Literary Things: The Wheel of Time

Hey all- Ben here. When Ian decided to add Literary Things to this blog, it was actually somewhat of a package deal– two Humeniuks for the price of one. And now that you know me and my love of science fiction, allow me to introduce my better half and a true connoisseur of fantasy: Christin. We’ll actually be swapping out on posts each month, which is lucky for you– she’s a lively and talented writer who devours books in overnight binges. For this first outing, she’ll be giving you an overview of perhaps her FAVORITE of the many series she’s tackled.

So without further ado, take it away, Christin!

As one of the few females asked to write on this blog, I tread lightly and nervously; it doesn’t help that my natural strengths lie more with numbers than words. In order to make up for my nervousness, I have chosen to write about a series that is near and dear to my heart – The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (may he rest in peace).

I was first introduced into this wonderful fantasy world back in 2004, but I was late coming to the party. The first novel, The Eye of the World, was published in 1990. I read the first ten books (yes that’s right folks, I said TEN) in about six months – and I am still waiting on the 14th and final book – hopefully coming out in January of next year (thanks to the help of Brandon Sanderson). I will attempt to “share the love” regarding this series because — for realsies – it’s awesome.

SO okay, the books always start off with the same sentence about the Wheel of Time turning, ages passing, and how there are no beginnings or endings… but the story you’re about to read is a beginning anyway. Before we even meet the main players in the first book, we find out there are some special folks (Aes Sedai) who can wield the One Power (magic…kind of), which is divided into two halves; the female half – saidar, and the male half – saidin.

Unfortunately, back in the Age of Legends, the male half of the source got tainted when the Dark One was sealed into a prison by a male Aes Sedai – “The Dragon” – leaving any man who is capable of touching the One Power to go completely nuts. And I mean crazy psycho – like “killing-everyone-around-you-and-even-causing-mountains-to-be-formed-by-your-rage” psycho.

This is even a bigger bummer when we learn that the Dark One is getting out now and the only one who can stop him is…dun dun dun…the Dragon Reborn spun out from the Wheel.

The real journey begins when we meet Rand (not-spoiler – he’s the Dragon Reborn), a young shepherd and his two best buddies, Mat and Perrin. They don’t know it, but they’re gonna change and eventually (I hope?) save the world. Throughout the books, Rand has to come to grips with his destiny and his crazy self – from the tainted source – as he prepares the world as he knows it for the last battle against the Dark One. All of his friends are swept up in this journey as well – but they each find their own distinctive path along the way. It turns out to be pretty difficult to unite neighboring cultures and warring kingdoms together – even when the enemy is so clearly…evil.

One of the things that I LOVE about the series is all of the kick-butt girls along the way – who seriously make the series incredible. With the female half of the source the only safe half to use, they truly hold the power in most circumstances (magically, politically, and often emotionally). Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha, and Moiraine…ahh just thank you. And I didn’t even mention Verin, Siuan or Min. (And I very purposefully did not mention Faile.)

A few things that you would need to prepare yourself for if you choose to undertake this 11,000+ page journey is just that – the length. Jordan is absolutely and certainly in love with this world and characters he created – so pretty much no one dies (spoiler!) and at times it can start to feel a little bit like Grandpa is just going and going and he forgot the reason he started tell the story.

BUT – if you give yourself a chance to get into the books, then you can forgive him for this, because it’s going to be hard for me to say goodbye, and this has only been a small part of my life for eight years. It was his WHOLE life for over 20 years.

I know WoT isn’t perfect, but I promise it is rewarding. The amount of love that is shown to this series by its fans can be a testament to that. There are SO many websites dedicated to this series – my personal favorite is The WoT Reread on Tor.com by the hilariously talented Leigh Butler. I recommend checking out her interpretation of the first few chapters if you need a refresher, or you can get the paperback/Kindle copy for about eight bucks a pop on Amazon.

Try it out and let us know what you think (Ian’s a WoT junkie too), and then we can all go to JordanCon together next year…ha.

Christin holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics (with Honors) from Baylor University, leads the Middle School Ministry at StoneBridge Church, and will teach you the proper method of eating individually packaged applesauce if you ask kindly. Kindly do not cross her in a game of Settlers of Catan, unless you like the taste of defeat. You can find more of her posts at Our Neck of The Woods. And yes, her husband totally wrote this blurb.

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About Ben Humeniuk
Married to Christin, dad of two, follower of Christ. I'm an educator and a cartoonist. And I'm going to encourage us to understand.

4 Responses to Literary Things: The Wheel of Time

  1. Pingback: Wives and Wheels (of Time)! | Benjamite

  2. koco says:

    I’ve been thinking of reading this series after devouring everything Brandon Sanderson has written and impatiently waiting for the next instalment in ‘Way of Kings’. You have convinced me…I am visiting ibooks next…thanks 🙂

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