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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Why do people hate the Wheel of Time?


trashbird1240
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Understand, of course, that these opinions are not my own. I'm just a fan who's read quite a lot of criticism of the series. For all its faults, WoT is a series that I think very highly of.

 

 

Sorry, but WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING ON A WHEEL OF TIME FANSITE?

 

It seems like you don't even like the books at all, just sayin'.

 

Obviously you didn't read his post very carefully. Try not to be so impulsive next time, it gives the internet a bad reputation.

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3. The books are not for adults, with juvenile interactions between the cast, overly simple (good v evil, Dark Lord, not enough by way of shades of grey, etc.), a coyness about subjects such as sex (it taking place off screen, often implied rather than outright stated).

 

And by the way when I said sex, I didn't mean intercourse. Where would we be if that was all there was to sex? I meant sex, sexual relationships, intimacy, sexual power, gender, gender-based power, abuse of any aforementioned powers. Halima! Hello!

 

And of course pillow-friends, my friend.

 

As for intercourse itself, I really like the way he portrays it. How important to the plot are the actual mechanics of the act itself. I can fill in those details myself. What's really important is what the characters do about it.

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Why do people hate the Wheel of Time?

 

Because they are fools!

 

Well that goes without saying...

 

But seriously, I can see how some people would dislike the pace, or how some people think that some parts are boring as hell. Elayne´s succession. Geez.

 

Now hold it right there: this was one thing that I thought was right on. I could tell from how RJ portrayed this that he'd read plenty of history (as I have). It would be far too simple, i.e. not believable, if she just walked in to Caemlyn and said "King me."

 

Perhaps the somewhat lighter tone of the series

 

The what? Lighter tone? The only lightness I see is the occasional joke on Mat, or by Mat. These books seem really dark to me: that's another thing I like, they're not just hero stories. If you've only read The Eye of the World, perhaps there's some parts that qualify. Thom is entertaining as he's supposed to be. After the first few pages of The Shadow Rising (incidentally my favorite book) everything is pretty bleak.

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one of my coworkers describes them as "12 books full of spanking...they suck"

 

Did you say "If you were disappointed, you should read book 13, there's way more spanking in that one."

 

I have to say that many people who don't like this series dislike it for all of the reasons that I have found lacking in other series.

I love the whole picture painted style while others wish only to have a boiled plotline.

 

The most daring plot is absolutely nothing without character development. I didn't believe this myself until I read Bernard Cornwell and Robert Jordan. Other books rely on you to know what Paladin, a wizard, a dwarf etc. are in some established fantasy lexicon. That's fine if the material is historical fiction and you've read the history (i.e. Cornwell's series about Alfred the Great). However, with RJ creating his own world, there's only one way to do that and that is to build up the characters and their lives in that world.

 

The biggest complaints I have from normal sci-fi and fantasy books is that they spend too little time developing the characters sacrificing to move the plot line ahead for a 400 page book. Even the beloved J.R.R. series have whole story lines that I would love to have explored but he chose to end his in three books and only later came back and wrote one prequel. I would have cut off an ear to read the back story and further adventures of the Ents...

 

Seriously, the only character with much emotional depth in The Fellowship of the Ring is Gollum. Gandalf maybe. When I got done with that book, I just wanted to know more about Gollum. When I was done with The Eye of the World, I really wanted to know what was going to happen to Nynaeve. I had never had that feeling about a character from a novel or a film before.

 

As for those of you who want to list why you hate the Wheel of Time or debate what you like the least about it: I'm not interested: I would delete your posts if I could as they are useless noise. I'm interested in why certain shallow people, who obviously haven't read enough of this series, but have voraciously devoured say Harry Potter, say that it sucks. I know that I haven't read as much fantasy literature as these people; the Wheel of Time is the only fantasy series that I've read most of and I'm curious as to how it's different. Obviously there are the things that I like about it, but I wonder what other people expect of a series that they would be so repulsed by the way Robert Jordan writes.

 

Let me clarify one other thing: when I say I like the language RJ uses, I don't mean how long he goes on in describing things. I mean the words he chooses. He doesn't choose pretentious phrases like "And so let it be..." or "Being the first book..." and sh*t like that. That was what drew me in to the book right away. Even in the Prologue of The Eye of the World --- a rather dramatic scene --- the language is plain and only as complex as it needs to be.

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Ares raised a couple of good points and people asking him "wth he's doing on a WoT fansite" should get a grip.

Seeing flaws in things you love doesn't mean you're not a fan.

 

I'm a huge WoT fan, I've spent countless hours just thinking about the characters and what will happen. All the fantasy nerd stuff.

 

But:

1) Don't come telling me that Jordan's overly descriptive writing "always serves a purpose". That's nonsense. You're saying that Jordan makes all those little details matter? Go read some other books. While I prefer WoT to Song of Ice and Fire I think Martin is way better at "making details matter". Jordan overdid it. Does it help you imagine the world even better? Maybe, but some people don't need that and would prefer if the plot just went ahead or the characters developed instead of reading repetitive descriptions over and over again. All those mannerisms, all those "pretty women"... geez... are all women in Randland pretty? And why is it always the first thing that's mentioned anyway. Come on...

