Guest post by Priya Chhaya
“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave It birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age looking past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”
~ from Chapter 1 of The Eye of the World, Book 1 of The Wheel of Time (WOT)
Sometime during my sophomore or junior year of college my roommate handed me The Eye of the World. Prior to that moment my exposure to science-fiction and fantasy had been limited by my love of all things from a galaxy far, far, away – and the occasional title by Orson Scott Card. Then I opened the first volume of Robert Jordan’s story and saw a glimmer of something new, something woven together by a cast of characters and a rich tapestry of cultures, creating a full and intricate world.
Somewhere around book nine my interest started to go by the way of life, until I learned of Jordan’s illness and subsequent death. In learning the news I felt sadness for his family, but also for his fans – for those readers who since 1991 have followed a group of villagers out of the Two Rivers and into living prophecy.
For those not familiar with the series, it is very Tolkienesque in nature – epic battles and a prophetic hero, the Dragon Reborn, destined to meet the Dark One in battle. A young man thrown into an adventure beyond his control. But it wasn’t just the young men off for adventure, but an entire group of women who throughout the series went from villagers and princesses to leaders and queens.
Following Jordan’s death, his wife and editor chose another acclaimed fantasy writer, Brandon Sanderson, to complete Jordan’s final book, eventually split into three. The final volume, A Memory of Light, will be released this week on January 8, 2013.
Knowing that the Last Battle would soon be upon us, I have spent the last year and a half re-reading the series. A daunting task, but one that was helped by following along with TOR.com’s great Wheel of Time Re-read. The re-capper – a writer, critic and blogger Leigh Butler (who is also doing a re-read of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire) – allowed me to connect the dots, see patterns, and understand events. Her commentary also spurred discussion and an examination of characters in a new light.
I am certain that this final chapter will be astounding, heartbreaking, and mind-bending. In anticipation for the conclusion of this epic twenty-year story, I interviewed Leigh about her recaps and her love for this remarkable series.
I’ve probably said it many times over the course of this Re-read, but it bears repeating: I love this kind of thing. Playing with the mutability of legend, mirroring the way the various mythologies in the real world bleed into and echo each other, sometimes almost uncannily so. Taking a thing and connecting it to a larger thing, an archetype that cannot help but resonate no matter your personal beliefs or background – that’s epic fantasy at its absolute best. That’s the kind of thing I’m here for.
~ commentary by Leigh Butler at the end of Towers of Midnight
Read the full interview here.
Priya is a historian who loves the written word. When she’s not reading anything she can get her hands on she is writing about the past and its intersection in our daily lives on her personal blog …this is what comes next.