Tue
Dec 18 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time: A Light Re-read of Memory, Or Something

Leigh Butler relates how The Wheel of Time has shaped her lifeHappy holidays, People of Tor.com!

I know, you’re like, what are you doing here, Leigh? The Wheel of Time Re-read is on hiatus! And so it is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about the Wheel of Time. Because, evidently, I can always do that.

For as the release of the fourteenth and final Wheel of Time book, A Memory of Light, inexorably approaches, the Powers That Be at Tor.com thought this would be a good time for me—and you—to look back on the series as a near-whole, and contemplate All The Things about it—what these books have meant to us all.

So let’s do that, shall we?

 

The problem, for me, with talking about how the Wheel of Time has affected me personally is that if I were to tell you every story in which this series played some part, directly or indirectly, in my life we’d be here all day.

Because the Wheel of Time has somehow ended up playing an almost absurdly large role in my life, not just as a series of books I happen to enjoy, but as a driving force in some of the more crucial pivot points of the actual direction of my relationships, my experiences, my worldview and even my career. I’m still not really sure how that happened, but nevertheless it is the case.

Seriously, so many stories, y’all.

I could tell you the story of how I first found the series. I could tell you the story of how WOT was the impetus for my discovery of the Internet, and fandom in general, and thereby opened up a whole new world to me, one which I have really never left since.

I could tell you the story of how the friends I made there led to me flying across the country to a demented fairytale city that has no business existing in the real world, by myself, to hang out with some 40-odd people I had never seen in person before that weekend, despite my mother’s dire conviction that I would end up dead in a dumpster as a result. (Spoiler: I didn’t.)

I could tell you the story of how in 2005 I ended up driving to Oakland, California, in a purple PT Cruiser, to have dinner with Robert Jordan and Harriet McDougal in a Moroccan restaurant, thanks to some Jason dude, and how I got to see for myself what utterly charming and wonderful people they were, and how much of an impression it made on me to see how unconsciously secure Mr. Rigney was in his role as a teller of stories. It was like he could never have been anything else, and at some point I realized that that’s what makes someone a writer. This wasn’t something I was going to forget in a hurry.

I could tell you about the shock and genuine grief I felt at his passing.

I could tell you how that trip to Vegas was thirteen years ago, and I am still friends with most of those Scary Internet People today, and see many of them at least once or twice a year even though we are scattered across states and nations and continents. I could tell you how those friends rallied to render assistance and support to my family in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and again when my father passed away, and how they have truly become one of the bedrocks of my life.

I could tell you how one of those friends shanghaied allowed me to take over the Wheel of Time FAQ, and how years later, another of those friends, as a result, recommended me to helm some crazy Re-read thing for some crazy upstart website. I could tell you how I have made even more friends as a result, and gone from never having even attended a fandom convention to this:

I could tell you how the Re-read went from what was supposed to a short-term side project to being the most significant and pivotal (and fun!) endeavor of my career thus far, and led to me going places and doing things I would never have done otherwise. I could tell you how it’s let me meet with and work with and drink with some of the most amazing and talented and dedicated and awesome people I’ve ever met. I could tell you how it was the success of the Re-read and the fervor of the response it has generated that finally convinced me that yes, writing really is my vocation, and what I want and hope to be doing for the rest of my life.

I could tell you how WOT scratched a story itch I didn’t even really know I had when I first started reading it, and let me shamelessly revel in every trope epic fantasy has to offer, played earnestly and eloquently and endearingly straight. I could tell you how I think reading it and discussing it and arguing about it has taught me more about (among other things) politics, philosophy, feminism, mythology, logic, history, ethics, and critical thinking than I ever learned in my formal education. I could tell you how the series and the people I met as a result of it became a lens which I have used and still use to bring the rest of my weird life into focus.

I could tell you how I’m sad the journey is coming to an end soon, but simultaneously not at all sad, because the ending we’re getting is more than worth the effort.

And besides, to say it’s coming to an end isn’t really true at all. I seem to recall that someone claimed there are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time. And that’s the truth, thhbbt.

I could tell you all those stories, but I’d rather hear yours. What has the Wheel of Time meant to you? Pull up a comment box or two and share, why dontcha?

 

 


Leigh Butler is a writer, blogger, and opinionator for Tor.com, where she conducts The Wheel of Time Re-read and A Read of Ice and Fire, and feels guilty that she can’t individually thank every single person who’s told her they’ve enjoyed her writing, because that is seriously just about her most favorite thing. Mwah to alla y’all.

103 comments
Dave West
1. Jhirrad
WoT has been so much to me that it goes far beyond ridiculous, almost to the point where it seems fictional. My relationship to these stories remind me at times of the wonderful film Big Fish with Ewan MacGregor.

Like Leigh, WoT helped introduce me to the internet, back in 1999, when I found a little website called Dragonmount and all of these other people who shared my passion. I became heavily involved and invested there, and was one of the community leaders for many years.

When I was choosing where to go to college (I ended up in Chicago) one large factor of my choice was the fact that there was this community of DM folks that live here and had a great relationship with one another outside of the message boards and chatrooms. Fellina, Mazrim, Elizha, Ampris and a bunch of others.

I developed other, deeper friendships, spending huge chunks of time in the WoT track room at Dragon*Con, the first two years. I devoted lots of time prepping for the trivia contest, which I won both years too. :) While in college, I received a research grant to study the anthropological implications of the community that exists as a result of this series, as well as researching the mythology behind it.

I met one of my best friends in college, and became friends with him, when he saw the small bookshelf in my dorm room filled with the Wheel of Time. He is going to be best man at my wedding in 3 months.

When I was stationed in Iraq in 2003-2004, I had friends ship me copies of the books that were out to that point, as it helped me through some long dark nights, and reminded me why we fight, what and who we fight for.

I remember being inconsolable when RJ passed and thinking how eternally grateful I am to him for having introduced something so wonderful and amazing in my life.

While I'm glad that we'll finally get to see how the story ends, I'm also incredibly sad knowing that it's over. After Jan. 8, I will never have that sense of anticipation, waiting for another WoT book. This series helped rekindle my love of literature and has shaped me like nothing else. I don't know where I would be without it.

To RJ, Harriett, Brandon, and all of Team Jordan - I have toh.
Sudo Nym
2. Shakerag
Leigh, your writing style is what got me to read the Song of Ice and Fire re-reads which led me to buying and reading (almost) all of them.

I started reading the WoT series back in highschool as a friend of mine was always toting around these big-ass paperbacks. I asked about what he was reading, and it just took off from there. I must have read the first four or five books over a dozen times each as I was pulling late hours working at an airport, waiting for the planes to come in.

Robert Jordan quickly took the spot of "favorite author" to me, and I loved immersing myself in the world. Hell, I even frequented WoT MUDs back in the day.

When Brandon Sanderson got involved in the WoT books, I was curious about his writing as well, and now I just finished devouring the third Mistborn book last night. Also an excellent series, as was Warbreaker.

I'll certainly miss the WoT re-read, but at least I can still look forward to the Song of Ice and Fire re-read for my Leigh headdesking fix.
Marcus W
3. toryx
It's difficult to express exactly what Wheel of Time has meant to me. It's been a part of my life for so long that its thread has become a part of my overall pattern, if you will. I've made and lost friends from it, been welcomed and expelled from communities through it and have carried the story for so long in my consciousness that it's like trying to encapsulate all the changes that have occurred to me in the last 22 years.

I was a very sad, lonely teenage boy when I first started reading these books. I identified with Perrin in the very beginning, and the changes I've seen in him over the years are not so very different from some of those I've weathered myself. Now neither of us have much in common with the boys we were, and I can't identify with him nearly as much. Somehow, I've become so much older than those boys that I find myself more akin with their fathers, which is downright creepy to contemplate.

I was privledged to spend a fair amount of time with Robert Jordan on one glorious weekend way back in 2001. I saw him one more time after that, only briefly for a signing. A few years later he passed and I grieved for him, his story and his characters in a way I had never experienced before or since.

I still grieve now, actually, even when the end is so near. I'm delighted that Harriet and Team Jordan have done so much to keep his story alive and take it through to the end and I'm excited to read the final chapter of this story that has been with me my entire adult life. But I still feel such sorrow in the knowledge that Jordan and the fullness of his story are lost to us all forever. I regret that I didn't get to see him again or have the opportunity to know him better.

In the end, I'll carry my memories of him and his story with me to the conclusion of my own journey, like so many others. Not a bad tribute to a man's life work.
Ryan Jackson
4. KakitaOCU
Well, I can't say I've had quite the impact some others have, but WoT has been a major focus for me since I was finally allowed to read it.

Yep, I had to get permission. I was 11 or 12 years old, looking through my mother's bookcase. I did read, but hadn't really ever gotten into anything. She'd given me the Shannara books, but I found them dull, good story but no characterization to speak of. I tried LotR and had the same issue before we even got out of the Shire. But for some reason this big shiny hardbound book, with a guy reaching for a crystal sword had me intrigued.

I asked my mother to borrow it, she told me it was the third book and I'd have to read the others first. I asked for EotW and she told me I couldn't read it unless I finished Lord of the Rings. If it wasn't for Mr. Jordan I would never have given what is arguably the founder of this genre a chance. I tore through the books, skipping pieces, but finished it and convinced my mother to let me have EotW.

By now TSR had come out as well. I finished all four in less than two weeks. I was legitimately confused and upset to find out that I still didn't know if the good guys won (I was 12, simpler goals from a book. :) ) I asked my mother what happened next and she told me I'd have to wait for the next book to come out. In the mean time she introduced me to another TOR author, a Mr. Modesitt Jr. His work kept all of my attention until FoH came out.

From that original reading I fell in love with the fantasy genre and reading in general, Because of Mr. Jordan I have found numerous worlds, characters, Authors and adventures I never would have thought of as well.

Because of WoT I found the internet as well. I also found gaming and role playing, two hobbies I still continue to this day. Back in the days when AOL was king there was a freeform Wheel of Time RP going on nearly 24/7. I made a lot of friends there, several I still keep in touch with. Because of that I remember being able to enjoy later parts of the series with added amusement (Someone had chosen to role play Rochaid as a good guy, him being a DarkFriend was hillarious to me because of that).

Fast Forward to around 2000 and I met who is now my best friend discussing Wheel of Time. She and I had other hobbies in common that lead to our meeting (SCA), but it was our mutual love of the books that lead to us talking and becoming friends. Move forward to 2007 and I'm recovering for a horrible divorce (cliche, but wife ran off with someone I thought was my best friend). It was during this time that my friend introduced me to her sister. We married in 2010 and our son is turning 2 this February.

So because of the Wheel of Time I found joy in reading, I found out how awesome the internet was. I found what has been my truest and most noble friend even as other friends turned out to be not what I thought. And indirectly, because of Wheel of Time, I found the love of my life.

So for all of that, as indirect as some of it is. I have to extend a great deal of gratitude to Mr. Jordan, or his amazing Team and to Mr. Sweet for a horrible inaccurate painting of a Luke Skywalker ish figure reaching for a sword.

Ryan
David Goodhart
5. Davyd
I do believe I will be making the drive from Charlotte to Atlanta this April. By myself. Who can say what that will lead to?

Here's hoping it's not ending up dead in a dumpster, eh?

You guys wouldn't let that happen. Right? >.>
Marty Beck
6. martytargaryen
Thank you Leigh, and tor.com, and all the posters loyal to the re-read.

Most importantly, WoT is a very strong, very real link within my family. Most signifincantly between my mom and me and my 13-year-old son. But it also seriously livens up parties with my cousins! Every get-together has turned into a debate about Verin, Taim, or the cosmology that is the Wheel of Time.

Like Liegh, WoT cravings brought me to the internet and fandom and the earliest forms of social networking. Those were some great times in the early (hamster-powered) Theoryland forums. Oh, and I told a college friend of mine about Theoryland who jumped right in....within a few years he met a special someone and now are happily married and housed together somewhere far south of New England. If you are lurking here, "Hopper"...well done, and best wishes!
Dave West
7. Jhirrad
Davyd @5 - I know Jenn and James well enough to say that yes, they would definitely allow that to happen. :)
David Goodhart
8. Davyd
Hmmm... there perhaps I ought to bring a posse...
Bittersweet Fountain
9. Bittersweet Fountain
Somewhere in the world there is a person who left their copy of the Path of Daggers on a Delta MD-88 airplane. I will always be eternally greatful to that person.

Because they left it behind and didn't reclaim it, a curious co-pilot picked it up and said, "Hmmm...this looks cool and like the sort of book my daughter would read", so he brought it home. I was eleven, and my mother wasn't certain that I could handle such big and possibly "adult" books, so she read the Eye of the World first. But she was so mesmorized with the epilogue alone that she read it out loud to me. I remember sitting on the floor of our small house's living room, with her leaning over the book, her teacher-voice projecting as she enacted the anguish of Lews Therin Telamon.

I was mesmorized. Up until that point I had only read things like the first three books of Harry Potter, the Harper Hall Pern books, and maybe a handful of Asimov. I had never read something like this.

I don't have huge life changing stories. Just small ones about my brother's friends (who were four years older than me and in high school) talking to me because I was reading The Wheel of Time--which they were reading too. Or my high school friends and I talking about all the soap opera drama with Rand and his ladies. Or my college friends and I road tripping to a signing even though one of them was brain-dead from his PhD qualifying exams and could barely form a coherent sentence. Or that terrible day I was walking down Cherry St on my way to class and passed one of my friends who stopped me and said, "Robert Jordan died."

I grew up with Rand, Perrin, Mat, Egwene, and the others. I learned life lessons from them. I have been reading this series for over half of my life. My dad and I are avid lovers of it (my mom got lost somewhere back at The Shadow Rising). I will for ever be grateful to Team Jordan for this amazing series. It has meant so much to me.

Thank you.
Chris Long
10. radynski
I have to admit that I was sort of hoping that your GOT Read-through would step up to 2 times a week now that the WOT ReRead is done for the time being.
Bittersweet Fountain
11. jmd
I too don't have any earth shaking stories. I just remember picking up the book one day in a bookstore and thinking it was cool. I always liked doorstoppers. I realize now that I have been reading this series since college, if not earlier and that means (gulp) that it has been more than half my life. I don't know how I will feel when I am done with the last book but I will always be grateful to the series for my friends who love fantasy and for finding me places like Tor.
John Mann
12. jcmnyu
I remember picking up The Eye of the World because I liked the cover. I remember sitting in the back of my parents' van on the way to college reading The Dragon Reborn. I remember going to Forbidden Planet, a few blocks from my dorm in Greenwich Village, and getting RJ to sign my copy of The Fires of Heaven. I remember asking him a question and seeing him smile and say Read and Find Out. I remember discovering rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan and discovering that there were a lot of people out there who liked the books as much as I did. I remember complaining on rasfwr-j that surely one of the Forsaken would know how to make angreal and comparing it to building a computer for a computer scientist and reading John Novak evicerate me for my ignorance. (Thus my introduction to being loud wrong on the interwebs.) I remember the great hoax. I remember desperately wanting to be included in the "contributors" list at the beginning of the WOT FAQ and thinking that maybe they messed up my first name and the guy listed as Jim Mann was really me. I remember playing the WOT MUD and getting to create some of the places like the White Tower. I remember a corner of the internet participating in a Parasha of the books doing one chapter at a time with commentary, a precursor to the WOT re-read, and writing a few of them myself. I remember learning of RJ's illness and ultimate passing and regretting that he wouldn't get to tell, and I wouldn't get to read, the many untold stories he talked about in his interviews. I remember the announcement that BWS would continue the series and devouring his books and getting excited that this great new writer would be finishing my favorite series. I remember the way back machine, the forsaken coffee hour, the cleansing, kneel or you will be knealt, veins of gold, I've healed Logain, the far snows dance, dovie'andi se tovya sagain, the horse's name is Mandarb, you flaming fatherless son of a spavined goat, easing the badger, nine horse hitch, and so much more.

It's hard to believe I am 38 years old, and I've been reading this series for most of my life and it will be completed in three weeks. Thanks to RJ, Harriet, Brandon, Tor and everyone else involved for decades of enjoyment.

I can't wait to hand my son the first book and tell him, "Try this. You may like it."
Bittersweet Fountain
13. Iarvin
Wheel of time has meant a lot of things to me over the years. From the first out of order read of the books, where a 10 year old me had to sneak into my older sisters room to steal them, through middle school and highschool and college, where the books have remained a way to relate to my family. . . WOT has meant a lot.

