The End Is Nigh

As some of you may know, next month will see the release of A Memory of Light, the fourteenth (!) and final (!!!) book of Robert Jordan’s series, The Wheel of Time.

Jordan passed away several years ago, of course, and the series is being finished by Brandon Sanderson, working from the notes and scenes Jordan put together before he died. From start to finish, the series has taken twenty-two years to complete. (Minus one week.) That’s kind of boggling to me, the sheer scale of the project.

Not as boggling, though, as realizing that it’s been with me for more than half my life. I took The Eye of the World with me on a trip when I was fourteen, in the summer of 1995. The series didn’t hook me then; that took another year or so, when a bunch of my friends got into it and I gave the second book a crack. For a while I was a devout fangirl; then I drifted away; then I decided I was going to put the series down until it was actually done.

That was nine years ago. In January of 2010, I started a project: Revisiting the Wheel of Time. Partly it was to refresh my memory of the story, so I could read the last two (turned into four) books without missing half the payoff. But I decided that, as long as I was re-reading, I might as well analyze, and see what I could learn from Jordan’s work — its strengths and weaknesses alike.

And so, more than seventeen years after I first picked it up, I am coming at last to the end. I’m not remotely the same person I was when I started; my fannishness for the series has largely faded, as I see more clearly the flaws that crept in over time, or were there from the start. Even the things I like, I appreciate with a more detached eye. But there’s still that deep-seated anticipation that I will, at long last, find out how the story ends.

I can’t think of anything in my life that compares — anything I’ve waited so long for, even if I wandered away and stopped thinking about it for quite a few years in the middle. It will be both wonderful and sad to see that end.

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Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is the author of more than forty short stories and seven novels, the most recent of which is the urban fantasy Lies and Prophecy. Visit site.

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