This is NOT a review of the Wheel of Time books. I suppose you can call it a reaction blog... For it is a collection of my live reactions and thoughts to reading the Wheel of Times series for the first time.
The thoughts were originally shared on Twitter and have now been collected here for everyone's convenience. These are my full reactions from the first Wheel of Times book, with some post-read writerly thoughts at the very end.
To gain better understanding of what this is all about, please refer to this blog.
Spoilers for Wheel of Time book 1: The Eye of the World ahead!
Good thing that Thom taught Rand and Mat some tricks! There’s some hope for them.... but apparently not for long... hope never seems to last long here.
If it goes well in one chapter, you can be certain you’ll see Whitecloaks in the next.
So..... folk have been looking the wrong way at Rand because of his Heron-marked sword pretty much since he left Two Rivers. This might be a stupid question, but: couldn't he just cover up the heron-mark...? Why can’t he do that? Is that somehow impossible...?
Uff, there is not a nice atmosphere in Four Kings, with an inn-keeper wanting to rob them and a dodgy rich guy staring at them, but things could be worse. At least the map shows that they’re close to Caemlyn
Though I fear Caemlyn will be worse!
Oh wow. I thought this was going to take a very different turn. I thought they’d escape the inn with the rich guy who would then turn out to be a lesser evil and they’d make a dramatic escape from his carriage.
Nope. Not where that went, at all.
Lights, help them. After a promise and declaration like that, they’re definitely going to get separated, one way or the other..
Lights, I hope it just happens in a way where neither of them abandons the other.
So much evil chasing Mat and Rand!!! So many servants to the Dark One! Even a skimpy villager I did not suspect, at all. Thankfully the two lads did suspect him, and got away.
This does make me wonder - cause we’ve seen a lot of evil people here, and every single one has been a man. Does the evil only take men...?
Moiraine said something about it being rare with women, but that implies that it also happens with women just to a lesser degree.
Oh. Yep. Definitely also happens with women. That answered that! Lights, I keep getting fooled because I keep thinking: it can’t be another one! Surely this time it must be a nice person.
Nope. Nothing sure about that.
I thought maybe this lady would be an Aes Sedai but one who did not agree with Moiraine and had a different approach. A darker approach. I do wonder how the Aes Sedai will react if any of the lads manage to show up in Tar Valon.
Very wise! Don’t become that which you hate, Mat my lad.
Rand is right, you’re better than this.
I do hope they don’t get separated now, because like Egwene and Perrin, Mat and Rand have now learned to rely on each other and help each other.
It’s a heart warming sight.
I feel like every person who gives these lads a ride tells them that Caemlyn is two days away... How is it always two days away? Is that code for: really really far away!?
I also keep hoping that every new person they meet might be someone they can trust. The two lads keep being reluctant to trust anyone, and I keep trusting everyone...
Eventually one of the people they come across will be good, right?
All this talk of Queen’s and royalty... we’re going to get really close and personal with the Queen and royalty aren’t we..?
I bet Thom used to perform for the court. He has this pride about his work. He has to have performed for the court.
Oh I hope Thom comes back soon.
Hmm yes, maybe not the queen, but I think we shall meet Lady Elayne and maybe also Lord Gawyn before this whole journey is finished.
Is Lady Elayne going to fall for one of our three Two Rivers lads...? Who is it going to be? Place your bets now!
Everyone they meet who doesn’t end up attacking them keeps saying that they know nothing and want to know nothing.
The people of this Queendom are terrified!
Ah, they meet someone decent at last!?
I’m with the inn-keeper on Thom btw: “I’ll believe he is dead when I see his corpse”
Oh wow! I mean I figured Thom had performed for the court..... but that close to the Queen? I would not have guessed it, but it makes a lot of sense from what we know of Thom so far.
Uh uh I don’t like that the inn-keeper is gone. Did someone come and take him...?
I mean he seemed so nice so I don’t want to believe that he willingly betrayed them but.... I’m worried.
Cool!!! An Ogier!! He seems like a really nice fellow too. I like these calm moments of conversation in between.
And it’s nice to see Rand let down his guard. Mat is guarded enough for the both of them.
Oh! Very unexpected! But yes!! Yes yes yes!! Please!! Let this happen!
Come on Rand! Think how nice it would be to see your party grow again and be surrounded by wise folk!
Oh and also, I can proudly announce that Rand has FINALLY decided to cover the heron-mark on his sword! After travelling half-way across the map.
All it took was for it be a fashion trend.
In a book with so many characters I find it remarkable that I like all of them.
I still don’t have one that makes me annoyed - and that’s a rarity for me.
....I take that back.
The Wisdom is getting on my nerves. I’m okay with her on the surface but the tone of her chapters is so negative. I’d like her if she could stop looking down on Moiraine and Lan (and herself too).
I feel like I sense something between the Wisdom and Lan...
What’s this about..? Is this the beginning of a romance I’m sensing...?
Wait!!!! Hold up!!!
Lan’s full name is: al’Lan Mandragoran???
So we have a...
When are Bob and Sam joining?
It’s fun that the girl names don’t seem to be following this pattern.
Moiraine.... Egwene... Nynaeve...
