The Pattern Weaves

I just finished reading “The Dragon Reborn”, the third book of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I have to say that these books are amazing! I’ve read the first three one right after another and I think I’m going to go out tomorrow and buy a few more. (The first two books are “The Eye of the World” and “The Great Hunt”.)

The story is truly epic. Of course it is the classic tale of good versus evil. The young farmer who has no idea of his true past is suddenly thrown into an adventure far beyond anything he could imagine. It’s like the tale of Luke Skywalker from the original “Star Wars”, or Bilbo Baggins from “The Hobbit” or any number of other legends and myths far older than today’s pop culture. The scope of this tale is larger than anything else I’ve read or watched before. The first three books weigh in at a hefty 2200 pages together. There are at least seven more books in the series and I can’t see anything that makes me believe that they aren’t a continuation of this same story.

This is definitely not a series for the faint of heart. This isn’t slick little quest that will be wrapped up nicely in 400 pages. The scope of the mythology that Robert Jordan has created is quite vast. The detail that he writes into his stories and the characters makes you feel like you are actually living the adventure with them. This a refreshing change from the paper-thin characters that I often have to see every day in the Hollywood films I tend to work on.

Robert Jordan has done a superb job of starting with the basic blueprints of a fantasy story and creating a world entirely his own. This is a world of men of many nations with a continuous political struggle between them. The wizards of the standard fantasy fair, are replaced by the Aes Sedai (Eyes Seh-DIE). Woman who channel the One Power bending the forces of Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Spirit to their will. Men cannot wield this power without eventually going mad. And when the Aes Sedai find out about a man who can, he is “gentled”–cut off from the One Power permanently.

Men live in this world with a mysterious giant people called the Ogier. They are the lovers of nature. The caretakers of the forests and in ancient times, the builders of fantastic cities of stone. Ogier live hundreds of years longer than men, and are a gentle folk. Rarely some among them are “treesingers”. By singing to trees they can shape wood into anything they can imagine.

I said it was a story of good versus evil. The men of the world fight against the forces of the Dark One. Trollocs are large half-man, half-beast monstrosities who feast on the flesh of their victims. Myrddraal are eyeless fiends who command the Trollocs. Grey Men are people who have given their soul over to the Dark One and act as his assassins.

This is a “must read” for fans of epic fantasy–readers longing for thick and juicy character development that they can really sink their teeth into. I can’t wait to pick up the next book.