Knife of Dreams, volume eleven in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, will be available in ebook form on August 24th. In celebration of Jordan’s work, we have commissioned fourteen artists to interpret one of the Wheel of Time books in their own style. (Previous editions can be seen here. The first seven ebooks can be purchased here.)
It was time to pump up the action on the covers. I knew early on I wanted to ask Michael Komarck to work on the series but I wasn’t sure which book. After talking to Jason Denzel and reading some of the fan comments, it seemed Komarck’s gritty photorealism would be a perfect fit for this sequence.
At this point in the series Rand’s physical and mental stability is breaking down. Komarck’s tight composition and unconventional angles make the viewer feel that imbalance. Komarck engages you by making you feel slightly uncomfortable, almost wishing you could take a step back to regain your composure.
In an age when a lot of noise is being made about illustration “needing” to become moving images, I would say the beauty of this image is that you are in perpetual conflict—you want Rand to regain balance, but no amount of looking will change his struggle at that moment.
While Rand is being heroic by saving Min’s life, a fan of the series will come to the image knowing the full story is more multifaceted than that. It is a testament to Jordan’s writing that very little is simple or one-sided. While Rand is saving Min, it is an act that helps ground him, too; Rand being the Dragon isolates to the point that it’s hard to interact with people the way that he used to. Protecting them from danger at once expresses his power and reinforces his connection to close friends and loved ones. This scene is emblematic of the tightrope that Rand must walk to get to Tarmon Gai’don.
To keep up with all of our Wheel of Time posts, including information on the ebook releases, check out our Wheel of Time Index.
To see more of Michael Komarck’s illustrations visit his website.
Dragonmount’s feature on the Knife of Dreams ebook cover, including a larger cover image.