Tuesday, May 31, 2011

20 Years of The Wheel of Time - The Retrospective

I have always been into fantasy and science fiction. They were the first types of books I read, when I really started reading in earnest in seventh grade. My older brother had a series called The Belgariad by David Eddings and I was immediately hooked. I loved that series, still do to this day and every once in a while I get bored of current fantasy offerings and re-read it.

Over the next years, into high school, I devoured a lot of fantasy and science fiction, from Piers Anthony to Stephen Donaldson to Weis & Hickman. I went from series to series, always looking for something new and interesting.  Back in 1992, I started reading a series called The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. I was a sophomore in high school and little did I know the journey in that story would span twenty years of my life. I have kept up with the series and starting with the release of Book 5, The Fires of Heaven, I have bought each new volume in hardback on the day of release, and have re-read the series countless times. I recently donated all my paperback copies to a library, but I still have all the hardbacks (a couple signed by Robert Jordan himself) and am buying new copies on my Kindle.

I just recently moved, and The Wheel of Time 
books took up an entire box of their own.

The series will finally end next year, 2012 [Update 2/23/12: It's 2013 now, the release was pushed back to Jan 8, 2013], with the publication of the 14th volume, A Memory of Light, completed by Brandon Sanderson, who took over the series after Robert Jordan's untimely death in 2007. It has been a wild ride over the years, but as my life has changed and I moved through different phases, from high school to college to the working world and now marriage, The Wheel of Time (WoT) has always been one of those constants... it's really going to be strange not having a WoT book to look forward to.

I recently started a re-read of the series to prepare for the final book – perhaps my last re-read for a long time to come; I don't have lots of time to read these days – and decided to write about each book as I finish it, and record some of the memories I have of the series along the way. While writing this Introduction I am currently on Book 3 of the re-read, so my "memoirs" on Books 1 and 2 will be along fairly soon.

In each blog entry for each book, I'll share details about what was going on in my life when I bought it, and any special meaning that the book may have brought me. I'll also write about my impressions at the time (what I can remember of them), as well as my impressions after just reading it now.

Note that there will be spoilers for the entire series in each blog, so if you don't want something ruined for you and if you haven't the entire series yet, don't read these blogs. After twenty years, the statute of limitations for WoT spoilers has run out for me. Most people who read this will have read all the books anyway.

Anyway. WoT has been a part of my life for such a long time and I'm feeling nostalgic... so I am compelled to do this. I don't think anyone is really reading my young blog at this point, but as Geddy Lee sings in the Rush song "Virtuality":

          Put your message in a modem
          And throw it in the Cyber Sea

So I'm just going to throw it out there and maybe it will connect with someone. The day this was posted I stumbled across another blog doing a similar thing, which is not surprising [Update 7/30/13: They seem to have given up after 2 books]. There are a lot of old school WoT readers out there.

As the blog for each volume goes up, I'll add the link below so it's easier for you to find.  You can also use the "the wheel of time" or "retrospective" tags to find all posts.

2011-05-31: Book 1 – The Eye of the World (1990)
2011-06-15: Book 2 – The Great Hunt (1990)
2011-07-06: Book 3 – The Dragon Reborn (1991)
2011-08-11: Book 4 – The Shadow Rising (1992)
2011-09-12: Book 5 – The Fires of Heaven (1993)
2011-10-06: Book 6 – Lord of Chaos (1994)
2011-11-04: Book 7 – A Crown of Swords (1996)
2011-11-17: Book 8 – The Path of Daggers (1998)
2011-12-15: Book 9 – Winter's Heart (2000)
2012-01-20: Book 10 – Crossroads of Twilight (2003)
2012-02-23: Book 11 – Knife of Dreams (2005)
2012-03-21: Book 12 – The Gathering Storm (2009)
2012-04-29: Book 13 – Towers of Midnight (2010)
2012-05-16: Prequel – New Spring (2004)
2012-12-22: Reference  The Big White Book (1997)
2013-01-12: The Wheel of Time is Complete
2013-07-08: Book 14 – A Memory of Light (2013) - Part 1
2013-07-29: Book 14 – A Memory of Light (2013) - Part 2
2013-08-01: Short Story – River of Souls (2013)
2013-09-23: Retrospective Conclusion

1 comment:

  1. Glad to know I'm not the only nut engaged in this trip down Memory Lane.