As we previously reported, JordanCon is conducting a fundraiser drive to offset their operating costs. In exchange for contributing, participants are entered into a drawing for the chance to have their names used for a Wheel of Time character in the final novel, A Memory of Light. In addition to the drawing, JordanCon is also conducting an auction with the winner guaranteed a spot in the book. Please note: We had to relist our auction last Thursday, November 3rd, to comply with eBay's rules for fundraisers. Any bids made previously need to be resubmitted. This auction will run from November 1 to November 10 with the highest bidder winning a Wheel of Time character. In addition to supporting JordanCon, a non-profit fantasy literature convention, ten percent of the auction proceeds will go towards the Mayo Clinic's amyloidosis research fund and be donated in Robert Jordan's memory. WHAT IS JORDANCON? www.JordanCon.org JordanCon is a fantasy literature convention founded in honor of the late author, Robert Jordan. Jordan was the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time series. JordanCon features four tracks of simultaneous programming, a Dealers Hall, and charity events benefiting the Mayo Clinic. Past guests have included Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, David Wong, Jana G. Oliver, David B. Coe, and Eugie Foster. New to JordanCon this year will be the Art Show featuring art from a variety of fantasy and sci fi artists. Guests this year will include author Mary Robinette Kowal, artist Sam Weber, and Toastmaster Melissa Craib Dombrowski. Please note that JordanCon, Inc. has applied for tax-exempt status as a 501©3 corporation. While they are awaiting the final verdict from the IRS, they are allowed to begin soliciting donations. Their tax-exempt status will be retroactively applied to the day of the filing. WHAT IS THE MAYO CLINIC? www.MayoClinic.com For more than 100 years, Mayo Clinic has inspired hope and contributed to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education, and research. Today, your generosity is at the heart of sustaining Mayo's mission. As a not-for-profit organization, Mayo Clinic reinvests all earnings into improving patient care. Yet philanthropy provides essential support as we develop better methods to understand, predict, prevent, diagnose, and treat disease, and train the next generation of physicians and scientists. Mayo Clinic has more than 3,300 physicians, scientists, and researchers from every medical specialty. They work together with 46,000 allied health employees to care for more than half a million patients each year, from every U.S. state and many countries. In 2006, Robert Jordan was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, which is a rare blood disease where abnormal proteins form in the bone marrow and become deposited in the patient's heart. During his illness, Robert Jordan received treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and encouraged his fans to donate in support of the clinic. JordanCon is proud to continue to honor that request each year through various charitable fundraisers at the convention. Q & A If I donate, what happens to the money? All funds received will go directly to JordanCon with 10% of the proceeds going to the Mayo Clinic. May I participate in both? Yes, you may participate in both the General Auction and the Drawing. Please note you cannot win more than one character named for you. Please follow these instructions! In the notes section, include your full name and email address. What are the rules for naming characters? You may use your name or an appropriate name of your choice, but the author reserves the right to approve it or change it to fit the type of character created. A physical description of yourself may be used. How long is the Fundraiser and when will winners be announced? The drawing will run from October 1 to December 1, 2011, and winners will be announced at www.jordancon.org. The auction will begin on November 1 and end on November 10. We will announce the winner of the auction and the first name drawn by Brandon Sanderson. All future names drawn will be announced via Brandon’s website. Can I be entered multiple times in the General Drawing by giving several donations? Yes! For every $10 you donate, you name will be entered into the drawing. If you donate $100, your name will be entered 10 times. However, your name can only appear once in the story. I am trying to donate to the General Auction or enter the Drawing, but have difficulties. Who do I contact? You must contact eBay for issues regarding payments. They are our vendor handling all the transactions. If you are having an issue with the drawing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. May I pay by check or cash? At this time we are only able to accept credit card, debit, or PayPal as methods of donation. Who is eligible to win? All fans are eligible to win with the exception of members of JordanCon, Incorporated’s board of directors and their immediate families. I have questions about my privacy. All donors give consent to have their names published publicly. This is done to ensure fairness and so you may see that your name did go through before we randomly draw the winners for the Drawing. All winners, including the General Auction winner, further agree to allow us to use their names to announce them as the donors selected to be used in A Memory of Light, including use of their names in any publicity associated with The Wheel of Time in this regard. Private information such as contact emails and phone numbers will be given to Brandon Sanderson in case he chooses to use additional names at a later time. All other copies will be destroyed. What if I have more questions? Please send them to email@example.com with a subject heading indicating your question.
Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all had a spooktacular time yesterday. Feel free to share how you celebrated Halloween in the comments section of this article if you want! The Science Fiction Book Club conducted an interview with author Patrick Rothfuss at WorldCon 2011. For more information and a link to this interview, visit this thread in our General Discussion forum. Football season seems to be in full swing, and so is our discussion of it in our Sports Discussion forum. Which teams are your favorites? The Aiel Social Group is extending the contest submission deadline for their Humor Month to today, November 1st! Look here for more information on how you could be a winner. Have you ever wanted to be part of a One Power Tournament? Well, now is your chance! The Black Tower Social Group is hosting this tournament, and anyone can take part. It's Halloween at the White Tower & Warders Social Group! Even if you aren't a member, you can still partake in some of the festivities on their main board. Watch this space so you can keep track of all the fun. A Green Aes Sedai in the making shows that she won't let defeat stop her in the role play If at First You Don't Succeed...Petition, Petition Again. Read along to see Kathleen's fate. Here's some news from our Twitter account: If you wore a Wheel of Time costume for Halloween this year, send us your pictures and we will put them up here on Dragonmount! I can't wait to see the submissions. Until next week, folks!
Why hello, my witty habitué of Dragonmount! Welcome to another biweekly weekly (just kidding) entry of "It Works in Theory," Dragonmount's theory blog, in which this madman mysteriously gets the opportunity to muse on the topic of The Wheel of Time. Once again, I apologize for the absence of last week's blog. I do have a good excuse, though! I am ecstatic to say that I am now a married man! I'll allow some time for the applause and cheers to calm down. And now, for our weekly disclaimer: WARNING!!! Spoiler Alert!!! WARNING!!! This blog is based on theories that will include facts and material from the latest books in the series, so if you have not read through Towers of Midnight, continue reading at your own risk! I, Despothera, take you, my blog, to be my lawfully bonded assignment. Before these witnesses, I vow to put you off and delay writing you until the last possible moment. I take you, with all your strengths and weaknesses, as I offer myself to you, with all of my blog-related strengths and weaknesses. I shall bemoan you when you need to be written, and turn to you when I need an excuse to waste time online. You will take me in sickness and in health, or in whatever other state I might be in at the time, and leave me for better or for worse after you are written, till death do us part (or until my laptop gets thrown across the room). Given that I did just get married recently, I thought it fitting to cover a theory related to marriage today. In fact, the specific theory we will be discussing today involves my favorite character, Perrin "Goldeneyes" Aybara, and his relationship to the Broken Crown. Alright, alright, zip it with all the abusive wife jokes! Faile and rolling pins aren't coming near each other in today's blog. Okay, to catch everyone up, the first visions Min ever had about Perrin were described thusly: The first one is obvious; the last one might be hinting at Perrin's possible role in rediscovering the lost Talent of Singing. I covered this in my blog a few weeks ago (click here for the link). The second has to do with Perrin's relationship to Faile, who is second in line in the succession to the Saldaean throne. The royal seat is more commonly known as the Broken Crown, and Queen Tenobia is currently the one on whom the crown is bestowed. Faile's father, Davram Bashere, is also Tenobia's uncle, and because Tenobia does not have any spouse or heirs, he is first in line for the throne should Tenobia abdicate or meet her end. There is some discussion regarding the alignment of Davram Bashere; some think he might be a Darkfriend. Evidence for this theory includes his attack on Rand during one of Rand's sparring sessions--an incident in which Davram claims not to recognize Mazrim Taim--and this particular quote, another one of Min's visions: The quote about Davram reminds me a lot of Min's vision of Alivia. Her desire to protect Rand from all the dangers around him leads her to be somewhat paranoid of even his closest confidants, but her suspicions seem to be just that: paranoia. However, it still can be said to be a potential clue pointing to Bashere's potential scumminess. Oh boy, that last sentence makes me feel I've been playing too much mafia lately! (For anyone wanting to check out Dragonmount's mafia games, visit this forum.) Now, for some reason, I see Tenobia going under the radar for everyone. Apparently, not too many people believe her to be a Darkfriend. This is kind of strange, because there is practically an orgy of evidence which might seem to implicate Tenobia