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Shaidar

How I would rewrite WoT

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Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a great fantasy series. (Why would I have an account here otherwise?)

 

Nonetheless, looking back a decade, when I first encountered the WoT, I feel that it has been a gigantic missed opportunity. What I felt could have been the second greatest fantasy series after LotR after reading the first three or four books now barely stands out against other prominent series in the field. If anything, I think even a series like Mistborn was better planned and written (if not to anywhere near the same depth) as the WoT.

 

How would I rewrite it? (if I had the technical proficiency to do that, which I don't).

 

(1) Cap it at 7 books. As everyone but RJ's most dedicated fans acknowledge it, the books began spinning wildly out of control by ACoS, if not FoH. Too many insignificant plot threads were started. The end result was that many of them had to be brutally and inelegantly cut out starting from KoD. For instance, there began a very intricate plot revolving around unmasking of the Black Ajah pursued by the White Tower hunters and lasting several books... only for Verin to pop out completely out of the blue and present Egwene with the full list.

 

(2) Speaking of deus ex machina, nuke the ta'veren concept from orbit!

 

(3) Kill more characters. This is another oft made complaint, people just don't die. I don't mean it has to be a GRRM-style bloodbath, but there has to be some kind of balance between the two. Both Brandon Sanderson and JK Rowling, for instance, pull it off nicely. There is absolutely no good reason for Morgase for example to have survived, let alone start up a romance with Talenvor!

 

(4) Many will consider this controversial, but I would relegate Perrin to a minor character, and have Egwene be part of the Big Trio. She is a Dreamwalker and as such could have served many of the same functions as Perrin.

 

(5) Needless to say, get rid of Faile. Get rid of the Windfinders. Get rid of Caemlyn politics. Get rid of Rand's ridiculous harem - leave him with Aviendha, and have Mat fall in love with Elayne (wouldn't that be hilarious to read?). Min can stay, she could even hook up with Perrin on the side. In short get rid of all the annoying things.

 

(6) The One Power is over-Powered. Seriously so. A single AS-strength channeler can destroy hundreds of soldiers in a battle, someone of Forsaken strength can wipe out entire armies. A group of channelers destroys a 100,000-strong Trolloc horde in a matter of minutes. Frequently this makes armies, blademasters, etc. redundant. A little moments thought will present a huge variety of other objections. Any Forsaken can simply Travel from city to city, wiping it from the surface of the Earth, and in the process creating far, far more chaos than they could possibly make merely by the political intrigues that they actually engage in. Rand and his companians on the other hand could travel near to Shayol Ghul, open a gateway connecting Thakandar to the bottom of the sea, and watch the whole place get flooded into oblivion (granted it would probably create some nasty sea monster critters but that's surely better than being threatened with Trolloc hordes).

 

It should be (1) weaker; (2) there should be costs to using it, as with the True Power; and (3) it should be less reliable, e.g. only functions well at certain times or places, or requires to be stored up prior to usage. Ironically Brandon Sanderson could have greatly helped RJ with this.

 

(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.

 

(8) Baddies are pathetic, implausible, and have no depth. Rand is killing Trollocs for breakfast (heavily armored men the size of bears... right) as early as the middle of TGH. They very quickly lose the sense of dread they initially evoked. T

 

This applies tenfold to the Forsaken, who as everyone has noticed are bumbling and incompetent to a degree that far exceeds any attempt to explain their failures by referencing their contempt for Third Age people. In particular, two of them (!) are killed in the very first book. This severely damages their dark mystique, and the further death of Be'lal and Ishamael, and the capture of Moggy in TSR, finishes off whatever remained of it. They should be endboss type characters. Also their numbers should be reduced to 7 or even 5 (say, Ishamael, Demandred, Lanfear, Semirhage, Moggy; and maybe Aginor and Graendal) so that their individual characters can be developed more thoroughly, instead of having many of them serve as higher ranked cannon fodder.

 

The final problem with them is that they have no depth and I find the reasons Darkfriends and the Forsaken give for going over to the DO to be very implausible in the main. This is another area that could have done with much more development and explanation.

 

(9) Shara is such a formidable superpower (it carries out eugenic breeding of channelers!!) that it is bizarre that no Forsaken has tried to influence it, while only one was allocated to the Seanchan. Instead they all go for relatively puny nations like Tear, Illian, or even Murandy (if some theories about Demandred are correct). Either I would remove Shara/Seanchan entirely; make them massively weaker; or actively involve them in the plot.

 

One really cool thing that RJ could have done if he'd spent less time describing skirt twitching and whatnot is having Demandred seize control of Shara by fulfilling THEIR prophecies of the Dragon, which have been falsified just as with the Seanchan. That would have been very appropriate - a Dark Dragon, at last a match for LTT, pouring over the Cliffs of Dawn in the last book with his armies and specially bred channelers, just as the Trollocs strike from the north.

 

This is all I can think of for now but there's surely more. Discuss and feel free to add.

Edited by Shaidar

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The length has become excessive, with some books being a waste of space. I don't see knocking Perrin down from the three. His character should be better. Wolf eyes, wolf connection... and he has a demeaning, worthless wife of a character. She really didn't do much but make Perrin whine and lose all his cool points. When she's first introduced in tDR, she's alright, and Moraine is a total badass in dealing with her (Tonight, you will eat fish. Tomorrow, you might die.)

 

Shara has been relitively ignored because it has no prophecies dealing with the coming of the Dragon again. They just go into anarchy presumably because Greandal takes their two leaders, incapacitating their entire system. Plus, IIRC, their male channelers die off at a young age or are killed off young. I think if they allowed their male channelers to live, the Forsaken would have taken a larger interest in them. Having a large pool of male/female channelers to combine/link at your beck and call would have been awesome for anyone to control, either good or bad.

 

The magic system is supposed to be 'balanced' by strengths/weaknesses. Not everyone can create gateways/Travel, and there's others who can barely do anything with the power (Sorilea). The numbers of people with the spark/ability is also decreased from even 1000 years prior due to the Red Ajah's solution to male channeling, i.e. there will be none (unless they decide it's ok to become a false dragon under their guidance, as hinted at) which breeds out the ability apparently, except in areas where society as a whole has forgotten there's other people, like the Two Rivers.

