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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Why do people hate the Wheel of Time?


trashbird1240
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In some ways the Forsaken could be tougher. In otherways, I think you've fallen victim to a gross misperception. The Forsaken are not supervillains. Most weren't even that extraordinary. They're infamous, but only because of the legends built up around them over 3500 years. Graendal was a psychologist and philanthropist. Asmodean was a musician. Aginor was a famed biologist and geneticist (can't really do much with that in the Third Age). Mesaana was given administrative duties at university because she wasn't considered talented enough to do research. Lanfear struggled all her life to earn a third name but never got one and was simply greedy and lusted after power. Balthamael was a historian and womanizer, often fraternizing with the seedier of society. Moghedien was a freakin' financial consultant who frequently abused her position, though she did run a covert intelligence agency for the Shadow during the War of Power. Ishamael was a philosopher and theologian, though he was very talented, and Demandred was also very bright. Semirhage was simply a very great healer and a sadist, etc... They weren't the greatest of people. There were thousands of Forsaken in the Age of Legends, the thirteen were ONLY famous and remembered because they were sealed at Shayol Ghul while trying to stop Lews Therin. They weren't all incredibly remarkable, at least not for the reasons they were remembered, though of course they had their own talents. Some of them were great generals, some administrators, others not so much... but had other talents.

 

To be honest, I think that would be more obvious. After all, the Aes Sedai come off much the same way. They're incredibly built up by the perceptions of others, but it's all really an act that inspires legends and rumors about them. With all that said, I still think people underestimate how much chaos and disorganization the Forsaken have caused in the world, but I've already gone over that. I DO think Jordan is at fault in this perception because they haven't killed of any major characters, but in truth, the Light is in shambles at the moment and the Shadow came incredibly close to victory in its manipulation of Rand.

 

Hmm...I'm not sure I see your point here, Agitel.

 

Are you trying to say that the WoT has no "supervillains/heroes" in the strict sense of the archetype in fantasy, which is the way I was using it, given their special powers and abilities? That both, Forsaken and Aes Sedai are much less than generally perceived to be, only 'cause of the legends and myths behind them?

 

Because, I'm no citizen of the Randland myself, who could be deceived by such notions. I was just stating my views as a reader, of course, to illustrate the reasons why I consider the Darkfriend network so faulty. And I did say that it was because of their leaders' shortcomings. So, I don't see where you get that I'd consider the Forsaken to be such great villains. Quite the contrary, in fact.

 

Nynaeve is the strongest Aes Sedai channeler. The two who are stronger are Lanfear and Alivia, a former Seanchan damane who is now with Rand. So she's not the strongest female channeler in the world, as Agitel said, but no Aes Sedai is stronger (or better at Healing) than Nynaeve.

 

Actually, at least one AS is better at Healing than Nynaeve - Samitsu.

 

So, how come this Samitsu never found a way to heal severing/gentling/stilling like Nynaeve did?

 

IMO, being better at something is coming up with new, innovative stuff, as Nynaeve has. With all due respect, I could care less if someone else is more adept at making the weaves, for instance. That doesn't mean they're better, more creative or innovative. And much less, more powerful than al'Meara.

Edited by Darth Krewl
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You're right in than Nynaeve seems ot be better at discovering new ways of Healing, probably because she was a wilder and she's not as closeminded as some of the other AS are. But Samitsu, if I'm remembering correctly, once she was taught the new Healing weaves, was better at them than Nynaeve. I think.

 

Also, from reading the BWB, I was under the impression that all Aes Sedai turned to the Shadow were Dreadlords, not Forsaken/Chosen. There were definitely more Chosen than the 13 we know, though those 13 aren't famous just because they were sealed in the Bore. The reason they were sealed in the Bore was because they were already the top 13, and were at Shayol Ghul for a meeting or something.