Yes I’ve got nothing on those.
Uhh Perrin’s eyes really are turning golden! That’s really cool.
And I’m of course excited that Moiraine heard my call last night and has arrived to rescue Perrin and Egwene.
I do have one concern though. Now that Perrin’s Wolf affinities are so clearly visible to others, I’m worried he will grow even more insecure.
Especially in the presence of the others. He grows a lot when he is alone and has room to do so, but he is SO insecure too.
Aw there is this little moment between Perrin and Lan after the rescue - Lan is really coming out of his shell lately.
He has been this silent, camouflaged figure of strength until now, but he is starting to open up now and reveal himself for who he truly is.
We like this!
So red means support for the Queen. White the opposite...
Rand chose red because it was the cheapest, but white is more commonly seen these days...
So it’s more expensive to be AGAINST the Queen..?
Someone seems to be profiting well off this.
Gawyn.... wait a minute!! Wasn’t it only yesterday that I claimed we would see the Lady and Lord of these lands before the end?
Frankly, I did not expect for it to happen quite this soon.
(She is so going to fall for Rand isn’t she?)
Ha! Even her brother is in agreement with me!
The pattern has been spun.
At this point, when Rand tells someone his real name and where he is from, I am not even surprised anymore.
Yes sure, Rand, go ahead and tell them everything. Just please keep your mouth shut when you cross the Queen’s Aes Sedai!
Wow. Rand has learned well from Mat. He really knows how to get into trouble
This is the kind of escalation of trouble I’d expect from my lad Mat.
The Queen seems cool though. Just under very dangerous advisement.
Yes, see? When you spend some time away from Mat’s suspicions, everyone suddenly don’t seem so bad, do they?
This inn-keeper has been so very nice and helpful.
All back together!!
Except.... Except for Thom. Please come back, Thom.
Uhhh see, we knew that dagger was bad news, but it was much worse than feared, when even Moiraine can’t part Mat from it...
I worry for Mat’s future. Because surely with so many books ahead, Moiraine isn’t going to be with him the entire way.
It’s good to have Mat back though. Properly.
Mat my lad!! Welcome home!!
Hahah. Ahhh I adore this character.
Please don’t let something bad happen to him. He is only ninety years old. In the name of the pattern, that is no age at all.
Yes!! At last!! Trust Moiraine!!
She can’t help you if you don’t tell her what’s going on!
Look what happened to Mat my lad because he lied and said he didn’t take any of the treasure!
*whispers* which one of you is.... the Dragon, Rand. The Dragon.
I’ve placed my bets already. Both that the Dark Lord is looking for the Dragon and also on who I think the Dragon is.
Time will tell as the pattern reveals itself to us all.
Considering that I only have a bit over 100 pages left in this first volume.... I’m worried it won’t be enough time.
Uh. Someone’s following them..? Someone.... so not a Trolloc.
It wouldn’t be Thom, because how could he follow them unless he had seen them go through? And if he had he would have called out. My bet is on.... The Peddler! The one Rand ratted to ages ago!
Mat my lad.... waste of a perfectly fine arrow!
Who is going to go back for it now??
The Ogier quite adorably keeps trying to steer them elsewhere. "Hey guys, did you know there’s a passage over here that leads to Tar Valon...? Wouldn’t that be neat? No...? Okay... Let’s keep going then."
Duh, of course! I should have seen it straight away! Of course Trollocs and Fades have been using the Ways to fast travel too. So THAT’s how they arrived in Two Rivers in seemingly no time without anyone elsewhere seeing them!
Uh we’ve got a new map!!! Last one in this volume, I suspect.
Okay guys, I gotta confess...
I know the lads are just back together, reunited after a long time apart. But I wish they would go each their way again.
Because honestly, I struggle to like Rand when he is around the others. He can come across a bit judgement of the others.
And honestly he is better than that. It doesn’t seem like he means to be that way either. Yet, he tends to look down on the others when they’re together. Especially the women. But also Perrin and Mat.
It’s not just Rand either.
All of the lads seem to have a bad influence on each other when they’re together.
They’re great on their own but something old stirs up whenever they’re together and they reduce themselves to be lesser men.
I want them to be their best selves. So, I’d like them to split up.
Uhh!! That’s smart!! Why aren’t all the town doing this!?? Are the other townships so arrogant as to think that Fades can never appear near their cities...?
We’re about to learn a whole lot about Lan aren’t we...? These people talk as if he is some kind of beacon of hope. A hero of times past.
I trust Moiraine. I don’t care if every person in all the lands says that you can only meet this Green man once.
If Moiraine says it can be done, it can be done.
Yes. And if he is to die, he shall also be like an onion, making everyone cry as he is chopped to pieces.
So let’s not make that happen.
But yes, that describes my feelings on Lan’s past.
I knew it!!!
I knew that was who was following them and who had called on dark creatures more than one.
And, not so fast, RAND!!!
You met him and told him everything and then decided not to tell Moiraine...! I told you this would happen!! Always tell Moiraine!
He knows exactly what you told him, Rand....
And no, I’m not about to forget that, because if you’re going to live through over a dozen more books, you better learn to trust Moiraine and to not blurt all you plans to everyone you meet.
