Jan 19 2009 1:54pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Introductory Post

Hello! Welcome to the introductory post of a new blog series on, The Wheel of Time Re-read. This is in preparation for the publication of the next and last book in the series, A Memory of Light, which is scheduled to be published this fall.

My name is Leigh Butler, and I’ll be your hostess for the festivities. I’m very excited to be a part of this project, and I hope you will enjoy it as well.

This project was inspired in large part by the lovely and talented Kate Nepveu’s current re-read and commentary series on The Lord of the Rings here on this site, and will follow the same basic outline, because why mess with fabulousness? So, as with Kate’s series, there will be a brief recap of each chapter, followed by commentary. However, there will be some differences from Kate’s model.

Owing to time constraints (the impending publication date) and the comparatively ginormous amount of material to be covered (The Wheel of Time is about ten times as long as LOTR), doing one chapter per post simply isn’t feasible, so we’re going to be stepping up the pace a bit. And by “a bit” I mean “a lot.”

Hang on to your hats: the current plan is to do bi-weekly posts every Tuesday and Friday, covering roughly 8-10 chapters per post (give or take, depending on the lengths of the chapters involved). The goal is to get through just over a book per month, finishing Knife of Dreams in time for the publication of A Memory of Light.

Sadly, the rapid pace means that I won’t always be able to comment on each chapter in as great detail as I might have wished (though I will pause to dwell on particularly big events or central ideas). What I hope to do, instead of providing commentary at length, is to identify items of interest/controversy/what-have-you to serve as jumping-off points for you guys to run with in the comments.

Discussion and participation is the aim, because otherwise what’s the point? I want to hear your thoughts on my thoughts: do you agree, do you disagree, do you think I’m out of my ever-loving mind? Let me know.

So that’s the idea. And now, a little bit about me, so as to get a feel for how I’m coming at this puppy:

I am best described as a jack-of-all-trades, I guess—as long as the “trades” in question don’t actually involve hard labor. I grew up in New Orleans, received degrees in Film and English (for maximum usefulness!) in Austin, Texas, and then lived for 8 years in Los Angeles, because with that on my resume where else was I gonna go? Over the years I’ve worked in the entertainment industry in various capacities, including but not limited to news editor, quality control technician, legal secretary, and punching bag production assistant.

I now reside in New York City, because why not, really, where my status is to be determined. I’m keeping busy, though.

I am an amateur writer, critiquer, and LiveJournaler (yes, I know “critiquer” is not a word, but calling myself a “critic” rates about an 11 on the Hubris Doppler Radar), and two of my favorite things are fantasy, pop culture, and the hilarious (and, sometimes, awesome) ways in which they combine.

I first came to WOT fandom sometime in 1997, when I stumbled across the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan, of which some of y’all may have heard tell, after chewing through the then-published seven books in the series in about two weeks flat. I had many years of great fun on rasfwr-j, and eventually was shanghaied ended up in charge of the Wheel of Time FAQ, which I updated and maintained through the publication of Crossroads of Twilight. However, for various reasons I was not able to update the FAQ for Knife of Dreams (check out the FAQ’s Welcome page if you want more info on that).

The relevant result here being, I have read the Wheel of Time series a lot, and pored over many parts of it with nearly indecent attention to detail, but contrariwise, I haven’t revisited the series since I read Knife of Dreams over three years ago.

What I’m hoping this re-read will produce on my part, therefore, is a kind of “old-familiarity-meets-new-rediscovery” gestalt that will inspire Deep Thoughts, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. Or, if all else fails, good snarkage. Ideally, we’ll get both.

So there you have it. I think this is going to be good fun, and I hope all y’all will come along for the ride. The first regular post, The Eye of the World Part I, is scheduled to go up tomorrow. See you there!

Karl-Johan Norén
1. Karl-Johan Norén
Karl-Johan Norén
2. MaggieB
Certainly, I'll be over here every Tuesday and Friday to see what you've got to say...and you may well have dragged me into a re-read as well!
Karl-Johan Norén
3. Heather J.
Yeah! When I heard that A Memory of Light would be out (hopefully) in Nov. '09, I decided to do a reread as well. Actually, it is more like a re-listen. I don't have time to reread all the books so I'm listening to the audio books. I've been doing about one a month since last January, and I should be finished with Knife of Dreams in a few weeks (I only listen for a very short time each day). So this is perfect timing - I'll get to revisit the series AGAIN just in time for publication of AMOL!