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You're right in than Nynaeve seems ot be better at discovering new ways of Healing, probably because she was a wilder and she's not as closeminded as some of the other AS are. But Samitsu, if I'm remembering correctly, once she was taught the new Healing weaves, was better at them than Nynaeve. I think.

 

Oh sure, I can see this. But, see, to me channeling is just like any creative activity, because, once you've been shown the weaves, you can pretty much experiment, innovate and create your own. Just like a musician can write his/her own compositions, after learning about musical scales, notes, etc. You just have to do it with the proper, necessary caution, of course.

 

In this sense, let's say that Nynaeve "wrote" the composition for healing severing. Now, perhaps Samitsu is a better "interpreter" than the "composer", but credit for the "song" would still go to the "composer". So, in that sense, the difference would be the same as I said before: Samitsu may be more adept at creating the weaves than Nynaeve but not better at creating new weaves. In which case, that would make Nynaeve not the best healer, perhaps, but the most creative, innovative and powerful of them all.

 

Also, from reading the BWB, I was under the impression that all Aes Sedai turned to the Shadow were Dreadlords, not Forsaken/Chosen. There were definitely more Chosen than the 13 we know, though those 13 aren't famous just because they were sealed in the Bore. The reason they were sealed in the Bore was because they were already the top 13, and were at Shayol Ghul for a meeting or something.

 

Yep, that's my point exactly. These 13 fallen Aes Sedai must have been "chosen" for a reason, I'd think. Because they were not the only AS from the Age of Legends to turn to the dark side. So, they should've been the very best at what they each did; the very best at their respective fields. They succeeded during the War of Power (let's not forget that the Shadow had all but won the war and that Lews Therin's plan to seal the bore was a desperate, last gasp that happened to succeed, albeit only partially and with a rather nasty unexpected side effect). They had the ability to survive a 10 yr. long conflict and win many battles in the process. And they did commit some rather serious crimes and atrocities. All in all, this means that, while not the invincible monsters that all the folk of the Third Age make them out to be, the Forsaken should be a formidable force to be reckoned with, either way. And I just don't get that from their constant failures.

 

That's why I said that I'd like to see them come up with a nasty surprise for the good guys before it's all said and done, that would justify them failing as miserably as they've done, time and again.

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No, a Dreadlord was an Aes Sedai/channeler who went to the Shadow during the Trolloc Wars. It's exclusive to that time frame. Again, Jordan has confirmed that all Aes Sedai who went to the Shadow in the War of Power were Chosen/Forsaken.

 

Not all Forsaken had access to the TP, that is true, and certainly some had higher standings than others. But they were all given those titles. I'm curious as to whether all the current Forsaken had access to the TP before being sealed, or if it was given to some of them after they became free because the DO considered them his best in the Third Age.

 

They all probably had it before, but are we ever told?

 

And I'm sorry for lecturing you on the shortcomings of the current Forsaken, Darth Krewl. I misunderstood your post.

 

As for Nynaeve, she certainly is more creative. Perhaps this is partially intrinsic, but also I would attribute it to her not having the standard Tower training that essentially brainwashes you to not experiment much with the Power and that things should be done their way. I'm more qualifying the position, not really disagreeing with you. I will say that strength in the Power also seems to make its use more intuitive.

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No, a Dreadlord was an Aes Sedai/channeler who went to the Shadow during the Trolloc Wars. It's exclusive to that time frame. Again, Jordan has confirmed that all Aes Sedai who went to the Shadow in the War of Power were Chosen/Forsaken.

 

OK, so I guess this pretty much settles that the Dreadlords are below the Forsaken. And that Forsaken were all those who turned during the AoL. I get it now.

 

This would be right in line with the typical line of thought of villains in fantasy: only the strong survive and they're always warring with each other to become the top dog. IMO, this would only help to reinforce the notion that the 13 Chosen/Forsaken who survived the War, the Breaking, etc., were more powerful, resilient, crafty or even lucky than the rest. Then again, the supervillain would be the Dark One, 'cause the Forsaken are only the "henchmen" endowed with great powers, like the Nazgul, Saruman, Darth Maul, Vader, etc. So, I choose my words poorly. My bad there.

