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Wheel of Time Fans?

Malveth
Rivendell

Jan 14 2013, 10:49pm

Post #1 of 13 (201 views)
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Wheel of Time Fans? Can't Post

I'm 2/3 through the 2nd volume (The Great Hunt) and I have to say, for my money, this is easily the greatest "fantasy" saga after Tolkien, and I've sampled them all! (Or most of them, anyway). Let me narrow the field: the best of the big series marketed to adult sf-f readers that started with The Sword of Shannara in '77, the ones clearly influenced by, or written in response, to Tolkien.

At first I thought, "This is a really engaging, solidly written fantasy work-out, with touches of Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander and Katherine Kurtz." At this point I am pretty much blown away & astonished at the depth and sheer scope of the story that is unfolding. I'd like to clip a lot of RJ's sentences and rearrange his word-order here & there but overall I have to say I love his prose style - so warm and confident, it has a real feeling of literary depth and deep strength, a very masculine "voice". I love the mixing of real-world historical frame works, mythologies, religions and all the literary allusions. The characters are memorable, very noble and likable. The world building is off the charts, it just puts so many other series to shame. Maybe it's just me but I really appreciate that there's no smut in the books - I can't stand that stuff in modern fantasy (this is coming from a socially liberal atheist!). It really is an extraordinary work!

I know the series had some "problems" in later volumes but I'm actually looking forward to them, since they were the last books Robert Jordan ever wrote.

Any fans around here?


(This post was edited by Malveth on Jan 14 2013, 10:54pm)


Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Jan 15 2013, 12:07am

Post #2 of 13 (98 views)
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Yes, I have read everything and am just waiting to get the last book. [In reply to] Can't Post

I will say this....it is an engaging story but it does take a large amount of patience, especially as you move into the middle books. Take advantage of the online resources - encylopedia etc. to keep various characters in mind. There are toooooo many subplots and toooo many characters, but I think the end will be worth it. Brandon Sanderson did a fantastic job of completing the series with such a deft hand that you really do not notice the different authorship (to his credit he does move some things at a quicker pace but overall the feel is the same).

http://www.encyclopaedia-wot.org/

http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/A_beginning

If you have not yet, read Mistborn too - Brandon Sanderson's trilogy.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jan 15 2013, 12:12am)


Malveth
Rivendell

Jan 15 2013, 12:25am

Post #3 of 13 (90 views)
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Awesome! [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to confess I'm not a "plot" person. While the books have set up some intriguing mysteries & arcs, I'm happy just to read his prose, spend time with his characters, and live in his world. As long as the prose maintains this level of quality & the characters remain interesting, I'll be cool. I'm looking forward to the "nothing happens" volumes, ha ha. They sound kind of relaxing!

I peeked at the end of AMOL and what I saw made me want to read the whole series :)

What is your favorite volume?
Favorite character?
Where do you stand on the covers? (I am a devout DKS fan, so you can imagine where I stand!).

My two favorite characters are Lan & Loial. I also love Moiraine and Rand.

Have you sampled the comics? I'm halfway through the New Spring adaptation. The art is passable but the adaptation is quite good.


acheron
Gondor


Jan 15 2013, 12:40am

Post #4 of 13 (118 views)
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yep [In reply to] Can't Post

I post about it in the What are you Reading threads every so often. Just last week I posted that I started on AMOL. (Not very far through it yet!)

It does bog down in the middle; if you have momentum you may be able to power through. Tongue The first time I read the series, the books up through #9 (Winter's Heart) were out. I got through all of them (and it seemed to be picking up at the end of #9), waited for #10 (Crossroads of Twilight) to come out, and I never did make it through #10; just got too slow for me.

My wife is a bigger fan of them then I am though, so she did make it through #10 and got #11, though I didn't read it at the time. When #12, Sanderson's first one, came out, I decided to go back and read #11 (I mostly didn't miss anything from #10 Wink ), which was much better anyway, and then Sanderson's first was very good as well. Read #13 when it came out (also good), and now finally the last one.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams

(This post was edited by acheron on Jan 15 2013, 12:41am)


Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Jan 15 2013, 3:32pm

Post #5 of 13 (76 views)
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As far as the cover art by the late Darrell K Sweet, [In reply to] Can't Post

my only criticism was that sometimes his scale seemed off. TOR sometimes used cover art that did not reflect anything that happened in the book or takes place in a different book.

