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Most underrated book in the WOT series?

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I think TPoD is pretty underrated. It holds some of the best writing in the entire series (Damona Campaign, LTT v. Rand dialog, "Cup of Sleep" etc.)

 

I'll 2nd that, people just hate on it because Matt awol.

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I think TPoD is pretty underrated. It holds some of the best writing in the entire series (Damona Campaign, LTT v. Rand dialog, "Cup of Sleep" etc.)

 

I'll 2nd that, people just hate on it because Matt awol.

 

 

Gonna disagree. Having just been pleasantly surprised by COS and shooting through it quickly, I hit POD and had to drag myself through the first third of the book. It blew my mind when I realized I had hit 34% because almost nothing had happened, half of it has been nonstop crazy catfighting between the various groups of female channelers (man, I thought Nynaeve was psychotic, but the Windfinders are like a society of Nynaeve's, and The Kin have some serious abandonment issues - need some therapy stat), there was literally a 50+ paragraph scene just to describe a group of people walking through a gateway from Ebou Dar to the farm - I started counting when I realized how painfully the scene was dragging, and stopped at 50.They finally use the bowl in a scene which is pretty anticlimatic for the closure to a plotline which started 2 books ago, in that it mostly involves more catfighting. Then they spend ages fleeing through yet another Gateway - granted this time the showdown with the Seanchan through the Gateway and the Seanchan getting nuked when Elayne screws up unravelling it is pretty cool, the first interesting thing to happen in the entire book.

 

Then we skip to a couple paragraphs of Perrin doing his usual moping, meeting Morgaese in disguise, then doing some more moping. And that's it. 1/3 of the book. Even if the next 66% is non-stop awesomeness, it wouldn't make up for such a terrible start, and I remember enough to know that it isn't.

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Just got through COT for the first time. And, meh -- I can't defend this one as much as other mid-arc volumes. No major spoilers if you haven't read it yet (not really a ton to spoil in COT anyway) -- but maybe some vague minor ones:

 

I had a better-than-expected time reading ACOS through WH, and, a few quirks aside, found them perfectly fine WOT books. All of them are at least slightly underrated, if you ask me; but with COT, I can understand the dissent among fans. The weakest part of WH was the new Elayne subplot after her return to Caemlyn, and man, if you thought those chapters dragged in WH, you haven't seen anything until COT. Elayne has been my least favorite major character for a while now, and this is her least interesting subplot (and another of several arguably unnecessary ones, that Elayne has featured in). But on top of that, nothing is even happening in said subplot. It's just there. At length. The Captain Mellar thing is sort of interesting, but most of the numerous Elayne chapters here are things like two dozen pages of her taking a bath and receiving a couple of bureaucratic reports. 

 

Elayne aside, I was okay with most of the rest of COT, in theory: Perrin, Mat, Egwene, and at least some Rand, a bit more time in the White Tower -- all relevant storylines that I'm invested in, still -- but, whew. It's understandable that people claim "nothing happens." That's a slight exaggeration, but only slight. COT just seems to meander, and only contains some very minor and not entirely satisfying payoffs, compared to other volumes. I didn't *hate* it. I enjoyed our first real peeks at Tuon as a character (and the Mat/Tuon dynamic), and most of Perrin's thread; but where I usually am able to accept and even appreciate Jordan's slow pacing, COT is the first volume in which I felt like he was just sort of flat-out dawdling. The fact he diverted to a possibly interesting, but certainly unnecessary prequel after writing this one (haven't read New Spring yet) kind of cements the vague feeling I have that he was just putting off getting to any real resolutions for some reason. Maybe this was written when he realized how sick he was and that he wouldn't have time to complete his series? I can't imagine something like that not having a certain effect on the writing. 

 

Anyway, COT picks up a little bit near the end, but not by a whole lot -- it might be the one WOT book lacking any real attempt at a climax -- and I'm kind of glad to be through it, knowing that KOD is a big improvement, according to most readers.

