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  1. You do not seem to understand the difference between a two-part book, and two books. A book is a complete installment that has its own premise, its own plot progression, its own climax, and its own ending. These are not semantics, these are essentials, and there was too much of plot development left after the end of KoD to fit into a single premise-progression-climax-ending structure. At least two are needed. Had there been three well-written novels void of filler - even better. There's no way you can fit everything the main characters do in the span of TGS/ToM/AMoL into a single book, regardless of how long or how many volumes it is split into. You don't go from Rand being clueless, conflicted, and insane to Rand who battles the DO at Shayol Ghul in the span of a single book. You don't go from Egwene who had just been captured by Elaida's Reds and reduced to novice whites, to Egwene who leads the entire unbroken Tower free of both Mesaana and the Black Ajah in a battle against Trollocks and Sharans. You don't go from Mat who had just gotten married to Tuon and named Prince of Ravens to Mat who rescues Moiraine from Sindhol, and finds himself perfectly integrated into Seanchan military command structure, leading Seanchan forces in the Last Battle. The same can be told of any character - there's simply too much stuff to go through. All this was stuff that should have happened in the course of ACoS-KoD (five whole books!) in place of fanciful dress descriptions and reiteration of things we already know. And in place of an overbearing volume of foreshadowing - stop hinting about what's going to happen in the next books, and just go ahead and write the next books so that we can read it for ourselves. Not really. Removing hints and foreshadowing would not need a massive rewrite, because the story and plot do not require hints and foreshadowing to remain coherent. Hints and foreshadowing are done for the sake of the reader, not for the sake of the characters, it's a way of breaking the fourth wall and saying "in the next books this and that will happen", disguised through clever word play and prose. The valuable part of book X is what happens in book X, not what might happen in book XY. Once again, the difference is that BS had no control over the decision to have a split into three books, and that BS's books have plenty of plot development in addition to filler. You're right, you can cut away all of BS's filler and still have a coherent, lengthy novel where relevant things happen. Cut away filler from RJ's books, and you're left with less than a dozen disjointed chapters. Or less than half a dozen chapters in case of CoT. What? I... what? What?! And why do you keep returning to BS? I was not talking about the way BS had completed the series, I was talking about how RJ should have completed the series had he been alive to complete it. I just don't get why you mention BS after every two words, in the hypothetical scenario that I proposed, BS wouldn't have even entered the picture. Indeed, there's a big difference between books that have both filler and vast amounts of plot progression, and books that have filler and very little plot progression. I said one or even several years. I don't know how long it would take RJ to complete a novel in the purely hypothetical scenario where he decided to write two books instead of one, it's merely an estimate off the top of my head. And again, it's not very relevant, is it?
  2. The breakdown, while interesting, has nothing to do with my point. What difference does it make in regards to the question of whether or not it was possible to go from the end of KoD to the end of the series in the span of a single installment? If anything, the breakdown is making it clear that at least two separate books would have been needed - one that concentrates on the main characters' plotlines growing dark and more hopeless in the face of impending Tarmon Gaidon, and the second one focusing on the Last Battle itself. That's two, not one. Did I seem as though I was making a joke? I wasn't. Bloat, massive amounts of filler, structural issues, pacing issues, and lack of direction have plagued this series for a very long time. The main difference between BS's books is that they contain both filler and plot development. Otherwise they wouldn't have allowed him to write the books. RJ's books (including KoD) were boat and filler with very little plot development, and in case of CoT, only filler with at best one chapter's worth of plot development. This is what made them so painful to read - the realization that once you tear through the 20+ pages of gratuitous dress descriptions and reiterations of facts we already know, you will face another 20+ pages of gratuitous dress descriptions and reiterations of other facts we already know, until you get to the final 2-3 chapters' worth of chopped up climax-ending and half a page's worth of vague epilogue. While AMoL was far from being a good or even an acceptable novel in my opinion, it had its own problems than RJ's later books. Which leads me to my original point. People who believe that RJ could have completed the series in one book seem to be operating under the delusion that. after more than ten years and five very slow-paced novels in which little of consequence happens in proportion to their length and word count, RJ would have suddenly been able to produce a book that had none of these problems, no filler or bloat whatsoever, and with a much faster pace than any other book he had ever written. If he was able to write books like that, why wasn't he writing them all along? Why would they release both volumes at the same time two years from today, when they could release the first one one year from now (and collect the royalties), and the second one one year after that? What is the point of you suggesting AMoL to be split into two volumes if both are released simultaneously? If both are released at the same time, then what difference does it make to us whether it's one volume or two volumes? Is it just to prevent out the purely technical and irrelevant (to our discussion) difficulties of binding together 1000+ pages? The opinion that many people on this forum seem to gravitate towards is that the series should have been completed in two fully-fledged novels with no filler, both proceeding at a pace similar to the pace of TSR/TFoH/LoC. In order to have a fully-fledged novel you need a central theme driving forward the main characters' numerous plotlines. Like I said, the first theme should have been a gradual descent into darkness and despair, culminating in an epiphany and catharsis at the end of the first book, and the second theme should have been a new sense of hope, giving the forces of Light a chance of winning in the last novel. It's pointless to blame BS for the decision to have three books, because he had no control over it. Blame the people who own the rights to the WoT.