Favorite characters, hmm...I still focus on Rand as the central character and enjoy the core group of his band and the female leads. Sometimes, I get annoyed with Perrin's character and Nynaeve's hair tugging etc. but they all have interesting story arcs. There are some of the secondary characters I like - some you will meet in later books.

One thing that annoyed me were the long prologues. Sometimes, you never see where the storyline is going as it does not play out in the books.

As the end volumes came out I was wondering how all of the plot lines were going to be resolved. Now with the last book, I still wonder.

It is a series that when it is on it is really good and has grand battles with complex force movement and action scenes. There are travels through various regions that are colorful and well presented. It does not have the same feeling to me as the world of JRRT. In Tolkien, I always felt the presence of "fairy" so to speak..the elvish and Valar influences on his world. WOT is very much a human world with nature similar to what we know. It does not have the same sense of underlying "magic". In some ways, with the Wheel of Time concept it is a future world (earth) or one of many possible earths.

Jordan was very good at finding and using real religious traditions and imagery to influence his work. He often employed names that are derivative of real names in well known and obscure religions. His peoples are generally identifiable by current human ethnic groups. His city states are also similar to real world states.

Like his books, this reply is getting too wordy...it is hard to condense 10,000 pages into a response!
My advice, just read / skim through some of the sections because the color of servants dress and hair style and facial features are not worth remembering. Some of the plot lines of secondary characters end up more interesting than the main arcs.

Just push through to the bitter end.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 15 2013, 3:51pm

Post #6 of 13 (71 views)
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Didn't Sweet also do some cover art for Tolkien books? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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Malveth
Rivendell

Jan 15 2013, 3:53pm

Post #7 of 13 (69 views)
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Spoken like a true veteran! [In reply to] Can't Post

Ha ha, thanks for the feedback.

I really don't mind the idea that the series becomes meandering. I'm looking forward to it, it's so notorious! And it sounds like a nice relaxing read, in a way.

I agree about the prologues - the first two, anyway, are written in a different style, very mainstream sword & sorcery - and they were both annoying.

RJ is very different from Tolkien as a stylist. Good points. For me, LotR's has a fever dream quality, almost a surreal nightmare quality in its representation of evil. WOT is definitely more prosaic, less impressionistic than LotR's.

I'm 50/50 on RJ's nomenclature. 50% I love, 50% I have problems with. My own sense of naming things is closer to Tolkien, I almost never use existing words, and work up original words from the bottom up, developing "word trees" and histories for languages. But I am not a linguist, I don't even have a second language, so it's nowhere near as technical as Tolkien. I think RJ did an above-average job (at least) compared to the lazy nomenclatures from other fantasy novels.

I'm hoping the end isn't bitter! I'm out to enjoy the series. I'm looking forward to the slower volumes, in part just to say that I've read them, in part just to experience the whole epic as RJ intended it. I don't like Brandon Sanderson at all, but it seems that he did an honorable job on his three volumes.

I am just about to encounter the Seanchan for the first time :)


Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Jan 15 2013, 4:51pm

Post #8 of 13 (65 views)
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Here is a Darrell Sweet tribute [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.tor.com/...mory-of-light-sketch

1. Eye of the World.....I don't like the scale of Moraine and her horse to Lan. I did not realize she was a Hobbit!

2. The Great Hunt.....remind me, did that exact scene appear in the book?

3. The Dragon Reborn....pretty good, I like the Aiel.

4. The Shadow Rising....eh, ok, a typical campfire scene with the characters but it does not pull the book buyer in as cover art. How about something related to The Shadow?

5. The Fires of Heaven....pretty good.

6. Lord of Chaos....I don't care for Rand's depiction...his shoulders are too broad or his waist and legs too thin. The rest of the scene is good.

7. A Crown of Swords....very good.

8. The Path of Daggers...very good.

9. Winters Heart....very good.

10. Crossroads of Twilight....good and bad. The scale once again is noted...the two riders behind Mat are too small.

11. Knife of Dreams....meh...once again, the scale is all off. Rand looks too old in the face. I realize the Aiel are tall but this portrayal is too tall.