 

Not all Forsaken had access to the TP, that is true, and certainly some had higher standings than others. But they were all given those titles. I'm curious as to whether all the current Forsaken had access to the TP before being sealed, or if it was given to some of them after they became free because the DO considered them his best in the Third Age.

 

They all probably had it before, but are we ever told?

 

To be totally honest, I'm not sure I fully understand how the TP works. All I know is that it works the same for males and females, and that it comes directly from the Dark One. Just like the OP comes from the Creator.

 

I can't help but compare it to Star Wars, where the dark side of the Force is one thing and Sith occult knowledge and the powers it grants is a completely different thing, reserved only for true Sith Lords, passed from master to apprentice. In the SW galaxy, there's many Dark-siders. But none are as powerful or as dangerous as the Sith, because of their knowledge. It's something like the difference between using the OP for evil purposes (dark side) and only a handful using the TP (Sith dark side lore).

 

What happened in SW was that the Sith became so numerous and powerful, that in the end, they turned against one another, till they nearly self-destroyed and all but handed victory to the Light Side and the Jedi. Only one survived (1000 years before the films) and he's the one who reserved Sith lore for apprentices only, in order to insure that the order wouldn't self-destruct again in an internal power struggle. I don't think the way the TP was used during the AoL is revealed, like you say, but I wouldn't discard a similar scenario developing during the War of Power, perhaps, leading the DO to grant this privilege only to a few of his chosen.

 

And I'm sorry for lecturing you on the shortcomings of the current Forsaken, Darth Krewl. I misunderstood your post.

 

As for Nynaeve, she certainly is more creative. Perhaps this is partially intrinsic, but also I would attribute it to her not having the standard Tower training that essentially brainwashes you to not experiment much with the Power and that things should be done their way. I'm more qualifying the position, not really disagreeing with you. I will say that strength in the Power also seems to make its use more intuitive.

 

Hey, it's perfectly okay, Agitel. Perhaps the fact that I'm no die-hard WoT fan (SW is my thing, as it should be clear by now lol) might've led you to believe that my knowledge is somewhat limited. Or perhaps you mistook me for Clegane, who hasn't read all the books. I have read them all (just finished ToM last night, in fact) and I really like this series, but I have a hard time keeping every single detail in mind and sometimes, I even confuse some passages with other stuff I've been reading lol. Still, for better or worse, WoT's such a vast, complex universe, that I can see how it'd take huge amounts of dedication to keep up with all the details. So, thanks for the reminders, anyways. I can certainly use them and it's all good :D

 

As for Nynaeve, I agree with all you've said. I'd only like to add how she's been known to resort to her previous experience as a herbal and holistic healer. And such healers are always experimenting; something that, yes, perhaps is not typical of WT training. Because, this is precisely one of my biggest beefs vs. Tar Valon; how they're always sticking to their rigid ways and never daring to go outside the box, like Nynaeve does. IMO, that, plus her impressive strength in the Power, is what sets her apart from most of her peers and leads her to accomplish feats that, nobody could even dream of in the AoL (like healing severing).

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No, a Dreadlord was an Aes Sedai/channeler who went to the Shadow during the Trolloc Wars. It's exclusive to that time frame. Again, Jordan has confirmed that all Aes Sedai who went to the Shadow in the War of Power were Chosen/Forsaken.

 

Huh. That's weird, I definitely read about Dreadlords but I've only gotten as far as the Breaking in that book. I'm not saying you're wrong; I guess I misread something. I'll have to go back and check.

