“The Wheel of time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.”
The Eye Of The World: Page 1
Title: The Wheel of Time series
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Publication: Tor Books
Robert Jordan is the pen name of the American author James Oliver Rigney,Jr who also wrote under a couple more names. He began writing the first book of the Wheel of Time series in 1984 and it was published in 1990. He had planned on it being a twelve book saga. But he died in 2007 and his wife and writer-friend Brandon Sanderson used his detailed notes to complete the tale. They found the last book to be to long and split it into three books, making this is a 14 book saga. The wheel of time sold over 80 million copies worldwide and is the most popular fantasy series after the Lord Of the Rings.
This is a 14 book long saga and therefore the synopsis will not do justice to it at all; I hope you will forgive me for it.
The Wheel of Time begins in an age when the previous age has broken up and a new dawn is taking place to set in. The older world order is crumbling and trying desperately to get a hold in this new world. They are the villains of the piece and are associated with the Shaitan and are on the wrong side of the force/energy (Yup some might say Starwars simile).
The other side is the White tower which is by default on the right side of the power and this is the side that is trying to find the new saviour who has been born to save the world from breaking again. he is referred to as the Dragon and needs to be found in order to be trained by the right side to defeat the other side.
You with me so far? Yup now you are seeing Lord of the rings in this aren’t you? Hang on, it’s not.
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of time spans the past and the future simultaneously and switches between the two. The setting could be Europe or America in a very historical era and then perhaps the Renaissance age takes over with inventions being devised. Jordan talks of the Pattern which is the weave of events and destiny of people while the Wheel marks the passage of time.
“Waiting turns men into bears in a barn, and women into cats in a sack.”
― Robert Jordan,
The series begins in a small town called Two Rivers where an Aes Sedai (a woman who can channel the source) and her Warder (warrior/bodyguard who has sworn fealty to her) arrive much to the consternation of the entire town. The followers of the Shaitan are hunting for the “one” who is rumored to be the dragon reborn. The Aes Sedai has come to whisk him away for “his own good” yet she is unable to determine which of the three young men she meets there is the One.
So she convinces the three of them to go with her and the wise woman of the town and another young woman join in on this. The first novel details a bit of the plot, talks about life of these characters and also a bit about the breaking of the world. Their journey from Two Rivers is fraught with some battles to save their lives too as the dark side is in their pursuit too.
“Relax, lad. Take life as it comes. Run when you have to, fight when you must, rest when you can.” ― Robert Jordan,
Subsequent books talk about each of the five natives of Two Rivers splitting up to lead their own fraction against the war with the dark side. On this journey they run into other characters, discover their own hidden potentials, meet and conquer death, fall in love and learn to think and fight for themselves. Each one of them has a dedicated story to themselves which later entwine with the others to unite different fractions to fight in a united front against the dark side.
I will try to introduce some of the characters and plots to detail out some understanding of this book.
The Aes Sedai live in the White Tower and are pursuant of the true side till a split occurs in their midst. Soon the White Tower falls with assassinations and betrayals to the Dark side by some of them. Most go into exile while some begin a White Tower camp in hiding where novices are being trained to maturity of their powers. They are divided in their opinion of how to deal with the Dragon Reborn who by now is in no mood to be controlled by anyone.
“He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that.” ― Robert Jordan,
The Children of the Light have their own philosophy about life and are wary of the Aes Sedai whom they see as witches and seek to burn them. They are fanatical about their ideals but are dedicated to fighting the Shaitan though they don’t believe in the prophecy and set out to kill the Dragon Reborn.
The Seanchan are the true descendants of Arthur Hawking and believe in the powers of women who can channel. Only they don’t revere them like Aes Sedai but treat them as slaves and use the one power to punish them if they are disobedient. Seanchan armies utilises the women who can channel as weapons. This race lives across the mighty ocean and as yet hasn’t come in contact with the world on the other side. Its one of the Two Rivers young man who infiltrate them and then marries their princess who then decides to follow him in the battle.
“Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death.” ― Robert Jordan,
The Aiel live in the waste and lead an almost monastic life. They too have channelers amidst them and most of them can dream. In the dreams they travel beyond the realm to note events and lives happening in other parts of the world and even cross dimensions. Their law is absolute and strict with no room for ego. They too believe in the Dragon Reborn who was said to be born from them. Their fealty to him is a foregone conclusion and they would march anywhere to support him.
