The Wheel of Time Reread

The Wheel of Time Reread: The Final Post

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the final post of the Wheel of Time Reread.

Today’s entry covers the Wheel of Time Reread, in which we have an ending… but not the ending. As is right and proper, all things considered.

Previous reread entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general. The index for all things specifically related to the final novel in the series, A Memory of Light, is here.

Also, for maximum coolness, the Wheel of Time reread is also now available as an ebook series, from your preferred ebook retailer!

And now, the post!

A MOSTLY BRIEF AND TOTALLY ACCURATE HISTORY OF THE WHEEL OF TIME REREAD

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a WOTFAQueen named Leigh Butler (the First of her Name). She was a young and rather hapless queen, never having meant to become the guardian of Frequently Asked Questions about the Wheel of Time, but the previous FAQueen had come to her one day and emailed solemnly, “Look, I really have to finish my PhD, help a girl out?” And Leigh, who was of tender heart (and also a sucker), felt she could only agree. And thus the mantle was passed on.

FAQueen Leigh held her rank for some years, battling valiantly to chronicle and preserve the myriad and conflicting theories spewed forth of the cold heart of winter and twilit crossroads and all the other WOT mysteries that crossed her path of daggers, and for a while it was good. But then came the great and terrible storm men called Katrina, laying waste to so much of what the good queen held dear and throwing all into disarray, and soon thereafter came the shocking and untimely death of the Creator of WOT himself, and all was darkness for a while.

The FAQueen, despairing of there ever being a resolution to her mandated quest for Frequently Requested Answers, abdicated her throne, allowed the WOTFAQ to fall into disrepair, and went her own way, supposing that the great fanKingdom of WOT would never recover.

But lo, the FAQueen was a dum-dum, because all was not lost! The Creator’s widow, she of strong heart and uncanny editorial sorcery, arose from her grief and declared that nay, the Kingdom of WOT shall not die! I shall find one to carry on my beloved’s story, she said, and all the land shall finally know the Answers to the Questions they have so long sought! And she totally did so, vanquishing all those who would oppose her, because she is badass, and it was good.

And then the administrators of the kingdom murmured among themselves, and said, what can we do to bring the news of this wonderful development to the people, and revitalize their interest in What Happens Next?

Irene Gallo Leigh Butler

And thus it was that they came to the former FAQueen, and said to her, here is your chance to redeem yourself, yo. Come to our Tor, they said, and Reread the Wheel of Time from the beginning, telling of What Happens and making Commentary upon it, and so remind the people of what they could have lost and have now regained. Would that not be totally awesome, they asked?

The former queen was dubious of her worthiness for the task, but nevertheless agreed that it would, in fact, be totally awesome, and so consented, once again taking the burden of interpreting the vastness of WOT upon her shoulders. Because, as we have mentioned, she is kind of a sucker.

And Leigh supposed, in the beginning, that perhaps a few would come and see, but that not much moment would be made of the enterprise overall. So it was to her considerable and happy surprise to see that the people did come and see, in numbers that she could scarcely have imagined, to comment and debate and snark and sometimes fight, but mostly to delight in each other’s company, and to delight in WOT.

JordanCon 2014

And the former queen was well pleased, for she knew that it was not for herself that these people came and stayed, but for their love for WOT—and over time, for love of the community the people had built there, beneath her words. As is right and proper, for fandom is not love of a thing, but rather love of a thing shared, and thus transformed. Her words were not the source, but merely the frame upon which a whole new iteration of WOT fandom grew, and knowing this, Leigh was right humbled by the honor. And so things have gone for many happy years.

The above was (most of) the intro I wrote for the booklet of letters that was part of the Rereaders’ gift to Harriet at this year’s JordanCon. And maybe it’s cheating a little to reuse it here, but I had been sitting and racking my brains over how to try and write anything that would come even close to summing up this experience, realized that I had already written it, and was like why not.

Because the tone of my “history” is really only partly tongue in cheek. Fairy tales don’t happen in real life… except when they kind of do.

The introductory post for the Wheel of Time Reread was on January 19, 2009. Or, to put it another way, 5 years, 3 months, and 25 days ago. At the time, hilariously, I thought the Reread was going to be a fairly brief blip in my life, something I would pound out in a few months, something that no one would really notice, and then I would be done with it and move on.

Oh, Leigh. So silly.