as having given her soul to the Dark One. Davram himself is somewhat suspicious of her motives when she leaves the Blight undefended to come down and pursue Rand. Alviarin (Head of the Black Ajah) sends a Red (and most likely Black as well) Sister to control and eventually kidnap Tenobia (it seems like that sister, Memara, failed in her tasks). One of the most damning pieces of evidence is that she left a relative of hers--Vram Torkumen, a verified Darkfriend--in charge at Maradon. Ituralde's entire campaign would have met a much shorter end had the Saldaean captain Yoeli not rebelled against his orders and performed a coup on the Darkfriend leaders. Min also has an ominous vision about Tenobia: The imagery of the shining light probably leads many to assume she will die a heroic martyr type of death, but the flip side is that it may turn out to be that her death ends up being good for the Light. The fact that the spear is bloody definitely seems to call for someone's death; whether it's hers or someone that she betrays or kills remains to be seen. The big pitfall to the idea that Tenobia might be a Darkfriend is that she looks Rand in the eyes after his "Veins of Gold" epiphany, yet isn't outed by Rand's new Ghostrideresque ability to stare down Darkfriends. This would seem to dispel the possibility of Davram Bashere being a Darkfriend as well, since he passes the Rand al'Thor Darkfriend Seeing Eye Test(TM). The only thing I would say about this is that I don't know if we really know enough about the new abilities to completely understand all the nuances and subtleties of how they emerge with Rand. It might be that a Darkfriend with a strong enough will can stare Rand down without being outed as easily as another Darkfriend. Another wacky idea I had was that Tenobia might be a Darkfriend going rogue, as in trying to set her own agenda to betray her former masters. The bloody spear shining in sunlight might be her moment of redemption. Either way, it seems fairly clear that there is a strong possibility of both Tenobia and Davram Bashere dying in the last book, leaving the throne to pass down to Faile. Because Saldaea has a form of a joint monarchy in which the spouse of the King or Queen is almost an equal co-ruler, Perrin would essentially end up wearing the Broken Crown. So, what effect does this have on the outcome of the Last Battle and the events leading up to and after it? Well, first of all, it gives Perrin another possible seat as a ruler in the world that will hopefully survive after the battle. The more lands that are controlled by stable leaders that have potential ties to the Dragon Reborn after the Last Battle, the better the chances of Randland surviving and being able to adapt to a new age. He promised Lieutenant-General Tylee Khirgan that he wouldn't revive the nation of Manetheren, and even though he did enact an alliance with Elayne that made him something of a Lord over the Two Rivers, he's still not the ruler. I've also got a small, growing theory about the explanation to the cryptic "the north and the east must be as one, the south and the west must be as one" line which would involve Perrin representing the north. As ruler of Saldaea, he would have loose control over all four of the Borderlander nations because of their alliance in face of the coming struggles. Part of the usefulness in having Perrin sit the Saldaean throne might have something to do with how Randland can keep itself from being conquered by the Seanchan should they miraculously survive Tarmon Gai'don. The rest of that particular theory will have to wait for another time, as we have arrived at the end of my blog. Happy one week anniversary, my love!
Since it's almost Halloween, I thought I'd dip into my mailbag of requests and take a look at one of the most iconic-and puzzling- villains in the Wheel of Time series. So today we're taking a look at Padan Fain. This is a fantastically creepy version of Fain by Mandersen. I think the decision to make this image black and white really adds to evilness. The shadows always seem a little deeper in black and white. This portrait is by Luketarig on DeviantArt. According to his comments, it was done digitally. I really like the murky, impressionistic take on Fain. Moesymoe took a few liberties with his version of Fain, by adding tattoos and shaving his head. However, I think it still captures the sense of the character. Fain has a creeping menace to him and a sense of wrongness. This fits that perfectly. On a side note, JordanCon, a non-profit fantasy literature convention founded in honor of Robert Jordan, is currently running a drawing with the prize being a chance to get your name in A Memory of Light. The money is going to help defray JordanCon's operating costs, with a percentage being set aside for the Mayo Clinic's Amyloidosis research fund. The drawing runs until December, but Brandon Sanderson is already choosing names. If you'd like to enter, please visit www.jordancon.org. And that's all I've got time for today. Thanks for reading!