 

The Forsaken haven't been 'fleshed out' more because the ones who have died off, even early, have had no need to be fleshed out more. Rand has a lot of luck in dealing with the Forsaken because of his ta'varen nature. He is a balance to the Pattern. The Forsaken still being around are a strain on the Pattern as they are now outside their natural life spans, which the Pattern can't tolerate. Rand's ta'varern effects is to counter the shadow mainly. Mat's is personified as chance but it is more in reclaiming the loss of martial knowledge/prowess. The great captains are all great generals, but Mat has the memories of the peak of mankinds military might. He is ushering in the next age. Granted there will be more warfare (if Avi's visions are true) but they bring more parity to non channelers in warfare. Perrin's ta'varen nature is more one with nature. His dealings with the Tinkers, Wolfbrother, etc. Perrin is also connected with the Ogier through Loial going with him back to the Two Rivers.

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One really cool thing that RJ could have done if he'd spent less time describing skirt twitching and whatnot is having Demandred seize control of Shara by fulfilling THEIR prophecies of the Dragon, which have been falsified just as with the Seanchan. That would have been very appropriate - a Dark Dragon, at last a match for LTT, pouring over the Cliffs of Dawn in the last book with his armies and specially bred channelers, just as the Trollocs strike from the north.

 

 

I like this idea. A Dark Dragon would be so perfect for Demandred.

 

The Forsaken definitely could have been a lot more awesome and evil. I would have liked to have seen them really tearing stuff (people) up. I'm still hoping to see some epic evil in AMoL

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the only way I would have rewritten it is to re edit it, so that you can read 1 PoV through the series, I think it would be neat :D

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(1) Cap it at 7 books. As everyone but RJ's most dedicated fans acknowledge it, the books began spinning wildly out of control by ACoS, if not FoH. Too many insignificant plot threads were started. The end result was that many of them had to be brutally and inelegantly cut out starting from KoD. For instance, there began a very intricate plot revolving around unmasking of the Black Ajah pursued by the White Tower hunters and lasting several books... only for Verin to pop out completely out of the blue and present Egwene with the full list.

 

I do not agree with this, I think that there are elements that could be cut down yes, but if you where to compress the story to seven books then so much detail would be lost it would ruin the series. Now personally I like books 1 to 6 the best and I know quite a few others who never got past that point, however I do not think that Jordan could have condensed the books any more to make the series shorter, already I think that there are to few details in some scenes and I miss more character interactions, the books are very plot driven to the point where the characters get a bit lost in it and I would have loved to just see more of them, so no I do not think the series should be condensed.

 

(2) Speaking of deus ex machina, nuke the ta'veren concept from orbit!

 

I agree to some extent, I think that the ta'veren concept is a bit to all inclusive. I think that Babylon 5 which have a similar concept with people who are nexuses did it better, which is described as when a nexus turn the universe turns with him. Sheridan is a nexus but he never feel like he have death armor, it helps explain how he can pull off what he do, but the concept is not so overwhelming as in WoT. I do not think the ta'veren concept is a bad one but it should be toned down a little.

 

(3) Kill more characters. This is another oft made complaint, people just don't die. I don't mean it has to be a GRRM-style bloodbath, but there has to be some kind of balance between the two. Both Brandon Sanderson and JK Rowling, for instance, pull it off nicely. There is absolutely no good reason for Morgase for example to have survived, let alone start up a romance with Talenvor!

 

Characters die in WoT. I see no reason to kill of characters just to kill them off. In a story killing off characters is good for either using that death as a plot point, or to show the audience that there is real peril for the characters. There is no real reason for Morgase to die either, it would not bring anything new to the story. Character deaths can be deep, moving parts of a story but there have to be a reason for them, just random character deaths do not necessarily make a story better.

 

(4) Many will consider this controversial, but I would relegate Perrin to a minor character, and have Egwene be part of the Big Trio. She is a Dreamwalker and as such could have served many of the same functions as Perrin.

 

I sort of like this idea.

 

(5) Needless to say, get rid of Faile. Get rid of the Windfinders. Get rid of Caemlyn politics. Get rid of Rand's ridiculous harem - leave him with Aviendha, and have Mat fall in love with Elayne (wouldn't that be hilarious to read?). Min can stay, she could even hook up with Perrin on the side. In short get rid of all the annoying things.

 

This I do not agree with. Faile is annoying yes, but I love the Windfinders find the Caemlyn politics enjoyable and essential to the plot. I can not stress enough how I love the fact that Rand have three lovers, to see polyarmory presented in a positive light in a piece of fiction is so rare and is wonderful to see, and besides if Rand was to go with any of his three ladies I think it should be Min. I think here that what one person see as annoying another see as fantastic and great elements of the series.

 

(6) The One Power is over-Powered. Seriously so. A single AS-strength channeler can destroy hundreds of soldiers in a battle, someone of Forsaken strength can wipe out entire armies. A group of channelers destroys a 100,000-strong Trolloc horde in a matter of minutes. Frequently this makes armies, blademasters, etc. redundant. A little moments thought will present a huge variety of other objections. Any Forsaken can simply Travel from city to city, wiping it from the surface of the Earth, and in the process creating far, far more chaos than they could possibly make merely by the political intrigues that they actually engage in. Rand and his companians on the other hand could travel near to Shayol Ghul, open a gateway connecting Thakandar to the bottom of the sea, and watch the whole place get flooded into oblivion (granted it would probably create some nasty sea monster critters but that's surely better than being threatened with Trolloc hordes).

 

Wheel of Time have an extremely powerful magick system yes, outside of anime (where planet busting level magick systems are fa from uncommon) I can only think of a few pieces of fiction which have magick on the same level or more powerful than Wheel of Time. It is true that it is all about the channelers, everyone else are support characters. Now when that is said I do not see it as a problem. The magick system is the main reason why I read Wheel of Time, it is powerful yes but it is very well made, it makes sense and it fit with the setting. There are allot of fantasy series that have far less powerful magick systems and for many of those the less potent magick is a good thing, but for Wheel of Time it fits. Yes a powerful channeler or two can take out an army, but it is a high powered story, it would not be better by making the magick less potent. The magick in Wheel of Time is extremely powerful, but I do think that it is well balanced.

