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Jon Fossaway

An honest assessment of WOT?

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Like everything else that becomes well known in its area and represents what Fantasy was in the late part of the 20th century WOT has a lot of both popular support and detractors.

The most honest assement anybody could give another person about WOT is: you have to try it and see if you like it.

Trying to compare ASOIAF and WOT is sort of like comparing Star Trek to Star Wars. They are both in the same genre. There are people who love one and hate the other. However, they really have very little to do with each other in terms of themes, backgrounds, and source material.

Star Trek got the very best in hard/classic sci fi writers to write or at least contribute to many of its episodes. They had a group of guys whose job it was to come up with plausible science for how the stuff seen works.

Star Wars was built on mythology, Lucas says that the chief elements were taken from "a hero with a thousand faces." The story really could be transplanted to basically any background setting (as terry goodkind proved in wizards first rule).

The chief complaints of star wars are that it is derivative (which it is). The chief complaint of star trek is that its overly technical (which it is)

Now, if you look WOT is like starwars. The study that went into making those novels was in classical storytelling and myth. If you go and look at reputible works on mythology you can find that irish and celtic mythology and eastern philosphy and mythology have been pretty well incorporated into the narrative.

On the other hand, ASOIAF has the historical novel as its basis and if GRRM didn't read up on the war of the roses, the time of the 5 emperors, the romance of the 3 kingdoms, and the warring states period before writting his work then he must have at least had an understanding of their events.

The honest assement of WOT for a ASOIAF reader would be that you will like it if want something that is similar in scope to ASOIAF but that plays with a different set of ideas.

Its less grit, but more charm, fewer elements that you would find in a midevil history text book but more elements you would find in your midevil literature.

As a comparison of writting style I woud say comparing the two is like comparing Robert E. Howard to Tolkien. GRRM writes with Howards intensity. Jordan wrote with tolkiens panoramic detail.

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Like everything else that becomes well known in its area and represents what Fantasy was in the late part of the 20th century WOT has a lot of both popular support and detractors.

The most honest assement anybody could give another person about WOT is: you have to try it and see if you like it.

Trying to compare ASOIAF and WOT is sort of like comparing Star Trek to Star Wars. They are both in the same genre. There are people who love one and hate the other. However, they really have very little to do with each other in terms of themes, backgrounds, and source material.

Star Trek got the very best in hard/classic sci fi writers to write or at least contribute to many of its episodes. They had a group of guys whose job it was to come up with plausible science for how the stuff seen works.

Star Wars was built on mythology, Lucas says that the chief elements were taken from "a hero with a thousand faces." The story really could be transplanted to basically any background setting (as terry goodkind proved in wizards first rule).

The chief complaints of star wars are that it is derivative (which it is). The chief complaint of star trek is that its overly technical (which it is)

Now, if you look WOT is like starwars. The study that went into making those novels was in classical storytelling and myth. If you go and look at reputible works on mythology you can find that irish and celtic mythology and eastern philosphy and mythology have been pretty well incorporated into the narrative.

On the other hand, ASOIAF has the historical novel as its basis and if GRRM didn't read up on the war of the roses, the time of the 5 emperors, the romance of the 3 kingdoms, and the warring states period before writting his work then he must have at least had an understanding of their events.

The honest assement of WOT for a ASOIAF reader would be that you will like it if want something that is similar in scope to ASOIAF but that plays with a different set of ideas.

Its less grit, but more charm, fewer elements that you would find in a midevil history text book but more elements you would find in your midevil literature.

As a comparison of writting style I woud say comparing the two is like comparing Robert E. Howard to Tolkien. GRRM writes with Howards intensity. Jordan wrote with tolkiens panoramic detail.

Nice summation. I agree.

However, it is to be noted that the later parts of each series incorporate elements of what may be called the primary thrust of the other. aSoIaF is becoming more and more involved with mythology and the Hero's journey, and WoT did become more and more about history, communication and perception. Though Jordan deals with the conversion of myth to history (more or less) and Martin can be seen exploring the influence of myths on historical events.

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Okay.

I'm a little more than half way through (finally). Gotta say it's up and down right now. There are elements to the story that grab and keep me going, other times I'm not sure why I'm doing this. I'm going to continue though, and as I said, I'm going to at least give book two a try.

Now, that being said, it's very obvious that Jordan really didn't know his characters well when he set out to write this book. But it's first book in a series, so some of that is to be expected. Slightly more than halfway through though, and so far he hasn't really made me outright like any of his characters yet, which some might find odd. I really do think that's a product of the early stages of the story.

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The ending scenes of book two still hold as some powerful scenes in my mind. I will also say that the 3rd book is well executed and it is the book that I feel that Jordan really had the most control about what was going on.

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The ending scenes of book two still hold as some powerful scenes in my mind. I will also say that the 3rd book is well executed and it is the book that I feel that Jordan really had the most control about what was going on.

Strange. I always considered 3rd book to be weakest of the first six. (4,5,2,6,1,3).