<p>This is the 107th episode of The 4th Age Podcast, in which we discuss the mysterious batch of red-sealed letters Verin Sedai handed out. Your hosts for this episode are Virginia, Daniel, and Spencer.</p><p>(This episode, like most of our talks, is chock full of spoilers if you haven’t read Towers of Midnight yet!) <span style="color: #800000;">Warning: SPOILER ALERT!</span></p><p>Be sure to check out <a href="http://www.dragonmount.com">Dragonmount.com</a> for forums, comments, and all the latest news in the Wheel of Time world.</p><p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>ATTENTION! THERE ARE TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT SPOILERS in this podcast!</strong> </span><em>Also, spoilers on ALL the other books are VERY likely!</em> If you haven’t read all the way through the Wheel of Time, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS of all previous books! There may be spoilers of other book series, tv series, and movies as well, too, or anything ELSE we can think of in the known and unknown universe…. We will try to give warning. We can make no guarantees, however.</p><p>Hosts: Virginia, Daniel, and Spencer.</p><h6>Editor for this episode: Ken S. Editor-in-Chief: Spencer</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-107.mp3">Download'>http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-107.mp3">Download this Episode now</a> </strong></h6><h5>A HUGE thanks to all our editors, past and present, from all of us here! We couldn’t make this happen without your help and technical expertise. We are usually in need of editing help – please, contact Spencer at <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank">email@example.com</a> if you are interested in volunteering.</h5><h5>Music by: Josh Needleman. His website is at <a href="http://www.joshneedleman.net/">www.joshneedleman.net</a> and he has the music available to hear on his MySpace page at <a href="http://www.myspace.com/joshneedleman">www.myspace.com/joshneedleman</a>. Its title is <em>Floodgate</em>. Thanks, Josh!</h5><div><strong><a href="http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-107.mp3">Download this Episode now</a></strong></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/4thAge/~4/DnvJuj5ImCg" height="1" width="1"/>
It's hard to believe we're already nearing the end of October! My seventh anniversary as a member of Dragonmount was on October 22nd, and I want to express my gratitude to my friends here for helping to shape me into the person I am today. What would the Dragon be like if he were spun out of the Pattern into today's world? What sort of education or career might he have? What would his role be? Come speculate with our theory geeks in the General Wheel of Time Discussion forum. Do you have any favorite quotes from books, movies, tv series, games, or historical figures? If so, please share them with us in our General Discussion forum. The Kin Social Group is all decked out for Halloween with their Kin U Halloween Festival! Watch this space for games, discussions, and spooky surprises. The auction portion of the Game and Auction Weeks from the White Tower & Warders Social Group has begun! Keep an eye on this thread for updates. Will you be dressing in costume for Halloween this year? What was your best Halloween costume ever? Join the Wolfkin Social Group for a chat about awesome Halloween costumes. Our role players are exploring the psyche of a newly made Seanchan damane in From Human to Property. This looks like it will be a fascinating story. Finally, as always, keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook accounts for more on the latest Wheel of Time news.
