Mon
Sep 24 2012 3:00pm

“Dear Robert Jordan,” a Response to A Memory of Light

Dear Robert Jordan, a Response to A Memory of Light

Dear Robert Jordan,

Today I read your final book. The end of The Wheel of Time came to my hands nearly twenty years after I first picked up its beginning. It was a story well told, a story whose ending lived up to the promises made so very long ago. I’m writing in order to tell you a little about it.

What I’ve loved most about your grand story throughout the years is how true it is. Those who cherish the fantasy genre understand this. Within a story about fictitious people, in fictitious worlds, with conflicts that never actually happened, we have the opportunity to explore what makes us real. The Wheel of Time has, for me, and I suspect for thousands of others, done that better than any of its peers. One of its most fundamental lessons is that time is a wheel, and that endings are simply new beginnings if you have the courage to turn and look the other way. 

When you died, I had the privilege to visit your home—your Charleston, your Two Rivers. I sat in your chair and looked at your beloved books. I breathed the air you breathed, and I understood a part of you. I met your friends and family, and saw how they defined yet another part. And so today, as I read the ending of your magnum opus, I yet again found a piece of you. In those final, beautiful moments, with tears in my eyes, I understood. I saw why you wanted to write the story. I see the point you were trying to make. And I laughed. It may not have been what people expected, but, to quote Stephen King, it was the right ending. 

And a glorious one. 

The Wheel of Time books have ended for me. I cannot deny the bittersweet emotions that brings. But a strong ending gives more meaning to the journey that came before it. Sure, I can pick apart small nuances of this final book that weren’t perfect. Some little parts may not have rung as true as they could have. But by and large, it delivered in a big way. 

If only you could have seen the specific way in which it turned out. I loved each character’s ending, even if it made me cry. I celebrated victories and gasped at the raw, visceral failures. Rand and Egwene shined the brightest, as I could have only hoped and expected. And there’s that one chapter. Holy smokes, RJ. 50,000 words? Really? Wow. 

You never met Brandon Sanderson; most likely never heard his name in your lifetime. But I can tell you, RJ, he did an amazing job. He was your steward, and carried your banner proudly into the maw of Shayol Ghul in order to ensure oblivion did not consume the series’ ending. You would’ve been so proud of him. I sure am. A lot of fans are. If you ever meet him, in an unknown place, time, or life, give him a hearty handshake of thanks, and buy him a beer some Magic cards. 

You should also know that Maria and Alan, your assistants, remained faithful every step of the way. For five years they’ve painstakingly studied, analyzed, corrected, and loved this final book. As I read it, I could clearly see their influence, and I’m so thankful we had them. It wouldn’t have been this good without them. If it would have even been at all. 

The fans, too, did their part. A small few helped with continuity, and a larger group honors your work every day through their service to the community and franchise. And yet another group, the largest, which spans the whole world, are fans who live and breathe your work. They share it with their friends. They strive to live up to the positive ideals you wrote about. They toast to your memory, and read your books to their children. They prove that a work of fantasy literature can inspire people of any nationality, religion, or political leaning to agree upon something they hold dear to their hearts. 

Your various publishers have honored your memory by printing your books, and continually putting fresh paint (literally, in the case of the covers) on this series. They’ve sometimes faced criticism, but in the end did you proud. Tom Doherty and his team have led that charge. I spoke to Tom recently and he reminded me that he does it because he’s a fan and a friend of yours. 

Finally, and most significantly of all, I want you to know that Harriet has been nothing short of amazing. You already know this in a way that I don’t need to describe, but her love for you is inspiring. She’s worked tirelessly since your passing to finish this book. She’s been your captain, and sailed the ship home. Next time I see her, I’ll give her a hug for you. I think a lot of other fans will, too. 

The most extraordinary thing about all these people, from Harriet to the worldwide fans, is that collectively they underscore the very heart of this book. They prove that life truly imitates art, and vice versa. The Wheel of Time began with you. Its pages began with a single man walking down a ruined hallway. But in the end, the series proved bigger than you, and bigger than that man and his successor. 

