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Kory101
12-23-2011, 10:21 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm new here and just about to dive into WoT for the first time.

What can I expect?

Is Book 9 really as slow and hard to get through as I've heard?

Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Kory

Fin
12-23-2011, 10:29 PM
i like winters heart but then again i like them all. i do believe some things are drawn out but a lot of good things come together in this book.

confused at birth
12-23-2011, 10:42 PM
Is Book 9 really as slow and hard to get through as I've heard?

maybe if you had to wait for the next book but I liked it and dont know anyone who had got the next one already that complained.

Kimon
12-23-2011, 10:46 PM
i like winters heart but then again i like them all. i do believe some things are drawn out but a lot of good things come together in this book.

The Rand section of WH is quite good, the Perrin section not as much. CoT was the only book that seemed tedious to me, probably because it focused too much on Perrin and Egwene.

Terez
12-24-2011, 12:21 AM
Hello everyone,

I'm new here and just about to dive into WoT for the first time.

What can I expect?

Is Book 9 really as slow and hard to get through as I've heard?

Any tips would be appreciated!I didn't find any of the books hard to get through. Some fans had issues with books 7-10, mostly because they were waiting for the end of the story, and relatively little seemed to happen in those books, which can be an aggravating experience with 2-3 years between books, especially when you've been reading the series for over a decade already (20 years for some now). It's not an issue for most people who can read through all the books at once.

Lupusdeusest
12-24-2011, 03:22 AM
I'm in agreement with what has already been posted. The only thing further I can contribute is probably this: Yes, it slows a little, but it's for a good reason. It's not useless waffling. The threads have scattered, so you can't tell the events of one major character through the eyes of another; you have to instead tell each character's story separately, which can make for a lot of individual stories covering the same period of days.
Given the above, again, the only one whose length I truly noticed was CoT, and then only because Mat's storyline in it took longer to wrap up than I thought it did. It was better the second time round I read it - I found where Mum had hidden my copies after confiscating them and burned through the whole series in 6 days. Not recommendable, especially when noone is there to make sure you eat or go to class. But if you've KoD there for immediate afters, the transition is smooth.
(Nowadays a friend and I giggle over "Twilight" being in the cover name and wonder if association with a certain work with that name is what makes it a little more tedious. Rot and nonsense, yes, but fun to speculate.)
It's also interesting in KoD and CoT watching RJ become sick(er). Some scenes are a little.. off... and there are a larger number of typos in my copies (although LoC still gives the typo count a run for its money.)
But to cut a long story short, yes, it drags a little, but there's a reason for it, and you will still enjoy it.

Isabel
12-24-2011, 09:45 AM
Lupusdeusest: As far as I know RJ wasn't ill yet with writing COT and KOD. He was diagnosed a few months after the release of KOD.

AbbeyRoad
12-24-2011, 10:27 AM
Book 10 is much worse. And 9 at least has one of the best endings in the series to validate it.

Expect a huge world. RJ was a master at world building, his characters are incredibly diverse and numerous, the nations are expansive, the magic system is very cleverly devised with less of the vague Tolkien mysticism and much more physics-based structured limits, gender roles are more or less reversed, and there are many very cleverly hidden jokes embedded within that RJ was known for (hint: check the chapter titles and images on the map very carefully).

It also has a very epic feel to it, as there is an ultimate evil with an ultimate evil motive, an ultimate good, and a lot of gray area in between.

I would not suggest WoT to the casual reader as it takes mental energy to digest the amount of time and thought that went into the whole thing. But for anyone willing to devote time to it, it can certainly be rewarding.

Seeker
12-24-2011, 04:30 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm new here and just about to dive into WoT for the first time.

What can I expect?

Is Book 9 really as slow and hard to get through as I've heard?

Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Kory

It's very difficult to describe The Wheel of Time as a series because the tone, pacing and focus of the narrative change several times over the course of eleven books. It's almost as if The Wheel of Time is a meta-series comprising three smaller fantasy epics. You have early-WOT (books 1-5), middle-WOT (6-10) and later-WOT (11-14).

Early-WOT is your traditional fantasy romp involving a small cast of characters who travel together on a quest to save the world from an evil power. However, what sets Early-WOT apart from other fantasy epics is the richness of its characters. Each one has a unique and vibrant personality and Robert Jordan is able to make you care about their personal struggles. Rand, in particular, is a very sympathetic young man, a true Aristotelian hero. Robert Jordan creates full three-dimensional characters who not only “do what must be done,” but often feel bad about it. They react as normal people would react, with moments of self-pity or frustration. And yet, when the time comes, they shoulder the responsibility because no one else will.

