In the last poll, I asked which book you were expecting the most for 2013. The most popular answer wasn't the biggest surprise but still, there was enough votes and it stood out. January 8th 2013 is the release date of A Memory of Light, the final book in the famous Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and finished by Brandon Sanderson since the author's death.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
Twenty-two years have passed since the release of the first book, The Eye of the World. Thirteen books later, with 44 millions of these sold in North America alone, the series has become a real phenomenon. Video games have been made, with a real attempt on the horizon by Obsidian, comic book series were released and the rumors for a TV or movie adaptation never stopped. In the last three years, the ebook editions were released by Tor and a great series of illustration by many talented artists was presented with them (see it here).
I still remember when I started reading the first book, I was nineteen years old. Even if some of my friends told me that the series was dragging down after the fourth book, I liked it enough to go on, even after at least one Crossroad that felt harder than the rest... I already had a big knack for Epic Fantasy but I was a bit disappointed early on to find similarities in term of plot with the Lord of the Rings. Lan was too much like Aragorn, the Myrdraal like the Nazgul, the trollocs like the orcs and the quest toward Shayol Ghul was reminiscent of Sam and Frodo's quest to reach Mordor. Moreover, even though back then there were less stories with the prophetical farm boy destined for saving the world, it nagged at me.
But then, thinking back about it, I have fond memories of the series. It stands now as one of the core series when you list Epic Fantasy sagas and it deserve some praise. The scope eventually became gigantic, almost out of control at times (the whole Perrin rescuing Faile arc was simply awful) but characters like Rand, Mat, Thom, the Forsaken and even Nynaeve always compelled me to keep reading. I mention Nynaeve since I never liked the women in Jordan's books but I grew fond of her. Her dedication for Rand is probably the source of it.
One of the most interesting aspect of this huge tale is the discussions it generated. Speculations aplenty! The world felt complete, from the political struggles to the different nations, from the Aes Sedai to the Children of the Light, from the ruins of Rhuidean to the Ways or from the Ogiers to the Seanchan. Some scenes were memorable; Lews Therin and the Betrayer....the fight at Dumai's Well... the battle with the Horn at Falme... Rand losing his hand... Mat with the Eelfinn... Rand on Dragonmount... to name only a few...
As for Brandon's involvement, I'm glad he was chosen. He struggled with Mat a bit in The Gathering Storm and he was criticized for the decision of splitting the conclusion into threes books but with two books in, even if it's now time for the series to end, I think it was a good idea. Kudos again to Brandon for stepping to the plate, the shoes were not easy to fill. At least, the ending is the one Jordan envisioned.
Thinking about this ending that we will discover soon, I think it's safe to assume that good will triumph over the Dark One. However, there's still the fate of Rand to speculate about. In the end, that's mostly his story, he's the heart and soul of the saga. I think that he will live through it, not unscathed but alive. I argued with a friend about that and I still think that he should die. That can seem like an easy way to create a martyr factor to finish the series with a burst of emotion but with everything he's been through, he's ready for the big sacrifice, he would do it!
What do you think? What memories WoT brings back for you? What's your favorite scenes and characters? Are you waiting for the series to finish before starting it? Have you read all the books and are eagerly waiting for the finale? Have you started the series and abandoned? Are you indifferent?
As for the poll: "Will you read A Memory of Light?"
- The day it's released
- Sometimes when I feel like it
- I walked away from WoT
- Over my dead body
- A Memory of what?
You might also be interested in:
(my complete list of scores for the series are at the end of the index)
The Gathering Storm
Towers of Midnight
Amazing recap by Adam at the Wertzone
Tor.com Wheel of Time reread
Dragonmount WoT community
A Memory of Light prologue
A Memory of Light chapter one