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Around the Wheel in 60 days


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I've had a unusually long winter break due to my school having an optional winter semester, and during my break I decided to re-read WoT in it's entirety, or else I might go completely insane.


I started the series in 4th grade, and caught up to Winter's Heart in about 7th or 8th, and have eagerly awaited the next books since then. I've tried re-reading all the books several times, but I never managed to get past Lord of Chaos, I would always run out of time or have something to do, and I knew I didn't want to shlug through books 8-10. But the last time I did that I was probably in 10th or 9th grade, and still pretty young without a full grasp on a lot of the subtler points of the books and foreshadowing.


This re-read was eye opening in many ways, probably aided with the fact that I've been reading about 200 pages on average per day, yikes. It's really been like one big novel, I'm halfway through The Gathering Storm right now and plan on finishing Towers of Midnight around Monday.


So I've burned through the books pretty fast, with a complete continuation of the books, and the thing that's fascinated me the most is Jordan's ability for growth with characters. The two that stood out to me the most were Rand and Mat, who coincidentally happen to be my favorites...


But the changes in these two were amazing to me, that they changed so subtly over the course of 10,000 pages, from what we were used to in the beginning, to what we are used to now. The parallels between the two are enjoyable as well, Mat in books 1 and 2 is somewhat what Rand becomes in the later books.


To me, Rand's descent into madness is one of the most chilling arcs I have ever read. In the first books, he is such a naive little farm boy, gaping at everything he comes across and desperately wanting everything to go back to normal. He still jokes with his friends, and takes the time to worry about smaller things in life. In the middle he banters with the Maidens and Aviendha, but underneath he is starting to feel the pressures of what he has become, along with instances of Lews Therin popping through. (The times that it happens in the beginning of Fires of Heaven are so spaced out and seemingly innocent that looking at what they become is bone chilling).


Then after he's put in the box, he distances himself from everyone. Sulin and the Maidens no longer are a prevalent part of the story, he stops noticing several of the things around him, and what he does notice he is suspicious of. In one of the books, maybe Winter's Heart, he thinks to himself that several of the Maidens protecting him are Shaido, and he needs to keep watch on them. He doesn't berate himself about it afterwards like he used to when he thought about people suspiciously, just continues on with his train of thought after marking out the Shaido.


He speaks more and more with Lews Therin and begins to show signs of his madness to people without realizing it. In POVs with himself, conversations with LTT do not interrupt the conversation he is having with someone else, but whenever there is POV of Min, Mat, or Perrin interacting with Rand, they note how he begins mumbling to himself or looking off to the side and nodding to someone who isn't there.


I just finished The Last That Could Be Done in TGS, and to have it all come to a head like that, completely snapping and losing all emotions... I was at a loss for words when I first read the chapter a couple years ago and I'm at a loss for words now, I know he gets better in Veins of Gold, but Semi's words when she gets captured fit this moment perfectly. "The descent into terminal madness can sometimes be... abrupt."


Basically, I just wanted to say thank you to Robert Jordan for being such an unbelievable writer, and having such success in character development, your books have been a huge part of my life and I only wish you could still be here to know that.

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I've been seeing a lot of people re-reading the series. I've started to do that, too. :) I remember how much it inspired me in high school and how it helped me bond with new friends. It even gave me bouts of sanity in less than enjoyable classes. When I picked the series back up in '08, I couldn't read it again because of school. I've recently gotten out of grad school, so now I can finally enjoy re-reading and catching up. I can't believe how much I've forgotten and how much I've remembered. I don't have the attention span to read 200 pages a day, but it's nice to relax and enjoy something from my high school days.

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I started reading the series in 1994 or 95 (I don't remember now, but The Fires of Heaven wasn't out yet) and with an average wait of 1 1/2 years between books I have reread the all of the previous books at least once while waiting for the new one to come out. I got the entire series on audiobook last summer and now I am pretty much in a constant reread of them. I have listened to the entire series 4 or 5 times just since November when Towers of Midnight came out (plus the reread I did just before ToM).


I agree with all of points that you brought up. I also really like Nyn's arc through out the series. Mat and Nynaeve are my 2 favorite characters, and Rand's arc is definitely an interesting study of a descent into madness. Fain's arc was always fascinating to me as well, mainly because I love how his particular madness is written.

