With the release of The Wheel of Time Companion just around the corner, Tor.com has kept us tantalized with fan-suggested sneak peaks into the excerpts we're anxiously awaiting. But now, we have something that's a bit more meaningful, the Forward to the Companion, written, of course, by Harriet McDougal—Robert Jordan's widow, and the editor of The Wheel of Time series.
When I began editing The Eye of the World, I started a list of proper nouns, keeping them in a file known as “Raw Glossary.” It is a thing copy editors do—and I had been one, many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea called Manhattan—with the idea that it is useful to have a canonical list of the spellings in a series. This “Raw Glossary” expanded through—oh I don’t know—about the first seven books; I then turned its care and maintenance over to Maria Simons, and the stalwart Alan Romanczuk.
This is not an extension, or an update, to the earlier reference called The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. Instead, this is an alphabetized adjunct that will allow the reader to check on characters, locations, herbs, kinship structures and many other things that appear in the series.
Now I, Harriet, join Maria and Alan in the comforting, cozy, editorial “we.” We hope that this Companion will be useful for those reading or rereading the series, or those just wishing to refresh themselves about some aspect of the series. To those new to The Wheel of Time, though, we offer the following warning: there are SPOILERS in here! In fact, this volume might be called The Big Book of Spoilers because there are so many of them. Tread lightly, novices.
We in no way claim that each entry exhausts its subject. We had no desire to do so, mainly for practical considerations—the book’s size would be prohibitive. If you want detail beyond this Companion, we refer you to various impressive online efforts, such as Encyclopaedia-WoT.org and TarValon.net.
We also don’t claim that this book is without errors. Our entries draw as much as possible from Robert Jordan’s abundant notes, in order to show the reader what the writer wished to note for his own reference. One can infer that what Robert Jordan noted were points that were particularly important for him in the manuscripts; in some cases this was true. On the other hand, you can see that there are backstories on and descriptions of the various quirks and motivations of many characters, things that never made it into the books, but that informed the writer and helped him bring the characters to life.
Some entries were pulled directly from Robert Jordan’s notes with little alteration, to give you the flavor of his writing for his own personal use. As you will see, his phrases could be amusing at times.
While we hope that the reader will find a lot that is new and interesting here, we make certain disclaimers about the material. In some instances, the descriptions may vary from what is in the books. Writers constantly change their minds about characters, events and places in their creations, and adjustments often fail to be made in background notes. We have tried to correct all discrepancies of this sort, but sometimes let the more interesting ones stand, to show a change from the writer’s original intention compared with what finally arrived on the printed page. Or, the error remained because of our own oversight.
If this seems like a sneaky way to avoid taking responsibility for any error found here, well, maybe it is; that’s for you to decide.
We at Bandersnatch Group wish to thank past, present and future fans of the Wheel of Time series for your devoted interest. You are the ones who have kept and who will continue to keep alive the world created by Robert Jordan. He said many times that he wished these books to be read for decades to come, and to be as relevant to future generations as they are to readers today. He sincerely loved his fans, and was always just a little humbled by the positive worldwide reception of his books. Thank you for staying through the whole set, all the way to Shayol Ghul.
Speaking of endings, we also wish to thank the talented writer Brandon Sanderson, who accepted the daunting challenge of seeing the Wheel of Time series to completion after Robert Jordan’s untimely death.
And most of all, thanks to Tom Doherty, publisher of The Wheel of Time, who stuck his neck out on this series many years ago, and never flagged in his support and belief. Without him and Brandon Sanderson, you would not be reading these lines today.
In addition to this, Tor.com is also giving us a taste of a more detailed Old Tongue dictionary. You can see all the past entries they've released, as well as some insightful essays on the series, on Tor.com's Wheel of Time Companion page.