I’m In Love With The Wheel of Time

Spoiler Warning

This essay will feature spoilers for the entire series. I will make several requests of you. First, if you have not read The Wheel of Time but plan on doing so, then please stop reading now and do not come back until you have finished the series. Second, if you have not read The Wheel of Time and do not plan on doing so, then go ahead and keep reading. However, if you find yourself at any point of this essay convinced to try the series out, then stop reading the moment you have been convinced. If not, then I encourage you to keep reading this essay until the end in the hopes that maybe the essay as a whole will convince you. Third, if you are in the midst of reading the series, then stop reading now and go back to whatever book you were on. You have been warned.

Contents

New Summer: The Introduction

  1. It was about a cast who eventually felt like family
  2. It was about a place as alive and ever-changing as any character
  3. It was about Bayle Domon
  4. It was about the moments where nothing much happened
  5. It was about the climaxes
  6. It was about the Hail Marys
  7. It was about the road trips
  8. It was about people who care
  9. It was about a woman who would not bend her back while she was beaten, and who shown with a light for all who watched
  10. It was about mystery
  11. It was about danger
  12. It was about a beginning
  13. It was about an ending

New Summer: The Introduction

One summer, near the beginning of my career as an undergraduate student at university, I was walking through a bookstore with my family. We were planning a trip, I was looking for a good book to read, and my interests guided me to the fantasy section. It was there that I saw the cover of the mass-market paperback brick that was the first book of The Wheel of Time; The Eye of The World. The classic style cover art by Mr. Sweet captured my attention, and I knew immediately that this book was probably something special. I don’t even like Mr. Sweet’s art that much to be honest, but there was something about it that felt… quintessential fantasy.

1. It was about a journey and a destination

The Wheel of Time, written by Robert Jordan and then later finished by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death, is a fourteen book fantasy epic that is both the embodiment of the hero’s journey, and at the same time a subversion of it.

2. It was about a cast who eventually felt like family

The Wheel of Time is four and a half million words long. That length is absurd. For context that is about three-hundred and forty-six times the length of this essay. You spend all those words with the same cast of characters. The result is that this cast ends up being as familiar and recognizable as your own family.

3. It was about a place as alive and ever-changing as any character

One character who should be talked about and analyzed before any other is a character who, as far as the actual text of the series is concerned, has no actual name. Despite this, the character is the most prevalent in The Wheel of Time, and is involved in every single plot-line in the series. Fans have taken it upon themselves to dub this character “Randland.”

4. It was about Bayle Domon

Before I can even begin to talk about the more important players in The Wheel of Time, we must first talk about Bayle Domon. Bayle Domon is a man who captains a cargo delivery ship. He is a minor character, one who does not have significant importance to our series protagonists. Yet Bayle Domon is also a symbol. He is the poster child for a type of character in the Wheel of Time.

5. It was about the moments where nothing much happened

As I said earlier, The Wheel of Time is over four-million words. What this means is that it is very difficult for the series to always be chugging along at the same pace. Instead, like a train, The Wheel of Time’s pace fluctuates greatly, from speeding along the rails, to slowing, and eventually stopping at stations. And it was these slow moments that I took for granted the most while reading through the series.

6. It was about the climaxes

The Climax is a staple of nearly every story, but Robert Jordan seems to understand how to create an engaging climax on a level I have not seen in most other works. Almost every Wheel of Time book delivers on their climax. Indeed, there is something special to be said for the last one-hundred and fifty pages of any Wheel of Time book.

7. It was about the Hail Marys

The Wheel of Time never forgets anything, and this is one of my favorite things about it. The Wheel of Time takes full advantage of its length by remembering every little thing and every little character. It sets up arcs that don’t end up paying off for eight books or longer. It brings back characters you haven’t seen in over five books, whom you’ve completely forgotten existed, then uses them to further the plot.

8. It was about the road trips

To read The Wheel of Time is to read a detailed account of what it is like to travel across its world. Throughout the series, characters spend a lot of time traveling from point A to point B, and we essentially get what amounts to each character’s travel logs.

9. It was about people who care

I’ve gone on long enough without addressing the series’ six protagonists. Everything in this series matters, from the smallest of side characters to the slowest of moments — I love it all — but there’s no denying that the protagonists are the heart and soul of The Wheel of Time. What makes the protagonists special is that they actually care about the world they live in and the people who inhabit it.

10. It was about a woman who would not bend her back while she was beaten, and who shown with a light for all who watched

I would like to begin this section with a statement of my own personal opinion (which you might as well take as fact, because all my opinions are true, and good, and just, and flawless, obviously).

11. It was about mystery

The Wheel of Time adores mysteries. The series is rife with them, and the questions they provide the reader are a major motivator in getting them to read more. In this series there are two kinds of mysteries that each serve a different purpose.

12. It was about danger

Danger is exciting! Nothing gets the blood pumping like a good threat. The world of the Wheel of Time is steadily built up as a place that is filled to the brim with people and things the reader and the characters can’t trust.

13. It was about a beginning

The beginning of The Eye of the World is one of my favorite sections in The Wheel of Time.

14. It was about an ending

My favorite chapter in The Wheel of Time is the very last one, “Epilogue: To See The Answer”. I consider this ending to be the perfect send off for the series, but more than that, I consider it to be one of the best endings to any story I’ve seen.

A college student and aspiring author, with too much time on his hands, a love for stories, and a desire to share that love.

A college student and aspiring author, with too much time on his hands, a love for stories, and a desire to share that love.