Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Wheel of Time series comes to satisfying end

  • Print

After 22 years, 14 volumes, hundreds of characters, countless storylines and two authors, arguably the modern era's most ambitious fantasy series, The Wheel of Time fantasy, has come to a close. Most readers who have been with it since the first volume, The Eye of the World, was published in 1990, should be satisfied.

In fact, they should be happy not just with the novel itself but with the series being completed at all. Primary author Robert Jordan, a South Carolinian, died in 2007 after the 11th volume, Knife of Dreams (2005). Brandon Sanderson, a Utah-based fantasy author and academic, has carried on in his stead.

The series is a prime example of epic fantasy, both in genre and scope. It is about the ongoing struggle between "the Dark One" and the Dragon Reborn, who is the champion of light. The story follows a group of young villagers who through struggle and hardship become the heroes who face the forces of the Dark One.

To complete the series, Sanderson worked closely with Jordan's widow, Harriet McDougal, who edited all of the books in the series. Sanderson also worked from notes and even partial scenes written by Jordan.

The conclusion was originally intended to be one novel, but they realized they had too much material. The Gathering Storm came out in 2009, The Towers of Midnight in 2010 and now A Memory of Light.

In this volume we reach the "Final Battle" the previous 13 volumes were building up to and we see the last confrontation between the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One.

Not surprisingly, a large portion of this 900-page book is dedicated to battle scenes. The Final Battle is an all-out war on four fronts, in addition to the "duel" between the main protagonist and antagonist.

The reader is barraged with a constant stream of fast-paced, action-packed, tension-building scenes, in which major storylines end in a brutal and sometimes almost off-hand manner. It often leaves you thinking you must have missed something.

(Longtime readers, take note: don't assume any characters you've been rooting for since the beginning are safe.)

However, it's not just about the Final Battle; perhaps more important, it's about ending the series.

The constantly changing points of view mean almost all the characters introduced in the series make an appearance or are referred to, and their storylines tied off.

Unfortunately, some of the major characters (into the double digits, admittedly), such as Nynaeve, Thom and Siuan, barely get any page time, while some minor characters get several chapters. As well, some plot details get resolved offstage, frustrating for anyone waiting years to see how Sanderson would handle them.

Still, given the scope of the story, such shortening tactics tie things off and keep the main storyline going.

As a whole, A Memory of Light is an impressive book. Sanderson manages to finish the series in a way that stays true to Jordan's vision and the world he created.

There are a few instances where Sanderson's style, such as his sense of humour (more modern than Jordan's), sticks out -- reminding us that the writer finishing the series was not the same one who began it. That Sanderson often makes this possible to forget is a testament to his skill as writer and his clear dedication to the series as a whole.

But it was also clearly Jordan's skill in creating such a detailed world, with complex and developed characters, and an outline that stayed largely true over 20 years of writing, that laid the foundation for the final volume's success.

Winnipegger Bronwen Quarry, an archivist with the Archives of Manitoba, has been an avid fan of The Wheel of Time since the series began.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 26, 2013 J9

History

Updated on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM CST: adds fact box, replaces photo

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy's pregame press conference - August 21

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose gobbles up grass at Fort Whyte Alive Monday morning- Young goslings are starting to show the markings of a adult geese-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 20– June 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comment that Tina Fontaine’s slaying was a crime, and not part of a larger sociological problem?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google