 

Originally I'd planned to read New Spring next, but I think I'm going to put it off until after KOD, at least. After COT, I just don't quite have the patience for a non-essential prequel and being introduced to a different set of characters. KOD seems more enticing. Although, regardless of COT's failings, I am very sad that KOD will be the last Jordan-authored main volume I read. I'm going to give Sanderson a chance, but I just don't think WOT will be the same without Jordan at the helm. 

Edited by bofred

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Unfortunately I really cannot defend COT it is truly subpar, and is essentially 700+ pages of nothing happening.  Even RJ admited that COT was not up to snuff

 

 

I was curious about this -- where did RJ admit this? Can you point to a source? I'm interested in what RJ had to say about COT.

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Just got through COT for the first time. And, meh -- I can't defend this one as much as other mid-arc volumes. No major spoilers if you haven't read it yet (not really a ton to spoil in COT anyway) -- but maybe some vague minor ones:

 

I had a better-than-expected time reading ACOS through WH, and, a few quirks aside, found them perfectly fine WOT books. All of them are at least slightly underrated, if you ask me; but with COT, I can understand the dissent among fans. The weakest part of WH was the new Elayne subplot after her return to Caemlyn, and man, if you thought those chapters dragged in WH, you haven't seen anything until COT. Elayne has been my least favorite major character for a while now, and this is her least interesting subplot (and another of several arguably unnecessary ones, that Elayne has featured in). But on top of that, nothing is even happening in said subplot. It's just there. At length. The Captain Mellar thing is sort of interesting, but most of the numerous Elayne chapters here are things like two dozen pages of her taking a bath and receiving a couple of bureaucratic reports. 

 

Elayne aside, I was okay with most of the rest of COT, in theory: Perrin, Mat, Egwene, and at least some Rand, a bit more time in the White Tower -- all relevant storylines that I'm invested in, still -- but, whew. It's understandable that people claim "nothing happens." That's a slight exaggeration, but only slight. COT just seems to meander, and only contains some very minor and not entirely satisfying payoffs, compared to other volumes. I didn't *hate* it. I enjoyed our first real peeks at Tuon as a character (and the Mat/Tuon dynamic), and most of Perrin's thread; but where I usually am able to accept and even appreciate Jordan's slow pacing, COT is the first volume in which I felt like he was just sort of flat-out dawdling. The fact he diverted to a possibly interesting, but certainly unnecessary prequel after writing this one (haven't read New Spring yet) kind of cements the vague feeling I have that he was just putting off getting to any real resolutions for some reason. Maybe this was written when he realized how sick he was and that he wouldn't have time to complete his series? I can't imagine something like that not having a certain effect on the writing. 

 

Anyway, COT picks up a little bit near the end, but not by a whole lot -- it might be the one WOT book lacking any real attempt at a climax -- and I'm kind of glad to be through it, knowing that KOD is a big improvement, according to most readers.

 

Originally I'd planned to read New Spring next, but I think I'm going to put it off until after KOD, at least. After COT, I just don't quite have the patience for a non-essential prequel and being introduced to a different set of characters. KOD seems more enticing. Although, regardless of COT's failings, I am very sad that KOD will be the last Jordan-authored main volume I read. I'm going to give Sanderson a chance, but I just don't think WOT will be the same without Jordan at the helm. 

 

(EDIT:  bofred, I should mention that there are only the most minor of spoilers, if any, for books 11-14 in this post, so I think that you can read it safely.  I pretty much comment only on the structure of books 11-14, not the content of the plot.)

 

Elayne's bid for the throne of Andor is one of my least favorite sub-plots in the entire series too.  I couldn't remember exactly which books covered that sub-plot, but it makes sense that a lot of it would be in Crossroads of Twilight, because that is definitely the slowest book in the series.  Knife of Dreams is a slow book too, but it doesn't seem so slow compared to CoT.  And in KoD, I felt for the first time that things were starting to come together, and that we were seeing some plot resolutions.

