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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Explaining WoT to a non-reader


Kura
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Alright, today I brought in a brand spanking new hard-cover copy tEotW to class, read it, yadadada. First, me and a fellow WoT had our moment, and my English teacher was interested, and asked about the book. I thought, "Well, she doesn't know what the DO is, OP, AS, or so many other common themes in the book, so I'd use similar words, that are more commonly used in fantasy writing. Namely "Devil", "Magic", "Mage", (all quotes representing my own air quotes ;))and she got the general idea, I think.

 

The point is, I looked at my friend, and he looked like I felt. All I could say is, "I think I just died a little inside.." And he nodded his head before getting to class.

 

The point of this semi-random rant is, have you ever tried to get a new reader for WoT? If so, how did you explain it, and if you did have to use more common fantasy words, was it weird/uncomfortable? Or am I just an incredible fanboy?  :-\

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Tell me about it. I explained it to my brothers and sisters in a great details.

 

But as Amys or who-ever it was said :

"In the end she had more question than the begining.". I didn't try to use metaphore. I assumed that if I use normal witch and wizard or mage instead of Aes sedai and one power, it will largely diminish the apeal and reduce WOT to a regular hot headed fantasy series(which have a tendency to more often then not to disappoint the readers). I didn't want to take the risk of letting them

think it was a common fantasy. But I guess they grasped the complexity of Wot simply by watching me stumble right and left while trying to explain and yet failing.

 

More simple explanation could be...like trying to explain Jedai knight of Star wars. How would you explain them? Simple mage and wizard term won't suffice in that case.

 

In more than one ways, WOT is unique in its own world. Nothing compare to the structure I have read in WOT.

 

"Nothing comes close"

 

Its like trying to explain the majesty and great symphony of "Unchained melody" and the nobelity of the song, to someone who have never heard it before.

 

Best way is like vbama said. Hand over the book.  ;D ;D ;D

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I don't bother going into details, if they want to know about that they can read the book themselves. I just say something like this:

 

it's starts as a typical adventure of three boys of roughly the same age, each eventually leaving home and discovering that they've become an integral part of shaping the world as they know it. There is a large cast of supporting and main characters, each of them play their own role in affecting events, sometimes on a large scale. You get plenty of plots, politicking in a fantasy setting complete with its own brand of magic.

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I find it's like trying to explain the Dune series to someone.  Both are extremely complex, as for Wot, I think Lune put it best but I would taylor the explanation to the individual.  If that person is interested in politics, you can tell them there's alot of politics, if they like descriptions you can tell them there are alot of those, etc, etc.

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When I first got into WoT I decided to share my new obsession with my friends over on one of the Harry Potter fan sites I frequent. Took a bit for me to figure out how to get the story across to them so I wrote up a intro that seemed to draw a bit of interest.

 

Over the last few months I have been reading a series of books By Robert Jordan. The Wheel Of Time, with 11 books published, 1 prequil and a final 12th to the series coming in 2009 It is a very long read but well worth the time. It's a fantasy series that takes place in a Age yet to come, A Age Long Past as there is no ending nor beginings to the turning of the wheel of time. It's a story about a Messiah one whos power is as much a threat to the shadow as it is to himself.

 

3000 years prior to the begining of the story proper, the leader of the world a man named Lews Therin Telamon lead 100 men all weilders of the One Power Aes Sedai, to the pit of doom where they imprisoned the 13 Aes Sedai who were forsken of the Light and betrayers of both men and the creator. Imprisoned them in the pit with the sorce of all evil The Dark One, but the sealing of the pit gave off a back blast, one that tainted the male half of The One Power, Saidin. Which caused all the male Aes Sedai to go mad and begin to rot in their bodys while they still lived.

