The Wheel keeps rolling…

For those of us who started reading The Wheel of Time series in 1990 when the first volume The Eye of the World appeared—I do remember reading it while house-sitting in Ithaca—, the vigil for the conclusion of this epic has been close to unbearable: eleven volumes and twenty-eight years later, the end is not yet in sight! When Robert Jordan died last year, it even sounded as if the investment in reading these (mostly enjoyable) seven thousand four hundred and nineteen pages (plus the three hundred thirty-six pages of New Spring!), remembering more than two thousands of characters and hundreds of places, had been in vain (except for the pleasure of reading the eleven first volumes!) as the last and final volume was too far from completion and that the one-before-last book, Knife of Dreams, was not pulling enough threads together… A few weeks after Robert Jordan’s demise, however, his wife and editor Harriet Rigney selected a young fantasy writer, Brandon Sanderson, to write the missing volume based on the numerous notes and indications Robert Jordan gathered and prepared before he died. From reading—and liking—both first volumes of the Mistborn series by this author, I gather this is potentially a good choice, a priori.

Unfortunately, Brandon Sanderson has just posted an announcement on his blog that he had now reached the 300k word landmark on his completion of the first draft of A Memory of Light. Unfortunately, because he added that it sounded more like 45%-50% of the book was now completed, rather than 75% as originally planned! Robert Jordan had already warned that this last volume would be the longest of all and that his publisher Tor would have to invent a new type of binding. But this most importantly means that the end of The Wheel of Time is not in sight, by far, and that we will most likely see the first half in print a year or so before the second half. In other words, the end is not due in one volume but in two, even if they share the same title… I do not suspect any foul play from the publisher trying to make more profit about this best-seller (who knows?, fans may dislike Mr. Sanderson’s rendering of Robert Jordan’s style and shun the second volume altogether). This additional delay is nonetheless frustrating, if only because one needs to re-read those earlier volumes from time to time to make sure to remember enough of the main characters and of the main threads in the Pattern.

The saga of publishing The Wheel of Time will thus span more than twenty years, a phenomenon quite in tune with the range and character gallery of the books. Two, maybe three generations, are together waiting for the final bit. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, but most of us would like to see it grind a wee less finely towards the end and stop rolling at a foreseeable horizon…

2 Responses to “The Wheel keeps rolling…”

  1. […] those still interested in the Wheel of Time endless sequence of novels, Tor Publishing just announced that the “last” volume of the series […]

  2. […] Elantris is the first novel written by Brandon Sanderson, who is in charge of completing the Wheel of Time based on the notes left by Robert Jordan. I read it out of curiosity, to see what style we could […]

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