 

I've probably posted this before, but I found it interesting how my perceptions changed in regard to how many books it would take to complete the series, as I read through each book for the first time.  I think it went something like this:

 

  • When I finished book 1, I couldn't imagine the series lasting more than 3 books.  (But I knew that there were already 5 or 6 books in the series at that time, which seemed like too many.)  
  • Even as I was partway through book 3, it still seemed like the series would end with that book.  I couldn't imagine how Jordan could stretch it for three more books.  (Book 6 was definitely out by this time.)
  • When I finished book 4, I could see the series going 6 or 7 books, maybe even 8.
  • When I finished book 6, I thought that it would take at least 10 books total to wrap everything up, and maybe as many as 12.
  • When I finished book 8, I thought that there is no way he can wrap up the series in fewer than 12 books total, and that it will probably go longer, maybe 14.
  • When I finished book 10, I thought that it would be difficult to finish the series in fewer than 16 books total.
  • But when I finished book 11, I began to think that Jordan could possibly finish the series with only 14 books.

 

So book 11 was the point at which the tide turned for me -- when my estimate of how many books it would take to complete the series actually went down for the first time.

 

 

As for your reluctance to move on from the Robert Jordan books to the Jordan/Sanderson books, I understand.  There definitely is a change in tone.  And there are stylistic grammar changes -- one of which bugged me so much that it constantly pulled my focus onto the words themselves instead of what the words meant.  And the organization of books 12 and 13 could have been a lot better.  And I have a long list of complaints about book 14, some of which have nothing to do with Brandon Sanderson.  

 

But having said that, I am very, very glad that these books were published.  I think that Brandon did a very good job overall, considering the monumental task that he had to complete.  I greatly enjoyed books 12 and 13.  (I didn't enjoy book 14 so much, but it was nice to finally have an ending.)  And the last three books aren't all Brandon Sanderson.  Robert Jordan wrote several scenes in each book, and in some cases it is pretty easy to tell which scenes he wrote.  One of his scenes in book 13 is pure awesome!

Edited by Paul H

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Robert Jordan's quirks can be frustrating, but they're also sort of lovable to me. He had an interesting, well-rounded life and a unique personality and worldview. His inner personality seems part of the essential fabric of WOT. Sanderson seems more like a generic D&D nerd to me, and I fear his books will read like polished fan fiction. Still, I intend to give him a chance and will try to keep an open mind, seeing as Harriet selected him, and how his own fantasy books are fairly well-reviewed.

 

It's interesting that Jordan authored select scenes in 12-14. I knew he had the plots worked out, but I didn't realize he'd left any writing for those volumes in tact.

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Originally I'd planned to read New Spring next, but I think I'm going to put it off until after KOD, at least. After COT, I just don't quite have the patience for a non-essential prequel and being introduced to a different set of characters. KOD seems more enticing. Although, regardless of COT's failings, I am very sad that KOD will be the last Jordan-authored main volume I read. I'm going to give Sanderson a chance, but I just don't think WOT will be the same without Jordan at the helm.

 

 

For what it's worth, New Springs is actually a really good read. We get a lot of insight into Moiraine and Siuan (Moiraine being one of my favorite characters, despite her faults, and Siuan, while not as interesting, is a major player in the entire WOT series), some more interesting insight into OP training, a lot of a younger, angier but no less badass Lan (and possible insight into why he has such terrible taste in women), the first half is a bit slow, but makes up for it by providing interesting background into how things ended up playing out the way they did early in the main series, through the middle we get some interesting interaction as Lan & co meet Moiraine for the first time (and the gender difference RJ usually relies on so heavily is played down a bit in place of cultural misunderstanding), then the pace picks up significantly to an engaging, action packed climax which smoothly opens things up to the events of the main series. My only major issue is that the inclusion of a certain major character from later in the main series (you'll know who I mean when you read it) feels tacked on just for the sake on including her.