 

This Taint could not be cleansed by the female Aes Sedai those who touched the Female half of The One Power, Saidar. Saidar was untouched by the taint and safe to use. But nothing they did could save the men nor the world. As the men went mad they begain to destroy the world around them. Mountains rose and fell in hours, planes on which great citys stood became the bottom of seas. They Broke The World and nothing was left as it had been. But before the breaking had truely began Lews Therin Telamon the man know as The Lord Of The Morning and The Dragon in his madness killed all who he had loved and all who loved him. In his last moments one of the forsaken Ishamael who had not been completly sealed away appeared to him and gave him a moment of clarity. A moment in which he saw what he had done, to his blood and the world and in that moment he called The One Power down upon himself so much that stone turned to liquid then to a gas. And where he had stood a mountain rose miles into the sky. Dragon Mount the place that marked the tomb of the Dragon. A place according to Prophecy The Dragon would be reborn.

 

Now 3000 years later the world is still not as it had been in what was called The Age Of Legends life is simple now, farming growing Tabac and the raising sheep for wool is the majority of what life is for most now. Kings and Queens rule the nations that now stand and great armys still fight the shadow along the boarder of the Great Blight. But our story starts in a simple place full of simple people. Emonds Field, deep in the region called the Two Rivers, on the western edge of the nation of Andore. Long has it been since the Queen of Andore ruled the Two Rivers in fact more than name. Generations since a tax collector or the Queens Guards had been seen there. But here the story beings, It's the day of Winter Night, and the day before the Festival of Bel Tine. It should be spring but winter lingers, lingers much longer than natural. Ravens are every where and Wolfs have begun attacking men as often as livestock. Here a adventure begins for 2 farm boys a black smiths apprentence and 2 young village girls. A adventure that may get them killed or save the world.

 

 

I'm not a great writer I know but I did my best, and it drew enought intrest that I started explaining the series in much more detail for those who asked about it. Hehe it was kinda difficult explaining it all in Pm's so I had most add me to their MSN buddy list made it easier to have a conversation.

 

 

Darth_Andrea

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Good summary of the first book Darth_Andrea.

 

The WoT series is so complex.  Heh, this could be why each book in the series doesn't have a synopsis on the back cover like the majority of books out there.  I mean...not only is the entire story complex, but each book, so trying to adequately describe what the book is about just falls short and the best you can tell a person who's never read the WoT series is:  "Just read the book!  You won't regret it!" ;D  I would also tell a person who's never read the WoT that it's the best fantasy series I've ever read.  Better than Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, Edding's Belgariad, Brook's Shannara, and way, way, WAY better than Goodkind's Sword of Truth series.  ;)

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Its a story of prophecy in which a man who nearly destroyed the world trying to save it 3,000 years ago has been reborn as it was fortold....he was reborn in hopes that he would save the world with his rediscovered powers from the dark lord that is about to break free from his prison.

 

5 young adults, both men and women, are forced to flee their simple, remote village and go on adventures. During this time, they begin to change the world around them in more ways than anyone could have ever imagined. They all seek out their own collective destinies- sometimes together sometimes individually- but their own fates and the fate of the world is tied directly into their combined success and undiscovered powers.

 

The setting is in a world that is not of our time, where new powers are used and channelled. Kingdoms are on the bring of war and Nations old and new are striving for survival and power. Friend and enemies help them and hunt them along their paths.

 

Just as JRR Tolkien's epic trilogy was groundbreaking and new, so too is Robert Jordan's in the very same fashion.

 

 

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lol

 

I tried to explain WOT to my wife, I have been reading the series the whole time I have known her, she looks at my cross eyed and then asks what I want for dinner. :-\

 

haha, yeah, same boat. Tried to explain it to my girlfriend of four years.. Well it didn't work out to well.

 

Oh and the main reason I use these more familiar terms is the fact that I have limited time to give them even a general idea of the story, and explaining all the terms takes away from that time. Four minutes in between classes in my high school.

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I have tried to convert so many readers to RJ that I feel like a prophet.  Any time the subject of books come up I mention it.  Over time I have gotten brief in what I explain.  Usually I tell them about the AoL, Breaking, Aes Sedai, and the Taint.  Other details I add based on interest level of listener, Forsken/DO, One Power, etc.