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Nynaeve is the strongest Aes Sedai channeler. The two who are stronger are Lanfear and Alivia, a former Seanchan damane who is now with Rand. So she's not the strongest female channeler in the world, as Agitel said, but no Aes Sedai is stronger (or better at Healing) than Nynaeve.
Actually, at least one AS is better at Healing than Nynaeve - Samitsu.
So, how come this Samitsu never found a way to heal severing/gentling/stilling like Nynaeve did?

 

IMO, being better at something is coming up with new, innovative stuff, as Nynaeve has. With all due respect, I could care less if someone else is more adept at making the weaves, for instance. That doesn't mean they're better, more creative or innovative. And much less, more powerful than al'Meara.

Then we can put this one down to a difference in interpretation. Nynaeve is better at innovating, but when it comes to using existing techniques, rather than coming up with new ones, Samitsu is better. Fair enough.

 

 

Also, from reading the BWB, I was under the impression that all Aes Sedai turned to the Shadow were Dreadlords, not Forsaken/Chosen. There were definitely more Chosen than the 13 we know, though those 13 aren't famous just because they were sealed in the Bore. The reason they were sealed in the Bore was because they were already the top 13, and were at Shayol Ghul for a meeting or something.
The BWB is written from the perspective of a Thrid Age historian looking back. Consequently, some of the information contained therein is inaccurate. RJ clarified this in a Question of the Week. All the channelers who went over to the Shadow during the War were called Chosen/Forsaken. The only ones remembered as such were the thirteen who were sealed at SG, who were at the top at the end of the War (although the top ranks were inclined to shift somewhat, as some were killed, and others gained or lost favour). Dreadlords was a term first used in the Trolloc Wars, because they didn't want to call themselves Chosen in case the real Chosen were annoyed when they returned, and historians have mistakenly applied it to AoL Shadowsworn.
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Hi,

Their will be lots of discussion on WOT, books, I like the series, but i have to be carefull; as i read only the Gospel, and the true original version. WOt, is all about good and evil characters. I do not go over the edge with the series, as i still hold my head up high, and when i pray, i have to submit my worldly view, and God hates worldly people, untill they come good in the true baptism. I have to explain this in truth. The last real battle will be Armageddin, and the Lord will sort out the powers who have corrupted the world. Hope you do not mind me explaining this, Possibly those people are also christian, like me. We are not perfect i admit this.

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I myself am a huge WoT fan, but that dosent mean I cant find some aspects that could fustrate some readers:

 

One thing I think some might fall off on, could very well be that the WoT aint what you would expect from most fantasy novels

Issues like (for instance) Rand being borderline insane, not to mention a serious jerk at times. This is the sort of things many come not to expect from fantasy novels, in which you usually expect to see a young, valiant and unselfish hero that would never compromise in order to reach his goals.

 

Furthermore, there is the entire PoV thing, which I of course have to step furthermore around in. I found it myself, that I considdered this a great annoyance in the first 4-5 books or so. I kinda felt that the different chars needed time to really "grow" on you, before you didnt mind skipping so much back and forth between them. Also in extension of this, when you got so many opposing points of view, you kinda have a hard time decideing whom is "right" and who is "wrong", for instance, when we see times where Egwene and Mat are in the same place at the same time, and we skip back and forth between them, your oppinion of the entire situation can become pretty vauge since one moment your fustrated with one, and at the turn of a page, the other seem to be the annoying childish one.

 

Finally, there is one element that annoyed me endlessly during the first books: Aes Sedai

The white tower was constantly looming over all the main chars, pretty much manipulateing the guys we had come to like at all times (Or rather, I got a feeling that they were doing so)

 

Of course these things cant hold a candle to this amazeing story... But I do think those aspects could put off some readers.

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First off, this might be a topic which is discussed before. If you could link me to earler threads about it, I would be glad.

 

Well, as I try to find other series to read, I stumble over alot of reviews and for instance: 1-10 Best Fantasy Series.

As I read, I find that WoT is not regarded, usually, as one of the best series. I've found lists where WoT gets the 10th place etc.