 

As for Sanderson, he does suprisingly well (I'm not a fan of his other work, although I know it's popular - feels too gimmicky). He writes some of the characters better than Jordan does (namely Perrin, from memory, who goes from being my second most hated character after Elayne to being... still my second most hated character, but at least somewhat more readable), others he takes a while to get into the heads of (Mat for most of TGS comes to mind, but he feels back to normal in TOM and AMOL). Yeah the style is different, but imo it's better than him trying to imitate every bit of RJ's style and failing (and while RJ did have a unique style, it wasn't without flaws).He really picks up the pace (it's not that I don't wish RJ had remained healthy and finished the series himself, however I wonder if we wouldn't have ended up with 15+ books if that had happened - or even worse, ended up with him actually trying to close the series in one last book) and he obviously has a passion for the world and the characters. There are a few minor metaphysical points I think he got wrong at the climax of AMOL, but overall he writes a very satisfying ending to the series, and I'm glad he did it. The style change is a bit jarring when you go from KOF to TGS, but give it 100 pages or so and you won't even notice it.

Edited by Azrayne

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Unfortunately I really cannot defend COT it is truly subpar, and is essentially 700+ pages of nothing happening. Even RJ admited that COT was not up to snuff

 

I was curious about this -- where did RJ admit this? Can you point to a source? I'm interested in what RJ had to say about COT.

From memory he said something along the lines of that when he was past halfway through writing CoT he realised that there was a better way that he could have written it but that he decided to stick with what he had, otherwise he would of had to start from scratch again.

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Robert Jordan's quirks can be frustrating, but they're also sort of lovable to me. He had an interesting, well-rounded life and a unique personality and worldview. His inner personality seems part of the essential fabric of WOT. Sanderson seems more like a generic D&D nerd to me, and I fear his books will read like polished fan fiction. Still, I intend to give him a chance and will try to keep an open mind, seeing as Harriet selected him, and how his own fantasy books are fairly well-reviewed.

 

It's interesting that Jordan authored select scenes in 12-14. I knew he had the plots worked out, but I didn't realize he'd left any writing for those volumes in tact.

 

One thing that I will point out though:  The parts that Robert Jordan wrote in books 12-14 are not as polished as his writing in the earlier books.  If I understand correctly, we are reading what was essentially his first draft of those scenes (probably with some minor edits by Harriet), rather than his usual output which would go through multiple revisions.  So don't expect RJ's absolute best writing, but it's still very good.

 

No one has officially given a complete list of which scenes in books 12-14 were written by RJ, as far as I know.  But I believe it was confirmed that he wrote at least one scene in each book's prologue (all of which were originally intended to be in a single prologue, back when RJ intended for books 12-14 to be a single book), as well as a scene near the end of book 13, and the very last scene of book 14.  Maybe a few others have been confirmed as RJ; I'm not sure.  There are several other scenes that I suspect he wrote, but it has been a while since I read the books, so I couldn't tell you which ones -- and I wouldn't want to anyway since I would be giving you spoilers.

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From my understanding Sanderson actually changed parts of the bits Jordan wrote on orders from Harriet, so that they matched his style more, so those parts arnt pure RJ.

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From my understanding Sanderson actually changed parts of the bits Jordan wrote on orders from Harriet, so that they matched his style more, so those parts arnt pure RJ.

 

I read most of Brandon's blog posts and tweets throughout the writing process, and I got the impression that any changes to Jordan's text were minimal, and were made mostly by Harriet.  I think that Brandon gave the example of changing some verb tenses in RJ's text, to show that that was about as far as he would go with changing any of Jordan's text.  I think he also mentioned that Harriet made some minor edits to blend Brandon's and RJ's styles a little bit, such as adding a few contractions in Jordan's text, and removing a few contractions in Brandon's text.  But perhaps the edits were more extensive than that, and I guess there is no way that most of us will ever know for sure.

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(Warning:  This post contains a quote from Brandon Sanderson with spoilers for Towers of Midnight.)

 

 

 

 

From my understanding Sanderson actually changed parts of the bits Jordan wrote on orders from Harriet, so that they matched his style more, so those parts arnt pure RJ.

 

I read most of Brandon's blog posts and tweets throughout the writing process, and I got the impression that any changes to Jordan's text were minimal, and were made mostly by Harriet.  I think that Brandon gave the example of changing some verb tenses in RJ's text, to show that that was about as far as he would go with changing any of Jordan's text.  I think he also mentioned that Harriet made some minor edits to blend Brandon's and RJ's styles a little bit, such as adding a few contractions in Jordan's text, and removing a few contractions in Brandon's text.  But perhaps the edits were more extensive than that, and I guess there is no way that most of us will ever know for sure.