Thanks, and you can be expecting lots of comments from me. :)
Amy Young
4. ceara
I actually re-read EotW a couple of weeks ago, and have been planning to time my own full re-read to be finished shortly before Memory comes out, so it'll be fun to have some discussion going on at the same time. Just like old times, except not.
Richard Boye
5. sarcastro
I will also happily be re-reading along. It has been so very long since I read the earliest books, that they might seem brand new to me. I think we can keep this lively (my frenetic schedule permitting, anyway)

Good luck!

(it's me, Rich Boyé)
Leigh Butler
7. leighdb

Oh, wow. PARASHA. I forgot all about that. Nostalgia!


Mwahaha. My work here is done.

Rich, Heather, Ceara, backspace:

Karl-Johan Norén
8. John Hamby
Well this is interesting! Haven't done a re-read in quite some time.
Kate Nepveu
9. katenepveu
Dude. The amount of *work* you are about to undertake!

If it's at all possible, could you give a rough estimate of what chapters you'll be talking about next time? I don't know how well I'll be able to follow along, but it might help. (I've just re-skimmed the Prologue and part of Chapter 1, and man, I'd forgotten how Tolkien-y Chapter 1 is. Fireworks, black-cloaked riders, and festivals, oh my!)

I'm so excited about this.
Karl-Johan Norén
10. Suemoe
Ooooh, the audiobooks reread is a great idea, Heather J. I don't have time to reread them all right now, but I commute a lot. I was planning on keeping up with your blog, Leigh, but now I can honestly say I'm reading along. Thanks!
Karl-Johan Norén
11. drhoo
Hmmm, I was planning a full re-read in the fall immediately prior to the new release, but now I may have to do it early to play along :)
Karl-Johan Norén
13. PatOC
There is no beginning or end to the Wheel of Time, but it was a beginning....
Karl-Johan Norén
14. Karl-Johan Norén
For extra nostalgia, my old original Parasha pages are still up, so we could freshen it up for posting the schedule, as Kate wants.

The colours are kinda horrid-looking, however, I'll have to admit that. And the hoster has fallen into popup-itis and inline-ad-itis.
Leigh Butler
15. leighdb

The first post will cover Chapters 1-9, and Friday's post will cover 10-18. HTH.
Karl-Johan Norén
16. loweb1
This is great! I just ordered new copies of the books so I could re-read through them before AMoL comes out (I wore out the first 8 in the series!).

I'm looking forward to being able to discuss them with everyone as we go along. Is there anyway to subscribe to just this re-read blog or do I have to subscribe to everything from Tor?
Kate Nepveu
17. katenepveu
Thanks, Leigh. Even if I can't re-read to keep up, I can at least skim or look for online summaries.
Jeff C.
18. Academia
This will be excellent, perfect timing.
Karl-Johan Norén
19. Ian Hurst
Awesome! This could not be in better hands. I'm in awe of the pace you've chosen, but I'll try to follow along as best I can.
Endre Laugerud
20. Vespero
Great initiative! Will start re-reading the series, and try to catch up to your second posting on Friday.

Cheers from Norway.
Karl-Johan Norén
21. David Scotton
I'm excited! I did my own reread in 2007 (which was my first one since roughly 2000), but this makes me want to do another one! OTOH I don't think I could keep up with your pace without sacrificing most of my free time... and I'm not ready to give up the Rock Band habit. ;)
Dave Smith
22. davesmith1983
Awesome! I've been thinking about a re-read before AMoL, but it's a daunting task. I look forward to attempting the effort.
Joseph Blaidd
23. SteelBlaidd
Sweet, I get to get in on the beginning this time.:)

Ive been cherry picking bits out of the last three books for too long now. Time to get back to basics.
Karl-Johan Norén
24. Connor B
This is so cool. I just reread the first three books because I own them and downloaded the whole series in audio, but discussing everything with peers before the book release will be much more fun. I look forward to this.
P R Khangure
25. prk
Go Leigh!