 

It should be (1) weaker; (2) there should be costs to using it, as with the True Power; and (3) it should be less reliable, e.g. only functions well at certain times or places, or requires to be stored up prior to usage. Ironically Brandon Sanderson could have greatly helped RJ with this.

 

There are allot of series where mages are batteries where magick have to be stored, or where magick requires materials or preparations or lengthy rituals, others have severe personal cost or great danger attached to using it and that is fine for those settings, but I do not see how Wheel of Time would be better with this. It is not a goal in WoT to have character balance between channelers and non channelers, most of the main characters are magick users and there is a reason for that. The extremely powerful magick system makes the setting what it is.

 

(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.

 

Perhaps, teleportation is always difficult to do right, just look at Star Trek with their transporters and how often they have to malfunction for there to be a reason why the characters are not just teleported out of danger whenever convenient. The introduction of traveling in the setting definitely did up the power level in WoT, but at the same time it is an important tool to prevent so much time in setting to go by with the characters just getting from place to place. I do not know if the setting would be better with no traveling, but I on this point I will say that I may agree with you, or at least that there should be a longer time to wait before one could travel again or some risk involved. On the other than by the time traveling is introduced the main characters or at least most of them are already extremely powerful so I do not think it would have made that much of a difference.

 

(8) Baddies are pathetic, implausible, and have no depth. Rand is killing Trollocs for breakfast (heavily armored men the size of bears... right) as early as the middle of TGH. They very quickly lose the sense of dread they initially evoked. T

 

Well not all the characters are as powerful as Rand so trollocs are a danger to quite a few of them. When this is said this is not uncommon in fiction. Look at the TV series Stargate Atlantis, in the beginning Wraith are terrifying, the main characters have a huge problem taking down even one, but as they get better weapons and the series progressed the Wraith are killed of as easy as someone would swat a fly. Often a main character begin weak and then get more powerful as the story progresses so the enemies that once where a great danger is not a problem anymore, that is not a fault in storytelling.

 

This applies tenfold to the Forsaken, who as everyone has noticed are bumbling and incompetent to a degree that far exceeds any attempt to explain their failures by referencing their contempt for Third Age people. In particular, two of them (!) are killed in the very first book. This severely damages their dark mystique, and the further death of Be'lal and Ishamael, and the capture of Moggy in TSR, finishes off whatever remained of it. They should be endboss type characters. Also their numbers should be reduced to 7 or even 5 (say, Ishamael, Demandred, Lanfear, Semirhage, Moggy; and maybe Aginor and Graendal) so that their individual characters can be developed more thoroughly, instead of having many of them serve as higher ranked cannon fodder.

 

This I completely agree with you with. The Forsaken do not feel that threatening in the books as they are killed off to often. I have no problem with the two that went in the first book, that was an awesome scene and there where a reason why they where not that hard to kill off, but later they have been swatted like flies left and right and that makes them just plainly not scary. I do not think the Forsaken have been done that well, some of them are very interesting characters, but they do just not feel that threating to the characters in the books.

 

The final problem with them is that they have no depth and I find the reasons Darkfriends and the Forsaken give for going over to the DO to be very implausible in the main. This is another area that could have done with much more development and explanation.

 

This I do not agree with. I think the Forsaken as characters are good ones, they should just have been far more powerful than the main characters and not gone down that easy, that is my only complaint. I think the reasons they went over to the Shadow is completely believable and works well. Yes many of them are petty and shallow, but allot of people are in fact petty and shallow.

 

(9) Shara is such a formidable superpower (it carries out eugenic breeding of channelers!!) that it is bizarre that no Forsaken has tried to influence it, while only one was allocated to the Seanchan. Instead they all go for relatively puny nations like Tear, Illian, or even Murandy (if some theories about Demandred are correct). Either I would remove Shara/Seanchan entirely; make them massively weaker; or actively involve them in the plot.

 

For all we know the Forsaken have been working in Shara since it have not really come into play yet, so we do not know. I think Shara will be important in the final book so I think you should hold off on this point and criticism and see how it gos.

 

One really cool thing that RJ could have done if he'd spent less time describing skirt twitching and whatnot is having Demandred seize control of Shara by fulfilling THEIR prophecies of the Dragon, which have been falsified just as with the Seanchan. That would have been very appropriate - a Dark Dragon, at last a match for LTT, pouring over the Cliffs of Dawn in the last book with his armies and specially bred channelers, just as the Trollocs strike from the north.

 

This I like, that would be cool if it happened, and very appropriate.

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Get rid of the 'Let the Lord of Chaos Rule' plotline and spread TG over a couple of books rather than just one raid to SG at the end.

 

Of your suggestions, only 9 is reasonable.

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The OP is music to my ears, and coincides with most of my thoughts on how the series could have been changed for the better, had it been written by a more competent writer. Every single one of these suggestions would have been a massive improvement, and I would add a tenth one of my own:

 

Severely cut down the number of prophesies, foretellings, viewings, dreamings, sniffings, Aelfinn answers, weather forecasting, and Pilar visions of the future, or remove them altogether. Let the storyline breathe and let the characters make choices based on their reality, rather than the flowery ravings of god-knows-who written down three thousand years ago. Self-fulfilling prophecies can be done gracefully in a fantasy series, but RJ's treatment is ridiculously over the top as well as blunt as an anvil. Prophecies should never be the primary driving force of the main character, otherwise you might as well have Rand say "I must take Callandor from the Stone of Tear, because the author of my book wants me to". Give the characters real motivations, and allow them to make conclusions based on facts and personal experience.

(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.

Travelling renders the conflict between the Forsaken and the main characters entirely bereft of meaning and plausibility. A super-powered villain who can instantly teleport to any location on the planet does not need the services of dagger-equipped assassins to kill somebody. As I said earlier, if Graendal wanted to kill Perrin, she should have opened a gateway into his tent, thrown in a tremendous amount of fire, lightning, and deathgates, and teleported back into her super-secret hideout. The fact that she didn't even consider going and killing him off personally, and would rather opt for hiding in a parallel dimension for the rest of her life, completely breaks the suspension of disbelief into many screaming pieces. Edited by Wool-headed lummox

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I have to say, a great many of these feel completely arbitrary.

