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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

What to tell a new reader?


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My sister just began reading the series. Her fantasy reading up to this point has basically been the Harry Potter series (her all-time favorite), the Percy Jackson stuff, the Eregon stuff and of course the Twilight series. She just turned 30, has two young children and teaches 1st and 2nd grade, which should help to explain her preference for 'less mature' reading up to this point. Its really been more a matter of exposure.

 

At any rate, I've gotten her into this series at long last, and she's having to get her mind around the idea of something so much more epic, something less immediately gratifying, and (half-way through the second book), she's having to go slow in order to avoid being overwhelmed. Now when I first read the series, I began shortly after EotW came out, so I've had literally decades to digest each book and re-read multiple times before the next came out... I'm trying to help her out a little by trying to point out certain things while at the same time doing all I can to avoid ruining anything for her.

 

One of the things I told her was that she was going to get innundated by Aes Sedai and that after a while they might begin to blur together... so she should try and focus a little more on Verin, Alviarin, Elaida and Liandrin, and to a lesser extent Alanna and Leanne - just to help them stand out from the crowd a bit.

 

Is there anything else you would tell someone embarking on the series for the first time, anything you wish you had been told when you began, or at any point during your first reading?

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I think you should tell her that one of the biggest ongoing themes of the series is realism. Who on earth can name every single person they came across in the last, say, six months? Now imagine trying to follow who three, four, five people meet in over two years. There are a lot of "insignificant" people in Wheel of Time.

 

Also, if it was me, Id probably drop a few non-lethal spoilers here and there. Like, "a major prophecy is resolved at the end of book 3." You dont have to say what it is, but it will whet her appetite, and when Rand does proclaim himself she'll be ready to eat book 4.

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Well, in general it might encourage her to tell her that WoT is a lot like Harry Potter, only on a much larger scale. I've found that fans of Harry Potter tend to be fans of books that focus on plot, plot twists, and tying up those twists very neatly. All things that WoT excels at. Get her to the point where we find out Ba'alzamon isn't even the Dark One, and you should have her hooked for the whole series ;)

 

In particular, I think you did a pretty good job as far as you can. Pointing to the characters that are important. Any more and you risk ruining plots. In a series as big as the WoT getting into it is kind of learning how to swim....just throw her in the pool ;)

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Warn her that books:

1-3 = Awesome

4-6 = Really Good

7-9 = Kinda Sketchy with good parts

10 = A pile of crap you need hip waders for

Then they get better again.

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You're already past the one thing I make sure I tell a new reader of the series...

 

If I want someone to read the series, I make sure to by them book 1 AND 2. I tell them that Book 1 is something of an artificial ending because RJ/Tor didn't know if it was going to sell, so they should give the series until Book 2 to really understand the scope and payoff that the series promises.

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    I try to tell people to be patient. Myself, I am not put off by how big a book is and very seldom have I ever had to put a book down because I just can't get into it (Funny that Twilight was one of those and I don't even know why). With the Wheel of Time you have so many story lines and characters and ALOT of descriptions that sometimes get annoying. But if she can "wade" through that stuff, the action is some of the best I've read.

 

Hope this helps.

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I would mention that this is one of the few series that captures women has being a true power player. The women in Randland are not to be taken lightly and they are as apt for strength and of course bad-acts as any dude would be. I would suggest that without women in this series there would be virtually no hope to win the last battle and that is a big change. RJ created a world where women are a true power and not just kiss-candy. Granted other books use women in a power role but nothing like Randland where they women are not just some perfect creature that happens to be powerful through dumb luck but that they earned it, use it and fall to the shadow just like any other.

 

I would also state that the world is very big, lots of ethnic groups and nationalities, that the male characters tend to be the prudish ones and if your up for a large series that takes fantasy to a whole new level, try it out.

 

Hermonie Granger in Randland would be a very different person. Like Verin perhaps who although loves to study and such, ends up with a role very different then we are used to. It is in that, that it is much more like real life.

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I usually show them New Spring first--it's shorter, easier to get into and gives an excellent feel for the scope and nature of the series.

 

I've had way more success with using this as a lead in to the series than the Eye, especially with people who don't read fantasy that much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I usually show them New Spring first--it's shorter, easier to get into and gives an excellent feel for the scope and nature of the series.

 

I've had way more success with using this as a lead in to the series than the Eye, especially with people who don't read fantasy that much.

 

She actually asked about that after my mother suggested that she read it first, and I told her 'Nononono! It will ruin way too much.' Do you not think there are too many aspects of the backstory just thrown out there to begin with tNS? Is the only reason you would reccomend it is sort of as a sample read? I ask because I know how much you value the series and the writer's intent on how it was meant to be read...

 

Also, along those lines, since Moiraine is my favorite character I prefer that she get a sense of her power and mystery as an Aes Sedai BEFORE being exposed to the less mature, less impressive version we see in tNS. Read in release order, it seems like the Moiraine experience is really enhanced because - just when you're REALLY starting to miss her - you get a nice tag-along view of her past.

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What to tell a new reader?

 

-"Here, read this"

-"What is it?"

-"Just read it"

-"What's it about?"

-"RAFO!! >:(

 

They'll get the joke down the line when they're hooked.

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