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mygif

Richard Marquand and Sean Barton and Marcia Lucas, you mean.

http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/marcialucas.html

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Tim O'Neil said on January 13th, 2013 at 6:55 am

I wish you hadn’t said this, because now it will be harder to silence that little voice in the back of my head that says, “one of these days, we most go back and catch up . . .”

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mygif

I know I dropped out not because “oh my god the whole thing sucks,” but because I basically wanted to wait until it actually ended. I might go back and read what I’ve skipped now.

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mygif

As somebody who’s only read through book three, how much sense would it make from an artistic standpoint to go back and rewrite/reedit the middle books to tighten them up and improve the pacing?

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mygif

@Thok: As somebody who gave up around the ninth book, I call the question moot on the grounds that nobody is going to want to meddle with the legacy of the honored dead.

But I’m with Tim O’Neil. I wish you hadn’t said this, because now I’ll have to read the ending. And in order to read the ending, I’ll have to reread the beginning and the endless middle, because it’s been over ten years and I’ve forgotten it. But the fact that Sanderson was completing the series was almost enough to push me over the edge; this makes the read imperative.

Ah well. I’ll go ahead and wait till this summer, when I’m not teaching. No rush, after all.

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mygif

See, this almost makes me want to start reading the damned thing, because I have been sick for the past week and a half and have confined myself to the literary comfort food that is old out-of-print roleplaying game supplements.

…look, don’t you judge me.

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mygif

I’m about halfway through it, it has been very impressive so far. It is crazy that I started this series when I was fifteen and am seeing the end at thirty-two. I don’t know if we ever see a fantasy on this scale again.

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mygif

Um, why am I seeing the title of this post as “Memory of Time” and not “Memory of Light”?

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mygif

Serious question. Let’s say that at some point, one of the books came out (7? 8? 9?) and I got it and started to read it, only to realize it had been so long since I’d read the previous book that I had no clue who anyone was or what was going on. Let’s also say that probably two years ago I realized that the end was in sight and decided I would start re-reading the whole series. However, when I started reading the first book (which I remember loving as a teenager), the way the male and female characters interacted was so annoying and infantile that I gave up about a quarter of the way through. My question is, does this sterotype filled mode of interaction where the men are always saying things that boil down to, “Women! Who gets ‘em?” and the women are always saying things that boil down to “Men! What pigs!” get better? And if it doesn’t, is the end really good enough to be worth pushing through it? I really did like these books as a teenager and sure would like to know how they all turn out, but I’m real iffy on whether it’s worth the time investment.

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mygif

I wish you hadn’t said this, because now I’ll have to read the ending. And in order to read the ending, I’ll have to reread the beginning and the endless middle, because it’s been over ten years and I’ve forgotten it.

The only books I would really not recommend rereading are 8, 9, and 10. 1 through 4 are downright good by any standard if you like fantasy fiction in general. 5 through 7 drag and grate a bit but still aren’t all that bad, they just aren’t as good as the first ones. 11 is decent again, and the ones after it get even better. 8, 9, and 10, though, are just pointless. All three of those combined have one scene worth reading, if you can skim to it or find it summarized somewhere: the cleansing of saidin. Fairly exciting, and important to the storyline. Other than that, some C-list villains are introduced, some B-list villains stab each other in the back, and the good guys spend fourteen hundred pages dithering and angsting. That’s it. I just saved you a week and $24 for the paperbacks.

I’d point out that “good” and “fun” aren’t synonymous. 11 and 12 are still grim, because it’s a depressing, tense part of the story, but they’re written well enough and the plot is advancing. If you enjoyed the first four books then I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy those. It’s just that you wouldn’t want to read them in the middle of a break-up or something.

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William O'Brien said on January 13th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I also enjoyed the book, but I thought it sagged a bit in the middle (like the series itself). The last third was pretty excellent.

As for the rest of the series, I think book 10 is the absolute worst. The whole thing is just people reacting to the end of the previous book. In general, books 7-10 start introducing too many new characters and pointless plotlines. They probably could have been cut down to two books and the series would be much stronger for it.

Book 11 (the last Jordan book), and especially the three Sanderson books, did a great job of streamlining and refocusing on the key characters and events.

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Christian Williams said on January 13th, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I was certainly getting tired of the series over time, and 7 – 10 are really not incredibly great reads and almost put me off the story entirely.

But… aMoL? Is very, very, very, good as a closing point for the series. There are lots of threads that are left for us to think on what happens to our favorites, but everything important is wrapped up and put to bed. We’re also given enough hints as to the future, and events that break that future, that we can be pretty certain that those endings will be play out a certain way.

And yes, 10 or 20 or 30 different battles at the same time, some large scale, some small. Many people dying, some of them more permanently than others, and us very much pushed to a ‘oh my god, we’re all incredibly fucked’ point on at least two or three occasions.

In a way, it was an excellent wrestling match, with several ‘face in peril’, several ‘heel heat’ segments, and a myriad of false finishes before all was said and done.