I wonder, why? So I start reading the comments. Here is some quotes:

 

"Yes, this book is still on the Top 25 list, despite the vehement protests left by some people ink the comment section for this book."

 

"While I recognize that this series has many flaws, xxx"

"Mr. Jordan had lost control of the characters and the plot. "

 

"The five first books is the only good ones."

 

Wheel of Shit

 

This is just a sample of an ocean filled with negative criticism.

Am I missing something? Why do I not feel the same way?

I stronly disagree with alot of the comments I've read, as I feel that people have not gone into the depths of RJ and the series, they are not very profound. But am I ignorant for believeing that this series is a masterpiece?

Call me a wierd guy, but in many ways, WoT have teached me alot, whether it comes to peoples behavior, or thinking outside the box.

I get the feeling that i'm wrong in loving the Wheel of Time so much. From some of the comments I've read, it would seem that I'm all wrong.

 

Discuss?

Edited by Zlith
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Must be Goodkind fanboys. *sniffs*

 

Seriously, I have no idea.

Edited by Complex
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To seriously answer, a lot of critics saying RJ had lost control of his characters was due in part to how slow the series starts to move after not even book 5, but even by book 4. They felt that RJ was taking way too much time and too much text in what they felt was minor subplots. I agree that the series becomes overly political and slow moving, but true fans of RJ wouldn't have it any other way, because the depth we are getting with it is incredible. But the critics didn't appreciate it, anyways.

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Thanks, just what I was looking for.

 

To seriously answer, a lot of critics saying RJ had lost control of his characters was due in part to how slow the series starts to move after not even book 5, but even by book 4. They felt that RJ was taking way too much time and too much text in what they felt was minor subplots. I agree that the series becomes overly political and slow moving, but true fans of RJ wouldn't have it any other way, because the depth we are getting with it is incredible. But the critics didn't appreciate it, anyways.

 

I don't see the logic in it, but thanks. Just because some people do not like the style RJ continiued the books with, does not mean that the series is bad.

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Some people have short attention spans and just can't deal with the sheer quantity of pages across the whole series. Never mind the fact there's so many characters for them to keep track of.

 

Also, a lot of sci-fi/fantasy fans really like lots of action and fight scenes. WoT has plenty of those but it's the chapters in between the fighting that deal with politics, relationships etc that throw a lot of the sword-porn fans off.

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Some people have short attention spans and just can't deal with the sheer quantity of pages across the whole series. Never mind the fact there's so many characters for them to keep track of.

 

Also, a lot of sci-fi/fantasy fans really like lots of action and fight scenes. WoT has plenty of those but it's the chapters in between the fighting that deal with politics, relationships etc that throw a lot of the sword-porn fans off.

 

I think its books 8-9-10. From book 7 in 1996 to book 11 in 2005 the plot seemed to stagnate. I feel lucky to not have been aware of the series until recently and having the luxury to read through them as though they were just a big book and actually getting to a point where things seem to pickup a little. I can not imagine waiting nearly 9 years for this. Making it through this lull does seem to be paying off but there might have been casualties in the process. When you enjoy a series for certain reasons and it turns in to something else for a while you cant help but be put off. If the first three books were like 8-9-10 I would not have been pulled in to this series.

 

 

Also there are people like this....who review the audio book too book 12.

2/5 I have not read any of the previous books in this series and sadly discovered this to be a major impediment to following this book. After many tries, I have given up listening (a first for me)- to many characters - disjointed action- no discernible theme.
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I can see their point about losing control, but I think it's misplaced. In my view, R.J. lost control over the recaps.

 

This is not the kind of series of books where one can pick up any book in the series and go for broke without prior reading. You need to start with Book 1 or New Spring, not book 7. Once the series got past book 3, no concession should have been given to "casual and random reader of book 7", and all consideration should have been given to dedicated readers who had bought all the earlier novels, would buy all the rest until the story is finished, and would do this even when they had to wait two years to get their hands on the next installment.