12. The Gathering Storm....eh, ok but once again there are scale issues.

13. The Towers of Midnight....ok, a scene out of the book....hmm, where have we seen that pose by Bashere before...see Knife of Dreams.

14. A Memory of Light - sketch....just a preliminary version - has a more JRRT like feel - other than the Ying and Yang cloud.


Malveth
Rivendell

Jan 15 2013, 4:58pm

Post #9 of 13 (72 views)
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Absolutely [In reply to] Can't Post

He did the classic Copper/Gold/Blue/Green/Red colored Ballantine paperback editions from the early-mid 1980's. Wonderful stuff!


(This post was edited by Malveth on Jan 15 2013, 4:59pm)


Malveth
Rivendell

Jan 15 2013, 5:05pm

Post #10 of 13 (64 views)
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DKS [In reply to] Can't Post

I love all 14 covers he did (incl. New Spring) but that's as a DKS fan. I love all of DKS's idiosyncrasies, they are what make his art so distinctive & unique.

As a new WOT fan I definitely don't like his depiction of Rand (and his constantly shifting facial features & age & body build!), the Trollocs (swarthy men in animal-helmets?) and I have other problems.

But on their own they're great covers. My faves are EOTW, TDR, WH, KOD, CAT (especially). I definitely don't like the new uber-generic covers, myself. AMOL is classic Whelan; wish they cd've included the unfinished DKS as endpapers, tho.


Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Jan 15 2013, 6:10pm

Post #11 of 13 (70 views)
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Some of his JRRT art work [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.imagenetion.com/imagenorg/tolkien21.htm

Some are "ok" others I don't care for his depiction of the dwarves build or hobbits faces and the costuming is either ok or I don't like it...shoes/boots etc.

I like this one other than ?Aragorn
http://www.imagenetion.com/...orgingOfTheSword.htm


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jan 15 2013, 6:11pm)


Malveth
Rivendell

Jan 15 2013, 7:45pm

Post #12 of 13 (81 views)
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I should mention... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that DKS art is profoundly nostalgic for me. I grew up haunting the sf-f section of the local bookstore & DKS probably did 60% of all the covers back then. So there's a sentimental emotional element at play in my appreciation of his art. But I also don't think that it is always necessary for a book cover to be 100% accurate. Of course, when it comes to my own book, I want a 100% accurate cover, dammit, ha ha! But for other books, I often enjoy a cover that stands on its own even if it wanders from the descriptions in the text.


zarabia
Tol Eressea


Jan 16 2013, 2:55am

Post #13 of 13 (70 views)
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Knowing what you're in for - hopefully - will see you through to the end [In reply to] Can't Post

I started reading WoT when EotW first came out in paperback, so I had to wait for each new story, and therefore lost some of my momentum. I never made it past the 6th book because I had forgotten some of the details from previous books and, though I loved the first three or four, I didn't want to have to re-read them in order to get the most out of the ones that followed.

That said, I LOVED Eye of the World! I hadn't read Tolkien or any fantasy before (i had been into s-f in younger days, but never fantasy) so I don't know what prompted me to buy it. But I was hooked immediately in a way I had never been before or have since. As much as I love LOTR, and I truly love LOTR, I must say, Eye of the World excited me more than Fellowship of the Ring. The overall story of LOTR is better, but in terms of not being able to put the book down, staying up past bedtime reading, EotW wins hands down. Maybe if I had read LOTR before WoT, EotW wouldn't have seemed so amazingly exciting. (I almost jumped out of my chair when the trollocks first attacked Rand and Tam on their farm! ) Having read LOTR, I now see where Jordon was influenced by, and borrowed from Tolkien, but I think Jordon took Tolkien ingredients and made his own dish...if you will Tongue

However, with each new novel in the series, I became less enamored of WoT, whereas LOTR made me fall deeper in love. WoT just kept adding new characters and more characters so that the ones I bought the books to read about seemed almost to disappear. Maybe one day I'll go through the summaries that Eruonen provided a link to and then try reading the final book, but even that seems like it would require more patience than I have at present.

But good luck to you!!! I hope you continue to enjoy them; they really are great...just frustratingCrazy

BTW, I loved Moiraine, Lan (reminds me of Aragorn) and yes, Loial Smile

"The question isn't where, Constable, but when." - Inspector Spacetime

(This post was edited by zarabia on Jan 16 2013, 2:58am)

 
 

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