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The Wheel of Time

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article is about the novel series. For other uses, see Wheel of time (disambiguation). The Wheel of Time See list of books in series Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson Darrell K. Sweet (Michael Whelan for Cover artist A Memory of Light) United States Country Language English Fantasy Genre Tor Books (USA) and Publisher Orbit Books (UK) Published January 15, 1990 Media type print (hardback & paperback) Author The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, The Wheel of Time now spans fourteen volumes, in addition to a prequel novel and a companion book. Jordan began writing the first volume, The Eye of the World, in 1984 and it was published in January 1990.[1] The author died in 2007 while working on what was planned to be the final volume in the series, although he had prepared extensive notes so another author could complete the book according to his wishes. Fellow fantasy author and long-time Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson was brought in to complete the final book, but during the writing process it was decided that the book would be far too large to be published in one volume, and would instead be published as three volumes: The Gathering Storm (2009), Towers of Midnight (2010) and A Memory of Light (released on 8 January 2013).[2] The series draws on numerous elements of both European and Asian mythology, most notably the cyclical nature of time found in Hinduism and Buddhism, the concepts of balance, duality, a matter-of-fact respect for nature found in Daoism, as well as a creation story similar to that of Christianity in "The Creator" (Light) and "The Dark One". It was also partly inspired by Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.[3] The Wheel of Time is notable for its length, its detailed imaginary world, its well-developed magic system and a large cast of characters. The eighth through thirteenth books each reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list. As of August 14, 2008 the series has sold over 44 million copies worldwide[4] and has spawned a computer game, roleplaying game and a

soundtrack album. The television and film rights to the series have been optioned several times, most recently by Universal Studios.


1 Setting 2 Plot summary o 2.1 Tarmon Gai'don 3 Special Powers 4 Books in the series o 4.1 Prologue eBooks 5 Development o 5.1 Writing and conception o 5.2 Author's death and final books 6 Adaptations o 6.1 Games o 6.2 Television and film o 6.3 Music o 6.4 Comic books 7 Culture 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

In the series's fictional mythology, a deity known as the Creator forged the universe and the Wheel of Time, which, as it turns, spins all lives. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it rotates under the influence of the One Power, which flows from the True Source. Essentially composed of male and female halves (saidin and saidar) in opposition and in unison, this power turns the Wheel. Those humans who can use this power are referred to as channelers; the principal organization of such wielders in the books is called the Aes Sedai or 'Servants of All' in the Old Tongue. The Creator imprisoned its antithesis, Shai'tan (or Dark One), at the moment of creation, sealing him away from the Wheel. However, in a time called the Age of Legends or the Second Age, an Aes Sedai experiment inadvertently breached the Dark One's prison, allowing his influence into the world. He rallied the powerful, the corrupt and the ambitious to his cause and these servants began an effort to free the Dark One fully from his prison. In return, the Dark One promised them worldly power and immortality. Few even among the servants of the Dark One realized that one of the consequences of freeing him might be the breaking of the Wheel of Time and the end of existence itself.

