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Sylas K Barrett

Reading The Wheel of Time: A Trip to Shayol Ghul and Salidar in Robert Jordan’s Lord of Chaos (Part 1)

Hello hello, and welcome back once again to Reading The Wheel of Time! After two weeks away, I am very excited to be starting Lord of Chaos. Which has oddly lost the “The” that has been in every other title thus far in the series, and which I find oddly irksome for some reason. I guess it’s fitting that a book about a Lord of Chaos would dispense with the orderly nature of previous books, but as a result I can only hear the title in the voice of Jeff Goldblum, like the way he says “Lord of Thunder” in Thor: Ragnarok.

More to the point, I’ve been getting some tutoring in summaries from Tor.com’s own Emmet Asher-Perrin, and I’m going to start running those sections very differently. I mean, you all have read the books, you don’t need an extensive blow-by-blow from me every week! And what better time to test my newfound skills and resist my completist tendencies than with this immensely long slog of a prologue that opens Lord of Chaos. We’re going to ease in by covering half of the Prologue, up through Elayne’s section.

Are you ready? I’m ready. Let’s do this thing.

[Severing. That was what it was called, what you name stilling for women and gentling for men.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time Grapples With Uncertainty in “The Dragon Reborn”

We’ve only seen women channel so far in The Wheel of Time. But oh, my friends, that is about to change.

(These reviews might contain some minor spoilers for the Wheel of Time book series. Please note that the comment section may also contain spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book series.)

[Sometimes the wind blows away from the tree.]

The Wheel of Time Heads East in “A Place of Safety”

Welcome to our spoiler review of episode three of The Wheel of Time. Please be prepared for me to be very, very excited about Lan and Nynaeve’s interactions.

(These reviews might contain some minor spoilers for the Wheel of Time book series. Please note that the comment section may also contain spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book series.)

[We’ve all had desperate moments.]

The Wheel of Time Brings Us to a Cursed Place in “Shadow’s Waiting”

It’s time for episode two of The Wheel of Time, in which Egwene learns more about how the Aes Sedai work, and everyone has some disturbing dreams.

(This review contains spoilers for “Shadow’s Waiting,” the second episode of The Wheel of Time TV series. It may also contain some references to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels, but will try to avoid important plot spoilers. Please note that the comment section may also contain spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book series.)

[He’s not the only one who met a face he’ll remember today.]

The Wheel of Time Sees Two Strangers Come to Town in “Leavetaking”

The first three episodes of The Wheel of Time are finally here!

Welcome to our weekly reviews for the The Wheel of Time series. Though the first three episodes dropped together, we’re going to talk about them separately! This review is for episode one: “Leavetaking.” The next review for episode two, “Shadow’s Waiting,” will go up in six hours, and the review for episode three, “A Place of Safety,” will show up tomorrow at 10am ET. (Each subsequent review will be available on the Saturday after the episode airs.)

(This review contains spoilers for “Leavetaking,” the first episode of The Wheel of Time TV series. It may also contain some references to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels—I will do my best not to talk about important plot or character points from the books that will result in spoilers for the future of the show, but as opinions on what constitutes a spoiler may vary from person to person, consider this a general warning. Please note that the comment section may also contain spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book series.)

[Read more]

I’ve Seen the First Three Episodes of The Wheel of Time: Here’s Why You’re Going to Love It

The much anticipated arrival of Amazon’s The Wheel of Time series, based on Robert Jordan’s fourteen novel epic, is only days away now, and hype is strong both for long-time fans of the books and those who have never read them. With Amazon hoping for the next Game of Thrones-style hit and fans of epic fantasy eager to see what kinds of larger-than-life scenery, set, and story may be awaiting them, everyone’s wondering how well the series will live up to a pile of expectations almost as high as Dragonmount.

As a fan of the books myself (you can check out my ongoing read of the series here), I’m pleased to say that the first three episodes of The Wheel of Time are, in fact, excellent. They bring much of what I love to the screen and, dare I say it, make a few improvements along the way. And if you didn’t get that Dragonmount reference, never fear, the series does an excellent job of immersing new viewers into the world, striking that balance between giving you the information you need to understand the quest without much info-dumping or long voice over explanations.

[In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose.]

Reading The Wheel of Time: Death and Duty in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 14)

Well friends, this is it! The last post for the New Spring prequel novel. We’re finishing up just in time to be fully invested in Lan and Moiraine when we see them on screen in a few weeks, and I for one am very excited. Hence all the italics I’m employing right now.

New Spring follows the same basic structure as the other novels. It opens with action, then spends some time on important characters and themes, has another little explosion of action around the middle of the book, then takes a little nap while doing some worldbuilding and gently seeding all the little details that will result in the final climactic battle. But because New Spring is shorter than the others, the ending does feel a bit rushed to me. We’ve spent all this time trying to figure out the mystery, and then the answers are dropped in our laps (not to mention Moiraine’s) all at once. Everything is tied up neatly in the space of a few pages, really.

Although maybe I’m just sore because I didn’t solve the mystery on my own. Nobody did, kind of—Moiraine just got close enough to be there when the saidar hit the fan, so to speak.

