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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

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Hello all. As this is my first post, please forgive my cheek in being presumptuous enough to start with criticism, but I am interested to know if other fans feel the same things I do, regarding the series, and I hope that my words are taken in the spirit intended, which is of discussion, not rancor.

 

To start, I began reading the series shortly before Lord of Chaos was released, so that it was readily available at the library by the time I finished TFOH. This was around 1995. My first impressions of EOTW, after reading the first few chapters, was that he was clearly writing in the Tolkien style (I will assume such an intelligent community does not need a list of similarities), however, even within that original framework, we began to see a larger world emerging, the characters more well rounded, more human, if you will, than in Tolkien.

 

Books 2,3, and 4 establish the bulk of that world, and a majority of the characters; we get insights into most of the countries and races, good and evil factions, etc. Indeed, these three books are so well-plotted that they are a joy to read to this day, despite umpteen readings.

 

However, we start to see a trend develop in book 5; minor characters are consistently reintroduced with similar wordings; and new characters, such as many of the lords of Tear, Cairhien, and Andor, are introduced at an almost machine gun rate, dizzying the mind with names and descriptions, which, will be mentioned many times again.

 

As we progress on through the next few books, we are often treated to an introduction of a new city or state, Tanchico, Ebou Dar, Illian, Far Madding, etc., all become areas of major developments that demand new lords and ladies, new AS advisors, new villians.

 

We are also given half-insights into the minds of the Forsaken and some of the darkfriends; clues to tantalize us and keep us guessing.

 

Now these are mostly plot elements. Where I start to find fault (and I admit that it is possible this is only due to reading the books in quick succession) with the characterizations of our heroes. No one trusts anyone else, or it is a guarded trust. Secrets are kept hard, and the characters seem to float along, oblivious to what we (or I) think would be more important for them to be aware of. Even when the characters suffer for not being open and asking for help, they continue doing so.

 

And then the women. Roughly speaking, from Book 4 to Book 11, we are given a constant stream of new women; Aes Sedai, Kin, Sea Folk, Aiel, Seanchan, noble and commoner. And to a woman, they almost all: swish their skirts, color or blush, and talk to themselves internally. After a while, the chapters with woman discussing whatever seem to just blend in and get confusing.

 

Rand becomes, over time, a thoroughly unlikable fellow; even if Mat were not written so well, he would be a more fun character, in comparison. But Mat is a wonderful character. Perrin is solid throughout.

 

My concerns for the series is that, in creating such a vast cosmology, and trying very hard to bring as much of it to the reader as possible, Mr. Jordan has created a Frankenstein, and it is almost inevitable that plot development and story structure will suffer due to the need of tying these loose ends up for the reader, especially readers who have been so faithful all these long years.

 

Now we wait for the posthumous release of Book 12. I wonder how many readers remain emotionally invested in the characters, and how many wait to find out some of the burning mysteries, like who Demandred is, and who killed Asmodean, etc. For whatever reasons, I hope that, for you faithful followers especially, it is worth the wait.

 

Thanks for reading.

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The Wheel of Time books are story driven not character driven, the characters being just tools to tell the tale, as such each character is not as well defined or spoken off is as much depth as it would be in a character driven story. Personally I prefer character driven stories, but this is not a criticism of the books as they are brilliantly written story driven works.

 

If I have any criticism of the books themself it is that some areas of the books do get a little dry in my opinion, most of them are great, but some parts do drag on a little. Mr Jordan also have a tendency to use a little to much stereotypes for my taste, but other than that I love the books in all ways.

 

I actually like minor characters showing up again in later books, it give a feeling of continuity. It is very fun for example to see what the Sul'dam Renna have been up to since we last saw her in book 2 when she appear again in later books.

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I don't think your concerns are unique to you.  As I understand it, many people quit on the series a few books past tFoH.  That said, I'm not worried about all the loose plot ends being tied up.  There's a lot of foreshadowing been done, and if some of is fulfilled after the final book is published it leaves the story feeling more real.  The intent is not to wrap up everything.  It's to wrap up TG.  Everything else we may or may not see

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Now I'm not as good with words as these guys so bear with me.  :P

 

I began reading WoT in grade 8, I am now in grade 9. While I went through the first five books I saw lots of plot lines developing and spreading out. In my mind's eye, I saw all these coming to a close, I imagined how these things would fit together and how everything would end. As I began reading 6-11 lots of these plot line which I had so vividly formulated answers too, ended.