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I like how focused book 3 is. I think a lot of the others he was aiming for a much shorter series and a much farther away end point than he ultimately got while in book three I got the impression that the end he got was the end he was going for and everything actually fits well with that in mind.

-Poobs

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I wasn't that fond of book 1 (too dark), but I thought what the heck and bought book 2, which I liked a little better. However, by book 3, the hook was firmly set and I haven't looked back.

With all this discussion here and at Tor.com, I've started a reread and am loving it.

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Strange. I always considered 3rd book to be weakest of the first six. (4,5,2,6,1,3).

If you asked me when you first read the series, I would agree, but upon subsequent rereads, it is now one of my favorites. It is more subtle, for Jordan, than the others and much more focused. I agree with what Poobah said.

I like how focused book 3 is. I think a lot of the others he was aiming for a much shorter series and a much farther away end point than he ultimately got while in book three I got the impression that the end he got was the end he was going for and everything actually fits well with that in mind.

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Won't put this in spoiler tags because this is basically a spoiler topic, but if you haven't read TDR, my post will be spoilerific, but I will try and avoid specifics of plot points.

My problem, upon rereads, with Book 3 is that RJ seems to have been seriously flirting with Rand's madness, something he almost completely dropped in the next two books. The next time I remember it being featured so prominently was in LoC, what with the box thing and all.

However, I do like the focus that the book has, and it was (and still is) interesting to read RJ's take on what exactly it would mean for somebody to totally alter chance just by being around. This is VERY well done during the chase scenes, as they encounter example after example of Rand messing with the world, but I think the book began to lose some of that once they arrived in Tear. However, the ending was great, and although I felt that the Supergirls were unnecessarily stupid in their plotline, at least it made sense and was resolved within the book.

On a related but broader series note:

SPOILER: very minor spoiler of a plot point from later in the series
I always wondered if RJ had planned to have Callandor flawed from the beginning. It's been a while since I've read WoT, but the only thing that I recall in Rand's Tear chapters that may hint at it is in TSR, when he tries to resurrect the little girl. However, that's still nothing compared to when he uses it at the end of whatever book (I think PoD), when he manages to kill large numbers of his own men on accident.

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Don't know what spoilers are and aren't allowed. This post contains spoilers up to book 3.

I thought the Supergirls' plotline in Book 3 was a bit of a stretch. I understand why Siuan could trust them and only them to root out Black Ajah within the Tower. I don't understand her rationale for letting three untrained girls, one who can barely channel at all, take off headlong toward Tear. Also, the Forsaken KNOW Rand is heading toward Tear; why do they need to use the girls as bait for a trap? It just seemed like an easy excuse to get them (and Mat!) at Tear for the end.

I don't know, I thought Book 3 was the one where it was clear that RJ's style of "everyone meets up at the end" had outstayed it's welcome, and he was ready to move onto bigger and better books. I'd put Book 3 as the worst of the first three, but since Books 2 and 4 are two of my favorites, perhaps I'm biased.

I do think Book 3 is important in that Rand barely appears, which gives RJ time to rework his character from someone who really doubted his fate to someone who completely accepted it and was ready to do his duty. Rand's character becomes much more resigned and melancholy after this book, much more willing to use his friends, and I think it's an interesting shift.

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to rework his character

it's actually a well executed and planned ab initio retconning, if we're gonna be technical.

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I understand why Siuan could trust them and only them to root out Black Ajah within the Tower. I don't understand her rationale for letting three untrained girls, one who can barely channel at all, take off headlong toward Tear.

I thought that her reasoning was that they were safer outside the Tower as moving targets than in it as stationary ones. Something that that proved to be very true. Her mistake was in the handling of Elayne's brothers.

I also don't remember - did the Forsaken know that Rand wanted to go to Tear or did they think that they were leading/herding him there?

I don't like TDR all that much though - Rand's solitary trek to Tear and everybody else scrambling after him always seemed a bit silly to me. The Pattern may give Rand nudges what to do, but the how sure could have been more rational.

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I also don't remember - did the Forsaken know that Rand wanted to go to Tear or did they think that they were leading/herding him there?

Since these Grey Men and Darkhounds keep attacking Rand en route, one can assume that at least some of the Forsaken know where he's going. And I believe one of the Forsaken encounters Rand looking at the sword in Tel'aran'rhiod. Be'lal wants Rand to draw Callandor so he can kill him and take it. I guess some of the other Forsaken don't want this to happen. And Ishamael has his own motivations in this book that I can't even pretend to understand.

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By combining adjunctions and certain deformations, this selectionally introduced contextual feature appears to correlate rather closely with a general convention regarding the forms of the grammar. For one thing, the natural general principle that will subsume this case is necessary to impose an interpretation on irrelevant intervening contexts in selectional rules. On our assumptions, this analysis of a formative as a pair of sets of features is not subject to an important distinction in language use.

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Siuan used the Supergirls because she knew she could trust them to not be Black Ajah, because the Black Ajah had already attempted to remove them once.