Complimenting these characters is a rich and well-thought-out world with unique magics, complex cultures and lots of landscape for our heroes to explore. The first five books are fast-paced, action packed and full of heart. In my mind, they represent Robert Jordan's best work.

Middle-WOT (which begins around the sixth book) is where the series changes it's direction. The cast of characters expands exponentially in each successive volume, meaning that you have to work harder to keep track of everyone. As a result, the primary characters from the first five books receive less and less “screen-time.” Rand al'Thor, the main protagonist, is almost entirely absent from books 10 and 11.

The pacing and focus of the story also change at the start of the sixth book. The first five volumes in The Wheel of Time were all self-contained stories; each one would begin shortly after its predecessor ended with no overlap between the two. All subplots would be resolved within a single volume of the series. So, if Perrin started a “quest” or “mission” at the beginning of book 4, he would complete that particular task by the end of book 4 and be ready to go in a different direction at the start of book 5.

Books 6-10 work very differently. Perrin, for instance, accepts an assignment in book 7 and does not complete it until book 12. Part of this is due to the expansion of the cast – which means that Perrin gets much less screen-time than he would have in earlier installments of the series – and part of it is due to a shift in focus from adventures and quests to mundane tasks such as making sure the army has enough horse shoes. Now, whether or not this is a good thing depends on how much realism you want in your fantasy. The tone of the series also becomes much more cynical in these books.

This is also the point in the series where RJ developed an infatuation with “off-stage action.” By that, I mean that important events would happen but we in the audience would learn of them second-hand.

Book 9, for instance, has what I would consider the worst ending of the series. And this is because it could have been the best ending (an explosive battle with all the major villains gathered in one place) but we didn't get to SEE any of it. All we get to read about is the aftermath. Again, whether you like or dislike this will depend on your personal tastes.


Later-Wot could be considered a fusion of the two previous eras. Robert Jordan exhibits a return to form in the eleventh book, blending fast-paced action and touching character interactions with some well-placed references to mundane tasks that gave the middle books their sense of realism. Sub-plots are streamlined and focused into a tight narrative that keeps you intrigued and there is a real sense of forward momentum. This novel stands out as the best work of Robert Jordan's later career.

Books twelve and thirteen were completed as joint effort between the late Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. These two installments resolve many of the plot points that had been left open since the early novels bring the characters into a state of adulthood. The final chapter of the twelfth book brought tears to my eyes and the thirteenth book contains some of the best action in the entire series.

Personally, my favourite part of the series is Early-WOT but Later-WOT is almost as good. I didn't much care for Middle-WOT.

Lupusdeusest
12-25-2011, 12:47 AM
Lupusdeusest: As far as I know RJ wasn't ill yet with writing COT and KOD. He was diagnosed a few months after the release of KOD.

Fascinating... I wonder what caused those little off blips then?

Res_Ipsa
12-25-2011, 10:04 AM
I loved Winter's Heart. I find a lot of people think of Book 10 as kind of "why was this a separate book."

Davian gave me the great idea that if 9 & 10 were one book it would be one of the best and I agree.

Seeker
12-25-2011, 12:07 PM
I loved Winter's Heart. I find a lot of people think of Book 10 as kind of "why was this a separate book."

Davian gave me the great idea that if 9 & 10 were one book it would be one of the best and I agree.

Whereas my perspective on that is "How can you combine two bad books and get a good one?"

suttree
12-25-2011, 03:02 PM
Book 9, for instance, has what I would consider the worst ending of the series. And this is because it could have been the best ending (an explosive battle with all the major villains gathered in one place) but we didn't get to SEE any of it. All we get to read about is the aftermath.

Come now that isn't entirely true. We saw a portion of the battle, broken down into multiple perspectives.

While I think the majority of your post was spot on, have to disagree on two points. I really enjoyed the "Cleansing" scene and you are one of the first I have seen(my years have mostly been spent on DM) to go so far as call it the worst ending in the series. In addition the book contains a number of excellent chapters such as Tuon kidnapping and the Far Madding scenes that really stand out from a literary perspective.

