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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Norseman

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  1. No worries mate, I'm just a little bit sad that a series which has been such a big deal for such a long time turned out to be so fatally flawed. I'll keep the advice regarding skipping in mind. However, I've found that in addition to book summaries there's a good number of guides out there which detail exactly where to find the read-worthy moments, so that you can supplement and flesh out the summaries. I'll use those to pull out the good stuff and make sure I don't miss anything vital. Actually, the very existence of a plethora of such guides was quite comforting, seeing as it proves that Tarvalantarverann and I aren't exactly alone in feeling as we do. Personally I've never seen similar guides for any other book or series, which I find quite telling in itself. I really don't think it has been shown at all, clearly or otherwise. Details have been listed and have been claimed to amount to realistic character development, which in my estimation amount to no such thing. Nor do the "but they're all so young!!" defence do anything to sway me, since (as I've pointed out already) by the standards of their society they must have been counted adults for years and have had the responsibilities to match. The second sentence is just juvenile, which I suppose is why you culled it. Since we don't agree with you we must be either bad readers or putting on an act? Honestly...
  2. I'm with you almost all the way. I haven't quit, as such, but I suddenly found I couldn't take any more and had to put the books away. When I regain sufficient motivation I'll first avail myself of the book summaries provided by Tar Valon and then re-start proper with The Gathering Storm. Hopefully that'll bypass most of the remaining awfulness. It's a shame, because I actually don't think most everything else is sh*t; I just think the characters are so utterly dreadful that they totally overshadow everything about the books that is enjoyable.
  3. There is a clear character development in addition to the growing madness. Saying he is the same boy internally ignores the what is written in the actual text. Even up until ACoS... Actually it is nothing of the sort: it's just one character saying another character has developed. I have seen none of that development for myself, or so little as to be functionally none. Also I have no idea how "hard" either Mazrim Taim or Logain are, so as a means of measurement they are both equally useless. In any case it would make no difference to me if every other character in the books suddenly stated that Rand had changed immensely - if I haven't seen him change myself, then it hasn't happened. So show me, don't tell me.
  4. Well said. To me, Rand is (so far) mainly defined by his struggle with Lews Therin and, like you say, his reactions to other people's actions. Apart from learning stuff, growing more powerful and having to resist Lews Therin more, there's is really not much to Rand that I can see. Little or no depth at all and internally he is still the same adolescent boy who left Emond's Field in book one.
  5. I'm perfectly cool, I just have a slightly abrasive writing style. I beg to differ. It is only half way, of course, but it is most certainly also far - 5457 pages far in fact, as of right now. Which is easily way more pages than the vast majority of series, fantasy or otherwise, ever reach. And this has really been my main point; that 4-5000+ pages can pass with no change or improvement to the main characters. In order to discuss this with perfect understanding I only need to have read what I have read. Sorry, I'll shut up now and go read some more. And when I come back I'll try to remember to leave out the nasty words.
  6. You don't think Rand comes to realises that he needs strength rather than hardness after VoG? Or that Perrin learns to accept that he is a natural leader and responsible for his people? That Egwene doesn't learn to have confidence in herself and her abilities? That Nynaeve doesn't mature enough to take her brutal AS test as a learning experience for herself and the Tower rather than losing her temper? Oi, I'm 300 pages into A Crown of Swords, so still not quite half-way. Which is around where I let go the second time. Things may still change, but as far as right now is concerned: VoG? I'm not familiar with WoT fandom, so all the local vernacular will pass straight over my head. Nah, Perrin has accepted nothing at this point. Egwene has just been elected Amyrlin and there's little or no evidence of enhanced confidence as yet. I've no idea, since whatever you're referring to has not yet taken place. AS means Aes Sedai I assume? So anyway: I'm quite prepared to believe that things will change at some point, but that is not my point. My point is that after six and a half books, some four thousand-odd pages and around two years in-book time chock-full of travel, adventure, battle and whatnot - people have not changed. Which I find to be ludicrous and just plain bad writing. If things get better from here on then that's cool, but it doesn't change the fact that these six books really have monumental flaws in terms of character design and development.
