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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Mesothalassa

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  1. First of all, thanks for this post Luckers. I really needed to hear some other opinions for and against this novel and, of course, to voice my own. Generally speaking I found myself becoming more and more uncomfortable as I got through this book. If I had to summarize I would simply say, "AMoL is ...hard to stomach. The writing is poor and story shabby compared to the other novels." That said, as a stand alone affair I'd give a B- or C+. The prequel was flawless, in my opinion, but it takes a dive with the events of Camealyn. The first thing to stand out was the direction from "plot" to an attempt (and failed one) at "Story arc". I'm making a distinction here between a "plot" and a "story arc": A plot being the general course of the novel without an intent to accomplish (by author) where as "story arc" includes both the intent to accomplish character development and a conclusion of some aspect of story within the novel (or simply one of these two things). Jordan had a lot of characters that never possessed a strong characterization. Padan Fain being amongst them... but suddenly we are seeing these character's missing life events being filled in, however haphazardly. Fain didn't need to be a fully flushed out character. Neither did Talmanes. I've had enough boyfriends in my life (and girl friends) whoever failed to ever develop - at all. What says a character or a plot ever needs this? Did Lord of the Rings really come out all flush and tidy? This attempt by modern writers and Hollywood producers to force 'development' in a story is unnecessary and unrealistic in my opinion. I think Sanderson (without fault to himself) caught this bug and didn't realize it to be a disease. It mean, it's appealing to believe we get to see all the characters worked out and their lives basically on forward footing post-the Last Battle. Nothing lingering from the past. However, it's unrealistic and I wish it hadn't found its way into the AMoL. Women... somewhere down the road I began to realize there is something wrong with how Jordan addresses women in his story. They are not world shapers. This takes some explanation as I believe people get a little short sighted whenever this argument is made. To be a world shaper a person must plan, execute, and accomplish their plan while in turn others must be able and willing to glorify their attempts. This is not something I have yet to see happen with a female character in fantasy. Especially true with Jordan and Sanderson. I'm not saying I have hatred here, but I do feel deeply disappointed. Men in Wheel of Time shape the world. They make plans, they execute those plans, and for good or ill people acknowledge their -accomplishments- and set similar goals for themselves. With women, this is not the case. Women forged the White Tower, but it it was through entropy and its sheer persistence that it remained. Yes, the persistence could speak of its power (and actually does) but it is not the same as glorifying the one single woman or group of women who set it in motion. There is nothing in Wheel of Time except for Latra Posae Decume... whom I personally believe was Edgwene in the current age. Of Decume, all we can really say she is remembered for is preventing Lews Therin from accomplishing his strike at the Dark One. Then there is Lanfear... if ever a character deserved redemption it is her. But Jordan lathers this character with persistent, unexplained scorn. Why? She finds the Bore? People hated her for that but she wasn't looking for it. She didn't even turn to the Shadow until it was obvious there was no salvation for herself in the Light. If need to question this to think of what happened to her Aiel servant. We can be sure she was cast out as, if not cause, prime among the reasons the Shadow ever touched the world. What more would we expect of a terrified, blame seeking populous than to scorn her? Her turn to the Shadow was one of the only forsaken who really had a conflict to resolve there. We don't see that happen. We don't see anything of Hawkwing's Daughter's attempt to take Shara. Faile was the only woman we see in all of Wheel of Time who leads an army and accomplishes anything with it significant to the major plot (i.e. keeping Perrin alive). Whole thing with women ends up feeling very Sword of Truth ish. Degrading and very gendered. And why are only the women in the Forsaken being so radically punished? I am just not convinced that the Dark One had enough sexual energy to become so one sided to his female chosen. I rather think this was all in the writers. Magic... oh magic. When did the One Power suddenly turn into magic we might look for in say... Warhammer? It's suddenly very superficial and flashy and not well thought out. Jordan was a physicist. The whole nature of the magic in Wheel of Time had that special quality of being 'near-possible'. "If we only had realized..." ..."how to align the matrix" ..."creating standing flows." ..etc..etc..."We could have ter'angreal doing most of the advanced work load. Industry would go on, otherwise, quite as normal. I felt that Perrin's ability to be able to overcome compulsion in the dreamworld trumped the abilities of the One Power and in so doing basically threw out the whole premise magic set down in the series. That's not even getting into Rand's obnoxious overpowered meta-gaming by the end. I think before I go too far though, I have to acknowledge Jordan's (I'm assuming) use of the word Purity. Obviously Jordan felt that it was important to make it known there were pure and impure states of the Saidin, Saidar, and the True Power. He made this claim in Book One when "they died to make it pure"; mentioning the men and women who made the Eye of the World. So, Purity was a big deal for Jordan. Unfortunately, Purity seems to be what really drives everything in his story. So... Perrin could overcome Compulsion because he knew his purest self. Rand could channel pure Saidin and Saidar because he -is- the pattern by the the story I guess? Whatever the case, Purity was not well enough worked out early in the story. It's appearance at the end destroys the whole establishment of checks and balances that had been worked out throughout the rest of the novels. Sure, that's fine to do ... but not the last book of the series. It's just too much of a MacGuffin. The Creator...Rand... the Dark One... and the hopeless samsara of the Wheel. Did anyone else feel like the end of the book was the worst possible ending imaginable? If the Dark One had taken over at least it would be a change. With Rand's solution the whole world is doomed to repeat itself... endlessly... just as it has. All I could think at the end of the novel was... "Rand needs to die." Men would become no better than the Dark One if he killed the thing? Why? It's not explained, it's the worst writing imaginable. Just some random words thrown on a page in hopes we're frothing at the mouth overcome by emotion? I was so dead with boredom and "this is too much magic" that I felt like a fan that had just watched the ending of Mass Effect 3... "There's no hope. No free will. No choice. Choose your space-magic and watch the pre-selected cinematics. 20plus years of reading...of character development...of build up to 'win the last battle' and..." dead... Rand gets to say, "Ahhh, whatever... we can do this again! It was fun! That's what it's all about? Seriously... worse than the forsaken. Rand must die." I stop here. There's nothing more to write.
