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Promises and The Wheel of Time

  • Michael Livingston discusses the upcoming release of ORIGINS OF THE WHEEL OF TIME.

Thirty years ago, I fell in love with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.


Today, I opened a box.


Mike & books 1 -2022.jpeg


As I’ve said before, it has been the honor of a lifetime to write ORIGINS OF THE WHEEL OF TIME, to put my thoughts beside Jordan’s, to touch in my very small way the thing that he built. 


I’ll write later about what it feels like to have worked on this — honestly, I’m still trying to get my head around it — but as I’m seeing the book and holding it today I want to point something out. 


When you pick up your copy, you’ll want to look inside the covers, front and back. This is where you’ll find what’s called the “end papers.” In most Wheel of Time books, they feature a glorious map of the Westlands. 


We could have done that in ORIGINS, too, but we didn’t. (And, no, we didn’t use the new map of Randland that appears in this book, either.)


What we used instead is a glorious image of the symbol of the Wheel of Time: the interwoven snake and wheel. I tried not to make many requests in the production of this book, but using this imagery was very definitely one of them. 


It’s for Harriet. 


In 2013, you see, Harriet — Jordan’s editor and widow — gave an interview with Tom Doherty, then the publisher of Tor Books. Talk turned to many things — it’s a great interview — but among them was the Wheel of Time. Towards the end of the conversation, Harriet said there was something she’d always wished she could do in the Wheel of Time books but never did:



HARRIET: I would have loved a book that had the Snake Wheel in the front of the book, the big one, and one in the back of the book, so you could really hold them like that to reinforce “There are neither beginnings nor endings—
DOHERTY: —in the Wheel of Time.” Practically, to do that right you would have had to put it on the end papers. We had such nice end papers.
McDOUGAL: Oh, yeah. Well, the map was more important.
DOHERTY: Exactly.


The simple truth is that the Wheel of Time does not exist — this world we love would not exist — without Harriet. And neither would ORIGINS OF THE WHEEL OF TIME. She gave the book her blessing. She read it and checked it. She was supportive from the beginning to the end and back again. 


And no one needs me to tell them that aside from being one of the greatest editors in the history of science fiction and fantasy, Harriet is also a truly wonderful human being. 


So when I read this interview, when I saw that she’d had this dream unfulfilled … well, by the Light, I was determined to fulfill it for her. 


When you get your copy of ORIGINS on November 8, go ahead and open that front cover and look at the Snake Wheel on the end papers. Then, for good measure, do the same with the back cover. It’s there, too. Now hold them both open, like so:


Mike & books 2 -2022.jpeg


There are neither beginnings nor endings in the Wheel of Time


And so it is. 


I’ll have more to say about ORIGINS as the weeks pass. As I look at it now, for instance, I see how my words are framed by this image, how my book “fits” within the Wheel of Time, how I’m a part of it now. 


It’s a lot to think about it.


So for now, I’ll focus on this:


Today I opened a box. I opened my book. For me, it was full of cherished words and a promise fulfilled.


Soon, very soon, you‘ll open yours, too. Perhaps you will come to Charleston for the book-signing with me and Harriet and Jordan’s amazing assistant, Maria, on November 8. If so, we’ll read a few of those words together. 


Origins book event 2022.jpeg


But wherever you are, wherever I am, those words will still connect us. To me, that’s the greatest gift of the Wheel of Time, after all: that across time and space and even the spans of existence that might separate us, we can open our books and be there together, you and I, with Rand and Egwene and all the rest — and with Jordan and Harriet, too. 


It’s magic. And it’s real. 


I can’t wait. 


Visit Michael Livingston's website or follow him on Twitter

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It is wonderful that there are authors keeping the Wheel of Time story alive. I started reading this epic journey in the 90's and haven't stopped since. Thank you for adding to the story! I will definitely be buying your book.

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