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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

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elmis
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I'm somewhat new to these boards but after I came here I've been paying attention to most of the active topics, and after reading through most of them, I'm left with a question: Is RJ's writing really up to par with the extensive scrutiny we expose it to in our discussions?

 

I'm not saying it isn't good, I love the Wheel of Time, it's fun and intriguing, and what's more it really got me into reading, and reading english (english isn't my first language). But the series is a 17+ year project, and I'm pretty sure that wast parts of it has been made up as he went along. There are plenty of examples of that, Moiraines staff and stone, being a good one. In later years, RJ has said that she used them as focus points and whatnot, but I don't really buy that (personal opinion), I rather tend to think he wanted a staff for his mage, and changed it up later.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

 

 

 

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  I am not certain that any author would be up to the scrutiny I see in these message boards, but RJ is probably the closest there is.  I am not sure I have ever heard of another author having such an extensive idea of what the world he writes about was, is and will be.  Especially noted that in various interviews (as far as I know)the only questions RJ didn't or couldn't answer were either potential spoilers or eternally debateable topics (Asmo).

 

  As for Moraines staff and stone.  She used it as a focal point in the first book (while teaching Egwene), and the staff was frequently used to direct or guide her weaves.  Not abso certain on the staff, but I think some of what she did with the power may not have been possible or as effective without it.

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I personally think his books are above and beyond any writing I have ever encountered... Brilliant pieces of work they are. I also think RJ had more of an idea of what he was doing, than most authors ever do. I read somewhere, in an interview, that he frequently added and took stuff out of his books that were originally there, or were never there. Meaning, there a tons of plots and chapters going on in the wheel of time that we don't know about, because they didn't push the storyline forward enough, or were not essential to it. I think I know more about Randland, than planet Earth.

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Not that RJ didn't make mistakes--he'd be the first to tell you there were many--but Moiraine's staff and stone is hardly one of them. She herself specifically upbraids Egwene for assuming them to be of the Power--they are much like Nynaeve's early need to use herbs when she healed. A mental focus. To break such things is painful, and Nynaeve experience when forced to heal Elayne without the herbs. As such most Aes Sedai likely wouldn't bother.

 

 

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While there were actual mistakes ... his writing has stood up remarkably well under fairly intense fan scrutiny.  He has also managed to keep enough mystery in the story that after how many odd million words, relatively intelligent people are still arguing with me ... ah, that is ... with each other, about what will happen in the grand finale.

 

I am not personally acquainted with another author who has produced such sheer volume and complexity in a single story, with so much consistency.  Authors like Steven Erikson, George R R Martin, and others are certainly headed in that direction ... Jordan would have been the first to tell us that along with being fallible he was certainly not unique in his abilities ... but I am of the opinion that his writing is indeed up to the level of scrutiny it has been subjected to.

 

If it weren't, we'd have figured everything out and become bored with talking about it long ago.  Or we'd have poked so many holes in it that we couldn't stand to read it anymore.  Obviously, neither of those things has happened.

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I think it stands up remarkably well to the scrutiny.  I also happen to think that with any off the cuff question to RJ his first reaction is often "How the hell did they come up with that question followed by pulling a fairly cogent answer out of his 4th point of contact."  Which is why I think some of the interview question/answers can be misleading.

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Honestly, I can't believe that series isn't full of holes...I mean the thing vast, how the hell did RJ manage to keep it so consistent? Seriously, realistically, with all the subtleties in the plot and complex 'laws of nature' in Randland, the thing should be full of holes. But I can honestly only think of a few examples where RJ slipped up.

 

I don't think any series has had to stand up to the kind of scrutiny that this one has had to deal with either. All in all RJ has done a fantastic job of sticking to him own 'rules of nature' ans all the previous info from previous books.

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There were definitely occasions in which I felt the plot being forced in one direction or the other.  Then I'd realize that it needed to head in that direction to be resolved in some specific way.  There were also a few occasions I felt that RJ wanted to make one of his storylines into one thing, only he couldn't ever figure out exactly what he wanted and so he did something else.  An example of that would be the attack on Sammael.  For several books Rand would elude to this huge deception against Sammael and how he'd totally catch him off guard.  So by the time we got to it I was expecting something ingenious.  Then he simply Travelled to Illian with a bunch of Ashaman and Saldaens and started wrecking up the place.  Effective, yes, but hardly brilliant.  Sammael certainly would have expected it, despite all the Aiel on the plains.  It just felt like RJ wanted to have something brilliant but couldn't think of it by the time it came.

