I’m currently reading Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World, the first book in his Wheel of Time Saga. I’ve rediscovered my love for the series after I saw that the latest book, Towers of Midnight. Rereading the Eye of the World is like a pleasurable journey. A slow one, because I don’t have a lot of time to read, but not one I’m in a big hurry to end. The thing is, because I know how the book ends, I’m not too worried to reach it and I can take my time with the proverbial ‘scenery’ so to speak. It’s like wearing a pair of old, comfortable clothes that I’ve forgotten about, or riding a horse that I’m very used to. I’m enjoying the story for the love of it, not because it’s new or exciting.
I enjoy it because it’s a part of me.
While reading this, I’m ‘catching up’ so to speak, with the characters that are all like old friends of mine. Two of the characters in particular have leapt out at me and if it was possible, I’d have run to them and embraced them for I have missed them more than the others.
One of these characters is a woman called Nynaeve al’Meara, a young village healer approximately my age at the start of the tale. She’s a fiercely strong character, (with many flaws I admit), with a terrible temper (someone’s described it as being able to split bullets) but a sense of loyalty towards her people that runs so deep she takes personal offense if anybody touches those she considers to be hers. I love reading about her especially now because I have the insight to realize what becomes of her, what role she plays in the book and how she matures into her part. I was frightened when I first read the books that Nynaeve would fade to the background because she’s introduced as a side-character but – as it turns out, whenever there is something really important that needs to be done, Nynaeve is the one to do it.
She learns through these books about herself, about life and about the price of duty. She learns to love, to hate and to forgive herself for her mistakes (sometimes). I find myself hoping that, like Nynaeve, I’ve learned the same in the past couple of years.