I can't say it annoys me a whole lot but it's definitely a flaw in my opinion. And the focus on women's looks is ridiculous at times. I don't need every bosom described (and I'm from liberal Europe. Sex wouldn't bother me. It's the teenage approach to Sex that's so lame.).

 

2) People not talking to each other. Seriously, I'm glad Sanderson took over the series just for this aspect. Finally people start communicating.

 

3) Black vs. White. Some people just don't like it. I can't say it bothers me but I'm still waiting for an interesting ambiguous character. I'd love if an initially good person turned evil or the other way round (*cough* Mierin *cough*), too. I suppose that's why I always liked characters like Lanfear or even Asmodean. People who had their own agenda and not just a boring "good" or "evil" mindset. Verin rocked btw.

 

4) The "Stormtrooper Effect": You know Star Wars? How the good guys always kill all the baddies and the bad guys ALWAYS miss when shooting at the heroes? It gets annoying. I didn't notice this much when I started reading these books as a teenager but now it kinda irks me. The world is in uproar, there's wars everywhere, tons of people dying... yet hardly any major PoV characters has died. Don't come and argue that people like Pedron Niall died or whoever else you can think of. I'm talking about major characters (good side) and after 13 books I'm starting to lose the sense of "fear" for my favourite characters' life. They seem safe. And that's sad.

I'm not saying Jordan or Sanderson should've gone on a G.R.R. Martin-esque killing spree and killed off tons of PoV characters but some? Come on? Are they all gonna survive right up to the last battle (and possibly even after)?

Even the Harry Bloody Potter series saw more important people die. (Don't start a HP discussion now. I'm not interested and don't particularly like it either.)

I'm not saying Sanderson or Jordan should've killed characters off just for the sake of doing it but it does add a sense of danger to the plot. It makes you care more cause you don't know what will happen.

Damn carebears!

Edited by MierinWru
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My wife doesn't hate it per say - she's frustrated sometimes with me constantly walking with a little headphone in one of my ears. But then she has a lot of fun when my inner-geek comes out. She does hate the fact that I'm already starting to tell our daughter about WoT when putting her to sleep (she can't even talk yet). I guess people don't like the fact that once you hooked on WoT it takes a lot of your time and attention. It's just jealousy. tongue.gif

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jeeezzz!!

 

Stop with the insults people, i don't need to "get a grip" of anything.

 

That comment i made about "why the hell are you on a WoT fansite" was fairly justified. I was merely stating that the origonal poster of all those reasons for why WoT was not perfect, identified more reasons for DISLIKING the series rather than liking it. But if you'd read my other posts you'd know that eh?

 

Maby i was bit eager to jump down peoples throughts, for that i appologise.

 

 

Adressing what people have said about the books being filled with needles "skirt smoothing" etc..

 

I'm sorry but the books would not be good without all the weird Jordanian quirks, his uneque way of portraying female characters is a huge part of the reason i love the books.

 

Sorry, i hope that finaly makes it into peoples heads. I don't think the wheel of time is flawless! have you ever read books 8,9 and 10???

 

 

They drag on like hell, but i wouldn't ever cut them out the series. Hell i hate reading the "Perrin runs after faile" arc. I HATE a couple of characters, but it's fun hating them, after all i don't like people in real life do i?

 

Stop jumping to ideas people, and read everything i have said before you make judgement!

 

Cheers

 

EDIT: also, i hate it when people make out of context quotes, yes trashbird1240 i'm looking at you!

Edited by Lynchgrinch
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That comment i made about "why the hell are you on a WoT fansite" was fairly justified. I was merely stating that the origonal poster of all those reasons for why WoT was not perfect, identified more reasons for DISLIKING the series rather than liking it. But if you'd read my other posts you'd know that eh?

 

i quote this from Mr. Ares' original post, which you took offence to. "Understand, of course, that these opinions are not my own." so maybe you should have paid closer attention to what was written?

also, as this entire thread is about the (percieved or veritable) NEGATIVES of the series, ie- why people HATE WoT, i think his listing of negatives was completely in line with the point of this exercise.

 

I just think that the origonal poster(who i was screaming at) pointed out way to many flaws. It seems like the ammounto "flaws" he pointed out outwayed all possible good points.

 

again, as he was only listing negatives, i don't know what you mean by 'too many flaws'. if we are discussing negatives, should he half-ass his utterly objective response because some people might take it personally? if his listing of flaws seem to 'outweigh all possible good points,' then clearly you need to reevaluate your interest in the books. for most of us, though, i am guessing, the flaws are just there to be aknowledged or debated, but don't seem to outweigh the good.

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The reasons people don't like the series are plentiful. Some of them can be summed up as them holding the opposite opinion to the opening poster, that is to say:

1. Badly drawn characters, particularly the women, as many of them are seen as unrealistic, unpleasant and identical, virtually everyone is juvenile in their relationships, not talking to other people is taken to ridiculous extremes, and virtually everyone is, at best, two dimensional.

2. Robert Jordan's language, which is seen as needlessly bloated, insisting on pages of pointless description that does nothing to further the story, and isn't always clear, and leaves little to the imagination.