<p>In this, the 106th episode of The 4th Age Podcast, we will be discussing Tam al’Thor, the remarkable father figure to Rand, the Dragon Reborn. Your hosts for this episode are Andrew, Virginia, Spencer, Carrie, and Marc.</p><p>(This episode, like most of our talks, is chock full of spoilers if you haven’t read Towers of Midnight yet!) <span style="color: #800000;">Warning: SPOILER ALERT!</span></p><p>Be sure to check out <a href="http://www.dragonmount.com">Dragonmount.com</a> for forums, comments, and all the latest news in the Wheel of Time world.</p><p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>ATTENTION! THERE ARE TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT SPOILERS in this podcast!</strong> </span><em>Also, spoilers on ALL the other books are VERY likely!</em> If you haven’t read all the way through the Wheel of Time, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS of all previous books! There also may be spoilers of other book series, tv series, and movies as well, too, or anything ELSE we can think of in the known and unknown universe…. We will try to give warning. We can give no guarantees, however.</p><p>Hosts: Andrew, Virginia, Spencer, Carrie, and Marc</p><h6>Editor for this episode: Ken S. Editor-in-Chief: Spencer</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-106.mp3">Download'>http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-106.mp3">Download this Episode now</a> </strong></h6><h5>A HUGE thanks to all our editors, past and present, from all of us here! We couldn’t make this happen without your help and technical expertise. We are usually in need of editing help – please, contact Spencer at <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank">email@example.com</a> if you are interested in volunteering.</h5><h5>Music by: Josh Needleman. His website is at <a href="http://www.joshneedleman.net/">www.joshneedleman.net</a> and he has the music available to hear on his MySpace page at <a href="http://www.myspace.com/joshneedleman">www.myspace.com/joshneedleman</a>. Its title is <em>Floodgate</em>. Thanks, Josh!</h5><div><strong><a href="http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-106.mp3">Download this Episode now</a></strong></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/4thAge/~4/uw5V0DU9eqY" height="1" width="1"/>
Orbit Books, the UK publisher for The Wheel of Time, announced today on their "Turn the Wheel of Time" Facebook page that they will be publishing a limited number of leather-bound editions for The Eye of the World. Only 2,000 copies will sold worldwide. The hardback book comes in a high-quality slip-case with a gold foil WoT logo on the outside of the case and gold foil lettering and logo on the spine. These limited editions will not be available in the United States or Canada. However, some US citizens have reportedly been able to pre-order it from Amazon UK. If you are somebody who lives in a country or territory where Orbit Books are sold, please contact a local bookseller near you and ask them to special order this book. Give them the ISBN number: 9780356501529. If your local bookseller is unable to do this for you, then try the Amazon link provided here. According to Orbit's announcement, the UK retail price will be £35. Specific price will vary depending on who you purchase it from, and what currency you use. Pre-Order this book from Amazon UK
As you all should know, the last book of the Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light, is in the process of being written by Brandon Sanderson. Seeing as this is the last book, I really think you all should give this a go. The Robert Jordan estate, Brandon Sanderson, and JordanCon, Inc. have decided to launch a fundraiser in order to raise funds for JordanCon and the Mayo Clinic. You have two options to support the fundraiser. For the first option, you can take part in a highest-bidder auction, with the winner getting a character named (within guidelines) after them, including a physical description! This auction will take place from November 1-10. The second option is donating $10 and entering a raffle, out of which Brandon Sanderson will choose as many names as he wishes and then will use them in A Memory of Light. You can enter into this drawing as often as you wish. In my opinion, this is really something you should do. Not only do you get the chance for your name to be in A Memory of Light, but you also will be supporting JordanCon. Before I read this blog post by Jennifer Liang, I didn't quite realize what JordanCon meant. Reading the blog post actually gave me goosebumps: So, grab that wallet, skip your extra frosting donut at work for a week, and donate to a good cause, even if it is just $10. They have raised just over $17,000 so far! For more information on the fundraiser, JordanCon, or the Mayo Clinic, you can check out the JordanCon website.
