“What are you doing?”
“Waiting on hold.”
Five minutes later.
“Yeah ... no wait, someone just picked up. Hold on. Oh you do? That’s great! Thanks!”
“How far is Ontario?”
“Oh man, I hope not. L.A..”
“Couple hours, I think. Wait, why?”
“They have a copy of A Memory of Light!”
“It’s three hours away.”
“But they have a copy!”
“The book comes out tomorrow.”
“Exactly my point! They have it a day early!”
“We’re not driving to Ontario.”
“Fifteen years I’ve waited!”
Wife looks over and does the perfect Aes Sedai arched eyebrow.
Sigh. She has a point.
“I’ve waited 15 years; I guess I can wait one more day.”
After 23 years, 15 books, and 11,004 pages, the final volume of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time has an ending. A Memory of Light is not the ending, as there are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time, but it is an ending.
The final three volumes were completed by author Brandon Sanderson after Jordan died in 2007 of a rare blood disease.*
Wife and I have been reading Wheel of Time since 1997, when she found a copy of the sixth book in the breakroom at her work. That’s 15 years for us. My best friend Mike started reading it in 1991.
In fact, that’s how we met. It was 1998 when this big Irish guy walked past my cubicle and noticed that I had a copy of a Crown of Swords on my desk.
“Hey man, cool series, isn’t it?”
Even diehard fans admit that Jordan needed someone other than him as his editor; we freely admit that things could have been trimmed down a bit.
For us though, every stitch of clothing described; every “woolheaded fool;” every dress smoothed over hips; and yes, every braid tug, are like a favorite uncle. Sure he tends to ramble on (quite) a bit, but we love him all the same for it.
For those of you who only recently started the series, I envy and pity you. Envy, because it didn’t take you 15 or 20 years to get here. Pity, because it didn’t take you 15 or 20 years to get here.
You’ll never know what it’s like to agonize over the wait for a new volume.** Or to debate with other WoT geeks over who killed Asmodean. You’ll never read an interview with Jordan, hoping against hope that he would spill the beans, only to have him respond with his infamous “RAFO.”***
Of course it’s a mix of emotions; I’m sure the Potteries felt this way at the end of Harry’s adventures or Stephen King fans when Roland’s story came to an end.
There’s excitement, sadness, anticipation, and a sense of “blood and bloody ashes, this thing is finally coming to an end?”
It’s been quite the journey. I was still a teenager when I first picked up the series. Wife was still girlfriend. And kid? What kid?
I’m going to go see how it all ends now. Dovie’andi se tovya sagain. ∆
* And made us feel kind of bad for all the jokes we had made about him dying before finishing the series. Speaking of dying before finishing, I’m looking at you G.R.R.M.
** Or get yelled at for bringing said new volume with you to a party and reading it. Sorry, Wife.
*** Read And Find Out.
Contact contributor Nicholas Walter via Managing Editor Ashley Schwellenbach at firstname.lastname@example.org.