This is the Wheel of Time Reread Redux, Johnny. Do you have a problem with that? NO MERCY!! Yeah!
All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com.)
The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!
All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.
And now, the post!
Before we begin: Since I once again didn’t do it in the original commentary, a last-post look at the cover art for TDR!
And, well. Other than the general inaccuracy of the scene, given that neither Mat nor Perrin were anywhere near the Heart of the Stone when Rand took Callandor, and Moiraine was, TDR’s cover was one of the less offensive to my sensibilities. The only real sticking point for me was Rand’s clothes.
Like, what is he wearing here? What is going on with his left side? Is that a half-cape, possibly the most pretentiously ridiculous piece of men’s clothing ever invented? Or does he have his coat slung over one shoulder for some inexplicable reason? Whatever it is, I hate it. Haaaate.
Nor do I think, by the way, that Mat had quite progressed to neck ruffs and shoulder puffs in his sartorial choices either at this point. Later, sure, but I’m pretty sure that this is not a coat one chooses to go skulking around roofs and blowing up impregnable fortresses with. Also, Perrin doesn’t carry a shield, and his headband makes me wonder if he’s gonna try and sweep the leg, but now I’m just nitpicking.
Other than that, though, it’s fine, I guess. Onward!
Chapter 56: People of the Dragon
In the original commentary for this chapter, I talked about how TDR is the last book in the series where there was storyline convergence. Or, in other words, for the first three books, no matter how separated their individual storylines were, Our Heroes always ended up together again by the end of each book, but from TSR onward, this was no longer the case.
I also opined at the time that while it was an inevitable consequence of the sheer scope of the story Jordan was writing, it did still seem to make each individual installment a little less satisfying than the first three had been. What didn’t occur to me at the time I wrote that, was that it would continue to be true all the way through the end of the series.
I’ve talked about this before, so I will try not to belabor the point too much, but it’s worth reiterating: I really was quite disappointed that Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Moiraine, Thom, and Lan – the original party that left the Two Rivers in TEOTW – never got to all be in the same room again before the whole thing was over. Actually I’m disappointed we didn’t get a chance to see the whole crew in the same room – i.e. all of the above plus Min, Elayne, and Aviendha. And Faile, probably. Even though I am well aware that such a scene would be a logistical nightmare to write.
But really, I think I would have been satisfied had we at least gotten to see Rand, Mat, and Perrin together again. The Supergirls got lots of chances to see each other over the course of the series even when they were separated, thanks to Tel’aran’rhiod Teleconference™, but while Mat and Perrin each individually hang out with Rand for a period of time, and get one brief scene in TOM (I think) to see each other, after TDR all three of them are never together in one place again. I’m pretty sure I’m up to the point of harping on this, but it really did bother me, guys. It’s things like this that drive people to write fanfiction, I imagine.
But anyway! The point is, for this book Our Heroes are indeed all together again. Er, even if we don’t actually get to see them all together again. And even if, technically, Perrin’s still only in the immediate area, not the Stone itself. But we know they will be all in the same place. You know, off-screen.
All that aside, though, TDR concludes extremely satisfactorily taken on its own. The invasion of the Stone is a rather tiny campaign compared to the scope of what will come later, but for this early on, its size was actually perfectly appropriate. Not the big one, but a good ramp-up to what’s coming later. I Approve.
Thus ends The Dragon Reborn, and thus ends, incidentally, this phase of the Wheel of Time Reread Redux.
It’s probably not too surprising, really – or at least I think it shouldn’t be. The Shadow Rising, the fourth book in the series, is where the original Reread changed, because it was right around that time that Team Jordan announced that A Memory of Light, the final volume Brandon Sanderson was contracted to finish to round out the end of the Wheel of Time series, was in fact going to be three volumes, published over a period of years, instead of the one huge book we’d thought it was going to be when I was invited to do this Reread in the first place.
So instead of having only 5 to 6 months to get through all the previously published books in the series, as we had originally thought, I suddenly had years to do it. And thus, understandably, I quickly decided to stop killing myself trying to get through 5+ chapters a week when it was no longer necessary to do so. Which was great for me at the time, but it also meant that my commentary (and summaries) of each of the chapters became much more in-depth than they were previously. Which was great for you at the time, or so I fondly imagine, but it also meant that the Redux Reread, post-TDR, suddenly has a lot less to talk about than it had previously, on a chapter-by-chapter basis, than had already been covered by the original Reread.
Ergo, in the interests of not wasting either your or my time, the Redux Reread is going to take a slightly different tack from here forward. Instead of going on a chapter-by-chapter basis, as I have been doing, the Redux Reread is going to take a slightly broader approach from now on.
Since the entire purpose of the Redux Reread was to address my reactions to the overall story once I knew what the actual ending of it was going to be, from here forward I think we’re going to concentrate on addressing my reactions from when I actually have something different to say than when I first, er, had a reaction to it. So rather than go on a chapter-by-chapter basis, from here on out I am going to skip to the chapters where I actually have something significantly different to say, and leave the rest. A sort of cherry-picking arrangement, if you will.
To help reduce confusion, I am also going to be reintroducing chapter summaries into the posts, so you don’t have to link all over hell and gone to follow along. In addition to this, I will also be doing what I’ll refer to as spotlight essays, in which I will concentrate on one particular character or theme in WOT and how he/she/it evolved over the course of the series.
Basically it’s all a little undefined, how we’re going to proceed with the Wheel of Time, but I guarantee you it’s all going to be fun. Because that’s why we’re all here, right? I shan’t let you down, my Rereaders!
But in concurrence with my general slowing-down M.O., we’re also going to be moving to a slower publishing rate. Ergo, starting effective today, the Redux Reread is moving to an every-other-week schedule, alternating with my new blog series on Tor.com, the Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia, which y’all should totally check out if you haven’t already, because it is stupid fun.
So! In sum, what’s happening is, the Redux Reread will still go on, but in slower and broader fashion than it has previously. And I do devoutly hope that you will come back in two weeks’ time and join me in in our continuing endeavor of Seeing How It All Goes Now We Know The Ending, right? Right!
And I do have to say, at this time, that I have nothing but the most mad respect and hella love for alla y’all who have followed me throughout this journey, which has been years longer than I think anyone ever expected when it all began, lo these many years ago. I have met and known some of the most amazing people as a result of this thing, and while I have given y’all props before, there is no reason why I shouldn’t give you more, and so I will.
You are a kickass bunch of people, sez me, and I am honored that we are all on this strange and lovely fandom journey together. This will go on, and I hope very much that there will be even more things for us all to be excited about in the future. Stick with me, kids; we’re gonna have fun, I guarantee it.
But for now, here is where we stop! I love you all to itty bitty bits, and I will be back in two weeks with more WOT yumminess for you to consume, I swear! In the meantime, cheers!