 

WoT is certainly very complex, but I'd say that George Martin's, Song of Ice and Fire is much more complicated.  GRRM's characters are much deeper than RJ's and have many more layers.  He has to keep track of more personalities than RJ and all their intricacies, where in WoT nealy all the female characters have the same or incredibly similar personalities.  And you can pretty much expect the same reaction out of each for a specific scenerio.

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An example of that would be the attack on Sammael.  For several books Rand would elude to this huge deception against Sammael and how he'd totally catch him off guard.  So by the time we got to it I was expecting something ingenious.  Then he simply Travelled to Illian with a bunch of Ashaman and Saldaens and started wrecking up the place.

 

Yeah...it was slightly disappointing.  The major problems with that are two-fold:

 

1. He took Mat off the attack thus making the armies on the Plains of Maredo an obvious decoy that Sammael was aware of.

 

2. He was lying on his deathbed in Cairhien for the first 3 days of the attack and Sammael knew he was unavailable so he was able to concentrate his defenses...not that it mattered.  (Although unaided, I think Rand would have been killed in Shadar Logoth)

 

I think the tactics might have been a little more complex if those two things hadn't happened.

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WoT is certainly very complex, but I'd say that George Martin's, Song of Ice and Fire is much more complicated.  GRRM's characters are much deeper than RJ's and have many more layers.  He has to keep track of more personalities than RJ and all their intricacies, where in WoT nealy all the female characters have the same or incredibly similar personalities.  And you can pretty much expect the same reaction out of each for a specific scenerio.

 

I disagree there. I have read both, and RJ has far more depth to each character. As for GRRM keeping more personalities in check, that may be true - in total. GRRM kills off his characters far too quickly, e.g, Ned Stark, Robert Stark, King Robert, the new king, that Lannaster guy :). It makes for a huge character turnover, where as with some characters in RJ's series, there has been eleven books of character development (I can't think of a book where there has been no Perrin, for example).

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WoT is certainly very complex, but I'd say that George Martin's, Song of Ice and Fire is much more complicated.  GRRM's characters are much deeper than RJ's and have many more layers.  He has to keep track of more personalities than RJ and all their intricacies, where in WoT nealy all the female characters have the same or incredibly similar personalities.  And you can pretty much expect the same reaction out of each for a specific scenerio.

 

I disagree there. I have read both, and RJ has far more depth to each character. As for GRRM keeping more personalities in check, that may be true - in total. GRRM kills off his characters far too quickly, e.g, Ned Stark, Robert Stark, King Robert, the new king, that Lannaster guy :). It makes for a huge character turnover, where as with some characters in RJ's series, there has been eleven books of character development (I can't think of a book where there has been no Perrin, for example).

FoH has no Perrin ;)

 

GRRM famously doesn't use a lot of notes (or at least claims to), but he's said that he does use fan resources on the web. In many ways, I prefer to read RJ, but I find Martin superior on the standpoints of general writing ability and plotting (actual plotting is where most of my RJ criticism lies). For world-building, despite its problems WoT world is pretty much in a class by itself, at least in areas of breadth and amount of detail for such scope and Martin's world doesn't really compete at that level anyway.

 

I'm not sure about the original question. RJ has certainly done some changed premises along the way...

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WoT is certainly very complex, but I'd say that George Martin's, Song of Ice and Fire is much more complicated.  GRRM's characters are much deeper than RJ's and have many more layers.  He has to keep track of more personalities than RJ and all their intricacies, where in WoT nealy all the female characters have the same or incredibly similar personalities.  And you can pretty much expect the same reaction out of each for a specific scenerio.

 

I disagree there. I have read both, and RJ has far more depth to each character. As for GRRM keeping more personalities in check, that may be true - in total. GRRM kills off his characters far too quickly, e.g, Ned Stark, Robert Stark, King Robert, the new king, that Lannaster guy :). It makes for a huge character turnover, where as with some characters in RJ's series, there has been eleven books of character development (I can't think of a book where there has been no Perrin, for example).