  3. That's two books. This may not require each separate book to have its own exposition, outset, progression, climax, and ending, as the second book starts off exactly where the first one had begun, but that's still physically two books, the second one produced a year or even several years after the first one. Completely unlike every other book in WoT, you mean?
  4. Exactly. KoD was certainly more fast-paced than CoD, but it was a pretty slow book in its own right, just like everything that came after LoC/ACoS. Plenty of sitting around, arms-beneath-the-breast-folding, overly detailed descriptions of the scenery, and everything else that pertains specifically to later WoT books. Virtually every other scene consisted of characters reiterating things we already know, and not terribly important things - such as Mat complaining about being half-married to Tuon for the nth time, Rand saying how uncomfortable it is to wear the Crown of Swords, Cadsuane phaw-ing at "that fool boy", Lan moping about lost Malkier, etc. How exactly does one expect to transition from this more than leisurely pace to a final installment that goes through the beginning, middle and end of the entire Last Battle, and gives a proper conclusion to multitudes of major, medium, and minor plotlines and hundreds of characters? That's two books.
  5. Rand has done a great deal of annoying things in the books, so it's hard to choose just one. In no particular order: 1. Not killing or allowing Semirhage to be tortured for information because she is a woman. Not because he considers himself above murder or torture, but because the most evil human being in the world who will command armies of monsters, darkfriends and dreadlords in a war against humanity and the Wheel of Time itself, but because she is a woman. Does this imply that, if he caught a random Darkfriend woman in the process of killing his father, he'd let her get away with it rather than risking killing another woman? Arbitrary and wrong priorities which are not explained either by his "madness", nor by his country bumpkin upbringing. If anything, someone with the mentality of a country bumpkin would be strongly inclined to view someone like Semirhage as a force of evil, or an inhuman monster, rather than a woman. Thinking of one of the most despicable traitors to the human race as a woman takes a great deal of mental stability and an enlightened view of the world, which would have precluded Rand from being so reckless and blind in letting her stay alive under perfectly tolerable conditions. 2. Having three wives. There's a reason polygamy is strictly prohibited in all non-Muslim countries in the world, and I don't see why Rand suddenly gets to be exempt from this social taboo. Elayne, Aviendha and Min being good friends and perfectly content with sharing their man with two other women merely underlines how bizarre and unnatural this arrangement is, and so does the lack of reaction from everybody who knows about it. Especially considering that this contributes absolutely nothing to the plot. 3. Not making any effort into contacting his father for the duration of the entire series, despite having access to instant teleportation powers. If he were genuinely concerned about his father's safety, he would have went back to Emond's Field, relocated his father and everyone else he knows and cares about to a safe location elsewhere in the world, and kept this location in secret. Doing otherwise would have left him in a defenseless position against any Forsaken who knew Rand's backstory, and wanted to blackmail or mentally torture him by kidnapping his father. 4. Running off by himself in Dragon Reborn. Wasn't he aware that his friends and Moiraine would simply end up following him to Tear? 5. Being overly critical of Moiraine. Much of the time he was angry with her because her suggestions of what Rand should do next were overly pushy, not because they were bad. Someone with no education, no experience, and no way of knowing what the right choice is shouldn't be so quick to disregard Moiraine's advice. 