The sea-faring folks live on ships and use windfinders to travel the seas. The windfinders are women who can channel and are prized amongst their sect for their navigation skills.
False dragons are the men who claim to be the Dragon Reborn but when tested are found to not be so. They form a faction of their own and learn to channel the source. This is considered an abnormality for its only the women who can channel. They form a Black Tower to counter the White Tower.
“Always leave a way out, unless you really want to find out how hard a man can fight when he’s nothing to lose.”
― Robert Jordan,
Talent is a word used to describe various connotations of the use of the one power. So we have healing (medicinal), unweaving a weave (changing the pattern), windifnding (navigation), creating an Angreal (an object which can magnify the power), creating gateways for traveling from one place to another, foretelling, dreaming,etc.
Tel’aran’rhiod is the world of dreams where plots are cooked up by the chosen Thirteen who are the henchmen/women of the Shaitan. These thirteen infiltrate the modern world in disguise and influence people with their charms/powers to turn away from the true source. They plot, kill and conquer in this manner to restore the Dark one back to power. They too try to seduce the Dragon Reborn who by now is confused as to who he is and which side is the right side. He finally breaks his bondage from everyone and comes into his own power.
“It is every man’s right to choose when to Sheathe the Sword.”
— Ingtar Shinowa —” ― Robert Jordan,
Tarmon Gai’don is the epic battle that the Dragon Reborn fights along with his allies against the power of the Shaitan in order to prevent him from taking over the world and destroying it.
Lasting Impression on me:
The underlying theme in the book is the fight of the good vs the evil with the former triumphing. But Jordan didn’t make this an easy fight. None of the characters are perfect, each have flaws which they must overcome or give into. There is a clash of wills, hard decisions need to be made and one has to choose which side they want to be on. So even with the prophecy declaring him to be the Dragon Reborn, he has the choice to walk away from it all. He can either save the world or break it even further.
“When a woman says she will obey you, of her own will, it is time to sleep lightly and watch your back.” ― Robert Jordan,
Jordan has given great significance to women in this storyline with many of the societies shown here being matriarchal. Women superceded men in decision-making and rule their kingdoms with perfect elan. Female Aes Sedai have male Warders who are bound to their every command.
Each character starts out as a fledging and then develops into a matured individual with his/her own potential leading them toward their destiny. I loved how their lives change with their choices and how they grew up before my eyes. They leave their home as unknowns and grow into influencers/leaders whom the world chooses to follow. I think I fell in love/empathy with most of them.
“Death is light as a feather; duty, heavy as a mountain”
― Robert Jordan,
There is a lot of misinformation and misconceptions formed thereafter which need clearing up. The characters choose to go on with what they have in hand rather than wait for clarifications. Each character has a mind of his own and this is what made the plot so interesting as there were many voices in it.
Each voice gets to tell their tale and live their life without the plot becoming overbearing for me. This is an epic tale that moves fast and lets one be invested in the characters who are endearing and very real.
14 books series can seem daunting and I wouldn’t suggest reading this if Lord of the Rings bored you. Oh wait I was bored by it because of all the historical details, origins of the languages, etc. This series skips it or rather deals with it in a minimalistic fashion. I would recommend checking out the audiobooks of first couple of books to see if this is something you would dig.
I know I did and I would pay anything to have this series continue. My rating is a 5***** to it.
*This post contains an affiliate link and if you buy through it, I would earn a little commission from it too*
This series has no comparison in my mind – neither Lord of the Rings nor Game of Thrones can rival it – have you read it? Whats your opinion?
I am on a no-book-buying pact as I am pretty much broke; not to mention that I am running out of space as well!! But incase anyone wants to trade their books or send me gifts, please do check out my Wishlist on Amazon & Want to read on Goodreads.
Coming up tomorrow is just the opposite of today; in fact abnormally opposite. Wait to read it please.
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.
The A to Z Challenge is created by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by
Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts
John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing
J Lenni Dorner of Blog of J. Lenni Dorner
Some of my previous posts you might be interested in catching up on