I'm really looking forward to this!

Dave Rutt
26. rutty
That's too many words for me to get through in 10 months or so - I'd barely make it through Knife of Dreams in that time ;)

Book 10 almost ruined the whole series for me. I thought it was awful. However, I've come this far and I really, really want to find out what happens to all these characters that I care about.

I'll be following along with the others. Good luck
Torie Atkinson
27. Torie
@ 16 loweb1

If you mean RSS, then you can only subscribe to the front page or the original fiction feeds--there are no feeds for individual article series.

That said, you can always come to the site and sort either by blogger (the module on the left, sort by Leigh) or you can click on the Wheel of Time re-read tag and all of these posts will show up together.
Megan Messinger
28. thumbelinablues
Hooray! I haven't read a WoT book in ages; I read the first six twice when I was in middle school, then I think I kept up with it through Winter's Heart before realizing that re-reading every time a new book came out was not totally practical. I don't know if I'll read along at exactly your pace, Leigh, but I aim to get it all done before Memory of Light comes out!
Evan Langlinais
29. Skwid
I really don't think I need to re-read EotW for this...surely the 14 or 15 times I did so back in the day will be enough? I guess we shall see.

Thanks for taking this on, though, Leigh! Couldn't be in better hands!
Elroy Skimms
30. elroyskimms
I usually hate blogs as they tend to give a voice to some of the most boring and nearly illiterate people on these interwebs. I have only found a couple of blogs worth reading on a regular basis. If your commentary is as witty as your first post, this should make for great Tuesday and Friday reading each week. Good luck and thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

Karl-Johan Norén
31. K Björkman
Wow, this is like rasfwrj coming all alive again! :D
What a wonderful surprise, parasha indeed!
Karl-Johan Norén
32. Shelai Von'Tain
This is so exciting!! I read though the whole series just last year and this will be great to go through everything again before AMoL comes out!
Karl-Johan Norén
33. CraigK
Excellent, I just started my very own re-read and am in almost the exact right spot. (Though probably soon to be far behind.)

I've been involved in this insane fandom since I first discovered a group on a bulletin board on the Prodigy net service in the early 90's, then later on RASFWRJ. It will be good to see other's opinions and get involved in these discussions again.
Karl-Johan Norén
34. Durandal
Fantastic. I won't be re-reading along (just got too much else to read at the moment) but I'll be eagerly following the process.

Great idea, all in all -- and good luck keeping the pace!
Karl-Johan Norén
35. Insomnius
I am eagerly awaiting the return of the first 5 books of the series that I lent out to a friend. I have devoured everything Brandon Sanderson has written since I found out he was tabbed to complete Knife Of Dreams and now need something else to read. What better than to prepare for the release than by re-reading the books?

I'll be around and I look forward to getting back the change on my 2 cents ;)
Karl-Johan Norén
36. Matjess
I have read entire series 3 times, and never get sick of it. Currently I'm trying out audio books, but it just "ain't" the same... they have funny voices.
Karl-Johan Norén
37. Matjess
P.S. If, like me, you're just killing time until book 12, have a craic at George R. R. Martin's "A Song Of Ice And Fire" series, "A Dance With Dragons" has just been released.
In my humble opinion, it's the only thing to approach WOT with any credence.
Karl-Johan Norén
38. Rebecca Starr
Looking forward to it! Dusting off my trust copy of EotW now....
Karl-Johan Norén
39. quantumeve
I'm so glad I found this re-read the first week you're starting it rather than three months into it when I'd have to go back and read through all the past posts here AND the books too. Now I can just start my re-read and stay (fairly)aligned with yours. Great idea to do this leading up to the last book. I look forward to your posts!
Karl-Johan Norén
40. TomFel
Hooray! I am much like Heather J. (3) above, I started an audiobook re-"read" / first-time listen of the series a little while back and am currently on TSR. I should be able to dovetail into this commentary nicely.

