Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Wheel of Time

At last it is done. A Memory of Light is read and the Wheel of Time series is completed. Delayed so long by the time it takes to write and edit and publish books, then the reading interrupted by normal life intrusions, the epic fantasy finally ended for me this morning.
And so it is with A Memory of Light. Physically too large to hold easily and read in bed, this Final Battle sometimes dragged me forward, sometimes hurled me forward, and sometimes beat me down with such sorrow that I didn’t think I could continue. But like the characters Robert Jordan raised and Brandon Sanderson carried on, I had to see it through to the end. Whatever end that might be.
My journey through the Third Age began early in 2008, shortly after the announcement that Brandon Sanderson would finish Robert Jordan’s work. As a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I had been forever after The Trilogy of the Rings, dissatisfied by fantasy fiction in general. I had never liked series. Most had characters about whom I did not care past the first book. And the stories got watered-down and I, quite frankly, did not care how they ended.
The characters in the Wheel of Time series are so well-wrought that they lived in my imagination parallel to the real people in my real world. I cared what happened to them. I needed as much as wanted to know what happened to them.
And the story. The story is truly epic. Written on this page, the word epic is so small, but it feels too big to be contained by this world. I’m sure the story of my real world, if there might be such a story, is also epic. But it does not present itself to me in a coherent beginning, middle, and end style that I can follow. The characters in my real world are so little known to me, even those closest to me, that I do not get to see more than snapshots and shadows of their thoughts and feelings, their anticipations and experiences. There may be a Pattern to my real life just as there is in the Wheel of Time, but I can’t see it. Here is the advantage of fantasy done well. I can’t see these things in my life but I can in the lives of the characters in these books.
Five years and fourteen books later, The Wheel of Time has turned as it willed and, I am satisfied.