Tuesday, January 1, 2013

WOT Worries Me...

In less than a week, the long-long-looooong awaited release of "A Memory of Light" will be here. And I'm nervous. Tickly-stomach nervous. I've been reading the "Wheel of Time" (or WOT) books for 15 years, since my brother introduced them to me in 1997, and now they are finally, at long last, coming to a close. 

When Robert Jordan passed away in 2007, all of his worldwide fans were saddened that he was gone. He was relatively young, and it was so sad to have him go before he was able to finish his great work. He had redefined the world of Fantasy Fiction that has always been defined by Tolkein. He expanded and refined what Tolkein created, and in so doing, set a new, much higher standard by which every future fantasy series will be measured. At least, by those of us who are devoted WOT fans. I seldom pick up a new fantasy series, because usually when I do, I just end up wishing I was reading WOT again. They are really that good. The sluggishness of books 8-10 notwithstanding, they are easily the best books I've ever read. And that's saying something, since I read a lot.

On January 8, book 14 will come out and legions of fans will settle in to finish what Jordan started back in 1990, with the release of "The Eye of the World". The torch was passed to Brandon Sanderson (whom you may recall I am a huge fan of), and he has carried it exceptionally well, and taken books 12 and 13, at least, to new heights. In my opinion, he actually improved on what Jordan started. 

So I'm not nervous about what Sanderson will do. I know he will do a fantastic job, and the book will be a very enjoyable read. But I do feel some trepidation. Because I like lists, this is why:
  1. Length. Books 12 and 13 are both very long books, and they move the story forward in amazing ways. The storylines are approaching a "final" resolution, but I can't see how it will all wrap up in just one more book. It seems like there are too many threads heading in too many different directions-- I can't see how it will all come together. I will just have to trust Sanderson and Jordan (he left copious notes and outlines and such) and his widow, Harriet, who has been hands-on involved as well, to bring it all together satisfactorily.
  2. Rand. Now that we finally have him back, since the end of 12, I'm not sure I'm ready to let go. If he dies, I might not get out of bed for a week. Sigh. And yet... it's been set up all along that he will likely die. But maybe not. 
  3. Emotional Investment. I have now been reading these years almost as long as I've been married. I adore the characters (most of them) and I get kind of attached to my fictional friends. I have spent the last year listening to and reading the series again, so I will be "ready" for "A Memory of Light", and though I'll be happy to move on to other fictional adventures, I am already sad that it's ending. I think I might just be an emotional mess next week as I read it, knowing it's the last one. I have always struggled with goodbyes, and even fictional attachments are hard to see end. 
That's not to say that I'm not excited about it. I'm thrilled! I can't wait to get my hands on that book. I just anticipate some emotional reaction beyond my control... but it's going to be an exhilarating ride, regardless.

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