Yours is a story for the Ages. Some may criticize or belittle it, but its sheer scope and influence can’t be argued. The final pages may have been written, but it will live on in memory, community, and (let’s face it) franchise tie-ins. There are neither beginnings nor endings, right? 

So, RJ, as I finish this letter that you’ll never read, I’m left only with final thanks. Thank you for sharing your vision with me. With all of us. For all the worldwide success and attention this book will bring, it still spoke to me on an intimate, personal level. Thank you for expressing the beauty of your life in these pages. Thank you for giving us what is quite simply the most epic ending to the grandest saga of our time. 

Thank you for taking us upon a ride on the winds of time. 

 

With sincerity, I remain, 

Your Friend, 
Jason Denzel 
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Jason Denzel is the webmaster of Dragonmount.com. He also moonlights as a filmmaker and aspiring writer. Follow him on twitter @JasonDenzel, or JasonDenzel.com.

This article is part of A Memory of Light: ‹ previous | index | next ›
62 comments
James Manly
1. jmanly
WHAT!! i'm green with envy and now totally terrified to actually finish the series. I'm torn between restless anxiety to finish the series and a total lament for it being done.
Adam Shaeffer
2. ashaef
Man. If I got a little teary eyed just reading this, what's going to happen when I actually read the book itself?
Gary Singer
3. AhoyMatey
This is probably the most heartwarming review I've ever read. Great job Jason!

Can't wait for Jan 8....
William Carter
5. wcarter
We the fans owe a lot to Sanderson and team Jordan, but that doesn't change the fact that five years ago this month we were robbed of one the greatest Fantasy writers to come along in a long time.

If I meet the man in heaven, the first thing I'm going to do is ask about some of the other ideas he alluded to before he died. I know I'm not the only one who would have loved to see an 'outrigger' WoT story or the series he said might have been called "Infinites of Heaven."
Superfan
7. Superfan
I can't wait to read the ending! Bittersweet will it bee indeed. Thanks for this amazing review.
Superfan
9. Jak o' the Shadows
Great tribute! This only increases the anticipation of course! I love your shout out to Brandon:
If you ever meet him, in an unknown place, time, or life, give him a hearty handshake of thanks, and buy him a beer some Magic cards.
Let the Dragon ride on the winds of time!
Damon Garner
10. IrishOmalley
"What a long strange trip it's been." - Can't wait till January!! O_O
Superfan
11. ChrisC
Thank you Mr. Denzel. And thank you Mr. Jordan. I also am almost afraid to read this book, because then. . . it's over. But you're right, a strong ending does give more meaning. Thank you Mr. Jordan. Through your books, I met my wife, and will eventually (hopefully) teach my sons the meaning of heroism, sacrifice, hard work, and dreams. Thank you for letting us be a part of yours. And thank you also, Mrs. (McDougal) Rigney, Maria and Alan. And also, thank you Mr. Sanderson, for allowing the Dragon to be Reborn.
Craig Jarvis
12. hawkido
Jason, you should be the one to adapt this series to the silverscreen or tv.
Rich Bennett
13. Neuralnet
Thanks Jason, I havent read the book yet, but you really nailed a lot of the emotions we will all go through (and are going through).
Superfan
15. Fenric25
Great review, Jason, loved it, also makes me a little bit teary-eyed, and that's hard to do. Can't wait for AMoL, it'll make a great birthday present and for many great memories, all thanks to Robert Jordan and everyone he's touched through WoT :)
Karen Jacobs
16. KJacobs
Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing!
Superfan
17. Typhoonclass17
Great Message, and just another tease reminding me of how far away January still is....

Really?!? 50,000 words in one chapter?!? Bring it on!!!
Superfan
18. Theuncrownedking
Thank you Robert.

You truely are the uncrowned king. May you always find water and shade.
William Carter
19. wcarter
I've now decided on a new personal challange. I'm going to read AMoL (the first time) in one sitting. One single sitting. Food, sleep, work, family, friends and all other socioeconomic obligations be damned. Fifty thousand word chapter? Bring it on...

