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I Can't Believe I Read The Whole Thing....
on October 2, 2003
I waited eagerly for the coming of the tenth installment of this gargantuan series, but when I finally made the pilgrimage to the bookstore, handed over the $40 that I will never see again (note-this is one to borrow) I listlessly took it home. I placed it dutifully on my bookshelf, with all its' brothers and sisters, and there it stayed.
For almost two months.
Now, it's not that I didn't want to read it. I was just, shall we say, apprehensive? As most of us know, dear old RJ has been slacking off in the most shameful manner, putting out in his last two volumes such slow moving, irrelevant drivel that I now cringing with embarrassment that I ever compared him to Tolkien. What was I thinking? I used to worship this man. I praised his inventiveness, his swift storytelling, and especially his magnificent characterization and ability to pull you into his web so that you felt you were there, taking part, one with the book. Do you remember the first inkling you had that Rand could channel? So thrilling. Or when Lan finally married Nynaeve? I rejoiced. Who could forget the epic chapter in which Moiraine sacrificed herself to kill Lanfear and save Rand? I practically needed therapy, I was so overwrought. What happened?
I shall tell you, as I have been pondering the downfall of the Wheel of Time for a while now. Mr. J. has quite simply spread himself too far over the world that he created. He introduced so many subplots, intrigues and conspiracies that he has lost his focus. Now, dozens of characters have apparently starring roles who should simply have been kept in the background, for colour. At this point if he were to tie up the hundreds (I do not exaggerate...hundreds) of loose ends he has tripped himself up with, the series would go on for another decade. Horrifying thought, isn't it?
Now he is stuck trying to make sense of the colossal maze in which he finds himself, wandering aimlessly, spitting out useless garbage about who is wearing what, why this raised eyebrow could mean disaster, the significance of weevils, and how weak tea tastes. Like we care.
Lastly, I am sure I am not the only female to have been happily surprised at the status women enjoyed in the early novels. The women were portrayed as strong, intelligent, powerful and far from helpless. In other words, not stereotypical. Now, Jordan's women are either utterly heartless, with no concern for anything but her own manipulative ways, or headstrong and foolish, with only a thin line separating her from outright stupidity. Furthermore, I am becoming more and more impatient with the way all of these women treat the men, as though they are useless, incompetent and needing to be 'carefully handled', lest they go astray. I have gone from being thankful that RJ did not portray women as helpless and frail, to sheer mortification at the behavior of his female characters, especially towards the male ones.
Mr. Jordan, do us a favour. Either wrap this series up with a snappy ending, ASAP, or just put it out of its misery.