Friday, April 09, 2010

Stay Away!

I have to be very careful and stay away from this site. The artist has done beautiful trading card style artwork of the major characters from the epic Robert Jordan series The Wheel of Time.

I have to stay away because every time I go there I want to read the series. Which is very bad because ... well ... time drain and brain drain if nothing else.

I got through about six of these Robert Jordan novels while I was a teenager. They run about 600-1,000 pages each. And then I was caught up with the publication cycle. So by the time I took up book seven-ish (maybe it was eight), enough time had passed that I no longer remembered the extended-extended cast of characters. Trust me: extended-extended cast. The characters that the artist has drawn as trading cards are the "main" characters and you can see how many of those their are.

Sure, Matt, Perrin, Rand, Egwene, Elayne, even Siuan -- I gotcha, I remember who you are. But everyone else? All those backwater characters that show up once every four hundred pages? I can't recall if you're some cast-off Child of the Sun or some bit of evil that seeped through, or if you're the other-other rogue male with the whatever power. And I get the sense that you're evil-ish but I'll be damned if I can recall if you've made a deal with the Black Aes Sedai or if you're a Seanchan spy.
What was the worst were scenes where your point of view character was someone you'd been introduced to before but in the new scene you never got their name just some facts that would have clued you in if it hadn't been 400 pages and eight months since you read the previous scene.

Robert Jordan has passed away (he was really too young) but the series is still going. Someone is working to finish based on his drafts and outlines. But the series has 12 books now (number 12 is almost 1,100 pages) and a prequel and I'm still not seeing the phrase stunning conclusion written anywhere on the jacket copy.

Actually I just found an article on how Jordan had drafted his "twelfth" book before his untimely death but when the new writer began working on it he broke it into three "short" books. 1,100 pages is the shorter version?

So there will be 15 of these book -- 16 with the prequel -- I've read about seven of them. Having invested in almost half of the series makes me think maybe I should see it out to its end. But to do the end any justice I would have to start at the beginning (again) or be hopelessly confused.

Instead, I'm going to devote time this summer to reading Lord of the Rings -- I've read the Hobbit but never the Lord of the Rings. As a teenager I had no patience for Tolkien's style of writing; I was very pissed off about the dwarves taking their precious time knocking one by one, hanging up their cape of this color and their hat of that color and then, oh look!, another dwarf to repeat the process for the eighth time. So, needless to say, I had to learn some patience to make it out of chapter one. I'm looking to tackle at least one of those books and at least one of the Foundations Trilogy this year.

Highly Recommended