6. Keeping a list of women who "died for him". What about all the men who died for you? Either keep a list of all people who died for you, or don't keep a list at all. Sexism against men is just as bad as sexism against women, and Rand comes off as a sexist bigot who disregards the largest group of people who died for him. 7. Founding the Black Tower and completely ignoring it afterwards. He never goes back there, never deals with Taim, never attempts to gain more information, period. This is despite the fact that a. the Black Tower contains about a thousand men who can channel with various degrees of insanity b. the Black Tower is very close to Caemlyn c. Mazrim Taim is very obviously either a Darkfriend, or a highly unpleasant fellow who detests Rand d. four Ashaman tried to kill him. 8. Spending a great deal of time hunting the four Ashaman who tried to kill him, in Far Madding where Rand cannot channel. This is despite the fact that these four Ashaman (as far as Rand knows) are no more dangerous than any other Darkfriend channellers the Forsaken could send after him. Why not simply proceed with the Cleansing and forget about four among hundreds of channelers who could be ordered to kill him? 9. Having absolutely no genuine affection or devotion to Mat and Perrin, beyond a genre-demanded urge to "save them" when the plot needs an action scene, or any other male friends. Or any other friends for that matter. I wouldn't want to trust the fate of the world to someone so cold-hearted and unsociable.
  6. Take a shot every time a main character is genuinely worried, concerned, or feels like they're missing their family left back in Emond's Field, or their friends scattered around the world doing who knows what, and makes an effort to get in touch with the people they've been closest with their entire lives. Best drinking game for those out of vodka - you won't need any.
  7. Three least favorite books: A Memory of Light - Trollock slaying goreporn, complete lack of structure, off-handed and illogical resolutions to multitudes of plot-lines which had no place being in the last book. AMoL felt more like fanfiction than a WoT novel, numerous established in-universe rules were violated for the convenience of the plot (unrestricted channeling in Shayol Ghul, men initiating the link, Dark One being the source of all evil, sa'angreal suddenly lacking a safeguard against burning out, etc.) Crossroads of Twilight - extremely detailed descriptions of how nothing of relevance happens. Annoyingly repetitive scenes of people in different parts of the world suddenly feeling massive amounts of the One Power being channelled somewhere. These scenes would have been interesting and intriguing to read before we read about Rand cleansing Saidin near Shadar Logoth, not after. After WH we already know everything there is to know about the Cleansing, and seeing its effects through other people's eyes doesn't give us any new information. Dragon Reborn - intentional obscurantism on part of the author gives us second-hand accounts of Rand's journey to Tear, and establishes the "fails to live up to his hype" trope by introducing an alleged super-duper master manipulator Bel'lal who never manipulates anyone into doing anything (aside from extremely blunt attempts at taunting Rand into taking the Callandor), doesn't have any kind of personality or back-story (aside from being a mean guy who wants power), and gets killed off three minutes after entering the stage. Five most favorite books: Shadow Rising/Fires Of Heaven/Lord of Chaos. Balanced, fast-paced, mature enough not to be a blatant derivative of Tolkien and Frank Herbert. Plenty of adventures and excitement, villains who do not feel like cackling card-board cut-outs (Lanfear and Asmodean), new and relevant information about the world and its rules. Without these three books, WoT would not have had enough readers/sales to warrant a final volume. Knife of Dreams. Things start happening again. Three more books like that, and the series would have been ready for a proper finale. Gathering Storm. Brandon Sanderson dropped the ball with AMoL and ToM, but Gathering Storm was a fun read.