Welcome back, all! I apologize for the lack of a roundup last week. Real life got in the way, but I'm back and ready to go this week. As evidenced by the popularity of our weekly theory blog, we at Dragonmount have numerous fans who love to speculate about theories and predictions for the series. What will all these people do once The Wheel of Time series is finished? Come to the General Wheel of Time Discussion forum and find out. Our fan casting thread for the Wheel of Time movie is still going strong. Drop by our The Wheel of Time in Other Media forum to join in the hype. The Black Tower Social Group is running their October Shockwave Competition. You still have time to nominate games! Some members of the Ogier Social Group have been writing songs in this thread. They are quite lovely, so visit and let them know! The Warders of the White Tower & Warders Social Group are hosting a week of game shows! By participating in the games this week, you will be able to buy various members of the Social Group who are going up for auction next week. Yes, for those who are wondering, I will be one of the members you can buy in the auction. For more information about the Game Show and Auction Weeks, go here. If any of you have ever wondered what a blademaster ceremony might look like, our role players have a treat for you! Come celebrate with Visar in Heart of the Heron, Part Two. After a brief hiatus, the Intrigue in Murandy role play I told you about last month is back in full swing. Those of you who were waiting with baited breath for the story to continue need wait no longer. Yesterday would have been Robert Jordan's 63rd birthday. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to see what fans are saying about our beloved master storyteller.
Today, October 17th, would have been Robert Jordan's 63rd birthday. Happy Birthday, RJ! Did you ever have a chance to meet our favorite author in person? Did he tell you something interesting or funny? If so, leave a comment below and tell us the story. To celebrate his birthday, Ta'Veren Tees is having a 1-day only sale on one of their popular Wheel of Time t-shirts. Go check out how you can get it for only $17 (US) (The photo here is courtesy of Wilson Grooms)
As Salaam Alaikum, astute affiliates of Dragonmount! Welcome to another weekly entry of "It Works in Theory," Dragonmount's very own theory blog written by the committee of me, myself, and I. Before we start, I wanted to apologize for the absence of last week's theory blog. I've been as busy as you can imagine with last minute preparations for my impending nuptials, a heightened number of band practices due to a new member joining, and other matters which made it impossible for me to finish in time for my deadline. As much as I wish that the lack of a column last week became a source of anguish and gnashing of teeth for my readers, I'm sure you ended up okay without it. In a weird way, part of me might even be glad there wasn't a column last week; I'm particularly proud of some of the ideas I will be putting forth this week, and I feel the heightened anticipation might actually enhance your enjoyment of today's blog. And now, after rebuilding all that momentum, let's go ahead and pump the brakes and get to this week's disclaimer: WARNING!!! Spoiler Alert!!! WARNING!!! This blog is based on theories that will include facts and material from the latest books in the series, so if you have not read through Towers of Midnight, continue reading at your own risk! Readers of "It Works in Theory" should be advised that their understandings of notions such as time, space, metaphysics, morality, logic, and grammar could be subject to completely different interpretations and definitions from a different relativistic perspective, and that those notions may or may not be stretched, stunted, discombobulated, or otherwise manipulated at any time without advance warning in accordance with the author's whims and desires. Something occurred to me as I was reading through our forums the other day. For being pretty much the main bad guy in a series, Ishamael has a lot of fans. He appeals not just to fans who delight in how entertaining twisted and maniacal bad guys can be in a series, but to a larger proportion than one might expect in this situation. It's actually not too difficult to see why this may be, however. All one needs to do to consider how Ishamael/Moridin is different from other major antagonists or bad guys is examine the reasoning for why he decided to go to the side of evil, or to the Shadow. The implication is made throughout the series that Ishamael made his decision not out of selfish impulses or desperation, but instead out of logic and reason. He was known for being a great mind and philosopher during the Age of Legends, and this inquisitive nature led him to question the nature of the world in which he lived. We know that the Wheel of Time describes a model of reality in which a cyclical expression of time is the norm, instead of the linear expression of time that we are used to. This is a direct reference to the source of the name of the series; in Hinduism, the concept of eternal recurrence is expressed with their own Wheel of Time. The idea of history repeating itself throughout the ages in one giant cosmic joke rankled Ishamael, and soon enough, this annoyance grew to define him until he decided the only course of action that was right was to aid the Dark One so that the Pattern might be destroyed. Of all the Forsaken, he is the only one who carries no delusions as to what will happen should the Dark One win. He doesn't