Really, my previous experience with Wheel of Time fandom should have taught me better even then: there is nothing, ever, that is brief about the Wheel of Time. One does not simply BLIP through a Wheel of Time Reread—or the Wheel of Time itself, as Team Jordan soon discovered. Which is why the Reread happened the way it did. IT’S ALL INTERCONNECTED. oooooooh

JordanCon 2014

Not that this is a complaint, mind you—in fact, it is about as far from a complaint as can possibly be imagined. My involvement with the Wheel of Time Reread has, quite literally, changed my life—just as my involvement with the fandom previous to it had, but in an even more profound way. The Reread has led me to go places and do things and meet people that I otherwise never would have, and I honestly would not change a moment of it, even those days when I was almost crying with frustration or half-dead of sleep deprivation, trying to figure out how the hell to say what I wanted to say about this or that chapter, this or that character, this or that concept I needed to explain just how I felt about. As with all labors of love, the angst and the drama were all more than worth the result—or, at least, so I profoundly hope.

But I think it was, if for no other reason than for the absolutely amazing community of people the Reread has drawn together over the years. As I said in my “history” above, I continue to be humbled and delighted by the folks that have come together in the comment section and beyond as a result of the Reread, and created a whole new microcosm of fandom all their own. Some of you I have been pleased to meet, and many of you I hope to meet in the future, but to all of you, from newcomers to those who have been here since the beginning, I have one thing to say:

Thank you.

Thank you, all of you, because you are the reason the Reread was created, the reason it was so much fun to do, and the reason it is still here after all these years, through to the end. Without your enthusiasm and participation and support throughout, the Reread would not exist, and that’s the damn truth.

Y’all are awesome, and I salute you. I am amazed by you. For real.

And you are why, even though the Reread proper is now completed, that this is not the actual end. By popular demand (which is the best kind of demand), the Powers That Be at Tor.com and I have arranged in the near future to conduct, also hilariously, a Reread of the Reread of the Wheel of Time.

Because, after all, I began this thing without actually knowing how it would all end. So it seems only reasonable that, now that I do know the end, I should go back and review those parts of the Reread that I wrote before I had that knowledge (which is, actually, quite a large part of it), and also to expand upon those parts that I originally perhaps zoomed through more quickly than they deserved, owing to the belief that I was going to have a great deal less time to get through the series than I eventually did. I’m sure it will all be extraordinarily meta, but that’s part of the fun.

As far as timing goes, though, well. I hope you will understand that your Auntie Leigh will need to take a little bit of a break before she dives back in again. Because I love this thing, y’all, but I don’t mind admitting that I am more than a little tie-tie at this point, and in dire need of a sabbatical from things WOT before I dive in again.

Therefore, the exact date of resumption is not for sure as of this moment, but I can tell you that it will be at least a month, possibly more, before the Reread of the Reread begins. This is for me to recoup my WOT brain, as well as for me to work on my own projects, which I hope will be coming to fruition soon. We will keep you posted as things develop, I totally promise.

JordanCon 2014

HOWEVER, you shall not be totally deprived in that time! For one, also going up today on Tor.com is a lovely Q&A post for any of y’all who might want to ask me questions about the Reread or the Wheel of Time in general, which I will be answering in a post next week, so I certainly encourage you to hop over there once you’re done here, and ask whatever questions you may or may not have been dying to ask me about Stuff. [ETA: And here is the post answering your questions!]

ALSO, as you know, the Wheel of Time as a series has been nominated for the Best Novel Hugo Award for 2014, which is all kinds of wonderful, and even more wonderful is Tor’s incredibly generous decision to include all fourteen of the Wheel of Time novels in the voter packet going out to Hugo voters in the next few weeks. Because, dude. That is hella cool.

That said, fourteen Wheel of Time novels is kind of a hefty amount of reading to get through for even the most avid speedreader, and so the good folks at Tor.com have asked me to put together a kind of cheat sheet, if you will, of the Wheel of Time, summarizing the bullet points of the events of the novels for those of you who want to refresh your memories of just what went on in case you don’t have time to read through the entire thing before the voting deadline occurs. That post should be going up within the next week or so, so spread the word!

And also, of course, I will be continuing to pursue my Read of Ice and Fire here on Tor.com, which I encourage everyone to come check out if they haven’t already. In addition to that, I will also be trying my hand at posting on Tor.com about things that aren’t Giant Doorstop Epic Fantasy-related things, for once, so if you want to keep up with all of that, feel free to follow me on Tor.com so you don’t miss anything!

(Also, go back to the last post in the Reread if you want my review of AMOL’s artwork, which I totally forgot to include last week, so I fixed that now.)

The point being, this is not the end, my friends. The Wheel of Time Reread proper may be over, but me and the Wheel of Time in general—and me and Tor.com in general—are far from done. Therefore, I hope all of y’all who have followed the Reread so assiduously these past years will continue to stick around. Because as I said, this whole thing is nothing without y’all.

Again, thank you all so much for coming along with me on this amazing fabulous crazy ride. You all, without doubt, constitute your own Crowning Moment of Awesome. So therefore, as is proper, there is only one way I can end, and that is to say:

And that’s all for now, my dears, but I love you and I will see you soon! Cheers!

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