  2. Thank you! That helps a lot. I'll read though it. I'll leave the post here for now just because I don't know how to move them.
  3. I'm new to the forum and forum posting in general. Apologies if this is the wrong place to be talking about what I'm about to.. I've been reading Wheel of Time since about 1996. I love the series. Jordan's death was tragic, all the more because he didn't get to finish. It really seemed like he wanted this all wrapped up in 12 books no matter what. I'm glad his wife was able to find someone like Brandon Sanderson to put the final pages down. The spirit of the series goes on so even if Jordan doesn't get to see it finished at least his legacy is intact. This post is largely about that. I've been rereading the series recently. When I read the last book to have come out I realized I'd forgotten so much. I also bought the Mistborn series. I finished it in one sitting but I can't say I liked it. In fact, it ranks in there with Conan for me. Bottom of the pile. I gave it to a friend who adores it. Still, I walked away feeling better about the situation for Wheel of Time's ending from reading it. I also gathered a few nagging thoughts about what that ending might be. Way early in the series I started thinking about how often Ishamael nagged Rand about how he would serve him. That he had done so in the past. I kept thinking that really was a nice touch. It meant the super star character was just as potentially a nobody as any other character. Rand could go join the Dark One. It didn't necessarily mean the world would end. Since then Rand has moved more and more from the "could be any of us hero" to "Christ." I think that's a fair description too. Before Christ there was civilization. After Christ, the Dark Ages, the destruction of the roots of most of European civilization, and monotheism continues that momentum. Easily a world destroying figure. Rand also leans toward the warrior-destroyer type. "Chosen of god" sort. So he's completed the role of monotheistic dogma or seemed as though he would. Then in the last book he does a one-eight. He destroyed the Coedan Kal. As usual with fantasy stories the man is always the one challenged with using the big destroying thing or tossing it away. The one's one was 'flawed' *cough cough*. However, when Rand comes down from Dragonmount things get complicated.. Rand's suddenly all Lion of Narnia on us. Usually Egwene is the one acting all high and self-righteous. It was nice to see Rand finally do the same. It really shows why these two characters would butt heads in two Ages. They're both arrogant enough to hate and can only suffer assistance for just so long without feeling inadequate. But... why is Rand wandering around demonstrating his sudden Christly-Buddhahood? Before he seemed like he wanted to replace Mohamed. It's a very confusing character. I decided to try to answer this question another way... Why did the Jordans decide on Sanderson? If you haven't read the Mistborn series this may seem like a wide tangential thought. If you have, you probably know where I'm going next. Near the end of the Mistborn series we discover some interesting things about the world. Particularly we discover that the "god"/"creator-being" had had a bout of schizophrenia in the distant past. Somehow this results in the single deity becoming two. One is all about order and life, the other all about decay and destruction. The characters of the story are all focused on fighting this one evil lord in their world. Slowly they discover that fighting him is beyond pointless in itself. The real problem is that the deity of the series is now two separate deities. The magics in the series are powers which come from remnants of these greater beings and the beings themselves are sealed away. Long story short, the seeming heroes of the story end up dying. This one rather unlikely and unlikable character then ends up saving the day. The final piece to saving the Mistborn world comes from a priest-scholar whose abilities have to do with retaining memories of the world before it was destroyed by the evil lord they've been fighting again. Once all the other characters die he gains the powers of both the good and the bad sides of the dieties and reunifies them. In so doing he becomes the new deity-thing and resurrects the fallen. It seems to me the religious-mythos of the Mistborn series is why Sanderson was chosen to finish up Wheel of Time (that and his excellent ability to write). I think the Jordans were aware they would need an author who would appreciate the same sort of mythology taking place in Wheel of Time. That is, the One Power and True Power are essentially the residual energies from a single Power. That Power, however, entirely only that: a power. There is no creator outside the pattern in Wheel of Time. Instead, somehow, the Creator and the Dark One are the same being. This would be much in the same way as monotheistic deities are simultaneously benevolent and rapist, patriarchal evil things. The reason the cycle repeats is because people eventually seek unity with the god-thing and discover that there isn't unity even in the god-thing. Ta'avern are brought to the bore each time where it is resealed just by them being there (because while the Wheel continues to Weave) their presence enables it to weave the bore closed again. End of cycle. Then a few Ages later someone bores into the thing again. Beginning of New Cycle. Repeat, repeat. The solution Rand is seeking in the this last book is probably going to be something like the solution in the Mistborn series. Likely, Rand and Mordin are polar opposites. They die/merge into each other after having some kind of Powers battle. Then the person in Min's viewing kills Rand. Logain then comes into this somehow. This story is really becoming very male top heavy but seems to me this is the most likely way Memory of Light will end. Maybe the new creator will be Moiraine. That would be a nice turn of events. Or Verin.
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