Monday, 13 January 2014

Anticipation of the End of Wheel of Time

I started reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series back in 1995.  And last week, I got the final book in the series.

I was tempted (very tempted!) to just jump in and devour the whole thing so that I could finally find out what happened.  But I decided to hold back and savour the anticipation.

I've been reading these books for almost twenty years.  The first reading of a story only happens once and for something like this, it's not worth potentially spoiling.

So I have spent this last week reading the entire series again.  At over 1200 pages per book and thirteen books, that's over 15 600 pages.  (Okay, I will admit I may have skimmed over some of the boring bits in the middle but I still read the vast majority of it.)  As I type this, I have less than 100 pages between me and the start of the final book.

Sometime in the next three days, I will close the covers and be happy, disappointed or furious.  We'll just have to see whether or not the ending is satisfactory.

The series has had its challenges.  Originally Jordan planned a 9 book arc but things were going so well that he decided (or was persuaded) to expand.  Which led to the disaster of three books in the middle where virtually nothing happens.  4600 pages which cover a period in the story of less than 3 days.  He divided the story up between over 20 major characters and then proceeded to chop it up enough that the whole thing stalled almost into non-existence.  (Someone needed to review proper story structure ... just pointing it out.)

However, the last three books have gotten us back on track.  Elements woven in the first books are coming to fruition and the whole thing seems to be wrapping up in an artistically satisfying way.

Of course, I thought the same thing with the Matrix movies and Battlestar Galactica, so I've learned that sometimes the reader/audience sees more than the author.  And while the author can fake it for awhile, eventually the truth comes out.

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