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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A question about the Wheel of Time from a relatively new reader of the series.


fdsfgs
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First off, this is my first post here, and my sincere apologies about the wall of text that is to follow.
 
Second off, being about 40% of the way through The Eye of the World as of the time of this posting I am a relatively new reader to the series, although I have been inadvertantly spoiled about most of the major events throughout the series chronology.  However, what I wanted to ask is not about TEotE, but about the WoT series as a whole.
 
First of all, I know that the Wheel of Time has a very wide scope; not just in terms of the cultures, plot, and worldbuilding, but also in the sheer number of characters, plot threads, and subplots that branch apart, join back together, and in general interweave with each other - much like a weave, a web, or even in mimicry of a pattern the Wheel itself might weave.  And it was this scope and complexity that initially drove me to pick up and start reading the Wheel of Time.
 
However, I also know that this seems to be a point of contention with some people, especially to my knowledge with a stretch in the later half of the series.  The following of multiple plots allows for a broader scope, but it also means the main story cannot advance as quickly as it used to be, and combined with what many seem to refer to as more and more extraneous description, I've heard a few complaints of how the story seems to stall around books 8 through 10.
 
Now I also happen to know that Robert Jordan initially pitched the Wheel of Time to Tom Doherty of Tor Books as a six book series initially.1  Obviously somewhere along the way an addition 8 books were added, not counting New Spring, but still, I cannot help but wonder what the series would have been like had the powers-that-be had it constrained to the initial six books that Robert Jordan suggested.
 
Obviously the books and the story itself would feel entirely different, but I'm still a bit curious.  The scope would need to be narrowed, subplots trimmed, and most likely entire points of view dropped and narrowed down to a core group of only a main few.  The story might need to be restructured or rearranged a little so that each of the six volumes would have a suitable climax or cliffhanger leading into the next volume.  And, granted, since I'm still on the first novel out of 14, with some information on the major events of the series but quite obviously still missing a lot, I'm a bit clueless as to how it would be done myself.
 
Anyways, the main question I want to ask is, would such a thing be feasible?  Could such a thing actually be done?  Granted, I'm not actually asking anyone to attempt this and alter, edit, or change Mr. Jordan's and (for the last three novels) Mr. Sanderson's text themselves.  Rather, I was just wondring out of curiosity if such a concept would be plausible, and if so how one would go about approaching it.  I'm proposing this as a thought experiment rather than as an actual project for someone to undertake.
 
Whew, that's a lengthy first post, and my apologies if such a thing had been asked multiple times already, but my curiosity was burning up, I wanted to try to be as clear and concise as I possibly could, and I couldn't find anything similar in my searches of the forum (although my search engine skills aren't the greatest).  And if it is indeed possible, I might even try and attempt it myself with my legally purchased eBooks for when I reread the Wheel of Time series, even if each volume would have been long enough for a new binding system to be invented had the been published the traditional way.

 

1. http://peterahlstrom.blogspot.com/2008/08/rolling-up-wheel-of-time-panel.html

 

tl;dr I'm loving the Wheel of Time so far, however knowing that RJ originally pitched the series as 6 books instead of the 14 we have now I was wondering, going off of what we have now, what the series would be like and how different it would be if it were confined/edited to be a six book series.  And if it's feasible, how would it be done?  I've been spoiled enough about the series to know the general overall plot structure (and to know that I'm definitely going to love the rest of the series), but not enough to really work out the specifics.

Edited by fdsfgs
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You need some asterisks in there.

 

Sure, complex and interwoven plots for an early 90s mass-release sword and sorcery series, but now there's much better newer and older books/series accessible. The effects of things happening elsewhere tend to be subtle, and could probably be dropped (there's more than a few story-lines that can be heaved from a pure plot perspective). Of course RJ threw in a lot of things to figure out as well, but mostly these aren't important to the plot either, just fun for us to argue.

 

Anyway, WoT still stands alone in some respects, but enjoying EotW isn't the best litmus test. The story-telling changes a bit in tGH, tDR does some neat things but isn't really the type of thing you'll see in the rest of the series, tSR is much more that. If you have all the books, yes there's lots  of scenes worth reading in each, and some of the best stuff is in the comparatively bad books :)

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fdsfgs,

 

A couple of things.

