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Triskele

How Good is Robert Jordan?

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They say brevity is the soul of wit .... :

Not very good at all.

Edit: Do you remember the sworn sword how the red Widow was characterized?

'Lady Rohanne gave her braid a tug. "We do not suffer attacks on Coldmoat or its people. So tell me why I should not have you sewn in a sack".'

How i laughed when GRRM put this pearl later:

' Dunk grabbed her braid and pulled her face to his. It was awkward with the crutch and the difference in their heights. He almost fell before he got his lips on hers. He kissed her hard. One of her hands went around his neck, and one around his back. He learned more about kissing in a moment than he had ever known from watching. But when they finally broke apart, he drew his dagger. "I know what I want to remember you by, m'lady".

Egg was waiting for him at the gatehouse, mounted on a handsome new sorrel palfrey and holding Maester's lead. When Dunk trotted up to them on Thunder, the boy looked surprised. "She said she wanted to give you a new horse, ser".

"Even highborn ladies don't get all they want", Dunk said, as they rode out across the drawbridge. "It wasn't a horse I wanted". The moat was so high it was threatening to overflow its banks. "I took something else to remember her by instead. A lock of that red hair". He reached under his cloak, brought out the braid, and smiled.'

If only the WoT males did the same.

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Yeah, if only Senshou had actually gotten any of it right.

Oh yes. Especially the part about depth. I'm surprised his corpse hasn't been used as a submarine yet :rolleyes:

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I'd say the series runs like this:

Book 1 is designed to be Tolkien-esque to hook in readers with familiarity. The characters are easy to relate to, the prose is easy to read but not entirely lacking in depth and Jordan describes things in enough detail to be far more compelling than the wafer-thin Goodkind, Eddings or Brooks without going overboard (as he does in later volumes). About halfway through the Tolkien comparisons lessen somewhat and towards the end the books takes a much sharper turn towards orginality. The worldbuilding is intriguing and the backstory, although pretty standard, is well-developed.

Book 2 shows a marked improvement in the quality of the story. Plotlines develop that have come out of nowhere but are logical extensions of the worldbuilding and we meet some great secondary characters (Hurin and Ingtar are both great). We also get some more first-class locations, like Tar Valon, which as fantasy cities go is pretty interesting.

I absolutely agree on both, with more to add about book 2.

It is much better. Better pacing overall, better constructed and, in particular, it's a sharp turn from Tolkien as you say, so it becomes much more interesting to read.

Main flaw, imho, is the evil side. The "light" side is so complex and fighting itself enough to make the book stand even without a real evil character. But that evil character is there and it SUCKS.

It IS the stupidest villain ever, the one whispering in your ear the exact way how you can defeat him. Either he is awesomely stupid or there's a plot still hidden up to book 2. And the two other "lesser evil" are actually the true villains of the book and are done well.

But really, after I finished the last few pages I was upset because some developments aren't explained. Even the prologue seems completely unrelated to the rest of the books.

For example: why Egwene and Nynaeve were brought on Toman Head? why the villain tells Rand where he is going? Why the Whitecloacks were sent to die there? What was the plan of the Dark One? It's like everything was meant to converge so that Jordan could write a good ending scene, but no reasons behind the convergence.

Jordan's strengths lie in worldbuilding and his development of key themes, namely the mutability of knowledge and an interesting combination of good, evil and grey characters. Selfishness is presented as an interesting plot point, with many characters too consumed by their own unimportant issues to realise the world is falling apart around them.

I agree on this too. It already shows in what I read. One aspect that he does well is how the knowledge spreads slowly across the world. Most conflicts are excused because of lack of knowledge of the other, misunderstandings as in the real world. Legends appear because informations come so sporadically that normal people are left guessing and wondering. The worldbuilding is fairly consistent.

In summary, a key series in the epic fantasy subgenre with much to recommend it, but which has been overtaken by many other, superior works.

List them all! Maybe I missed something.

The problem with "superior works" may be that they aren't as readable. Maybe more clever and interesting, but not as engaging and a pleasure to read. Jordan writes to be accessible, the characters to be easily recognizable. Some other qualities of other fantasy works come at the expense of accessibility and ease of read.