More recently I introduced my then girlfriend to the series, and when we were married some of my siblings got us the whole set. . . the books have been the most used wedding present aside from tableware. My wife is going to barely finish the currently published books in time to start A Memory of Light, and we'll be reading it together - both for the first time at last.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
14. Lisamarie
Me too, I hope the GOT read eventually increases frequency :D

Anyway, I was super pumped to see a post here, nonetheless.

My German teacher lent me the first book (along with some Guy Gavriel Kay books) because she thought I'd like it - I was 16, a junior in high school :) At the time, Path of Daggers was the most recent book out (Winter's Heart came out during my senior year).

That summer, I went to a summer institute type camp for science/art geeks and bonded with some others over those books, and we got others in our 'group' to read them :) We ended up starting a WOT RPG in college, fun times :)

I even met my husband due to WOT - I had been on an online journal site for awhile, and he was a new member. There's a feature where you can list certain interests, or search for people with those interests, so he typed 'Wheel of Time'...he saw I was his age, had other similar interests and beliefs, so we began to 'follow' each other's journals. We ended up moving to the same city for post graduate work (not something we had planned to do on purpose), became 'in person' friends and ultimately dated and got married.

I do think the prologue is one of the greatest prologues ever. I remember reading the prologue on the bus the day my teacher lent it to me and having no idea what was really going on, but in a good way :) I made heavy use of the glossary :) My other really distinct memory is racing through the part of Shadow Rising where Rand learns the truth about the Aiel while my sister was in the hospital...that's always been my favorite one and one of my favorite parts. Although my very favorite scene is tea with Verin in A Gathering Storm :D
Bittersweet Fountain
15. laotsekung
I was introduced to WOT by a great bear of a friend, Falstaffian in his love of life, who is now sadly no longer about to regale me with his fun and his stories.
Thanks Mr Rigney, Harriet, Team Jordan, Mr Sanderson and of course yourself Leigh, for a great journey.
Have a great festive season y'all!
/salute
Gary Singer
16. AhoyMatey
I can't remember when I started The Eye of The World - early 90's. But it sucked me in, and I've never looked back. I think it took me a couple books or so to find the newsgroup in the old days. I didn't participate much, but it was eye opening, and I did find out about the WOTFAQ. I used to eagerly wait for new versions to come out. It was sheer awesomeness. Getting to meet Leigh at Jordancon was a real treat :). Finding out nuggets of information on the web, and later on Robert Jordan’s blog, was very cool.

I admired Jim Rigney’s outlook and fighting spirit. I’m sorry I never got to meet him face to face. He sounded like a helluva guy. I’m grateful he made the decision to allow his work to be finished by someone else and Brandon was the perfect choice.

I’ve introduced many people to the series over the years, and have made a few really good friends through it. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread the series, but I know I’ll be re-reading it again many times in the future. It never gets old.
Ross Newberry
17. rossnewberry
Davyd @5 - In Atlanta, maybe. Roswell, nyaah.

In other news, I should finally be able to make it to a JordanCon, and it's 10 mins from my house! Yays!

I was introduced to Robert Jordan right around the time that The Fires of Heaven came out. I was a freshman in college, and saw the books on the shelf of one of the friends I'd made. Those books drew us closer. Ended up marrying his sister.

His other sister, quite a bit younger, grew up reading those books, and I think that story is part of what made her want to be a writer. She's polishing off the final draft of her first big story now, and looking for an agent.

She's not the only one. Partially because of Robert Jordan, and partially because of Brandon's work, I finally decided to start writing myself. I participated in NaNoWriMo this year, and, while I didn't finish 50,000 words in November, I have just finished the first draft of a long novella.

This story weaves its way through my tenure at college, which was longer than it should have been, partially due to staying up all bleeding night on a WoT MUD, and through most of the people I still consider close friends.

For all of the times I complained to my friends that I really didn't care what color Nynaeve's skirts were slashed with, there was still something about the depth of detail that made the world feel real. It drew me in and never let go, and I hope it never does.
Liz J
18. Ellisande
I was in college when I first discovered Eye of the World - I think only the first two had been published at that point. Eventually I discovered the rec.arts Jordan group and the WOTFAQ and just devoured it. My books are put away at the moment, so I can't check which book I was able to get to a signing for (FOH maybe), but I remember being tongue-tied in his presence and I'm not sure I said anything coherent at all. But still I'm glad I had the chance to meet him at all, and hopefully express my love for his work in something resembling a human language.

I searched bookstores for the hardcovers of the early books once I knew for sure I was going to get them all and I remember quite a bit of inner glee when I found the last one I needed.

I remember driving out to a Darkfriend Social to meet some other fans, and I was so sure I was going to get lost since I'd never been that far east of LA before, but it was so much fun once I got there, hanging out with other fans.

I stepped away from fandom as the books slowed down and I got into real life, so I'm very grateful for discovering the re-read in time to read along with these last few books, and rekindling my love for the series in time for the last one. It seems incredible to me that it's finally here.
Bittersweet Fountain
19. Herb811
I discovered The Wheel of Time around the time The Shadow Rising came out. Since then I've started middle school, finished middle school, graduated high school, graduated college, graduated grad school, got a real job, gotten promoted, gone back to school, passed two bar exams and gotten two more real jobs. I've lost my father, my sister, an uncle, two grandparents, and two cousins and had a marriage proposal rejected (I do still have both my hands, so I've got that going for me). It's been an eventful two decades. Through it all The Wheel of Time was a constant. For years the latest Wheel of Time book was the only speculative fiction I read as I dabbled in wickedness (nonfiction) and nihilism (not reading *shudders*). As it turns out, while I was away some people started writing some really, really good spec fic.
Bittersweet Fountain
20. KMK
On Christmas of 1991 my brothers and I tore into our stockings and presents. I don't really recall any of the presents that I got, probably some Sega Genesis games, clothes, etc.
After the carnage of Christams, I noticed a book on the mantel above where my stocking had hung. It was blue paperback with a large armored man behind a petite woman on a small horse.
I asked if it was mine as I picked it up and weighed it. It was probably the heaviest book I'd seen at that point.
I had already devoured Eddings (all those out at that point), and LotR, and the Shannara books (through Elftstones).
My dad nodded and said that some of his customers had recommended it (he owned a small bookstore then).
I flipped through it and put it aside until around nine o'clock that night. Then I cracked it open. My dad came in at midnight and toled me to not stay up too late.
At six am I was still reading when my mom got up.
I finished it hte next day and made my dad get me The Great Hunt. I finished that two days later and then had to wait a few days until a hardcover version of The Dragon Reborn came in on an order. Then it was a long wait until Shadow Rising. I reread those three books two more times before tSR was released. It was so much more than everything else I had read until that point.
I still have those books, with their missing covers and pages taped in (or just stuffed in loose-leaf). Two years ago I started my wife on the WoT journey and I can't wait for when my children are old enough.

As I look to the release of A Memory of Light, I have many mixed emotions. In another 7 days, my relationship with WoT will have reached 21 years. It has been a central part of my being for 3/5 of my life and all of my adulthood. I hope the end holds up. Even though I know it's not the ending, just an ending.
Francesco Paonessa
21. ErrantKnave
On the 4th anniversary of Robert Jordan's passing, I wrote a blog post about how The Eye of theWorld was THE book I would recommend to anyone. Most of my story is there, but here's an abridged version.

I got the first three books in 1998. Someone in our veterinarian's office recommended the series to my mom when she mentioned that I liked reading fantasy books. I remember being skeptical when I started The Eye of the World (where were the elves and dwarves? and why were the covers so... flashy?), but I knew I was hooked by the time I finished it. I was so hooked that I read the books during math class, to the detriment of my grade.

Over the years, I've told anyone who would listen that The Wheel of Time is fantastic in every sense of the word. Some of them even came to believe me. Now, fourteen years after I began readng it, I'm about to get the last book in the series. It's a bittersweet feeling. I've already let it be known that any work I'm doing on January 8th will come to a complete stop when I get my hands on A Memory of Light, and it will not resume until I've devoured the book.

Maybe these are strong feelings for a book, but I feel that if anyone would understand, it'd be the readers in this community. A community, I must add, that I was very happy to stumble on about three years ago. I love the commentary from Leigh and the army of readers. You'd be surprised to know that a lot of the more philosophical aspects of the series and the Re-Read helped shape me and my beliefs. Then again, maybe you wouldn't be surprised at all.

It's been a blast, everyone. There's just a little more left to go. Enjoy! I know I will. :)
Ron Garrison
22. Man-0-Manetheran
Ms. Leigh:
I'm so looking forward to Jordan.con and to finally meeting you in person. And also the "amazing and talentedand dedicated and awesome people I’ve ever met" who, hopefully, will be there too!

And, yes, writing really is your vocation. The countless laughs you've given me has been like a healthcare policy. Thanks so much.

I encountered WoT one day on my lunch hour. I was checking the remainders table at B&N and came across Lord of Chaos. I've always been attracted to big, thick books with big, thick stories – subconciously looking to repeat the LotR experience, so I picked it up. The jacket said "Book 6."

"Book 6? Wow. That must be some story to have six volumes." That evening I checked out EotW at the public library. I was hooked. Soon I had all 6 volumes in hardback. Who knew there would be 8 more (9 counting New Spring)? Some story, indeed!

Awaiting The Gathering Storm, I decided I need to read it all again. That's when I found the re-read. Immediately I was hooked on this Leigh woman's humor. Then the comments. I started learning things about the story that I hadn't noticed. Then my re-read became even more enjoyable. And then, of course, are the new friends I made here. I won't list you all, because I'll inevitably leave someone out. Only one of you have I met in person: Tektonica. Turns out she's as great in person as you would expect. We've become great friends.

Which brings me to Jordan.con. I so wish you all could be there so we can all meet face to face. But I know many can't do it, and that's OK. We'll always be the Re-Read Gang, and I thank you all for the pleasures you've given me.
Bittersweet Fountain
23. Weatherman
Being somewhat older than many of the contributors to this site, I came to WOT via Tolkien, Asimov, James Blish, John Wyndham, Poul Anderson, Roger Zelazny (Amber Series), Michael Moorcock ( Eternal Champion) and Patrick Moore ( English Eccentric, Astronomer, presenter SKT AT NIGHT for 55 yrs, who incidently died last week at aged 80+). Despite being a life long fan of Tolkien and Asimov, and having also read many and varied sf & fantasy for 45+ years I recognised about 12 years ago that WOT was the supreme acheivement in fantasy fiction, its only rival in true allegory being LoTR. Nevertheless I still enjoyed immensely PJ's rendition of the 3 LoTR films to my mind a truly cinematic collossas.

I came to LB's reread about 2 yrs ago, and although I enjoyed immensely your witty style I treated it as a revision, until I reached the reread of the last 2 volumes.

Without WOT over the last 10 yrs, I may have stopped reading books, pretty much as I have stopped watching TV, and reading newspapers. The ability of RJ and BS to immerse me in a world of wonder and fantasy has been a mainstay of my non-working life, and like all the rest of WOT fandom I eagerly await my copy of A Memory of light which has been on order at Amazon for the last 12 mths

Mike
Bittersweet Fountain
24. Lironah
Yeah, that sounds a lot like my life. Two paths in a yellow wood kinda thing. Every major decision I've made since finding EotW on a shelf at my cousin's house has been in some way influenced by the Wheel of Time - from an A on a particular History assignment to meeting the person I married.

I'd go through the whole story, but I already did that on my Storm Leader application, and they liked it enough to pick me for the very first event, at BYU Bookstore. And also, like yours, it would be very, very long.
Bittersweet Fountain
25. elliesaurus
I can't believe it's been 10 years since I picked up To The Blight. I was 11, and my grandmother was shopping across the mall and left me to wander around in the bookstore. I loved books, although I was mostly interested in Nancy Drew and Harry Potter at that age. I didn't know that the book I had picked up was the second half of a volume that had been split in two for younger readers, but I do remember devouring it in two days. It was another year or so before I saw The Great Hunt and recognized Robert Jordan's name on the front. Within a month, I had bought and read every available book in the series, even a complete Eye of the World.

The first book I had to wait for was Crossroads of Twilight, although it dropped within a few months of me completing the series to that point, so it wasn't too bad. Then, it was FOUR YEARS until Knife of Dreams came out. I forgot about the series, mostly, maybe rereading The Shadow Rising or Path of Daggers when I didn't have anything better to do. I saw the new book in my local mall's bookstore and nearly flipped out; it was close to Christmas time, and I was begging my mom to get it for me. She agreed, but only on the condition that I couldn't read it until Christmas day.

It's been so long since I was sucked back into that world. I officially "joined" the fandom after Knife of Dreams. I was old enough to search for other like-minded fans on the internet, and discovered the reread, Dragonmount, and TarValon.net. It's been amazing talking and theorizing with people of all ages and nationalities, brought together by this amazing story and the characters that make it spin. I went to DragonCon for the first time in 2011 because I found out they were having a Wheel of Time track. I jumped headfirst into the geek community because of this series, and for all the problems we as humans deal with, I can honestly say I've never met a nicer, more passionate group of people.

I almost can't wait until the day when I can pass this on to my kids, and have conversations about the characters and the world they live in.
I am sad to see it end, but as we all know, there are neither beginnings nor ending to the Wheel of Time, so I guess there's nothing really to be sad about, right?
Rob Munnelly
26. RobMRobM
I've told my WoT story before. A good friend has been into it from the beginning and kept urging me to dive in. I hated the goofy covers and kept saying no. A little over four years ago, my family was away and the friend and I scheduled a beach hangout day. We stopped to pick up some reading, he stuck EOTW in my hands, and told me to dig in. I did. I read all existing volumes (though KoD) in about a month, and then immediately went into re-read mode to figure out all of the subtle foreshadowing I missed on the first go round. Then I went to on-line resources and, lo and behold, Tor.com, via this crazy lady LB, had just started a group re-read of the entire series. I read for a couple of weeks and then began posting comments.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Additional note: my teenaged daughter just finished The Shadow Rising and started The Fires of Heaven....
Emma
27. margaery
I went to the first Book Club meeting as a high school freshman and was told about Wheel of Time, but I didn't start reading them until I noticed the guy I was crushing on was reading them as well (14 yr old girl, cut me a break). I got seriously into fantasy: WoT pulled me from YA to adult fiction. I made a great friend after commenting "That's a great book!" to someone standing in the hallway, converted one of my friends to a WoT maniac, and I've spent the last four years mildly obsessed.
I know I'm a late-comer, but I have a lot of memories with these books, and I can only say I'm honored to have found them and made my way through all these characters' ups and downs: I've learned more about honor and ethics from these than I have from philosophy class, and the Re-Read has made me look forward to every week for years.
thank you Leigh
I can't even begin to thank Mr Rigney and the rest of the WoT team for what they've done for my life.
Kimani Rogers
28. KiManiak
This ended up being kinda long, so you can just skip to the summary if you don’t want to slog through all of it :-)

WoT has been, quite frankly, the catalyst to my exposure to the vastness of the SFF universe, that I had previously never paid attention to.

Before WoT, my SFF experiences were pretty much: C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series; Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain; Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and Tower series; Judith Tarr’s Alamut and Hound and the Falcon series; Piers Anthony’s Xanth series; Orson Scott Card’s Ender (and Shadow) series; Frank Herbert’s Dune series; the Star Wars expanded universe (mostly Timothy Zahn’s novels); Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings (of course);and ultimately, Rowling’s Harry Potter.

And I would reread each novel over and over and over again. I’ve read some of them (Dune, Ender’s Game, All the Weyrs of Pern, Lyon’s Pride, A Spell for Chameleon; The Dagger and the Cross) at least 8-10 times. It was safe to reread those books and series; I already knew that I liked them. I had tried to branch out to a few other novels or authors I would see in the bookstore, but I found that they weren’t all that good, and I hated being disappointed by uninteresting stories, so I would just stick with the ones in which I was comfortable.

So I loved Fantasy and Science Fiction, but I didn’t really expand beyond my comfort zone, and was vaguely aware of the classics and/or well-respected and well known works like Asimov, Anderson, Brooks, etc. But I didn't expand my reading list for fear of being disappointed. And I had never heard of Jordan, Eddings, Bujold, Erikson, Martin and many other SFF authors.

And then in 2003 a coworker of mine told me about this fantasy series that he was reading. He was describing to me some of the basic story developments, and I remember thinking, “Wait. This series is nine books in, and the female magicians in their Tower and the male magicians in their Tower still haven’t combined? And both Towers are supposed to be on the good guys’ side? They still have yet to face the ultimate evil? The main character still hasn't powered up fully? Nine books?!? How could you drag a story out like that?”

Hah! If I only knew then that it would even take 12 books for the White Tower to be made whole, much less getting to the point where the Black Tower and White Tower would fully merge. Well, I probably still would have ultimately read it, but still...