 

This persistent recapping, detracts from the books when read back to back, it was never going to really solve the problem of the casual reader who randomly picks a book up mid-series instead of reading them all sequentially, and it was a waste of our and R.J.'s time, as well as good book space. There's probably a decent sized book's worth of superfluous material over the entire series, rehashing the fact that Nyn has a temper, Perrin likes to think things through, Rand is stubborn if he thinks you are trying to push him into something, Loial is fond of books....etc...

 

It really weighs the books down in some senses and if this had not been done, I think that less people would have felt that the books ground to a halt, and there would be much less of an impression that R.J. had lost control.

 

When you wait 2 plus years for a book and find as you read through it, the read pages growing in number, and the delicious unread pages shrinking in number, that a number of pages are taken up with rehashing the same stuff you read in books 1-6, and which you know will be repeated in books 8 onward, and that the story barely progresses over the course of the book you have waited so long for, well a percentage of people will find this frustrating, and some will find it is enough to put them off entirely (especially if the plotline they waited 2 plus years to get some progress on happens to be one that is largely ignored this novel, while content from books 1-? is repeated, yet again).

 

I wonder how much of this was necessitated by publishing realities (maybe you cannot get a series published these days, unless you are willing to rehash from earlier books, due to some silly "publisher" notion that anyone could or should be able to pick up a random book in the middle of a series and enjoy it no less for not having read the earlier books in the series).

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I want to add that it speaks volumes that the WoT HAS so many detractors. What I mean by that is some people really love it, some people really hate it, but a whole lot of people READ it! Almost every book has made the NYT best seller list, I think.

 

I think the reason people like the earlier books is because RJ was writing each one like it might be his last. It's hard to be a writer. It's even harder to get your writing published, especially if it features original characters. Just look at the Scifi/Fantasy section of any bookstore, how much space is devoted to Star Trek and Star Wars novels? People like what they are familiar with, and publishers are hesitant to publish what might not sell.

 

RJ's early WoT books each end with a big over-the-top fight scene. He always left them open for a sequel, but I'm sure he breathed a sigh of relief every time he got the call from Tor that they wanted more. After book 5 it probably became pretty clear that Tor wanted all the WoT RJ could give them (tragically too little) and he began to experiment more with the story structure. Some experiments fail, even he admitted that.

 

The series was written over the course of 2 decades. RJ matured a lot as a writer during that time, but not everyone could keep up. People into fantasy are generally younger and have simple tastes (I hope I'm not offending anyone, if you're on this site you probably don't. I hate to make generalizations like that but when I see a WoT discussion on a site like Slashdot or Digg, I can't help but get that impression.)

 

I was in my early teens when I started reading the books. I started with The Great Hunt and I loved it. I've reread the early books recently and to be honest, they aren't very well written. The story is great but the prose and character development is very simplistic. Lanfear for instance, who we all love, was really a 1 dimensional character in book 2. All she did was be pretty and constantly say "think of the glory if you do this thing you don't want to do" over and over again. Everything we know about her was actually exposition. When you're young you can't tell the difference between good prose and bad, but when you're 30 those things matter. I feel that RJ's last books were his best ones. RJ really hit a balance between deep complex plots and keeping the pacing fast enough that I wasn't skipping ahead. It was frustrating that he kept resurrecting the Forsaken, but when he did they were resurrected as fleshed out 3 dimensional characters, no exposition needed. Ishy went from "Rand come to the Shadow! Oh you don't want to do that? Well I'll just kill you then. Whatever." to Moridin who's playing a real life game of Sha'rah where Rand must be manipulated (rather then pestered) into becoming evil. It's a much richer type of story telling.

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I think the reason people like the earlier books is because RJ was writing each one like it might be his last. It's hard to be a writer.

[...]