  8. During Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount, he (and Lews Therin) think that if the Dragon lives again in the Age of Legends, then Ilyena might as well, and he will have the chance to love her again and do better than he did last time. I don't think every subsequent iteration of the Wheel is so different that none of the people and nations will be the same - perhaps after a few hundred/thousand turnings the Third Age will gradually become unrecognizable, but probably not on the very next turning. This isn't the point, though. The point is that the readers need to see the logical consequences of killing the Dark One based on the facts that we know. Personally, I was always in support of the "killing the DO" option because to me WoT cosmology feels like a super-long Groundhog Day Loop that needs to be broken by doing the right thing, and allowing time to flow in a straight line rather than a circle. But, even if the author chose to preserve the status quo, he could have done so in a manner that made sense and was not full of retcons/plotholes. There are a lot of odd moments in the last book.
  9. I do not understand how the existence or non-existence of the Dark One can affect the nature of the Pattern and the people's ability to choose between good and evil. We know three facts about the cosmology of WoT: 1. The Creator does not influence the Pattern in any manner or form after creating it. 2. The Dark One is completely sealed off from the Pattern at all times, except the final centuries of the Age of Legends and the entire Third Age. 3. The Pattern is neither good nor evil, it simply is what it is, and good and evil are both parts of the Pattern. The first fact makes it clear that the Creator is not the source of all good in the world, the Creator merely created the world and left it to its own devices. The second fact makes it clear that the Dark One is incapable of supplying evil to the Pattern after Rand remakes his prison, yet we know that both the Fourth Age (as seen in Aviendha's visions), and our Age have plenty of evil. Even the Age of Legends had evil - Semirhage was a sadistic psycho even before the Bore was created, and criminals still existed and had to be binded against committing crimes when caught. The third and most important fact makes it clear that good and evil (and therefore the ability to choose between them and have free will) are inherent properties of the Pattern, and exist independently of the influence of any outside forces/deities. With this in mind, we have no choice but to conclude that the Dark One being the source (or product) of all evil is a major retcon and a direct contradiction of what we knew of WoT cosmology up to that point. What's worse, the retcon doesn't come because it makes the world more interesting or Rand's moral dilemma more challenging - the retcon comes because the author(s) wanted to end the series with "Status Quo is God", and couldn't think of any better justification for Rand to spare the ultimate villain. Meanwhile, even a tiny bit of imagination could have drawn a far more convincing reason for Rand to spare the Dark One in the end. And all the authors had to do was utilize the cosmology of their own universe. We know that time in WoT is cyclic - there are Seven Ages that flow seamlessly into one another, and every iteration of the Wheel is the same in basic respects, and different in precise details. The high point of the time cycle is the Age of Legends, an idyllic and highly advanced society which uses both science and magic to solve virtually all of mankind's problems (crime, hunger, illiteracy, sickness, war and other things do not exist and are long forgotten in the AoL), and which is reverted to a pseudo-medieval level of advancement after the Dark One (partially) breaks free. With this and the above mentioned facts in mind, let's see what happens when Rand sees a vision of the world where the Dark One is killed. The most surprising thing is that nothing particularly outstanding happens immediately after the Dark One is killed. At best, the DO's death results in the instant death of all Shadowspawn, instant blooming of the former Blight, instant clearing of the Ways (and destruction of Machin Shin), and instant healing of any partially or totally insane male channelers in the whole world. That is, assuming that killing the DO should also annihilate all traces of entities that exist as a direct result of the DO's taint, which I am not sure is the case. But, whatever. Lets say it happens. Why is this the only thing that initially comes as a result of the Dark One's death? Because if the Dark One is sealed off in a perfectly remade prison as per normal, he is no longer capable of affecting the world in any manner or form until the next Age of Legends. Which means that no events that occur in the time-span between the beginning of the Fourth Age and the drilling of the Bore come as a result of the Dark One's existence, in which case the Dark One may as well be dead for the duration of this time-span. Unless his prison has a hole in it, he doesn't matter. He cannot change