I also would like to add that while TGS and ToM offered a great deal in terms of plot gratification the issues with the writing and editing mistakes make them very difficult to enjoy long term. To my mind both having been rushed and not all that polished greatly effects their "rereadability". I am excited to see what BS can do with AMoL now that he has changed his revision process and they are taking proper time in editing.

Peter Alshtrom
That was the case with THE GATHERING STORM and TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, but it's not how they're doing A MEMORY OF LIGHT. Instead, Brandon is writing a complete draft and then doing a revision or two before sending a polished draft to Team Jordan on December 31st (and that will be the first draft they see). This is more like Robert Jordan's process; he never showed anything to Harriet until it was finished.This does mean editing and revision will take longer, but rushing TOWERS caused a ton of headaches and stress, and Team Jordan and Brandon all want to avoid that this time. They have to get things RIGHT in this final book.

Res_Ipsa
12-25-2011, 04:33 PM
Whereas my perspective on that is "How can you combine two bad books and get a good one?"

I liked both but felt that Crossroads of Twilight was comparatively weaker with a great amt of filler which is why I think RJ could have worked a bit more on WH and then made CoT something akin to KoD (basically wrap up Matt and Perrin) which would have left another book to start winding down rather than the precipitous decline that the last 3 have to be to wrap up the story line nicely.

With that being said, I am one of the fans who likes all the books equally as a collective work. Individually, tSR is my favorite and CoT is my least favorite but it is still a better book than most other fantasy that I have read.

Seeker
12-25-2011, 05:13 PM
Come now that isn't entirely true. We saw a portion of the battle, broken down into multiple perspectives.

Yes, but every time we're about to get to the good part, RJ cuts away to another POV. In fact, we don't really see the battle. What we get is two opposing characters encounter each other in the woods, fire an opening salvo, then turn and run away. Wash, rinse, repeat. Now, please understand that what I'm about to say is a matter of opinion but, to me, it feels like a tease. "I can't be bothered to write a fight scene so I'll just skip over it."

While I think the majority of your post was spot on, have to disagree on two points. I really enjoyed the "Cleansing" scene and you are one of the first I have seen(my years have mostly been spent on DM) to go so far as call it the worst ending in the series. In addition the book contains a number of excellent chapters such as Tuon kidnapping and the Far Madding scenes that really stand out from a literary perspective.

Yes, but in order to get to Tuon's kidnapping, we have to sit through hundreds of pages of... Well, it's hard to describe. Large chunks of Mat's POV read like a plot summary, not an actual narrative.

The days after the gholam tried to kill him settled into rhythms that irritated Mat to no end. The gray sky never altered, except to give rain or not.

There was talk in the streets of a man being killed by a wolf not far outside the city, his throat ripped. No one was worried, just curious; wolves had not been seen close to Ebou Dar in years. Mat worried. City people might believe a wolf would come that close to the walls but he knew better. The gholam had not gone away. Harnan and the other Redarms refused to leave, claiming they would watch his back and Vanin refused without giving reasons, unless a muttered comment that Mat had a good eye for horses counted as a reason. He spat after he said it, though. Riselle, her olive face pretty enough to make a man swallow, her big dark eyes knowing enough to dry his tongue, inquired about Olver's age and when he said close on ten, she looked surprised and tapped her lips thoughtfully, but if she changed anything in the boy's lessons, he still came away from them bubbling about her bosom and the books she read him. Mat thought Olver must have given up his nightly games of Snakes and Foxes for Riselle and her books. And when the lad ran out of the rooms that had once been Mat's, Thom often slipped in with his harp under his arm. By itself, that was enough to make Mat grind his teeth, only that was not the half.

Thom and Beslan frequently went out together, not inviting him, and were gone half the day or half the night. Neither would say a word more about their schemes, though Thom had the grace to look embarrassed. Mat hoped they were not going to get people killed for nothing but they showed little interest in his opinions. Beslan glared at the very sight of him and Juilin continued to slip abovestairs and was seen by Suroth, which earned him a strapping hung up by his wrists from a stallpost in the stables.

I'm going to stop there but this goes on for PAGES ON END. See, that's the problem with the middle books. It's not that nothing happens; it's that we only hear about it after the fact instead of witnessing it for ourselves. Again, it's like "I can't be bothered to write the scene where Juilin gets strung up and whipped, so I'll just gloss over it."

And while the scene of Mat's escape is a good one, it doesn't offset the fact that most of the book reads like what I just quoted.