3. The books are not for adults, with juvenile interactions between the cast, overly simple (good v evil, Dark Lord, not enough by way of shades of grey, etc.), a coyness about subjects such as sex (it taking place off screen, often implied rather than outright stated).

4. It's not deep, the themes not being hugely profound, it saying little to nothing of relevance or importance, no real comment on the human condition.

 

In addition to these is the matter of the pacing, with many people feeling frustrated at a story seeming to take a very long time to go nowhere in particular, crawling forward inch by painful inch when they want him to get to the bloody story. This is seen as the principle problem with CoT, for example - while things do happen, they end up taking up far more space than they should. We do not need half a chapter of Elayne taking a bath. Also, people dislike the frequent use of stock mannerisms, said Mr Ares, pulling on his brain, sniffing at those wool headed fool men, and putting his hands on his hips while folding his arms beneath his breasts. Some dislike the spanking, which is felt to be excessive, and indicative of a certain preference of RJ's, likewise the frequent female nudity (ceremonies clad in the Light). Understand, of course, that these opinions are not my own. I'm just a fan who's read quite a lot of criticism of the series. For all its faults, WoT is a series that I think very highly of.

 

Jillain Sanche, I think you do many people a disservice when you accuse those who find RJ's style overly wordy as being perhaps spoilt by action films. For one thing, it isn't hard to find people who are well read offering this criticism. It would seem the greater problem is that RJ tells these people things that they feel they don't need to know (how much lace someone is wearing, for example), in too much detail, at far ggreater length than is really warranted. Again and again. It is a style that, as I mentioned above, many feel leaves too little to the imagination. Whereas authors with a more minimalist style (such as Hemingway) might be content to leave things undescribed, or give you a few pointers, RJ will tell you everything. This can be seen as authorial hand holding, and overly juvenile, simplistic, with the author having the much easier job of just telling you everything rather than trying to write both very well and very simply (deceptively difficult to do, from what I can gather).

 

As for this: "Show me another fantasy novel, or any kind of novel with mass appeal that deals with topics worthy of Rousseau and Wittgenstein." I would offer the response: Prince of Nothing. A fantasy trilogy with well drawn characters, many philosophical themes, with good use of language and that is most definitely for adults. Others might also put forward George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire or Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. Many people feel these books have the qualities you acsribe to WoT - more so than WoT does.

 

 

Sorry, but WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING ON A WHEEL OF TIME FANSITE?

 

It seems like you don't even like the books at all, just sayin'.

Unfortunately, it seems you missed the line buried away in there that said those weren't my opinions. But I am quite good at playing Devil's advocate.

 

Thanks for all the great replies.

 

While it is true that everyone has different tastes. I've seen that the prevailing reason is that Jordan is "milking" the series over the years.

 

One of my friends said that: I thought it was weird. Authors really don't make that much money. I think if RJ wanted more money, he would have finished the series and pushed it to film.

Well, he did sell the film rights. Also, bear in mind that WoT is a very successful series - it has topped the bestseller lists since PoD. A film might bomb, another series of his might prove much less popular, but pumping out WoT books is a sure thing. He knows they will sell well, so is in no rush to finish the series. That said, I wouldn't agree that he was milking the series, but I would say that those accusations come more from the slackening of the pace that they are a reason themselves to dislike it - a consequence of the dislike, rather than a cause.

 

But it's not like wizzards and dragons or anything, WoT is something far mor REAL than that.

This is one of the things that I forgot to put in my original list: the Wheel of Time is self-contained. If you don't know what a wizard is, you can still know what an Aes Sedai is. I seriously laugh when I hear people comparing the Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings. Hello? There are no dwarves, elves or wizards in the Wheel of Time. I actually saw a review (not a customer, but a trained critic) calling Aes Sedai "female wizards." They're not wizards! They have a skill. Does Gandalf require skill? Not the way I read it.
By that criteria, don't all works count as self-contained? Surely any fantasy that has magic users, whatever they are called, is going to explain what they are, at least to some extent? LotR is self-contained. You don't need to have read any other work of fantasy to understand it. As for seriously laughing when people comment on the similarities between WoT and LotR, I think the joke might on you in this case - EotW has deliberate similarities to the early parts of LotR. The TR is the Shire, for example. Moiraine is Gandalf, Lan is Aragorn, Fain is Gollum. And AS essentially are female wizards. They are, after all, women who use magic, and isn't that what most people understand by the term?

 

The reasons people don't like the series are plentiful. Some of them can be summed up as them holding the opposite opinion to the opening poster, that is to say:

1. Badly drawn characters, particularly the women, as many of them are seen as unrealistic, unpleasant and identical, virtually everyone is juvenile in their relationships, not talking to other people is taken to ridiculous extremes, and virtually everyone is, at best, two dimensional.

2. Robert Jordan's language, which is seen as needlessly bloated, insisting on pages of pointless description that does nothing to further the story, and isn't always clear, and leaves little to the imagination.

3. The books are not for adults, with juvenile interactions between the cast, overly simple (good v evil, Dark Lord, not enough by way of shades of grey, etc.), a coyness about subjects such as sex (it taking place off screen, often implied rather than outright stated).