 

It is unbeleivably easy to get lost in the explanations.  My biggest problem tends to be while talking about one item (ex.Aes Sedai) I get off track to explain them, which gets me off track to explain the OP, which gets me off track to explain the Taint, Which gets me off track to explain the Breaking, etc., etc., etc. :o

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My biggest thing is that I bring these books to work and read on my breaks and everytime I finish one and bring another they ask " So whats this one about?". ITs frustrating to me that they can't grasp that its an ongoing story and is not specifiacally about one thing or one person. It truly is the Age lace being woven. This series is far too complex to expain one thing without have to expalin everything. I started collecting all of the books in Hard cover and finally ijust started giving a way my old paperbacks to people to let them read it and try and make another beliver out of them.

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Ok - I know I'm gonna catch some heat for this - but I can say that this approach was SUCCESSFUL - it got my wife to start reading the books!  I didn't try to go into any detail - no One Power, Aes Sedai, Dark One, etc etc.  I simply said it was like the 'OC' meets Lord of the Rings.  This was last year when the OC was still on TV, so just pick whatever favorite TV show you like with lots of young kids trying to figure out who likes who!  You see, for me, one of the real big differences between WOT and other fantasy series is the real exploration of all of the young people in the series and their relationships.  The setting simply happens to be a fantasy book.

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  • 1 month later...

I tried to explain it to my friend. I explained-in detail-all about the one power, then the aes sedai, then Lews therin, then Rand, then the Chosen and Dark One.

Afterwards, she was completely confused.  :D

I lent her the book and she's read four pages.

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I find people seem to be fascinated by the one power. I try to explain about that, and how the Dragon Reborn must come and save the world.

 

Usually they grasp a bit, then just get confused.

That's when you go "here...read it."

 

Oh, and I don't always mention that it is going to be 12 books long...people are usually put off by such long books and so many...so I let EotW hook them...then they can't help but want to read it all.

 

 

 

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When it was introduced to me, my friend who was an avid reader shoved EOTW at me and said "read it, you'll like it", and here I am!

 

When I try to explain it though, I use two methods, one for more "enlightened" people and one for people I know won't get it know matter how I explain it, but it goes like this: A long time ago there were people with jedi like powers and normal people. The savior of the world is reborn and has to figure out how to use his power to save the world.

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A very long time ago I was sitting in a Borders' cafe reading the newly released, ACoS. Ok, it wasn't that long ago, but it definitely feels like it at times. Anyhoo, a female acquaintance popped her head into the place to say 'hello', but she started the conversation in the worst possible way.

 

"Whatcha readin'?" 

 

I could have just told her it was a wonderful series of fiction. However, as if in the presence of Artur Paendrag Tanreall himself, I began spilling out the series from the very beginning, complete with a hefty portion of original dialog and even a few hastily constructed props (I vaguely remember using a clear coffee stirrer to represent Callandor and apparently I had been juggling a trio of coffee creamers when Thom entered the story).

 

At any rate, this went on for well over two hours, with a few interruptions from the afore mentioned young lady, the busboy, and an older gentleman sitting next to us, who kept badgering me for more info on the Age of Legends and the Aiel war. By the time I had caught up to where I had read in the story, the forth chapter of ACoS, I noticed several unusual things:

 

One, there were about six empty coffee cups sitting in front of me, and my head felt like it would implode from the caffeine rush.

 

Two, I had attracted a crowd of people; a pair of which were actually holding copies of the book, several were store customers, and three who were employees of the cafe.

 

Three, one of the employees was holding an application and asked me if I would consider working there.

 

Four, the acquaintance wouldn't stop staring, and she asked me to dinner.