As for Far Madding, the only part of that I liked was when Rand killed that man in the alley.

I also would like to add that while TGS and ToM offered a great deal in terms of plot gratification the issues with the writing and editing mistakes make them very difficult to enjoy long term. To my mind both having been rushed and not all that polished greatly effects their "rereadability". I am excited to see what BS can do with AMoL now that he has changed his revision process and they are taking proper time in editing.

Does Moiraine have brown eyes or blue? My copy of The Dragon Reborn doesn't seem to know for sure but it's still my favourite book in the series.

Even RJ made errors that got fixed in reprints but they had little effect on the enjoyability of his story. In the end, The Dragon Reborn was a success because of its well-crafted plot, strong character development and fast-paced narrative.

suttree
12-25-2011, 05:38 PM
Does Moiraine have brown eyes or blue? My copy of The Dragon Reborn doesn't seem to know for sure but it's still my favourite book in the series.

Even RJ made errors that got fixed in reprints but they had little effect on the enjoyability of his story. In the end, The Dragon Reborn was a success because of its well-crafted plot, strong character development and fast-paced narrative.

True but I was speaking more to the quality of the writing than mistakes such as the one you mention above. You only get one shot at that. It can't be fixed in future additions.

The first two books were rushed through far too fast and it shows in how blunt and uneven the prose is. More revisions over a reasonable period of time will lead to a much more polished work in the final installment. Want to make clear this is not a knock on BS. He has performed admirably under very difficult circumstances.

Weird Harold
12-25-2011, 07:33 PM
Yes, but every time we're about to get to the good part, RJ cuts away to another POV. In fact, we don't really see the battle. ... please understand that what I'm about to say is a matter of opinion but, to me, it feels like a tease. "I can't be bothered to write a fight scene so I'll just skip over it."

...

I think you've stated the distiction between those who like some books and those who dislike them. Except for the Cleansing, there is very little "hack'n'slash" conflict in WH or CoT; they advance necessary political and romantic developments at the expense of "hack'n'slash." If one's enjoyment of epic fantasy is dependent on defining "action" in terms of "hack'n'slash" detail, then some books fall dreadfully short of "enjoyment."

personally, I enjoy the series as a single story and treasure the political and romantic elements as much as the "action" seqiences.

Seeker
12-25-2011, 08:05 PM
True but I was speaking more to the quality of the writing than mistakes such as the one you mention above. You only get one shot at that. It can't be fixed in future additions.

The first two books were rushed through far too fast and it shows in how blunt and uneven the prose is. More revisions over a reasonable period of time will lead to a much more polished work in the final installment. Want to make clear this is not a knock on BS. He has performed admirably under very difficult circumstances.

While I agree that some of the Brandon scenes are a little light on description, I don't think that has anything to do with editing. Let's look at some numbers for a moment.

The Gathering Storm has a word count of 296 410

Towers of Midnight has a word count of 325 998.

These are huge, huge novels and both are pushing the limits of how big a novel can get without encountering binding issues. In fact, most publishers have a rule of thumb that says do not go above 250 000 even though RJ did so on a regular basis. The biggest WOT book (#5) weighs in at 330 000.

Now, normally, when you have a word-limit like this - and you know you're going to exceed it - you budget your space to make sure that the book is still publishable. You cut description wherever you can. But Brandon is very limited in terms of what he can choose to cut. Many of the scenes in TGS and TOM were written by RJ and Brandon can't touch them. (Nor should he) So, he has to tailor his own scenes to make sure that the manuscript doesn't go above 330 000. And the only way he can do that is to keep his scenes short, which means very little description. This is why the editors do not insist on revisions because there is nothing that can be done to fix this problem.

And why does this predicament exist?

1) RJ didn't really write his scenes with word economy in mind. (He said on numerous occasions that he didn't care if Tor had to invent a new binding system to print his book).


2) When RJ passed away, most of the major conflicts in this series were left unresolved, meaning that the final books had to be unusually thick to ensure that all of the different subplots were wrapped up.

Add to this the fact that Brandon is essentially writing in between RJ's scenes (filling in the spaces between what has already been written) and you can see that he has very little freedom to budget his word use. He has to be as conservative as possible and stick to the meat and potatoes of the story. Unfortunately, that means that the scenes he writes are not going to be as rich and vivid as we would like.