 

Nonetheless, looking back a decade, when I first encountered the WoT, I feel that it has been a gigantic missed opportunity. What I felt could have been the second greatest fantasy series after LotR after reading the first three or four books now barely stands out against other prominent series in the field. If anything, I think even a series like Mistborn was better planned and written (if not to anywhere near the same depth) as the WoT.

Personally, I think WoT stands out enough. Given the changes of the fantasy landscape, it might look a bit dated now compared to when it began, but that's hardly something the author could help. There's a great deal of quality in the work - certainly more than that found in anything Sanderson has written, but compared to authors as talented as Joe Abercrombie, Daniel Abraham, Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin and R. Scott Bakker, one wonders what RJ could do to make people who aren't fans of his work feel that it is the second greatest, ahead of all those who have come after him and, in the the minds of some, surpassed him.

 

(1) Cap it at 7 books.
Arbitrary. Why seven? Why not six, or eight? Even if you cut details, descriptions and plot threads out of books, you can end up with shorter books - writing fewer books would require dramatic restructuring of the series. Given how much there was left to cover as of the time the books "spun out of control", you would need to make changes, perhaps as early as book 1. Now, given that things were not bad from the start, it was only from the midpoint of the series that he started going wrong, you are essentially wanting the author to scrap all of it - the parts that worked and the parts that didn't - for no more reason than to fit the right number of books. He initially pitched the series as a trilogy - allowing it to grow organically benefited the series in many ways, even if it also had certain downsides. Sticking to an arbitrarily chosen length can cause more harm than good. Further, the poor handling of some plot thread resolutions is not an indicator that these plot threads should not have been included, only that they should have had a better handled resolution. Which they could have had - there was nothing in the nature of the BA Hunters plot that requires that it not go anywhere. It didn't go anywhere, but it could have done if handled differently. Indeed, Luckers has offered a suggestion about how it could have ended differently (it involved the BA Hunters serving as an unwitting distraction to Alviarin, that allowed Verin to slip through). The idea that if you cut enough, all the problems will go away might have a certain appeal to emo teens, but it doesn't really serve as a valid tool for discussing the problems with a series and how to solve them. Some details could have been cut - others could have done with being expanded upon.

 

(2) Speaking of deus ex machina, nuke the ta'veren concept from orbit!
No. It's an interesting concept. Further, most series will often have contrived coincidences. WoT has the advantage of an explanation for them in universe. If anything, ta'veren benefits the universe - getting rid of that removes something interesting, offers nothing in its place, and doesn't solve the underlying problem. If you still need x to happen, you make it happen anyway, but can't explain it with a hand wave and ta'veren, and must either work harder, or come up with something even less satisfactory.

 

(3) Kill more characters.
Pretty damn arbitrary again. Killing character does not, in and of itself, provide any benefit to a work. It is not an inherently good thing. It doesn't generate tension, or pathos, or any emotional reaction. It can be used for that, but such things lie in how it is used, not in the mere use of it. If Lini had died, for example, then what? Oh, it's only Lini, who cares. Fine, so kill someone more major - how about Mat? OK, how? More importantly, why? It is the execution of the act, not the act itself, that adds to the work. Simply saying more people should die is absurd. It doesn't benefit the series. There are many interesting things you can do to a character, things that are more interesting than just killing them. A death is an end to a character arc. It has a place, but to desire death for the sake of death, which is what you're calling for, doesn't improve any character arcs. A work can tug on the heartstrings, generate tension, do all manner of things, without ever resorting to such a blunt instrument as killing someone. If there are failings, then treat the root cause of the problem, don't try to apply an arbitrary quick fix. There might be no good reason for Morgase to live - but was there a good reason for her to die? Her time with the Whitecloaks made for interesting reading, and she had a purpose in ToM with Galad. So it seems there was more benefit to keeping her around than there would have been just to kill her off to get her out the way. What specific flaw do you feel there is that this is intended to rectify? Bear in mind, GRRM, he of the immensely exaggerated reputation for killing everyone, struggles to generate tension for all his characters in every situation - so often, people are left with a feeling of "of course x is OK". Even with all his deaths, he still struggles to make you feel his characters are in genuine jeopardy. Erikson has it even worse, despite the higher body count - his revolving door afterlife means that even if you die, you'll probably still be back.

 

(4) Many will consider this controversial, but I would relegate Perrin to a minor character, and have Egwene be part of the Big Trio. She is a Dreamwalker and as such could have served many of the same functions as Perrin.
Arbitrary. What would be gained by reducing Perrin's role? Not much. Increasing Egwene's? Well, more ire from her more vocal haters, I suppose. Given that the "big trio" are defined not merely due to importance to the story or screen time, but by being ta'veren, a concept you want rid of, then what difference would it actually make? Egwene is already one of the most important characters in the series, with a prominence that rivals, and at times exceeds, Mat and Perrin both. What does she gain from this "promotion"? She's about as major as it gets without being the Dragon Reborn.

 

(5) Needless to say, get rid of Faile. Get rid of the Windfinders. Get rid of Caemlyn politics. Get rid of Rand's ridiculous harem - leave him with Aviendha, and have Mat fall in love with Elayne (wouldn't that be hilarious to read?). Min can stay, she could even hook up with Perrin on the side. In short get rid of all the annoying things.
Given that the person with the most vocal hatedom on DM currently is Egwene, I have to say that this is incompatible with your last point. You can't get rid of Egwene and make her a more major character. And yes, she does annoy people. Not forgetting, of course, that all of those annoying things (save the Sea Folk, who everyone hates) have their fans. Many dislike Faile - I don't. She has annoying qualities, but on the whole I enjoy reading her chapters. To get rid of her annoying qualities would be to undermine her character. She would be left with less depth, having gained nothing (not even fans - everyone would just call her boring and Mary Sue-ish). Also, where do we draw the line about what is annoying? Virtually everything is disliked by someone. Cadsuane has haters and fans, as does Nynave, and Elayne, and Mat, and Perrin, and Rand, and Faile, and Moiraine, and Min, Siuan, Leane, Lelaine, Romanda, Elaida, Alviarin - long story short, if we cut out all the annoying characters, we'd just have seven books of Loial wandering around an empty world. If we cut out all the annoying plot lines, we'd have seven books of thumb twiddling. Given that what is annoying and what isn't is rather subjective, this is another wholly arbitrary point.