 

I often wish I'd accepted the dinner invite.  :)

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you didnt? ....  :o

well i didnt have it that spectacular, but i got 6 people in my class to read, i explained very briefly about the one power and aes sedai and Randland. then when they asked for more i refused to say anything more until they would read the first book :P well they did and then they were in it.

 

1 of em is in book 6 now, the others all around book 7-8... Damn

 

I often see em reading and im pretty jealous of them because they havent read the rest yet and really are excited about the books like i was when i read em for the first time, just couldnt put em down. I actually almost got mad at the bookstore because knife of dreams was SOLD OUT, and thats english edition in the Netherlands. :P.

 

Been reading this for 2 years only, since im 17 years old now:P And i was really amazed and pleased that im not the only one who gets confused it explaining WOT. When i read your replys i was like ''WHAT that sounds exactly like me sometimes. Amazing

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A very long time ago I was sitting in a Borders' cafe reading the newly released, ACoS. Ok, it wasn't that long ago, but it definitely feels like it at times. Anyhoo, a female acquaintance popped her head into the place to say 'hello', but she started the conversation in the worst possible way.

 

"Whatcha readin'?" 

 

I could have just told her it was a wonderful series of fiction. However, as if in the presence of Artur Paendrag Tanreall himself, I began spilling out the series from the very beginning, complete with a hefty portion of original dialog and even a few hastily constructed props (I vaguely remember using a clear coffee stirrer to represent Callandor and apparently I had been juggling a trio of coffee creamers when Thom entered the story).

 

At any rate, this went on for well over two hours, with a few interruptions from the afore mentioned young lady, the busboy, and an older gentleman sitting next to us, who kept badgering me for more info on the Age of Legends and the Aiel war. By the time I had caught up to where I had read in the story, the forth chapter of ACoS, I noticed several unusual things:

 

One, there were about six empty coffee cups sitting in front of me, and my head felt like it would implode from the caffeine rush.

 

Two, I had attracted a crowd of people; a pair of which were actually holding copies of the book, several were store customers, and three who were employees of the cafe.

 

Three, one of the employees was holding an application and asked me if I would consider working there.

 

Four, the acquaintance wouldn't stop staring, and she asked me to dinner.

 

I often wish I'd accepted the dinner invite.  :)

 

 

Sounds to me like you were channeling Thom and became a Gleeman. Apparently a good one if you drew such a big crowd.

 

 

[glow=green,1,500]Darth_Andrea[/glow]

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The kind of people I've met, are those who've shown interest and those who have told me to stop when I get as far as trying to explain what the One Power is.

I usually stop explaining there.

I remember when I first came to the world of the Wheel of time. I wasn't introduced to it or anything. Just noticed a lone copy of a book in a bookstore that had been sitting there for over a year. Oddly enough. I had picked up that book and read the summary atleast several times over that year. I usually put it back when I noticed the "part 9 of the Wheel of Time series". I never could understand the summary. Of course, I didn't recognize Perrin du-uh. The only reason I got the store keeper to get all the other parts was that I wasnted to know how bad a book had to be that it was lying there for a year. I am laughing now as I think of that. Curiously enough, WN was the last book I bought. I bought it after I bought KoD. I read my friend's copy of WN. I guess odd things happen.

 

I've drifted from the topic though.... Like I said. The one successful time I've managed to get a friend hooked to WoT was when I said "Read it. You said you hated the LotR type of fantasy. Read it and knock yourself out." (About EotW btw.)

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I did exactly this with a colleague recently, although fortunately she is like-minded and immediately understood where i was coming from. She's now overtaken me in the series and is loving it.

 

I simply told her it was centred around 3 boys from a backwater village who are 'taveren' which means they mould the world around them slightly, alter things just by being there. One of them is the Dragon Reborn - the Dragon was a man who could channel (use the Power) a few hundred years ago who imprisoned the Dark One (bad side) and then went mad and died. This guy is his soul reborn, and we are leading up to Tarmon Gaidon (Armageddon).

 

She asked to borrow it and she's been reading it ever since.

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