FoH has no Perrin ;)

 

GRRM famously doesn't use a lot of notes (or at least claims to), but he's said that he does use fan resources on the web. In many ways, I prefer to read RJ, but I find Martin superior on the standpoints of general writing ability and plotting (actual plotting is where most of my RJ criticism lies). For world-building, despite its problems WoT world is pretty much in a class by itself, at least in areas of breadth and amount of detail for such scope and Martin's world doesn't really compete at that level anyway.

 

I'm not sure about the original question. RJ has certainly done some changed premises along the way...

 

I'll be damned. No book has gone without Egwene or Rand then :P

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How big of a series is it?  I will give it a shot (after my next WoT reread) if it is a good read.  And based on the answers and responses I have seen Luckers you seem to be well "in the know" around here.  You're encouragement is heavily weighted.  I am not a hard reader to please while WoT is my favorite I have also (in recent years) read through the "Left Behind" series, Modesitt Jr's "Saga of Recluce" and "The First Native Americans" series ('People of' books).  Not to mention the horde of Dragonlance novels I have read (I own appx 65% of all DL books in print), The Stephen King, classic SF, and horror stories (great vampire trilogy by Jeanne Kalogridis).

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aSoIaF is currently 4 books long out of a projected 6.  You can take your time as GRRM is slower at publishing than RJ was.  Book 5 was supposed to be out last fall and currently there is still no publishing date.  As others have said, it is an excellent extremely well-written series that definitely rivals WoT in quality.  It would be ashame for you not to read it.

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Yes, that's right.  That had slipped my mind. So its 7 books now.  Originally I think GRRM was thinking of a trilogy but that quickly went to 6 books and now 7 with the splitting of the last one.  It should be out any day now...

 

~checks GRRM's blog~

 

Hmm...looks like the Giants lost on Monday night, something about painkillers and a surgery.  Oh, and still no word on aSoIaF.  Oh well.

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Well it is a matter of opinion of course, and while I really enjoyed WoT (on my 3rd re-read), Song of Ice and Fire is just a better read.  They books speak to me, I guess you could say.  And yes, he kills main characters.  Just because a someone gets a lot of dialog doesn't make them immune to a knife through the heart.  That's part of why I love those novels.  They don't pull any punches.  And the characters are just so much richer than anyone in WoT, I find.

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I'll tell you what after reading through alot of these posts, I am not sure I would ever pick up a GRRM novel.  It seems that there are very few likeable qualities and many unlikeable ones.  I am not real interested, investing time into characters who die before I can really enjoy them. 

 

Song of Ice and Fire is an extremely well written series and for a fantasy lover not to read it would be criminal.

 

However, if I were you, I'd wait until it's nearer completion.  Martin is a very careful writer, he stresses over every sentence, and he never releases anything until he's satisfied.  The last book took 5 years to come out.  Book 5 is due out soon, but I'd wait until Book 6 is released, before I'd invest myself in it.

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I was just wondering... in reference to Samuraiflip05's question about how big a series a Song of Ice and Fire is - why do people put so much emphasis on pages/books? Note I am NOT saying anything negative about <RJ / another author who has published lots of massive books and you really really really like> but I wanted to point out that just because a book is ginormic and / or the series is very long it isn't nessecerily a guarantee or even an indicator of quality. I mean.. who cares if a story is written in a single book, or over 12? If it's a good story, if it's well written, if you are told it's good by someone who's oppinion you respect, then what does it matter how long it'll take you to read it?

 

Now, I love the Wheel of Time, really. But I also like Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet, which in the form of a single volume containing the 4 books is probably shorter than a single WoT book. Does it make it somehow not as good a series because I can polish it off in a weekend? Or to take another example, how about LotR? I'm not gonna name a certain, long series of books that I did not enjoy reading 'cause that's just rude, suffice to say that they exist.

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I just think of all series as a single book, Harry Potter exempt because of the yearly thing...and I think it totally depends on the type of writing.

 

Wheel of Time would have been horrible written in three books, if RJ wanted all his main events in them. It would be far too fast-paced, half the characters wouldn't/couldn't be there, we would know nothing about anyone, and there would be little or no rising climax. Like the beginning of Winter's Heart, where Rand tells Min that he is going to cleanse Saidin. It would be "I'm going to cleanse Saidin, let's get Cadsuane and Narishma and go.' Instead of "I'm going to cleanse Saidin." END OF CHAPTER....30 MORE CHAPTERS....."Let's go."

 

 

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