anything in the world. Rand, seeing that the Fourth Age will turn out normal and that Elayne and his other friends/wives will do as well as can be expected under the circumstances, becomes convinced of his decision to kill the Dark One, as he was planning to do all along. Before he has a chance to go through with it, however, he senses subtle signs of triumph/gloating/satisfaction from the Dark One himself. Wondering why the Dark One would be satisfied with his own death, Rand skips forward in time, observing the new iteration of the Wheel, until he reaches himself in the Age of Legends, Lews Therin as he was one hundred or so years before the Breaking of the World. In Collam Daan university, Lews Therin's former girlfriend Mierin Eronaile and Beidomon theorize there should exist a type of Power that can be used equally by both genders. Locating a distant and exotic region of the Pattern, they drill a hole into it, and discover... nothing. No Power, no Dark One, just void. Nothingness. Sharom does not explode, the War of Power never starts, the worst thing is that Collam Daan is highly disappointed with Mierin's lack of progress/waste of government funds. Without the Dark One's evil influence, Age of Legends society lives on as normal, making further progress into the study and use of science and the One Power. Lews Therin Telamon turns in the Ring of Tamyrlin and resigns from his post to spend more time with Ilyena and his family. Mierin never reunites with Lews Therin or does anything important enough to earn a third name, Nemene Damendar Boann gets caught torturing her patients and is forced to swear on the Oath Rod, and Barid Bel Medar learns to cope with being the second-best. At this point, Rand begins to suspect that something is wrong. Without the Dark One, the War of Power can never occur, Saidin can never be tainted, and the Breaking of the World will not change the geography of the world to the way it should be in the Third Age. In fact, none of the events of the Third Age can come to pass if the Age of Legends continues to persist for centuries and millennia after its designated time. Three thousand years pass after Lews Therin dies of old age after a long and fulfilling life, and Rand comes to realize that in this world neither he nor anyone he knows and loves can exist. Even when their souls are reincarnated, they will not be the people they were in the absence of the nations they were born in, in the absence of conditions and values that shaped them as people. In an endless Age of Legends there can never be a red-haired farmboy with a heart of gold called Rand Al'Thor, there can never be the stoic and selfless young Amyrlin Seat Egwene Al'Vere, nor Elayne, Aviendha and Min. In a global utopia there will be no room for Caemliyn, Carhien, or Two Rivers. Everything that comprised Rand's life will be erased forever, along with everything that comes after it. There will be no White Tower, Return of the Seanchan, no Fourth Age, and no Aiel. The Wheel of Time is truly and irreversibly broken, as the Dark One had always intended. But what will the Age of Legends look like after millennia upon millennia of unrestricted growth? How long before hyper-advanced scientific and magical progress change the human society into something the Pattern had never envisioned, nor was ever capable to sustain? What will people devise long after they solved all of their problems and have grown arrogant and lost the wisdom that comes from facing challenges that life throws at you? Ter'angreal that allow all people to use the One Power equally, even ones who do not have the Talent? Functional immortality and lack of old age? Extra-terrestrial colonies? The urbanization of Portal Worlds, parallel dimensions (even Sindhol), and Tel'Aran'Rhiod? One way or another, the continued need for new space and new resources, as well as the inevitable shift of the people's morality and mentality (and physiology) into something wholly alien and incomprehensible, will lead to a Pattern that is so convoluted and unsustainable that it will collapse under its own weight, unable to resolve the contradictions the Pattern faces when it is does not revert from the Age of Legends to the Third Age and beyond. Now Rand sees the horrible truth - the Pattern cannot exist for longer than a single turning of the Wheel if it does not have the Dark One to introduce cataclysmic change at necessary points in time. Killing the Dark One breaks the Wheel as surely as allowing him to win does, and while the DO does not have the power to destroy the world completely - merely to twist it into something nightmarish and hopeless - killing the DO is the only possibility in which all creation winks out of existence forever. Just as he always wanted. It will take a single turning of the Wheel, but it will happen, and there will be no going back. This is only one of many possibilities, but it shows how easy it would have been for RJ/BS to write a Rand vs. DO battle of wills that would have actually made sense, looked convincing enough, and did not contradict the established cosmology in a frustratingly off-handed way.
