It is a curious experience, to be writing about the third book while actively writing the final book. In book three, Rand comes to accept himself as the Dragon Reborn.
Now, you might think he’s already accepted his place. He found the banner in book one, and though he kicked and stomped in book two, it seemed that he truly accepted his title. And that might be true.
However, accepting a title and accepting what it means—what that title will force you to become—are different things entirely.
Book three is, in my opinion, among the darkest of the books—rivaling even later volumes where Rand is descending into madness. This is the novel where Rand accepts that he will have to become a killer, a leader, and a destroyer in order to save the world. That’s heavy stuff.
Robert Jordan, brilliantly, distances us from Rand a little in this book. This is where he begins to show us that the story is about more than Rand—indeed, he shows us that there will be times when we don’t want to see through Rand’s eyes. As painful as this volume is, I believe it shows a technical mastery that the previous two volumes don’t express.
Here is where Robert Jordan truly takes control of his story, in my opinion. It’s a wonderful novel, and I suggest that writers in particular watch how Robert Jordan direct our eyes and emotions carefully toward Rand’s return, as a sympathetic (and more experienced) character in book four.
Keep track of Brandon’s musings on the Wheel of Time in the Memory of Light index.
His thoughts on:
Brandon Sanderson is the author of Elantris, The Mistborn Trilogy, and, with Robert Jordan, the New York Times bestselling The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and the forthcoming A Memory of Light, the final volumes to the epic Wheel of Time.