4. It's not deep, the themes not being hugely profound, it saying little to nothing of relevance or importance, no real comment on the human condition.

 

I thought of all these, but I think that if people really think that, they weren't paying attention. I started reading The Wheel of Time when I was 29, and I think anybody who thinks his coverage is not mature in nature, is still young enough to think they are more mature than most other people. The "needlessly bloated" language, as I said, is all about really important stuff.

Not really. There is much description of clothing, for example. The series would not suffer hugely if we were left in perpetual suspense as to whether or not Mat was wearing lace today. As for the maturity of detractors, well that varies. There are, of course, people who just say "it sucks", and others who have read the series and can offer intelligent criticism of it.

 

Who thinks which relationships are portrayed with coyness or unrealistically? I feel absolutely the opposite.

And sex offscreen is just fine for me. What would the alternative look like?

As for who in particular, I can't give specific names off the top of my head, but the literature section of Westeros is full of interesting debate. WoT stuff comes up fairly often, and opinions on the series vary quite a lot. As for which relationships, it's pretty much across the board, everyone acting like children. That said, Rand/Elayne is often singled out (they met once and fell madly in love) as well as the Rand/Elayne/Aviendha/Min relationship in general. The alternative to off screen sex would look like a sex scene. Given that authors like George R.R. Martin, Richard Morgan and Joe Abercrombie are willing to show people "at it", rather than fade to black, it gives the impression that WoT is a little more... sanitised than some things out there.

 

Some dislike the spanking, which is felt to be excessive, and indicative of a certain preference of RJ's, likewise the frequent female nudity (ceremonies clad in the Light).

 

The spanking, denigration, humiliation --- especially with Galina and Egwene --- totally links in to the cultural pain of the Aiel, something they can't escape, and the temporary nature of pain experienced within a lifetime. Am I the only person who had this interpretation?

 

As for nudity: most books, in my opinion, don't have enough. This series has enough boobs and explosions that it should please everyone.

A man who knows what he likes. As for the spanking, I think in part people feel it is a rather silly punishment - how did this break Semirhage? they cry - given that these days it is usually used for children. When used on adults, it's for the purposes of... well, I'll leave that to your imagination.

 

As for this: "Show me another fantasy novel, or any kind of novel with mass appeal that deals with topics worthy of Rousseau and Wittgenstein." I would offer the response: Prince of Nothing. A fantasy trilogy with well drawn characters, many philosophical themes, with good use of language and that is most definitely for adults. Others might also put forward George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire or Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. Many people feel these books have the qualities you acsribe to WoT - more so than WoT does.

 

A Game of Thrones is at my house, waiting for me to finish Towers of Midnight. I'll look into the others --- thanks!

My pleasure. But bear in mind, Prince of Nothing is quite strong stuff, and is not for everyone. The rape, the misogyny, the free will v determinism argument coming down relentlessly on the determinism side and the unlikable characters are all things many readers find a turn-off.

 

I'm not saying Jordan or Sanderson should've gone on a G.R.R. Martin-esque killing spree and killed off tons of PoV characters but some?
I've always felt Martin's reputation in this area to be somewhat exagerated. Outside of Prologues, his PoV kill count is about three. Now compare to Erikson, who probably surpasses that as of Gardens of the Moon...

 

I suppose you have to be a certain type of person to be total and completly devoted to WoT. I'm not merely a fan, i'd call myself THE FAN if it wasnt for people like...Jason, Luckers and Jenn...LUCKY SODS.

 

Thats how passionate i am about the series, to me luckers etc are just lucky and better than me with publicity and know more people, I CAN'T COMPREHEND SOMEONE BEING A BIGGER FAN THAN ME.

 

It just would not make sence.

Every year, this site has the Empys, awards for its various members, as voted for by other members. At the last Empys, I was short listed for WoT geek of the year (I lost to Luckers) and Most likely to be a team Jordan troll (I believe Jenniferl won that one). Not my first short listing either. I take it you think you should be the next winner? I'm a pretty big WoT fan. My local Smiths had to get ToM out of the box for me because they didn't have it on the shelves yet, the same for TGS at Waterstone's last year - both books, I was there at the day of release, pretty much as soon as they opened. To claim to be the biggest WoT fan is, around here, a pretty big claim.
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To claim to be the biggest WoT fan is, around here, a pretty big claim.

 

 

Oh i'm not claiming to be the all out biggest, obviously there are loads of others out there who are just as obsessed as me. I just realy do find it hard to believe that some could be MORE obsessed.

 

 

Also appologies for missing that comment in the depths of you're post, my bad, guess i feel kinda stupid now :blush:

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3) Black vs. White. Some people just don't like it. I can't say it bothers me but I'm still waiting for an interesting ambiguous character. I'd love if an initially good person turned evil or the other way round (*cough* Mierin *cough*), too. I suppose that's why I always liked characters like Lanfear or even Asmodean. People who had their own agenda and not just a boring "good" or "evil" mindset. Verin rocked btw.