No, that idiom doesn’t work, does it? Well, I tried. I’m going to start the recap now. On to the rest of Chapter 25, as well as 26 and the Epilogue.

[Say a prayer for the dead, Moiraine Sedai, and ride on.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Disguises and Revelations in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 13)

Welcome once and again to Reading The Wheel of Time! This week is number 13 of our read of New Spring—lucky number 13 if you’re me and were born on a Friday the 14th. It feels appropriate, since we’re just a few days from Halloween. Also appropriate is that the theme of disguise is strong this week as well, with Moiraine using her true identity as a sort of shield, and Siuan going undercover as Moiraine’s servant.

But before we get to all that, Moiraine has to find Siuan and put together her plan. We’re in the lead up to the true action unfolding, so this week’s recap will cover Chapters 23 and 24, as well as the beginning of Chapter 25, through Moiraine’s encounter with Merean. This way, and step lively now.

[Maybe we can be silverpike in the nets instead of grunters. Just remember silverpike go to the fish-market, too.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Bandits, Assassins, and Carneira in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 12)

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Reading the Wheel of Time. This week, Moiraine torments Lan but fails to get what she wants from him, and Lan finds exactly what he didn’t want to find in Chachin. Meanwhile, Sylas struggles to remember that Prince Consort Brys and Gareth Bryne are not the same person, and continues to spell Malkier incorrectly. Bukama would be so disappointed in me.

And now, on to the recap of Chapters 21 and 22!

[Malkier deserved remembrance. But at what price?]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

The Mystery of Aes Sedai Agelessness

I have now read the first five books of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, as well as about half of the prequel novel New Spring, and it’s been fascinating to watch the complexities of the story, and the world, unfold. There are quite a few mysteries that it may take a long time to get any resolution on—there are still nine more books to go, after all—but one thing in particular has caught my attention lately. There is something about Aes Sedai agelessness that just doesn’t add up. So I decided this week to go back through my reading and see if I could puzzle out the mystery of Aes Sedai agelessness, and how the Power really does—or does not—affect the age and appearance of a channeler.

[That ageless look marked her as surely as her shawl.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: An Oath and a Grudge in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 11)

Welcome friends, to Part 11 of our read of New Spring. Today is a long-awaited moment here in Reading the Wheel of Time—we finally get to see the almost mythic first meeting of Moiraine Damodred Sedai and al’Lan Mandragoran. Does anyone besides me get tripped up occasionally over Lan’s name? It’s so close to being Man-dragon, and some silly part of me always wants to type it that way. I guess it’s understandable that I’d have dragons on the brain in this series, especially since I’ve always wondered where and why the word Dragon became a title, and if it was ever, in some long-ago turn of the Wheel, used for anyone other than the Wheel’s personal champion of the Light. But enough of my silly musings. It’s time for the recap.

[If that was humility, kings were the most humble men on earth.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Black Ajah Revealed in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 10)

This week in Reading the Wheel of Time, Moiraine realizes that adventures aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, as the plot starts to pick up speed, Siuan stumbles upon the existence of the unthinkable, and a lot of people die under mysterious circumstances. It’s Chapters 17 and 18 of New Spring! No time to waste, let’s get started!

[But if it’s real, then anybody could belong. Anybody!]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Custom as Strong as Law in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 9)

Do you all ever do that thing when watching movies or television where you cheer when someone drops the title of the film or episode at a particularly dramatic moment of the plot? No? Just me and my weird friends? Well, I definitely gave a little whoop when I read the opening line of Chapter 15 of New Spring.

The air of Kandor held the sharpness of new spring when Lan returned to the lands where he had always known he would die.

There it is! Did you catch it? Everyone take a shot!

Anyway, this week we’re covering Chapter 15 and 16, in which Lan and Bukama return to the Borderlands and Lan finds out that he’s not going to be able to get back to his private war quite as quickly as he had hoped. Also we learn even more about why Lan’s life is depressing as heck. (A content note to our readers: This post contains discussion of depression, underage sex, and statutory rape.)

[Either way, he had to face Edeyn. The Blight would have been much easier.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Moiraine Makes a Run for It in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 8)

Welcome back friends to our read of New Spring, here on Reading The Wheel of Time. Last week I suggested that we would cover Chapters 14 and 15, but I had so much to say about Moiraine and the White Tower that we’re only going to get through Chapter 14, which is called “Changes,” which means I’ve had the David Bowie song stuck in my head for the last few days.

Oh, and I normally try not to use the words “read” and “time” too frequently, since they seem to come up a lot. Today I thought I’d lean in and see what the opposite intention looks like, which unfortunately didn’t come out as amusingly as I had hoped. But I’m feeling a bit punchy today, so that is the energy I’m going to be bringing to my recap and analysis. Let’s do this!

[Long goodbyes would have turned to tears, and she could not risk that..]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Seamstresses and Bankers in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 7)

Welcome back to Reading the Wheel of Time! This week we pick back up in the middle of Chapter 12, with Siuan’s encounter with Cetalia and continuing on into Chapter 13, in which Moiraine visits her banker and teaches Siuan how to deal with a seamstress. Among other things. So let’s dive in!

[Unskilled hands on the tiller put the boat aground when they did not capsize it.\]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

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