Anyway, thanks to that co-worker one day at the bookstore I decided to pay more attention to that Wheel of Time trilogy box set with the pictures of the lady with the staff riding next to a samurai warrior; the weird mannish looking creature with the big ears, the lady in white and some garishly dressed guy holding a horn; and finally a guy reaching for a blazing sword. And then, after plowing through that first trilogy box set, I bought every other book in the series (another trilogy box set, then the remaining individual novels, if you were wondering).

And then I got to experience what most WoT fans experienced. The long, patient waiting for the next novel.

While waiting for the next novel, I decided to explore for WoT related info online. I came across the WOTFAQ. Paydirt! I had no idea so much analysis and discussion had been applied to this series.

Also while waiting, I decided to see if other epic fantasy novel series would be worth branching out of my comfort zone again. Thanks to WoT, I tried Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire; Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series (which was a good, then not-so-good experience); Farland’s Runelords; Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy (although for some reason I stopped after book one; still have the other 2 in my cue); Douglass’s Wayfarer Redemption series; etc.

After a while (and I think, due to a reference in the WOTFAQ), I finally checked out Dragonmount.com to get info about the next WoT books. That’s how I heard about RJ’s illness, and ultimately his passing. I was incredibly saddened. Eventually, I heard that Harriet had selected some other guy named Brandon Sanderson to finish the series. I wanted to check out this guy’s work to see if I’d like it, so I bought Elantris. Then I bought the Mistborn trilogy, and checked out Brandon’s website, where I found Warbreaker, and other nice nuggets.

Through Brandon’s website, I one day came across a mention of some type of WoT reread on some Tor.com site I had never heard of before. I decided to check it out one day, and that’s how I became introduced to Leigh (who I found out was very involved in the WOTFAQ; there were connections everywhere!) and all of the fun, insightful and mostly-sane rereaders!

Through mentions by Leigh and the rereaders (and Tor.com’s Best SFF of the Decade Readers Poll), I became aware of such works as: Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series (which is now, along with WoT, one of my 2 favorite Fantasy series of all time); Rothfuss’s Kingkiller chronicles; Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean series; Gaiman’s American Gods; Lynch’s the Lies of Locke Lamora; Bujold’s Vorkosigan novels (still on my list; hard to find actual physical copies and I’m not much of an e-book fan) and Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and Redshirts novels.

Summary: In short, my learning about (and ultimately, reading of) the Wheel of Time not only exposed me to Jordan and all of his greatness; but also introduced me into the WoT family; and ultimately encouraged me to expose myself to so many other great SFF authors and works. Because of the Wheel of Time, I have been blessed to experience and enjoy books and series that I have come to love and cherish.

That’s what Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series has done for me.
Bittersweet Fountain
29. Eyeless621
This re-read has been awesome to say the least. I've been lurking since the beginning with maybe a couple posts here and there. Thank you SO MUCH for doing this!!

A friend of mine back in 1996 let me borrow his copy of The Eye of the World. I was a freshman in high school and I HATED reading. I usually didn't even read for class assignments (English was not my best subject!). Obviously I liked the book, and continued on to The Great Hunt and so forth.

Anyway... The Wheel of Time is what got me to read books. For a while these were the only books I read because I still didn't really like reading, but made an exception for this series. I'm still pretty narrow minded with what I will read, but if it weren't for The Wheel of Time, I wouldn't have come to find out about Brandon Sanderson's books, and more recently Patrick Rothfuss (And thanks to Leigh's read of Ice and Fire, I got into G.R.R.M. as well).

After all these years I would say I enjoy reading now, and I have The Wheel of Time to thank for being the reason I read anything at all. Without it, I'm not 100% sure I'd be interested in reading (which would be sad).
Kristoff Bergenholm
30. Magentawolf
It is a series of books. Some of which I have enjoyed, some of which I have not. It is a story that I am eagerly awaiting an ending to.

This is the Wheel of Time to me.
Sorcha O
31. sushisushi
Let's put it like this, I was thinking that it was past 6pm on a Tuesday, I must check Tor.com for the next chapter of the re-read... only to realise that the day has finally come, and the re-read is done, and it's only a couple of weeks until the last book comes out. I ended up checking the website anyway, only to see that there was indeed a post from Leigh about the Wheel of Time, after all!

I came fairly late to the Wheel of Time - looking at my bookshelf, the first hardback is Crossroads of Twilight,Winter's Heart, so I'm guessing sometime in 2002 1999. I'd already been around the SF/F block a few time, as well as the fandom block, too, but a rather fast reading speed kept me looking for new material that I coudn't plow through in a couple of nights (was this *ever* the right series for me :) I picked up The Eye of the World in a book shop because I liked the cover, and got sucked right in.

I was rather on the down-curve out of active fandom by the time I found the re-read, but it's been a joy to find a group of people who can discuss fantasy in such a mature, thoughtful manner, something in scarce supply since giving up on usenet some time ago. It's been my regularly scheduled indulgence for the last couple of years, even if I don't always get time to comment. I've always learnt something new from the posts and comments each week and I'm going to be sad not to be reading Leigh's reactions to RJ's writing each week - I came for the jokes, stayed for the gender analysis!

WoT has been one of my staple comfort re-reads for a number of years, and I don't see that changing any time soon. I'm doing my own pre-AMoL re-read at the moment, although I'm not sure if I'm going to finish it on time, because it's kind of turned into a Re-Read re-read as well... It's been fun - thank you for sticking with it, Leigh, through thick and thin, and see you over on the GRRM read :)

(edit for not looking properly at my bookshelf!)
Deana Whitney
32. Braid_Tug
My WOT story…

In 8th grade I’d been a “reader” for two years. But my books were more like Anne of Green Gables and the modern Nancy Drew. My new friends in Jr. High somehow talked me into giving the Dungeon and Dragon stories a go.

Then my best guy friend told me I should read this series called “The Wheel of Time” and handed me book one. I still remember reading the first chapter. When done, I went outside the house because the wind was blowing. I tried to image what it felt like to be Rand and see someone’s cloak not move in the wind. I’ve been a fan ever since.

When I finished the four books, I asked my friend “what’s next?” Then I yelled at him once he told me the rest wasn’t written yet. I couldn’t believe he got me hooked on a series that I would have to wait on. Oh if we had only known.

About book 9 I told him the series would go to 13 books, because that number had become so important.

Like others, I’ve now gone on to finish high school, college and grad school, and to marry and have a child. Really considered naming my son “Perrin” because, even with the PLOD, I love him more than the other boys. So now I look forward to introducing him to the series in about 10 years. (He’ll be 2 in February.)

Maybe Sanderson’s epic will be close to finished and my son and I can start it at the same time. Because while I’ve enjoy Brandon’s work on WOT and his Mistborn books, I just don’t have it in me to wait 20 years for another epic story.
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
Kimaniak - awesome post. Definitely get to Bujold (both Vorkosigan and her fantasy books).

Also add Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books to your reading pile - lot of Tor.com resources on that cool multi-book world as well. Start with Jhereg. The story is told out of chronological sequence but I still like reading them in publication order.
Bittersweet Fountain
34. MRCHalifax
I started reading because of a girl.

I can't remember her name. I do remember that she was Mr. Wholey's grade 10 Emglish class, and she was reading The Eye of the World. I had recently cut my teeth on fantasy with The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion (but not the Hobbit, I couldn't find a copy) and everything Guy Gavriel Kay had written to that point. I had been mostly a SF reader up to that point, but I dove in and give The Eye of the World a try, trying to impress said girl.

I finished that book - and I'm pretty sure that I finished the next six before she finished the Eye of the World, so I couldn't even really talk to her about it. I failed at impressing the girl, but discovered a great series.
Luke M
35. lmelior
After discussing fantasy novels we'd read, a friend of mine in college brought a double-plastic-bagged set of twelve books to my apartment -- the entire WoT series up to Knife of Dreams including New Spring -- and told me I had to check them out. I devoured them almost nonstop, even reading through classes and staying up late into the night.

But alas, I did not appreciate them properly until several years later, when I found out that some upstart fantasy site that hooked me up with some free ebooks before it launched was putting on a re-read by somebody I'd never heard of. That's when I discovered several impressively thorough online resources behind the story -- the WoT FAQ, encyclopaedia-wot, the theory site that went under but I can't remember the name right now -- all those places that showed me what I missed in a single quick readthrough.

Following Leigh's re-read, browsing articles exploring the subtle connections between various characters and events, reading posts by people that have combed over the books and really know their stuff...that's what makes WoT great to me. Not the books, of which I only really loved maybe half of them on first read, but the community that loved them more.
Bittersweet Fountain
36. Shamrock Jack
I was 14 when I first started WOT. I had recently suffered a serious back injury which left me nearly crippled and I was looking for something to pass the time during the long hours during recuperation. I had already been a prolific reader, having read Tolkien, Zelazny, Lewis, and countless others. Of course, I had thousands of comics (which plays a part later in this tale, I assure you.) So one day I saw the first book at the store and thought it looked cool, bought it, read it, and bought the next two the day after. Since that day it had been one of my favourite books. I still prefer Lord of the Rings, but there is no shame to being second to Tolkien.

Over the years I have made some friends because of these books. Great friends who I wish would bloody catch up and read the last few books so that we can bloody discuss them!

Seriously, blood and bloody ashes.

Speaking of which, I prefer not to use curse words so using the ones Mat Cauthon uses with such... Eloquence, has been a lot of fun.

So now I'm married and my wife is in the midst of getting her phd in linguistics. She has unfortunately been too busy in the process to read for pleasure, though just the other day she asks me about the banner of Mat on my Facebook timeline. She says "Where does that quote come from?" I said "oh, it's from Wheel of Time. One of the characters is a gambler and a fighter. This is kind of his battle cry. It's from a made-up language." This led to a long discussion about the language and ultimately the series itself. I'm hoping that I can get her to give it a go while she's off for Christmas.

I just finished my most recent re-read of the series yesterday. I am more excited about January 8th than Christmas.

Oh right, that bit about comic books. When I heard they were going to adapt the series into comics I had my local comic shop add them to my saver. The guy asks me if the books were any good, so I gave him a copy of the first book, which eventually got around the store and I have five new converts.

Cheers.
Bittersweet Fountain
37. Annew
... I quite literally can't even start with this topic, marriages, the best of friends, vacations & holidays oh my, but...

This may be a coincidence, but I left my copy of one of the wheel of time books on a plane sometime in 1998. Ha! I have long since forgotten which one it was, because of course I replaced it.
Pam K
38. PamK
I was doing a summer research program at Michigan State University, and was bored, bored, bored. I didn't know anybody, there wasn't anything to do in Lansing, blah. And so I (a) discovered Usenet, and (b) spent a lot of time reading. And on rec.arts.sf.written, there was all this discussion about these Robert Jordan books, and it looked like something I'd be into, so I got the first one at the used bookstore, and then the second one, and then the third one, and then I got the fourth in hardcover from Barnes and Noble, and then I was posting all my theories on Usenet and debating and discussing with the Wheel of Time Usenet fans. (And engaging in flamewars with the Usenet WOT non-fans, let's be honest.)

At some point in there, I got shanghaied received the honor of taking over the Wheel of Time FAQ from its originator. Hey, I was in college, I had a lot of spare time and I wanted to contribute to the community. And then I was meeting some Scary Internet People at a restaurant. A bit after that, I drove with one of those Scary Internet People to DC for lunch with a bunch of other Scary Internet People. (Actual quote from my mother: "You drove all this way for lunch?" Those were the days.)

A while after that (I was in grad school by then) I flew to Vegas for That Weekend When We Didn't Throw Leigh into a Dumpster. And so on and so forth. I quit the FAQ when I finished grad school and had to get a Real Job, and Leigh was awesome enough to take over. :)

Even though I have not kept up with the series (the last one I read was Winter's Heart), The Wheel of Time has played an immense role in my life over the past two decades (ack). Through WOT fandom, I met many of my very best friends, a group of people who are as close as family, if not closer. Doing the FAQ, I developed good analytical, agrumentative, and editing skills which serve me in good stead to this day. I never would have expected it, when I picked up that one epic fantasy novel during the summer of 1993, but there you have it.

Just imagine how different things would have been, if I'd read the Belgariad, instead! :)
Amy Young
39. ceara
Oh, man. The other day I was trying to envision my life without WoT, and I just plain couldn't. I would never have met my husband, for one thing, but it doesn't end there. Very nearly everyone I know I met either in or via a knock-on effect of rasfwr-j, and without that group of my very best friends I have no idea who I would have become over the last fifteen years. But as I'm pretty OK with who I in fact am now, I'm glad they were there to help me get here.

I may not have made it to the Time Leigh Didn't Get Thrown In A Dumpster (but I had plane tickets and hotel reservations, dammit, and would have been there were it not for Unforseen Circumstances), but I did end up not too awfully long afterward flying off to Toledo, OH, of all places, to spend a weekend sleeping on the floor of the apartment of someone I had not met in person before, stacked up like cordwood with a dozen or more other "strangers". My mother also entertained thoughts of dumpsters and knives in the dark. I retaliated by making a t-shirt (http://www.zazzle.com/scary_internet_people_t_shirt-235411135404866595). And I didn't die, and the Internet folk turned out to be pretty much just like other folk, except cooler.

The rest is history. And fantasy, which is usually better anyway.
Bittersweet Fountain
40. kcom
1998 was a pivotal year for me. I buried my brother, graduated Virginia Tech, acquired two kittens, gotten two different jobs in a span of 5 months, moved to an apartment in Northern Virginia, and finally picked up the eye catching cover, The Eye of the World. Three years prior to that, while visiting my parents over holiday breaks from school, I saw the cover for The Shadow Rising, and thought to myself that it would be a good series to read. So, I picked up the first book in the series, read the Prologue, then immediately bought the next seven and devoured them.
I have been an avid SciFI/Fantasy reader, with beginnings starting with a series written by David Eddings – and waiting patiently while he finished the Malloreon. Read the Shanara series, as well as the Sword of Truth. Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars set me in that world and genre for some time, but fantasy is where my heart is and will always be. In between waiting for one of RJ’s books, I picked up GRRM’s Song of Ice and Fire.
Each year, since 1998, I do a re-read of WoT. I found the multiple websites regarding WoT and have been a lurker. 13th Depository is quite a read, with depth and breadth that my old English teachers yearned for. In 2007, I introduced several series to my retired father. Like myself, he has frequented Leigh’s reread and read.

It's been quite a journey through the Tavern'ing nature of the Wheel of Time.
Bittersweet Fountain
41. d-mac
I have to say WOT has had a very profound influence in how I think about Religion and Spirituality. Not so much from a storyline point of view, but moreso as a result of some of the concepts explored in the series. Its really made me think about how religion and beliefs develop over time. How prophesy's and writings can be very mutable in the retransmission of these beliefs and ideas over time and distance. How myth/reality can be so convoluted as to be wholly unreliable. The story hasn't really introduced any new ideas on these issues, but they have provided jumping-off points for me as i formulate my own thoughts/beliefs on religion and spirituality. I will forever be grateful to Mr Jordan for this, despite any problems i have with the actual writing style and dialogue in the books.
William McDaniel
42. willmcd
I was a freshman in my first quarter of college, walking back across campus from a pledge meeting at my fraternity house one crisp Autumn night, when I happened to mention to the fellow pledge I was walking with that I liked to read David Eddings. He was excited to hear the news (it was Georgia Tech; we were all geeks), and immediately suggested that if I liked Eddings, I had to read this guy “Robert Jordan”. He wrote really long books, my new pal told me, and Volume 5 of his “7-volume series” was due to come out the next week. It was October 1993.

It wasn’t long before I dove in, and I’ve been with the series ever since, reading each new book as it comes out. In 1994, I stood in line for hours at the Oxford Books on Pharr Road in Atlanta (one of the best bookstores ever, and now gone) to meet RJ and get an autographed copy of “Lord of Chaos” a year later, and then two summers after that I read “A Crown of Swords” sitting on the beach at home in southeast Florida while exiled from Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics (Georgia Tech was the Olympic Village). I could go on, but the release of each new book coincided with a different period in my life, and the connections are all vivid.

I used to lurk a bit on r.a.sf.w.r-j back in the day, but I was always rather scared to post, because I wasn’t a very sophisticated reader at the time (again, I liked to read David Eddings). I read RJ because of his ability to write the high-impact epic scenes, whether it was Rand’s multiple battles with Ba’alzamon, Mat beating Gawyn and Galad with the quarterstaff, Rand’s trip through the columns at Rhuidean, Perrin leading the Two Rivers gang out into the night, hollering about hunting trollocs. But trying to pick the subtleties of the series apart required a little more patience than I had at that time. And most of the female characters drove me nuts (more on that in a moment).

