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Reflecting on my Wheel of Time Experience


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The other day I looked up the release date of A Memory of Light, and was dismayed to discover January 8th, 2013 as the date to mark down, although I will need to buy next year’s calendar to do so.


Yet, after my initial disappointment I began reflect.


I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I first read The Eye of the World, but I think it was around grade 7 or so, making it roughly 12 years ago when a wind swept across the Rocky Mountains, from the Crowsnest Pass, through Pincher Creek and across the plains of Southern Alberta and into my home. It was a beginning.


What I do remember is my mom buying it for me because a guy working at Chapters recommended it. I recall Rand walking with his father, with a darkness hanging over their small journey to Emond’s Field. I remember meeting Mat for the first time, suspecting I had met a friend for life, and meeting Perrin, who I would later realize I most resemble of the three.


Looking back, it took me an absurd amount of time to figure out what exactly the One Power was, and Aes Sedai confused me to the core my first time through The Eye, and so I re-read it. Yes, at this time there were other books in the series available, but I felt the need to re-read, to understand because I think—on some level—I knew there was a strange, wonderful journey ahead.


And so I came to understand a great many things about this world. I read each book often long into the night, connecting dusks and dawns with the flipping of pages, discovering new friends, peoples, places. I have read and re-read the series many times, at least dozens, and discover more and more. As I have changed, growing older, growing up, becoming a husband, a father, my perceptions have altered, my respect for characters has risen and fallen. I now admire the Tinkers as the most respectable of peoples where once I thought little of them. I have even grown to accept Elayne as a person!


Yet there is so much that I don’t know. What significance does the Eye have? How does Luc/Isam enter Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh? Through channeling? If so, how can he enter Far Madding to attempt to kill Rand? Who killed Asmodean? Did Lanfear visit the Finns in her youth? What’s Laras’ story?


Possibly as a result of the loose-ends, in my later re-reads I have grown impatient with several of the later books, with offshoot plotlines like the circus, the bowl of the winds, and others. Yet with the final book on the horizon, I look back to my teenage years, reading these books with a zeal for adventure and love. I remember enjoying Elayne and Nynaeve’s bickering, laughing at Mat fumble through Ebou Dar, angry with the Two Rivers’ men’s treatment of Perrin after Faile’s kidnapping, and dumbfounded by Rand and the question of Lews Therin’s (non)existence. I remember loving these books for their exploration of character; the plot was almost unimportant.


And so I come to realize how deeply I love this world. For The Wheel of Time is not just a series of books, but rather it is a force that has radiated in me for over half my life. It has power; I laugh every time Mat kicks the shit out of Gawyn and Galad. My heart quickens whenever Rand chases Aviendha through the snow. I shiver each time Perrin loses his family and avenges them and the Two Rivers. And I shed real tears, silently and to myself, when Weilin Aldragoran meets Nynaeve, when she convinces him to ride with her husband to the gap.


Yes, while I look forward to reading A Memory of Light, the tears blurring my vision right now convince me that January 8th is too soon. I have been hasty. I took Robert Jordan for granted and have done the same for Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal. I really am sorry. I share my reflections with all of you, I have my reasons, I won’t impose all of them on you. But I only request one thing: the next time you read The Wheel of time, read it with that eye and mind you first read it with, be refreshed, and enjoy it. The date is too soon, like a looming darkness. Let the Last Battle hold just a while longer.

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Yet there is so much that I don’t know. How does Luc/Isam enter Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh? Through channeling? If so, how can he enter Far Madding to attempt to kill Rand? Who killed Asmodean? Did Lanfear visit the Finns in her youth?

Slayer is something unique. He doesn't channel, but can still enter t'a'r. Graendal killed Asmo. And no, Lanfear never visited the Finns. Now there is slightly less that you don't know.
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