 

4) The "Stormtrooper Effect": You know Star Wars? How the good guys always kill all the baddies and the bad guys ALWAYS miss when shooting at the heroes? It gets annoying. I didn't notice this much when I started reading these books as a teenager but now it kinda irks me. The world is in uproar, there's wars everywhere, tons of people dying... yet hardly any major PoV characters has died. Don't come and argue that people like Pedron Niall died or whoever else you can think of. I'm talking about major characters (good side) and after 13 books I'm starting to lose the sense of "fear" for my favourite characters' life. They seem safe. And that's sad.

I'm not saying Jordan or Sanderson should've gone on a G.R.R. Martin-esque killing spree and killed off tons of PoV characters but some? Come on? Are they all gonna survive right up to the last battle (and possibly even after)?

Even the Harry Bloody Potter series saw more important people die. (Don't start a HP discussion now. I'm not interested and don't particularly like it either.)

I'm not saying Sanderson or Jordan should've killed characters off just for the sake of doing it but it does add a sense of danger to the plot. It makes you care more cause you don't know what will happen.

Damn carebears!

 

I would say we have different opinions on what constitutes good vs evil and the gray scale of characters. One of the things that really struck me about WoT was how most characters are NOT black or white. Sure some are devoted to winning the last battle for the good and some are devoted for the bad, but everyone has their own motivations. Moiraine wants to help the Dragon Reborn win the last battle, but she's not a shining beacon of morality or anything. She expressly claimed she would kill anyone and everyone she had to (including herself...kinda) to see that done. Our three heroes? Perrin wants his woman, and puts the world on hold and "dances with the Dark One" to see her safe. Mat wants to stay alive, and is particularly good at it, so he managed to round up a group of soldiers with similar interests and skills. He also has a soft spot for women. Rand is trying his best to fulfill his destiny, which is DEFINITELY not something you can paint with black and white (destroy a people, kill friends, innocents, maybe destroy the world anyway). In fact, the one faction you could assume are the White Side (which the one truly white character, Galad, goes to) are in fact ignorant zealots which FORCE themselves to see the world in black and white, are always wrong and the results of their actions end up resembling evil anyway. To sum up, most of the characters aren't evil, in the sense that they revel in killing or suffering, but they also aren't good in the sense that they try and correct every wrong they see or live without sin. They are people trying to make the best of the hand they are dealt. They act with the information in front of them, most of the time without some higher cause in mind.

 

As for the stormtrooper effect, Jordan built in an explanation for this while defining his world. It is called ta'veren. It ensures that characters central to the story STAY central to the story. I would say this ta'veren insurance plan safely covers the threads in the pattern that those ta'veren rely upon, namely people like the wondergirls who aren't around the ta'veren for significant periods of time in the later books. Also, though the human agents of the Shadow are cunning and brutal, they are not always wise. They are also petty and mistrusting. And on top of that, we have NO IDEA what the Dark One wants, or what he values, aside from some supposition on Verin's part. He's not always going for the kill. We know that people are more valuable to him if they serve him in life, rather than as a reanimated or transmigrated soul. Maybe the Dark One wants a happy ending after all, just with the lights off (see what I did there?). We just don't know.

 

As far as pacing goes (in response to the thread at large), I admit the middle of the series seemed to drag on a bit. After reaching these later books, however, the scenes and the action that takes place means all that much more. For instance, from the beginning through book 12, we go from being in awe of the Tower and Aes Sedai, to (somewhat) agreeing with them, to shock and outrage at the brutality which takes place therein, to frustration at the stagnation and the divisiveness and politicking in both sides (especially Salidar), to shame at the impotence of this once-mighty faction that should be bending kings and queens to their will. I had run the gamut of emotions while dealing with the Tower through the series. AND THEN FINALLY it is united under someone who has clear goals for their power, the un-indoctrinated viewpoint of an outsider with few of the Aes Sedai prejudices built-in, the strength to defend it, and the pure willpower to do dirty work that would have broken a lesser woman. You can't buy that in 3 books. Egwene welcoming the rebels back inside, choosing Silviana as keeper, and the tongue-lashing she gives the hall made me love the boring as hell Salidar scenes for the goosebumps on my arms alone, and the tears in my eyes. The boring parts were not simply speed bumps along the road for Richard Rahl to cruise past doing 80 with Kahlan in the front seat. They were the trials and tribulations of real people with *mostly* human goals.

 

The above applies to the Perrin/Faile/Malden arc as well. Perrin and Faile were NOT a love at first sight kind of relationship, but over several books they grew to love each other (including one of my favorite parts of the entire series, the defense of the Two Rivers). Then I was bored to tears by Perrin dwelling on his missing Faile in the same words chapter after chapter, book after book, once she was taken. But through his determination, willpower, ta'veren-ness, and just a wee bit of badassery, and the simultaneous leadership-building of Faile in Malden, we now have two extremely strong characters who get ready to do some AWESOME things in ToM (no spoilers from me! :) )

 

TLDR: If you don't like the pacing, it sucks to be you.

Edited by drewk
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My hubby hates WoT for two reasons.

The first is because he doesn't think the story makes any sense. he thinks it is too complex, and he hates the idea of everything being pinned on one character.

