Hey friends and welcome to the beginning of a new blog series! I do feel like I’m planning on starting new and continuing a few blog series but this one came to me and I thought – yes! I want to document my experience reading 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞 series! So, blog post series it is.
If you didn’t know, in January of this year, I read 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑱𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒏for the first time. Although I have been eyeing (heh) the wheel of time series for a while, it wasn’t until I watched the Amazon Prime show of the same name with the love of my life, Rosamund Pike, that I was adamant that I needed to at least begin the series.
If you are looking for a critical analysis of the books, this post is not going to be your cup of tea. I’m planning on just talking about what I loved, what I didn’t, any conspiracy theories I have – mostly just me gushing and talking about how I have fallen in love with this series. This post is going to focus on book one of 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞, 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 and each subsequent ‘episode’ will be about each book in the series. So, episode two is going to be 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑮𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝑯𝒖𝒏𝒕, episode three will be 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑫𝒓𝒂𝒈𝒐𝒏 𝑹𝒆𝒃𝒐𝒓𝒏, and so on and so forth.
I’ll try and keep these spoiler free, but the future episodes of this blog series will contain spoilers!!!!
Where do I even start? How do I start? Why am I nervous?!
ＳＥＴＴＩＮＧ ＴＨＥ ＳＣＥＮＥ ＆
Although beginning with a prologue, from the very first sentence we as the readers are meant to understand the sprawling nature of the very book we have picked up. Robert Jordan begins (discounting the prologue) his first chapter with an almost poetic and prophetic iteration of the following:
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.
This first sentence is the same across book one, two and three (I’m only currently up to book three!) and it maintains this feeling of prophecy, a notion that something is coming, something semi apocalyptic but ultimately transformative. One of the biggest aspects of this novel (and of the series as a whole) that I felt was not discussed often enough as someone who is just beginning this journey, is how absolutely beautiful the writing is. I’m serious! The writing is so beautiful and lyrical, with a focus on the descriptive. I’ve heard jokes that Jordan loves his dream sequences and his nature scenes, and yes that is definitely correct, but I read those with enthusiasm as there is not one moment when I am not thoroughly immersed and in absolute love with this world.
The world building overall is exceptional. This is not revelationary of to me say – I’m the one catching up to what everyone else has been saying! When I started reading 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅, I was worried that I would be too confused to really enjoy myself but I was wrong. Jordan interweaves world building and information so well within conversations between characters, character observations, character introductions, etc. That’s not to say that it can sometimes feel like an information dump, because sometimes it can be an overwhelming amount of information given, but it still just works. It is not an issue and not a criticism for me because the world itself is absolutely fascinating that every scrap of information I get, I am hoarding like a dragon hoarding it’s gold.
From my very meagre understanding of the world of 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞, and that which is introduced within 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅, book one takes place in the Third Age and is a semi-dystopian fantastical world of Earth itself. I think the First Age referenced throughout is an allusion to our reality (or the reality of the author when he was writing) as there is mention of skyscrapers and cultural references to our time. We are introduced to this world through our main character, Rand al’Thor, a young man of the Two Rivers. A town literally forgotten by all but one of incredible significance. Rand, a shepherder, and his friends Perrin, a blacksmith and Mat, son of a horse trader and farmer are our three ‘main’ characters in which the rest of the book (and the series?) focus on. Though this is multi-perspective narrative, we mostly get Rand, Egwene and Nynaeve with a sprinkling of Moraine and Perrin in the first book.
If you’re thinking that’s too much, no it is definitely not. You’ll actually be wanting MORE perspectives. Each character is written so distinctly that each voice is incredibly different. I didn’t find myself getting confused between perspectives or finding that one meshed into the other. Each perspective was their own.
And, though I’ve already mentioned them, we also have Nynaeve, Egwene, Lan and Moraine and eventually the actually wonderful Loial. Nynaeve and Egwene, both women with power, and Rand, Mat and Perrin, all find themselves in the middle of some deep shit (that’s really the only way I can explain it) with Moraine (a poweful Aes Sedai) and Lan (her Warder, think warrior bodyguard), running to the rescue.
But why where they even in the Two Rivers anyway?
Moraine is searching for the Dragon Reborn, the one man who has the capacity to both destroy the Dark One (think…Voldemort but with a nose and more swag) but also casually able to ‘break the world’ for a second time. No pressure, or whatever. Rand, Perrin and Mat are all in the running to be this Dragon Reborn and as a result, must be whisked away with Moiraine and Lan. Egwene is a bad bitch and joins the adventure.
What can I say about the awe-inspiring Moiraine? I love her. I love her so much and I know, she’s morally ambiguous but I LOVE HER. I literally want her to be my wife. Like, she is scary and manipulative and epic. She is one of the most complex characters, in my opinion, and I think maybe it’s because we don’t truly know her. We don’t know her story, her motivations or ambitions- ultimately, we can’t fully trust her. And that ambiguoity can be unsettling at times throughout the story, because you don’t actually know what she will do or what she will decide to do.