You will recall that Elayne was not originally included, because Siuan had no evidence about her one way or the other.

As for them going to Tear, it was for plot reasons only, not character reasons. "Look, a weird novice that nobody trusted brought us to a weird storeroom full of moronically obvious clues about Tear." "I bet it's a trap!" *braid tug* "Of course it's a trap. Let's go anyway!" *arms folded under breasts* "Maybe since we're super special, even Nynaeve even though she can't really channel, we'll be able to turn around a trap laid by 13 women probably chosen for their resourcefulness who have had weeks or months to prepare said trap! Yay!" *braid tug* *sniff*

The only good thing about that plotline was that it managed to bring Mat to Tear, IMO. Then again, I tend to think that any Supergirl quest prior to the Salidar / Aiel stuff was total fluff, just something for them to do while waiting for their real part in the story.

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I don't think it was fluff per se, but it was more a way to get exposition across. Stuff like that the Seanchan were coming back and such.

EDIT: I agree that the quests *themselves* were non-starters, but they did serve a narrative purpose, now matter how clumsily.

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Spoilers up to and including The Dragon Reborn throughout.

I don't like TDR all that much though - Rand's solitary trek to Tear and everybody else scrambling after him always seemed a bit silly to me. The Pattern may give Rand nudges what to do, but the how sure could have been more rational.

It wasn't the pattern just forcing Rand to go there. Rand was still doubtful as to whether he was the real Dragon or whether Moirane and the Aes Sedai just wanted him to believe he was. He knew that only the Dragon could pull Callandor and so he decided that was the best way to prove to himself, once and for all, whether or not he was the Dragon. It also played off his obsession with doing "what they don't expect" because it was the only way he could be sure he wasnt being manipulated. And he was terrified of being manipulated. I loved that part of the book. TDR is my favourite in the series for mainly that reason.

You will recall that Elayne was not originally included, because Siuan had no evidence about her one way or the other.

Also Siuan later admits that she knew Egwene and Nyneave would include Elayne but didn't include Elayne herself so she could directly deny putting Elayne in danger to Morgase.

As for them going to Tear, it was for plot reasons only, not character reasons.

Both really. The motivations might have been a little weak. But Nyneave is incredibly overconfident throughout the series so it's entirely within her character to believe she can outwit the darkfriends. And at this point she was still the de facto leader of the trio. They also had a personal grudge on Liandrin to help spur them along. Siuan letting them go is a little bit incongruous but not all that much. It's mentioned(albeit i'm not sure if it's mentioned this early) that the three of them were "forced" in their learning to channel which is known to allow channellers to learn much faster then typical novices/accepted but isn't usually done in the Tower due to the risks involved. Egwene, especially, as she was trained by the Seanchan and is probably as competent, if not more so, in many ways as a full fledged Sister. I believe it's mentioned that it's impossible to burn oneself out while channeling through an a'dam so the seanchan don't need to be as careful while training and train their demane much harder then novices and accepted. And of course all three of them are by this point already stronger then any living Aes Sedai. The 13 Sisters are also the only known Black Ajah. So if Siuan was serious about hunting the Black Ajah, and she certainly was, then she basically had to capture at least some of them, since she had no other leads, and the girls were the only people she could trust.

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Good friend of mine went to San Diego Comic Con Tor booth.

Spoke at length with reps there. UNOFFICIAL smack:

1. Everyone who's read Gathering Storm thinks its pretty kick ass. Some are afraid of being accused of blasphemy but think it may be a bit better than the immediate previous volumes (which considering the criticisms levelled at Crossroads of Twilight and Path of Daggers may not be that much of a stretch).

2. Supposedly, Jordan had written in close to final form about 700 manuscript pages. Not a lot but certainly significantly more than what was speculated.

That info makes me cautiously optimistic that A Memory of Light is going to end this series in style.

Dennis

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Why did Siuan let the girls go to Tear?

Well first off, she couldn't trust anyone else. Second of all, they were strong. Inexperienced and stupid, but strong. Third of all, if they sat in the Tower, they would be sitting ducks for the Blacks (who already sent one Grey man to the Tower), and will also be unable to resist the curiosity of women like Elaida. The last was probably one of the more important reasons. Siuan had to, as she saw it, keep the truth about Rand secret till she had incontrovertible proof that he was the Dragon Reborn. Forth, it looked like the Blacks were trying to do something with Callandor. That would be unacceptable.

Hence the trip to Tear.

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1. Everyone who's read Gathering Storm thinks its pretty kick ass. Some are afraid of being accused of blasphemy but think it may be a bit better than the immediate previous volumes (which considering the criticisms levelled at Crossroads of Twilight and Path of Daggers may not be that much of a stretch).

Well then!

For each book since Path of Daggers, I've told myself that I will not get excited for the next volume in this series. I will not get my hopes up, I tell myself. I don't want heightened expectations. The series has been in decline.

And each time, I inevitably end up getting excited for the next volume anyway.

I am officially excited for TGS now.

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