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I first read Wheel of Time about six years ago. Id say I have done four full reads, but I have read certain books individually here and there.


For me, the most entertaining aspects of the series are Rands development, the Dragon vs Nae'blis rivalry and the Black Tower arc. In order, Lord of Chaos, The Gathering Storm and Winters Heart are my favorite books because of the things Rand does, the things he goes through, and the way his actions become so epic. I agree Twitchy, Rands madness is one of the most gripping Ive read as well.


Rand has always been my favorite character. Moridin, Taim and Fain have always been my favorite villains, and for a long time Moiraine was my favorite female character, but Nynaeve took first place for her involvement in TGS. Some of the funniest moments in the series revolve around Nynaeve, and not only does she have a great arc herself, shes never deviated from her loyalty to her people and her loyalty to Rand in his darkest moments is one of my favorite parts of both characters involvement.


Another thing I really like about the books is theres so many awesome titles, and so much totemic imagery. Children of the Light. Son of Battles. Daughter of the Nine Moons. Mother. Father of Lies. The Dragon Reborn, The Fox, The Wolf King, The Great Serpent, the lion sword, the dedicated spear, The Sword That Is Not A Sword. Mandarb. Rand and his weapon philosophy. "If a sword was given thought, it would be grateful to the forge fire, but never fond of it."


Awesome post Twitchy, couldnt agree more

Edited by Drekka Mort
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  • 2 weeks later...

Awesome thoughts, Twitchy - I deeply agree about the character arcs. Rand in Chapter 1 of TEOTW and the Rand who is set to go nuclear in VOG ... well, all I can say is that the journey which Rand travelled inbetween the wo chapters really is - and always will be - the heart of the story of the WOT.


Drekka...I'm with you on the imagery. Jordan was a true master in his use of it. I think I really began to sense that at the end of Book 2, at Falme, reading as Ishamael and Rand battled it out in the sky above.



- Fish

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I've started my re-read, and I'm getting really annoyed at how clueless the characters are! I know it's unfair and I like seeing the journey but knowing what's coming, and them still being a bunch of bumpkins with no clue, it's winding me up and I want them to get on with being awesome like in the later books :tongue:

So I agree about the character development! It's excellent to read :)

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I just started my re-read a few weeks ago. I'm doing it on audio tape though. I work ten hour nights so I can plow through a book pretty quick. I started with New Spring, though. This is the first time I've read that book. I'm on EOTW right now, it's my third read through, but it's been over ten years. After that, TGH and TDR have been read once and that was when they first came out, so it will be nice to visit them again. I started last year before TOM came out with TSR, which is by far my favorite of the series. It's funny the things I am picking up on this read through. Little things like Min's viewings and Ishmael's threats take on a whole new meaning...

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Guest gazappo

I started my re-read about a month and a half ago. I haven’t read TGS or TOM yet. I read all the books up

to book 11 about 5-6 years ago. I was going to hold out until the last book was released but I couldn’t stand

it any longer. lol. I just finished Lord of Chaos. The Battle at Dumai's Wells was epic. I really wanted some

Aes Sedai ass stilled for their treatment of Rand. One in particular named Galina. She got away apparently.

The way the Asha'man killed the Shaido sounded pretty gross, but effective. The thousand wolves pitching

in was quite a scene to envision. Lets see. What else. Egwene was raised to the Amyrlin Seat of the Rebel

Aes Sedai in Salidar. Really looking forward to how that plays out by the time I get to TGS and TOM.

Nynaeve, Elayne, Birgitte are in Ebou Dar looking for that Ter'angreal that effects the weather. Faile is as

annoying as ever. lol. My least favorite female character.

I think what struck me most about this series when I first read it was the strong female characters. Jordan

kind of turned things on their head and made it a somewhat female dominated world with Aes Sedai and

such. As a guy I found this quite interesting and refreshing. Some of the bickering and snotty attitudes

amongst them gets a bit over the top though. Egwene and Mat are my favorite characters of the series and

Mat is just a kick to listen to. I’m listening to the audio books. Anyway, LOC was a terrific read. What an

awesome series. Now book seven......

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