As I start to write this, it’s almost 7:30 in the morning, and I just finished reading A Memory of Light, the final book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. That alone can tell you many things, it’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up all night to finish a book, and it’s been quite a while since I read a 900 page book start to finish within a day.
I thought about what I was going to write when I finished the book, starting to talk about the series at all meant I was eventually going to come to this point, and yet here I sit, not really knowing what to say. And what can you say about something that has been a huge part of who you are? I’ve talked before in my blog about how The Wheel of Time books are the reason that I read as much as I do today, and that is such a huge part of who I am that I can honestly say that these books have had a large impact on who I am today, in some ways larger than many people I have met in life.
Robert Jordan once described this series in a very succinct way. He said that at its core, it’s about a man who is destined to save the world, but doomed to go mad doing so. And while that is the core of the story, it isn’t the slightest fraction of what these books are really about.
More than anything else, these books are about the people. I started reading these books 9 or 10 years ago, and over that time I have learned so much about the characters that they feel as though they are more than just characters in the story, I feel like they are my friends. I laughed with them, feared for them, and cried for them. I watched them grow from children who never thought for anything beyond their simple village, to adults who held the fate of the world in their hands. And in that time, I’ve grown with them.
I waited for years to read the ending to this story, I was heartbroken when I learned that Robert Jordan had died, and upon learning that Brandon Sanderson was chosen to finish the series, I immediately went out to buy one of his books, because I had to read something from the person who was picked to finish the story. I was immediately reeled in by Sanderson’s writing, and I couldn’t be happier that he was the one chosen, as these final books in the series were wonderful.
But as happy as I am to have gotten the conclusion to the story, I’m also sad, because there are no more Wheel of Time books to look forward to. This story is so large, so powerful, that to realize that it is finite is a strange feeling. Each of the books proclaims that they are not the beginning, but simply a beginning. To know that I have read every word that of the story, that there will be no more beginnings, is a strange feeling.
Thank you, Robert Jordan, for starting to tell this story. Thank you, Brandon Sanderson, for taking up the mantle and finishing the story when it looked as though it’s finale would be lost to us. Thank you, Harriet McDougal, for helping to craft this story into the masterwork it has become. I have never met any of you, and I have no idea if any of you will ever read this, but thank you for all that you have done in bringing this story and it’s characters to us all.
“May you shelter in the palm of the Creator’s hand, and may the last embrace of the mother welcome you home.”