 

 

I dug up a relevant quote about this here:

 

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#8

 

 

 

 

BRANDON SANDERSON

Re: Contractions Interesting story here. Harriet and Team Jordan worried about my use of contractions in places that RJ did not. It seemed very striking to them. Their first instinct was to go through and change it, after the fact, in order to match RJ's style.

Harriet didn't like how that looked. She felt that my style needed to be blended with RJ's, rather than taking my style and forcing it to fit into something else. So it was decided that one of her tasks, as editor, would be to blend the writing after it was put together. She'd go through and make scenes feel right together, and would blend the two styles like a painter blending paint.

So, she takes away contractions from me where she feels they need to go and she actually adds them to RJ's writing where she thinks it needs to be blended. I was curious if that was the case here, so I went back to the original notes.

And it turns out RJ wrote the scene with contractions. Most likely, he was planning to trim them out with editing. Remember, even the most complete scenes we have from him are first drafts. In fact, in some of them, the tense is wrong. (Much of this Moiraine/Thom/Mat scene is in present tense. )

An example from the notes is:

He puts the angreal on her wrist, and says 'I'll marry you now.'

In revision, this line turned into:

He put the bracelet back on her wrist. "I'll marry you now, if you wish it."

Edited by Paul H

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Interesting. Although completely unrelated note, it's gotta suck to marry someone who's gonna die in 20 or 30 years when you're slated for another few centuries. That always bothered me about Moiraine/Thom and to a lesser extent, Lan/Nynaeve. Lan's poor descendents are gonna have to put up with psychotic Grannie Nynaeve for 10 or 20 generations.

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The most under-rated book is the Eye of the World.  No one ever mentions it among the best of the series, but it got us all hooked, didn't it?

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I think EOTW probably suffers a bit from a kind of 'first book syndrome,' it's established the setting and it's characters enough to give us our first taste and make us want more, but it's when we really dig our teeth in and take a big meaty bite that we enjoy ourselves the most. Like I really enjoyed the scene where Moiraine is explaining the nature of the OP to Egwene early on, but that's because it hints at all the cool stuff that comes later. It's only further in that we see things like Travelling or Balefire or the Asha'man cut loose at Dumai's Wells.

 

There's also the whole overdone LOTR parallel in the first half of the book which is a bit of a turn off, despite understanding the logic behind it, and the plot structure is very different to most of the rest of the series, especially the post TDR books - for the most part we have a group of characters come together, move towards a single goal together and achieve it together, compared to a long chain of novels with spiralling subplots and side characters and a much slower pace. It almost feels like 3 books followed up by one book split up into 11, in some ways.

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I love EOTW for being the first and sucking me in as a teen, and it still has some great sequences that hold up pretty well. But, everything from the point where they are diverted to go to the Eye of the World onwards feels incredibly forced/rushed and tacked on. The end battles are over the top to the point of silliness, the villains are meaningless, and stuff like The Green Man doesn't jive well with the series' overall tone as it matured. I also am not clear to this day -- now in KOD -- what the hell The Eye of the World even was or why it supposedly mattered. It's never been mentioned again, that I'm aware of. Since it's the title and focal point of the climax of the genesis book in the series, its subsequent insignificance weighs down my appreciation for that volume a lot.

 

The characters also all feel especially, annoyingly petty in that volume, too (granted they're not much more than children at that stage), and some of the action writing was a bit juvenile yet. And for some reason the sequence on the boat always bored me.

 

While I do love it even despite my complaints, EOTW would be more so on my overrated list, where WOT trends go. It feels the most "young adult lit" of any of the volumes, in tone, and for all its merits, RJ just hadn't found his groove yet, to my mind. But there is the thrill of discovery going for EOTW, I give it that, both for the reader and the characters.