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hmmm now i feel like reading WoT again!!!

i've forgotten most of the details, i can remember that rand was a superduper kickass fighter-mage type character and that there was another kickass fighter, some dude whose people were slaughtered by the baddies, but not much else.

reading this thread makes me curious...gotta have something to do to pass the time whilst waiting for adwd

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When I was 10 or eleven I was really disapointed by book six in Jordan series, I actually wrote him and said that I had loved his book and awaited his last book like someone waiting to receive a gold coin and receiving a gold plated turd. The thing that still cracks me up to this day is He actually replied and not just one of those standard response letters he had some very defensive things to say, oh good I wish I had kept that letter. In fairness calling his work shit was probably way over the line but then I was only 11.

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Oh yes. Especially the part about depth. I'm surprised his corpse hasn't been used as a submarine yet :rolleyes:

Ouch, the dude didn't die that long ago, show some decency:)

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Ouch, the dude didn't die that long ago, show some decency:)

Senshou lacks human feeling. We established that weeks ago.

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Mere weeks?

Reestablished?

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Main flaw, imho, is the evil side. The "light" side is so complex and fighting itself enough to make the book stand even without a real evil character. But that evil character is there and it SUCKS.

He isn't as stupid as you think he is. However, be prepared for the fact that RJ writes most of his Forsaken as terrible fools and failed human beings. He has a justified reason for doing this, but if you're the kind who expects untouchable, brilliant villains, you're going to be disappointed.

In the end, WoT is a story with mediocrity in both sides, good and evil, which is not at all a terrible thing, IMO.

It IS the stupidest villain ever, the one whispering in your ear the exact way how you can defeat him. Either he is awesomely stupid or there's a plot still hidden up to book 2. And the two other "lesser evil" are actually the true villains of the book and are done well.

Can you tell me who you're referring to here? Who are the "lesser evils"?

But really, after I finished the last few pages I was upset because some developments aren't explained. Even the prologue seems completely unrelated to the rest of the books.

The prologue will seem unrelated until you can figure out who Bors (the PoV in the prologue) is. Once you do that though...

For example: why Egwene and Nynaeve were brought on Toman Head?

This was an attempt to preempt any help these two will later be able to give Rand. Obviously, the Prophesies refer to these women, but not clearly enough that any of the Light-siders have figured it out. Ba'al'zamon has figured out that they may be central to Rand's success, and he wants these women to be captured by the Seanchan so that they'll be unable to help Rand.

why the villain tells Rand where he is going?

The answer to that is that the villain is mad. You remember Fain's story from the end of the first book, right? He was put through a load of pain by the Shadow so that he could detect the three ta'veren. As a results he hates both the Shadow and the three ta'veren with a passion. His motive in telling Rand where he's going is to draw Rand there.

Once Fain reached Toman Head, he started corrupting the leader of the Seanchan, poisoning his mind against Rand. The ultimate aim was for him to gain control over the Seanchan and have them kill Rand, while Fain retrieves his dagger from Turak, and regains his fullest power.

Why the Whitecloacks were sent to die there?

The answer is bound up in who Bors is.

Its best to figre it out yourself (which you will in the third book, maybe), but if you want to know now:

SPOILER: BORS
Bors is Carridin, a Whitecloak Questioner. He basically feeds false info to the commander of the Whitecloak forces which results in him deciding to attack the Seanchan. The intent was to make the rest of the Whitecloaks think that Aes Sedai had destroyed the regiment while helping a "False" Dragon, ie. Rand.

What was the plan of the Dark One?

Don't we all want to know?! At this point though, one thing is clear, the Dark One (for reasons that are still not clear, only suspected) does not want Rand dead. His prime aim seems to be to turn Rand to his own side rather than have him killed.

It's like everything was meant to converge so that Jordan could write a good ending scene, but no reasons behind the convergence.

Oh there are always reasons. Though its never obvious. One strength of the series, that isn't lost even in the later books, is that it is highly consistent, and most loose ends are never left hanging. The flip side is that this doesn't always happen in one book. Hence my statement that WoT is more like one long story. Never believe that the books are self-contained.