 

Nevertheless I continued reading and when I finished reading book 11 I went back through these plot lines, and was disappointed, by book 11, I had hoped that most of the problems and questions I had had would be resolved, but RJ isnt a great fan of tying up lose ends... So I'm hoping that in book 12 all these will be  solved, or at least the major ones.

 

This is actually my favorite kind of series, when I read it, it is slightly disappointing to me, but then I think of all these loose ends, and how I want them put together, and I can spend hours building my own little stories, that stem from the main books.

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I think WOT is summed up best a quote from Tolkien in the Forward of Fellowship of the Ringl  "It is not possible to please everyone at all points in a long tale, the parts that are to some a blemish are to others specially chosen."

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Part of the joy of reading RJ is discovery. Thanks to the huge cast of characters, to the many different plotlines, and to the atmosphere and setting engendered by his writing, these books can be read over and over again at least 2-3 times before a full concept can be developed.

 

I like the character progressions most of all, and especially the fact that Rand is slowly turning into a tyrant. It's a breeze of fresh air. It shows the character growing up under a certain set of circumstances, rather than the typical 'I R GOOD CHARACTER AND I DEFEAT EVIL THEN GO BACK TO TEND SHEEP!'.

 

Instead, RJ shows us the strains of being a part of prophecy, emphasizing what many would view the more wicked aspects of his characters.

 

And even though RJ does manage to make his characters more human, he still maintains a childish, thoroughly addictive, optimistic 'feel' to the books.

 

So all in all, it's a very wonderful experience.

 

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Some of what you say makes a lot of sense. One thing to keep in mind though is that we know that a good deal of the remaining plotlines will not be tied off- simply the major ones.

 

I actually am enjoying/being more and more intrigued by Rand's story. He is slowly but surely buckling under all that pressure- and becoming what he loathes. It's a fascinating thing to watch such a good person have so much of what he is stripped away. He is indeed the heart of power, and that power is corrupting him- it's like watching what would have happened to Aragorn had he taken the Ring for himself. Thoroughly enjoyable. I agree that sometimes RJ tended to draw things out- like eating, or the molecular structure of an archway. Other than that though, I absolutely love reading the later books because they open up this epic in so many ways.

 

As for the other individual's contention about this series being plot driven and not character driven...perhaps you are reading a different series? Like The Sword of Truth?

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Guest Dreadlord

Hello all. As this is my first post, please forgive my cheek in being presumptuous enough to start with criticism, but I am interested to know if other fans feel the same things I do, regarding the series, and I hope that my words are taken in the spirit intended, which is of discussion, not rancor.

 

To start, I began reading the series shortly before Lord of Chaos was released, so that it was readily available at the library by the time I finished TFOH. This was around 1995. My first impressions of EOTW, after reading the first few chapters, was that he was clearly writing in the Tolkien style (I will assume such an intelligent community does not need a list of similarities), however, even within that original framework, we began to see a larger world emerging, the characters more well rounded, more human, if you will, than in Tolkien.

 

Books 2,3, and 4 establish the bulk of that world, and a majority of the characters; we get insights into most of the countries and races, good and evil factions, etc. Indeed, these three books are so well-plotted that they are a joy to read to this day, despite umpteen readings.

 

However, we start to see a trend develop in book 5; minor characters are consistently reintroduced with similar wordings; and new characters, such as many of the lords of Tear, Cairhien, and Andor, are introduced at an almost machine gun rate, dizzying the mind with names and descriptions, which, will be mentioned many times again.

 

As we progress on through the next few books, we are often treated to an introduction of a new city or state, Tanchico, Ebou Dar, Illian, Far Madding, etc., all become areas of major developments that demand new lords and ladies, new AS advisors, new villians.

 

We are also given half-insights into the minds of the Forsaken and some of the darkfriends; clues to tantalize us and keep us guessing.

 

Now these are mostly plot elements. Where I start to find fault (and I admit that it is possible this is only due to reading the books in quick succession) with the characterizations of our heroes. No one trusts anyone else, or it is a guarded trust. Secrets are kept hard, and the characters seem to float along, oblivious to what we (or I) think would be more important for them to be aware of. Even when the characters suffer for not being open and asking for help, they continue doing so.