I need to start training now. *Sits in chair, stares at harsh, floresant light unblinking*
Douglas Freer
20. Futurewriter1120
You are spot on.
Even though I'm a new fan(Currently finishing up DR) I love it just like the rest of you. Heck just reading the books have helped me think how the characters in my own high fantasy would act in those situations just to pinpoint their personalities.
Just like Hawkido said, you should definately be one of the people behind an adaption of the series, wheather it be TV or Game. Heck I would love to be apart of that dream team.
If anyone does complain about the ending when the book comes out then that just means they are true fans to appreciate it. Heck I didn't care for how Eragon ended but it was the ending it was going for so I was satisfied.
And Mr. Sanderson, if you do read these then I hope you do good on your next project, and I promise to try getting around to WoK.
Kat Blom
22. pro_star
wcarter - my personal best was 48 hours, ToM came out on Tuesday, so I snuck away from the office, and luckily, it was a quiet two days. Shocked the heck out of my bosses! (course, I did need that pesky sleep thing...)

Jason, you have my envy. I can't wait.
Kurt Lorey
23. Shimrod
Thank you so very much, Jason. (Thanks to everyone else coming after I get to read AMoL).
Superfan
24. Mark A
I need tissues. Lots of them. JEAOLOUSY! I am so excited about Egwene. She wasn't always my favorite.... *cough cough MAT* But she really came into her own during Gathering Storm.
lake sidey
25. lakesidey
Is s-o-o-o-o jealous of Jason :o)

Want!! (Is it Jan yet?)

~lakesidey
Sam Mickel
26. Samadai
Jason, you express the exact sentiments that I have. I am both sad and happy that this series is coming to an end. Thank you Robert Jordan for giving us such a detailed world that is so real for many of us. It has left me with many friends I never would have had without it. My life is richer because you wrote this magic from your heart.
Superfan
27. Syllabus
In memoria aeterna erit iustus, abauditione mala non timebit.

And 50,000 words? Holy smokes, that should be interesting. I'm still waiting to see what Demandred was up to.
Michael Maxwell
28. pike747
If this review makes me a little choked up, then I can only imagine what actually reading the novel will do. I tend to get attached to some of these 'fictional characters' makes simulated walking gesture with two fingers.
I really love Nynaeve, Mat, Rand, Egwene, Lan and Perrin.

I came to this story in 2001 while in a bad place in my life. The Dragon Reborn is the first book of the series I read. I have now read each of them two or more times and listened to most of the audio versions.

It may be coincidence but I made major personal improvements during the last eleven years and I accept personal responsibility for every facet of my life. If Rand and friends can shoulder so much undesired responsibility and forge ahead no matter what the odds then my life seems pretty easy in comparison.

The community of WoT fans have also been amazing to meet. I have not met any of them in person but I read a great many of the posts on the Tor blogs and always look forward to reading them when a new release is impending. This lead up time promises to be the best yet. The pre- release build-up to ToM was incredible.
Thank you Jason for this post.

Thank you so much Robert Jordan!!!

Thank you team Jordan!

Thank you Brandon Sanderson!
Emma
30. margaery
I cried.. Thank you for posting this. Looking forward to reading the end of Mr Jordan's amazing work.
It's a shame he couldn't be here, but I like to think he'd approve of Sanderson.
Roger Powell
31. forkroot
pike747@28 has the same worry that I have.

Damn! Jason - you already brought a tear to my eye with your poignant letter. I suspect I'm going to need a box of tissues to finish the book.
Boquaz
32. boquaz
@wcarter 19 - I read almost all of Gathering Storm on a plane flight from Edinburgh to San Diego. I don't remember how long it was, but I do remember that after getting home from the airport I was able to finish of the book that night, despite getting no sleep on the plane.

