Posts Tagged ‘Wheel of Time’

Robert Jordan: R.I.P.

Robert Jordan, the author of The Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels died of a rare blood disease yesterday. Fans around the world are cursing in rage and grief. Rage because he didn’t finish the series, leaving us forever hanging off a cliff, grief because we’ve lost a writer of incredible imagination and talent.

I’ll try to explain why it’s such a big deal that he didn’t finish the series. He started it in 1990 and by 2005 had completed 11 books in the series. The story is huge and encompasses the lives of upwards of a hundred characters. I haven’t done an actual count but there are a crazy number of people to keep track of in these books. By around book 7 fans were starting to get nervous, some angry, at how sprawling the story had become. Every book introduced new characters, leaving less time for the old ones. By book 10 the story’s progression had slowed to a molasses crawl. Everyone was frustrated because it was clear there were way too many loose ends to wrap up in even 1 more 800 page book. I think he was thinking he’d have it all wrapped up by book 14. When you’ve been following a story for 17 years, it’s a big deal. All of his characters died with him. Ugh.

I remember actually thinking during book 10 that Jordan had better not die before he finished this damn thing. I didn’t know he was actually ill. The problem was that even amidst the frustration of too many characters and slow plot progression, his characters were engaging and the story was fascinating. I can’t believe he didn’t finish it. He was working on book 12 so perhaps they’ll edit it into something publishable. It worked for Tolkien and I’m sure Tor Publishing would love to do it.

Robert Jordan is a pen name, by the way. I didn’t know anything about the man behind that name but I’ll mourn the writer.