As time went on, I got a little disgruntled with the series (as I know many did). I am an exception to Leigh’s often-cited theory that your least favorite WoT book is the first one you had to wait for. For me, the nadir of the series was “Crossroads of Twilight”, which upon finishing I proclaimed “the worst book I’ve ever finished that wasn’t for a school assignment”. I felt like RJ had started a great series and let it get away from him at that point, but he redeemed it all with the fantastic “Knife of Dreams”, and I was back on board.

In 2009, as I started my first full read-through of the series in 15 years, to prepare for (what we all thought was) the upcoming final book, I made two important discoveries: the encyclopaedia-wot.com website, and the WoT re-read on tor.com. For the first time, I began to track details (keeping my own spreadsheets) and really started to grasp the ebb and flow of the series. In college, I took an elective class on James Joyce’s “Ulysses”, and the professor said, “to really read this book, you have to read it twice” (and use quite a few supplemental materials to boot, I might add). Well, WoT is like that, too; it only starts to unfold itself to the reader after multiple, multiple readings, and lots of reference. And there is always more to discover.

The WoT re-read project was very important to me personally, even though I didn’t make my first post on it until about two months ago (yes, in 2012; more on that in a moment). As I watched the group argue about gender politics and especially as I listened more to women’s perspectives, I realized that I’d been something of a male egomaniac with misogynistic tendencies for most of my life, especially in my teens and twenties. This realization, and the inspiration it provided to change, altered my entire self-concept very much for the better, and I’ll always be grateful for that. So indeed, all the gender politics in WoT which have frustrated so many readers (including this one), made a huge difference in the life of at least one person. Thanks RJ, thanks Brandon, thanks Leigh, and thanks to everybody who participated in the re-read discussions.

I said a few paragraphs back that I didn’t do any posting until recently. I was behind the re-read when I discovered it, and then I caught up right at the end of Lord of Chaos, as the project took a break for several months. I had to press on with my re-read to finish in time for The Gathering Storm, and then after that I was ahead of it. I am returning now, as I do yet another re-read leading up to the final book (which I’ll probably get to read by May at my current pace), but I am doing a lot of commenting on the old re-read posts.

If anybody should deign to go back and read my very-late comments, I’ll have much toh to you.
j p
43. sps49
Wait, Pam effing Korda stopped at Winter's Heart? I think the Pattern just shifted around me.

That is also close to the time I was reading the books (WH was the first one I had to wait for), but I did not discover the newsgroup until much later- there were a few post about Galad's duel, some random spam ads, and a lot of TAN posts. I was a latecomer to the party, didn't feel like it was about WoT at all, and only checked in a few times until Usenet was dropped by my provider only ot find no improvement.

But I loved the FAQ, even if it never did update fast enough for me. It must've been even better for those who participated in the discussions fueling the WOT-FAQ.

I posted months (years!?) ago about reading Robert Jordan's Conan books and, wanting more from this new-to-me author, found The Eye of the World. I felt I was starting up a fun, Tolkien-esque roller coaster; it turned out to be Space Mountain, with sharp twists that I couldn't see coming. And, like with Space Mountain, I took the ride over and over again.

(The above is why I brought my RJ-Conan books to Sacramento for Ms. McDougal to sign at the TGS tour; sadly, she was not there).

Seriously, Ms. Korda- start back up. I had some doubts for a while, but you will LOVE the last books.
Bittersweet Fountain
44. DGillmore
Whoo boy. I started reading the "Wheel of Time" in high school, when my English teacher noticed my penchant for fantasy novels due to the 3rd elective book report I had turned in that month based on one fantasy novel or another, and recommended I read "these 2 books" that "will probably be a trilogy". Thirteen books and 22 years later, I'm almost near the end.

While I have read these book more times than I care to count, and the discussion of the characters, plots, mythos, politics, relationships and sometimes plodding of the books has been something I've been doing for over half my life, it was the people that I met while doing it that has defined me. The down time between books was not filled with lulls in the conversation, but the true creativity and variety that was rasfwr-j, with in-depth discussions on so many different topics with width and breadth of experience tossed in for spice. Back and forth witty threads with this person or that person keeping me up late at night hitting refresh on my newsreader hoping for a few more threads or replies to read or respond to. Part of the allure of the universe created in the Wheel of Time was the engagement of so many people at a juncture where global social networks were possible, and fandom that not only had a reason to come together, but had a reason to keep coming back together grew into something more permanent.

And then there were the socials. I went to some and hosted a couple on the west coast, and attended a few in the midwest, and then one or two in Texas before I organized the Social in Vegas. Unfortunately, our plan to dump a body in a dumpster failed when we realized that's what all the other Scary Internet People were doing, and we didn't want to be cliche. Besides, we kind of liked Leigh. Instead we drank some drinks, had some food, played music and sang a few songs and then hung out and just generally had a blast.

It's been thirteen long years since then, and so many things have happened. Other books written, read, discussed. Usenet being replaced with various other social networks. I have children, the eldest of which is maybe one or two years from being old enough to start reading the series, and I can't wait to not only finish the story for myself and digest the series as a whole body of work and then pick it apart and discuss it again and again, but then I get to watch it be born again in the eyes of the next generation, to see how they see it with a different backdrop of time and culture.

One thing that hasn't changed is my connection to the people I met while searching out the simplest and probably most oft debated theory from the Wheel of Time books. They always will be those people who know me better than most, and are still great friends in spite of it.
Amit Doshi
46. doshiamit
I posted this to reddit on the fifth anniversary of Robert Jordans passing.

I'm going to confess something here. I read the Lord of the Rings while in college in the early 1990's and it turned me off fantasy for the next 12 years. I started reading the Harry Potter books in 2003 or 2004 with my nieces, and enjoyed them enough to start reading some more YA type stuff - Phillip Pullman, Jonathan Stroud, Eoin Colfer etc - because I knew that I didnt like the big serious adult fantasy. After all I had read the Lord of the Rings and found it incredibly tedious, and that was supposed to be the Masterpiece of the genre.
My niece picked up From The Two Rivers and really enjoyed it, she kept insisting that I read it, but I found out it was Adult Fantasy packaged for younger readers and was a little reluctant. One day at the bookshop in 2006 after reading about how Knife of Dreams was one of the best books in recent years, I finally picked up The Eye of the World, and for me it started a complete conversion in reading tastes. Fantasy is now my genre of choice, Ive read hundreds of fantasy books in the last 7 years, and its literally thanks to RJ. Without the WOT there is no way I get into the genre.
M Peters
47. DJ_Pon3
My story didn't start as long ago as many of yours.

A close friend moved in with me during a rough time in her life around 2007 and eventually forced me to read TEOTW. I had initially poked fun at her and the book, but didn't stop reading. When I had finished it a week later, she handed me TGH with a knowing smile. I was thoroughly hooked.

As I read through the rest of the series (to KoD), she re-read along with me and a friendship blossomed into more. Both us divorcees, it was an end and a begining as we put the past behind and looked to the future.

We pre-ordered TGS and read it together, then waited patiently for ToM. In our WOT downtime I introduced her to Dune, which she liked, and some SK works she'd never read. They were hit and miss. And it always came back to reading WoT together in our downtime. We used to joke we were like Perin and Faile, the characters we both related to the most.

But, as characters progress and grow in the books, so did we. The summer before ToM came out, our relationship and eventually our friendship faltered and she moved away. We remained on mostly friendly terms, but rarely talked. When I found out she wasn't going to be able to afford ToM when it came out, I pre-ordered her a copy as a token of thanks for everything. When she finished, she sent that copy to me with a note of thanks, and her entire paperback WoT collection, instructing me to hang on to it for my daughter when she was old enough.

That was pretty much the last I heard from her. Our lives have both moved on and we're bothing doing well, but I still get a little reminiscent when reading WoT.

In about 3 weeks, the final book will be out and I will devour it the moment I get it in my hands. It hasn't been nearly as long of a wait as for most of you, but it is very bittersweet to know that Rand and Co's journey is coming to an end.

But it is just an end, not the end.

Under the Christmas tree, addressed to my daughter, wrapped up with the touch of fail that only Dad can manage, is a copy of TEOTW, ready to hook a third victim on to this amazing story. This year will see another begining as the WoT spins round.
Rob Munnelly
48. RobMRobM
Pam K - Knife of Dreams is a top 5 or 6 WOT book, so you missed a good RJ one (in addition to the two strong new RJ/BS team efforts). KoD wraps up so many story lines that dragged on in semi-painful ways in books 6-10 that it should be read for closure in addition to enjoyment.
Bittersweet Fountain
49. Bob K
Oh, so many memories, but here are two on Lord of Chaos.

I started reading WoT early 1996 and assumed when I bought LoC that I had the ending. About 1/3 of the way through I was horrified to realize that there's no way this book could be the end, and that was my first venture into the world of publishing and the internet trying frantically to find out anything about the upcoming A Crown of Swords.

Lord of Chaos also frustrated me no end as I couldn't keep up with all the plot details and minor characters. So I started taking notes on chapter summaries and characters. My notes got kinda big.
Bittersweet Fountain
50. PuddleglumPilgrim
My story begins with competition, or perhaps inspiration. My older brother was both the bane of my existence and the greatest source of inspiration for me as a child (I am sure I'm not alone in this). We fought like enemies, but I always wanted to be doing what he was doing.

What he was often doing was reading. By the time I was six, I decided to teach myself to read so I could catch up with him. In third grade, he began reading Tolkien. I did too. Later that year, searching for something else to give her voracious bibliophiles, and seeing our fascination with fantasy literature, my mother bought us the first two volumes of WOT. This was in about 1993.

If we wanted to read the rest of the series, we had to go to our library. But for some reason, our local library never had any copies of any of the volumes beyond The Dragon Reborn. My family was not well-to-do, and we struggled financially through much of the nineties, so I never even thought of buying a new book in the series. Every year I tried to pick up the series again, but only read through TDR. Soon, in high school, I had given up on the series and moved on to reading Neil Gaiman and, more often, books about theology.

In college, I began to burn myself out with studying. I was reading day and night, and working several jobs to avoid getting student loans. Soon, however, I began to realize that the joy of reading was slowly being sucked out of me. I also became an insomniac. My mind was so full that I couldn't sleep at night.

I hit upon a plan: I would reward myself with a fantasy book each month, buying them on the cheap as often as possible. Reading fantasy literature at night put my mind at ease and helped me to erase the stress of the day.

My brother had long since given up on the WOT. But I had brought our two volumes with me to college. After reading through C.S. Lewis (both the Chronicles and the Space Trilogy), Tolkien (Hobbit, LOTR, the Silmarillion), J.K. Rowling (upon a friend's recommendation), and Gaiman (Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, the short story collections), I finally went back to WOT. I was shocked to discover that the stories resonated with me even more deeply than when I was a child. In my youth, I read mainly for adventure and the cool magic. Now, I was captured by Jordan's dense descriptions, impeccable characterization, deep themes and fluid writing. I had also fallen in love with Charles Dickens by then, and I found in Jordan's writing an equivalently Dickensian author of fantasy. I also found fascinating the mythological and historical echoes and the themes of trust, honesty, and the warping of tales that grow in the telling.

Eventually, I ended up buying all the books published at that point. This was 2003, so that got me through Crossroads of Twilight. I've purchased each book as it has come out since. The storytelling of Robert Jordan has accompanied me through a three year master's degree that grew into a four year degree that has now grown into doctoral studies in theology. Over the last seven years I have wrestled constantly with my vocation. What I am called to do? Who am I supposed to be? At first I thought pastor of a small church (thus the first masters). Then, Christian Educator. Then, Church Musician. Then, dauntingly and with much resistence, teacher and scholar.

Throughout this journey, I have come back to these books as companions in the struggle to accept who I am and what I am supposed to do in the world. The central conceit of a young man told that he must save the world and how he copes with this calling and destiny has spoken strongly to my wandering soul. The books have helped me think through how to believe in anything when the truth of a matter is difficult to discern. Many times, they have put me to sleep and helped me to escape blessedly into not a less-complicated world, but a world in which my problems actually seemed smaller by comparison (I'm not meant to save the world, after all!).

Thanks, Robert Jordan, for this rich, rich story, and Brandon, for seeing the journey through to the end. Even the tragic situation of the books' completion has taught me something: when we cannot go on any longer, we must trust others to carry us through and rely on the community we create around us to make something beautiful out of the horrible events of life.
Bittersweet Fountain
51. Gary Kephart
Soon after I started reading WoT, I realized how complicated it was getting, with all of the chapters, characters, places, etc. So I started a reference website to help me keep track of all this. My inspiration for this was IMDB. I loved how everything was cross-referenced. I wanted to share this information, so I started to spread the word. I soon realized that I didn't have enough time to do it all by myself, so I started asking for volunteers to help me. I had several in the beginning, and then Bob Kluttz came in and really helped a lot. That's how Encyclopaedia WoT got started.
What's really great is the comments we've gotten. I never expected the wonderful emails that readers have wrote us. We're even mentioned in the back of some of the books! Wow! I was fortunate to have dinner with Robert Jordan and several others when he came to San Diego.
I'm very glad to have created something that many people find useful. I consider it one of my top achievements so far.
Bittersweet Fountain
52. Gerrick Childs
Bittersweet Fountain - I am that person who lost his book. I got chills reading your post, as I now know why I needed to 'loose' that book. That trip, I was flying home.

I was in the Navy (back in 95) and had a lot of free time, so I started reading. I got the 1st book, and was so taken by the story I read the next 5 as fast as I could get my hands on them.

I have no idea how many times I have read the first 6 books, but it's a lot. I used to re-read from the begining when a new book would come out. I stopped doing that when Leigh started doing it for me.

My thanks to Robert, Brandon, and Leigh.
Bittersweet Fountain
53. DontDriveAngry
It was November 1990, and I was 13 years old and in the 8th grade. I was walking through a Tops Markets on Grand Island NY and on the book rack was a mass-market paperback copy of The Eye of the World. I had just started reading fantasy- Narnia, Eddings, etc, and something about the cover, summary and blurbs got to me, and I tossed it in my mother's grocery cart.

I started it later that day and was hooked. I remember reading it whenever I could, sneaking it in during class and reading during study halls. I actually remember Christine, a classmate who sat next to me, asking me about it in class because I kept looking through it in class.

The end of the book had the preview for The Great Hunt and I asked my mother if she could buy it for me. She went to Waldenbooks and it had just come out. Rather than get me the hardcover, she got me the larger trade paperback issued at the same time. Years later, when the popularity skyrocketed and the value of the first printings skyrocketed, I wished she would've gotten me the hardcover. Then I remember how damaged that copy got from the reads and subsequent re-reads, and the book collector in me is a little glad I didn't destroy it. By the way, that copy of EotW was destroyed after all the re-reads, barely held together with duct-tape until finally it fell in some water and had to be tossed.

It was then that I learned what "waiting" was, as I had to wait for The Dragon Reborn to come out. There was no online resources, no Amazon to check for release information, and so every single trip to the mall from then on included a stop into Waldenbooks, or if we passed by the old indie Village Green Bookshop (that later became a B&N) or The Book Corner in Niagara Falls, I insisted on going to the info desk to ask if Robert Jordan had any books coming out. It was at the latter where I was handed one of his Conan paperbacks, which I thought was pretty cool, but not nearly as satisfying. I re-read EotW and TGH several times, and it was around that time that I began exploring other fantasy authors, including Feist, Eddings, Weis/Hickman.

A year later, the info desk had good news, and I made my mother drive me in on the release date to buy The Dragon Reborn, and I remember being 14 years old & absolutely floored by that cover. (Quick aside- it is for that reason and the reason above that I don't care what anyone has to say about the Darrell K. Sweet covers- he doesn't just get a pass from me- he has a huge spot in my heart and thoughts for those covers)

That King Arthur moment happened on the cover and at the end of TDR and I realized that this was no trilogy or simple fantasy story- there was still much, much more to come- more questions to be answered, more prophecies to be fulfilled. This was going to be BIG.

There was another year of waiting for The Shadow Rising- I remember walking into Waldenbooks for The Shadow Rising and seeing new HC copies of The King's Buccaneer, The Seeress of Kell and Serpent Mage, and it was then that I realized I might have to find a source of income as my hobby was about to get very expensive)- and with TFoH, and then the waiting became longer, two years between books, and then longer.

As the years went on, I was older, with schoolwork and social activities, so I didn't notice the delays between books as much, and I wasnt able to do full re-reads prior to each release as I was able to do when in high school, but I still was there at whatever bookstore was closest on the morning of the release so I could begin reading as soon as possible.