 

(6) The One Power is over-Powered.
I think you know what word I'm going to apply to this point. The OP is a powerful magic system, for better or worse. It's not the most powerful out there, though.
It should be (1) weaker; (2) there should be costs to using it, as with the True Power; and (3) it should be less reliable, e.g. only functions well at certain times or places, or requires to be stored up prior to usage. Ironically Brandon Sanderson could have greatly helped RJ with this.
Actually, the OP is wholly compliant with Sanderson's First Law. We do have a good understanding of the OP, so it rarely comes as a surprise when, and how it is used to solve problems. RJ is, in fact, doing everything that Sanderson calls on writers to do. And did so long before BS formulated his law - in what way does Sanderson help RJ in this? While he does make a good point, it is a point that undermines rather than supports the point you are trying to make.

 

(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.
Which requires that everything from book six onwards is scrapped and started again.

 

(8) Baddies are pathetic, implausible, and have no depth.
With regards to the Chosen, their "dark mystique" being undermined is rather the point - they are mythic figures, and the reality is intended to be so much less. It's an intersting concept - it might, perhaps, have been handled better, and it isn't necessarily a concept that interests you, but it is still valid to tell stories about people who aren't quite as powerful as their reputation has it - but who are still powerful and effective villains nonetheless. I don't thnk your substance free sweeping generalisations are really valid. Many bad guys have depth, at least in some degree. Of course, when you are effectively rewarded for being selfish, how much depth do you expect? Who, exactly, is implausible? And why? And why arbitrarily reduce their numbers? Would it help? Why not just spend more time developing their characters? Taking something out does not necessitate that something new be added in to replace it - by removing Chosen, you don't add to the remaining few, you merely have fewer Chosen. If you want to expand on the characters of some of the thirteen, you can. Nothing is stopping you. Reducing them to twelve doesn't give more opportunity to expand on them, it just means you have fewer to expand upon. And, after all, if you want the series to be cut in half, you're going to have to lose a lot of what's there currently - you won't have as much space in your shorter series to dwell on them. If you want the Chosen to get more characterisation, then just ask for that - getting rid of them doesn't get you that, nor does it get you an opportunity for that. It gets you nothing more than a smaller pool of bad guys to use.

 

The final problem with them is that they have no depth and I find the reasons Darkfriends and the Forsaken give for going over to the DO to be very implausible in the main.
Really? Most of them seem fairly plausible to me. People do bad things for banal and stupid reasons. Demandred being driven by petty jealousy, Semi by a desire to indulge her sadism, Aginor by the opportunity to research, Mesaana for a petty revenge on those who wouldn't let her be the researcher she wanted to be. Ishamael for his nihilstic philosophy, and Lanfear for her love of power. What do you expect?

 

(9) Shara is such a formidable superpower (it carries out eugenic breeding of channelers!!) that it is bizarre that no Forsaken has tried to influence it, while only one was allocated to the Seanchan. Instead they all go for relatively puny nations like Tear, Illian, or even Murandy (if some theories about Demandred are correct). Either I would remove Shara/Seanchan entirely; make them massively weaker; or actively involve them in the plot.
The Chosen weren't allocated. They chose their own power bases. Given that Shara is ruled by the Ayyad, it would likely be a difficult place to gain a huge amount of power in - there is no one ruler you can compel or replace. It does make sense that none would bother with it, despite the power offered if you could take it.

 

One really cool thing that RJ could have done if he'd spent less time describing skirt twitching and whatnot is having Demandred seize control of Shara by fulfilling THEIR prophecies of the Dragon, which have been falsified just as with the Seanchan. That would have been very appropriate - a Dark Dragon, at last a match for LTT, pouring over the Cliffs of Dawn in the last book with his armies and specially bred channelers, just as the Trollocs strike from the north.
An interesting idea, but not well suited to the series. No matter how much "skirt twitching and whatnot" you cut out, you still have a huge amount of ground to cover - it's possibly a novel in its own right that story. Again, the Ayyad, the channelers, are the rulers there. How would he gain power over an area that big with such diffuse power?

 

Really, I don't think that any of your suggestions make sense as ways of solving the problems with the series, because none of them try to get to grips with what the underlying problems are. How about you tell me what you think the problems with the series are - from there, work out solutions to those problems. If the changes you make are not made to solve any particular problem, then why bother making them?

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Self-fulfilling prophecies can be done gracefully in a fantasy series, but RJ's treatment is ridiculously over the top as well as blunt as an anvil. Prophecies should never be the primary driving force of the main character, otherwise you might as well have Rand say "I must take Callandor from the Stone of Tear, because the author of my book wants me to"

 

But here is the point, everything in Wheel of Time is preordained so having prophecies, fortellings and the like makes sense. WoT do not have free will, this is a trait it shares with Dune which also have allot of glimpses into the future since most of the main characters have the ability to do that. Now with a setting that is not so bound down by destiny as WoT or Dune it would make sense that prophecy and other forms of the characters knowing the future be more loose, but in WoT such things is an important part of the setting. Yes Rand more or less do say I must take Callandor from the Stone of Tear because the author of my book say so, except change out the word author with the Wheel or Creator, everyone's fates are set in stone and therefore so are glimpses of the future, it makes sense from a in setting perspective.

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I think the reason why the Forsaken are so lame is because the Great Lord wants them to be. If the Dark One is the Lord of the Grave, that means he controls the Wheel of Time and the Pattern itself (i.e. death & rebirth). He created the prophecies because he, in his capacity as Lord of the Grave, rules destiny. The Creator created the Wheel & the Pattern, but he doesn't bother with it any more beyond that. He remains neutral, and created the Dark One solely for the purpose of overseeing the petty human affairs he doesn't really give a shit about.

 

Everyone assumes the Great Lord wants to destroy the Wheel and the Pattern, but the opposite is true. He's all about locking souls in an endless cycle of death & rebirth; i.e. futility. But, what makes Tarmon Gai'don the "Last Battle" is Padan Fain. The Light & the Dark need one another in order to keep the Wheel spinning (i.e. yin-yang). But Fain/Mordeth stands a part from all that.

