Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An End of an Grand Tale

Very recently, I finished reading A Memory of Light, written by Robert Jordan and posthumously finished by Brian Sanderson, the very last in The Wheel of Time series. For those unfamiliar with this series, Robert Jordan created a world and a plot that is daunting in size, even for a genre that is known for the words ”epic” and “sprawling” being pretty standard descriptors. In fact, Sanderson commented on this trait using one of the characters, Thom Merrilin, who is attempting to write about all of the event leading up to the final scene. Thom, who is a bard and noted for his turns of phrase, comments that the word “epic” is both over used and insufficient descriptor. The series, originally planned for 6 volumes, has 14 books with a total word count of over 4 million.

As for the story itself, Jordan spins a classic tale of good versus evil, but quite possibly on a grander scale than J. R. R. Tolkien, the gold standard of fantasy, managed. He has his characters (three key a dozen main, a few dozen important secondary, and a horde of others) go through many of the stock benchmarks and conventions that are found in the fantasy genre. In fact, throughout the entire series, Jordan ends up using just about every formula and cliché present in fantasy books. Yet, Jordan places every one of these standards within the amazing tapestry of the world that he has created. While A Memory of Light is the end of this series, as he frequently states in his books, it is an end, not the end. We can only hope that Jordan is as inspirational to future readers and writers as Tolkien has been.

If anyone is looking for a series that will keep them occupied for bit or an excellent fantasy series I would highly recommend picking up The Eye of the World, the first of The Wheel of Time novels. Personally, I hope to reread the entirety of the series now that all of it is out, even knowing that it will take quite some time to get through all of them.

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