 

The second is that whenever a New WoT book comes out, it's all i want to talk about or read or do- my re-read prep to read the new book.

 

takes time away from him.

 

 

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3) Black vs. White. Some people just don't like it. I can't say it bothers me but I'm still waiting for an interesting ambiguous character. I'd love if an initially good person turned evil or the other way round (*cough* Mierin *cough*), too. I suppose that's why I always liked characters like Lanfear or even Asmodean. People who had their own agenda and not just a boring "good" or "evil" mindset. Verin rocked btw.

That would be really excellent, and it's a good example of why some readers aren't overly fond of WoT. Between this and Mr Ares' lists, it's a pretty succinct summary of potential reasons. :)

 

I also think that fantasy is a niche genre, compared to suspense, horror, romance, drama and other varieties of books. A good example is Stephen King, who wrote the fantasy series The Dark Tower. Barely any of his fans read it, because fantasy just isn't as popular as his non-fantasy works. While WoT is an example of a fantasy series with a large and dedicated fan base, I'm also the only person I know other than my boyfriend and one guy from work who reads any fantasy novels at all, WoT or otherwise. Which is a shame, because for all their flaws, the WoT is a good epic to get caught up in and a rare example of where you want more and you actually get more, beyond your usual trilogy.

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I have a number of friends who got to around LoC and then just gave up. Some people cant handle extreme complexity. You pretty much have to re-read the series three times and frequent message boards to get an understanding of the how complex the series is, and some simply don't have the time or the inclination to do that. Not to mention there is alot of detail in everything. I can see why some people would find it tremendously boring; I feel the same about the Lost tv series as alot people do for Wheel of Time, so I definetly understand.

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I don't think it's complexity per se that turns people of the Wheel of Time. I would guess that most WoT readers re-read the books on occasion, and certainly before the release of a new book. In my case the WoT is my go-to series for casual reading, mostly because my familiarity with it makes it easy to flip to any page and start reading.

 

Yet I've known many people that don't want to read a book--or watch a movie--more than once. For anyone like that, the complexity, length, and real-world waiting makes WoT very inaccessible. I love the (sometimes excessive) detail, because it often hides hints crucial to the plot; I love the (occasionally painful) slower pace of the later books because it allows for even greater intricacy. Yet I can easily see how those traits would be unappealing.

 

How many villages and inns do Rand and Mat plod through between Whitebridge and Caemlyn in TEotW? Anyone starting the series would see 13 books of that ahead of him and shrivel up a bit inside. Yet during that sequence are the hints of Rand beginning to channel, the destructive paranoia of the Shadar Logoth dagger, and the introduction of Darkfriends.

 

I expect the WoT lost readers after TSR, because the pacing and structure of the books had changed. I think the same happened after ACoS for the same reason. I think both those changes were necessary (indeed, I prefer the new structure), but it's easy to see how it would turn off early fans.

 

Finally, I think many people see fantasy--any genre fiction, really--as being more juvenile than 'real' literature. They feel silly enjoying something that, to them, is childish.

 

-- dwn

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I started reading the series quite soon after the publication of tEoTW; I was a teenager and still living at home, as was my 16-months-older brother. We both loved SF and Fantasy - he was more into the scene than I, but was dyslexic. He'd learnt to read and write very well through the inspired and diligent intervention of our mother, but still cannot wade through pages the way the rest of the family can. And thus it was that he first got hold of EoTW, and loved it, whilst I waited patiently for weeks for him to finish it. After that we got TGH, which I read first and then James laboured his way through, ditto TDR. But after that I continued on while he gave up on WoT, finding it too hard going, even though he has read all of the Foundation books, for example, where I found some of them quite heavy going tbh. Seems it may not be a series for the dyslexic, or perhaps not for one who is really more into the science-y stuff, at the least. He certainly would not be one to wade back into a large novel after he had struggled his way to the end in the first place, which may be one reason why. While he is superlative at honing in on the piece of computer code that is causing the problem in a massive program, I don't think he feels the desire to keep concentrating on the small details in a huge fantasy world.

 

Several years later, however, I met my now-husband, and his mother is also very keen on WoT (hubby likes them too, but does not reread over again periodically the way she and I do.) However, she came across them quite by accident, following a flooding accident in her local library. This was some time after the publication of TDR, and the library had all 3 books in stock in hardback, albeit somewhat thicker than the author had intended following their swim :rolleyes: , but minus the dust-covers, which had been destroyed in the flood. She is a talented and imaginative painter, and says she would never had gone near the books if she had seen the Darryl K. Sweet artwork which had originally accompanied them. So maybe that puts some people off.

