Robert Jordan – The Eye of the World

This post contains spoilers for the book.

I’ve finished this book today, though not for the first time. I think, to date – I’ve read it about five times and I have to say, I’ve enjoyed it every single time. Of all the books in the Wheel of Time series, this one is by far my favourite. It’s simple, the quest basic: Three boys taken away from their homes by a sorceress because one of them might change the fate of the world. They run from assassins, monsters and all manner of unspeakable things, each learning something of themselves along the way.

Unlike later on in the series, the cast is still small and you have all of the principle characters travelling together. I think one of my biggest critique on the series is that later on Jordan (Light rest his soul) brought in too many side stories, too many side characters. I find that later in the books all the characters (especially the women) are very much alike. It’s like having a bunch of clones running around in various places.

Not so in this book.

Everyone is clear and defined. Their features, their personalities, their personal hopes and dreams. Even the cold and serene Moiraine Sedai shows a bit of who she is, of the events that’s shaped her until this moment. You are unsure of everyone’s fate, unsure of where life would take them and, with the knowledge that the later books give you, you cannot help but pick up the small clues which point each character in his or her destiny.

And, I loved the surprises.

Mashiara by *FarArden on deviantART
My favourite scene (and I am not the romantic type) is when two characters who’s had a strange rivalry ever since the book started, have a quiet moment in the dark together. Admitting love but not giving in to it. The pain, the soft words and the genuine emotion that radiates off of the page trapped me and made me realize that there is nothing so good as well thought over dialogue.

To me, this book truly stands out among the rest and the wonder that I had felt reading it the first time is echoed every time I touch the pages. If I ever get to write my own books, may my first one be as good as this one.

A Favourite amongst Favourites

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.