And per Matjess (37) just above - if you love WOT and have not started aSoIaF, do yourself a favor and pick up the first book "A Game of Thrones" immediately! Your only regret when finished with the current books will be having to wait for the next book in the series - but WOT'ers should be used to that!
Karl-Johan Norén
41. Bigdady92
Already ahead of ya upto book 4 or 6 or something god this series made me want to kill puppies:


Watch me 'read' the wheel of time books from book 1 to prequel 1 with all the rantings of a man gone mad with power ! Anyone can comment! Feel free to leave your thoughts!
Karl-Johan Norén
42. holymoridin
I came upon this site looking for news on AMOL. I am listening to the Wot in audio books. I have read the series about 5 or 6 times. We all know what a great series it is but I wanted to say that re-reads add a great deal to understanding the whole thing. Each time I re-read a book I get something new. I different piece fits into place!

Wot fan since 1992.
Karl-Johan Norén
43. fuddy
mattjes, where did you see that a dance of dragons is released? i havent seen that anywhere, not even on george rr martins blog or website
Karl-Johan Norén
44. Greg Steele
Sounds like a great idea and a good pace for the re-read. I've been thinking about doing a re-read (again) to prepare for AMOL so now I'll have expert company along the way.

WOT Fan since 1990. Almost 20 years of my life but who's counting.
Karl-Johan Norén
45. Paul Ward
Wow! Seeing some of the names on these comments brings back memories.

I look forward to reading this, but I was a bit confused when you said it was biweekly to be posted on Tuesday and Friday. Isn't that semi-weekly?
Leigh Butler
46. leighdb
Paul Ward: I was going to be all "What are you talking about, fool", and then realized you are totally right, and I had a complete brainfart and somehow thought "bi-weekly" meant "twice a week", which it... really doesn't. Oops.

I have the dumb sometimes.

Despite that, I think most people have figured out what I meant, but nevertheless I will include a correction in my next post. Thanks!
Karl-Johan Norén
47. Liesel
I am too young for the original discussions, but I started reading in 1998 (I got EotW as a birthday gift at a semi-young age), and have done a couple of re-reads. I'm excited for a mass re-read!
Karl-Johan Norén
48. Hammclov
My gf has long complained about my bookshelf. My paperbacks are stuffed two or three deep. She's a reader too, but she's a Ph.D. student so her half looks a lot more impressive. (my half is more colorful though!) When she asked me to get rid of a few, I paled, and cried out "No!" What she doesn't understand, is that many of these books are closer to me than my closest friends. And the Wheel of Time certainly ranks as one of my closest friends. I can always replace old copies, (and frequently have to) but I see NO reason, to purge my collection. Who throws their best friends into the trash? Or gives them up for adoption?
Karl-Johan Norén
49. Patrick Barry
I'm really enjoying your summaries and commentary so far! Will you be doing New Spring, too?
Karl-Johan Norén
50. GreyDoorBooks
I can not wait. I was about to start to read the whole thing again becuase it has been so long but this is going to suit me nicely
Karl-Johan Norén
51. AlDurand
Since a good friend of mine introduced me to the series I haven't been able to put the books down for more than 2 months. This means that over the past 4 years or so I've re-read the series a minimum of 5 times, some books more. So it will be interesting to see what you have to say about these "controversies" as my friend and I have explored quite a few.
Karl-Johan Norén
52. Matthew Hunter
Congrats on the new blog digs, Leigh. I see a lot of old friends here.
Karl-Johan Norén
53. Deborah Kay-Morgan

I've reread all the books more times than I can remember. Even kept a journal on each character from book to book. It's sad that RJ never got it finished as he wanted, but thank the light he had Harriet to carry on. I'll read along with everyone. Looking forward to the commentary. Truly reget that we'll never hear the stories of all the world's off the way's and across the sea and the different ages. Maybe someone will keep the thread going.