When you contrast his work on WOT with the novels that he has written on his own, you see that, when Brandon has the freedom to budget his word use without constraint, he creates some of the most vivid imagery you could hope for. His prose really is quite excellent.

Lupusdeusest
12-25-2011, 08:50 PM
When you contrast his work on WOT with the novels that he has written on his own, you see that, when Brandon has the freedom to budget his word use without constraint, he creates some of the most vivid imagery you could hope for. His prose really is quite excellent.

Not to mention some of the best-built characters I have ever seen, and events actually having consequences (Vin's trust etc.) that actually bear better relation to the real world.
The only thing that bumps me out of a BS story is when he strays into one of his "witty" conversations. (<aside> Humour, I must say, I prefer from RJ. His subtlety was amazing. No line can ever better "A horse's head spun lazily through the air." </aside>)

suttree
12-25-2011, 09:10 PM
This is why the editors do not insist on revisions because there is nothing that can be done to fix this problem.

As to the above however that is precisely what they have done for AMoL. He is changing how he does the revision process and taking more time to polish his prose in order to make sure they get it "right".

I do think your overall point has some merit and likely it is a combination of the two that lead to the problems in TGS and ToM.


When you contrast his work on WOT with the novels that he has written on his own, you see that, when Brandon has the freedom to budget his word use without constraint, he creates some of the most vivid imagery you could hope for. His prose really is quite excellent.

Agree that he is a skilled author and I am hoping most fervently that the additional time spent on AMoL will pay off in that respect.

Seeker
12-25-2011, 09:18 PM
I think you've stated the distiction between those who like some books and those who dislike them. Except for the Cleansing, there is very little "hack'n'slash" conflict in WH or CoT; they advance necessary political and romantic developments at the expense of "hack'n'slash." If one's enjoyment of epic fantasy is dependent on defining "action" in terms of "hack'n'slash" detail, then some books fall dreadfully short of "enjoyment."

personally, I enjoy the series as a single story and treasure the political and romantic elements as much as the "action" seqiences.

While, I think you're correct, I'd like to point out that I'm a bit of a hopeless romantic and I thoroughly enjoy a good love story. I just don't think that the romance in WOT is very good.

Most of the relationships feel forced and awkward to me. So, you're right, if romance is a major theme in one of the Wheel of Time novels, I'm probably going to hate that book. Not because it HAS romance in it but because the romance is sub-par in my opinion.

As for politics... Again, it's a question of focus.

I was waiting with heavy anticipation for Crossroads of Twilight. I thought it was going to be amazing. The last novel had ended with the cleansing of the taint on saidin and, for the first time in three thousand years, men could channel the One Power without fear of madness or death. Society would never be the same again.

As I drove to the bookstore, I had a very clear picture of what I would find when I opened my copy of Crossroads. The first scene was going to be about an Asha'man standing in the middle of a busy street in Caemlyn or Cairhien or some other major city and declaring to the world that the taint was gone. Naturally, the people would greet him with boos and jeers and he would have to flee to avoid doing violence.

I was certain that this book was going to deal extensively with the Black Tower and provide insight into how their lives have changed now that the taint is gone. I was certain that some of the Asha'man - perhaps those loyal to Logain - would approach the Rebel Aes Sedai camped outside Tar Valon and tell them of the good news. However, this did not happen.

I was certain that this book was going to focus on Rand and his feelings now that the taint is gone. With saidin cleansed, he would be free to confront his mental issues head on and come to terms with "Lews Therin" and his fear of harming women. I thought this book was going to be about getting Rand back on the path to his destiny and gearing up for the inevitable showdown at Shayol Ghul.

But the one thing I did not expect from this book was "hack'n'slash" action.

I was so excited for this deep and thoughtful character story that I camped out in front of my local bookstore at 7am so I could buy a copy of Crossroads before I went to class.

Needless to say, I did not get any of the things I had been looking forward to. Rand and the Asha'man were almost entirely absent from Crossroads. We seemed to get a point of view from every character down to the very last scullery maid while Rand was cleansing the taint but the one point of view we didn't get was that of an Asha'man. (Which was the only one I wanted).

The rest of the characters spent the bulk of the story saying "Hey, something strange is happening and someone is channeling massive amounts of the One Power... I wonder what's going on." And that comprises the first fifty percent of the book.