 

The Dark One's evil, while frighteningly evil, is a part of the Pattern. Padan Fain's evil (i.e. Mashadar), on the other hand, is something far more sinister that falls outside of the Pattern. It's akin to balefire, and is powerful enough to pluck threads from the Pattern (see Sammael). Similarly, Fain blames both Rand (the Light) and Ishamael (the Dark) for the fate that's befallen him, and wants to take vengeance on both of them. And, the catch is, the Mashadar he wields takes the form of fog, or mist, and can consume large open spaces, like battlefields.

 

Tarmon Gai'don, theoretically, has been fought an endless number of times, and will continue to be fought over and over again repeatedly. Lews Therin & Ishamael/Rand & Moridin ALWAYS end up doing the same thing. That's all part of the Dark One's plan (i.e. the Pattern). What's not a part of the Dark One's plan is Padan Fain filling up the battlefield with Mashadar and wiping everyone, and everything from the Pattern. Fain is what makes this time around different, and his merging with Mordeth (i.e. a power outside of the Pattern) gives him the ability to put an to the Dark One's plans once and for all.

 

If I'm right about that, I predict Rand & Moridin will merge with one another, like Fain/Mordeth, or Slayer, in order to combat Fain.

 

The clues:

-When we first meet Ishamael in the beginning of the series, he tries to convince Rand to ally with him.

-Min has viewings in which Rand merges with someone else.

-The prophecies claim Rand will fight under the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai (which is the Light & Dark united as one).

-Rand & Moridin form a sort of warder's bond with one another while fighting Padan Fain with balefire in Shadar Logoth.

 

Granted, I could be wrong about that, but if Rand & Moridin were to merge into a single soul, they wouldn't be able to fight each other anymore moving forward, which would all but destroy the Dark One's plan (i.e. the Pattern)... assuming Fain is defeated.

Edited by Sightblinder'sMinder

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That is indeed a massive post on Ares' part. There is no hope I will be able to address them in any detail until the next weekend, but I will answer a couple of points:

 

The idea that if you cut enough, all the problems will go away might have a certain appeal to emo teens, but it doesn't really serve as a valid tool for discussing the problems with a series and how to solve them.

 

Let's not start throwing emotive terms around. Succinctness is a virtue that every editor appreciates. Brevity is the soul of wit. Etc, etc.

 

An interesting idea, but not well suited to the series. No matter how much "skirt twitching and whatnot" you cut out, you still have a huge amount of ground to cover - it's possibly a novel in its own right that story. Again, the Ayyad, the channelers, are the rulers there. How would he gain power over an area that big with such diffuse power?

 

Who says there must be a novel? It could be done in the shadows, with only the barest of hints until the dramatic denouement in the epilogue of the penultimate book: Demandred addressing his massed Sharan followers, proclaiming himself the true Dragon and calling for the destruction of the imposter Darkfriend Dragon in the west. (Although after the series is ended Demandred's adventures to become the Dark Dragon could plausibly be made into a book. I'd buy it.).

 

Really, I don't think that any of your suggestions make sense as ways of solving the problems with the series, because none of them try to get to grips with what the underlying problems are. How about you tell me what you think the problems with the series are - from there, work out solutions to those problems. If the changes you make are not made to solve any particular problem, then why bother making them?

 

My proposed changes are solutions to what I see as underlying problems. I also think you're taking all this a bit too seriously. I am imagining what the ideal series (IMHO!) could have looked like with the basic world, metaphysics, and characters of Randland as unveiled by RJ. What's written has been written, what's done is done; it is no consequence for the obvious reason that even if anyone bothered following through on my suggestions (why would they???) it wouldn't get past TOR's copyright lawyers.

 

One thing that I do want to set clear straight away, however:

 

I agree with mr ares. I think the op is a bigger GRRM fan than a RJ fan. That's the reason for most of his "changes"

 

No, I'm not. I only read Game of Thrones, and did not feel compelled to read any further. Oh I might eventually, especially if we get confirmation that GRRM isn't suffering from a case of terminal writer's block, but I don't see myself starting an account on an ASoIaF fan site.

 

Good to see Wool-headed lummox agreeing, thanks. I also agree with your tenth suggestion. If we're going to have prophecies at least have two or three or at most five really big ones, not a few cropping up every book which just devalues them in general. Also good to see that even many people who disagree with my proposed changes do like the Demandred in Shara idea.

Edited by Shaidar

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I agree with the OP on most points, but i accept that for the most part that's just because i prefer a different style of book. However, number 3 i agree with 100% even for Jordan.

 

Important characters in this series simply do not die. Ever. Even the old guard--Moraine, Lan, Siuan, Morgase--are still alive and kicking through absolutely ridiculous circumstances. I don't think i've felt legitimate fear for characters since book 3, where it became obvious that characters were pretty much invincible.

 

I'm gonna delve into Mr. Ares defense of this:

Pretty damn arbitrary again. Killing character does not, in and of itself, provide any benefit to a work. It is not an inherently good thing. It doesn't generate tension, or pathos, or any emotional reaction.

Death does not necessarily cause drama, but a distinct lack of death can definitely sap from the drama. Jordan gets away with it somewhat because he never tries to create drama by putting characters in danger of death--there are other ways to hurt and change someone. However, there are times where situations that could be dramatic are not. Mat's first encounter with the gholam--we know immediately that Elayne is alive, because she's Elayne. If Jordan had shown more willingness to off characters offscreen--or better yet, up-and-up killed Elayne right there--it would have been an extremely emotional scene. Instead, it's moderately interesting, and creates a mildly interesting rivalry between Mat and the gholam.

 

It can be used for that, but such things lie in how it is used, not in the mere use of it. If Lini had died, for example, then what? Oh, it's only Lini, who cares. Fine, so kill someone more major - how about Mat? OK, how? More importantly, why? It is the execution of the act, not the act itself, that adds to the work. Simply saying more people should die is absurd. It doesn't benefit the series.