Edited by bofred

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I can never relate to the (not uncommon) dislike for Perrin's character. He gets a trifle dull at times, maybe -- when he isn't doing awesome shit like talking to Wolves, bagging up insane false prophets for Rand, giving hippies a dose of reality, or saving his hometown from hoards of Trollocs -- but does that outweigh the Awesome? I also like his distinction from Rand and Mat, that he's more deliberate and thinks things through in his own (usually) intelligent, but always unpretentious and down to earth way. I wish he was a little less mopey/reluctant hero at times -- even Mat seems to be kinda over that by now -- but, eh. I still like me some Perrin time. And speaking of not thinking things through ....

 

Rand -- my fav by default as a young boy -- often competes for my least favorite main character during my adult reread. I actually kind of like when his scheming arrogance first rears up in books 4-5, but that collapses under the fact that many of his schemes turn out to be sort of stupid or incoherent or blatantly badly managed by him (black tower), as well as by how utterly, stupidly reckless his character becomes. I know it ain't easy being Rand, but I just can't relate to (or at times even deduce) his motivations in a lot of the dumber shit he does.

 

For underrated characters, though, I champion Nynaeve, who was maybe my full-blown favorite through book 6/7-ish, but has since kinda fallen away into sadly minor character territory. Seemingly to make room for the far less interesting and enjoyable Elayne. Also, though she's only had one or two chapters in the whole series, Aviendha's POV chapters are amazing. I didn't like Aveindha much until those chapters, but Jordan does a great job puttiing you in hers shoes and way of thinking to surprisingly sharp comic effect.

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Perrin issues is his stories went on too long, the I must rescue Faile, I don't want to be in charge, and learning to wolf dream just dragged on (especially the wolf dream stuff). 

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Don't see how anyone could see any appeal in Perrin at all. His reluctant hero schtick is ok for the first few books, but when he's still whining over half way through the series about it... and when he's not whining about that, he's whining about being a Lord, or Faile, or... and then his whole plotline falls flat when his role in AMOL is pretty negligible. IMO they should have killed him off doing something cool, would have been a much better use for his character in AMOL, have Faile survive pregnant with his heir (poor child).

Edited by Azrayne

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He did some pretty important things, removing 2 dream spikes allowing the BT to be freed and placing one in the WT which allowed Mes plan to fail (though he foiled her plan sort of by accident), and preventing slayer and Lanfear from killing Rand.  Rand, Perrin, and Mat all had the I don't want to be a hero or responsible for people thing, just Perrin went on a lot longer.  Perrin would of been better liked if instead of these arcs going on so long maybe add a few things here and there for him to do and had the whole I would let the world burn to save faile thing been avoided.  Unlike the other people in the series just seemed Perrin was stuck with the three wolf dream, hate leadership, and the faile rescue. I liked Perrin a lot at first, I saw him as the other end of the spectrum thing.  You had Mat totally irresponsible, Perrin mister responsibility, with Rand in the middle.

Edited by Sabio

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.

 

*Warning: Major SPOILERS from the LAST BOOKS-

 

 

 

 

Well, I am a BIG Perrin fan. Also Faile too. I find there oddball story throughout incredibly entertaining and fascinating. I will admit that some of his repeated "I don't want to be a Lord." does get tiring at times. To quote Tam: "I just thought you were over this." when Perrin will not give up this gimmick. I wish he was. However, I just roll my eyes at it and move on realizing that this is part of his character arc, and his constant whining is due to the incredible length of this epic, and all those other stories mixed in with it.(I sometimes read Perrin's storyline separate from the others, and it feels much more condensed, and flows along better.) ALL of the characters have some sort of annoying behavior; Rand's ongoing refusal to kill a female; Semirhage escaping her imprisonment and his thought they he would not kill her had he been able to in tGS, very late in the series is just such an example.

 

Regarding Perrin's 'The Pattern can burn for all I care'(which started at the beginning of aCoS) and his frantic rescue Faile plot and all the emo that comes along with it, sets up a great 'payoff' at series end enabling him to break Lanfear's Compulsion and her neck at the most critical moment in the story. All that moaning that he does about his wife's safety all throughout the books, NOW has a much greater importance and purpose, and ties it in to the main storyline's final dramatic conclusion marvelously.