Mat has some banter with Tuon - which I'll admit was enjoyable if not in a romantic sense - Perrin makes an alliance with the Seanchan and Elayne discusses politics with the Sea Folk. The Aes Sedai agree to open up a dialogue with the Asha'man and Egwene gets captured.

All of these things may have been necessary SCENES in a novel but this is not the stuff novels are made of. This book had no plot structure, no plot structure whatsoever; it was just a series of random, unconnected events with so much padding in between them that if you were to remove all the fluff, you would end up with something in the neighbourhood of 150 pages in paperback form. Not a novel.

(Or at least, not a Wheel of Time novel).

So, yes, I like politics too. But instead of all this "What's going on? Who's channeling?" why not start the book off AFTER the cleansing? Have the Aes Sedai meet to discuss the big event and conclude that they should work with the Asha'man at the very beginning of the story. Then show what happens when they actually approach the Black Tower.

Have Egwene get captured early on and begin her war to bring down the Tower from within. Is there some reason that had to be the last scene in the book? There were plenty of other potential cliffhangers. Focus more on Rand and his inner struggle. Have him make actual progress in coming to terms with his pain and his madness. Have something actually happen to Mat and Tuon which brings them closer together. And if we're not going to rescue Faile in this book then maybe leave Perrin out of it.

Seeker
12-25-2011, 09:26 PM
As to the above however that is precisely what they have done for AMoL. He is changing how he does the revision process and taking more time to polish his prose in order to make sure they get it "right".

Yes, but what's "right?" There are many concerns that go into making a story. Short and simple sentences save space which means that you can add more scenes. Conversely, you could write each scene with the lengthy and flowery language that RJ favoured but the result is that certain scenes won't make it into the book. So, what's more important? I suppose it depends on the content of those scenes.


Just because the editing process is more extensive doesn't mean you're going to get what you want out of it. I'm not sure how much material is left but if this book pushes 325 000 words, then something is going to have to be cut. And since you can't cut scenes without restructuring the plot (which Brandon isn't allowed to do), that means description has to go. The extra editing may be about getting as close as possible to the feel of early WOT books but that doesn't mean there aren't going to be scenes that feel light on the description.

Brandon's prose isn't the problem. The space he has available to him is.


Agree that he is a skilled author and I am hoping most fervently that the additional time spent on AMoL will pay off in that respect.

Me too.

GonzoTheGreat
12-26-2011, 03:46 AM
Yes, but every time we're about to get to the good part, RJ cuts away to another POV. In fact, we don't really see the battle. What we get is two opposing characters encounter each other in the woods, fire an opening salvo, then turn and run away. Wash, rinse, repeat. Now, please understand that what I'm about to say is a matter of opinion but, to me, it feels like a tease. "I can't be bothered to write a fight scene so I'll just skip over it."
Actually, I think that RJ's 20th century combat experience is to blame for that. With modern fire arms, a "shootout at noon in the High Street" would be lunacy. If you try that and your opponent uses a sniper rifle or a machine gun, then you're dead.
So what you have to do instead is precisely what you describe: get off a shot when you spot an enemy, then get out of there in order to avoid any return fire.

What you would want is the kind of fight that arose from earlier firearms, where accuracy could be described as "if you pull the trigger, then the bullet will exit at the front, usually at least". That kind of weapon puts the advantage with hitting the opponent, rather than with not being hit yourself, which makes for more epic battle scenes, I'll admit.

Oden
12-26-2011, 05:09 AM
I have to say that when I first read WoT, I found that the first two books were good. They were written with the "don't give away anything in the beginning"-sense of classical fantasy. They had a fast pace and they concentrated on the characters and the plot instead of the surroundings. When I read the Dragon Reborn I was amazed; RJ was a genius, a literary genius. I realized that everything that was written had a meaning and my reading pace dropped from 2 pages per minute to 1 page in 2 minutes. I read the Gathering Storm before my first re-read. When I got back to the Eye of the World, I understood the wastness of his foreshadowing and the significance of every single word. That's when I started really lurk on the web to see what I had missed (FelixPax helped giving me a perspective on how much you should read into the meanings).

My overall impression is that if anyone is better than RJ at writing, that person should be cloned in order to never die. RJ is the best writer I have ever read, and I have read a lot, a whole lot.
I read several hours a week (an hour per night is minimum), I read fast (Dan Browns' The Lost symbol was read at a pace of 3 pages per minute) and I read almost anything. Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Stieg Larsson are a few of the more known authors I've read.