Lan is similar but also not, at the same time. I find Lan more genuine, he isn’t as morally ambiguous as Moiraine but he can’t really go against her as he is her Warder. Lan and Nynaeve HAVE TO BECOME CANON I WILL NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING OTHERWISE. And Lan is is just wonderful and I love learning more about him and his past, as well as just read more about his character.
Nynaeve is one of my favourite characters. She is SUCH A BAD BITCH. She literally does not care about authority or who she should listen to. When she decides you’re her people, she will literally die for you. Nynaeve is so loyal and her love is so fierce and all-encompassing, you cannot help but fall in love with her as a character. I think she is written quite maternally, in a way that showcases the depth of power that runs through her and her love, if that makes sense. Nynaeve is a character that I literally cannot wait to see what’s in store for her!
Egwene is similar to Nynaeve in a lot of ways. She is incredibly loyal and will do anything for you. But she is also unafraid to tell you like it is. The amount of sass she has is hilarious. Truly, some of her one-liners made me cackle!
‘Advice! Nobody tells us how to be men. We just are.’ (Perrin)
‘That,’ Egwene said, ‘is probably why you make such a bad job of it.’p. 411
An icon. Truly.
Rand grows on you like a fungus and Mat is terrible in this book (he is until book 3 – I just read the best scene with Mat and I think I love his character now) but pERRIN?! He is precious and must be protected at all costs. I love his character so much. He is a little emo boy who takes his time to think and process information, who is constantly aware of how his body could be percieved as a threat and makes sure to not allow himself to anger. He is possibly my favourite character and I love spending time in his perspective. AND THE WOLVES?! THE BEST PART. And no, I won’t be explaining.
I won’t talk too much about Loial but if we’re doing the Lord of the Rings comparison, Loial reminds me of Bilbo Baggins and no one can dissuade me from this. All Loial wants to do is smoke his pipe, read his books, talks about his stedding and wants to write a book about his journeys. REMIND YOU OF ANYONE?!
ＴＨＥ ＳＴＯＲＹ， ＭＹ ＴＨＯＵＧＨＴＳ ＆ ＴＨＥ ＬＯＲＤ ＯＦ ＴＨＥ ＲＩＮＧＳ？
In saying that, one of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard regarding 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 is how similar it feels to the Lord of the Rings by J.R .R Tolkein. If you have done even a cursory search regarding Robert Jordan and his inspritation and influences, you would know that yes, Jordan’s first novel was influenced by Tolkein. The Lord of the Rings, from what I understand, completely changed the fantasy genre and introduced fantasy tropes that one could argue are overused in fantasy now. But 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 kept to this type of fantasy trope, as it was what was being published and consumed. People have raised their eyebrows at the similarities between Orcs and Trollocs, Wargs and Myrddraals, the ‘chosen one’ trope, the walking through forests, the overarching quest, etc.
But by the end of the first novel, there is this sense that Robert Jordan was slowly shedding the Tolkein-esque influence and coming into his own writing and his story. I can also tell you that this is definitely the case with book two and book three, where Jordan fully comes into his own and the story feels unique.
Because that is the truth. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 is incredibly unique and a wonderful reading experience. I know it’s considered an epic fantasy series, I would also consider it as a coming-of-age fantasy series. Rand, Perrin, Mat, Egwene and even Nynaeve are still young, they are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want their future to look like when suddenly, everything happens and they are in a constant state of anxiety, of their lives being threatened at every turn, with pressure bearing down on their shoulders. They each make mistakes and they each are incredibly flawed, becase they are human but also because they are still growing up. Sometimes I found myself rolling my eyes at Rand, or getting frustrated with Nynaeve’s stubborness or anger at Mat’s…being Mat which was when I knew that I was already so immersed and emotionally attached to these characters. Because even when I was rolling my eyes at them, or getting angry, I loved them. They have so much pressure on them, and so many people wanting them to fail or just straight out die, that it makes sense that they’re frothing at the bit, sometimes.
Robert Jordan just so brilliantly makes you care for these characters, especially since I was unable to predict anything – I felt like I was on the edge of my seat the entire book!
This series has the potential to become my favourite fantasy series of all time. That is how much I loved 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 and that feeling has remained throughout book two and now book three.
I know I haven’t really talked much about the plot with this blog post, but I wanted this one to remain as spoiler free as possible. All future blog posts about the Wheel of Time will include spoilers though!
I truly loved 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑱𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒏. With all of my heart. I haven’t felt this way about a fantasy series in so long and I am so happy that I’m actually enjoying myself! If you haven’t already guessed it, I gave the first book in 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞 series a 5 star.
The next episode of this blog series should be going live in two or three weeks! So make sure to check that out when I post it.
Thank you all for the support, comments and likes!!
I hope you have a wonderful day/evening.
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,
4 thoughts on “Reading The Wheel of Time, Episode One: The Eye of the World aka me losing my mind”