RJ's early WoT books each end with a big over-the-top fight scene. He always left them open for a sequel, but I'm sure he breathed a sigh of relief every time he got the call from Tor that they wanted more. After book 5 it probably became pretty clear that Tor wanted all the WoT RJ could give them (tragically too little) and he began to experiment more with the story structure. Some experiments fail, even he admitted that.

I thought that he started with a 6 book contract.

My understanding was he asked for 3, but because he was known for "writing long" was signed for 6 books, with an understanding that if he finished WoT in less, he could write something else to make up the remaining books. Perhaps I am misremembering or was misinformed? :huh:

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Why don't people like the series? No one here is really the best person to answer that question, since presumably we all do like the series. But I'll give you a few reasons:

 

1. The aforementioned problems with recapping and getting 'lost' in the narrative. Both of which are valid criticisms;

 

2. Honestly, there are at least 4 bad books in the series. I'm sorry, but there really are. If a third to a quarter of a series is bad, how great is the series as a whole?;

 

3. Some of the description of the world, great at first, really does get repetitive and detailed to the point being self-parody on Jordan's part. By the time he has described the 500th dress in loving detail, or the 500th serving of flavored tea is sipped from the 500th cup of delicate Sea Folk porcelain, it gets to be a bit much;

 

4. It is the series that never ends. I read tEoTW before most current fans were born;

 

5. It isn't as gritty as current fashion dictates. The sort of "realistic" (quotes used advisedly) sex and violence that people have come to expect is absent. I don't think this is a terribly fair criticism for young adult novels (which, don't kid yourself, is what these are), but it is a common criticism nonetheless;

 

6. The characterization isn't, honestly, all it could be;

 

7. You can call parts of the series, "homages" if you like, but the other way of describing those sections is, "derivative." A fair criticism of genre fiction? Not really, I don't think. Genre fiction by definition follows certain conventions. But this series is more derivative than some;

 

8. The gender politics are a bit loopy. I know Jordan thinks he wrote a gender-neutral world, and was surprised that anyone would think it matriarchal or female-dominated. But he missed the mark. Widely.

 

8. From the other direction, the sexual (as opposed to gender) politics can be disconcerting. The spankings are a bit much, and I know one female reader who finds the Saldaean women's fetish for force more than a little off-putting.

 

That'll do to be going on with.

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Why don't people like the series? No one here is really the best person to answer that question, since presumably we all do like the series. But I'll give you a few reasons:

 

[...]

 

 

While I think your right on most counts 7, 8, and 8+ are a little unfair.

 

7: Only the first bit of EoTW could be considered derivative (of LoTR), RJ said it was intentional but I'm not sure I buy that. TSR was an obvious Dune homage though, it screamed it.

 

8: Jordan was trying to make a gender reversed world, not a gender neutral one. He hit the mark, squarely. Gender is a primary theme in WoT. Compare it to race in WoT. In a thread just above this (as of this writing) someone asked if there are any black characters. There are in fact many, but it just doesn't come up as race isn't really a factor so many readers couldn't even say. Gender is huge though, but women are dominant as they have more political, economical, and magical power.

 

8+: The spankings are funny.

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Why don't people like the series? No one here is really the best person to answer that question, since presumably we all do like the series. But I'll give you a few reasons:

 

[...]

 

 

While I think your right on most counts 7, 8, and 8+ are a little unfair.

 

7: Only the first bit of EoTW could be considered derivative (of LoTR), RJ said it was intentional but I'm not sure I buy that. TSR was an obvious Dune homage though, it screamed it.

 

8: Jordan was trying to make a gender reversed world, not a gender neutral one. He hit the mark, squarely. Gender is a primary theme in WoT. Compare it to race in WoT. In a thread just above this (as of this writing) someone asked if there are any black characters. There are in fact many, but it just doesn't come up as race isn't really a factor so many readers couldn't even say. Gender is huge though, but women are dominant as they have more political, economical, and magical power.

 

8+: The spankings are funny.

