The Wheel Of Time

[I might update this post more as I continue to reflect, in which case SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW – and the column format of my blog is problematic]

Well, that’s that.

Ten years after I bought the first book, and exactly a year and fourteen books of solid reading since I decided to start again from the top, I have finished reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

It really is one of the greatest fantasy epics of all time, and probably the best I’ve ever read. It may have been long-winded, and excruciatingly slow in places, but the last three books (co-written by Brandon Sanderson) made it SO worth pushing through. It’ll take me a while to get over the emotional rollercoaster of the last book – and it’s been a long time since any book has made me feel that way.

It was like the most amazing blend of characterisation on a Robin Hobb/GRRM level, and world creation on a Tolkien level. And that magic system… completely RJ’s own. I don’t think any other author I’ve read has come up with as comprehensive and powerful a magic system. The whole series simultaneously used, abused, averted and created fantasy tropes like nothing else I’ve read. I’m glad it’s been with me for the last ten years.

I cannot recommend the series highly enough, if you’re looking for an epic story for at least the next year. Myself, I’m at a loss…

Egwene… 😥 Honestly the most shocking moment of the entire series. I’m still getting over it. Why, of all the main characters, did it have to be her? Sure, I was sad at Siuan and Bryne and Bashere and Lan (I thought), but Egwene was one of THE main characters. One of the TEOTW crew.  And it was such a glorious, epic sending off, it’s going to stay with me for a long, long time.

I think it was so shocking because there was none of that reflection on her old life – you would’ve thought there’d be some of her thinking back to being Bran al’Vere’s daughter, the innkeeper’s girl, who had come so far, in her final narrative. But no, none of that. Perhaps it was appropriate, as she was then the Amyrlin, and no longer Egwene al’Vere.

But she had just conquered balefire, had single-handedly un-broken the Pattern, and then went to die without passing on how she did that. And the lack of reflection from other characters on her death, the lack of recognition of what she had actually achieved, combined with the rather quick ending of the series, meant the whole thing feel really abrupt. I guess that’s why it was so shocking.


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