Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Wheel of Time Series

If you have the time and are looking for a great book series to check out - pick up the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007) and Brandon Sanderson. It's a captivating 14 book sci-fi/fantasy series (with the last book yet to be released). It will take quite a bit of time to read however since each book averages at around 900 pages. This is my personal favorite book series and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi/fantasy and has a bit of free time to read (WoT contains a very very large and extremely detailed universe) If the plot seems a bit overused - this series began in 1990, it was probably one of the first of it's kind (and very original back then). The plot is detailed and very believable - full of moments that make you want to jump up and scream "OWNAGEEEEEE!!" or rip your hair out in frustration. The battle scenes are incredibly well done and very epic - they make the hair stand up on your arms and send adrenaline pumping through your veins. The events and scenes are built up in a crescendo style - starting slow and then building up at an increasing rate until it reaches the top and crashes back down upon the audience like a tsunami of epicness. Definitely a must-read! (btw, there was also a game based upon WOT, made in 1999)

List of books in the series:
0. A New Spring (prequel)
1. The Eye of the World
2. The Great Hunt
3. The Dragon Reborn
4. The Shadow Rising
5. The Fires of Heaven
6. Lord of Chaos
7. A Crown of Swords
8. The Path of Daggers
9. Winter's Heart
10. Crossroads of Twilight
11. Knife of Dreams
12. The Gathering Storm
13. Towers of Midnight

Overview:

At the dawn of time, a deity known as the Creator forged the universe and the Wheel of Time, which, as it turns, spins all lives. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it rotates under the One Power, which flows from the True Source. Essentially composed of male and female halves (saidin and saidar) in opposition and in unison, this power turns the Wheel. Those humans who can use this power are known as channelers; the principal organization of such channelers in the books is called the Aes Sedai or 'Servants of All' in the Old Tongue.
The Creator imprisoned its antithesis, Shai'tan (or Dark One), at the moment of creation, sealing him away from the Wheel. However, in a time called the Age of Legends, an Aes Sedai experiment inadvertently breached the Dark One's prison, allowing his influence into the world. He rallied the powerful, the corrupt and the ambitious to his cause and these servants began an effort to free the Dark One fully from his prison, so he might break the Wheel of Time and end existence. In response to this threat, the Wheel spun out the Dragon, a channeler of immense power, to be a champion for the Light. In the Age of Legends Lews Therin Telamon was named the Dragon, who eventually rose to command the Aes Sedai and their allies in the struggle against the Dark One's forces. After a grueling ten-year war, which began a century after the Dark One's prison was breached, Telamon led his forces to victory in a daring assault on the site of the earthly link to the Dark One's prison, and was able to seal it off. However, at this moment of victory the Dark One tainted saidin, driving male channelers of the One Power insane. The male channelers devastated the world with the One Power, unleashing earthquakes and tidal waves that reshaped the planet, referred to in subsequent ages as "The Breaking of the World." Their leader, Lews Therin, killed his friends, his family, and everyone in any way related to him and finally himself in his insanity thus gaining the epithet Kinslayer. Eventually, the last male Aes Sedai was killed or cut off from the One Power, leaving people scattered from their native lands, civilization all but destroyed, and only women able to wield the One Power safely. The Aes Sedai reconstituted and guided humanity out of this dark time. Mankind now lived under the shadow of a prophecy that the Dark One would break free from his prison and the Dragon would be reborn to face him once more, raining destruction upon the world in the process of saving it from the Dark One.
Over the next three and a half thousand years, the human race returns to a level of technology and culture roughly comparable to that of the 18th century (although without military use of gunpowder and without formalized science, the development of both playing a part in the story), with the difference that women enjoy full equality with men in most societies, and are superior in some. This is put down to the power and influence of the female-only Aes Sedai spilling over into everyday life. Several major wars have ravaged the main continent since the defeat of the Dark One, such as the Trolloc Wars, when the surviving servants of the Dark One tried to destroy civilization once more but were defeated by an alliance of nations led by the Aes Sedai; and the War of the Hundred Years, a devastating civil war that followed the fall of a continent-spanning empire ruled by the High King, Artur Hawkwing. These wars have prevented the human race from regaining the power and high technology of the Age of Legends, and also left humanity divided. Even the prestige of the Aes Sedai has fallen, with their shrinking numbers and the emergence of organizations such as the Children of the Light, a militant order who hold that all who dabble with the One Power are servants of the Shadow. During the last war of note, called the Aiel war and taking place 20 years before the start of the series, the nations of the modern era allied themselves against the nomadic warrior-clans of the Aiel, who crossed into the western kingdoms on a mission of vengeance after suffering a grievous insult at the hands of one of the western Kings. The Aiel have since returned to the Aiel Waste, some say they were defeated and fled, while others say that they got their vengeance and left on their own terms. Despite this confrontation, little is known of these fierce warriors in the kingdoms of the west.
The prequel novel, New Spring, takes place during the Aiel War and chronicles the end of the conflict and the discovery by the Aes Sedai that one of the Prophecies of the Dragon has been fulfilled, that the Dragon has been Reborn. Aes Sedai agents (including a young Moiraine Damodred) are dispatched to try to find the newborn child before servants of the Shadow can do the same.
The series proper commences almost twenty years later in the Two Rivers, a near-forgotten backwater district of the country of Andor. An Aes Sedai, Moiraine, and her Warder Lan, arrive in the village of Emond's Field with news that servants of the Dark One are searching for one particular young man living in the area. Moiraine is unable to determine which of three youths (Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon or Perrin Aybara) is the Dragon Reborn, so she takes all three of them out of the Two Rivers, along with their friend Egwene al'Vere. Nynaeve al'Meara, the unusually young village Wisdom (a healer or wise-woman figure), later meets up with them at the town of Baerlon. The men are mystified why Moiraine has allowed Egwene and Nynaeve to travel with them, but it is later revealed that both of them can channel the One Power and learn to be Aes Sedai. A mysterious old gleeman named Thom Merrilin also travels with the group, claiming he wants to travel in safety when leaving the Two Rivers. The first novel depicts their flight from various agents of the Shadow and their attempts to escape to the Aes Sedai city of Tar Valon.
From then on, the story expands and the original characters are frequently split into different groups and pursue different missions or agendas aimed at furthering the cause of the Dragon Reborn (removed due to spoilers), sometimes thousands of miles apart. The original group of characters from the Two Rivers make new allies, gain experience and become figures of some influence and authority. As they struggle to unite the western kingdoms against the Dark One's forces, their task is complicated by rulers of the nations who refuse to give up their authority and by factions such as the Children of the Light, who do not believe in the prophecies, and the Seanchan, the descendants of a long-lost colony of Artur Hawkwing's empire across the western ocean (Hawkwing had once united the mainland continent under his rule, and sent his son across the ocean to unite those lands as well) who have returned, believing it is their destiny to conquer the world. The Aes Sedai also become divided between those who believe the Dragon Reborn should be strictly controlled, and those who believe he must freely lead them into battle as he did in the earlier war. As the story expands, new characters representing different factions are introduced: although this expansion of the narrative allows the sheer scale of the growing struggle to be effectively depicted, it has been criticized for slowing the pace of the novels and sometimes reducing the appearances of the original cast to extended cameos. By the eleventh novel, it has become clear that the Last Battle, caused when the Dark One is able to exert its influence directly on the world once more, is imminent.

The World of WoT
(Can't find a colored one - colored maps appear inside the book's cover.)














Tar Valon (fanart)












Aiel (fanart)














Callandor - The Prophesized Crystal Sword (fanart)



















~ Comfy Pillow

P.S. Universal Pictures has bought rights to produce a film adaptation upon the Wheel of Time, so keep your eyes and ears open for more news about the upcoming movie!

2 comments:

  1. The Aiel, Tar Valon and Callandor art is fantastic...especially the Aiel.

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