Now… I sort of want to go back and read through the whole series, I think I’m gonna slot a few weeks for that in the summer.

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James Larking said on January 13th, 2013 at 11:48 pm

The only character I can’t remember seeing any mention of is Morgase. Do they mention anywhere in AMoL where she went? Everyone else seemed to be accounted for in mentions or story. Even Bela the horse from book 1!

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Tim O'Neil said on January 14th, 2013 at 12:48 am

As long as Narg comes back I’ll be happy.

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mygif

“The only character I can’t remember seeing any mention of is Morgase. Do they mention anywhere in AMoL where she went? Everyone else seemed to be accounted for in mentions or story. Even Bela the horse from book 1!”

She’s mentioned briefly as helping Berelain tend to the wounded in Mayene–when Berelain opens a Gateway to the battle and sends out people to help, I think there’s mention of Morgase being there.

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mygif

I just finished my reread of the series, just in time to finish with MoL, and the sluggish parts weren’t as bad as I remembered. Part of the issue, I think, is that the early books are very self-contained in scope. But once you get more to the middle of the series, you start having storylines that take multiple books to resolve. Books 6 starts with the plan to take on Sammael, but you don’t get any payoff for that until the end of Book 7. Read in sequence, it isn’t that bad; but when the books were coming out, you started to end up with more and more accumulating plot threads that aren’t getting resolved. (The White Tower storyline, notably, covers 8 volumes!)

For me, MoL wasn’t quite perfect. There were a few things that didn’t sit quite right for me… but more than that, there were many areas where I simply wanted more. There were scenes/reunions/etc that happened off-screen or were sped through without the impact they could have had, and I would have loved an epilogue that was a bit more extensive in showing us more of the aftermath for all of our favorite characters.

But at the same time, the book was already one of the longest in the series, and I can understand that adding a few more hundred pages may not have been exactly viable.

In the end, the very fact that the series was not just able to end, but to actually wrap up all of the plot-threads and resolve nearly every little prophecy and vision and omen in a meaningful way… that fact alone is a triumph. And that they were able to do so while providing a powerful and intense read with nearly a thousand pages of non-stop action… I’d say it is an epic accomplishment, but as the book itself points out, the word ‘epic’ doesn’t quite do it justice.

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mygif

Also, to clarify my above statement… to say that the book wasn’t quite perfect is not to say that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it and find it an amazing end to the series. It was more to point out that within the scope of the situation – with over a dozen books leading up to it and a new author carrying on the work – perfection was never going to be attainable. I would have been satisfied simply with it not being a failure, and I had hardly dared to expect that it would be as much a successful conclusion as it was.

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Sean D. Martin said on January 14th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Um, why am I seeing the title of this post as “Memory of Time” and not “Memory of Light”?

I second the query. Not being familiar with the series (a bit daunted by the number of volumes) is there somethign I’m missing that would explain why the headline gives the book’s title as one thing while the article makes clear it’s something else?

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Will "scifantasy" Frank said on January 14th, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Sean: It was a typo. The series is “Wheel of Time,” the book is A Memory of Light, it’s an understandable mistake.

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Sean D. Martin said on January 15th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Thanks.

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Wolfthomas said on January 16th, 2013 at 3:53 am

Spoilers:

I loved the bait and switch with Talmanes at the start. When it looked like he would die just to be miraculously healed the next chapter. I thought this precedent would carry on with no important characters dying.

Boy was I wrong.

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Christian Williams said on January 16th, 2013 at 10:46 am

One of the good things / bad things about aMoL, is just how little time we’re able to spend looking back at those who are lost in that final clash.

It makes sense, given the degree to which things are shattered by the end of the book. But we don’t really get to see people respond to some of the losses that we know would affect them. It’s hard, because some of those deaths happen off-screen, and some of the ones that happen on-screen are barely touched on.

People who would mourn their mentors.
People who would mourn the loss of those who were ‘sisters’ to them.
etc.

Though really, that would almost be another book unto itself so it’s a minor quibble.

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mygif

I read through Book 9 in high school. Then Book 10 came out my first year of college, and I proceeded to read through the entire damn series again because I had no idea what was going on. Then they released a prequel, and I flipped the entire chronicle the bird, because I was convinced it was all just a ploy to mess with me.

That said, am I the only person that genuinely enjoyed the middle books? One of the most heart-wrenching moments in a particularly long series (LotR actually brought tears to my eyes at the end, because I realized I was never going to read anything new about these characters again) is the culmination. Never mind the characters that don’t make it out alive before the last page, everyone is functionally dead by the end.

So I thoroughly enjoyed Perrin and Mat and Elayne and their six-book long side quests. And the way the entire world opened up in front of me like this giant flower. Wouldn’t trade them for anything. What drove me to distraction was the encyclopedia of minor characters and plot lines that I simply couldn’t follow if I went more than a year between books. And since it took him more than a year to release each book…

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