 

1. Oh, come on now. It's not derivative? There's not a Seven Samurai story here? (Hey look, it's even SEVEN characters who set out on the initial quest. Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, Egwene, Moirane, and Lan) There's not an Ugly Duckling story?? (backwoods peasant turns out to be something much more) There aren't references to ancient myth? (I'm pretty sure the name, "Matrim Cauthon" is spelled O-D-I-N) There's not a pretty generic Quest story here?

 

It's very, very derivative. Again, I don't know that it is fair to criticize a genre work for being derivative, since genre fiction basically HAS to be derivative. But don't lets pretend the plot here is original. It's not.

 

2. As for the gender stuff, Jordan said many, many times that he didn't write a gender-reversed world, and that it was telling that people saw it as one. I take everything authors say in panel discussions or at book signing with several grains of salt, but he said it a lot. I really think he intended to write a balanced world. He failed.

 

3. I'm not a believer in the whole, "Jordan was obviously into spanking" thing, but it really does occur an awful lot. It's also amusing that there are female "pillow-friends" but not the male equivalent, but that's another story.

Edited by randsc
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1. Oh, come on now. It's not derivative? There's not a Seven Samurai story here? (Hey look, it's even SEVEN characters who set out on the initial quest. Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, Egwene, Moirane, and Lan) There's not an Ugly Duckling story?? (backwoods peasant turns out to be something much more) There aren't references to ancient myth? (I'm pretty sure the name, "Matrim Cauthon" is spelled O-D-I-N) There's not a pretty generic Quest story here?

 

It's very, very derivative. Again, I don't know that it is fair to criticize a genre work for being derivative, since genre fiction basically HAS to be derivative. But don't lets pretend the plot here is original. It's not.

 

2. As for the gender stuff, Jordan said many, many times that he didn't write a gender-reversed world, and that it was telling that people saw it as one. I take everything authors say in panel discussions or at book signing with several grains of salt, but he said it a lot. I really think he intended to write a balanced world. He failed.

 

3. I'm not a believer in the whole, "Jordan was obviously into spanking" thing, but it really does occur an awful lot. It's also amusing that there are female "pillow-friends" but not the male equivalent, but that's another story.

 

 

1. Jordan was remixing myth. If it's old enough that no one knows the author it's not derivative, it's using literary history to further your story --which is the entire point of the WoT. Every element, every character is a distortion of an element or character from an ancient story. That's not what I would call derivative, that's what I would call clever. Derivative would be just retelling Fellowship with different names, which he kind of does in EoTW.

 

As far as an original plot goes... there is no such thing. Point out anything that has an "original plot" and I can find an earlier story it's derived from. Creative writing 101.

 

2. Can't speak to this. I believe he said exactly the opposite, but I've been wrong before. He certainly didn't write a gender neutral world. If he claimed otherwise he was either nuts or doing so to appease somebody.

 

3. RJ was a heterosexual male. Cut him a little slack on the spanking, it was mostly for comic effect. I don't think he was trying to break any new ground sexuality wise (though the Rand with three women thing is... well like I said he was a heterosexual male).

 

The "pillow friends" thing, while everyone likes to assume is a reference to homosexuality or bisexuality (Siuane does fall for a man later), it's left pretty vague. He could have just meant they were best friends, though I think he left the nature of the relationship ambiguous intentionally, to keep fans titillated. As you pointed out before RJ was pretty delicate about sex, usually leaving it implied, except in a few cases. As far as not having any male spanking, perhaps Rand can put Taim over his knee in the last volume, but I have a feeling he's just going to bail-fire him.

 

I find it pretty hard to swallow that the Aes Sedai are usually celibate with their warders (except the Greens, as they are the fun Ajah). That Moraine never had a thing with Lan does give the "pillow friends" homosexuality interpretation credence.

 

BTW, I don't mean to sound heated or anything, I agree with most of your criticisms... but I still think the spanking is funny ;-)

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