In response to this threat, the Wheel spun out the Dragon as the champion of the Light. The Dragon was a male Aes Sedai named Lews Therin Telamon, who rose to great influence and power among the Aes Sedai. A century after the initial breach of the Dark One's prison, a time during which the Dark One's influence spread throughout the world, causing society to become corrupt and decayed, open warfare broke out between the forces of the Dark One and those of the Light. After ten years of a grueling, world-wide war filled with atrocities on a scale never before imagined, the Light found itself facing the real possibility of defeat. In desperation, Lews Therin led a hand-picked force of channelers and soldiers in a high-risk, daring assault on the site of the earthly link to the Dark One's prison, and was able to seal it off, although imperfectly. However, at this moment of victory the Dark One tainted saidin, driving male channelers of the One Power insane. The male channelers, in the "Time of Madness," devastated the world with the One Power, unleashing earthquakes and tidal waves that reshaped the planet, referred to in subsequent ages as "The Breaking of the World." In his insanity, Lews Therin himself killed his friends, his family and anyone in any way related to him, and was known afterwards as Lews Therin Kinslayer. Given a moment of sanity by Ishamael, chief among the Dark One's servants, Lews Therin realized what he had done. In his grief, he committed suicide by drawing on far more of the One Power than even he could handle unaided. Over time, the remaining male Aes Sedai were killed or cut off from the One Power. In their wake, they had left a devastated world: the land and the oceans reshaped, people scattered from their native lands, civilization itself all but destroyed. Only women were now able to wield the One Power safely. The female Aes Sedai reconstituted and guided humanity out of this dark time. Men who could channel eventually became objects of fear and horror, as they would inevitably go insane unless stopped, and even the Dragon became a loathed figure. Among the Aes Sedai there were women whose sole function was to hunt such men down and cut them off from accessing the One Power. What followed was three and a half thousand years of history that was marked by a series of rises then inevitable declines in civilization, a time of troubles and chaos that stood in marked contrast to the now mythical Age of Legends. Nations and civilization itself fell, rose, and fell again. Occasional periods of uneasy peace were punctuated by warfare. There were two major conflicts that were of particular importance, in terms of their effect on civilization as a whole. The first were the Trolloc Wars, in which servants of the Dark One tried to destroy civilization once more, in a more or less continuous war that lasted for several hundred years. This period finally came to an end thanks to an alliance of nations led by the Aes Sedai. The second was the War of the Hundred Years, a devastating civil war that followed the fall of a continent-spanning empire ruled by the High King, Artur Hawkwing. These wars have prevented the human race from regaining the power and high technology of the Age of Legends, and left humanity divided. Even the prestige of the Aes Sedai has fallen, with their terrible power and shrinking numbers, and the emergence of organizations such as the Children of the Light, a militant order who hold that all who dabble with the One Power are servants of the Shadow. The human race has clawed its way back to a level of technology and

culture roughly comparable to that of our 1450 to 1600 (although without the sciences, formalized learning, or the military use of gunpowder), with the difference that women enjoy full equality with men in most societies, and are superior in some. One likely explanation for this is the power and influence of the female-only Aes Sedai spilling over into everyday life. During the last war of note, called the Aiel War and taking place 20 years before the start of the series, the nations of the modern era allied themselves against the warrior-clans of the Aiel, who crossed into the western kingdoms on a mission of vengeance after suffering a grievous insult at the hands of one of the western Kings. The Aiel have since returned to the Aiel Waste, with some saying that they were defeated and fled, but others saying that they got their vengeance and left on their own terms. Despite this confrontation, little is known of these fierce warriors in the kingdoms of the east. In the time in which the novels are set, mankind lives under the shadow of a prophecy that the Dark One will break free from his prison and the Dragon will be reborn to face him once more, raining utter destruction and chaos on the world in the process of saving it from the Dark One.

Plot summary
The prequel novel New Spring, takes place during the Aiel War and chronicles the end of that conflict and the discovery by the Aes Sedai that one of the Prophecies of the Dragon has been fulfilled, that the Dragon has been Reborn. Aes Sedai agents (including a young Moiraine Damodred) are dispatched to try to find the newborn child before servants of the Shadow can do the same. The series proper commences almost twenty years later in the Two Rivers, a near-forgotten backwater district of the country of Andor. An Aes Sedai, Moiraine, and her Warder Lan, arrive mysteriously in the village of Emond's Field, secretly aware that servants of the Dark One are searching for one particular young man living in the area. Moiraine is unable to determine which of three youths (Rand al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon or Perrin Aybara) is the Dragon Reborn, so she takes all three of them out of the Two Rivers, along with their friend Egwene al'Vere. Nynaeve al'Meara, the unusually young village Wisdom (a healer or wise-woman figure), later meets up with them at the town of Baerlon. The men are mystified why Moiraine has allowed Egwene and Nynaeve to travel with them, until it is revealed that both of them can channel the One Power and learn to be Aes Sedai. A mysterious old gleeman named Thom Merrilin also travels with the group, claiming he wants to travel in safety when leaving the Two Rivers. The first novel depicts their flight from various agents of the Shadow and their attempts to escape to the Aes Sedai city of Tar Valon. From then on, the story expands and the original characters are frequently split into different groups and pursue different missions or agendas aimed at furthering the cause of the Dragon Reborn (revealed to be Rand al'Thor), sometimes thousands of miles apart. The original group of characters from the Two Rivers make new allies, gain experience and become figures of some influence and authority. As they struggle to unite the western kingdoms against the Dark One's forces, their task is complicated by rulers of the nations who refuse to give up their authority and by factions such as the Children of the Light, who do not believe in the prophecies, and the