Another positive is that because Jordan is never obvious with the answers, the series is immensely re-readable. Each time you read the book again, you'll find another layer of meaning to the story. You can enjoy it as brainless entertainment. But if you want to read deeper into the text, you'll find that the books still hold up, with a lot of themes very well developed.

I agree on this too. It already shows in what I read. One aspect that he does well is how the knowledge spreads slowly across the world. Most conflicts are excused because of lack of knowledge of the other, misunderstandings as in the real world. Legends appear because informations come so sporadically that normal people are left guessing and wondering. The worldbuilding is fairly consistent.

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I can't agree with this, I'm afraid. I don't think I would have ever called Egwene "the caring, naive one." In the beginning, I found the only way to tell Egwene and and Nynaeve apart was the braid-tugging. I wouldn't mistake their roles in the story, but in terms of their characters, they're almost identical. They all do the same non-plot related things, have the same attitudes towards just about everything, and even tend to express themselves in the same terms. At best, they can manage on unique characteristic each (Nynaeve has her braid, Moraine is short, Egwene has the personality of a leech, etc.)

Can you explain further? Because calling Egwene and Nyneave similar is almost as mystifying as calling Arya and Sansa similar.

Egwene certainly isn't "the caring, naive one". But she is very dissimilar to Nyneave. Its diffcult to simplify, but here are character summaries for these two, as I see them:

Nyneave: Blunt, temperamental and stubborn, a bit of a bully. Monumentally unsubtle. Extremely heavy handed in her leadership (as a result of being pushed into a position of power early in life, she was basically looked at as someone who'd be a puppet. She overcompensated and the end result is a person completely unwilling to compromise, or be a subordinate). Has a tendency to be less than honest with herself. Incapable of introspection and bound to get flustered when she is unable to bully someone. At the same time, she is deeply loyal to her "charges" and capable of sacrificing anything for them.

Egwene: Stubborn in a markedly different way from Nyneave. Very calm temperament, except for a period when she was trying to make it clear to Nyneave that she isn't top dog anymore. Manipulative as hell (after around book four). Pragmatic, and later on, callous and even uncaring at points. At the same time, she is highly introspective, and tends to overanalyze all her actions. Is defined primarily by a deep thirst for knowledge, and is likely to break rules and laws all over the place to get what knowledge she wants. Her leadership style is very different from Nyneave's. Where the latter tries to force, Egwene will first try to reason, then manipulate. Also, somewhat moody, with bouts of depression.

There is really no way in which you can say these two are similar.

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The bottom line is really a matter of what you'll enjoy. If you enjoy light literature and aren't going to really think or criticize what you read, and just try to enjoy it for what it is, WoT may be entertaining for you.

If you expect the book to demonstrate mastery of writing techniques, depth of themes, concepts, or ideas that will change the way you think or introduce you to new philosophies...if you enjoy rich character building and brilliant dialogue, precise and innovative prose where every sentence and word had gone through 10 drafts to evoke precise images/emotions and convey the point in as streamlined a form as possible...well, if you expect all those things, you may loathe WoT with a fiery passion. In the end it's really a matter of how critical you are about your literature. Some people can read Eragon without voicing complaint, then there are people like me who have never read a single book in their life that they haven't found many things to nitpick over.

Synopsis: If you can enjoy shit for what it is, give WoT a go. If you have any standards: run to the self-help section as soon as you glance at a WoT novel. What self-help book you read depends...if you decided to try reading a sampling of one of the later books, I'd suggest a self-help book on ritual suicide to cease the pain.

This sounds more like an overly optimistic synopsis of the Sword of Truth series! :o I know TG has been accused of copying Jordan, but I didn't know he'd been so successful that people attribute all the worst of his series to WoT. :P

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It has been a few years since I read the book, but:

SPOILER: WoT

The Whitecloaks where there as part of a scheme to expand their own sphere of influence beyond the borders of Amadicia. However, they have been undercut by agents of the Shadow, so the local commander used the troups for other purposes. It is explained in book six, IIRC

On the stupid villain. Are you sure you even know who the vilain is?