  10. People stating that Fain's anticlimactic end was not much of a problem because Fain was no longer important to the story are unwittingly demonstrating a major flaw which manifested itself numerous times in the course of the series. Looking at any work of fiction from a critical perspective reveals a basic rule that a storyline must follow - characters, events, and plot points do not exist for the sake of existing. They exist in order to perform a relevant (and interesting) function in the story. A character that exists despite having nothing to contribute to the story is a flaw, and a big one. Fain was a recurring secondary antagonist since book one, with a very unique and complex backstory, a role/personality that set him aside from any other evil creatures in the story, and a number of villainous actions that ranged from invading the Two Rivers with an army of Whitecloaks and killing Perrin's parents to aimlessly running around Rand with a dagger in Far Madding. That didn't make him important in the sense of the manner in which he influences the WoT universe, but it did make him stand out in the minds of the readers who followed his recurring appearances and wondered about his ultimate purpose. Similarities to Gollum even led fans to theorize that Fain will unwittingly/accidentally enable the protagonists to defeat the Dark One, a theory further bolstered by the mutual annihilation of DO's and Fain's evils. When Brandon Sanderson took over the series and got to writing Fain's PoV, he ended up writing a surreal and ominous paragraph about Fain gaining awesome new powers that made him more dangerous than some of the most dangerous creatures of the Blight, and lying in wait for the protagonist(s) in a place we know he(they) must visit in the final book. This part gained further notoriety after BS said that Harriet didn't like his original draft of Fain's PoV because it wasn't creepy/insane enough, indicating that Team Jordan thought setting the right mood for the next book was important enough to demand a rewrite. So after all the recurrence, uniqueness, cliffhangers and hype, what role did Fain end up playing in AMoL? That's right, none. Zombie Trollocks accomplished nothing that regular Trollocks couldn't have done. Shaisam' tendrils accomplished nothing that Mashadar tendrils couldn't have done. Fain's insane ramblings and evil schemes resulted in even less that Fain's insane ramblings and evil schemes had resulted in previous books. At least in early WoT Fain was the only villain in the entire series who was smart enough to emotionally compromise the protagonists by attacking the village where all of their families live. In AMoL Shaisam simply did the exact same thing that all the other villains were doing. Finally, after accomplishing nothing, playing no role in the story, and wasting all of our time, he got killed off. If Fain was so decisively unimportant and had absolutely nothing to do in the final books - why was he even in the final books? The only time the connection between Shadar Logoth's evil and the Dark One's evil was ever important to the story was in Winter's Heart, when Rand ended up using their mutual annihilation to cleanse Saidin. Why couldn't RJ had gotten rid of Fain then? This plotline could have been so easy to wrap up properly. Let's say we're nearing the end of a version of Winter's Heart written by an author who bothers to write proper and timely conclusions to his plotlines. After Fain faces Rand in Far Madding where Rand can't channel and still fails to kill him, Fain decides the cursed dagger alone isn't enough to kill the Dragon, and that he needs a serious power-boost. Since Fain has no time or opportunity to corrupt new places, he decides to visit the city he had already corrupted centuries ago - Shadar Logoth. There he tries to merge with the Mashadar and turn into Shaisam, and is interrupted by Rand who channels vast amounts of tainted Saidin through Shadar Logoth, keeping Fain trapped inside. When the process is complete, Shadar Logoth and the DO's taint cancel each other out, and Fain ceases to exist. Alternatively, Fain senses Rand's presence nearby, leaves Shadar Logoth, tries to kill him and ends up being fried by one of Rand's allies, or even one of the Forsaken. The possibilities to give his character a proper conclusion are limitless. RJ chose not to do that for reasons that are not clear, and since Brandon Sanderson lacked the information to give Fain anything important to do, he just made him stand there and get killed pointlessly after making us think he was going to be at least moderately important. To sum up - don't keep characters alive after they've served their purpose in the plot, and don't give them screentime and ominous PoVs if they aren't going to matter in any way. A character with a unique background, personality, powers and role needs to have a suitably unique ending regardless of how much of a major role he will end up playing in the world's history. Otherwise, don't introduce him into your story. I'm sorry, but no. We've already seen a vision of the world in which Rand kills the Dark One and Rand confirmed that the vision was true after defeating the Dark One and understanding all of his secrets. In that world the Dark One stayed dead and was not replaced by anyone. Therefore, Fain is not a replacement. Besides, if the Pattern created Fain to replace the Dark One in case he was killed, then why have Mat the ta'veren kill Fain before Rand had the option of choosing whether or not to kill the Dark One?
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