainder of Book Ten (hey, I said I got to it, not finished it), Book Eleven and await Book Twelve. I mean...I'm this far in (not that I remember anything from books Seven through Ten), I might as well finish it off....if anything in Jordan's memory. The guy truly did have a grand vision, but I still honesty think it got away from him.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the series so much...and thanks for stopping by!

adam barnett

I found this phenomena to happen more in music than anything else. REM, U2, Melissa Etheridge and many other musicians became mockeries of their indie days when they hit it big.


I actually feel like it happens a lot with TV shows. I thought of this reading LordSwank's post, and his comment about absorbing all the books at once. I've done that with many a show on tape and DVD, as I come to a program midway through its run (like Buffy, for instance, which I started watching in its fourth year), and want to catch up, devour, really, what's come before. As serialized, episodic narratives, tv shows are a lot like comics (esp. the fantasy/genre programs), and I expect a certain ebb and flow of quality from season to season (or even within a season-- I think even great shows are allowed a clunker or two per year), but I do feel tremendous disappointment when a show that's maintained such a high level of quality and innovation for much of its run, and has really caused you to invest in the characters (again, like Buffy), suddenly takes a turn for the crapper (as Buffy did in its seventh--and thankfully final-- season). I can't imagine what fans of, say, ER, have put up with for thirteen years (that show might make the best comparison to Jordan's series, which I'll admit I haven't read, but based on your description, anyway).

Mark Engblom

Yeah, now that I think about it, the Law of Diminishing Returns can apply to just about any form of entertainment. Maybe it's because the Wheel of Time books were such an investment of time, and such a long wait between books, that the usual sort of malaise that creeps into any long-form narrative could have been magnified. Who knows?

That reminds me of a point that came to me regarding the post from Lord Swank above. I sometimes wonder if it's easier to overlook the flaws of the story when you start reading the story with ten of the twelve books already published and available. It would seem that it would be easier to keep track of the cast and various developments when you can swing from one book to the next, without two to three years in between installments. But if you're someone who did wait that long, only to be served the miniscule plot advances of books Seven through Ten...well, maybe you can see why some of us are so bitter about the experience. Maybe coming into it late is the way to go.

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