Friday, December 14, 2007

In loving memory...

Earlier this year an author I have read since I was 15 (I am now 31) passed away.

There are many things to be said about Robert Jordan. I like most of his fans love his WoT series.

A small background on my WoT reading.

I was able to read 1-4 pretty much back to back. After the first 4 I had to wait like everyone else who had started reading them at roughly the same point.

When the new WoT book would come out I would be in the bookstore getting it in hardback no matter where I was financially at the time. You see, like all WoT fans, the characters in those book mean something to me.

I have read a fair amount of fantasy and I am starting to be able to tell the good from the great. Renoobed has been a really big help where this is concerned. He started giving me the greats like Guy Gavriel Kay, Steven Brust and Glen Cook.

I am not afraid to admit that I, like some other fans, thought the series start slacking badly after Lord of Chaos.

I though the ending of Winter's Heart showed promise. I liked the idea him cleansing Saidin by using the evil from Shadar Logoth which was an evil the Dark One had nothing to do with and that his minions feared. The idea of the two evils negating the other was great for me. Holding them bound by Saidar which Saidin couldn't break out of was a creative imo.

Crossroads of Twilight should have gone fast and felt like more.

Knife of Dreams is close to being back to what I considered the great form of the first 4 books.

When Knife of Dreams was getting ready to be released, I met someone who was reading Crossroads of Twilight and I shared my opinion that it was a lesser volume of the series. We talked a lot about the series and he really got me interested again for what was going to happen in KOD. So, I started rereading the novels. I was rereading Eye of the World when Katrina struck New Orleans. I live in Baton Rouge and was out of power for about 2-3 days while reading the bleakness of that first run/chase sequence and for some reason the whole book was heightened for me by what had just happened.

I read all the novels back to back. The story flowed better for me when I was able to read it that way. I was not jonesing for a fix of what if anything would happen. I realized that I had fallen into the trap of wanting to know what happened, who lived, who died and I wanted to know NOW! It gave me a false impression of the series going to hell.

Also, when I reread the books, I realized I still cared for the characters. Perhaps I cared for them more now then I did when I was younger. Maybe for nostalgia reasons or because I was about to be a new father... I have seen cynicism run rampant in those who are older than me. I have seen my father question movies for realism's sake to such a degree that I just get so confused and have to make fun of him... (Example: Dad, "That Jedi could not do that!" Son, "If you are going to go so far as to admit him a "Jedi" why not just suspend the rest of disbelief.")
It's this kind of thing I wanted to make sure I skipped being a father. I want my son to share my sense of wonder. I want him to feel the rush as Rand learns he is the Dragon Reborn. I want him to feel the uncertainity when Rand realizes what it means to be not only a man channeling tainted Saidin but what it feels like to be man with the fate of the world on his shoulders.

Feeling these thing are only felt for most through books. However, I think they hold a special place for teaching oneself too.

Thanks Mr. Jordan! I don't know what else to say. Thanks for the memories, thanks for letting me ferret out something I wanted to be as a father. Yes, your books did that for me. I was constantly thinking what my son would think of these books when he read them even as I, myself, was rereading them.

When I found out RJ was sick, I had no idea what he had. Even after reading the name of it. But, I knew it was bad. I did my usual Wiki search and found out how bad. I felt very sad for him and his wife and family but what do you do?! I'm a fan and your books, hence you, have meant so much to me but I can't even send any thanks (would feel wrong to me) help (Not a doctor and you have the money) fan letter (he gets thousands). So I waited. Along with many other fans. I felt guilty when someone else told me he had passed. I had not been checking Dragonmount regularly and to tell the truth I am kind of a shut in when it comes to grief.

What brought all this up again for me was the announcement that A Memory of Light will indeed be made. It seems that an author, one Brandon Sanderson, has been tapped to write it. I fully intend on getting Mr. Sanderson's novels so that I can see his work. However, I have no doubt he will do the novel justice because he was handpicked by Harriet who is Mr. Jordan's wife. Harriet has been Mr. Jordans editor for the WoT. If anyone knows who should complete his legacy, it would be her.

Hearing the news reinvigerated me once again. Also, it has me thinking of my son again. Now, Brandon and Robert Jordan are not related but it is nice to see that something someone has worked so hard at will not be left unfinished.

Thank you Mr. Jordan for the sense of wonder.

Thank you Mrs. Jordan for seeing that wonder continue.

Thank you Mr. Sanderson for stepping up to some really really big shoes to help the wonder in it's time of need.

To Connor, may your sense of wonder endure as mine has. It will be one thing I strive for in being your father. Right now, you are busy with Choo-Choos and Winnie the Pooh, but one day you will be sitting in your bed waiting for a bedtime story and you will hear...

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose.... The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of time. But it was a beginning."

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