I moved to the Philadelphia area in the summer of 2005, and I noticed Robert Jordan would be appearing at the Free Library on tour for Knife of Dreams. I brought some books with me to get signed (including a 1st/1st HC of TGH that I found for $10 in a basement of a comics store- I finally got my copy!) and I was finally able to meet him, say hi, shake his hand and just simply say "thank you" for writing these stories that I've enjoyed for all these years.

I paid close attention to the updates during his illness and I mourned his passing. I'm ashamed to admit that at least some of the mourning was for selfish reasons at the thought of not knowing how it would all end, and so I was glad to hear Harriet was working with Brandon and Tor to finish the story.

Now, as I'm mere weeks away from finishing a journey I began over 22 years ago in a grocery store, I'm excited, and maybe a little sad at seeing it all come to an end. I know it'll be worth all of the waiting, and yes, I get a small kick out of being there almost since the beginning. I'm glad I got to thank the man before he passed away, and I hope he got to understand the positive effect he had on at least one life.

I just saw that Brandon and Harriet will be back in Philadelphia in February. I should be done with AMoL by then, and I hope I can make it there and let them both know my full thoughts, whatever they are, once I have finished reading the full story.

That's my story,

Dave
Ty Margheim
54. alSeen
I started reading TEOTW in 1995. I was in my senior year of high school and actually got grounded from reading except at bed time because I was neglecting my school work.

I was a regular poster on rasfwr-j for the next few years. Was also a member of the Texas Dark Friends, even though I lived in South Dakota. I had moved to SD from Texas right before I started reading the series. When I went to school back in Texas, I was able to make it to a gathering and got my WOT nickname (Wil al'Seen). I helped introduce two of my friends, one I knew from TDF and one from the scifi/fantasy group on campus. They have been married for more than 10 years now.

I introduced my wife to the series while we were still dating. She loved it. I knew I had a keeper then. When we first got married, I joked that I thought a good name for a daughter would be "Aviendha". That stuck with my wife and when we had our first child, I was surprised that she was so insistent that we use that name. I wouldn't have it any other way now.
Bill Reamy
55. BillinHI
I came to the series fairly late (in real life as well as WoT life). I was in my 60s and RJ died not too long after I had found Leigh's re-read and many of the other WoT related sites. I have always been (and continue to be) a reader of primarily hard science fiction, as I got started with Heinlein's juvenile/YA books. In fact, Lord of the Rings and the associated books are just about the only other fantasy I have read and truly enjoyed.

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but after I was well into the WoT re-read world, I found Audible and have sinced amassed a rather large collection of audio books. Since I started listening to the WoT books first, I find that some other narrators don't quite measure up to the WoT readers but I find that I get more emotional content from many audio books that I didn't get from reading (hardcopy or e-book).

My WoT story is relatively short, compared to a lot of others here and I don't think it has had a huge impact on me but it has been a thoroughly delightful run so far and I will certainly be somewhat sad when I have finished AMoL. I am not a particularly critical or analytical reader. I read for enjoyment and regardless of the many *headdesk* moments throughout, I have truly enjoyed the WoT books more than just about any others.
Bittersweet Fountain
56. Gaylene
My daughter found the wheel of time and said "mom you have to read this" she was on book 5 by the time I started book 1 so I could ask her questions as I went then my son started also so we read as a family. Every thought we were crazy ear buds in place 24-7 got annoyed when we had to pause to listen to them Sorry Honey;) now we are all re-reading together and ready for the final book all pre-paid so I don't have to wait 1 minute longer we will probably crash the server at Audible hope my download is done first.
Kimani Rogers
57. KiManiak
RobMRobM@33 – Thanks. By the way, I do appreciate you recommending authors and series and encouraging me to check them out. I’ve been to used bookstores and even B&N and its almost impossible to find copies in print (as I believe you mentioned several months ago). I’m slowly coming around to reading things online (the AMoL prologue demanded I make that change), but I have to admit that there is nothing like physically holding a book in your hands. Oh well; I probably will get over that conceit someday…

I think I’ve heard mention of Brust’s Vlad Taltos in passing (was a character in the Suvudu cage match, maybe?) but I don’t recall much of anything. I’ll have to do some research; if it looks interesting (and almost everything you guys recommend fits the bill) I may have to place it in the cue as well.
(However, I have 2 must reads (AMoL being one of them) coming up, followed by Cherryh’s Cyteen monstrosity of a book, so the cue is somewhat loaded.)
John Mann
58. jcmnyu
@38 PamK

Pam, FAQ Queen, I am distressed that you stopped reading the series a decade ago. This would be like Mark Loy not making an inappropriate comment in a rasfwr-j post, not possible. Please, for my peace of mind, pick up where you left off. So much great stuff is there ready for you to digest. You contributed so much to my enjoyment of the books through the WOT FAQ and your posts, that I sincerely hope you will reach the end.

John C Mann
Thomas Keith
59. insectoid
Gosh, where do I start? Sherman, set the WABAC machine for... eight years ago.

I had just graduated from high school, and we attended the 2004 SD Comic-Con, where my mom and a friend of ours went to a writers panel that RJ was part of. (I was elsewhere at the Con, and didn't show any interest at the time.) Mom claims to have started reading the books shortly thereafter, though she was on pain meds for her hip and doesn't remember some of it.

For the next year or so, while I was attending junior college, Mom would tell me tidbits about the story while taking me to night classes (where the buses didn't go; I wasn't driving yet). When Knife of Dreams came out, Mom and our friend went to the signing in San Diego at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, where they met RJ and Harriet. It was only afterward (to my great regret now) that I started reading the books; I wish now that I had gone with her.

It took me only 4 months to read the books (all 12 of them, including NS); at that point (2006), I only followed WoT-related news on Dragonmount, and on RJ's blog. It was when a friend of ours (same one) was visiting on September 17, 2007, that she announced that RJ was gone, and the three of us were understandably shocked. I continued to follow news on DM for the next year.

I think it must have been an article on Dragonmount that alerted me to both the existence of Tor.com and the start of the Re-read. I have therefore followed it since the very beginning, though I didn't first comment until the TSR Re-read, Part 21. (I was tempted to chime in on the madness that was Part 10, but didn't.) Mom started commenting at around the same time, though she doesn't do so very often anymore.

Mom and I went to the signing for TGS at Mysterious Galaxy, where we met Brandon Sanderson and Freelancer. Ever since then, I've been begging for a chance to go to a JordanCon, and this next year I may finally get my wish. As I indicated on another post, I will be meeting up with Freelancer once again for the AMoL signing at MG in February.

As I've said before on other posts, I can't thank Leigh and those of you in the comments for being such a crazy friendly group of people; even though I've only met one of you, I hope to get my wish and meet more of you and Leigh at JCon V.

Bzzz™.
Bittersweet Fountain
60. Katarianna
I am lucky in that I can bring up The Wheel of Time and TarValon.net in almost any conversation when discussing my family. I met my husband at an event for TarValon.net in TN where we were friends but nothing more. A few years later, we started dating and were married in 2005. Three years later, we welcomed our daughter into the world: Aviendha Jane Campbell. People always compliment her name and ask where it came from and so I get to bring up the books and the website. My brother was the one that introduced me to the books and it allowed us to grow closer. In addition, I have so many friends and those I call family because of the books. The Wheel of Time has made an impression in my life and my world that can never be repaid.
Bittersweet Fountain
61. Ceku
It was early 2005 for me when it started. by then I had already read somewhat close to 15 of Dragonlance books, Farseer and Deathgate series, and a couple more that I can't remember at the moment.

I remember vividly that I was playing Knight Online, oh how much I loved that game :) I was in abyss just randomly killing monsters. And there was this guy a couple levels higher who recognized the name of my character, Huma. He asked me how I liked the books and out of the blue suggested The wheel of time. I told him I would check it out and when I did, I was a little intimidated first by the size of the volume. Not of the other books I've read even compares to the size of WoT. But I gave it a try anyway.

And what a ride it has been. Since then, I have graduated from high school, moved to a different country and I am about to finish my masters degree. I have made and lost friends, gained and lost weight, WoT has been the only constant in my life. And I am so happy that I got to experience this last months of waiting, the excitement. I hope I will find another story half as good as this one to follow and wait and speculate and read over and over again until I dream rest of the chapter after I fall asleep while reading it.
Keith Yatsuhashi
62. Keith Yatsuhashi
Leigh, like you, WOT changed my life. One day, almost a decade ago, simply sitting on a bench, my mind wandered into how I wanted WOT to end. I don't know how or why. The images came and went and when I had time to sort through them, I realized my imagination conjured a story of its own. A short time later, I started writing what will become my debut novel. I met Mr. Rigney during his KOD tour and told him he inspired me. He grinned wide and told me to keep at it. The words were there, but it was that knowing grin that's stayed with me. A few year later, I emailed Brandon and asked if he'd take a few minutes out of Book Expo America to speak with me. He accepted. Graciously. We talked about WOT, he passed on his experience in writing, his path, his passion. I saw him again with Harriet during the TOM tour. By that time, I'd received scores of rejections on my MS. Again, he encouraged me to move forward. Harriet also spoke with me, gave me suggestions, encouragement. Today, I'm a few month away from my book's release. A new writer inspired through the WOT and the wonderful people involved in its creation. Truly, the Wheel turns!
Bittersweet Fountain
63. octarineoboe
I have always, always loved reading and books. So it made sense that tons of relatives and friends gave me Borders gift certificate cards for my Bat Mitzvah, in May 2003. I ended up with something like $150 in gift cards, and I took them straight to the SF/Fantasy section (complaining all the while how that really ought to be two separate sections).

I liked to sit in the aisle, pick out books, and read the first few pages. On one of my trips, as I was reading the description of sunlight in Lews Therin's palace, I thought, "This is familiar. I've picked this up more than once before. I should buy this book." I bought the first three books, and continued buying them in sets of three up to Winter's Heart. I don't remember exactly how long it took me to go through them, but nine or ten months later I remember reading the opening pages of Crossroads of Twilight walking through the library. I couldn't wait until I checked it out and walked home.

I dabbled in the Internet fandom, but always as a lurker, never really a participant. That's still usually what I do here - more on that later though.

My freshman year of high school, a friend had seen my beaten-up copy of tEotW, taped as it was in a vain effort to prevent the first third falling away from the spine. She found a better copy for 10cents at a garage sale and gave it to me, simply because she knew I loved the series. Unlike many of the stories above though, WoT didn't do much for our friendship - we went to college in different states and I don't think I've talked to her in almost five years now.

After that, it waned for me. I read KoD when it came out, but got too caught up in schoolwork - high school and college - to do much re-reading. I mostly remembered the books as vastly complicated and somewhat slow, and if I recommended it to anyone it came with the caveat that the series was a real commitment. I was saddened to hear of Robert Jordan's death, and excited when I found out the series would be finished, but even when I saw The Gathering Storm in the library, I mentally saved it for later, when I wouldn't be swamped with school (ha! And of course, I read the first few pages right away.) It had been too long and I didn't want to read the new books when I couldn't remember most of the details from the previous volumes.

That changed when my boyfriend, on his first read-through, approached the Brandon books, and wanted me to read them too so we could talk about them. And in my quest to catch up without spending the time to reread, I found this. That was 2011, so I was way behind - hence most of my not-commenting - and then eventually I had to stop reading most of the commentary to avoid spoilers for TGS and ToM (thus further inhibiting my ability to comment). Even as a latecomer, though, this re-read was amazing in that it helped me rekindle my love for this series.

Finally, this past May I graduated college and, unemployed, moved back in with my parents. When I wasn't jobhunting and volunteering at two museums, I was reading. In August or so, I decided to start a full re-read of the WoT series so I'd be ready for January 8.

I couldn't put it down. I had forgotten how gripping the first book is, how rich and detailed and suspenseful, how there may be a cast of thousands but Jordan masterfully made me care for almost all of them. Even Perrin's PLOD seemed much less tedious this time around. I have three weeks to finish ToM, and while the "last first time" will be irreplaceable, I know I'll be able later to come back to the Wheel of Time - the complete series. And that is almost as amazing as the story itself.
S Cooper
64. SPC
I picked up a used copy of EotW to read on the plane on my way to a summer internship across the country. I'd been getting mixed reviews from friends for years and decided it was time to see what the big deal was. I ended up rationing the series to survive the summer with no transportation and few friends - every weekend I'd hike the couple of miles to the bookstore for the next one. It was a 10-week internship and Winter's Heart was just out in paperback. My then-boyfriend sent me his copies of LoC and ACoS in a care package, as they were the only paperbacks he had. When we eventually married, the WoT books were just about the only overlap in our libraries.
Ty Margheim
65. alSeen
@60. Katarianna

I wonder how many girls are named Aviendha/Avienda now?
Rob Munnelly
66. RobMRobM
Brust's Taltos -thumbnail sketch: Earth like planet populated by humanlike, but very long lived (potentially thousands of years) race, who practice a form of sorcery and organize themselves in Houses named after 16 local animals (Jhereg is a telepathic bird, Dzur are a panther-like hunter, Phoenix are just like the mythological Earth creature, etc). Humans, referred to as Easterners, are a minority race, practice their own form of magic and, in limited cases, also use the sorcery of the dominant race. Taltos is an Easterner assassin/crime boss who becomes extensively involved with the nobility and politics of the dominant race.

Brust is very inspired by Zelazny - Taltos is the classic Zelaznian smart ass, clever protagonist, with the added flavor of a witty internal monologue with his telepathic Jhereg familiar and external running dialogues with the menbers of his criminal team and lonstanding friends/compatriots of the dominant race. Each book is named after one of the 16 animals/houses and features a character from the House in question. Like Bujold, covers a variety of genres - some are Oceans 11 style caper novels; some are Dennis Lehane-type criminal intrigue pieces; others follow political intrigue among the ruling Houses; some romance, etc. Also, like Bujold, publication order is not in chrological order but, contra Bujold, I like reading Taltos in publication order. The first one, Jhereg, is outstanding. Like Sanderson, there is a single character/motif that appears at some point in all the books. Very fun, very clever, often intricately plotted. Jo Walton has reviewed them all on Tor.com.

Rob
Bittersweet Fountain
67. RoyanRannedos
@60 Katarianna

I actually named my son Perrin (with the last name of Anderson, if you have a common name, you end up with all sorts of duplicates going through school).

I think I got TEOTW as a Christmas gift in 1997. I tore through books 1-7, then waited patiently for the next installments. But the best experience with the series has been reading them aloud to my wife. She has dyslexia, but loves to hear books, and I got to put my own spin on the voices, pacing, and pronunciation in the series (Ber-GEET-uh? no way.)
We made it through the full series twice aloud (well, we cheated a little the second time through book 10 and read the WOT Encyclopedia), but now with three kids (including little Perrin) I've been reading the Re-Read to her, trying to catch up before Jan. 8th. Sometimes we dip into the book for awesome chapters (anything with Mat, trips through the Acceptatron, Rhuidean, most book endings).
I'm hoping that I can pass on the tradition with my daughters and son - it would be pretty awesome to have several copies of the book and have everyone divide up the speaking parts. Then I won't be so hoarse after trying to portray the high-voiced women.
So thank you, Leigh, for a great reread. I'm having phantom Tuesday post syndrome already - there's a tickle in my mind saying I'm missing something.
Ron Garrison
68. Man-0-Manetheran
Yatsuhashi @ 62:
Great story! Modesty has kept you, I see, from mentioning the title of your book or the publisher. Therefore, I ask formally:
What is the title of your book and who is publishing it? Inquiring minds want to know!
Jonathan Levy
69. JonathanLevy
I'm pretty sure I bought TEOTW from a recently-opened Barnes & Noble on the corner of my street just before we moved away. (It wasn't the first book I bought there - that honor goes to the Legend of Huma). This was back in '93, and I was about 16 at the time.

Not having regular access to decent English book stores, I had to wait until my father went on a business trip to get the rest. I remember coming home to a waist-high stack of books, from TGH to LOC, I think.

The series kept me company during my military service. I remember packing about 4 books for a two-week stint of guard duty. This is where I learned to put books and shampoo in separate, sealed nylon bags. I also remember planting TFoH (in a bag!) near a guard tower, so I could pick it up when my shift started.

I don't remember how I discovered the FAQ, but I loved it. Kudos to Pam and Leigh and everyone else who contributed. I was aware of the newsgroup, but never really followed it - though I did learn to recognize some of the more prominent names.

I kept up with the series over the years (though I did wait for paperbacks), and was saddened to hear of RJ's illness and passing. I started to get back into it in early 2010, in anticipation of TGS. Also, a leg injury had me stuck at home for a few weeks with not much to do but start another re-read.