  7. Contradiction. Just sayin' Don't skim: forget about these books and read something else. There's no contradiction there, unless you lack reading comprehension. And I'll continue skimming: it works perfectly well as far as I'm concerned. Skipping too. First: 998 (EotW) - 1000 (LoC) (only 649 days) Second: There is one thing that you have to realize about real people: they don’t change. "They just have momentary steps outside of their true character” First: exactly my point. They go through all sorts of adventures and ordeals for almost two years, without growing up even a little bit. Second: bullcrap. I don't know you from Adam and hence don't recognize you as the final arbiter on whether or not real people change. Putting stuff in quotation marks does not give that stuff any additional weight. I've known a good number of people who have drastically changed in a relatively short time and common to all of them is that they gone through some heavy shit. Much like certain characters discussed above. But no, you're not likely to change much if you don't do or experience much. Which most people don't.
  8. I really don't think they are. The setting is a traditional fantasy setting, i.e. a late medieval type society, in which, were it our world, a male of 21 would have been counted an adult man for the past 6 or so years. He'd likely be married, would have long since chosen and established himself in a trade and might have several children. A woman of 19 brought up in a remote farming community would undoubtedly be married, quite possibly for years, and again might have several children. She would basically have been in full housewife mode for several years, even years before being married off. So no. 19-25 would not be very young in a society such as the one portrayed, just as it was not very young in the real world at a comparable time. On the contrary, childhood would have ended abruptly somewhere between 12 and 14, or possibly a little later if times were good. Hence the characters in question ought to have put away their juvenile bullcrap years ago. Now maybe Robert Jordan didn't think of this and deliberately portrayed the characters as juveniles even though they ought not to have been. If that's the case, then to my mind it just adds to the negative criticism of the series. Frankly I find it almost preferable to think that he just didn't know how to do characterisation and personal interaction well. Why would you not want realism in high fantasy? The setting may be different, but the characters are still people. In fact the setting is the only thing which separates fantasy from science-fiction and either of those from literary fiction or the classics. Literature is about people, regardless of the backdrop and if the people are not believable, then the literature will never be great. And the people, or rather the main people, of Wheel of Time are simply not believable at all. So far, that is. I do hope it changes.
  9. Almost epic, or rather "could so easily have been epic" is where I'm at too. I'm currently on my third and final re-read, after first picking up the three first books in 1991, thinking it was a trilogy like every other fantasy series of the time. How wrong I was. Right now I'm half-way through Lord of Chaos and these five and a half books have been a mixed pleasure to say the least. Like the OP says, beneath it all there is an "awesome plot line", but at the same time I have found myself skipping and skimming forwards time and time and time again. And I never skip and skim, unless I've read a book many times before. Why? First, because all the female protagonists, bar Min, have been cut from the same deeply unpleasant length of cloth. I'm sure the subject has been beaten to death, so I won't go on, only say that Nynaeve is easily my least favourite major character in any book or series I can think of. Second, the interaction between all the main characters is entirely too similar to the interaction that can often be observed in a kindergarten sand pit. Pettiness, bitchiness, cruelty, distrust and utter stupidity. Over and over and over again. And finally: nobugger ever changes. Ever. Six books, where, from leading simple farming lives, the main characters have variously fought monsters, travelled the world, fought battles, conquered nations, fought mighty evil sorcerers and sorceresses and much, much more - and yet they are the same, seemingly having learned nothing other than the practical stuff. They remain as petty, obstinate, juvenile and at times downright stupid as they were in book one. It boggles the mind how the same person who writes everything else so skilfully, could have been so utterly inept at constructing characters, having them develop and having them interact naturally. Boggles the mind it does. I see it claimed above that the girls will become more likeable later, so I suppose there's hope. Not that I'll believe it before I read it. Anyway. For me The Wheel of Time is a series which could have been counted among the greatest fantasy series ever, except that the flaws are simply too big - no, too monumental to sweep under the carpet. Had the series been complete as is in 1991, that much younger me would probably have ignored it all and emerged from book 14 glowering with praise. I'm not him though; lots of years and thousands of books lie between us and unlike the Emond's Fielders I have learned a thing or two since then. Still, I will complete the series, if only out of pure stubbornness and because I fully expect Brian Sanderson to have wrought an ending I will thoroughly enjoy.
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