Seeker
12-26-2011, 10:25 AM
Actually, I think that RJ's 20th century combat experience is to blame for that. With modern fire arms, a "shootout at noon in the High Street" would be lunacy. If you try that and your opponent uses a sniper rifle or a machine gun, then you're dead.
So what you have to do instead is precisely what you describe: get off a shot when you spot an enemy, then get out of there in order to avoid any return fire.

What you would want is the kind of fight that arose from earlier firearms, where accuracy could be described as "if you pull the trigger, then the bullet will exit at the front, usually at least". That kind of weapon puts the advantage with hitting the opponent, rather than with not being hit yourself, which makes for more epic battle scenes, I'll admit.

That's an interesting take on it. I will say this: RJ has written some damn damn good fight scenes with the One Power. Rand and Asmodean's chase through Rhuidean is probably my favourite, followed by Rand vs Lanfear by the docks. He can do some pretty creative stuff when he sets his mind to it. Also, the One Power isn't like gun combat because you can defend yourself.

GonzoTheGreat
12-26-2011, 10:50 AM
Yes, you can block attacks. But as my karate teacher taught me: it is more sensible not to be where the attack is going. If you have room to do so, get out of the way. Of course, we also trained for situations where that wasn't possible (such as a narrow corridor), but that kind of "absorb the blows" approach was to be avoided if possible.

With the cases you mention (and a couple of others) avoiding the enemy was not possible. Another good example is the fight with Be'lal, which had to take place in the immediate vicinity of Callandor.
On the other hand, most of the assassination attempt in Cairhien was also a matter of sneaking around, avoiding being seen and trying to get a clean shot from an unexpected direction.

And Egwene's big fight in TAR is a good example why "stand and slug it out" is not a good idea with the OP: she could block, but only if she saw it coming. Which, of course, raises the question why none of the BA idiots collapsed the ceiling on the stupid twit. Oh well, maybe that'll happen next time I read that chapter.

Seeker
12-26-2011, 02:26 PM
Yes, you can block attacks. But as my karate teacher taught me: it is more sensible not to be where the attack is going.... Oh well, maybe that'll happen next time I read that chapter.

I think it's a mistake to apply real-world combat logistics to the One Power. For one thing, a battle with the One Power is much closer to a wizard's duel than a gun fight but, more importantly, the One Power is such an otherworldly contrivance that you can pretty much write anything and the audience will accept it so long as you do it well.

So, critiquing this scene from the standpoint of "that's not how combat works" is invalid. In the world of The Wheel of Time, combat works however the author wants it to work. But asking the question, "Does this scene offer a satisfying climax to the story?" is a valid critique because it has nothing to do with the inner mechanics of RJ's magic system.

You have to understand, I don't believe that "hack'n'slash" action is necessary for a satisfying climax but it's a matter of managing your audience's expectations.

Nine of the most powerful bad guys in the world gate to the woods with the stated intention of finding Rand and killing him and the only thing standing in their way is a plucky band of heroes with limited combat experience. This sets up the expectation for a fight scene. In fact, it sets up the expectation for multiple fight scenes, each one pushing our heroes to their limits. To skip over that battle is just sloppy writing.

And why?

Because the author set up that expectation in the first place.

That's the real question here, is the climax satisfying? And, in my opinion, the answer is "no" because we just skipped right over it.

Terez
12-26-2011, 02:45 PM
My overall impression is that if anyone is better than RJ at writing, that person should be cloned in order to never die. RJ is the best writer I have ever read, and I have read a lot, a whole lot.If you want to really be amazed, read RJ's Fallon books, and see how much his prose matured between then and WoT.

Lupusdeusest
12-26-2011, 07:30 PM
If you want to really be amazed, read RJ's Fallon books, and see how much his prose matured between then and WoT.

But keep the kids away from it. It's not exactly... PG. :D

Tomp
12-30-2011, 07:30 AM
As many have said it is a great series.
The only book that I was not satisfied with was Crossroads of Twilight. It showed a little bit from everyone except basicly the main protagonist. Nothing got resolved, it was just about building the plot and introducing a character or two.

The series as a whole is the best there is, ever.
Maybe someday someone else will do it better, but for now the Wheel of Time series is the best fantasy work there is.

fdsaf3
12-30-2011, 08:11 AM
It's like Seeker and I are like twins or something...


Bravo.