 

Other characters had long arcs also; Mat being stuck down in the Altara region for so long(funny how that area draws in so many of the main cast for extended stays ie: 3 super girls, Mat, Perrin) and he is still grumbling about being referred to as a Lord after marring Tuon, though not as much as Perrin. But again, that is due to his arc involving parts of 14 books. I keep thinking how cool it would have been had Mat and his own army could have met up with Perrin's, and together, they both could have rescued Faile, since Mat was in the area, so to speak.(But I understand how RJ wanted to keep their stores separate.)  I believe that Elayne ends up with the longest plot involving 4 books with her very dry, winning of the Caemlyn crown.

 

I was also disappointed in Perrin's role in aMoL. But I see that as a result of Min's vision; he couldn't go running off all over creation; he had to be available to help Rand when the time came.  Though like mentioned above, he did get to do a bit.

 

I also pretty much agree with Azrayne and bofred's opinions on EotW. There is a RJ quote out there somewhere where he states that he feels that his writing improved as he went along. This I agree with, as I feel that it is the 3rd book where his brilliance starts to really continuously show, and then flourishes in number 4 and beyond.

 

IMO, the Perrin/Faile storyline is the most underrated in the WOT series.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Cosmic Champion

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He did some pretty important things, removing 2 dream spikes allowing the BT to be freed and placing one in the WT which allowed Mes plan to fail (though he foiled her plan sort of by accident), and preventing slayer and Lanfear from killing Rand.  Rand, Perrin, and Mat all had the I don't want to be a hero or responsible for people thing, just Perrin went on a lot longer.  Perrin would be better liked if instead of these arcs going on so long maybe add a few things here and there for him to do and had the whole I would let the world burn to save faile thing been avoided.  Unlike the other people in the series just seemed Perrin was stuck with the three wolf dream, hate leadership, and the faile rescue. I liked Perrin a lot at first, I saw him as the other end of the spectrum thing.  You had Mat totally irresponsible, Perrin mister responsibility, with Rand in the middle.

 

The thing about the stuff Perrin did is that it felt like it was invented specifically for him to have something to do. I mean AMOL alone... whatever he's doing always feels tacked on, compared to Mat running around with his own cool little army doing cool stuff and rescuing people, Rand living out the Messiah theme, etc. I mean the stuff Rand did was at the core of what the series was, and Mat played into a lot of really important plotlines as well, if Perrin just a disappeared from the story and all his plotlines with him, the overall shape of the narrative wouldn't change all that much.

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Great responses, thanks.  I had wondered, for example, if Jordan's writing improves in any way in the latter books -- you'd think he would get better/more mature in at least some respects, even if the late books are on the slow side.  He gets a lot of flack for overwrought/tedious level of detail, but I usually don't mind much as long as it's effectively immersing me in the scene.  Sometimes in the early books his descriptions are slightly incoherent. 

 

In my reread so far, Eye of the World is about as I remember -- decent intro/prologue to the series, but kind of a rushed, muddled ending.  Like Jordan felt like he had to bring everything together in a pseudo-conclusive way, but it was out of step with the pacing of the overall story, and we didn't get to know the villains at all.  It was all a bit goofy.  

 

Great Hunt holds up pretty good -- it was one of my favorites as a kid.  It has the most satisfying climax of the first three, the Seanchan and the damane are great.  

 

The Dragon Reborn disappointed me as a kid, but I liked it better on the reread -- in many ways I think the bulk of DR is better than the first two books, and it's definitely the book where Mat starts to shine as a character.  He was pretty intolerable until we start getting his POV in this book.  I didn't see the lack of Rand as a problem this time, that was fine with me, and I actually loved the subplot in the White Tower with the Black Ajah.  What did compromise DR for me quite a bit though, was the ending -- again, much like Eye of the World, the climax felt forced, rushed, kind of incoherent ... and I started to ask myself, how many times is Rand going to "defeat" the Dark One at the end, but not-really-defeat him?  Was getting silly.  From what I recall books 4 onward focus more on the Forsaken which I think is probably for the best.  And Perrin's sudden passion for Faile felt a bit ... unearned and out-of-character.  And while I forget them now I feel like DR had a *lot* of loose ends and plot holes.  

