The Great Hunt – Part 1

So I suppose it’s time to take a quick break from reading The Great Hunt to take some time and write out my thoughts about the first half of the book.

While reading the first book I mentioned just how small the scope of it really was, with 90% of the book (give or take) told from Rand’s point of view.  In this book Jordan really starts to show just how ambitious his goal was for the series.  Very early on in the book we get several viewpoint chapters from a wide variety of characters.  To this point in the book (through chapter 23) we’ve had viewpoints from Rand, Nynaeve, Egwene, Moiraine, and a few small sections from Padan Fain (and it’s very possible that I’m forgetting a small section from either Mat or Perrin’s point of view).  If he would have started the first book this way it would have been very easy to just get swamped with all of the detail.  The only series that I can think of offhand that does start out with a ton of viewpoints right off the bat is A Song of Ice and Fire, and that series takes a little longer to really get into the world.

I’m also enjoying how much detail is put into aspects of this book, even if they don’t affect the rest of the series at all.  For example, the stones that lead to other worlds (where Rand meets Selene) play a fairly large part in this book, but I don’t remember if they’re even mentioned in the rest of the series.  Similarly, there are a couple of characters that play fairly big roles in this book that don’t play a huge role in the rest of the series.

The last thing I’m going to mention about the first half of the book is another part of what made Robert Jordan a great writer and what makes this series as good as it is.  Jordan could be downright mean to his characters.  Every story needs to have conflicts to make it interesting, and the best are when the author really puts the characters through the wringer.  By putting the characters through their own worst nightmares and then showing them persevering through them, you really get attached to them and you start to root for them as they continue through the story.  In the chapter I just finished Nynaeve went through her trial to become an Accepted in the White Tower, and wow is she put through the wringer.  But when she is able to overcome her challenge, you can tell that she’s stronger and in many ways better for going through it, she also comes out with a new resolve for her original goal, which deepens another conflict in the story.

I’ve watched a few interviews with Jordan online, and while I don’t know what his exact writing process was like, the results are something that anyone who enjoys books can get a lot out of.  There’s so much going on in these books that even on my third read through of the series I’m sure I’m missing some of the more subtle foreshadowing.  These are fantastic books and I absolutely cannot wait to finish the series.

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  1. Thanks Adam. I read this quite a while ago and your comments bring it back to mind as something perhaps to delve into again.

  2. I just finished chapter 23 last week and I totally agree with you that Nynaeve really had some tough trials. It will be interesting to see if we get to see other Aes Sedai go through these trials, in detail, later in the book. I read part of this book like 15 years ago and forgot nearly all of it. The rest of the series is new territory for me.

    I like that we have multiple viewpoints so early on, as Rand is a nice guy being tormented and all, but several of these more worldly and older characters (good and bad) are downright fascinating. I would hate to miss out on their take on events.

    • I finished the final book earlier this morning, and it was a fantastic ending to a wonderful series. It’s a long journey to get to the ending, but it’s worth it. I hope you keep reading the rest of the series, and I would love to hear your thoughts as you go through it.

      • I enjoy going through your older WoT posts as I make my way forward. I try to make sure I am ahead of whatever post so I don’t stumble over spoilers in your posts. Since we are doing this read along thing at a leisurely pace, it will be a while before we make the last book.

      • I probably should have tried to list the chapters that I covered with each of my posts, but by the time I thought of it I was already several books into the series and I didn’t want to go back and try to figure out exactly where I had broken the previous books down. As I got to the later books I stopped even breaking the books into sections, with the last several books being one post.

        I’ve scheduled my post for A Memory of Light for tomorrow, there aren’t any spoilers for the story, just more of my general thoughts about the final book and the series as a whole. It’s a wonderful series and I’m glad that I’ve read it.

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