 

She also has interesting views on how the female characters interact, particularly the Aes Sedai. She feels that Jordan had little insight into how women structure their hierarchies, and that he arranged it too much as males would. I have to say I haven't as much experience in this regard as she does, nor her knowledge of history and sociology, and also that we haven't many archetypes in our modern world to base this on, but what she says has a ring of truth for me. Neither of us has much problem with his protracted descriptive text, although we can both observe how my hubby groans as he skips over paragraphs of this :biggrin: And she and I are happy enough to read over a thousand pages and have only minimal plot progression, which also drives him mad. But we all agree that it is a "ripping good yarn", and queue up for each new book as it emerges (I get them first, as he only reads a chapter a day, and she lives even farther from civilisation than we do, and doesn't keep up with when things are coming out, even though she actually has a faster internet connection than we do :biggrin: )

 

As for my younger sister, I know she would love the WoT books if she would try them, judging by the books and series we both like. But one year she was at the Octocon SF and Fantasy convention in Ireland, whereas I was living in Germany at the time, and RJ was GoH. There was some offhand remark he made on a panel that made her decide he was arrogant and not worth bothering with. She can't remember what it was, but nothing I can say can persuade her to try EoTW, even now that he has passed on :rolleyes:

 

So even apart from personal taste alone, there are so many reasons people make the decisions and choices they do, and I'd say it's a pretty hard call to categorise why lots of people hate the series. I thought Mr Ares summed up a lot of it very well though. As a new member I will look forward to reading lots of your posts in the future :cool:

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As I sit in my den, surrounded by my collections of authors ranging from P.G. Wodehouse and Conan Doyle to Tom Clancy and David Weber, and read this thread, I come to the conclusion that books are people. Each is an expression of the author's individuality. Since readers are people too, the act of reading is the forming of a relationship with another person, and we all know that people don't always like each other, for reasons no one but they themselves can explain.

 

You have to accept differences with your friends, or you'll have no friends at all. The Wheel of Time is not perfect, but it's my friend. Just like Wodehouse, who re-used plots and dialogue but still made them sparkle, or Conan Doyle, who often contradicted himself in the Sherlock Holmes saga, or David Weber, who breaks off in the middle of exciting character development to explain future tech for eleven pages, or Clancy, who put a fresh edge on his conservative/libertarian axe every other chapter. Accepting these minor human quirks is necessary if you're going to experience the wonder, joy and horror of Bertie Wooster besting his harridan aunts, Honor Harrington's duel in the Conclave of Steadholders, Holmes and Watson's shivers at the hoarse whisper "They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!", or Rand in a box a Dumai's Wells.

 

Love your books, and they'll love you back. Just like people.

Edited by Gaidin Poindexter
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I don't get it either. From my perspective, what's there's not to like about the series? There's action, intrigue, romance, adventure, mystery, comedy, tragedy/drama, bad ass powers, awesome fantasy settings, sword duels...basically, everything. I also don't understand the complaints that Mr Rigney is too descriptive. Especially if they like Tolkien. Sure, Tolkien didn't describe everything in detail like Rigney-unless of course we're talking landscape. That man could go on for pages about grass and trees. That's cool, I like grass-but I like plot more. The characters just feel much more developed in WoT to me. They feel like actual people, not archetypes. There's also the complaint that too many events are described in detail. Every plot point either has a pov segment, chapter or part of a prologue dedicated to it. Tolkien would often mention something once, never to expound upon or even reference again. I'm not bashing Tolkien. It was Tolkien that got me into the fantasy genre(older brother and his DnD fixation didn't hurt).

Edited by chriss
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HADERS GONA HADE!

 

Hello, my name is Caius Callus and I hate all of you. Nah, not really, I love all of God's children.

 

I think the dislike ( to call it "hate" is a bit too strong IMO) for the WoT series has to do with what didn't happen between book 7 and book 11. Quite a few of us were annoyed because the plot developments in books 8, 9 and 10 could have fit in one single (big) volume.

Still, the series made a good recovery, and I'm back on the horse, off the wagon, or whatever the correct euphemism is.

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Therein lies another point where there will be people who are afraid of reading both these authors. Some readers are not yet able to handle heavy descriptive narrative. They are spoiled perhaps by action movies, and they want action all the time. Crossroads moved several subplots forward and was a necessary transition in the development of the storyline. But for some readers, it required more focus than they could manage.

 

Description is all well and good, but there's a difference between descriptiveness and over-padding. One of my friends wouldn't keep reading the books because he was sick of there being an introduction for things he already knew at the beginning of every single book. It seems like RJ was attempting to make this series one that would make sense for someone who picks it up halfway through, which just isn't possible. The first hundred to two hundred pages of every book after the third is at a snail pace because it tries to explain every single part of the WoT world even though you already know all this from the previous books.

 

It's not that people's minds have been ruined by action movies. When you think about the amount of description RJ put into things, there's barely anything left for the mind to imagine on its own. Normally you would see "The tornado hurtled through the village."

In WoT text, it would be "The billowing tornado, swaying left and right, hurtled through the dusty, dismal streets of the small village. That tornado-made from high speed winds-must have been made by an Aes Sedai-women who could wield the One Power. The One Power is a force that Aes Sedai use to channel. Channeling is weaving flows of the One Power to create things like a tornado."

 

I'm fine with the heavy description. I'm not fine with their being a big wealth of detail for something everyone already knows.

Edited by Raolan
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It seems like RJ was attempting to make this series one that would make sense for someone who picks it up halfway through, which just isn't possible. The first hundred to two hundred pages of every book after the third is at a snail pace because it tries to explain every single part of the WoT world even though you already know all this from the previous books.

I always felt the point of that was to ease old readers back into the series a year or more after they'd read the previous volume.