 

Shadow Rising is pretty solid so far, still working through it.  It's great because it's been long enough that I don't remember much detail of what happens in each book.  I do remember the epic battle at the end of SR which I know is quite good, and I remembered Rand spending a good chunk of time in the Aiel Waste -- but beyond that, most the details almost feel like I'm reading it for the first time.  

 

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The problems with Books 7-10 were two-fold and hand-in-hand, as I understand it. Jordan had expected 'Three, four books. Six, tops. Absolutely tops!' (misquote?) So Books 1-6 were well-prepped and edited. (Five and Six even came out the same year, methinks!) But with Seven, he'd caught up to all his preparation, and the tale had grown in the telling, as Jordan quoted Tolkien. The first Six took just as long as the others to write. There simply was no active fanbase screaming for the next novel. So the two-fold problem; because the tale kept growing, he was never able to get past the baby-steps he took in each book (Plot Advancement Summary of Book One: Rand discovers he can channel. Of Two: Rand discovers that Moiraine wants him to be the Dragon Reborn. Of Three: Rand proves to himself that he is the Dragon Reborn...), and with the mounting pressure to produce something, Books Seven through Ten (and later on Twelve, though that was a far different matter) went through a much shorter editing cycle than their predecessors. I remember listening to Jordan's automated phone message for Book Eight: "I am still working on Path Of Daggers....but I wanted it to be right before I handed it over to Tor". Well, there was nothing right about it, at least from advancing Rand's pov, at least as I recall, but Mr. Jordan, God bless him, felt compelled to tell the whole story of every character who was and might be important, just to keep us guessing about what was going to happen.

I agree with almost everyone that the girls povs dragged extremely, except Egwene's. Once she was separate from the other two, she really grew up to me.

 

Book Seven was the best of them to me, except for the end of Book Nine. Book Seven has great Mat stuff, we meet a nemesis that is important to Mat (gholam) and we meet the towering titan of the Aes Sedai, Cadsuane. The resolution of the conflict Rand engages in at the end of it, however, is very poor. The enemy he fights there just kind of evaporates, so it has the feel that Rand did nothing in the whole Book. This was the one opponent that we do not see defeated, and ironically, it is the one enemy Mr. Jordan categorically said was done. It was almost like Jordan was subconsciously telling the whole world he had lost control of his epic. Book Eight has many good things but Rand is mostly treading water as everyone tries to catch up with him. Other than some bits where Rand is battling certain enemies, the whole thing is about characters that people hate (the girls, Perrin's Faiel problem) or about minor characters (Pevara, Cadsuane, Logain etc. (important, but still minor to me)). In Book Ten, Rand isn't even treading water. He did something hugely important at the end of Book Nine, the kind of thing that makes everyone sit up and take notice, and almost all of Book Ten is about those people sitting and taking noticing. In fact, Book Ten is actually overrated even as vilified as it is. I remember one sentence where Egween is performing some weave before the Hall, and the author talks for about three lines about how difficult it is for her to release the Power, but the memory is enough for the moment. That could have been much more condensed. Book Ten should be re-edited to cut such down, and perhaps even down to the point where it is no longer an independent volume. I think it could be and should be done, and from the tidal wave of fans who abandoned the series at Book Ten, I think almost everyone would say I have a fair point.

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I liked Perrin for the first couple of books but for me the post-Faile stuff just dragged and dragged and dragged. I can't deny a lot of his activity in the last few books of the series was epic-scale stuff but I think on a fundamental level I just found him irritating.

 

The three 'boys' all play the reluctant hero role at one point or another (in fact for most of the series IMO if you really think about it) but while Rand was emo about it and Mat was entertaining about it, Perrin was just dull.

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Rand at least had a reason to be emo about it, although he goes really overboard after a while. Perrin gets to marry the woman he for some reason loves, special powers, becomes a hero and a lord, etc etc. and all. he. does. is. complain.

Edited by Azrayne

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