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Author Topic: Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, and Wheel of Time Plot Threads
Herblay
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So, I've read the Wheel of Time. All of it. You're probably not reading this unless you have to or intend to at some point.

So, Brandon Sanderson has split the "final" twelfth volume into three books. And reading his reasoning behind it, it seems fairly straighforward.

I agree with those who said that Jordan lost his way in the details, probably about book six. He just forgot how to edit, how to move plot forward. He delved into monotony and countless unnecessary story arcs. He forgot how to give resolution or satisfaction to the characters. Conversely, he exhibited some of the strongest world building skills of any author, any time. He showed us that ideas can be recycled and still seem fresh.

So, I loved book 11. It was the best since Shadow Rising. RJ started trimming the story, the plot elements, and bringing us toward conclusion.

Now, reading Brandon Sanderson's justifications for 3 more books (instead of 1), he talks alot about resolving ALL of the unresolved storylines and plot arcs. Jordan believed that a novel should represent a living, breathing world --- and that he had to leave a lot of the plot arcs unresolved. He belived that to resolve them artificially would degrade the value of the books.

Though I'm looking forward to SOME resolution, I wish it would have been RJ's resolution. I can't help feeling that we'll get a fantastic story, wrapping everything up in a pretty red bow, but it won't be the Wheel of Time anymore. WOT is art, not just a story.

Oh well, maybe RJ will finish the story the next time around.

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scifibum
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WoT is the only series of books that makes me want to use plot summaries to find out what happens.

Everything else is either too boring to make me care, or I enjoy reading the actual books.

I'd call that a unique accomplishment.

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Christine
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scifibum: I've never felt that way about a book, although the TV show Smallville managed to do it. [Smile]

As for WoT, I simply stopped reading roundabout book 9 and haven't decided if I'm going to finish, especially in light of the fact that Robert Jordan won't finish it off. Frankly, it's been so long since I've read the series that the details are slipping away and re-reading would be an extreme undertaking. That's actually why I stopped -- I picked up book 10, got a few chapters in, and was completely lost.

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scifibum
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I haven't yet reached that point with a TV show, but Lost has me teetering. I binged on four seasons of Lost in about three weeks, and the 5th is sitting on the DVR, while I contemplate whether it's worth it or if I should just wait for it to be over and hope someone compresses the final seasons the way they did the early ones.
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Christine
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Oh, I like Lost, but I've done it all back to back. I started in after season 3 and watched them all back to back. Then I waited until the end of season 4 and watched those back to back. Then just last week, I caught up on season 5. I really like watching the show in one fell swoop because there are definitely episodes that would make me crazy if I watched every week. But I thought season 5 moved pretty well...there was just one episode that I found myself thinking I would have hurt someone had I been watching week to week. The only trouble...the ending has me insane for next season so you might be better off waiting for season 6. [Smile]
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Sterling
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If he's writing three more books, he has to call them book 12, 13, and 14. If he calls them "Book 12, Part One" et al., I wish him scorpions in his slippers.

It's just the principle of the thing. I'm not planning on reading them. Book 10 was freaking insulting.

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Cashew
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I stopped reading, I think around Book 6, when it became clear that every book was going to end with another meaningless battle of Rand against one of those demigods or wahtever they were, with yet another one waiting in the wings to be destroyed at the end of the next book. Talk about spinning out a story meaninglessly!

BUT, I agree with Herblay about world building etc, Jordan's world was/is fascinating, but far too easy to lose track of. If there were synopses of the "what has gone before" type of thing at the front of each book I might even go back and pick up where I left off; I like Brandon Sanderson's stuff...

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Cashew:
I stopped reading, I think around Book 6, when it became clear that every book was going to end with another meaningless battle of Rand against one of those demigods or wahtever they were, with yet another one waiting in the wings to be destroyed at the end of the next book. Talk about spinning out a story meaninglessly!

Actually, I think that stops happening after book 6...hard to remember for sure.
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scholarette
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Tor has a chapter by chapter read through- still long, but a lot shorter then all those books. [Smile] And Book 10 was awful.
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
Actually, I think that stops happening after book 6...hard to remember for sure.

Yeah, it was right around that time that the ones already defeated started coming back.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Actually, I think that stops happening after book 6...hard to remember for sure.
That's because that's when anything stopped happening.
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Cashew
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Whatever happened to the guy that was turning into a wolf?
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Kwea
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Which one? It depends on which book you are talking about.....
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Cashew
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Can't remember his name, it's been years. He was running with wolves and started taking on wolfy characteristics in his dreams or something, one of Rand's friends...
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CaySedai
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Perrin Aybara
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Whatever happened to the guy that was turning into a wolf?
Book 5.
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Sterling
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He started turning into a hammer instead. [Smile]
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Cashew
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So he never turned into a wolf? A hammer... Man, bummer...
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Sterling
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I'm joking, sort of. There were an intractable series of chapters in book 10 (possibly in 9, too- I can't remember and can't quite work up the gumption to go back and check) in which Perrin brooded and mulled the idea of becoming a tool set to the task of... Yatta yatta. Rather than, say, actually doing anything towards accomplishing said task.