Seanchan, the descendants of a long-lost colony of Artur Hawkwing's empire across the western ocean (Hawkwing had once united the mainland continent under his rule, and sent his son across the ocean to unite those lands as well) who have returned, believing it is their destiny to conquer the world. The Aes Sedai also become divided over the overthrow of their previous leader (an Amyrlin Seat) Siuan Sanche and the installation of Elaida a'Roihan as the new leader. The two sides are split idealogically between those who believe the Aes Sedai should be kept together in this time of crisis and those who believe that Elaida became the Amyrlin Seat through illegal means and want to remove her as an unfit leader. As the story expands, new characters representing different factions are introduced: although this expansion of the narrative allows the sheer scale of the growing struggle to be effectively depicted, it has been criticized for slowing the pace of the novels and sometimes reducing the appearances of the original cast to extended cameos. By the eleventh novel, it has become clear that Tarmon Gai'don, or the Last Battle, caused when the Dark One is able to exert its influence directly on the world once more, is imminent.

Tarmon Gai'don
Tarmon Gai'don is both feared and anticipated in the lands of the Wheel. Deriving its name from the final battlefield of Armageddon (Har-Magedon) in Christian eschatology, it will be the apocalyptic (some say final) battle between the forces of the Shadow and the forces of Light; if the Dark One wins, he plans to break the Wheel of Time itself to prevent another challenge. Even though the Dragon Reborn might prevail and thwart the Dark One, many fear that the Last Battle and its aftermath will be as bad as the Breaking, if not worse. As the series winds toward its conclusion, signs begin to point to the nearness of this final struggle. Within the storyline, there are characters who believe that the death of Rand before Tarmon Gai'don would prevent it from happening and therefore plot his premature death; others (mainly Elaida's Aes Sedai) just believe his mere presence would ensure their victory and therefore wish to capture him and keep him safe until the time comes. Before his death, Pedron Niall speculated that the Creator had abandoned mankind to its own devices, and that the Last Battle would be between armies and not include a non-existent (to his thinking) Dragon Reborn (in fact, he did not even believe Rand could channel). One member of the Black Ajah had her mind warped to believe that the Dragon Reborn must make it to Tarmon Gai'don in order for the Dark One to defeat him, and thus she has pledged to protect Rand al'Thor from anyone who tries to take his life. Events and portents that are believed to lead to the Last Battle take place in Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm. The Last Battle takes place in A Memory of Light.

Special Powers
Some men and women are able to use something known as the One Power; using the One Power is called channeling. The One Power is split into two sections: saidin and saidar. Men channel saidin, and women channel saidar. Not all people can channel. Specific flows of saidin or saidar are called weaves. Women can join together and form circles, but without a man, which only a

woman can bring into it, the circle is restricted to thirteen members, with one person maintaining control by directing the weaves. At the start of the series, saidin has been tainted by the Dark One for over three thousand years. Any man who channels it will eventually go insane and die. Because of this, the female Aes Sedai hunt down men who can channel and if they cannot gentle them (cut them off from saidin) they kill them. There also exists a power of evil, dubbed the True Power. The tapping of this power caused the bore into the Dark one's sanctum in the first place. Some higher levels of authority in the shadow have been granted access to this power by Shai'tan, and explain its use less as graceful, and more as ripping through the seams of fate and time itself, to force one's will on nature.

Books in the series

# 0. Title 1st Chs Audi Pages Words Publicatio Notes . o n 12h 6 January Prequel set 20 years before the events of the 334 26 122,150 31m 2004 first novel. 782 53 305,902 29h 15 January 32m 1990 15 26h November 08m 1990 15 24h October 31m 1991 15 40h September 31m 1992 15 36h October 34m 1993 15 41h October Locus Award nominee, 1995.[5] 37m 1994 30h 15 May 31m 1996 20 23h October 31m 1998 24h 7 Prologue chapter was released as a 18m November promotional eBook in September 2000.

New Spring The Eye 1. of the World 2. The Great Hunt

681 50 267,078

The 3. Dragon Reborn The 4. Shadow Rising 5. The Fires of Heaven Lord of Chaos

674 56 251,392

1001 58 393,823

963 56 354,109

6. 7.