I was guided to tor.com shortly afterwards, and after I had caught up at about TPoD I started posting. It quickly became a habit. I was also delighted to discover wonderful resources like encyclopedia-wot and the interview database - and sometimes even to meet their creators online.

I guess this a good a place as any to express my gratitude to Leigh for creating such a wonderful re-read. It's her skill and passion and perseverence which brought this community together and kept it together over the years. Well done, and thank you.

Thanks also to Jordan and Harriet and Sanderson and everyone on Team Jordan who brought his work to completion - it would have been such a shame to leave it unfinished.
Valentin M
70. ValMar
Some amazing stories have been shared out here. I can't match them in terms of life-changing impact.
I started reading the WOT over Christmas/New Year holidays 1998/9 when TEOTW came out in Bulgaria. The book seller told me it was the first of three-book series :D I didn't couldn't wait for the other translations to come out and I bought the rest of the books in English. When I was buying the TGH the guy told me it was out of a six-book series(!)- even though no.7, TCOS, was out in PB and TPOD was out in HB.

The experience I had in January-February 1999 reading books 2-7, especially 3-6, is the most amazing book-reading experience I've ever had.
To call it an obsession would not do it justice. Maybe a rabid obsession being consumed for a few weeks plus a little hangover afterwards. School-wise it was a quiet period so I managed to complete any homework during school-time. Besides eating and sports activities I was reading WOT any time after school. But mentally, I was in Randland all the time...
Obviously it has cooled down a lot since- the plot slowed and I've had to wait for years instead of days for the books. Plus, I am being relative here.

I've been following this re-read since day one, reading a notice of its imminent start on another site, Theoryland or WOTmania maybe. Like others, it took me awhile to start posting. Sorry to have deprived you from my wisdom and wit, guys! ;)
I didn't know what to expect from a re-read. Leigh's been fantastic- I suspect that if she was doing a re-read of the Phone Book (or whatever you call it in the Colonies) it would have been a great fun to follow too... And a huge kudos to the commenters as well!
Bittersweet Fountain
71. AmyT
Year: 1997. It was the summer after my first year of university and I needed some summer reading. While browsing through a used bookstore on Queen Street East in Toronto (don't look for it, it's not there anymore) I came upon The Eye of the World. Having recalled that some acquaintances had sung the praises of this particular series, I plunked down $4 and took it home, despite the fact that I was not a fantasy fan. I had no idea what I was in for!

By the end of the summer I had read all seven existing books and was eagerly awaiting the eighth; I had also discovered Usenet and the wacky world of rasfwr-j. I was hooked. HOOKED I tell ya.

My enthusiasm did wane eventually; like many, I was disappointed with tPoD, somewhat satisfied with WH, and utterly bored to the point of dropping the series by CoT. Fortunately I returned to the fold with KoD (about a year after it came out) and haven't looked back. I've also been avidly following the re-read (although I've never commented). Thank you, Leigh, for your humour and insight!

Thank you, Robert Jordan, for creating such a rich and wonderful story. I still wouldn't call myself a fantasy fan, but The Wheel of Time goes far beyond the fantasy genre; at the most basic level, it's a damn good story that has something to offer for everyone. And thank you, Brandon Sanderson, for continuing the legacy.
Bittersweet Fountain
72. DJ Brian Polk
I was introduced to WOT by balefire, but my path there was a little indirect. I worked with someone who kept making reference to balefire. When I asked him what it was, he said that it was part of a series of fantasy books that he was reading. However, he initially mis-identified the series as Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. That was my first introduction to fantasy novels, and I was immediately drawn into the story. After reading several of the books, I went back to my friend and said that I hadn't come across "balefire" yet. At that point, he said that it was in the Robert Jordan WOT books. He had all of the books, and would lend me the next book as I finished each one. Coming to the end of WOT will bring back fond memories of my friend Howie!
Bittersweet Fountain
73. Kristina Klis
I came to the WoT late in the game, I guess you could say. I was introduced to fantasy in general by a boyfriend in high school and fell in love with it. I have never been one to let genre limit what I read and still don't but often I have chosen what I read based on recommendations. In January 2009 my then sister in law told me about the Wheel of Time. I picked up the prequel and devoured it in less than two days. I am in remission now from Ankylosing Spondylitis but at the time the disease was raging and the constant pain kept me from sleep. In the space of a month and a half I read every book that was printed, falling deeply in love with the series and coming to respect, admire and somewhat revere the man who had written the books.

When I finished 'Knife of Dreams' I set out to find out when the next book was to be published. In my search for the answer to this question I came across Brandon Sanderson's blog. Perhaps the search words I used or the amount of activity that his blog had seen...? Who knows why it popped up but it did. I learned from Brandon's Eulogy that Robert Jordan had died before I have ever laid my hands on one of his books. I was crushed. I remember sitting at my computer, tears streaming down my face as I mourned a man I had never and would never know. As I continued reading about his passing I learned of his efforts to finish the series, to lay out the path for one who would complete his work. How his last days and weeks were finished dictating notes and his dedication to us, the fans overwhelmed me and ultimately inspired me. I had myself been working on a project off and on for two years at this point but my own failing health was holding me back. With Mr. Jordan's example before me, his dedication to tell his story no matter the cost to himself I felt I could do no less.

The WoT taught me so much, about life and sacrifice. About how history shapes the future. How politics can play such a huge role in every day life and yet can be completely ignored by the people that it affects. I had dabbled my toes in the world of fantasy and science fiction but the WoT made me dive in, head first. I discovered a whole world of authors that I love and am still discovering more. Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time changed not just what I read but the way that I read it and in the end the way that I thought and saw the world around me.
Bittersweet Fountain
74. Shadow
I started reading the Wheel of Time roughly 18 years ago when I was in 6th Grade at elementary school. My father and two of my brothers had read the series and were huge fans but I had yet to pick up the Eye of the World as it was huge and I was small. However, my one brother told me to read it as it was awesome and better than the other books I was reading. I struggled with some of the WOT specific words at first, but I knew that I was reading something special.

For years, my family waited for the next WOT book to come out so that we could all read it, discuss it, and make our predictions for future books. Sometimes we were dead on or very close. Other times it is hilarious to see how off we were. But we would read and re-read these books and discuss them throughout the year eagerly waiting for the next book. Eventually my mom and a sister-in-law joined the fun.

Like Leigh, I feel as though much of my life has been shaped by the WOT. It gave me a love of reading and think about the world and life in different ways. The level of world and character development are so deep in the WOT that as I continue to read books from a variety of genre's, I notice a difference than when I read the WOT.

It is a series I can (and have) talk about for hours. Discuss it fills me with excitement and happiness as I look at all of the fond memories I have with the books - discussing them with my family or staying up well past a reasonable bedtime because I just had to finish the book before I went to bed (even if it meant staying up till 4:00 AM). I have even gotten one of my coworkers to read (and love) the series.

It is an odd feeling knowing that the story of Rand & Company is coming to an end. The characters feel like they are my friends and that I know them intimately - not just names on a piece of paper. They have been such a part of my life that I don't even know what it will be like to no longer have a new Wheel of Time book to look forward to; but I will ever be grateful for this series and what it has meant to me throughout my life.
Bittersweet Fountain
75. Ozy
I don't have any life-changing stories to relate, but I just have to say I love this story, and can't wait to read the final book. I've enjoyed every sentence so far.
Bittersweet Fountain
76. DBenton
When I was 15 my family took a trip to Hawaii. The day before the flight to the island I bought The Eye of the World. After a week and a half of the trip I had completed the book. I found a bookstore and realized that there were 7x more Wheel of Time books! I bought them all, including the Crown of Swords hardcover right then and there. It was only after I bought all 7000 page books did I realize that I had to fit them in my bad in order to fly home. I managed it, and still have those books on my shelf. Long live the Wheel of Time series :-)
Bittersweet Fountain
77. s'rEDIT
@Valmar70
I suspect that if she was doing a re-read of the Phone Book (or whatever
you call it in the Colonies) it would have been a great fun to follow
too.
I bet you're right! I came for the summaries, but I stayed for the insights, humor, and camaraderie . . . first Leigh and then ALL the commenters: those still here and those who've had to drop out.


I've told some of this story in various pieces elsewhere, but I'm going to gather it together here, since apparently this thread will be a record of sorts for many.

I discovered science fiction/fantasy when I was in junior high, with Andre Norton's Beast Master. For 10+ years, I was an avid SciFi reader, and then I dropped out with other interests. In 2002, (over 30 years later!) I mentioned to my daughter that I wished someone besides Tolkien had created long books with lots of detail about a fantasy world. She had read Eye of the World and recommended it. At first I found it too derivitive of Tolkien, with Trollocs instead of Orcs, Moiraine instead of Gandalf, Lan instead of Aragorn, Ogiers instead of Ents, a Glossary instead of Appendices, etc. But the writing style and the storyline captured my interest, so despite my initial disdain I read on . . . and on . . . and on.

I enjoyed TEOTW so much that I recommended it to my son, who was also a voracious reader of science fiction. He was in the military and ended up stationed in Hawaii, where his first friend was another Marine who loved WOT. Many conversations with my son focused on our own looney theories, how to pronounce different Randland names, and the question of when the next book would be released. He sent me COT as a slightly used, slightly belated Christmas gift.

By the time I finished COT, I'd had it with the PLOD. I wasn't even interested in continuing with KOD when it was released. And then came then the awful news that the series author would not be able to finish his work. But in Dec 2009, a new employee was walking around with a brick: TGS. He was exclaming how deftly this new writer was polishing off story threads.

I mentioned to my son that I was working with a young man who was a WOT enthusiast, but it wasn't until Nov 2010 that he talked me into trying to catch up through Leigh's reread, identifying it as "Some chick's Re-Read of all the books: This is fun, but she injects her own personality into this, so it's entertaining in a distracting way, or vice versa."

Once I started on the re-read and all the comments, I realized I was caught again, so I went to the library and read KOD and TGS. Because everyone else was busy with New Spring, I had time to finish them and jump in on KOD, in real time. I often passed along to my son, who had no time to keep up with the reread while he was in pilot training, theories and comments from the threads.

Then, this past April, my son - by then a Marine Captain and Harrier pilot - died in a crash of his aerobatics stunt plane. Suddenly, the only person I had been able to discuss WOT with, and the one person for whom I had delved back into Jordan's world, was no longer in this world.

For a time, I seriously considered dropping out of the community here and not even bothering to read AMOL. The underlying purpose for me - bonding with my son - was gone forever.

But then, as I continued to lurk whenever I had the chance, I realized that I had made friends here. Reading Leigh's intelligent, sometimes snarky, always colorful remarks had become a habit I didn't want to break. Following the threads, with the varied points of view was still fascinating.

So here I am. I can't say that WOT was life-changing for me, but it now has precious associations. So even though there is no longer any competition between my son and me for which of us gets through AMOL first, I will read it. I will finish the race.

Thank you Leigh and everyone else for being here.
Bittersweet Fountain
78. litg
Wheel of Time utterly consumed me the first time I read it, remains one of my all time favorite series. It's not the series I admire the most, but it's the series I love the most. And I know with a certain wistfulness that I'll never get that OBSESSED with a series of books again. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, plowing through the first 8 books in about 6 months, then hitting "the wall" and letting the agonizing wait for Winter's Heart begin. And the series remains one of the biggest influences in my own writing. Speaking of which, without Wheel of Time I might never have been switched on to the career of a certain Brandon Sanderson, never would have attended a writing seminar he helps teach (twice!), never have met all the wonderful authors and aspiring writers there, never made all those friendships similar to how yours sound, Leigh, never would know what to do to get off the ground with my own writing.

All because my dumb friends wouldn't shut up about how good the books were back in my freshman year of college. :-)

Can't believe it's nearly done. But we should all take heart. There will always be new readers. Why just recently I convinced an old high school friend to give the series a try. He's just finishing up The Eye of the World, and says he will plow straight into the Great Hunt... And so it will begin again.
Kerly Luige
79. Celebrinnen
I "ordered" The Eye of the World as Christmas present from my mom back in 2004 when it had just came out in Estonian. I adored Tolkien and was sinking deeper and deeper into fantasy worlds (which I prefer more and more to the real one) and I fell in love with the WoT from the first chapters. The rest, as Leigh said, is history.

I waited for the promised translations of the sequels but if they did not come, I got tired of waiting and ordered and read them in English. That opened my life to the world of NOT-translated books that have brought me so much joy and happy moments thereon. I cannot see myself without these endless possibilities any more.

I went back to university to study English (which does not mean I do not make grave mistakes in grammar all the time) partly in hopes that I will one day have the opportunity to translate the next volumes of WoT into my mother tongue. Even if that will not happen, this has given me one of the dearest persons in my life, with whom I met there.

I was deeply saddened when Robert Jordan passed away and relieved and happy when Brandon Sanderson took on this task. This introduced Brandon's work to me and I am glad it did for I now absolutely love his own worlds and characters (really waiting to hear from Kaladin again, BTW :)).

Since the first encounter with them, the characters of WoT have accompanied me. They have become a kind of a family for me. They were there to help me through when my dad passed away two years ago long before his time, a grief I still haven't got properly over. They even will, with no doubt, be there when my own time to go comes, for they are my friends, even if only on paper and in my head.

Next to The Lord of the Rings, WoT is the biggest book-related event that has ever happened to me, and for that I am endlessly grateful. Thank you, team Jordan. Thank you, Mr. Sanderson. And thank you, Mr. Jordan, from the bottom of my heart. For all what it is, and all what it means to me, you have my sincerest gratitude.
Bittersweet Fountain
80. fudgyvmp
I remember when I first picked up The Eye of the World. There were three of us in the library freshman year of high school, and one bet that I would read the book faster than the other (that was a bit of an empty bet, honestly, since we all knew I'd win :P, but it's what started me). The rest of the semester I did nothing but read The Wheel of Time. I read it so fast that I missed out on a number of details, but I fell in love with it. Reading it the second time through only endeared it to me more. the things I hated the first time I either respected or realized I actually enjoyed more.
In truth the series doesn't effect me on a daily basis as much as does for a number of fans, but whenever someone asks what's a good series to read WoT is first on the list, even if they've already read it.
Bittersweet Fountain
81. dollis
I will always be thankful to Robert Jordan for his role in helping me re-discover my love of a good book. My older sister had taught me to read when I was 4, and so years later in school when the rest of my class was learning to read, I got to just sit in the corner and read whatever I wanted. But, with the lack of the formal education, or maybe it was just inherently there, I had an extremely poor reading speed. But it didn’t matter how long it took me to get through any story, it was the story that mattered to me. Flash forward a few years to my 5thGrade English class with a teacher who cared only about quantity of reading, not quality. In each quarter of the school year, we had to read successively more and more pages over the previous quarter, and by the time the last quarter rolled around I was so overwhelmed that I just gave up. This, of course, led me to fail that last quarter of 5thGrade English.

I had always done extremely well in school because I learn by listening, and at that level of education you pretty much just recite what someone had said at a previous date. So I was never challenged and never really had to read much in order to get A’s. So there I was; a straight-A student with their first and only F. The first non-A would have been bad enough, but here was a big fat F staring me square in the face. How could I possibly tell my parents? What would they think? The experience just absolutely crushed my love of reading and I wouldn’t pick up another book just for fun until years later.

It was Christmas morning and my mom, who had never given up on me re-discovering my love of reading, had given me her friends used copy of The Dragon Reborn, not realizing that it was actually the third book in a series. Her friend loved it and my mom hoped I might as well. Well I, of course, fell in love with it and my mom was absolutely thrilled to drive me to the bookstore the next day so that I could start the series from the beginning. That year in school I so happened to be in another English class, but this time with a teacher who didn’t care how much you read, just that you read. He often set aside time in class for us to read whatever we wanted and then he’d have us write about what we read. None of this was graded, it was just our time.

What stands out in my mind was the first time I read the end of The Dragon Reborn. There I was in class, reading, and in my imagination was the image of Rand holding Callandor with blue lighting streaking towards the ceiling and… and then my sheer disappointment when our teacher told us it was time to put our books away. From that day forward, the phrase “put your book away” would be spoken to me countless times.
T C
82. Freelancer
While I cannot claim that the Wheel of Time story was ever a major component of my life, or my decisions, I can definitely say that that I've never been as thoroughly engaged and moved by a fictional story. (I first read most of the James Herriot novels between ages 10-12, and love them dearly, but they are not fiction)

While on active duty in the Navy, aboard a carrier at sea in the middle of nowhere, reading was the most natural escape available to me. I was devouring 3-4 novels per week (so I don't sleep much, even when exhausted from flight ops), and it became common for shipmates to leave books on a table near my bunk. That is how I first came to read The Eye of the World. After the desperately dark and tragic Prologue, I was completely captivated by "An Empty Road", with the ever-present introductory paragraph, the first look at Rand and Tam (and Bela!), the black-cloaked rider, and the calm normalcy of Emond's Field.