 

First of all, the story does "stall" somewhat after book 7.  However this will be less noticeable to you since the series is complete.  In my mind, the problem was, we would wait two years for a new book to be released, and then read it in three days and be disappointed by the fact that the almost all the plot elements still remain open and unresolved.  But now that the series is complete, you can just keep reading!  That won't completely smooth over the slowness of the plot, but it will be a lot better than what some of us had to endure back in ye olde days of 1999-2007.  Or at least that is my opinion.

 

Second, the answer to your question is yes, of course the main storyline could have been crammed into six books.  But this is a trivial fact.  I mean, this very website contains summaries of all the books.  But of course the summaries cannot be enjoyed in the same way that the books themselves can be enjoyed.  Well, cramming the main storyline into six books would still have made for a good series, but it definitely wouldn't compare to what we have now.

 

On the other hand, there are some portions whose removal might have improved the series.  For example, there are some flashback sequences which IMO really detracted from the flow.  Take Moiraine's storytelling in Emond's Field, for instance (in tEotW).  And while it is nice to have those flashbacks in my background knowledge, I'm not sure it was worth the distraction of reading them.  And also---I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll be vague---there is a story arc later in the series involving Perrin and his girl which was just really, REALLY boring.  That could have been truncated quite a bit.

 

Of course, a lot of that is personal taste.  Removing those portions might have improved the series for me personally, but I'm not sure everyone would agree.  So too with you, I'm sure you will read parts you could have done without.  But for the most part, I think you will find that the series is much better with all its richness and depth intact.

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And also---I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll be vague---there is a story arc later in the series involving Perrin and his girl which was just really, REALLY boring.  That could have been truncated quite a bit.

 

Of course, a lot of that is personal taste.  Removing those portions might have improved the series for me personally, but I'm not sure everyone would agree.  So too with you, I'm sure you will read parts you could have done without.  But for the most part, I think you will find that the series is much better with all its richness and depth intact.

 

(bold emphasis mine)

 

And that's exactly it, some people like it there (me being one of them). As our heroes are marching to the ultimate series climax, Perrin has to deal with crap along the way that stalls him. To me (even though I'm well aware this is a fantasy series, haha) it adds realism to the series, i.e. sometimes sh*t happens that takes you away from the goals you wish to accomplish.

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For me, I LOVE this series, it is amazing. The slow down in the middle did not disappoint me like it did many others, and every time I re-read the books, I am astonished at how smoothly the books fit together! Every tome is a piece of the puzzle, with the added bonus that we the readers are left to think in our own minds the direction the story threads move to that were not wrapped up by the final book.

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For me, I LOVE this series, it is amazing. The slow down in the middle did not disappoint me like it did many others, and every time I re-read the books, I am astonished at how smoothly the books fit together! Every tome is a piece of the puzzle, with the added bonus that we the readers are left to think in our own minds the direction the story threads move to that were not wrapped up by the final book.

This. Agree completely.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The best analogue I ever heard: wot is basically like ER - the tv series -, the first 5-6 books are great -save maybe eotw-, the rest is meh, the ending is horrible. Everybody says this except hardcore fans.

 

It's pretty telling:

''The first book took four years. The next five books took, on average, 14 months. I finished Lord of Chaos in August 1994, handed the manuscript in, and in October, two months later, I was on tour for that book

 

eotw, 4 years: "bad"

tgh, tdr, tsr, tfoh, loc, avg. 14 months: great

the rest: avg 26 months: bad

 

Oh, and always go back to the true source. Rigney himself said it in 2003:

 

But when I first started I thought that 'longer than usual' meant five or six books. I honestly thought I would finish it in five.
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analogue?  I think you mean analogy.

Not sure if I watched the show; which channel is it on?

 

The main books I recall people complaining about are Crossroads of Twilight and Knife of Dreams; perhaps also the Sanderson books.  Do not recall anybody complaining about the other books.

 

From where did you get the quotes?

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