I'd say, arrainge for a vacation somewhere great and far away (with bookstores) and then read it on the plane flight back. That was really a great way to finish off a trip.
Joseph Newton
33. crzydroid
It won't really be the end...remember that in this series, time is a wheel. So after you finish reading A Memory of Light, just start reading The Eye of the World again.
Superfan
34. Priyank
I cried. Thank you Jason, for being the most steadfast fan. Thank you Harriet, for if it wasn't for you, the series might have ended at KoD. You also chose Brandon, who has remarkably worked on it. Thank you Brandon, for working on WoT, even ignoring your own series at some point in time. You are a terrific author, and I've devoured all your books. And most of all, thank you RJ, for letting me be part of your world. An Age may come and go by, but this series will never be forgotten.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
35. ZEXXES
Awesome! It could not have been said or conveyed any better. Thank you Sir.

And thank you, Robert Jordan.


Z
Superfan
37. Darth Touma
Wow.. it's really almost here, isn't it? A bittersweet realization indeed.
Superfan
38. adriansedai
I read Towers of Midnight at work one night, it took me 8 hours. I suspect MoL will take me a little longer :)
Chris Chaplain
40. chaplainchris1
Thanks, Jason, and thanks RJ, for laughter and tears. Thanks to this community, which has made riding the winds of time something to share. I can't wait to share this final book with all of you.
Nadine L.
41. travyl
That was a beautiful letter and it says what I think and feel - but could never express as good as you did, Thank you.
Superfan
42. Gladforgrace
Indeed there are tears even here...I am guessing they be giving the the rocks of Shayol Ghul a grand soaking come January.
William Carter
43. wcarter
@22 pro_star and 32 boquaz

I'm thinking I will retreat to Davenport Gap shelter on the Appalachean Trail. It's on the Tennessee North Carolina border on a section of the trail that should see no foot traffic that time of year. I can set up a fire inside the shelter's fireplace and stay warm and undisturbed.

The closest human being will be over an hour's hard march away.
Marty Beck
44. martytargaryen
Thank you Jason. That was beautiful.
*wipes something from eyes*

Thank you Harriet and Team Jordan.

*raises glass*
To Mr. Robert Jordan: may you always find shade
Superfan
45. Twedge
Beautifully written--thank you, Jason, and thank you RJ (and BS) for this wonderful series!
Superfan
46. KathiravanIsakArulampalam
Beautiful, I am now tear-eyed and immensely excited for A Memory of Light. Thank you, Jason, for this wonderful review, and thank you, Robert Jordan, for those brilliant books.
Superfan
47. docrbk
Jason-your "letter" parallels the thoughts of so many of us. I had the chance to meet and talk to RJ (JOR?) a couple of times "way back when" and have met and gabbed with Brandon Sanderson as well...how and why Harriet chose him to carry the flag to the finish...what a wonderful choice! Personally, although I have read each book at least 3 times and listened twice (RJ himself said that listening to the books gave him an additional and slightly different feel) and am now up to WH in my re-re-re-reread leading up to Jan 8 (and 9-already blocked out of my work calendar) I still pick up more nuances each time...as (a yet unpublished) fantasy author myself, I am still amazed at how anybody can portend something on, say, page 109 of book one and return to it 15 years later on page 417 of book 9 in a series (no, that's nothing specific, but a generality) as I find myself contradicting myself or repeating myself 40 pages later!
The WOT has eagerly been picked up by two of my stepsons (fully grown) and has given us a special closeness...yet another gift to me from RJ! Like LOTR, the WOT will always be a reread every 5 years or so for me (should I live that long!).
So thanks, RJ and your "troops" for a wonderful 20 years! Perhaps, some day, there will be a "Robert Jordan reborn" with whom you will share a brain, but without LTT's madness!!
Superfan
48. MERLINS
WOW, CANT BELIEVE WE HAVE TO WAIT TIL JANUARY, I WILL NEVER FORGET THE CHANCE I HAD AND STILL HAVE, TO RECIEVE A DRAFTED BOOK THAT WAS SENT TO THE PUBLISHERS , PATH OF DAGGERS, HAS UNPUBLISHED CHAPTERS EDITOR MARKS AND ALL THE LAST 20 YRS OF MY LIFE I HAVE READ AND REREAD THE BOOKS SO MANY TIMES THAT IVE HAD TO REBUY THEM, THANK YOU MR JORDAN FOR ALL THE LAUGHS TEARS AND GREAT MEMORIES.
Superfan
49. Trevis
Having read this poignant and heart-felt dedication to Robert Jordan, I'm left feeling somewhat depress and exhilarated. I'm dearly in love with all things WoT. I'm dearly indebted to RJ, for teaching me to dream high and dream epic. Mostly, I'm dearly indebted for the second life I am living through Rand, Perrin, Mauthrim, Nynaeve, Egwene... their values and ethos, their slumps and triumphes, their daring, cunning and temerity in a world and age as dark and vicious as theirs has inspired me in mine. As the wheel weaves!
Deana Whitney
50. Braid_Tug
Wish we had a "Like" button.
Ditto to what 44, martytargaryen & 49, Trevis has said.