'Twas one of the (many) things that made me decide life was too short to be bothered with the WoT if it was going to continue in that vein.

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Cashew
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QUOTE:
I'm joking
UNQUOTE

Me too. [Smile]

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Sterling
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I figured you probably were, but that some explanation might still be in order.
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Cashew
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The explanation was good, I never got that far in the series. (I like your sense of humour)
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Ron Lambert
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Perrin finally got treated for jaundice, to cure the yellow eyes. (***joke***)

I'm just now finishing book 8. Jordan does get a bit tedious, going on in such detail about the most mundane things. What really annoys though me is how prickly everyone is. It is like everyone expects to have everyone else defer to them, and they are resentful and insulting when that doesn't happen. The more gravitas someone has, like from being Aes Sedai 300 years old, the more snappish and impolite they are. Manners do not seem to be a part of wisdom. If you dare cross them, they'll take a switch to you. Talk about dysfunctional!

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Herblay
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Take heart, Ron. Book 11's great. Probably the best in the series. Unfortunately, there's books 5 through 10 in between it and Shadow Rising. . . .
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Ron Lambert
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Do they ever have the final battle with the dark Lord?
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Herblay
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Eh, I thing the final battle is slated for book 14 at this point...
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Ron Lambert
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I just thought you should know that Robert Jordan was a pen name for the late James Oliver Rigney, Jr. According to Wickipedia:
quote:
He died while working on the final volume, which will be completed by fellow fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. The final book is to be split up into 3 volumes, tentatively scheduled for publication November 2009, November 2010 and November 2011.
I know that the same thing was done with the Robert Ludlum franchise, after Ludlum died a few years ago. The writers who have been chosen to write new novels under the Robert Ludlum mantle have been a bit uneven. I really do not care for the way Eric Von Lustbader did it. His prose and plotting are not nearly as clear as Ludlum's.

But the point is, it is completely open to question how well Sanderson will be able to finish the WoT saga. The fact that he seems to have chosen to "milk it for all it is worth" by turning the final volume into three volumes, to me at least does not bode well.

And at any rate, we will have to wait until 2011 for the very last volume.

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Kwea
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Ron, he was PAID for one, but wants to write 3 to do it right. He isn't paid for 3, as of now.


Sounds to me he might do alright. Besides, it was Jordan who was milking it. He could have wrapped it up 4 books ago.

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CaySedai
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I don't think RJ could have finished the series in one more book, had he lived. I don't think Sanderson is trying to "milk it for all it is worth" but rather trying to do justice to the series, the author and the fans by finishing the series as close to what RJ would have done as possible, and tying up as many loose ends as possible. Otherwise we'd end up with a book where all the characters find themselves at the Last Battle and the book would end.

But then I'm predisposed to hope for the best in this particular case.

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by CaySedai:
I don't think Sanderson is trying to "milk it for all it is worth"

Agreed. After reading RJ's books 5 thru 10, I find it amusing that this accusation is being levelled at Sanderson.

RJ said himself, before he died, that he was going to finish the story in one more volume, even if it had to come with a wheelbarrow. So obviously, the last installment was already large. I doubt Sanderson is wilfully milking it.

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Philosofickle
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Beware book ten, bewaaaaaaaaaare!!!!
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Ron Lambert
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OK, good point--I have to admit that "Robert Jordan" is the one who was really milking it. The whole WoT saga could have been a trilogy. Or at most a five-book series.

SPOILERS!!!

His characters are widely scattered, keep traveling back and forth, and most of the tension seems to owe to the fact that the scattered characters do not know what the others have experienced or are experiencing (despite the fact that most of them can communicate via their special dreamland). I just finished book 8, and Rand still does not know that Elayne has learned to make ter'angreals, nor that her mother Morgase (the former queen) is still alive. Half the time, the reader spends anticipating when someone is going to learn something that has long been known to other characters.

I generally take a break and read some other book(s) before going on to the next one in the WoT series. That is the only way I can avoid being overwhelmed by the aggravations.

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scifibum
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How long until an abridged version is likely?
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
OK, good point--I have to admit that "Robert Jordan" is the one who was really milking it. The whole WoT saga could have been a trilogy. Or at most a five-book series.

SPOILERS!!!

His characters are widely scattered, keep traveling back and forth, and most of the tension seems to owe to the fact that the scattered characters do not know what the others have experienced or are experiencing (despite the fact that most of them can communicate via their special dreamland). I just finished book 8, and Rand still does not know that Elayne has learned to make ter'angreals, nor that her mother Morgase (the former queen) is still alive. Half the time, the reader spends anticipating when someone is going to learn something that has long been known to other characters.

I generally take a break and read some other book(s) before going on to the next one in the WoT series. That is the only way I can avoid being overwhelmed by the aggravations.