On a total sidenote:
What is this...? It appeared at bottom of page 719 of EotW. I own the paperback U.K. edition. What’s this about...?
Is it an Easter egg or a printing mistake?
The talk with Anglemar in Fal Dara was quite interesting because it tells us just how insane their adventure is and how big of a chance Moiraine is taking on them all too. It tells us that our lads are now far beyond anything that anyone normal in this world can understand.
Egwene.... I gotta break it to you, but I don’t think Rand wants you all to be together. He doesn’t fare well in this group. And I think even he is beginning to realise that.
Now that’s sweet.
And Rand, you can learn something about how to talk to a woman here. You too Perrin.
This love story is making me like the Wisdom more. She can’t possibly be annoyed with others when she is in love.
Huh? It does not sound like he is holding the bow, so... What kind of super-bow does Mat have that the arrow does not fall off...?
Another deep concern for the archer over here: how many arrows does Mat have...?
He does realise that arrows are expensive right? Especially arrows that you use to hunt and kill. They also take forever to make. He knows, right?
It’s impressive that he can hit anything while riding though. That’s a skill that’s difficult to acquire and was in the past too.
The most famous Korean general, General Yi Sun-sin (16th century), failed his horseback archery test to get into the military academy. and he is one of the most celebrated war generals, and famed for his archery skills too. Just for a bit of persepctive.
On a different note, we love a mage who sends off Fireballs!!
I haven’t seen that in ages in fantasy, so that’s extra awesome!
Because you need to be prepared, Rand.
If you’re not prepared for what’s to come you might be caught unawares, and that’s never fun.
That ends in disaster.
Better to be a bit scared and live than blissfully(?) ignorant and die.
Oh. Okay. So reaching the Eye of the World ended up being no problem at all.
That was some smooth sailing.
I called it!! I called it! Ahh so it’s official now. I was wondering how long it would take for it to be revealed to Rand. Because I was really confident about this truth. I was worried it wouldn’t be revealed for many more books. Phew!
The Forsaken.... uh this sounds familiar. And these names. Are the Foresaken the false dragons?? Or the real ones...?
Yea, actually: what makes someone a false dragon and what makes them a real dragon?
I need some answer over here.
Oh no. You know things are truly bad when even Moiraine begins to scream.
Wait a minute. 3000 years.
During the past 700 pages I’ve wondered what the deal with the prologue was. With that Kinslayer.
This is it, no...? Kinslayer is going to be Rand’s teacher. Isn’t he...? In some form. Be it in memories or spirit or something.
That was that. I’ll be honest, despite the book title, I did not entirely expect them to reach the Eye of the World in the time they had left, but that was actually a neat ending.
And I’m happy that Rand is planning on going his own way. He is better on his own.
I look forward to the next volume. I wonder what will happen now...
End of Wheel of Time Book 1 : The Eye of the World
Before I sign off, I wanted to all add some over-arching thoughts I've had about the book, as a writer, so here goes…
Writing wise, Robert Jordan is well versed and makes some interesting choices that makes the Wheel of Time (at least the first book) feel like a very comfortable read.
Almost every time I had a question or something I wanted to know more about, my request was granted one or two chapters later. One could compare it to certain comic books, that have time to account for fan reactions a few chapters further along in the story.
This made it feel like a very reader-led experience. It felt like I, as a reader, was helping form the narrative, when truly, what happened was that Robert Jordan skilfully fed me the questions he wanted me to have, so that I would be onboard with the journey in its entirety.
This is something that’s actually quite difficult to do. I read many novels where authors have attempted to do this and utterly failed, instead making me completely uninterested in what they want me to care about.
Robert Jordan never seems to press upon the reader the things he wants us to wonder about. Instead, he seems to do the opposite, pulling back to lure us out hiding.
He knows his audience well. He knows fantasy readers. He knows what we find fascinating. So he will just drip a little of something that is sure to make 90% of fantasy readers go: “What was that? Where did that come from?”, and suddenly we’re all with him on a hunt to find out more information about the Aes Sedai, or the Dragon Reborn.
This way of writing also resulted in me frequently feeling rewarded as a reader, which again made “the Eye of the World” a comfortable read. I was never caught totally unaware, and that was a nice experience because it felt like I could relax in the reading and take in the story and characters and world with more ease because I trusted that Jordan was going to show me everything I needed to see and in the proper order too and that he wasn’t out to freak me out, but rather that his goal was to fulfil my every want as a fantasy reader.
The many references to established and well known fantasy conventions, and often Tolkien’s work too, also made this a comfortable and enjoyable read.
'The Eye of the World' feels like it’s a story that was written by an observant fantasy reader for the pleasure of other fantasy readers.
It has been an absolute pleasure to encounter it. Now, onwards with the reading...
Experience the collection of my live tweets about the Wheel of Time series here:
5. The Fires of Heaven
6. Lord of Chaos
7. A Crown of Swords
8. The Path of Daggers
9. Winter's Heart
10. Crossroads of Twilight
11. Knife of Dreams
12. The Gathering Storm
13. Towers of Midnight
14. A Memory of Light