987 55 389,823 855 41 295,028 672 31 226,687 766 35 238,789

A Crown of Swords The Path 8. of Daggers Winter's 9. Heart

2000 Crossroa 10 ds of . Twilight 11 Knife of . Dreams The 12 Gathering . Storm 13 Towers of . Midnight A 14 Memory . of Light 822 30 271,632 26h 03m 7 January Prologue chapter was released as a 2003 promotional eBook on July 17, 2002. 11 Prologue chapter was released as a October promotional eBook on July 22, 2005. 2005 Final novel completed by Robert Jordan. 27 October Completed by Brandon Sanderson. 2009 2 November Completed by Brandon Sanderson.[6] 2010[7] Completed by Brandon Sanderson.[12] , 8 January epilogue by Robert Jordan 2013[11] 6/Its-finally-out. 22 years, 11 months, 24 days (January 1990 2013)

32h 837 37 315,163 24m 766 50 297,502 57[6


33h 02m 38h 17m




(est. 41h around 49 55m[1 360,000 0] words[9])

Current Totals:

11,91 4,056,13 419h 684 6 0 30m

All page totals given are for the most widely-available mass-market paperback editions. There is also a companion book to the series, entitled The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, published by Tor Books in November 1997, which contains much hitherto unrevealed background information about the series, including the first maps of the entire world and the Seanchan home continent. The book was co-written with Teresa Patterson. Jordan ruled the book broadly canonical, but stated that the book was written from the perspective of a historian within The Wheel of Time universe, and was prone to errors of bias and guesswork.[13] There is also a prequel novella, New Spring in the Legends anthology edited by Robert Silverberg. Jordan expanded this into the standalone novel New Spring that was published in January 2004. Prior to his death, Jordan planned another two prequel novels and up to three "outrigger" novels taking place during or after the main series.[14] He had only minimal notes prepared for these, and after the release of A Memory of Light it was ruled out that Brandon Sanderson or any other author will expand them into full novels. In 2002 the first book, The Eye of the World, was repackaged as two volumes with new illustrations for younger readers: From the Two Rivers, including an extra chapter (Ravens) before the existing prologue, and To the Blight with an expanded glossary. In 2004 the same was done with The Great Hunt, with the two parts being The Hunt Begins and New Threads in the Pattern.

Jordan also wrote a short story, The Strike at Shayol Ghul, which pre-dates the main series by several thousand years. It was made available on the Internet and was later published in The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.[15] Deleted portions for a specific character from Memory of Light will be published as a short story under the title River of Souls in Unfettered: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy in Spring 2013. Brandon Sanderson stated on Twitter that Harriet McDougal, Jordan's wife and editor, is creating a comprehensive Wheel of Time encyclopedia, to be published after A Memory of Light.[16]

Prologue eBooks
On several occasions, chapters from various books in the series were released several months in advance of publication. These were released in eBook format as promotional tools for the thenupcoming release. To date, the prologue eBook releases have included:

Snow: The Prologue to Winter's Heart (September 2000) Glimmers: The Prologue to Crossroads of Twilight (July 17, 2002) Embers Falling on Dry Grass: The Prologue to Knife of Dreams (July 22, 2005). What the Storm Means: The Prologue to The Gathering Storm (September 17, 2009).[17] o Chapter 1 of The Gathering Storm, Tears from Steel, was released on Friday September 4, 2009 on for free.[18] o Chapter 2 of The Gathering Storm, The Nature of Pain, was released in Audio form on Thursday September 24, 2009 on for free.[18] Distinctions: The Prologue to Towers of Midnight (Tuesday September 21, 2010). o Chapter 1 of Towers of Midnight, Apples First, was released on Friday October 1, 2010 on for free.[19] o Chapter 2 of Towers of Midnight, Questions of Leadership was released in Audio form on Tuesday October 19, 2010 on Tor for free.[20] o Chapter 8 of Towers of Midnight, The Seven-Striped Lass (on September 16, 2010, Chapter 8, The Seven-Striped Lass, was revealed as part of The Great Hunt scavenger hunt setup by Brandon on his website beginning August 30, 2010 in relation to his new book The Way of Kings.)[21] By Grace And Banners Fallen: The Prologue to A Memory Of Light (Wednesday September 19, 2012). o A segment of chapter 1 of A Memory Of Light was released in mid-2012 on for free.[22] o A segment of chapter 11 of A Memory Of Light was similarly released publicly in mid-2012 on[23]