SPOILER: WoT
The real villain doesn't appear on screen before book six. Neither does the game he is playing become obvious. The guys Rand and the other good guys deal with are all decoys.

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There are little touches in the series that are great, like Min's visions of Rand in Baerlon in Book 1. Read them again now and it is genuinely impressive that all of them came true in different ways, although some of them didn't germinate for seven or eight novels.

Jordan's foreshadowing is similar to Martin's in many ways; little things, offhand-remarks in earlier books sometimes mean nothing, but often there is some subtle foreshadowing here (like Nynaeve's "vague fear of spiders" mentioned in the Accepted trial). Because of some offhand remark in the first book (IIRC), many readers were/are wondering if Nynaeve will heal someone 3 days dead. It would certainly fit in with the whole messianic theme. Now I just hope that final book will be written, so we can RAFO...

I almost entirely agree with your earlier, long post on WOT as a whole; I recently re-read part of it and it's striking how the appetite for WOT returns when reading the first 4 books (and 5-7 to an extent, lord of chaos especially); they're much better than the later ones. Like you, I really liked Ingtar and Hurin as characters (along with a few of the better whitecloaks they're among the best characters of RJ). The Shadow Rising is my favourite, because all the separate storylines get a satisfying conclusion. Which part of the plot in the book do you consider to be almost as gritty as GRRM, though? The 2R part?

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There's an entire chapter in Path of Daggers from Moridin's point of view. Read it, especially his description of the ancient game he's playing, and you'll get good insight into what'a going on in the Dark Ones head. It's basically a description of his REAL agenda and how it plays out between him and Rand.

Remember, the Dark Ones goal isn't just to conquer the world. He has to shatter the Wheel of Time. He has to stop the cyclical nature of time, because no matter how often he is freed, the Wheel of Time weaves him back in to his prison again.

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I almost entirely agree with your earlier, long post on WOT as a whole; I recently re-read part of it and it's striking how the appetite for WOT returns when reading the first 4 books (and 5-7 to an extent, lord of chaos especially); they're much better than the later ones. Like you, I really liked Ingtar and Hurin as characters (along with a few of the better whitecloaks they're among the best characters of RJ). The Shadow Rising is my favourite, because all the separate storylines get a satisfying conclusion. Which part of the plot in the book do you consider to be almost as gritty as GRRM, though? The 2R part?

SPOILER: WoT
The war in the Two Rivers and also the split in the Tower. The Aes Sedai had been built up as this monolithic, ancient organisation of tremendous power and ability and just seeing them fall apart in such a bloody way in such little time was quite jarring.

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SPOILER: WoT
The war in the Two Rivers and also the split in the Tower. The Aes Sedai had been built up as this monolithic, ancient organisation of tremendous power and ability and just seeing them fall apart in such a bloody way in such little time was quite jarring.

SPOILER: WOT
To me, it's the same thing that happens with The Forsaken, except everyone bitches about that one.

We see the Aes Sedai as this monolithic, ancient, powerful and unassailable thing frm the outside, but once we get inside, it's riven with petty infighting and fractures and such just as much as any orginization.

Just like The Forsaken, who are seen as the legendary figures of pure awesomely powerful evil, but are in fact just 12 really powerful channelers who went evil. Many for reasons that are fairly tame. Asmodean sold his soul in order to be able to perfect his music over eternity for the love of god.

Hell, I'm pretty sure they weren't the only ones at their power level, they were just the only ones that happened to survive. If I'm remembering it correctly, tons of channelers sworn to the Dark One died in the Strike on Shaoul Ghoul. (however you spell that)

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Getting back towards the topic:

I agree that Jordan's story has mostly meandered into nothing. However, I will give him credit that he sets up and writes action scenes as well as anyone. The end of every book (notable exceptions books 8, 10) are always quite action packed and enjoyable.

I will further contend that the Dumai's (sp?) Wells battle at the end of book six remains in my mind as the most exciting battle I've read in fantasy. Including what Martin and Bakker have produced.

This by no means is to indicate that I liked the book better, because I found book 6 almost insufferable until the last hundred pages.

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