Fortunately, the next six volumes were easily discovered among other members of the ship's crew, and the first portion of the story for which I had to wait was The Path of Daggers, five weeks until getting home from cruise. And that volume had just been released in paperback, so from then I've had to wait with everyone else for each Wheel of Time fix.

Thirteen years, six books, usenet, WoTMania, TarValon, DragonMount, and the Tor Re-read later, the final installment of the tale is near.

I have recommended the Wheel of Time to hundreds of friends and acquaintenances, often aiming at teens and young adults, for I find that much more important than a wonderfully told story, are the myriad life lessons to be captured through the characters and situations which Robert Jordan crafted. Many, far more mundane than a galactic struggle between Good and Evil, are of the type past generations would include under the heading "Common Sense". Yet recent cultural shifts across our globe have obscured much which ought to be easily considered sensible, and replaced those ideals with a license to serve appetites ahead of morals. I know that some would argue with me on this point, but the most profound aspect of the Wheel of Time is that bad judgement results in bad consequences, every time. Honesty, compassion, cooperation are traits which are rewarded when put into action. Lives can truly be changed for the better by a detailed recognition of these "Common Sense" notions, found today in too few places outside of Scripture, and for this above all else, Robert Jordan's legacy as a great author is secure.
Terry McNamee
83. macster
It's strange; I came to the series itself late (I didn't start reading it until...sometime around 1999-2000? Anyway I know I was just out of college, it was just before I got my first job, and it was because I had it recommended to me by an old friend at my 5-year high school reunion), so I didn't get caught up on the books until right when Crossroads of Twilight came out. And I also came to the re-read late, since I discovered it when I first came looking online for a place to comment on and discuss ToM when it came out (because of course I was never around for the Usenet group and didn't know anywhere else to join in at). Even without reading all the comments I still didn't catch up until late in KOD. And I haven't had lifechanging experiences because of it. And yet...I still feel as if the series is a powerful, amazing, unparalled thing that I am so grateful to have read.

I've been a fantasy reader most of my life, thanks to being introduced to Tolkien by my mother. I came to love Terry Brooks thanks to the recommendation of a friend in high school; I discovered David Eddings all on my own; and I've read others in the genre here and there as I encountered them, got bored, was drawn in by a cover or a blurb, or what have you (I read Narnia and Prydain when younger, and I've also enjoyed Piers Anthony, Alan Dean Foster, Christopher Stasheff, Susan Cooper, John DeChancie, and many more). I kept seeing the cover of The Eye of the World in bookstores, and it intrigued and fascinated me, but I was aware there were a lot of books in the series and I wasn't ready to commit to something so long when I had school and other series to occupy me. (Little did I know how fast I would read them!)

It's probably just as well I didn't start earlier, both so I could avoid most of the waiting and because if I had I'd probably have ruined my academic life by being sucked into Randland. But I'm glad I read it when I did, so my waiting ended up being for the last book Jordan himself wrote, and one of his best. And while I still love both Brooks and Eddings and always will (each author is different, brings something different to the table, and I enjoy them in different ways), I can truly say Jordan really did write the best fantasy series ever. While I know he wouldn't want to discourage anyone from writing (whether fantasy or anything else--in fact we have a story higher up this thread to prove quite the opposite!), I have to say anyone who comes after him will have quite the challenge producing anything as good while still being different and unique. But I hope no one gives up on that...I'm certainly not, since yes, someday I still hope to write my own fantasy series. I know that thanks to Jordan if I do write it and get published, it'll be because he taught me not just about depth of character and plot development but about world-building, philosophy, and mythology. (Not that I didn't know about all those things, but he increased my depth of knowledge even more.) And I look forward to working on it, and seeing where others go with their writings.

In an odd way I feel a bit let down because the series hasn't changed my life the way it has so many of you. That because I got into it so late, I only recently came here and started making friends. That I've never been to a con and don't know if I ever will, and that I never got to meet Jordan. But then again, once the series is done I'll be able to re-read it yet again, in its entirety this time...it did get me through some tough times when I was having trouble finding work, working at terrible jobs, getting fired and suffering through unemployment...and as I said it has inspired me in my writing as well, and taught me valuable writing lessons. So perhaps it has affected me after all, albeit less dramatically and in less life-altering ways than for most of you.

Oh, and aside from how much I've enjoyed the humor, insight, intellectual and literary value, and camaraderie of the re-read, I have to note it's entirely due to you, Leigh, that one of my roommates who had been into the series got back into it again after abandoning it (partly because he got sick of the length, complexity, and plodding nature of the books, partly because I was so obsessed and wouldn't stop going on about them that I drove him away...). You made it much easier for him to digest the series, and made it fun for him again, so thanks! (I also got my other roommate into it too, after several tries where he couldn't get through TEotW because he found it too boring or too Tolkienesque.)
Bittersweet Fountain
84. Randy M
Being an avid reader of hardcore SF I have spent hours walking the paths of bookstores, looking for the next thing to read, I still do this, however on Amazon, instead of the actual stores. I have read them all Asimov, to Zelazny. I walked past that cover alot of times, you know, the one with the Big Guy riding with the Little Girl, and I would think maybe later. One day after a tired search I saw that cover again and I picked it up. Hooked does not even begin to describe it. I have not had the chance to say thank you enough to Harriet, Brandon, and Leigh, who I have had the pleasure of meeting at two JordanCons, but also to Mr. Rigney who I have the pleasure of knowing through these pages. Without whom we would never have been able to take this Great Journey together. May the Wheel turn for all of you in wonderful ways.
6:02pm 12/20/12
Randy Mccraw
Bittersweet Fountain
85. Amanda Chaput
WoT was first introduced to me by my dad when I was 14. It was my first day of high school and I was understandably nervous. I had no friends, and only my boyfriend at the time, on top of that I was trying out for the field hockey team and I didn't think I would make it.
Anyway, when I woke up that morning there was an old ratty paper back book on my desk. Its title was "Eye of the World" and the author was Robert Jordan, the only note was inside the cover and it read, "if you get stuck or fustrated or scared, just read another 50 pages... This book holds answers to questions you have asked and answers to questions you have yet to think of asking."
I took the book to school with me, and by lunch I was completely and utterly addictted. By the end of the day I was half way through. I read all the books with a passion and hunger that shocked everyone around me, and even myself. It was as if the books were speaking to a part of me that I didn't know exsisted until I opened that first book. By the time I got to Knife of Dreams I was in a frenzy to find out the end, to find out how this miraculous story would close. It was then that my dad told me, Robert Jordan had died. And they weren't sure who, if anyone, could finsih the series. I was devestated. I cried for days off and on. To me it was more the the unfinished series, it was as if my friends, my best friends, had been trapped in stone, never to live or breathe again.
When I heard news of the story being finished by another author I was torn. My loyalty to Robert Jordan was such that I felt like no one would be able to do his world justice, and yet I was dying to know how Robert Jordan wanted his world to end... So when A Gathering Storm came out I once again took a book from my fathers hands with extreme reservations. And once again I was not let down. FOr me this books are more then just words. They are real. It is as real as the love my dad has more me, as real as the pain and betrayal I have had in my life. And yet, these books have held my hand and shown me light when I had not thought it to be possible for there to be any. To say these books saved my life would be such an understatement. They have created my life, shaped it, molded it, and changed it. And in my eyes, for the better. Because without these books, I would be half the woman I am today. So cheers to Robert Jordan, Cheers To Wheel Of Time, And cheers to the Wheel, that weaves as it wills....
Sydo Zandstra
86. Fiddler
I have always been a reader, from a very young age, and developed a taste for Science Fiction and Fantasy in my early teens. At first I preferred SF, but when I read Eddings' Belgariad and Zelazny's Amber series, I got hooked on Fantasy (something that Tolkien didn't manage to do, strangely enough). I read those books in Dutch, which is my native language, which gave me very little to choose from, since Fantasy wasn't a popular genre for Dutch readers in the 1980'ies.

In my later teens, after moving to a big city to attend university, I started reading Fantasy in English. Having a bookshop with a bigger English SF/Fantasy section helped. One day in 1990 I saw a new book with a mostly dark bluish cover with a big Samurai looking Warrior starring on it. At least that's how Lan looked to me on the cover of EotW. It made me curious enough to pick it up, and check the cover blurb, and I decided to give it a try. So, in my case one could say that is was actually Darrel Sweet's cover art that drew me to WoT. ;-) I devoured EotW, and tGH shortly after when that was released, and waited eagerly for what was announced to be the final book in the series, which followed a year later. When I saw tSR on the shelves, I was pleasantly surprised and so the '3 more books' started, with longer and longer waits in between them.

With Fantasy still being a small genre in the Netherlands in general, and English written Fantasy not being read much in particular, until then I had never had the chance to discuss the series with others (none of my friends liked fantasy). That changed with the rise of the internet, and me stumbling upon the rawsf-rj newsgroup. I enjoyed the discussions there, especially when a new book was published and activity exploded. I also found many authors from the reviews posted there. I'll name Steven Erikson in particular here, because I think he took fantasy to a higher level, and without John Novak's reviews of Erikson's first two Malazan books, I wouldn't have found this writer so early in his career. And Erikson's success with the Malazan series would not have been possible without Robert Jordan, who paved the way for epic fantasy series going beyond trilogies (I consider Feist as a trilogy writer here, even if those follow up on another). Other writers I 'found' in the newsgroup were Kay, Bujold, Pratchett and Martin. All in all, these WoT people were an ok bunch.

So when the 1999 Darkfriend Social was announced to be in Las Vegas, I decided to attend and combine it with a two week road trip through California and Nevada. Some of the people who posted before me where there too, and I still recognize the names. It was fun talking to WoT fans from all over the world, not only about WoT, but about each other's lives, careers, etc. One of the people at my dinner table was a certain Leigh Butler, who entertained us with some wonderful funny stories. And still managed to do so when we grabbed a burger with a few people after a night out in Vegas. And when I read that this same Leigh was going to do a reread of WoT here at Tor.com, I knew we'd be in for a fun ride. And a fun ride it is, although repetitive at times, but that's unavoidable. This fun is made possible by both Leigh and the people in here.

I was lucky enough to have had a number of my copies signed by RJ when he visited the Elffantasy Con in the Netherlands, and to be able to ask him a question (which pointed to a continuity error on his case even). My cousin came along (to carry a few of my copies to get signed), and she was so fascinated by RJ's lecture on why he started writing WoT, that she started reading the books too, and became addicted. :D

That's it. This post became longer than I tought it would be.

P.S. I do not remember anything about Leigh and a dumpster from the DFS in Vegas, but I do remember somebody (I think Bill Garret, but it could have been Drew) suggesting to let Leigh and a Texan guy named Jim Hill have children, to start an uber race of extremely witty funny people... ;-)
Bittersweet Fountain
87. Repitivity
It took me a few tries before I started devouring the books. The first attempt was on the way to a boy scout camping trip. A friend of mine in the car had two of the books. I had no reading material of my own and he let me read one of the books. I believe it was book three of the series, but not certain. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but (as could be expected) was pretty lost and didn't finish the book or start the series from the beginning.

My second attempt began around Christmas of 94' 0r 95' (freshman or sophomare year of high school). My brother gave me the book for Christmas based on one of his friends recommendations.

My first impression: too wordy. I read the first chapter and put the book down.

I didn't read it again for an entire year. I picked up during winter break the next year and became obsessed. I went to the library and got the next 5 books in the series. I laid on the couch and read those books for two weeks straight. I only got up to go to the bathroom and get food (which I would often take back to the couch to eat and read at the same time).

At the end of that two weeks, having completed all the books I could get my hands on, I finally got up off the couch. And pulled a muscle in my stomach (I guess that can happen when you don't move much for two straight weeks).

I started my first re-read that night in the emergency room waiting room.....

While this book has not changed my life in any sort of dramatic way, it has enhanced my life to a great extent and given me countless hours of pleasure.

Probably the greatest Christmas gift I ever received.
Cynthia Ahmar
88. tenkuu
I can't recall the exact year, but I think it was sometime in 1997 that I read the first book. I know book 7 was already out by then, at any rate, and it was my final year of high school and one of my selected courses was music, and I was in a band that combined both the french and english sides of our school, which normally have completely separate classes. I remember how it was a girl who played the clarinet and wore a long side braid and glasses who kept reading book 1 (I think) during our breaks who first got me interested in the series, and since I thought the cover art was so fascinating, I went up to her and asked her what the book was.

I remember how I loved the first book and couldn't stop devouring the next books, buying all of the softcover editions, and I remember how my first real wait for a book was for Winter's Heart. I remember how since beginning this series, I've been fascinated by it and wanted to discuss its wonderful characters and plots with other fans, never really expecting that there was such a huge community out there, and I remember how I even considered reading Tolkien's books as a result, though I ended up not doing so because I heard they were difficult.

Mostly I remember how much I loved Rand and Perrin and how no matter what mistakes they make, they really can do no wrong in my mind. I also remember how annoying Elayne is, how annoying Egwene became as the books progressed, and how much I admired both Moiraine and Nynaeve as female characters who weren't taken to the extreme in terms of their personalities. I remember how excited I was at the introduction of the Asha'man and Lews Therin in Rand's head, how annoyed I was with Cadsuane while still having a grudging respect for her, and how much I loved the Aiel as a people. I cheered at the cleansing of saidin while being totally awed by it and still remember the ending of Lord of Chaos most clearly out of all the books because of how stunningly awesome it was.

And most importantly, I remember how this series got me interested in fantasy, and how I tried other fantasy series but was never as amazed by them as I was by this one. This is literally the best fantasy series I've ever read for its great and realistic worldbuilding, and just as Yoroiden Samurai Troopers will always be my favorite anime no matter what else comes along, The Wheel of Time will absolutely always remain my all-time favorite series of books in any genre, but certainly mostly in the fantasy genre.

I'm only saddened that I've never been to a convention so far and have never had the chance to meet James Rigney before he died.
Bittersweet Fountain
89. Diver Mike
I clearly remember my introduction to "The Eye of the World". It was 1992 and I was sick as a dog. I was about to go off to basic training and seriously needed an escape. A friend brought it over to my house and I tore through it in just a couple days. I immediately went out and got books 2 and 3 and read through them just as fast. Over the next year, I was a little busy but I always had in the back of my mind the expectation to continue reading the series. Once I finished reading "Fires of Heaven", I was caught up and began, like so many other people have done, my re-reads. Years later, my sister and I went to our first book signing in San Francisco. Mr. Jordan read a passage from "Winter's Heart", asked for questions and called on me. I asked if there was a "good side of the force" version of the True Power. He liked the question, but his answer was, of course, no. Several books later, I was happy as all get up that Rand was able to tap into the TP to escape the male a'dam.
Anyway, these books have meant a lot to me and I eagerly look forward to enjoying the final chapter. Of course, then I'll have to do another re-read. Once thats finished, well... who knows, I guess I'll have to find a new epic story. Can't wait for my two little ones to be old enough to read the books and "get it"
Cheers to all!!!
Lindy Brown
90. lbrown
I've always been an avid reader since I was a kid but never read any fantasy books until college. I was more into classics like Anne of Green Gables and Jane Austin's books. I was really into Agatha Christie in high school. In college, about the time the Harry Potter movies started coming out in 2001, I was encouraged to read Harry Potter by some of my roommates, which I did. I also saw the first Lord of the Rings movie and read the whole trilogy the following summer. After that, I was a LoTR freak for a few years.

After college, I was working a temp job with this older man. During lunch one day , we were talking about books and he said that he was just devouring the Eye of the World series. So I kept that at the back of my mind. I don't think I even knew it was fantasy. The temp job only lasted a week so I never saw the guy again.

Then a few months later I decided that I would look up The Eye of the World series at the library. I soon found out it was really the Wheel of.Time series. That was in late 2003. I read all the books (really got hooked after I finished the 3rd book.)
Lindy Brown
91. lbrown
Continued ....