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EDIT: also, i hate it when people make out of context quotes, yes trashbird1240 i'm looking at you!

 

 

I don't think you should be as worried about being taken out of context as you should be worried about being able to spell and construct sentences. Most of the time I can't even understand what you're trying to say, much less what you are saying.

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Ares raised a couple of good points and people asking him "wth he's doing on a WoT fansite" should get a grip.

Seeing flaws in things you love doesn't mean you're not a fan.

 

I'm a huge WoT fan, I've spent countless hours just thinking about the characters and what will happen. All the fantasy nerd stuff.

 

I actually like it because it doesn't lend itself well to "fantasy nerd stuff." Perhaps you feel differently, but I feel like most other books I've read fill those stereotypes too well.

 

But:

1) Don't come telling me that Jordan's overly descriptive writing "always serves a purpose". That's nonsense. You're saying that Jordan makes all those little details matter?

 

Yes. I don't find it repetitive.

 

2) People not talking to each other. Seriously, I'm glad Sanderson took over the series just for this aspect. Finally people start communicating.

 

I believe this is a problem with real life that Jordan portrays excellently.

 

3) Black vs. White. Some people just don't like it. I can't say it bothers me but I'm still waiting for an interesting ambiguous character.

 

We must be reading different books. The Wheel of Time is full of moral ambiguity. Did you ever doubt that Gandalf was a good guy? I find myself doubting characters all the time. Sometimes I think Gawyn could be a Darkfriend. And then there are characters that are not necessarily evil but they don't help any of the good guys: like the Children of the Light.

 

4) The "Stormtrooper Effect": You know Star Wars? How the good guys always kill all the baddies and the bad guys ALWAYS miss when shooting at the heroes?

 

I believe there's quite a lot of discussion about this by the characters themselves. They're all shocked that they've been able to survive so long. Have you considered that it might be intentional, or that it might be part of the story?

 

I'm not saying Sanderson or Jordan should've killed characters off just for the sake of doing it but it does add a sense of danger to the plot. It makes you care more cause you don't know what will happen.

Damn carebears!

 

Plenty of important characters die. Again I disagree.

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Many of us started reading WoT at an early age. Because of this I feel those people overlook some of RJ's flaws as a writer and despite the strength of the over all story, there are flaws to be found. Anyone who is somewhat well read outside the fantasy genre can identify these and yet it doesn't make us love his work any less. To say that it isn't overly descriptive at times or that the interactions of characters aren't childish is ignoring what is written in the books. Other authors have caught my attention since(Cormac McCarthy, Jonathan Lethem, GRR Martin, Bakker)but RJ will always be one of the first. WoT will always have a special place but I can see why some people might have issues with it. I might have been one of those people if I had come to it later in life.

 

@trashbird1240

 

Please do read "Game of Thrones", "Prince of Nothing" and "Gardens of the Moon" if you haven't already. I would be interested to see if they change your point of view at all.

Edited by Suttree
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My perspective is from someone who is amibivalent about whether they want to continue reading the whole series. What I see as the flaws

 

1) Rand and Nynaeve start off as much too prejudiced to buy into their quick adjustment to their new circumstances. Given they're so prejudiced that they think of the Aes Sedai as Darkfriends, it should have led to them doing something intently self destructive.

2) I'm not fond of the character driven nature of the story. Having read both books 1 and half of 12, it seams very strange to me that the preponderance of the important characters and concepts are introduced in the first book.

The Emond's Fielders just become way too important. It's melodrama. That is drama, produced through illogical plot contrivances. I don't care how the characters came to be in their positions. When the endpoint isn't plausible, there's something wrong with the mechanism.

3) Jordan has a talent for making dramatic events cheesy. 3 injured wolves hamstring a platoon of horses in the middle of the night? Cheesy. The reaction everyone has the in the throne room when they noticed Rand's sword is herron marked. He made no move to harm Elayne when he had a chance, and now that they've noticed his sword, he's a threat. Cheesy. The characters do not act like adults. Sanderson seams better at this. The scene near the beginning of TGS where Iturlde helps the Seanchen general fall on his sword was perfect.

4) Why are there so many Darkfriends? Throughout history you can never keep your soldiers' loyalty unless you are paying them. That's one hell of a wide ranging network. Who works in the Dark One's human resources department? Expecting people to work for the Dark One because they expect he will reward them when he rules the earth or something just defies human nature.

5) There are plenty of people on Amazon to poke fun at Jordan's diction. Tolkien could convey more imagery in a paragraph than Jordan does in 800 pages. But the comparison is not totally fair, Tolkien was a real nature lover and it would be hard to find a modern person who can describe such things so well.

6) Ultimately, it seams more like a superhero story than a fantasy novel. It's more adult than an American comic book, and the characters do have some real flaws. But Rand in particular is like a cross between Gandalf, Superman, and the Supreme Commander of all Forces in the Mister Neutron episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

 

I have heard about graphic novels being made for a Wheel of Time, and I have thought that the story might work better in that format. Take away Jordan's bloated descriptions and concentrate on the superheros. I mean, characters.

Edited by Clegane
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