 

And then the women. Roughly speaking, from Book 4 to Book 11, we are given a constant stream of new women; Aes Sedai, Kin, Sea Folk, Aiel, Seanchan, noble and commoner. And to a woman, they almost all: swish their skirts, color or blush, and talk to themselves internally. After a while, the chapters with woman discussing whatever seem to just blend in and get confusing.

 

Rand becomes, over time, a thoroughly unlikable fellow; even if Mat were not written so well, he would be a more fun character, in comparison. But Mat is a wonderful character. Perrin is solid throughout.

 

My concerns for the series is that, in creating such a vast cosmology, and trying very hard to bring as much of it to the reader as possible, Mr. Jordan has created a Frankenstein, and it is almost inevitable that plot development and story structure will suffer due to the need of tying these loose ends up for the reader, especially readers who have been so faithful all these long years.

 

Now we wait for the posthumous release of Book 12. I wonder how many readers remain emotionally invested in the characters, and how many wait to find out some of the burning mysteries, like who Demandred is, and who killed Asmodean, etc. For whatever reasons, I hope that, for you faithful followers especially, it is worth the wait.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

I have to disagree on some points Im afraid, although these are matters of oppinion so Im not trying to change anyones mind. Most of what was listed above I see to be the series' strengths as opposed to its weaknesses.

 

Agreed, the first four books or so are pretty much dedicated to bringing us into the world, the mind of the characters, and ingrain an understanding into our minds of how things work, like Ta'veren, Aes Sedai Oaths, and the Power. But after that, the series begins to expand massively. A number of minor characters step up as semi-main characters, and the boundaries of the possible and impossible begin to blur. The story evolves purely on a character basis-we can see where the story is going but its the characters that drive the story, not the other way round, in my oppinion-look at how far Rand himself has come, and you tell me the story is not character driven.

 

As for Rand turning into an unlikable bloke, well, there are many interesting reasons for that. I am NOT defending Rand, but if you imagine his situation it all makes sense.

 

First off, the fate of everything-EVERYTHING-rests on his shoulders. He is obsessed with making himself hard and invulnerable to the point where he wants his loved ones to stay away. He faces betrayal with every face he sees (or so he thinks) and paranoia grinds at him about madness. On top of that, he has two unhealing wounds which on its own is bad enough, but each is infected with a type of evil-one beats with the Taint and so can be said to encourage his mind problems, the other is infected with Shadar Logoth evil-look at Mat in TGh for symptoms.

 

As I said I am NOT defending Rand, but his unlikable situation is a sign of what hes been through and I love the idea of a good guy who is losing

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Now these are mostly plot elements. Where I start to find fault (and I admit that it is possible this is only due to reading the books in quick succession) with the characterizations of our heroes. No one trusts anyone else, or it is a guarded trust. Secrets are kept hard, and the characters seem to float along, oblivious to what we (or I) think would be more important for them to be aware of. Even when the characters suffer for not being open and asking for help, they continue doing so.

 

 

Much of what you say has merit; I have had a much longer time with the books, and after countless re-readings perhaps any confusion because of the vast scope has disappeared.  As to the above, this is what makes the characters real to me:  they don't have complete knowledge, like us "real" folks; they continue to follow their own course at their own expense; they are unable to discern the motivations and rationales of others and so make mistakes.  In other words, they are very realistic; human if you will.

 

Actually, no matter how AMoL ends up, I'll be sad to no longer have the WOT to look forward to, but am impatient to get there.

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Guest Dreadlord

Thats another good thing about the series; as mentioned by someone else, character development is one of my favorite things about WoT. Looking at Mat, he is less the prankster and more the soldier with rogue qualities. Perrin isnt that good an example, but just look at Rand. The perfect scene to describe Rand in my oppinion is the scene when he reads Moiraines letter just after her death. He wants to mourn but cannot. He wants to feel, cannot, and then doesnt realise when he is mourning. he is losing his humanity, and I think Cadsuane will teach him just that-how to be human again.