Blessing and health, Deborah
Karl-Johan Norén
54. Lordstryda
started my own re-read about 2 weeks ago. was bored at work and found this... pretty cool.

started reading it way back when Lord of Chaos was released. i know this because that was the first boook of the series i owned (i think there is something wrong with my mum!!! she has never bought the first book of a series for me) had to spend all my small savings to buy the first 5 books, (thankfully books were cheaper back then) and i've loved em ever since.

keep up the good work

Peace favour you sword
Karl-Johan Norén
55. Lisamarie
Can't wait to read this! I was a HUGE fan of the FAQ and was so sad that it didn't get updated - but I refused to take it off of my favorites list just in case one day it did (and also so I could at least go back and revisit it even though it was a book out of date). I was so happy when I found out it is not being abandoned (will there be an update to the STOOPID Darrell Sweet cover art page??? My friends and I still crack jokes about those, and for Halloween, my husband dressed as Rand and imitated the Crown of Swords "jerking off" pose for a picture.

I did a reread of the series last year, and reading them all in quick succession even helped me appreciate the books I didn't like as much - it was nice seeing how they all fit together.
Erdrick Farseer
56. Erdrick
Lisamarie @ 55,

Yes, rereading the books in quick succession (as if they all form a single book) makes a big difference. The early books (1-6) were huge and came out annually, but post LoC the books took twice as long to come out, and were much shorter, leaving many readers saying "that's it?" and feeling like nothing happened. Reading them back to back without the long waits between each book helped me appreciate the later books much more as well.
A. P.
57. chewynewyork
Wow. I was a little leery of seeing more of what I have read for a good part of the past ten years. I've read most of the books several times, and I love them more and more, despite that it may be a little long-winded toward in the later books. Yet, I must say, Ms. Butler, your breakdowns and commentary are a refreshing brush up that I instantly fell for. I very much dig your opinions, questions, answers, and everything in between. With the debut of the final novels on the horizon, I have rediscovered what I loved about this series, regularly amping myself up for a fallout that will shake the heavens. I am looking forward to the conclusion of this epic tale, but in the meantime, these commentaries are highly entertaining, and bring to mind many scenarios and themes that I didn't consider myself. Thank you for posting them; you have earned a new fan.
Karl-Johan Norén
58. Larry Schwartz
Here I am 73 years old and a died in the wool Sci-Fi and Fantasy fan and just discovered Robert Jordan's Wheel of time series a couple of months ago. I've read all eleven in the past two months and can tell you that when I saw that there was indeed going to be the final 12, I was a happy guy. I'll be anxiously awaiting September and publication of "A Memory of Light". He's the best I've read since Tolkien. It really takes something and someone very special to create such a world in detail. I'm sure the final battle will be a doozy!!!!
Clinton Henry
59. Jaidee
Karl-Johan Norén
60. Andro.
im excited to read every word! i love wot!
Karl-Johan Norén
61. Earl of Mangwich

As a lurker on r.a.sf.w.r-j, I recognize your tireless work and dedication to "The FAQ" and to the often remarkable intuit and collective intellect found thereon. I greatly look forward to your bloggericious re-read work on TOR, and I look forward to seeing some of the heavy hitters return from beyond oblivion!

It's as though I am 13 years younger again!

-Mang/Earl of MAngwich
Karl-Johan Norén
62. Charli0782
I've been rereading for the last year timed it just right so when I'm done with the series again I'll have the new book in hand!
Karl-Johan Norén
65. Asmodean
I am a very avid reader of fatasy and sci-fi and if the vote came to me I'd have to give this series the number one position for best fantasy series overall. Sure LOTR was amazing but the in- depth creativity that was expressed by tolkein just doesn't quite stand up to the phenominal expressiion and submersiveness that our series is so famously know for. I look forward to the ending but I know that the expierience will be bitter-sweet.
Karl-Johan Norén
67. TechDeft
I just wanted to say thanks for this, I just borrowed The Gathering Storm, and now wish I had re-read them all before I borrowed/bought it. But I think this will fill in the holes in my memory just enough. It's all coming back to me fast, but I don't want to wait till I'm 15 chapters in to be back in the 'groove' of the story. Much appreciated. :)

David Goodhart
118. Davyd
Wow. Almost 3 years later, and it's all come to an end. But not THE end...
Karl-Johan Norén
120. PK from Singapore
Thank you Leigh for the great journey.

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