believe that, as one of the Great Lord of the Dark's most loyal servants, he will enjoy some lofty position of leadership in the Dark One's vision of a new world. He knows that, should the Dark One win, all existence will end. Interestingly enough, many readers can actually relate to this point of view. For some reason, there exists a general aversion to the notion of eternal recurrence in today's day and age, especially in Western culture. And yet, the Wheel of Time has become one of the most popular fantasy series of its time, and one might say the central theme is the idea of eternal recurrence. The rings the Aes Sedai wear(which you can purchase for yourself and help support this site by visiting Dragonmount's store, depict a snake eating its own tail, which is an allusion to Ouroboros, an ancient symbol for eternal recurrence. There are seven Ages in the Wheel, just as it was theorized by some Kabbalists out of Judaism that there are seven cycles which repeat every few thousand years. Even the Seanchan spear that is displayed in one of the main Wheel of Time symbols might be an allusion to Stephen Hawking's theory of the Arrow of Time. Then, of course, we always have the famous opening paragraph to every book in the series: I could go on and on about the parallels in the Wheel of Time to other theological concepts of time and eternity, but Linda over at The Thirteenth Depository has already covered that much further in detail than I could ever hope to do. To see her article on the eschatology of the Wheel of Time, please visit this link. We should take a little bit more time to go further in depth into more of the ramifications and nuances of cyclical time. There is somewhat of a micro/macro element when you break it down; eternal recurrence can take place in different ways. Ages cycling after one another is one way, the rebirth of the soul is another. Like in many cases, it can be easier to understand the big picture by focusing on the smaller example in front of us. Reincarnation doesn't state that you will be reborn as the same exact person you were in your previous life; while certain traits may be shared, overall, both reincarnations are completely distinct individuals. Because of this difference, there is room for personal growth and development, just as there is room for regression and devolution. A pauper who plays his cards right may awake reborn as a pharaoh, but if he forgets the lessons he learned and distances himself from his cosmic goal, then he may be reborn as something even lower than the pauper. This ebb and flow can take place on a larger scale as well. Even though time and history may repeat themselves, there is a chance for mankind and life in general to advance and progress or to retreat and regress in various cyclings of time. This still might not be quite enough to satisfy some, as it might appear that even with this capacity for progression, there is still a ceiling or limitation to how far things can go before things get reset. In linear views of time, the perception truly is "Infinity, and beyond"; the perception is that anything is possible and that nothing truly stands in the way of progress but the obstacles we set up ourselves. The funny thing is, while most find the model of time set up in the Wheel of Time to be foreign and not comparable to our own reality, they might be surprised how many ways eternal recurrence can be said to happen in our own world. First of all, apart from the metaphysical aspect and consideration of the soul, the biological process in which molecules pass from organism to organism can be considered recurrence. Our bodies die, decompose, and break down into organic matter which can feed the soil we are buried in, which in turn feeds the grass, which in turn feeds the grazing antelope, all of which contributes to the great circle of life. I know, I know, first I go Pixar, then I pull out the Disney; I must be getting soft, right? Try living with a 4-year-old, and see if their programming preference doesn't rub off on you a bit! Another great example occurs on the cosmological scale. I'll assume everyone's heard of the Big Bang Theory, even if you don't agree with the concept. Somewhat less well known, however, is the Big Crunch, which occurs once the universe reaches a "critical density level" and gravity begins to pull it back in on itself, reversing the Big Bang. Once it contracts into the singularity, the Big Bang is free to occur again, which is outlined in the Oscillating Universe Theory. Then there are phenomena such as deja vu, which gives us the feeling of having experienced a certain event or occurence before. Cyclical time also has its place in literature as well, apart from theological texts, of course. I remember watching Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time and being mesmerized by the iconic music playing during the opening scenes. Some time later, I finally decided to look up the song and discovered it to be Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra, which was inspired by a work from another famous German. And thus, I was introduced to Friedrich Nietzsche. His work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Also Sprach Zarathustra in original German pronunciation), is particularly relevant to today's discussion. It features a prophet named Zarathustra who poses philosophical questions and raises arguments against long held notions of morality and ethics. Zarathustra is representative of the Persian prophet Zoroaster, who is credited with founding Zoroastrianism. Incidentally, Zoroastrianism is significant in that it was one of the first religions to predict a cataclysmic confrontation between good and evil in the future; this idea soon spread to other religions like Judaism and indirectly influenced Christianity and Islam. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, eternal recurrence is posed as a kind of existential quandary for which a solution might be sought. Nietzsche describes the idea as abhorrent, and the burden of having to live in such a world as incredibly heavy. His solution to how to live with this burden was amor fati, or love of fate. Basically, it involves a certain resignation to fate; the knowledge that you are doomed to eventually repeat the exact same life robs you of the desire to try and alter your role in life, so the best you can do is try and appreciate the irony. Your life may be considered a cosmic joke, but at the very least the Creator gets to use you to put on his cosmological mummer's farce. Okay, at this point we've ventured fairly far from the Wheel of Time, so for those of you who haven't zonked out or navigated away from the blog, I'll get to the point. You may or may not have thought about this before, but it's hinted at in the series that the world of the Wheel of Time is actually our own. In fact, Robert Jordan has confirmed this to be true in a few different Q&A sessions: So, Jordan is proposing that the cyclical model which is used for the Wheel of Time is actually the same model in which we exist in reality. Epic fantasy series have an interesting place in theories about eternal recurrence in our world. There are many people who believe that mankind has already risen and fallen, that our technology has shot upwards just to fall back again. I can hear you scoffing from here, but it might not be as crazy as you think. One of the pieces of evidence is the Great Sphinx, the ambiguous statue located right by the Great Pyramids of Giza, and how the head just doesn't fit the body or how the body appears to be much older than the Pyramids themselves. The pyramids themselves are a miraculous feat in engineering that to this day perplexes modern engineers, as it doesn't seem they should have had the technology back then to construct them as mathematically precise as they did, and as quickly. For that matter, there are several ancient enigmas, such as Stonehenge and others. Embedded in this theory is Atlantis (which would have been destroyed before civilization is believed to have started) and even the Great Flood in the Bible (for more info on that, visit this link). Proponents of this theory even speculate that stories like The Lord of the Rings might not be based completely on fiction but might have some roots in one of the past cycles. Some of the belief systems that postulate eternal recurrence also postulate that reality is actually an illusion, and that only by departing from this illusion can we achieve "freedom" from the cycle. In Buddhism, this requires meditation and the tuning out of worldly trappings and concerns. In the Wheel of Time, however, people in general do not seek to "escape" from the Wheel. In fact, when they swear, they swear by "hope of salvation and rebirth," which means they want to keep being reborn. The exception to this involves the people of Tremalking, the Amayar, who believe that as the Last Battle approaches, the "Time of Illusion" comes to an end. They actually anticipate this event because they look at the illusion of the reality of rebirth as being a harsh and undesirable fate. So, would it really be that bad to live in a world in which history repeats itself? Are we so much better off, assuming our reality is based on a linear expression of time? It's true, we as a species have progressed to an amazing level, but at what cost? In spite of all our advancements, starvation is still a serious threat for many. We are altogether too efficient at killing one another with our advanced weaponry. The planet's health is failing, and all of our scrambling to help protect it may still not end up being enough. As a species, our reach has always extended our grasp. Perhaps that's one of the inherent problems with linear time, or at least our role in it. We recklessly plow ahead in the name of progress even when it isn't prudent to do so. Let's assume for argument's sake that the world Jordan created is also our world. How do we cope with the trauma that is cyclical time?! Do we assume the nihilistic view, and not strive to change anything because there is nothing to change and no point in resisting? Should we seek to escape the repetition by trying to empower those who would destroy the system? Should we listen to Nietzsche, and try to adopt amor fati? I have a different alternative. Maybe there are some downsides to the cyclical model, but life itself seems to be underrated by many. Perhaps we can't see the purpose in wiping the slate clean every so often, and it's easy for us to paint the world of the Wheel of Time as being a cosmic farce doomed to repeat itself for eternity, or until the Dark One wins. That doesn't change the fact that the Pattern's existence makes it possible for everything else to exist. All the creatures, all the foliage, all the good guys, all the bad guys, all the relationships and connections people are able to make, all of the details which many pass over but some appreciate and admire like the fine little pieces of art they are, all of life itself. No, I don't think one needs to have love of fate, but rather love of life. We don't need any other purpose but living life just for the opportunity, for life itself. Amor vita.