The post book read feeling will be very bittersweet come Jan. 9...
Sanctume Spiritstone
51. Sanctume
Can't wait to finish book so I can move my obsessions to other long unfinished series.

At least Sword of Truth was finished in 10 books. Malazan main arc was done in 10 also. DragonLance's Tasslehoff kinda finished too.

I hope to not find myself wondering about Mat's adventures after.
Superfan
52. Mike C.
This was incredibly touching. And, until I read it here, I hadn't thought of doing this, but I know now that, if and when I have children, they too shall hear of The Wheel as they drift off to sleep. Similarly, they will wtach both Firefly and Star Wars, in the correct orders.
Superfan
53. moondivatx
Wow Jason, I've just finished reading the prologue and Chapter 1...both brought tears to my eyes, then I stumble across your wonderful tribute. Thank you for saying what so many of us feel and have felt from the very beginning. I've reread and listened to each book so many times, but each time I gleem something new. Nothing in my life has ever been so bitter sweet as this last book. Until January!
Deborah and the gang in TX
Superfan
54. bdaniel230
The best opening for a book has been used now for the last time and it still gives me chills. RJ, Thank you so much for the adventure, for the love of literature and for your life shared with all of us;

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
Superfan
55. BlackVieledAielman
There is much honor in your words Jason Denzel, you speak the minds of the algai'di'siswai.
Superfan
56. Kartikeya GS
"He was your steward, and carried your banner proudly into the maw of
Shayol Ghul in order to ensure oblivion did not consume the series’ending."

Is this a veiled hint that the end is awesome? (desperately reading into the text).
Superfan
57. jgolenbo
well said, Jason
Superfan
59. Ritika87
The release date is out and yet I was not able to grasp that the Wheel of time series will be ending on January 8th. But reading your letter made me realize that it really is happening, the series is really ending and soon. I am not sure if I am happy or sad about this. I hope the series ends how it began with sheer awsomeness.
Marty Beck
60. martytargaryen
Braid-Tug @50. Glad you made it over here after the scare I gave. :)
Superfan
61. Ellie+Angel
Yes, it was finished. But can anyone say they enjoyed books 8 through 10? It is wildly uneven.

What I have liked most about the last few books is that they pick up the threads from the beginning and close the stories that the first few books launched and people cared most about, before all the time-wasting nonsense (Savannah and the Shaido, anyone).
Superfan
62. Catherine V
Agreed. With every word. What a wonderful wonderful review Jason. I think you summed it up quite nicely.

Thanks RJ for the story that has changed my life the most. It was bittersweet to get to the end, but I'll be reading it to my daughter when she's old enough to understand it. And another generation of fans comes along....
Superfan
63. Ievaaa
This is the long waited ending. The series are wonderful, i cannot say how much they have taught me and entertained me. I love the created world and characters as if i would personally know them. Thank you so much Robert Jordan for this wonderful journey! :)))

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