I finished the series sometime in 2004. I remember finding the WOTFAQ before I finished the series and spoiling myself on a few things like Dashiva's true identity. I joined a yahoo mailing list about WOT after I finished the series and it must have been there that I learned aboit Leah's reread.
Bittersweet Fountain
92. OldWoman
It's been great reading all the posts about how much WoT has affected so many. My story is very mundane. I was working for a year in Italy (funny, I never thought I would call any of that mundane) in 2000-2001. There was no reading material in English and my Italian was very rudimentary so I was suffering from serious reading withdrawals. Everytime I scheduled an American engineer to come over and to help me, I would beg for books, any genre. Someone brought me New Spring and that was the beginning. I joined Audible just to download the books but everytime I tried to listen to EotW, I would fall asleep.
When I returned home, I tried to find the books 2nd hand but no one seems to want to let go of theirs. I started my read at the library and read as fast as I could. I loved the books and was shocked when I heard about RJs disease. I followed Dragonmount to keep up with RJs fight and suffered a feeling of real loss when he passed. It was on DM that I heard about the reread the Leigh was starting.

I love the reread. Thank you thank you thank you, Leigh. I read very fast and miss so much of the nuances. The reread has added a whole dimension to the series for me. I understand the mixed feelings so many have professed about this word coming to an end. I too share those bittersweet feelings. At 72, I am happy that I have lasted long enough to read to the end.
Bittersweet Fountain
93. The Tipsy Ta'veren
Great stories.

Mine is not exactly life changing, but the WOT series was an important part of my teenage years and life long taste in fiction.
12-year-old me was buying a bunch of kiddo books - per usual - from a Hastings in Santa Fe when I happened to glance at this small rack of thin books near the cash register. It said free sample but was long enough to be an actual novel for 12-year-old me. It turned out to be the first third of the Eye of the World. The cover, the inner cover of the paperback, got my attention as well as the hero/save the world shebang in the synopsis. The cashier urged me to take it. I did. It felt like stealing, and still does, because it was so damn good.

Unlike many of you I was not taken in by the prologue, although I've learned to appreciate it as I've grown older. What sold me was the journey of Rand and his friends, ordinary farmers of a backward mountain town that go on a grand adventure in a brilliant and exciting way. The characters were richly drawn and the world… wow the world. That is what makes this a masterpiece, RJ was a world builder of extraordinary proportions.

Between school and sports and other hobbies I worked through the series and eventually caught up to book 7 when I was around 15. I had that nice long wait for Path of Daggers, a novel I can honestly say is the most disappointing novel I've ever read, and eventually lost interest in the series as I moved onto college and new books/friends/etc. I always kept a warm place for it in my heart though, and casually followed along the new books as they were released. I'm very happy to complete a series I have been thinking about for half of my life.

I re-read the entire thing this year and it was great fun. Reminds me of the 13 year old boy I used to be, believing in magic and great adventures, and the more experienced version of today who has been there and back again in my own journeys all over the world after leaving my own Two Rivers.
Bittersweet Fountain
94. redrab
I have a friend that used to borrow books from me. One day he surprised me with a bag that contained books that he wanted me to read. When I opened the bag, what I found was the first eight volumes of the Wheel of Time. I had never heard of this series and, to be honest, it took me quite a while to actually get started because when I looked at those thick bricks, it just seemed like a daunting task.

Some time later, I scheduled myself some vacation to Prince-Edward-Island. I rented a nice quiet cottage for two weeks and, since I was going to be all by myself for those two weeks, I decided to bring the first three volumes of the Wheel of Time so I could read during the day at the beach or in the evening in front of the fire place. Well, that's when the magic hit me. Before the end of my first week of vacation , I had read all three books and just couldn't wait for my vacation to end so I could get back home and read the other volumes.

Now, several years and several books later, I'm on the edge of my seat, waiting for the final volume of this great saga.
Bittersweet Fountain
95. bestbauer
I was first introduced to WOT in 2002. I was in college and had given up on reading for enjoyment since early high school ( I had taken up more reckless hobbies). All three of my roommates were obsessed with the series at the time and insisted that I should read it. It actually took me about two or three times of reading the opening prologue before I stuck with it, but when I did, I couldn't put it down. I read the whole series (I think it was 8 books at the time) within a couple months. It was great as I lived in a mini-fandom with my roommates. I remember the weird looks we'd get from people at house parties while standing around the keg discussing Aes Sedai politics.

WOT influenced me to go out read other epic series such as Dune, tLotR, and even the Vampire Chronicles; not to mention biographies and philosophy and old legends such as Arthur and Canterberry Tales. So for a long time I would only read WOT books as they came out, and maybe skim the previous book as a refresher.

In 2009, I lost my job in the Great Recession, just about the same time I found out about TGS. I decided to take the opportunity (loosely speaking) to reread the whole series in between rewriting my resume and going out on job interviews. Once again, I flew through it in a matter of months, and it helped keep me sane and gave me an extra goal, a sense of purpose through that time that fruitlessly looking for work couldn't totally fill.

After ToM came out and I finished it, I decided it was time to go for one more reread before AMoL. Only this time, I would take it slow and remember chronology/character movement, purposefully read the stories of the secondary characters, and become a more knowledgable fan. It was at this time that I discovered your reread, Leigh. I have read every single one of your posts, but I refused to read them ahead of my own reread. Unfortunately, I still haven't caught up, but I will finish with ToM by next week (pretty good timing for a two year endeavor). Your reread has been like Cliff's Notes for me, as well as a classroom discussion. I want to wholeheartedly thank you for your work. I'd give you a sparkly YAY if I was more internet savvy.

In the process I've also become a regular visitor to Theoryland, 13th Depository, and Encyclopedia-wot. Although, I'm more of a lurker than a poster, its made feel like a part of the WOT community, which is something I needed because my mini-fandom I lived in is long gone. And WOT is something that needs to be shared, in my opinion.

So thanks to RJ, BS, Harriet, and all of Team Jordan, for giving me the gift of WOT and the gift of reading again. Thanks again Leigh for your work in enhancing people's WOT experience.

I can hardly wait for next week....
Aimee Hand
96. achand94
Another post from a longtime lurker, but I felt I had to join this thread. I'm a high school teacher and in the course of a discussion about books with a student, he had a copy of TEotW and said I would probably like this series. He was right. I was a fan of Eddings and the Star Wars extended universe (my first obsessive series was The Black Stallion in grade school- the beginning of waiting for the next book in the series!), and was waiting for a Harry potter book so needed something to keep me busy. I blew through the first 6 books from our school library then sent my mom on the hunt for used book store copies, but lucked out when my husband got me brand new paperbacks up to COT (prob 2005). That's when I discovered the websites and the WOT reference book trying to keep myself busy waiting.

I was really excited when my sister-in-law began reading and became as obsessed as I did. We both were terribly saddeded at RJ's passing and kept each other notified about every rumor and snippet of information about how the series would be finished. The introduction of BWS gave us a whole new author to explore and enjoy. Luckily my teenage son has become as interested as I am so it provides great discussions amongst the three of us. I've introduced at least 4 other people to the books and love to point readers in the direction of this series.

I guess my story isn't much different from many other posters, but I am so glad I've had the chance to be a part of this epic journey. I've taken the day off on Tuesday and plan on tell all my students Monday that I'm going to read a book! My SIL and I are planning easy foods and a reading marathon until we are done. My son is jealous that he has to go to school but the audio book as a second reading should help us both.

Much thanks to Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, the "team", and Leigh for the re-read, as well as the great laughs and theorizing on all these posts. I'm going to have to check out some of the other authors suggested now, since way of kings won't be done for a while and I'm almost done with LoTR; need something new to wait for I suppose (Rothfuss-we need some Kvothe!). I will be following the re-read of AMOL and hope there's a re-re-read to bring it all together. Until then, may you always find water and shade.

ach
Bittersweet Fountain
97. karenr_nz
It's less than 2 days now until A Memory of Light is released here in NZ. (At least, here's hoping the booksellers get it for Tuesday...) The WOT has been part of my life for over half of my life. It is incredible for me to think about it in those terms.

I was working in my parents bookshop in the summer of 1992/93 when I saw the first four WOT books. (They were all released at once here.) I remember looking at them and thinking 'they look cool' but then choosing not to read them. I got given tEotW later that year for my 18th birthday. That was all it took to get me hooked. 19 1/2 years later, here I am waiting for the final book. (The day after tomorrow folks!!!)

Unlike may of you in the US, there are no conventions for WOTers here, but the internet fandom has been my lifeline. When I didn't know anyone else who cared as passionately about this series, I could come online and here you all were. I first discovered the WOT fandom in about 1995 (back in the alt.rec.... days) and I keep returning to see the community - a bit as an outsider looking in, but knowing that everyone loves the series as much (or even more) than I do.

So thank you RJ, and the others who have made these books possible. Thanks especially to you, Leigh, for the re-read and all the threads about WOT that make me laugh and are the highlights of my week.
Bittersweet Fountain
98. MaidenKissed
I've been a long-time lurker in the reread, just never had much to say (love it btw). Now I do, here goes...

It was 1992 I guess when I walked into the university bookstore, bored with studying, and bought EoTW. By the time I went to bed, I was halfway through it and skipped class the next morning to go buy the next 2 books in the series (all there was then). At one point in that first experience, I got in bed about 10PM because I had to be up at 6 to get to class (I didn't live on campus) and said "one chapter then I'll go to sleep"....the next time I looked up from the page it was 3AM and I said "Oh crap, I have to be up in 3 hours....one more chapter". I read them and read them and....at this point, by my count I've read the first three books at least 16-18 times. Nearly every time I have found something new, either that I just hadn't paid attention to before or that I hadn't known what it really meant till something came along in a later book.

I knew I couldn't wait for the paperbacks to come out, but could not afford hardback books in those days, so before TSR (or maybe it was FoH) came out, I loaned the books to friend of mine who I knew would not be able to wait and would buy the hardback....sure enough I was reading it (over his shoulder to his great annoyance) the day it came out. I freely admitted my "evil scheme" to him and he has hated me for it ever since....he's said for years that if the series didn't get finished, he would kill me (guess I'm off the hook now)

My friends started calling me The Prophet of the Wheel of Time because I loaned Eye to everyone I knew....to the point that I have had to replace that book at least 5 times from people not getting it back to me.

Each time a new book would come out, it was like catching up with old friends, finding out what Rand, Mat, and the rest had been up to while I was busy with life. Reading the dialogue out loud, acting it out, rereading the especially good bits over and over like hitting rewind on a DVR. Sending texts to my friends to find out what page they were on. And when it was over, waving goodbye, already looking forward to the next time I would see them again.

When I first got internet, about the first site I found was Wotmania (MaidenKissed was my username). I lurked there for years before I finally started posting, but there is no doubt that the severe interweb addiction I have today started because of WoT.

I'll never forget the day. It was about 3PM and I was at work when one of those I'd addicted sent me a text. At first, I thought maybe it was an internet hoax, well I hoped it was and headed for the web. It wasn't. I was so afraid I'd never get to see all these wonderful people again. I'm so glad that Brandon came along to finish the series (see above), to give us all closure. But now that it's over, I'm back there again only moreso, because now I know I will never see them again. Even though I was up all night and into the next afternoon finishing the book, I can't sleep, I can't focus, I can't stop thinking about it or replaying the scenes of it in my mind. A very close friend of mine died unexpectedly of cancer a couple of years ago, and this feels much the same. Some of my old friends lived and some of them died (one in a way that makes a certain scene in Eye so heart-wrenching I'm not sure I can face it...just thinking about reading it again makes me want to cry). But either way, now they are all gone forever.

RIP WoT

Thanks to Team Jordan and anyone who has ever been involved with any WoT related website....I can assure you, I've been on it on at some point
Bittersweet Fountain
99. MJF
Heh. I, too, was introduced to the idea of internet fandom via WoT, and this thread inspired me to go looking for the first fan site I ever got involved with (a collection of WoT-related humour and parodies mostly written between PoD and WH).

Browsing through it, I came across "Reviewing the Darkfriends' Progress", a tongue-in-cheek attempt to explain both some of the weirder customs in Randland and Ishamael's plans in TEotW.

Anyway, at the end of the story, there's a description of a character in great pain screaming "the way you might scream as you got the news that Jordan has just changed his projections AGAIN and currently figures he can't possibly be done with the series until he completes Book 20 around 2013." This made me grin.
dhruv seoni
100. dmseoni
Wow. That was cathartic. I finished the series yesterday and am feeling a really strong wistful emptiness. I started the series in 2004 as many of my friends in school kept talking about it.
I was in college in 2005 when KoD was about to be published. I remember telling my new (less than a month) girlfriend at the time to prepare to not here from me for up to 3 days, when Amazon delivered my copy to me - needless to say, she was not impressed.
TGS came out when my father was suffering from cancer, and the sequence with Rand and Tam had a strong emotional resonance with me.
I was at the lowest point in my life so far, suffering from (yet-to-be-diagnosed) clinical depression around the time ToM hit shelves. By the end of the book I was so on edge for the next volume, that I remember deciding to put all suicidal thoughts on hold, at least until we *finally* got to the end of the damn series! Haha, so I guess on some level I can say the series helped keep me alive!
Bittersweet Fountain
101. TwoRiversWoolens
I distinctly remember walking past The Eye of the World in numerous book stores and even picking it up a few times until finally I picked up a copy during an extended layover while traveling for my first job out of college in 2002. I was a late-comer to the fantasy genre, in general, having started on the Salvatore Forgotten Realms books in college. I still remember sitting on an airplane after arriving in Kansas City, and I was so engrossed in the book that the stewardess had to come back and tell me that I needed to get off of the plane, as I was the last passenger on board. There is no piece of art, music or literature that has moved me more than The Wheel of Time. My emotional response to the sucesses, failures and sense of loss experienced by Rand, Perrin, Mat and the rest of the WoT heroes is behind only to the birth of my 3 children and marriage to my wife. Now that the series is over, I cannot wait to share this amazing journey with my kids once they are ready.
Bittersweet Fountain
102. Bunchkles
I picked up Eye of the World when I was 18. It was the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years of college. I had to find a book to read while riding in the back seat for a family vacation that I do not want to go on. I have no idea where we went for vacatoin, but I can remember all the excitement of that first book, I remeber thinking, 'Wow! Rand has some kind of power similar to that Lews Therin guy!' when he saved he and Mat's lives with unconscious lightning.

When I was 22, I had a horrible car accident. I was not expected to live through it, and, after I had healed enough that my life was no longer in peril, I was still not expected to ever walk of have much of a mind. While my brains were still scrambled, my friends were first let in my room to visit. I thought their names were characters from the books. Only one of them had read the stories, so he understood my nonsense.

I told RJ that story a few years later when I met him at a book signing. I remember feeling like I knew RJ really well, like he was an old friend. I cried when several years later I learned he had passed.

I am now nearly 40 years old. I am reading MoL... slowly, as slow as I can. I am saying farewell to my youth. MIddle age will assault me when I finish the final page. My wheel is weaving.
Bittersweet Fountain
103. Aielmaiden
There is no other series that has the ability to stir passion in me the way that Wheel ofTime does. I have debated and argued with so many friends (Sometimes loudly. In public places :p) on the true idenity of Mazrim Taim, how exaggerated (or not) the gender politics of WOT are and of course, whether we should all just bow down and worship the awesomeness that is Matrim Cauthon (no arguments there actually, come to think of it). I cant believe there is never going to be another book :( but I look forward to interacting with others in the community for many years to come. And hopefully, the encyclopedia and other short stories are still forthcoming!
Bittersweet Fountain
104. ForeverDumb
Leigh hmmmm were to start. I am not an eloquent writer so I am reluctant to post but I feal more compelled then if Graendal herself had spun a weave on me. I am hesitant for fear of criticism yet the courage to post comes from the story itself. I have spent more time with this series in solo contemplation then really anything else I can calculate in my life. I have friends and a life but the WOT was mine. The thing I did not share. The part of me were I allowed myself to imagine being greater then I am. Smarter. Braver. The characters themselvs are my friends and the storylines my exit from reality. I have experienced so much emotion from the pages between THE beginning and THE end that I can not really impart on the readers of this post how things might have been if I had not found The Eye of The World on a bookshelf back in 1990. Oh I have lived and loved and married and have two sons I adore, but the quiet moments with Rand, Perrin, and Mat as well as Nynaeve, Egwene, Moriane and Lan inspired me. I felt privledge to share there minor victories and there epic failures which developed feelings in me that I can say I always wanted in true friends. I lurked the sights when they first arrived in the late 90s and I silently observed but I remained selfish with the series up until this post because I believe it is OK to have something all to ourselfs. How could one share crying for Egwene with a wife and hope that she could possibly understand? To think about it, maybe I learned this straight from the cast as they never seemed to share much to those you thought they should. Twenty three years is a long time to know a group of people and then to be asked to let them go. I am still not sure how I feel about that. But I will say thank-you to all who made this definable portion of MY life possible.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment