We had a lot of fun assembling the Memories of Light, leading up to the release of the A Memory of Light, and we hope you had fun following along and speculating. Now that the book is out and its secrets laid bare, we thought we’d assemble the Memories and tally up just how close your speculation on Tor.com got!
We have to admit, some days you made it really hard for us to resist jumping in and providing just one more hint, or one more clue to a given memory. (In at least one case, someone made a totally random joke that ended up being what actually happens in the book!) We’ll also reveal our thinking behind choosing what to quote and how they’d be ordered.
FULL SPOILERS AHEAD FOR A MEMORY OF LIGHT.
The Memories of Light was one of the first ideas we had in regards to covering the book leading up to its release, so when the final(ish) manuscript came in around September of 2012, our Production Manager and resident Wheel of Time expert Chris Lough was charged with reading through the book and choosing the Memories. (He’s also writing this recap and admits readily that referring to himself in the third person is weird weird weird.)
We gathered 156 in all then whittled them down to about 50, which were then sent off to Team Jordan for approval. Amazingly, only one Memory was nixed for being too spoilery. This one:
[Highlight to read] Egwene—afire with the One Power, a blazing beacon of death and judgment—was the cauterizing flame that would bring healing to the land. [End quote]
We whittled a few more out ourselves and ended up with 45 to deal with. The chosen quotes broke down into roughly three categories: humorous asides, nice statements that Chris felt really encapsulated a character or the situation and, predominantly, lines to spur on speculation. (Basically, fake spoilers, shorthanded as “foilers.”)
There was a specific, somewhat devious, approach to choosing the foilers. Chris kept a watchful eye out for lines that seemed like they were addressing long-standing theories but that were, in fact, addressing something entirely different. For example, one of the Memories from the Christmas Day email, “A joyful song, a song of awe and wonder, though she could not understand the words” is actually depicting the Ogiers fending off a Trolloc attack and not, as one might surmise out of context, someone hearing the Tinkers’ fabled Song. This approach allowed us to reveal a lot while keeping the majority of the big revelations in A Memory of Light completely under wraps.
While assembling the Memories, we realized that we had a tremendous opportunity to give fans a real emotional sense of how satisfying it is to read the final book, in a way that Wheel of Time readers knew their fellow fans shared.
Towards this end, the aesthetic intent of the Memories of Light became to give Wheel of Time fans an impression of A Memory of Light that would give the appearance of being accurate while still serving to re-immerse fans in the world of The Wheel of Time. To serve that intent, the Memories were constructed into a miniature narrative. As Christmas approached, the Memories got lighter and more hopeful in tone. A calm before the storm. Then, as the book release neared...darkness. We couldn’t let you forget that the Last Battle was here, after all, and that not everyone would escape unharmed. (Though we actually cut an Elayne-centered Memory from this sequence for being far too dark.)
Then, at the very end, as everything is falling apart, some wonderful final moments with some of our favorite characters. And a final call to action.
One of the things we hope we’ve accomplished with the Memories of Light is preserving the surprise of just how events progress in A Memory of Light itself. That in, say, Chapter 5, you’ll see one of the Memories you thought was at the end of the book and realize that what you thought you knew about the end of the story is still there for you to discover. That your journey through the final book will still be as personal and satisfying as it would be if you hadn’t peeked at the Memories of Light.
In case you’re curious how accurately you guessed the Memories of Light, though, we’ve assembled them in order below, with explanations.
The Memories of Light
Day 1 - Monday, November 26
It had been useful at Maradon. Nobody knew he had it. That was important.
This is Rand thinking about the fat man angreal.
Day 2 - Tuesday, November 27
“I should like to hear one of your stories. Perhaps you could tell me of the time your father and you visited Shara?”
A taunt from a turned Asha’man to Androl. The context of this line would later be revealed when NPR posted an excerpt of Chapter 3.
Day 3 - Wednesday, November 28
“Being married is not so bad, Perrin. Why didn’t you tell me it was not so bad? I think I am rather fond of it.”
Loial greeting Perrin.
Day 4 - Thursday, November 29
“Pass his bond to me.”
This was Silviana asking Egwene for Gawyn’s bond during the Last Battle. (There were a lot of amazing guesses about this one in the spoiler thread for that week.)
Day 5 - Friday, November 30
“Creator shelter us,” she whispered.
Mat scowled. “You know, that’s what Tuon said.”
Elayne to Mat, after the Captain Generals have been taken down and after Mat refuses to reveal his battle plans.
Day 6 - Saturday, December 1
The right thing had always seemed clear to Galad before, but never had it felt as right as this. Those streaks of light were like indicators on a map, arrows pointing his way. The Light itself guided him. It had prepared him, placed him here at this moment.
This was Galad deciding to go after Demandred during the Last Battle, basically attempting a suicide mission.
Day 7 - Sunday, December 2
“Nobody travels the Ways,” Ituralde said, aghast.
That the Ways were being used was already somewhat common knowledge, but we wanted to reveal that Ituralde would be in the Last Battle and we wanted folks to speculate on more purposes for which the Ways could be used.
Day 8 - Monday, December 3
Egwene strode around a frozen pillar of glass in her dream. It almost looked like a column of light. What did it mean? She could not interpret it.
This was Egwene's final Tel’aran’rhiod prophecy, seeing the results of the anti-balefire weave and, subsequently, her own death.
Day 9 - Tuesday, December 4
The letter was written in Mat’s hand. And, Elayne noticed with amusement, the handwriting was much neater and the spelling much better in this one than the one he’d sent her weeks ago.
We just thought the reference was funny.
Day 10 - Wednesday, December 5
“And farewell to you, old friend,” she said to the air. “Until I dream again.”
Egwene to her Wise One mentors in Tel’aran’rhiod, unknowingly talking to them for the last time.
Day 11 - Thursday, December 6
“One more thing, the marath’damane . . .”
“I’ll deal with those channelers personally,” Mat said.
She gawked at him as if he were insane.
Mat and Tylee discussing how Mat is going to personally go after the Sharan channelers, with the possible assistance of marath’damane.
Day 12 - Friday, December 7
“Enough talk. You will bed me now.”
Aviendha to Rand, fairly early on in the book. Most commenters guessed that this was Tuon to Mat, which would prove just as accurate in spirit.
Day 13 - Saturday, December 8
“We must spread the word to all of our allies,” Amys said. “We must not use this weave.”
This is Amys talking about balefire, but we wanted everyone to speculate on her talking about a new weave. (Since we do indeed see an important new weave in this book.)
Day 14 - Sunday, December 9
That, she replied back, is something one should never, never say to an Aes Sedai. Ever.
Androl and Pevara talking to each other telepathically thanks to the weird double-bond.
Day 15 - Monday, December 10
“It is a simple thing, to stop a man’s heart,” Cadsuane said, arms folded.
This is Cadsuane at Shayol Ghul taking care of some Darkfriends. Mostly we included it because we liked the idea that maybe Cadsuane had one final, dark trick up her sleeve in the final book.
Day 16 - Tuesday, December 11
“Do not cut off your foot for fear that a snake will bite it, Perrin Aybara. Do not make a terrible mistake because you fear something that seems worse. This is all I will say on the topic.”
Edarra to Perrin after he brings up entering Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh.
Day 17 - Wednesday, December 12
“It is one of the three things which I will require of you. Your payment, to me, in exchange for my life.”
Rand to the gathered leaders at the Fields of Merrilor. This was obvious, but allowed for speculation on just what the three things were.
Day 18 - Thursday, December 13
Fortuona ignored her, standing. “This woman is my new Soe’feia. Holy woman, she who may not be touched. We have been blessed. Let it be known.”
Tuon talking about Min after finding out Min can see the future. (Poor Min.)
Day 19 - Friday, December 14
“What did you do to your eye?”
“A little accident with a corkscrew and thirteen angry innkeepers.”
Just a Mat line that made Chris laugh.
Day 20 - Saturday, December 15
As Tam attacked again, Rand lifted the sword and—
Rand and Tam during their sparring match in Caemlyn.
Day 21 - Sunday, December 16
And you don’t feel a small measure of pride? Egwene asked herself. Rand al’Thor, once simple village boy and your near-betrothed, now the most powerful man in the world? You don’t feel proud of what he’s done?
A nice character moment from Egwene before the gathering of world leaders at the Fields of Merrilor.
Day 22 - Monday, December 17
“Why are you helping me?” Perrin demanded.
“I’m fond of you, Perrin.”
Lanfear/Cyndane to Perrin. As if Perrin didn’t have enough problems.
Day 23 - Tuesday, December 18
“Light burn me,” Rand said. “You’re not him, are you?”
Rand taking a good look at Roedran of Murandy and seeing that he’s not Demandred.
Day 24 - Wednesday, December 19
“There were many good years. Good decades, good centuries. We believed we were living in paradise. Perhaps that was our downfall. We wanted our lives to be perfect, so we ignored imperfections. Problems were magnified through inattention, and war might have become inevitable if the Bore hadn’t ever been made.”
Rand drawing from his memories as Lews Therin, giving us a perspective on the Age of Legends that we haven’t had before, during a really nice morning chat with Aviendha.
Day 25 - Thursday, December 20
“Oh, blood and ashes, no!” Cadsuane said, spinning on them. “No, no, no.”
A line from the very final scene in the book, as Cadsuane is pegged as the next Amyrlin following Egwene.
Day 26 - Friday, December 21
Uno’s topknot danced as he continued to blaspheme.
Uno, kind of at any point in the novel.
Day 27 - Saturday, December 22
“Peaches!” Rand said, aghast. Everyone knew those were poisonous.
A line kind of hilarious in how baffling it is out of context. This is Rand at a Caemlyn fruit stall during one of the many constructed realities that the Dark One and Rand create for each other.
Day 28 - Sunday, December 23
“But this . . . this isn’t about blacksmithing, Perrin . . .”
“Of course it is,” Perrin said. How could Rand not see that?
Rand and Perrin early on, sounding like they’re talking about the seals when in reality they’re just joking around.
Day 29 - Monday, December 24
“Didn’t you once lead a band of thieves out of this forest?”
Birgitte grimaced. “I was hoping you hadn’t heard that one.”
A moment of levity between Elayne and Birgitte while they’re being chased by Trollocs through the Braem Wood.
Day 30 - Tuesday, December 25
Rand strode forward, lifting his arms out to the sides. Grass sprouted in waves, red blossoms burst from the ground like a blush upon the land. The storm stilled, the dark clouds burned away by light.
Rand in a dreamshard, taunting Moridin.
A joyful song, a song of awe and wonder, though she could not understand the words.
Elayne, hearing the Ogier sing their war song while facing off against Trollocs.
Day 31 - Wednesday, December 26
He doesn’t want to fight in Andor, Elayne thought. He doesn’t want to fight alongside me. He wishes the break to be clean.
Elayne about Rand after he visits her camp in Caemlyn (which includes the sparring match with Tam).
Day 32 - Thursday, December 27
Rand stiffened. He’d known what he was doing, on some level, but to hear it explained was disconcerting.
Rand after Cadsuane notices Rand is giving away all of his stuff because he intends to die.
Day 33 - Friday, December 28
If the end of the Aiel was the sacrifice required for Rand to win, she would make it.
Aviendha at Thakan’dar, resolving to see the Last Battle and Rand’s fight through to the end, even if it results in the future she saw in Rhuidean.
Day 34 - Saturday, December 29
What did you do when the One Power failed, the thing you relied upon to raise you above common folk?
A very misleading quote that turns out to be the reaction of a few Sharan channelers to Galad wielding a foxhead medallion.
Day 35 - Sunday, December 30
The Blight had consumed the Two Rivers.
Another of the realities constructed by the Dark One and Rand during their struggle.
Day 36 - Monday, December 31
“Run, Bela,” Faile said. “If you’ve kept any strength back, now is the time to use it. Please. Run, girl. Run.”
Faile and Bela, having survived the Blight with the Horn of Valere, but now stuck in the midst of the Trolloc army at the Fields of Merrilor. This quote is just as bleak as it sounds.
Day 37 - Tuesday, January 1
I AM THE ONLY HONESTY YOUR WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.
The Dark One to Rand during their battle, trying to convince Rand that the world needs the Shadow.
Day 38 - Wednesday, January 2
Humankind did not have days remaining, but hours.
A very accurate Elayne, during the final movements of The Last Battle.
Day 39 - Thursday, January 3
They seemed to be cracks into nothingness. They drew the light in, sucked it away. It was as if he was looking at fractures in the nature of reality itself.
Lan noticing the damage balefire and the Shadow have already done, early on in The Last Battle, before everyone masses once more at the Fields of Merrilor.
Day 40 - Friday, January 4
"We’ll remember those who fell, and we’ll tell our children how we stood when the clouds turned black and the world started to die. We’ll tell them we stood shoulder to shoulder, and there was just no space for the Shadow to squeeze through.”
Perrin rallying his troops to go join the larger Last Battle force, early on in the book.
Day 41 - Saturday, January 5
They stood at the edge of time itself, and still Thom Merrilin found a smile.
Rand observing Thom as they approach the entrance to Shayol Ghul, about halfway through the book.
Day 42 - Sunday, January 6
Loial, son of Arent son of Halan, had secretly always wanted to be hasty.
The opening to Chapter 16; Loial’s general observations about humanity.
Day 43 - Monday, January 7
By the Light, he had a book to finish before he went!
Loial again, in battle, resolving not to die in the Last Battle since he, well, you know.
Day 44 - Tuesday, January 8
Rise, and save the world.
Rand, just after taunting Moridin in the dreamshard, contemplating what he would do after waking up that morning.