Ok, After 23 years of Reading the Wheel of Time, here are my thoughts on the final volume. (Warning SPOILERS)
I absolutely loved this book. It brought the anticipation of the last quarter century to a satisfying conclusion. Ok, maybe in slightly different ways than I had imagined over the last decades, but in truth, I expected it to be vastly different anyway.
I know some people are upset that too many issues are unresolved. All I can say is .. huh ? Robert Died! He made a herculean effort to get notes made and scenes written to satisfy the majority of major plot lines. To expect everything to be answered as if Robert was still alive and had time to attend every twist is just silly.
Plus we know that his notes, instructions to Team Jordan were that many plot lines were not to be answered at all. The start of the 4th age is not to be a Utopia right away. We can imagine centuries taking to resolve some issues.
I was very surprised that the Aiel were not broken back to the peaceful pacifists they were in the Age of Legends. I had been expecting this since Rand went to Rhuidean. I was sure “he will break them” meant this. I am glad it wasn’t the case, as I liked that culture more than almost any other of the nations.
I thought that some reunification between the now broken Aiel and the Tinkers would take place. I also assumed that the song would be found somewhere.That’s probably the biggest of the unresolved story lines that I am disappointed in not being answered.
Now, my own theory is the song that Rand sang as he caused the vegetation to grow was in fact “the song”. The new Rand we see at the end of the book is still able to teach this song so I feel there is potential for this resolution.
Bela is most definitely not a Darkfriend. I honestly was more upset by this gentle mare’s death than I was by Egwene’s! But while that was sad and a little shocking I wasn’t surprised. I just assumed more of the main characters would die than actually did. I thought Rand, Lan, Nyn, and possibly Mat would die. I have read too many fantasy books were leaders of Magical institutions like the Aes Sedai here were killed that Egwene’s fate didn’t surprise me. (yes I know channeling isn’t magic but you know what I mean. Going back to Bela, I felt the scene with Olver at her end, very touching and it brought the expected emotional response.
The fate of Logain, Taim were satisfying, After nearing breaking by the Shadow, you can see how Logain almost succumbed to being just like M’Hael going after the power but his heart finally rescued him. Seeing the “Glory” Min saw of his fate. For not being “the power” he may have wanted to be at that point, but by seeing all he fought for being respected by the people and the power in men being seen again as Talent and not a curse.
Ogier’s fighting was tremendous. The last half of the series the Ogier’s were too quiet and seeing them and Loial again was wonderful.
One of the biggest surprises was the role of the Sharan’s. I had always been interested in this reclusive land. Only hearing snippets of information , and most of that coming from the World Of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time compendium made this such a puzzle. Having them appear so strongly here, and as part of the Shadow’s forces was a masterstroke.
For the bulk of this series I have hated the Seanchan with a passion. Maybe my most disliked “race,culture” of any Fantasy series to date. Yet Mat’s influence on them did an amazing thing. I no longer hated them. I think Mat will bring these people into the mainstream of nations in the 4th age.
Padan Fain’s fate was a little too little too late. I still don’t honestly think there was enough of a reason to support an evil completely separate of the Shadow. An enemy of my enemy but also my enemy. It did get tied up and resolved but its inclusion seemed rushed and somewhat irrelevant at the end.
The biggest question remaining is what is the new Rand. Is he somehow more related to the Creator now, having a new power that just makes things? or is it tied to the pattern, something new created out of using both halves of the One Power plus the True Power?
How will his still existing bond play out with his women? I think Tam should have been informed as to his fate. What is Rand going to do? Secretly out there pushing the people and pattern towards a Utopia?
lastly I wanted to see , the start of the 5th age, or 6th far in the future, where another Dragon is born, to once again fight the Shadow as the wheel turns. As we all know, there are no beginnings or endings to the Wheel of Time.
My Reflections of The Wheel of Time.
Just over 23 years ago, I began a journey that I am an hour or so away from finishing. I started reading The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. A Fantasy series that goes above and beyond any other series I have read.
I still clearly remember the day I picked up “The Eye of the World”. I was waiting for a bus at the Pen Centre Mall in St Catharine’s Ontario to take me to school at Brock University. I had about a half hour to kill so I went to the Coles bookstore and I saw this book in the new Releases section. Typical fantasy artwork, so I picked it up and read the description and it appealed to me. At this point I was already huge fan of the genre almost exclusively so. Since Lord of the Rings had set me on a path, that the Belgariad/Malloreon and Shannara and Riftwar etc had taken me on a fairly comfortable maybe even predictable type of ride.
I do remember debating it at the time. A hardcover book even then wasn’t cheap, and that money could be better used by a starving student than by a book I probably shouldn’t be taking the time away from studies to read. But something about it just grabbed me. So I did buy it and hence set a course that has taken almost a quarter century to finish.
The Eye of the World started in a fairly traditional fantasy fashion with a quest of major importance. But within this book and the next several volumes it was apparent that this book was entirely different. A level of complexity was introduced that would only grow and expand to dizzying heights. Groups, nations, wars, history, and characters beyond count would build towards an epic series that is unmatched in Fantasy.
The day a new volume came out every year (at the beginning) or every couple years would always be an event to be looked forward to with much excitement. I would bury myself in the Wheel of Time with such happiness each time a new volume would come out I thought surely this book would be the one to finally start the conclusion of the story.
It never did seem to get there. New situations, new levels of complexity would be added that would take the characters on new paths. There were even times I despaired that it would never end. Just how much of my life would be spent here with the Dragon Reborn? While the heart of the story of 3 boys become men who had the fate of the world in their hands remained constant, the obstacles they faced with their companions, friends, allies and enemies was never going to be resolved I started to fear.
Then finally just as the story finally started moving towards the conclusion some 11 volumes in, I received news that rocked me. My buddy called me up to tell me the news that he heard Robert Jordan had died. I was stunned. I quickly went online and verified this tragic news. I was stunned and while very sad that a man who brought me such joy had passed I did wonder at what would happen. I had already spent so much time on this series, having it end so abruptly without resolution was tragic.
But over the next days, weeks and months it was revealed that Robert had spent his last days preparing for someone else to continue and finish his work. Writing scenes, chapters and making copious notes as to how plots were to be resolved and the fates of characters and events revealed. At this point my own mother was dying and I realized how incredible a person Robert was, spending his last days ensuring his millions of fans were given the resolution they had so been longing for. The level of selflessness this entailed is hard to fathom. To simply say it’s just a story and walk away would have been completely understandable and probably expected. But this series is a work of art in my own opinion that will be his legacy to endure forever.
I soon heard that one Brandon Sanderson was selected to finish this story, and while I was at that time completely unfamiliar with Brandon I was elated that the Wheel of Time would continue.
When The Gathering Storm was released, I was relieved that it was almost (to my view) seamless. Oh Brandon had his own style but it meshed beautifully with Roberts. I devoured this book in record time.Was so hungry for this next chapter. I went online and discussed it and immediately met friends from all over who shared my views and joy with this series and to this day are still very close friends. Talking with people who shared the same love was wonderful.
I also because of how much I enjoyed Brandon’s view quickly discovered Brandon’s other works. Mistborn became probably my favourite series of the last decade in its own right. Eventually leading me to his Stormlight series which I believe will be the next major series of my life.
Brandon made the continuation of this series through Towers of Midnight and now A Memory of Light as enjoyable as I could hope for. I met Brandon at a convention in Toronto a year and half ago, I talked to him at the signing and he knew who I was from twitter exchanges and he knew my friends. His love of this series from a fan’s perspective was just as strong as anyone else there. It was a real pleasure meeting him and asking him questions in the Q&A.
Now he has finished the saga that Robert began, or led up to the finish that Robert actually wrote that I am about to read , which I will do after pausing to write these reflections down.
There maybe no beginnings or endings to the Wheel of Time, Ages may come and go, but there was a clear beginning and this IS an ending that I have waited so long for, and yet now as I reach it I find it very bittersweet. A long chapter of my life is ending with it, but it has been a great experience that I would not trade away.
Thank you Robert and Brandon and Tor Books for bringing this to my life.
( I will post a follow-up entry related to A Memory of Light with potential spoilers, in the days ahead)
Guns, rights & realities
I really need to say a few things after seeing this latest shooting tragedy.
I see as always when gun control has come to light, (after these kinds of situations) the usual slogans are being thrown around like “Guns don’t kill people”
Of course guns kill people. In history of world & violence no weapon has needed less skill to kill so many. The person could have found other ways to kill yes, but as effectively without pause or effort. Not likely. A weapon kills, it is its only purpose. A gun is for killing, it’s primary purpose is not for cleaning dishes or cutting the lawn. It is made to kill.
Some nutjobs are saying should we ban cars too, since more people are killed by them in a year. A car’s purpose is for transportation. A gun has no such primary purpose nor a secondary one. It is not also great at opening canned goods!
No nation in world kills its own people as often as America. Whether much larger or smaller. No other nation allows its citizens to have such weapons as easy to buy as cigarettes. In other nations Guns are not so easy to acquire, and yes killings still happen, but they are aberrations - this is becoming common in the States.
Toronto Canada is a bigger city than all but a few cities in the US (Los Angeles, New York and Chicago). In Toronto it’s considered a heinous year if there are 50
Shootings in a year. In smaller cities like Detroit for instance, gun violence is in the thousands in a year. Ease of gun acquisition plays a powerful role.
To get a passport you need references, you need to take courses to get a drivers license, to pass tests - yet to get a gun many Americans complain that since they have a right to bear arms there should be no control?
Going, to that, the Founding Fathers put that provision in the constitution because they just fought a war against Britain for independence and didn’t really have a standing army. The vast majority of their forces was militia based. So the militia members needed arms in case those damn British and Canadian forces to the north wouldn’t be able to invade without quick resistance being available.
Well guess what, the United States has one of largest armies in the world. It’s military might is massive. There is no need for an armed militia being ready. Also Canada and Britain are your greatest allies in the world. They aren’t invading.. EVER.
Also these founding fathers also didn’t think anything wrong with slavery, thought racism was the natural right and that women should be seen and not heard and were too weak-minded to have a vote or say on anything. To claim they have you this right cause they were visionaries is ridiculous. The World changes it evolves, assault rifles are never needed by a private citizen for any reason.
How can these same people adamant that guns are a necessary part of freedom , yet they are outraged that the gov’t would ever grant healthcare and still claim to be Christians. They espouse they are the Bible Belt, but its clear that they know nothing of Christ. Ever heard of “Turn the other cheek”? Basics of Christianity. No violence ever, love everyone. Self defense? Ever hear of what happened to him , crucifixion? He didn’t allow for other courses of action, maybe other religions with vengeful gods do, Christianity in its core doesn’t. Despite what anyone will try to claim, they don’t understand Christ at all if they do. (The violence the church has done in the past - Crusades, Inquisition show that failing to understand Christ is a long standing problem so at least they are not alone in ignorance )
Anyway, that’s my 2¢, since no one is likely to read this anyway, it’s just venting. I know things will never change, just continue to worsen & this saddens me.One last thing, how come there has never been one story of where someone has stopped these kinds of rampages because a bystander also had a gun?? If this is a legitimate argument, why doesn’t it ever happen?
Woke up to news in a text from TSN that Travis Snider was traded to Pittsburgh last night.
Wow, this is a shocker, and I am for first time since AA’s tenure began,angry. I have not liked his treatment this year and when he finally is brought back he is performing very well. Then boom they get rid of him. For a relief pitcher!
We need STARTING pitching not yet another bullpen player.
I also found out a minute or so later when I logged onto computer that Thames was dealt too! For a relief pitcher *SMH*.
Damn it AA, again we need STARTING pitchers. Our ACE is struggling (too say the least) we have enough players on the DL to fill a regular roster (yes an exaggeration) and our need is not addressed at all.
While a Jay fan, I will not disparage any player, but I think Lind, and/or Rajai better choices for trades. We needed Snider’s hot bat where it is, Gose not yet showing any of that magic, and Bautista still on the DL, that leaves Rasmus the only outfielder performing. I don’t want to give up on this season, but giving up offense and not getting what we need (starting pitching) I am annoyed.
I want to have faith, but it is being stretched too far right now.P.s. I have no doubt that Travis will become the player that we thought he would be in Pittsburgh. We will miss him as the one that got away. For him this is probably a great thing. I will still follow the culinary exploits of the original Meats Don’t Clash Lunchboxhero. As for Thames, I always liked him, thought he was an outstanding guy, just never saw him with a long future here. I hope he also does well in Seattle. I see him more of a journeyman player ala Matt Stairs and wish him all the success.