I read them right away, or at least I did until about 3 books ago. I thought the last one was an improvement, and for all my complaints I still usually enjoy them.

But I no longer feel any compulsion to rush out and buy them the day they come out. I bought the last hardcover off the $7.99 pile at B&N, actually.

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Herblay
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I have been reading them as they came out since Shadow Rising. And I don't reread.

I'm 30 now, and I started reading this series when I was a freshman in high school. It's a part of my past. It's like Star Wars --- even bad WOT is good entertainment. It's like having a good friend, though. You may not be entirely happy with the relationship, but you don't want to write them off altogether.

And though I look forward to the last books, I don't want to see "good books". I want to see good WOT books. I want the final battle to happen while everyone is still dealing with their lives, dealing with their issues. I want everybody to look up in the sky again like at Falme. I want the world to change. And then everyone should move on. They shouldn't have conclusions. This is supposed to be a living world.

If everything gets tied up in a shiny bow --- that's when I'll be disappointed. NONE OF THESE CHARACTERS DESERVE TO LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

And Rand needs to die. I want melancholy, dang it.

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
How long until an abridged version is likely?

Chapter summaries
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Dan_Frank
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Herblay, I couldn't even gag my way through the first WOT book, however, I am familiar with some of Brandon Sanderson's other works.

Chances are good you'll get some/most of what you want. His Mistborn trilogy doesn't tie everything up in a perfect shiny bow, and he's not even remotely afraid of killing off major characters. For what that's worth.

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Kwea
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I disagree that Rand has to die. I don't want him to ride off with all his friends happily ever after though....it would be too fake.
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Sterling
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Whoever you kill off, you're probably going to bleep off a nontrivial segment of the remaining fans (if that matters to him.) Last I saw, Rand had the fewest personality traits left, and would be the smallest loss.

Besides, there are neither beginnings nor ends on the Wheel of Time, right?

AAAAARRRRGHHHH! [Wall Bash]

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SenojRetep
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Evidently the first chapter of The Gathering Storm is up on Tor's website. I also saw a link for an audio version of the second chapter.

I'm not willing to register, but I'm wondering if anyone else has read/listened to Chpt 1/2.

<edit>I broke down and registered; it's free and I guess I don't really mind the inevitable commercial emails. Plus it's a Friday and I'm avoiding work.</edit>

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TomDavidson
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You should register for Tor, actually. There are a number of nice perks.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
You should register for Tor, actually. There are a number of nice perks.

Oh dear, they've gotten Tom!
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Tom said:

You should register for Tor, actually. There are a number of nice perks.


quote:
Tor said:

Haven’t joined the community yet? We’d love to have you–as you can see, there are perks to membership! Signing up is free and only takes a minute.


Tom and Tor agree; you should register!

The first chapter was not in a (to me) noticeably different voice. Either Brandon Sanderson is a pretty good mimicker or much of the chapter was written previous to Jordan's death. Or I'm just not very good at discerning changes in author voice.

One of my favorite lines from the preview
quote:
Nynaeve reached up to her long, single braid—but stopped herself short of tugging on it. She was getting better about that. Rand wondered why she bothered, considering how obvious her temper was.
It's like a textual wink to the fan community. Or was her fighting the urge to tug her braid part of the last few books...I don't remember.
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DDDaysh
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I actually like WOT! To me, it's fun! It's like a literary Soap set in a quite creative and detailed fantasy land.

However, I am not one of those people who has to read for the "point" of it. I really could care less if there is a goal to the story or a conclusion. I enjoy reading about the stuff that just keeps happening, and I guess that's what I love about Wheel of Time.

Then again, I'm an avid re-reader. I can read books I like over and over and never get bored with them. And now that I can get my favorites on audio.... well... the fun just never stops. I'm currently on about my 5th journey through the WoT series, and I'm listening to Shadow Puppets for about the tenth time, and I'm on my second trip through Egypt with Amelia Peabody.

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Kwea
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She was trying to get better at it last book, I believe, although it's been about 3 years since I read it (I think).
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scholarette
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I don't think that the braid tugging was specifically mentioned in the last books, but her goal of being a better Sedai who displayed no signs of emotion was stated.
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BryanP
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I read all these over the course of a year a few years ago, and think they're fairly consistent throughout, in terms of the plot moving along. I always thought they were slow and Jordan's details incredibly aggravating, but on the other hand the characters are interesting and the world is amazing, and he writes incredible battle scenes. Books 8-10 were the weakest for sure, but 9 still had it's absolutely phenomenal climax, and there were good things about 8. 10 was wretched, though, in every way. But 11 was one of my favorites.

Having read the Mistborn books I think there's actually a decent chance that these will be better than if Jordan wrote them... I would worry about them being too long, but Sanderson paces the Mistborn books so well that I doubt he could let himself stretch these out too much. I think they'll be pretty great.

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Kwea
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Nope, it was mentioned, starting about 2 books ago, when she got married. It was all part of the "Let my mate THINK he is winning about little stuff" plan she had once she got married to Lan.
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