 

I also like the impact Rand has on the world. At first pigeons fly into each other, later on men will no longer go mad from channeling, and the impact he has builds up along with his ego and power. Great

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I've though of something. If the mirrors of the wheel represent all possibilities (like parallel universes), then they should have been a possibility where the access keys weren't lost in the War of Power, and the plan to make a new prison or whatever using the Choedan Kal might have taken effect. Or, "The Fateful Conclave" might not have occured, and women may have accompanied men to the sealing of the bore. Then both sides of the power might have been tainted. Or maybe the Dark One broke loose. So many chances.

 

 

Also in KoD, Lews Therin thinks about how the Creator was like a gardener who grew worlds like one would grow blossoms. Maybe the other flowers are like the mirrors to the pattern. It's possible that other flowers might have spoiled and rotted, and died. That would be a way out for these discrepancies.

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There is an actual theory, of course, on multiple worlds. I don't believe in it for the sheer number of worlds that would have to exist. You're making a decision every second, whether big or small. I might click on one tab on my browser right now, or click on another. Two worlds now, just for that?

 

This is a book though. It's a confusing theory. The most confusing part is that if the DO is freed in one, then he is in all. But theoretically the DO SHOULD be freed in more than one since the multiple worlds exist due to branching possibilities. lol.

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Also in KoD, Lews Therin thinks about how the Creator was like a gardener who grew worlds like one would grow blossoms. Maybe the other flowers are like the mirrors to the pattern. It's possible that other flowers might have spoiled and rotted, and died. That would be a way out for these discrepancies.

 

Actually, that is Moridin thinking. If you read that passage again, you will notice that LTT is described as listening.

Question is then, how much can Moridin be trusted here? He was of course a world famous and brilliant philosopher, but it was also the philosophy that made him join the Shadow.

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Also in KoD, Lews Therin thinks about how the Creator was like a gardener who grew worlds like one would grow blossoms. Maybe the other flowers are like the mirrors to the pattern. It's possible that other flowers might have spoiled and rotted, and died. That would be a way out for these discrepancies.

 

Actually, that is Moridin thinking. If you read that passage again, you will notice that LTT is described as listening.

Question is then, how much can Moridin be trusted here? He was of course a world famous and brilliant philosopher, but it was also the philosophy that made him join the Shadow.

Though evidence seems to have supported him.  The Creator has not intervened even though the Light's situation is fairly desperate.  Even in the War of Power, the Creator stayed out of the struggle.  The Dark One is a control freak, as I believe RJ put it.  The Creator, being his opposite, would allow the worlds he created to decide their own destiny, free of his influence. 

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Don´t know if i can call this WOT critisism, but i realy did get feed up with the Aes Sedai powered up proud and "know it all" attitude in the first books. Infact, the whole world seems very woman focused, and ill guess it have to do with the tainted part of the power, saidin. There was simply no male power to match the Aes Sedai, so they did put them selfs over anyone else. The bad thing is that this attitude seem to "leake out" on other females, leaving males to struggle hard against hard headed womans about allmost everything it seems.

 

Maby this is one of the finale book plots, when Aes Sedai finaly realise that they dont know EVERYTHING, dont are right all the time, and finaly step down from the high horses?

 

One more thing....the never ending descriptions of the cloths. This allmost brake my interest for WOT in the first book.

 

Now, the saga did grow and turned out the be the best thing i have ever readed (audiobook, but i call it reading anyway ;D ) In the Epilouge of Knife of Dreams, when Pevara Tazanovni stands before Mazrim Taim and the book stops, i allmost screamed. I realy like Pevara and hate to see her meeting the "wrong and evil" Asha'mans.

 

To say it short, i have 2 WOT Critisisms

1. To mutch "girlpower" in the first books. But this will lead to a interesting "plot" in the finale book ill think.

2. Never ending descriptions of cloths. I did "read" all the books in audio format, and i can only imagine how frustrating this must be in bookformat.

 

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2. Never ending descriptions of cloths. I did "read" all the books in audio format, and i can only imagine how frustrating this must be in bookformat.

 

Probably less frustrating than it is in audio format though.  In book format, you can just skim those sections.

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Ye, you are right. I did have to listen to this over and over again, the readers could just "jump over" it.

The sceary thing is that i hope the last book will still be like this  :o if its not, it wouldnt feel like WOT.

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