The important thing is to show the audience that the tension and danger is real. Characters constantly surviving creates a tendency, and suddenly readers care less about the danger since they will obviously survive it. Surprise is and important part of building suspense. Lini is a bad example, since she's not important--but killing a core character means that the other core characters are in danger.

 

There are many interesting things you can do to a character, things that are more interesting than just killing them. A death is an end to a character arc. It has a place, but to desire death for the sake of death, which is what you're calling for, doesn't improve any character arcs. A work can tug on the heartstrings, generate tension, do all manner of things, without ever resorting to such a blunt instrument as killing someone. If there are failings, then treat the root cause of the problem, don't try to apply an arbitrary quick fix.

Death is an irrevocable finality that ends any and all effects a character can have. A well placed death can not only change but absolutely define a series--ASoIaF is a great example of that. You can do other things to a character, and make them more interesting, but the widespread effects a death can have on a series is pretty much unmatchable. It is not as simple as "suddenly, this character is dead, cause idk lol", i agree, but i think it is is pretty incorrect to say that death doesn't improve character arcs, and the lack of death, the lack of finality or loss, really hampers those same arcs. Especially in a book series so based on things eternally changing, death is a reminder of what is lost and cannot be returned.

 

There might be no good reason for Morgase to live - but was there a good reason for her to die? Her time with the Whitecloaks made for interesting reading, and she had a purpose in ToM with Galad. So it seems there was more benefit to keeping her around than there would have been just to kill her off to get her out the way. What specific flaw do you feel there is that this is intended to rectify?

Morgase, i agree, is a bad example. She is a pretty minor character all-in-all, and her survival is more interesting than her predictable death would be anyway. But for characters like Moiraine, the lack of death is definitely felt, imo. Moiraine's dive into the ter'angreal should have been the final sacrifice, letting the world fall through so now Rand had to rely on himself, showing that she is willing to do what is important, and that the rest of the characters finally see her for who she is rather than thinking of her as manipulative and annoying. By bringing her back, it undermines her sacrifice, both the sacrifice of her life and the fact that she left the world to Rand, and doesn't add anything near as interesting to the story. Learning she was alive undermined any and all risk i thought any character was in in this series until AMoL--Jordan's unwillingness to kill characters is easy to read and take comfort in, and saps suspense.

 

Bear in mind, GRRM, he of the immensely exaggerated reputation for killing everyone, struggles to generate tension for all his characters in every situation - so often, people are left with a feeling of "of course x is OK". Even with all his deaths, he still struggles to make you feel his characters are in genuine jeopardy.

GRRM's reputation for killing everyone is, as you said, massively exaggerated. He doesn't really kill characters unless the plot requires it, and when character do die it is almost always obvious that they will. But his use of death is so emotional and direct that it gives the impression of widespread death, and allows readers to feel more worried about their favorite characters. It's a great example of what exactly death can bring to a series.

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IMO, if all the original list were done, there would be little left of what we know as the wheel of time. As for brevity: this thing will soon be over. No more new books, no more new adventures. I for one have never wished for less LoTR.

 

I agree on the traveling issue - the ways were introduced, used, then largely forgotten. Instead of the new thing, why not cleanse the ways, or build new ones, etc. Not a huge issue to me, but interesting to consider.

 

My major suggestion, regarding the Foresaken - make them tougher to take out, and once dead stay dead. This bring them back in a new body thing is lame - fewer die, or introduce new ones.

 

But bottom-line: for all the quirks, frustrations, new authors, etc., I love the series and thank Mr. Jordan, Mr. Sanderson, and those behind the scenes for creating a huge, entertaining world.

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GRRM's reputation for killing everyone is, as you said, massively exaggerated. He doesn't really kill characters unless the plot requires it, and when character do die it is almost always obvious that they will. But his use of death is so emotional and direct that it gives the impression of widespread death, and allows readers to feel more worried about their favorite characters. It's a great example of what exactly death can bring to a series.

I disagree with this, in later books the characters that are killed are only there so they can be killed off. They are long winded Red Shirts. HIs books are getting worse and worse simply because people reading them expect a high body count so he has to keep introducing new people to kill off.

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I disagree with this, in later books the characters that are killed are only there so they can be killed off. They are long winded Red Shirts. HIs books are getting worse and worse simply because people reading them expect a high body count so he has to keep introducing new people to kill off.

ASOIAF Spoilers:

 

Such as? Quentyn is really the only "pointless" death imo. Kevan dies, Maester Aemon dies, a few Dornishmen die, and i guess some Night's Watchmen die, but there isn't very many character deaths in AFFC or ADWD. I guess there's Jon, but i'm pretty certain he's still alive or he's coming back.

 

Edited by TNine

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With the exception of Elayne's ascension, which I would shorten considerably, I'm quite happy with the series as it is.

To be honest, I did find some of the later books lacking, though only on my 1st read through. I think this May have been impatience on my part. On subsequent read throughs I have enjoyed every book thoroughly.

I don't know if it's only me, but as time passes, I tend to think of WoT as one large book.

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I admit I can't really remember specifics, but ADWD soured me to the whole series. I remember feeling like I had wasted my time reading about Jaime and Birenne at then end of their arc, so I thought that meant they were killed off. Looking back at a plot synopsis it seems I was wrong though.

 

There are a few non-PoV people who show up share their names but you know not to be interested in them at all because they will be dead on the next page though.

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The problem with Elayne's succession is the chapters from the 4 books it's in are practically interchangeable. There's some Elayne characterization to be argued there, but surely that can be presented more economically?

 

The primary problem I see is world details like channeling and so forth changing over the course of the books. Would be fine if primarily seeing through the eyes of the newbs (and unreliable narrator newbs at that) but the people that should know better don't (r.e. channeling see Aes Sedai or Forsaken). For example, for OP, I really liked things at the time of LoC and ACoS: we had some feel for mechanics while lots was still mysterious and the throw-away by the Forsaken was still interesting. Also there wasn't too much in the way of why didn't they just do this books ago to solve every problem :)

 

I had more wishful thinking stuff, but there's also the reality of being able to churn out a door stopper series of high fantasy and keep things consistent along the way (hopefully you'll write better now than a decade ago for example). Sure, there's lots of dumb things about how books are written and especially published too.

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Elayne's political arc probably would have benefited from being cut down.

 

My biggest gripe (well, maybe besides the Sea Folk being Aes Sedai clones of the sea,) is tPoD. Take the first few chapters of that, the end of the Bowl of Winds arc, and make it the conclusion to aCoS, ending with Avi, Elayne and Birgette's escape from the Seanchan and gateway explosion. That would have put a more definitive end to aCoS then the 'wait, what happened to Samael?' ending. And honestly, the rest of tPoD could have been combined with Winter's Heart, fluff removed, and the combined book been better. (Probably.)

 

I hate talking about changes to the WoT, simply because it is one of the greatest series of all time and I don't like placing myself in such a theoretical position, but if I could make one change that would not drastically alter anything major, that would be it. End aCoS with the beginning of tPoD, and combine the essentials of tPoD and WH.

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How can people say that Elayne's arc should be cut but no mention of Perrin's 4 book kidnapping saga? Elayne's arc was positively brimming with entertainment compared to Perrin's constant whining.

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Stuff I don't agree with:

 

(2) Speaking of deus ex machina, nuke the ta'veren concept from orbit!

 

I think the whole Ta'veren thing is absolutely brilliant. EVERY fantasy book or series I've ever read relies on contrived coincidences, recurring characters you seem to just keep running into, and major characters that somehow influence everything around them. I can't think of one that avoids that. Ta'veren is an absolutely brilliant way to justify/handwave that.

 

(4) Many will consider this controversial, but I would relegate Perrin to a minor character, and have Egwene be part of the Big Trio. She is a Dreamwalker and as such could have served many of the same functions as Perrin.

 

Neah. Perrin is awesome. So is Faile, for that matter. If you really want to get rid of major characters, I'd say combine Egwene and Nynaeve into one character.

 

You can get rid of the Sea Folk though, that'd be fine with me.

 

(6) The One Power is over-Powered. Seriously so. A single AS-strength channeler can destroy hundreds of soldiers in a battle, someone of Forsaken strength can wipe out entire armies.

 

There are not many people who can "wipe out hundreds of soldiers" without getting shot with an arrow in the process. Remember that there are fewer then 1000 Aes Sedi left, and most of them aren't all that strong compared to the main characters.

 

That being said, I don't think you could weaken the One Power and have it at all plausible that Rand and other channalers might actually beat the Dark One with it. One of the great things about this series is that they are going to have to do it the hard way, there is no "throw the ring in the volcano" shortcuts available here.

 

(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.

 

If you did that, the novels would probably be even longer. The "long journey from point A to point B" stages takes up a significant number of pages in the earlier novels. The fact that Rand can hop from place to place later actually speeds up the plot by a fair degree, IMHO.

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That being said, I don't think you could weaken the One Power and have it at all plausible that Rand and other channalers might actually beat the Dark One with it. One of the great things about this series is that they are going to have to do it the hard way, there is no "throw the ring in the volcano" shortcuts available here.

 

Good point. In most fantasy series the big bad have a weakness that the main characters have to exploit, not that the battle is easy, but they are generally not as powerful as the big bad is. In Lord of the Rings Gandalf can not take on Sauron or he would get his robed butt handed to him on a platter for example. Usually there are something the characters must find, the magickal sword which is the only thing that can pierce big bad's heart, or destroy the artifact containing his essence or in some other way there is a shortcut. In Wheel of Time the channelers are taking on the Dark One head on, having nothing but their magick to relay on. The only book series I have read where the same happens that I can remember is The Horizon War Trilogy which are media tie in novels for the roleplaying game Mage the Ascension which have a magick system at least as powerful as Wheel of Time do. For the story in Wheel of Time to work the magick system must be powerful and I like that it is.

 

Now about character death, well WoT is not the series that kill off the biggest amount of main characters, but then again killing main characters left and right do nothing good for a series either. I have been reading a series named the Banned ad the Banished and there main characters go, constantly, the main character's party at the end of book three have changed out at least half it's members. Now yes when reading this series sure you have the added excitement that you know characters might die at every battle, but at the same time it is so much harder to get invested in the characters since you know that as interesting as they are, more likely than not one of big bad's random grunts will kill said character off before the book is done. I do not think this enhances the series. Now the problem with killing of characters in Wheel of Time is that everyone is where they are destined to be, they are puppets for the Wheel so to speak, moved into placed either by the pattern itself or by the movers and shakers, they all have a role to play so killing them off just is not an option.

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Posted this a few months back somewhere ... here goes:

 

- Whitecloaks plotline: could have been scrapped all together. Niall festered the Dragonsworn plague that allowed the Seanchan to grab three kingdoms easily and Perrin ended up with an additional 20K troops to his army. Hardly worth all the book space they take.

 

- Masema Dagar plotline: too insane!

 

- Faile abduction: Perrin's moral decay before redemption and coming to terms with his destiny. Funny thing is that Perrin was the first of the three ta'veren to accept his fate in the first three books. He started getting messed up right after Dumai Wells with his confrontation with Rand over captured AS. He saw the man memorize the face of every woman killed in the battle but still thought he might slit the throats of AS, woolhead! This plotline could have been achieved with one third of its current size.

 

- Elayne's ascension novella! How is Andor more important than 4 borderlander kingdoms and the mess in the BT? And in the end, Caemlyn is sacked and burning! Purpose could have been achieved with a quarter of the current size.

 

- Sea Folk: important nation that screams with "lost opportunities."

 

- Hinderstap (sp): what purpose did it achieve?

 

- WoT 101 in all books: RJ wrote many parts of each book to suit first-time readers. That is logical; but it still left some drag.

 

- Love at most improbable moments: e.g. Siuan fretting over Gareth after the harbor chains disaster with the rebellion on the verge of collapse. Min and Rand "funeral - death" inspired love-making. Tenobia bringing a suitor to Ethenielle at the start of the Borderlanders most momentous meeting since the Breaking.

 

- Foresaken incompetence: Highly unlikely that Semirhage didn't know about the three ta'veren and what they looked like before Moridin ordered Mat's and Perrin's death in KoD. Lanfear should have recognized and killed Aviendha in the docks battle. Mesaana should have had Vora's sa'angreal with her.

 

- Far Madding plotline: could have been scrapped without much loss.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
spoilers

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